How to travel safely in Peru? Here are the most important things you must keep in mind while planning your trip.
Visit a travel doctor which can give you professional advice on what vaccinations may be necessary. Normally Yellow fever, Typhoid, Hepatitis A and Influenza
Make sure you have packed insect repellent (DEET) and a travel first-aid kit. When visiting the lowland jungle area, bring a mosquito net and repellent with at least 30% DEET.
- Bring your own emergency first aid kit with medicines that you normally use in case you deal with a chronic condition.
During the trip.
Altitude sickness. Cusco is located at 3.400m (approx. 12.000) and Huaraz is located at 3.100m (approx. 11.000 feet) above sea level. Altitude sickness is usually a problem for travellers who ascend quickly; those who fly or bus into Cusco or Huaraz from lower altitude levels. Although not everyone is equally affected by the altitude, it usually takes a few days for the body to adjust to the low oxygen levels. You may experience shortness of breath from only minor physical exercise as well as dizziness, insomnia and a loss of appetite. Make sure that you always drink enough: rule of thumb is to drink one liter of water for each 1.000 altimeters. Before you leave on your trip, ask your doctor about available preventive and symptom controlling medications. The best way to treat altitude sickness, should you experience symptoms, is to descend as soon as possible.
Travellers’ Diarrhoea. Changing rhythm, climate, water and food can affect your intestines. Diarrhoea is something most of the travellers get at some stage, and there’s little to be done except drinking a lot (but not alcohol) and replacing salts by taking oral rehydration salts or mixing a teaspoon of salt and eight of sugar in a litre of purified water. When on the road, you can take medicines (loperamide), but this doesn’t cure the source of the infection – best is only to use these medicines when in a situation you aren’t able to go to the bathroom. If diarrhoea continues for more than 2 days or when side-effects occur such as fever or blood, please see a doctor. You can minimize the risk by being sensible about what you eat, washing your hands regularly and not drinking tap water. Mineral water is cheaply available everywhere, and you can also ask your local hostfamily to boil water for you at night to put in your bottles. Bringing (or buying) purifying tablets (e.g. Micropur) is recommended.
Skin care. Take little cuts serious – apply disinfectant and band aid – especially in the tropical climates of Peru little injuries can get easily infected and get worse. Don’t scratch mosquito bites. Avoid using strong perfumes, deodorant and aftershaves, as they attract stinging insects. Always apply sun block as – so close to the equator and at this altitude – the sun is very strong, even when it’s cloudy. Protect you head with a hat or bandana.
Sunstroke. Avoid sunstroke by wearing a hat and sunglasses. Always carry enough water, especially when hiking in an environment without drinking water available. Symptoms of sunstroke may include dizziness and light-headedness – if these symptoms occur, drink and stay in the shade.
Back at home.
If you suffer from fever, intestinal problems or other medical problems that cannot easily be accounted for once returned home, don’t hesitate to see your doctor telling how long, when and where you have been travelling. Be aware that some diseases have months ‘incubation time’ before problems start.
Over the years, Peru has developed as a stable and friendly country for all visitors. At the same time however, there has been a growing division between the poor and rich population. Since tourists are likely to attract attention, it is wise to travel ‘low profile’ showing valuable items as little as possible (cameras, IPods, wallets) and watching your luggage closely at all times.
It is always advisable not to bring valuables and documents when strolling in towns. Instead, keep them in lockers provided at your hotel. When on the road, it is best to keep documents, cards and cash in a money belt around your waist.
Don’t bring items that you can’t afford to lose
Don’t look like you may carry valuable items
Have a bit of money ready in case you get robbed
Listen to local advice about certain areas
Don’t think everyone is after robbing you
Generally spoken, thieves in Peru are opportunistic ones, who act when they see an opportunity. As long as you don’t look like a potential victim, they won’t bother you. So act as like if you have been living here for years, and if you spot a suspicious person let him/her know that you are paying attention to your belongings.
In case of any emergency get in contact with the local authority, your guide and travel advisor by any mean available at the moment. You can also get in contact with our office crew without hesitation.