Know Before You Go
Although most of the planning and preparation is taken care of for you, there are still a few things you should know and some details you should take care of to ensure your comfort, safety and peace of mind. Please review the following information before your departure to ensure that any surprises along the way will only be pleasant ones.
Passports and Visas
It is each traveler’s responsibility to have a passport valid for at least 6 months after the date of entry to Peru and a visa if required.
Passengers requiring visas, whether obtained in advance or locally upon arrival, should ensure that their passport has unstamped visa pages.
Passport information must be submitted to Valencia Travel Cusco at least 30 days prior to departure. This information is necessary to issue Machu Picchu train tickets.
A little pre-planning can make your trip go a lot smoother. Several weeks before your trip, make a list of what you will need to take with you. Make sure your personal documents (passports, visas and driver’s license) are in order and that you have enough prescription medications to last through the trip. We suggest that you make photocopies of passports, visas, personal IDs and any other important travel documents and pack them separately from the originals. Pack a list of medications including dosage and generic names. If you lose the originals while travelling, you’ll have copies for easier reporting and replacement. You may consider bringing a small supply of over the counter medications for headaches and/or anti-diarrhea pills. We recommend that you pack a portable alarm clock. Avoid placing valuables such as cameras in your checked luggage. Airplane pressure can cause similar pressure in your body, most notably in ears, as well as liquid tubes and bottles. Your physician can suggest medication for decongestion. As for the liquid containers, we suggest that you squeeze out excess air from those containers and place into Ziploc bags to catch any leaks.
Cell Phones and Calling Cards
You may wish to carry a cell phone while traveling. Check with your cell phone provider if your phone will work in the destination(s) you are visiting. U.S. service is dominated by the CDMA technology standard, while most of the world uses the incompatible GSM standard. Some U.S. providers do offer GSM, but you may incur high international roaming fees. With GSM, however, you can often choose to have your phone unlocked and then add a local SIM card for lower fees. If you can access the Internet as you travel, you can take advantage of email or a Skype Internet telephone (VOIP) account for the best value. Alternatively, you may investigate renting a cell phone before you leave or buying an inexpensive phone locally.
When calling the U.S. from a Peru, you may also use a prepaid calling card; normally, the only additional charge (besides the prepaid long distance charges) is a local fee of a few cents and possibly a connection fee if you are using your card at your hotel. It is best to check with the hotel’s reception desk prior to making phone calls to avoid unexpected charges.
Wireless Internet Access
Passengers traveling with Wi-Fi enabled devices (such as a personal computer, smartphone, tablet, or digital audio player) may be able to connect to the Internet via wireless networks. Passengers requiring Internet access can often locate free Wi-Fi hotspots such as libraries or coffee shops.
Staying Healthy While Traveling
All travelers should familiarize themselves with local conditions, such as high altitude or required immunizations, which could affect their health. We recommend you consult with your personal health-care provider, the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) and/or the World Health Organization (http://www.who.int/en/) for their recommendations.
There are several easy steps you can take to stay healthy while traveling which may help prevent contracting an illness while away from home.
Watch what you eat. Try new foods in modest quantities, and depending upon your destination, you may want to avoid street foods, salad bars, raw vegetables and fruits, unless they have thick peels like bananas or grapefruit.
Stay hydrated. Drink bottled water and avoid consuming ice cubes made with tap water.
If you have allergies to foods, medications or insect bites, or have any other unique medical issues, consider a medical alert bracelet and/or a physician’s note detailing required treatment should you become ill.
Wash your hands regularly and carry hand sanitizer.
Where appropriate, pack sunscreen and insect repellent (for both active and warm destinations).
You may also want to bring a small first-aid kit with band aids, antibiotic cream, pain killers, bug bite cream, digestive aids like antidiarrheal or anti-bloat medications, antacids, and cold medicine. This is in addition to any prescription medications to last for the entire trip.
Climate & Clothing
In Peru, the sun is strong, particularly in higher altitudes. Please, bring a sun hat that has a circular brim all the way around (not a baseball cap) and sunscreen. Bring comfortable, cushioned walking shoes for the hard cobblestone streets, a sweater, clothes you can layer and an all-weather jacket. Remember that during your trip, you will be travelling between regions and will need to be prepared for all weather conditions. Winter months (May through October) are cold. During those periods, you will need a warm jacket, gloves, a hat and a scarf.
The highland regions of Peru (Cuzco, Puno, Urubamba and Machu Picchu) have a dry temperate climate that also experience two distinct seasons. The dry season (May through October) consists of sunny days and cold nights with very little rain. The rainy season in the highlands runs from December to March. Temperatures can change drastically during the day in this region, sometimes varying as widely as highs around 65°F and lows of 35°F during the same day.