While no inoculations are required, vaccination against yellow fever is recommended, especially if traveling to the Amazon or onward to Bolivia. Please consult your physician before traveling to Peru.
You may encounter mosquitoes in both urban and rural areas, especially during wet seasons. Travelers are encouraged to bring insect repellant and consider wearing clothing that adequately covers arms and legs.
Traveler’s diarrhea caused by contaminated food or water, often resulting in dehydration, is common. Take care to follow these steps to avoid or reduce the symptoms.
- Drink only bottled water.
- Avoid unpasteurized cheeses and unpeeled or unwashed fruits and vegetables.
- Eggs, meat and seafood should be properly and fully cooked.
- Please note that the popular Peruvian alcoholic beverage, Pisco Sour is often made with uncooked egg white.
- If you have contracted diarrhea, let your stomach rest. Do not eat for several hours or until you are feeling better.
- Drink bottled or boiled water and rehydration beverages containing electrolytes (sports drinks) frequently and in small amounts.
- Resume your diet with simple and bland foods, such as crackers, rice, bread, potatoes, or bananas, which usually will help slow diarrhea.
High Altitude Illness:
Altitude illness occurs when there is a lack of oxygen in the air at high altitudes, including Cuzco (11,000 feet) and Puno (12,600 feet). Altitude illness will affect some travelers, with no apparent regard to age, gender or physical condition. Symptoms may include headache, loss of appetite, dizziness and trouble sleeping. For some it will pass within a few hours, however for many the condition if gone untreated may last for several days. We urge you to read and follow these suggestions in order to reduce the chances and/or severity of altitude illness.
- Prior to departure, speak with your health care provider. They may recommend the medication acetazolamide (Diamox), which has been found to reduce the symptoms if taken a day or two before you depart.
- Stick to a light diet the day before traveling to a high altitude. Foods found easy to digest include fish, chicken and hot liquids. Avoid fried foods, beef, lamb and caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water before and during your stay. Many find saline nasal drops/spray beneficial.
- Upon arrival take it easy. Allow your body to adjust by lying down for 10-15 minutes. Rest as much as possible during the trip. Over-exertion can exacerbate the symptoms.
- Oxygen can be beneficial, and is easily found in airports, hotels and pharmacies.
- For headaches, over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) have been found to be helpful.
- Coca tea and wild mint (Munia) may ease the symptoms.
- A diet high in carbohydrates, breads, cereals, grains, and pasta can also help alleviate the symptoms.
Once again, we highly suggest you consult your personal healthcare provider before making the decision to travel to any high altitude destination and before choosing any course of treatment.