Ready For Your Trip To Peru?
Please Find Below What You Need to Know to Get Ready For Your Trek in Peru:
Trekking in a foreign country is probably one of the best ways to get in direct and genuine contact with the locals and their customs as well as the landscape and the wildlife of the country you are visiting. If you will be trekking in Peru, it is important to know that the planning and preparation phases of the trek are relevant to fully enjoy the trek and avoid disappointments. Below, we provide a list of items you should go over during the planning and preparation phases of your trek in Peru:
- Research about the country you will be traveling to (in this case Peru). You can see below a few key points to consider before getting to Peru:
- Do I need a Visa to enter Peru?
Citizens of several countries do not need a tourist visa to enter Peru, and only a valid passport is needed. Peru allows a maximum stay of 183 days with a tourist visa. For instance, the citizens of the USA, Canada, South Africa, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Great Britain, Ireland, Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, among others, are in this group. For a more detailed list click here.
- Is the expiration date in my passport important?
Yes, it is. Peru requires that passports must be valid for at least six months from the day of entry and you should have at least 3 empty pages in your passport.
- Do I need to get any type of vaccinations to enter Peru?
Peru doesn’t require proof of vaccinations to enter the country; however, if you will be visiting the Amazon Rainforest in regions below 6,000 feet above sea level (1,830 m.a.s.l.), you should get a yellow fever shot and carry proof of it when arriving at the airport. Also, in the northern part of the Amazon Rainforest, there is a high risk of malaria in the region of Loreto while there is a low risk in the regions of Ucayali and Madre de Dios.
Also, you might consider getting shots for typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria, and hepatitis (type A for everybody and type B if you are planning to have sexual intercourse). For further information, please click here.
- What type of currency is used in Peru?
The Peruvian national currency is the Peruvian Sol. In the major cities and tourist areas, American dollars are accepted in most restaurants and stores, but exchange rates are always lower. American dollars and Euros can be exchanged in all major cities at recognized money exchange stores or banks. (Banks always pay less.)
Always keep in mind that if you will be using ATMs to get money, you should get the money in the same currency you have your account (if possible); otherwise get dollars and never Peruvian Soles since you will be charged twice by your bank and twice by the ATM (one for the transaction and another one for the exchange rate).
- Is food safe in Peru?
Yes, but only if precautions are taken. For instance, you should never buy food from street food carts or low quality restaurants since cleanliness won’t be a concern, unless these places are highly recommended in tourist guides or by fellow foreign travelers.
Never drink water from the faucet (even to brush your teeth) and make sure you always use water from sealed bottles of water.
All fruits should be washed with water from a bottle and then peeled. Also, vegetables should be cleaned with a disinfectant and water from a bottle. In restaurants, it is better to ask for boiled veggies unless this is a trustworthy restaurant.
- Do I need to be worried about safety issues while in Peru?
In some areas safety is a concern, and you should take the same precautions when you are in a big city. You should always ask what neighborhoods are safe to walk during the day and night. For instance, the areas near to the main squares of Cusco and Arequipa or the neighborhood of Miraflores in Lima are very safe during the day and at night as well until midnight or so.
You should never take a cab from the street even if they have a sign and they look professional. It is better to contact an established taxi company and request a pick up. (It is a little more expensive, but it is for your own safety.)
- Do research about the trek and city where you will be hiking. For instance, you should be aware of the following:
- Is the trek located in a high-altitude city?
If so, research about the elevation you will start and the highest elevation point. If the hike is over 6,000 feet above sea level (1,830 m.a.s.l.) you should consider acclimatization or medication to prevent altitude sickness. Do not overlook this. Altitude sickness can ruin your trek.
The Go Trek Peru site provides you relevant information regarding the altitude for each trek listed in the site.
- What is the difficulty level of the trek?
Research about the distance to be walked every day, the type of terrain, and altitude gained every day. If you are not fit for the trek, you should start working out if time allows. If you don’t have time to work out and get in shape for the trek, you should look for an easier trek. There are many options and definitely one will fit you.
Don’t ever get onto a trek that you aren’t ready for because you won’t enjoy the experience and it will ruin your vacation.
The Go Trek Peru site provides you relevant information regarding the difficulty level for each trek listed in the site.
- Is it safe to trek on my own?
Some treks can be enjoyed on your own with no problem: however, if you are trekking in a remote area, you should never hike on your own or by yourself. Also, if you don’t speak the language spoken in the area you will be trekking, you should hire the services of a guide. (Always ask for references from fellow travelers.)
Keeping the information above in mind, you should research about the trek you will be embarking on and get information from fellow travelers. Do not ask locals in Peru because you will get ambiguous or inaccurate information. Peruvians are ashamed to say, “I don’t know.”
The Go Trek Peru site provides you with relevant information regarding the pros and cons of trekking on your own for each trek listed in the site.
- What is the weather like and what is the best time of the year for this trek?
Peru is a country of contrasts, and this includes landscapes, terrains, and, most importantly, weather conditions.
If you will be hiking in the Andes, then the best time of the year for a trek is between May and October to avoid rain as much as possible; however, these are the coldest months of the year and appropriate equipment is needed. The rainy season in the Andes goes from December to March, but it can rain at any time during the year. (The closer it gets to the rainy season, the more chance of rain.) The cool thing about rain is that it brings vegetation, and the landscapes in March and April are just incredible.
Also, if you will be hiking in areas closer to the Amazon Rainforest, or what is called the high jungle, then you need to be prepared to trek in the rain at any given time regardless of the season. In these areas, trekking from December to March (especially January and February) is very dangerous because of mud slides and river overflows.
The Go Trek Peru site provides you with relevant information about the weather for each trek listed in the site.
- Do I need to be aware of any specific regulations before starting a trek?
Most of the treks in Peru don’t have regulations imposed by the government to start a trek; however, the most popular trek in Peru and one of the most beautiful ones does. The Inca Trail, in any of its versions, is strictly regulated by the Peruvian government, and every single travelers needs to hire the services of an authorized tour operator to obtain a permit or ticket to trek the Inca Trail. The Peruvian government sells only 500 permits per day, and these permits are sold quickly and well in advance. Click here for more details.