1. Inoculations to consider before visiting Peru
Peru is one of the most climatically diverse places in the world, and rubs shoulders in this regard with FAR larger countries like the USA, China, Russia, India and Mexico.
2. Take precautions against developing altitude sickness
You won't feel yucky from the altitude gain immediately. You can expect the effects of the altitude to kick in the day after arrival.
Take your acclimatisation seriously
Locals chew coca leaves to help with the high altitude, and you could try that too while in Peru!
3. Look after your skin, lips and eyes at high altitude
Your lips and skin
Sunburnt noses and cheeks are common among tourists in the Andes, as are cracked knuckles and lips.
Wear full-spectrum* sunscreen and lip balm (don't forget the backs of your hands if bare). Wear a wide-brim hat and cover up as much as possible while still being comfortable. Bring a rich moisturiser for use at night. Carry an aftersun cream or salve (for just in case).
Remember that the higher the altitude, the more intense the UV rays.
4. Take out comprehensive traveller's insurance
Delayed, cancelled or interrupted travel Medical insurance Lost or damaged luggage
Delayed, cancelled or interrupted travel
We recommend that you cover yourself to the tune of at least US$200,000 for medical insurance.
Cover for lost or damaged luggage
Buy special insurance when going high-altitude trekking
Traveller’s insurance is a must for anyone undertaking to trek to Machu Picchu. No reputable tour operator will take you on the trek without it.
5. Avoid certain areas and travelling by yourself after dark
Quiet streets and alleys in cities and big towns. Rather use a taxi if travelling at night. You can also use e-hailing services, but the drivers aren't always as strictly screened as some of us might like. Remote or quiet tourist sites (like the Inca ruins you can hike to on the outskirts of Cusco). Criminals know where tourists like to go. So it's best to visit such sites during the busy hours of the day if you're on your own, or go in a group – preferably one led by a local tour guide. Quiet or isolated bus depots and train stations. Rather don't hang around such areas on your own.
As is pretty much always the case anywhere in the world, you're safest when you move around in the company of a registered local tour guide.
6. Be vigilant against thieves and pickpockets
Your money, bankcards and passport
Upon arrival in Lima, register your passport at your embassy. This may seem like a hassle, but it will save you from a far worse hassle should your passport become lost or stolen during your stay. Leave what you can in a safety deposit box at your accommodation before heading out for the day. Put what you need for the day in a money belt or lanyard pouch that you can keep hidden under your shirt. If you're going to use a backpack, store your most important items at the bottom of the main compartment (talented pickpockets can unzip a pouch and slip in a hand without you noticing). Also, consider wearing the backpack on your front where you can see it. Don't carry a backpack with flimsy straps that can easily break or be cut. And wear both straps of your backpack to make it harder to snatch (it's better for your back too!). Crowded plazas Markets Railway stations Bus depots
When possible, leave your passport and bank cards in a hotel safe and only carry the cash you need for the day in a concealed place close to your body.
Your camera and phone
Think twice before carrying large and expensive camera equipment in certain areas. Keep your camera or phone tucked away when you're not using it. Consider having a reinforced camera strap for when you do have it out, and ensure it's looped over your neck so that the camera can't be easily snatched out of your hand. Don't ask strangers to take photos of you using your camera or phone. Don't use a selfie stick in crowded areas as this makes your phone easier to swipe.
Top tip: dress casually so that you don't look like a walking ATM.
Contact the Tourism Police if anything goes wrong in a city
Precautions to take on treks
7. Be alert to these four money-related crimes
Peru's currency is the nuevo sole, often shortened to sole. The plural is soles.
Credit card fraud
Look for the face watermark in the blank area of the note. Check for the security stripe which runs from top to bottom, slightly offset from the centre. Check that optically variable ink (ink that changes colours when viewed from different angles) has been used for the denomination (number) printed in large in the bottom right corner on the frontside of the note.
Only carry one bankcard on your person at a time. Have separate accounts linked to different cards so that your money isn't all sitting in one place. Try not to have too much money in any of the accounts you'll be accessing on the trip.