A trip to Peru with a hike up the Inca Trail is one of the top trips in the world. But, Peru is more than just ruins and trails. The jungles of eastern Peru are some of the most amazing in all the Amazon, and Lake Titicaca is a must visit.
Peruvian travel also poses certain health risks. Food- and mosquito-borne illness are common as well as travelers diarrhea, just to name a few. Be sure to take proper precautions before venturing to The Land of the Incas.
Which Vaccines Do I Need for Peru?
If you’re headed to Peru, you need to make sure that you take steps to safeguard your health. The CDC and WHO recommend visiting a travel health clinic at least four weeks before you leave.
Vaccines for Peru vary based on your specific itinerary. A Passport Health travel specialist will help you decide which vaccines are best for you. The CDC and WHO have recommended that travelers receive the following vaccines:
- Yellow Fever (this vaccine may be required based on your travel itinerary)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Routine Vaccines
Is Malaria in Peru?
Malaria is a common mosquito-borne disease especially in South and Central America. Peru is no exception with an estimated 64,000 malaria cases each year. The Loretto region, a popular tourist destination, accounts for a high percentage of the Amazon’s malaria cases.
If you are planning to travel to the jungles of Peru, take some type of antimalarial medication with you. This is especially important during the summers.
What Other Health Concerns Should I Be Aware Of?
Peru is a generally safe place to travel. Follow the same rules you would in any developing country when it comes to food or other activities:
- Street Food– While often incredible, street food can pose a serious risk to your health. The CDC recommends avoiding it at all times.
- Water Sources– Peru does not have water sources as pure as those in North America. While in-country, avoid tap water and ice. Consider purchasing bottled water or other drinks in the area or bringing a water filter.
- Dengue Fever– Peru has reported a large number of denuge cases at various times. As a mosquito-borne disease, repellents are the best way to protect yourself.
- Zika Virus– While not yet prevalent in Peru, Zika virus has been documented there. Take extra precautions to avoid mosquitoes. This is especially true if you are pregnant or may become pregnant.
- Chikungunya– There is currently a Level 1 health alert in place for chikungunya in Peru. The CDC recommends taking precautions for against mosquitoes to protect yourself from the disease.
Handy Tips for Enjoying the Peruvian Andes
First, bring sunscreen. Even if it is cloudy outside, you can still get a sunburn while exploring Machu Picchu or the Inca Trail. Select a good sunscreen that is SPF 50 or higher, and apply it several times throughout the day.
When you arrive in Peru, you will receive an Andean migration card instead of a visitor’s visa. You cannot lose this piece of paper as you will need it to stay in hotels and even leave the country. We recommend keeping it clipped to the front page of your passport.
When you go to Machu Picchu, you may need to bring your passport. This may vary based on your specific itinerary. But, consider doing so anyway as you can get a novelty passport stamp there.
Don’t be afraid to ask your hotel to help set up a trip for you. Many locations work with local guides and will be able to help you find a guide. They can arrange transportation for you as well. But, most locations are within a short distance of each other within cities.
If you plan on traveling long distance, such as Cusco to Puno, buses are the way to go. They are usually inexpensive, only about 40 soles, but can be time consuming. Consider traveling at night to maximize your free time.
Going to Peru? Make an Appointment with a Travel Health Specialist Today!
By scheduling a consultation with a travel health specialist, you can help ensure spend every minute of your trip enjoying Peru. Vaccinations can mean the difference between a great time and a serious illness. It makes sense to take care of your health before you go.
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"Which Vaccinations Do I Need for Peru? is republished with permission of Passport Health."
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