Peru offers many different sites to visit and activities to partake in. However, the very first thing you must do when traveling to the South American nation is visit the ancient Incan ruins of Machu Picchu. If touring one of the Seven Wonders of the World is on your bucket list, then you can cross that off after visiting this ancient city built in the high mountains of the Andes. If you are going to make the trek to Machu Picchu, it is recommended to get there early and bring plenty of bottled water with you (or bring a water purification kit to ensure safe water). Being physically fit is a must for this portion of a Peruvian trip.
If you are looking to be philanthropic for a day or even the entire trip, there are plenty of opportunities. Peru is a major destination for those looking to participate in mission and volunteer trips. Project CURE provides much needed medical supplies to communities that need them in the developing world, and the organization offers plenty of opportunities to volunteer in Peru. To date, the organization has sent 14 cargo containers to Peru, and it is a great resource for a philanthropic journey.
For the adventurous type, consider a trip to the Peruvian Amazon Basin. While there, you can stay at an eco-lodge located right on the Apurimac River, visit the Sandoval Lake, or visit the Tambopata National Reserve. The Tambopata National Reserve has some of the richest wildlife conservation areas in the world! If traveling to this area, however, the Centers for Disease Control typically recommends that travelers receive a yellow fever vaccination to protect against the mosquito borne disease.
Depending on where in the country your journey may take you, antimalarial medication may also be recommended. This is especially true if you are traveling to Iquitos or Puerto Maldonado on the border with Brazil. Both jungle locations provide amazing opportunities to see wildlife and native culture, but yellow fever vaccination and antimalarial medications are both highly recommended for travel here.
If humidity is not your cup of tea, you might consider going to the southeastern department of Puno to experience the native culture and wonderful sights in the region. One must-visit location is Sillustani where the ancient Aymara people constructed chullpas (large towers) to house the most elite in their culture. Other exploring options include visiting the Uros Islands, which are man-made floating villages that have existed on Lake Titicaca for hundreds of years.
While this more arid region poses less threat for infectious disease, its extremely high altitude, with most locations sitting at over 12,000 ft. elevation, can be problematic. Because of this high elevation, the CDC recommends that travelers take proper precautions including: ascending gradually, if possible; taking medications that will help with acclimation; avoiding alcohol for the first 48 hours, participating in only mild exercise for the first 48 hours and, if possible, staying at a high-altitude location (>9,000 ft) for at least two nights within 30 days of leaving on your trip.
Of course, trying Peruvian food is a must! Each region has its own particular delicacy ranging from cuy (guinea pig) in the high sierra, to rocoto relleno (stuffed pepper) in the southern region, and ceviche (fish soaked in lime juices and chilis) throughout the coastal parts of the country. When partaking of these foods, it is important to take proper precautions including to be sure that the restaurant you are eating at is reputable, and avoid eating street food. Hepatitis A and typhoid vaccinations are recommended for travel to Peru, especially if you plan on making food a key part of your trip.
Before traveling to Peru, schedule a visit with a Passport Health Travel Specialist to discuss any health concerns you may have or vaccinations you need to have updated.If you plan on doing a lot of exploring, especially of the Inca Trail or ancient ruins, creating a first aid kit before you leave can be invaluable. The kit should include: bandages, ibuprofen, aspirin, antidiarrheal drugs, antibiotics, adhesive tape, sunscreen, insect repellent, and re-hydration materials.
While in the country, do not drink the tap water, and avoid ice that may have been made from unfiltered water. Bottled water, soda and other drinks made from pre-treated water are your best options.
For more information on the vaccines and other medications you might need for your Peruvian excursion, contact a Passport Health Travel Specialist.