There are more than a few reasons why travellers are flocking to Peru: not only is it home to some of South America’s most fascinating archaeological sites, its diverse cuisine is starting to garner attention on a worldwide spectrum. From culture and adventure tourism to beach holidays and city breaks, Peru is a growing tourist destination you won’t want to miss. What do you need to know before you pack up your bags and fly south? Let’s take a look.
Where to Go and What to Do
Peru’s star attraction is the Incan archaeological site Machu Picchu, which recently received the distinction of being named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. Most newcomers to Peru concentrate on a trip to Machu Picchu (either by train or on a multi-day trek), the Sacred Valley, and the nearby city of Cuzco, the historic heart of the Incan empire and home to a score of other important archaeological sites.
But Machu Picchu isn’t the only attraction that Peru has to offer. The country is also home to the mysterious Nazca Lines, the world’s second deepest canyon, Colca Canyon, and the highest navigable lake in the world, Lake Titicaca. If your schedule allows, you could also choose to get up close and personal to some exotic wildlife in the Amazonian cities of Puerto Maldonado or Iquitos.
Finally, Peru’s coastline is not to be missed. There, you’ll find plenty of surf and sand as well as some scrumptious seafood. Check out its capital city, Lima, for fine dining, fun nightlife, and musuems and attractions that will give you a glimpse of the city’s colonial past. The beach towns in the north of Peru—Mancora and Punta Sal—are the best spots to visit if you’re looking to get a little sun on your trip.
Health and Safety in Peru
Your visit to Peru will be packed with things to see and do, so you won’t want any malady to spoil your adventures. Before you depart, make sure that you’re up-to-date on the immunizations that NHS Choices recommends for travel to Peru; these are especially important if you’re travelling to the jungle regions of the country.
While the country’s culinary diversity is sure to make your mouth water, in order to avoid getting the holiday bug while you’re there, you’ll need to take a few precautions. Avoid drinking water from the tap. Buy bottled water instead, or boil water and let it cool before drinking it to remove any impurities. You should also avoid eating uncooked foods such as vegetables, fruits, and raw fish—at least until your stomach adjusts to the cuisine. While it may be tempting, it’s best to avoid food from street vendors and dairy products that have not been pasteurised.
As an added precaution, you may want to buy special traveller’s insurance and pack a travel health kit that includes diarrhoea medication, antacids, and iodine tablets.