Peru's ancient and colonial histories and its varied climates, offer something for everyone. Complete with spectacular mountain ranges, challenging hiking trails, historic ruins, blue Pacific waters and Amazonian jungles, Peru offers many worlds in one. Traveling to Peru is not something that one should take in stride, however, as there are many factors that can cause your trip to go awry. With a little planning and with some small precautions, however, your trip is sure to be memorable.
The colonial city of Cuzco and its ancient Inca ruins are a must see for anyone traveling to Peru, and serve as a point of entry to several hiking trails including the Inca Trail and Ausangate. The thin air attributed to Cuzco's altitude of more than 11,300 feet takes some getting used to and can prove dangerous without the proper altitude adjustment. Build up your thin-air tolerance by resting in Cuzco for at least 24 hours before embarking on more strenuous exercise. Spend day two stretching your legs and lungs on a shorter six-mile hike at Tambomachay. Take a local bus to Pisac and get off at the Tambomachay stop. Here you will view Incan ruins and get a breathtaking view of Cuzco.
Drink the Tea
Coca tea is served throughout Peru, particularly in the higher elevations. Made from coca leaves, the tea has been used for medicinal purposes in Latin America for centuries. It is said to assist with digestion, prevent diarrhea and help prevent altitude syndrome or mountain sickness, which can lead to vertigo and vomiting in higher elevations. Coca leaves are not considered illegal, although they are used as a base in making the drug cocaine.
Drinking Water Precautions
The drinking water in Peru is not considered potable to foreign travelers, even if it has been chlorinated, since it may contain some organisms which are not present in the U.S. water system. Drinks made with boiled water like tea or coffee, canned or bottled water or carbonated drinks, and beer and wine, are considered safe. Stay clear of ice cube and be sure to wipe cans or bottles with a dry cloth before drinking from them.
Article Written By Virginia Franco
Based in Charlotte, N.C., Virginia Franco has more than 15 years experience freelance writing. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including the education magazine "My School Rocks" and Work.com. Franco has a master's degree in social work with an emphasis in health care from the University of Maryland and a journalism degree from the University of Richmond.