Peru, located in South America, is known as the home of the Inca Civilization and for its astounding landscapes. The Incas were a tribe that ruled for only 130 years before the Spanish wiped them out. In that short duration, they constructed amazing cities and monuments without the use of any iron or steel tools.
Modern Peru retains strong traits of this past and is an exciting place to visit. Half of the country is covered by the Amazon rainforest, and the world's second-highest mountain range, the Andes Mountains, runs right through the heart of Peru. If you want to take a long-deserved vacation somewhere other than the conventional tropical islands or ski resorts, this is the place for you.
As you’re planning your vacation, be sure to purchase
travel insurance or
travel medical insurance
to protect yourself against any unexpected illnesses, injuries, or accidents.
Things to Do for Travelers in Peru
There is no lack of exciting activities in Peru. Just don't expect what you usually do on vacation – clubbing, maybe, or sipping margaritas by the beach. Rather, if you are looking for a vibrant and diverse culture, you are in the right place. Peru can keep you busy, and sheer number of things to do and see can be overwhelming. Be sure to move beyond Lima, the capital city, and expand your horizons.
Cordillera Blanca: A mountain range in Peru that is a part of the Andes, the Cordillera Blanca has 80 peaks, many of which are more than 6,000 meters (more than 19,500 feet) tall. Trekking is the most common activity here, and there are several preplanned treks ranging between one and four days. The longest one is the 10-day Huayhuash Trek, which covers 165 kilometers (more than 100 miles) through towering peaks, snaking glaciers, and verdant alpine meadows.
Machu Picchu: Machu Picchu is the most popular tourist destination in Peru. It is a fortress built by the Incas high up in the Andes, and the ruins are awe-inspiring. It is one of the Seven New Wonders of the World—and for a good reason. The name means “old mountain” in the local dialect. There are over 100 stairways up and down the sloping mountainside, many of them monolithic. Although most of the stone chunks used to build the fort are large, it is believed that the Incas did not use wheeled carts but hauled them up manually.
Colca Canyon: The Grand Canyon gets all the attention, but the Colca Canyon is deeper. Accessed from the city of Arequipa, the canyon drops about 3,270 meters (10,000 feet) into the valley below. The most impressive sight apart from the canyon is the enormous Andean Condors that float lazily in the azure blue sky. These are the largest land birds known to man and have a wingspan over 10 feet (more than 3 meters). Of course, the simplest way to savor all of these experiences is to trek into the heart of the landscape.
Lake Titicaca: Located 3,800 meters (almost 12,500 feet) above sea level, Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world. It is also the biggest water body on the continent, with an area of almost 8,400 square kilometers (about 3,240 square miles). While it straddles the border of Peru and Bolivia, it is the former that is used as an access point. Among the hundreds of flora and fauna species, you can discover the Pink Chilean Flamingo and—though not as beautiful—one of the world's largest frog species, weighing 3 kilograms (more than 6.5 pounds). Lake Titicaca has a special place in Incan history and mythology.
Rainbow Mountain: This multicolored mountainside has to be part of your Peruvian itinerary. Located near Cusco, you have to climb 5,000 meters (more than 16,000 feet) to see this wonder of nature. It gets its name from the topsoil, which has many hues from dark red to ochre to almost teal. The phenomenon is due to oxidation of the minerals underground and is quite dramatic.
Travel Risks for International Travelers in Peru
Travel is safe, but you have to be prepared for an emergency. Though most vacationers are quite happy, there is always the chance of some unexpected mishap or another. Peru is quite safe for travel and exploration, but you have to be aware of the risks you face.
Lima is known for street crime. A quarter of the country’s population lives here, and a high incidence of poverty has fed the crime graph. Naturally, the first target of criminals for petty theft, purse-snatching, and mugging are the tourists. Beware of where you travel in the city, and try to be part of a larger group.
Peru is well known for political unrest. It might affect your tour itinerary and throw off your schedule. The hotel staff is known to provide the best and most current help and advice. Do not wander out into the middle of any agitations, processions, or protest marches.
Peru has an ongoing tuberculosis epidemic. To make it worse, many of the cases are of the dreaded antibiotic-resistant strain, MDR-TB. Keep a safe distance from strangers, because TB is an airborne disease spread by droplets.
Dengue is widespread in Peru. A tropical mosquito-borne disease, dengue causes high fever and cramps. What makes the bug dangerous is that there is no treatment except paracetamol and saline until the patient’s body fights back on its own over time.
Lima is reputed for tourist scams by tour operators. Do not trust anyone other than an authorized travel agency to arrange your trips and hikes.
Peru Travel Medical Insurance for International Travelers – FAQs
The Incan ruins are magnificent, but the threats of accident or disease loom large in Peru. With all the outdoor activities like hiking along mountain trails, the odds are much greater of a grave inconvenience like breaking your ankle. The Peruvian healthcare system is not as robust as that of Western developed nations, and expensive private medical care is the only viable option.
Do I need travel medical insurance for Peru?
There is no compulsory law about buying travel medical insurance before you enter Peru. However, keeping in mind the steep cost of treatment, it only makes sense to purchase coverage.
Why buy travel medical insurance for Peru?
A day-long hike through the Andes could come to a sudden halt with an accident. One slip or bad fall, and you would need an ambulance to the nearest emergency room. If you do not opt for crowded Peruvian public hospitals, then the only option is expensive private care. To be sure you’ll receive prompt and competent care without this considerable expenditure, make sure that you buy travel medical insurance before you arrive in Peru.
Peru Trip Cancellation Insurance for International Travelers – FAQs
Due to inclement weather or the unfortunate demise of someone close, you may have to cancel your trip. A difficult decision, but it happens to everyone at some point or another. Not only is it a hard decision, but it also brings financial loss to you if you put down pre-paid, nonrefundable expenses for airfare, lodging, and tours.
Why buy trip cancellation insurance for Peru?
At the time of booking, you have already paid for the trip to a large extent. Apart from food and tour guides, all else is paid for – hotels and flights included. While trip cancellation insurance cannot bring back the excitement of your trip, it can offer financial compensation.
What all is covered under trip cancellation insurance for Peru?
Trip cancellation insurance would reimburse you for postponement due to death and illness in the family or inclement weather. You will receive compensation if you have to cancel your trip for any of a list of explicit reasons contained in your policy’s certificate wording. Several policies also allow other riders that are more comprehensive. Remember to buy travel insurance and reduce your monetary loss caused by sudden cancellation.
Before You Travel to Peru - Do These
Visit the grand ruins of the Incan Empire and enjoy your treks, but remember these
tips for safe travel:
Maintain your travel documents in an additional folder that is always within easy reach (or, at least, in a secure location).
Do not throw caution to the wind. It is better to be restrained and safe in a foreign country.
Adequate travel insurance is a must-have. Protect your health and the trip by buying adequate coverage. Compare multiple plans and select the one that’s right for you.