Peru's mountain ranges, rivers and jungles make it an outdoor adventurer's dream. White water rafting, kayaking, hiking, rock and mountain climbing are just a few of the activities that await you. While each offers the opportunity to challenge yourself, safety hazards are part of the deal. With some proper planning, you can stay healthy and safe creating memories sure to last a lifetime.
While not required, its a good idea to get an immunization shot to ward against dengue fever if you plan on traveling deep into Peru's jungle. You will also need to ask your doctor for anti-malaria tablets, since choroquine, a common malaria medication, is not effective against several of the malaria strains found in the Peruvian jungle.
The most popular hiking trails, including the Inca Trail and Ausungate near Cuzco, require hiking at altitudes of over 11,000 feet. Even hearty climbers are advised to rest for at least 24 hours and abstain from alcohol and cigarettes to acclimate to the thinner air, followed by a shorter hike or two before embarking on an extended one. Be sure to drink the coca tea, which has been used for centuries to prevent altitude syndrome or mountain sickness that causes vertigo and vomiting in higher elevations. Coca leaves are not considered illegal, although they are used as a base in making the drug cocaine.
Hospitals or health clinics in remote areas outside of Lima and Cuzco are considered poor, which should be considered particularly if your trip involves more accident-prone activities like climbing in Peru's Andes or rafting on its rivers. Make sure your travel insurance includes transportation to a quality medical facility, and that you have access to cash since many facilities require you to pay up front for medical treatments.
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.