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08.16.12

Staying healthy, preparing for weather conditions, altitude adjustments, visiting sacred sites, and bringing home the goods–before you take your trip to Peru, read these travel tips.

Yellow Fever & Malaria

While visitors to Peru are not required to get vaccinations, the yellow fever vaccination is recommended for travelers to regions below 7,546 feet (2,300 meters) in elevation, including the entire region of Amazonas (it is not recommended for Lima, Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail). Be sure to get your vaccination at least four to eight weeks before departure to ensure that it has time to take effect. If you plan to continue on to other countries within six days of your visit to Peru, you may need to furnish proof of yellow fever vaccination for entry. Malaria is also a risk in regions below 6,561 feet (2,000 meters). Preventative measures such as insect repellent, long-sleeved shirts and pants, and prescription antimalarials are a must. Consult your health-care provider or a travel health clinic for more specific recommendations, and check for updates from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) prior to departure.

Peru’s Varied & Variable Weather

Peru experiences a dry season and a wet season. The peak months for travel—July and August—fall during the country’s driest period, which runs from May through September. The climate varies greatly across Peru’s three major geographic regions: coastal (temperate; foggy from April to December, and hot and humid from January to March); mountain and Andean (cold and dry); and Amazon and jungle (hot and humid with frequent downpours).

Keep in mind that the weather in Peru is notoriously variable, so plan for all seasons when packing. If you’re traveling to high elevations such as Cuzco, think warm, waterproof and layered. Casual attire is the norm for sightseeing, and comfort should be your first priority. Peru is not a formal place, so one smart-casual ensemble for a finer restaurant should be enough. A good-quality pair of walking or hiking shoes is mandatory, particularly if you plan on taking to the trails. See our selection of walking shoes at travelsmith.com.

Altitude Sickness

Anyone traveling to Cuzco, Machu Picchu, Puno, Lake Titicaca and other destinations in the high Andes should plan for altitude adjustment, which varies from person to person. Education and preparation are key to preventing and combating symptoms of soroche (altitude sickness), which may include nausea, difficulty breathing and extreme fatigue. Staying at mid-elevation areas for a few days before ascending to higher elevations may help you acclimate. Here are a few recommendations for your first few days at high altitude:

  • Avoid strenuous physical activity
  • Drink at least 1 quart (1 liter) of fluids per day and avoid alcoholic beverages
  • Eat small portions of high-carbohydrate food
  • Get ample rest
  • Stay warm
  • Avoid sleeping pills and tranquilizers
  • Chew coca leaves or drink mate de coca, a tea made with coca leaves

If you have heart issues or other medical conditions, consult with your physician before you travel.

For more information, visit: www.inkanatura.com/travel_essential_altitude_sickness.asp

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Peru’s celebrated Inca Trail has many routes and branches, but its most coveted path takes trekkers to the Lost City of the Incas. The classic, four-day, 26-mile trek transports visitors through mountains, cloud forest, jungle, Inca ruins and tunnels, and delivers them at sunrise to the sacred site of Machu Picchu. Travelers hoping to make the journey should start by choosing a guide company, route, duration (from two to seven days), group size and time of year. The next step is to secure reservations and trail permits. The $50 permits are limited to 500 per day and only 200 actually go to trekkers (the rest are assigned to guides, assistants, porters and cooks). Finally, be sure to outfit yourself with the proper gear for the expedition. See our selection of gear and travel accessories at travelsmith.com.

For more information, visit: www.incatrailperu.com

Illegal for Export

Peruvian laws prohibit the sale and exportation of any item deemed a work of National Cultural Heritage. Included in the ban are archaeological materials from the pre-Hispanic cultures including ceramics, textiles and paintings, and certain ethnological artifacts from the colonial period such as paintings and ritual objects. Shop for reproductions only at reputable dealers and insist on documentation from the National Institute of Culture (INC) confirming that the object is a reproduction and may be exported. You can find INC offices in all major cities in Peru and at Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima.

For more information about legal souvenirs, visit:
www.amazon-ecotours.com/subpage/agency info/responsible ecotourism.htm

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