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CDC Yellow Book

Peru: Cusco, Machu Picchu & Other Regions

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Destination Overview

Peru is a country almost twice the size of the state of Texas, with a population of 30 million people. Thousands of tourists are drawn to Peru every year to enjoy the country’s magnificent geographic, biologic, and cultural diversity. A primary destination for most travelers are the remarkable Incan ruins of Machu Picchu, named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983 and voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007. Located in southern Peru, in the middle of a tropical mountain forest on the eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains, Machu Picchu is extraordinarily picturesque. Considered perhaps the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire at its height, its giant walls, terraces, and ramps appear to be cut naturally from the continuous rock escarpment.

Lima, the capital city of Peru, is a sprawling megacity home to approximately one-third of Peru’s population. Some mistakenly believe Lima is a high-altitude Incan city; it is actually located at sea level on the Pacific coast (Map 10-10 ). From Lima, it is an hour-long flight to get to Cusco, the gateway to Machu Picchu and a worthwhile destination of its own. Visitors can see Inca-era ruins in Cusco and surrounding mountain villages, and shop in markets in the Valle Sagrado (Sacred Valley).

Map 10-10. Peru destination map

A train takes passengers from Cusco to several places where they can ascend to the actual site. From the town of Aguas Calientes, buses travel up the mountain to Machu Picchu. Multiple-day hikes across Andean mountain trails are also popular. One of the world’s best-known treks, the Inca Trail, begins at an elevation of more than 8,000 ft (>2,500 m) on the Cusco-Machu Picchu railway. Most physically fit people should be able to complete this 26-mile (43-km) hike in 4 days and 3 nights. The route is quite challenging, however, traversing 3 high mountain passes—the highest is Warmiwañusca at 13,796 ft (4,205 m)—before it ends at the ruins of Machu Picchu (7,970 ft; 2,430 m).

Many people also choose to add a tropical rainforest experience to their Cusco trip and take the 30-minute flight from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado, 34 miles (55 km) west of the Bolivian border. Puerto Maldonado is at the confluence of the Rio Tambopata and the Madre de Dios River, a major tributary of the Amazon River. Most travelers take a boat up the Rio Tambopata to stay at one of several rustic lodges. Those wanting to see the Amazon rainforest can visit the more remote Manu National Park, also accessible from Cusco. Additional sites of interest in southern Peru include the Nazca Desert—home of the ancient geoglyphs known as the Nazca Lines—and Lake Titicaca, which overlaps Peru’s border with Bolivia. It is called the highest navigable lake in the world.

Other natural wonders of this country include the Loreto Region and the Cordillera Blanca mountain range. Iquitos, the capital of the Loreto Region, can only be reached by boat or by plane; no roads lead to the city. From Iquitos, travelers can explore the northern Amazon rainforest by cruising upstream or downstream the Amazon River. The Cordillera Blanca, a hundred-mile range of spectacular snow-covered peaks, forms the backbone of the Andes Mountains in Peru. The Cordillera Blanca boasts 33 peaks >18,040 ft (5,500 m) and has earned a reputation for world-class trekking and mountaineering.

Health Issues

Important pretravel information for travelers going to Peru includes advice on preventing high-altitude illness, reducing risk for cutaneous leishmaniasis and vectorborne illnesses, including malaria, and—depending on the itinerary—the need for vaccination against yellow fever.

Altitude Illness and Acute Mountain Sickness

Travelers to Machu Picchu will arrive and transit through Cusco, 11,200 ft (3,400 m) above sea level. A recent study of travelers to Cusco found that three-quarters flew directly from sea level. On arrival, most tourists will quickly notice they are short of breath when gathering luggage and making their way to local hotels on the hilly streets. Many, maybe as many as half, will find that Cusco’s elevation leads to some degree of acute mountain sickness (AMS), with the initial symptoms of headache, nausea, and loss of appetite beginning 4–8 hours after arrival.

The hypoxemia that accompanies high-elevation travel can also affect the quality of sleep in the first few nights in Cusco, causing restless sleep, frequent awakening, and irregular respiratory patterns (alternating deep and shallow breathing), even in those who appear to be doing well during the day. Some travelers may progress to severe forms of altitude illness, including high-altitude pulmonary edema and high-altitude cerebral edema, life-threatening conditions that mandate immediate descent to a lower elevation. Even more mild symptoms of AMS can markedly impair the traveler and prevent enjoyment of the sights of Cusco. People with underlying lung disease may not be the best candidates for travel to this destination. Expert pretravel medical consultation is advised (see Chapter 3 , High-Altitude Travel & Altitude Illness).

Surveys have shown that most travelers arrive in Cusco with limited or no knowledge of AMS or the fact that it can be prevented to a large degree by prophylactic use of acetazolamide. Pretravel counseling should include information about AMS and a prescription for medication to prevent or self-treat the condition. Travelers to other parts of Peru may also require counseling about AMS; common travel destinations at high elevation include the city of Puno on the shore of Lake Titicaca (12,556 ft; 3,830 m), and the Cordillera Blanca (peaks >18,040 ft; 5,500 m).

Locals refer to AMS as soroche and may offer the new arrival a cup of hot coca tea ( mate de coca ) when checking in to the hotel. Although many believe mate de coca can prevent and treat soroche , no data support its use in the prevention or treatment of AMS. People who drink a single cup of coca tea will test positive for cocaine metabolites in standard drug toxicology screens for several days, a potential concern to anyone subject to random drug screens at work.

New arrivals may find it helpful to transit directly from Cusco to the Valle Sagrado of the Rio Urubamba to spend the first few days and nights at a somewhat lower elevation. This river valley begins 15 miles (24 km) northeast of Cusco in the town of Pisac (9,751 ft; 2,972 m), known for its colorful Sunday markets, continuing downstream toward the northwest for another 37 miles (60 km) to reach the town of Ollantaytambo (9,160 ft; 2,792 m). One can board the train to Machu Picchu in Ollantaytambo, at the northwest end of the Valle Sagrado, and visit Cusco on the return from Machu Picchu, when better acclimatized. The train follows the Rio Urubamba north and northwest (downstream) to Aguas Calientes (6,693 ft; 2,040 m). Machu Picchu (7,972 ft; 2,430 m) is located on a ridge above the town.

Cutaneous Leishmaniasis

Many areas in the Pacific valleys of the Andes and the Amazon tropical rainforest are endemic for cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL), a parasitic infection transmitted by bites of sand flies (see Chapter 4, Cutaneous Leishmaniasis). While this disease is widespread in southeastern Peru, the highest risk for travelers seems to be in the Manu Park area in Madre de Dios. In Manu, CL is most often caused by Leishmania braziliensis , and there is a risk of both localized ulcerative CL and mucosal leishmaniasis. There is no visceral leishmaniasis in Peru. Counsel travelers to be meticulous about vector precautions, as there is no vaccine or prophylaxis to prevent this disease. Any person with a skin lesion persisting more than a few weeks after return from Peru should be evaluated for CL.

Yellow Fever

Proof of yellow fever vaccination is not required for entry into Peru, and travelers limiting their itineraries to Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu, and the Inca Trail do not need yellow fever vaccination. Many travelers, however, choose to acclimate and/or stay in Aguas Calientes before taking the bus to the Inca citadel. But because Aguas Calientes is in a region (Cusco Region) where yellow fever vaccine is recommended, and because it is at an elevation where yellow fever mosquitoes are potentially active (i.e., it is below 2,300 m), travel health providers should advise vaccination for any travel plans involving Aguas Calientes.

CDC recommends vaccination for all travelers ≥9 months of age who intend to visit areas of the country <7,546 ft (2,300 m) in the regions of Amazonas, Loreto, Madre de Dios, San Martin and Ucayali, Puno, Cusco, Junín, Pasco, and Huánuco, and designated areas of the following regions: far north of Apurimac, far northern Huancavelica, far northeastern Ancash, eastern La Libertad, northern and eastern Cajamarca, northern and northeastern Ayacucho, and eastern Piura (see Map 10-10 ). For complete CDC yellow fever vaccination recommendations for Peru, see Chapter 2 , Yellow Fever Vaccine & Malaria Prophylaxis Information, by Country.

Both Plasmodium vivax and P. falciparum malaria are found in the Peruvian Amazon, as well as the central jungle and northern coastal regions. Except for the urban areas of Lima and its environs and the coastal areas south of Lima, malaria is presumed to be present in all departments of Peru <6,562 ft (2,000 m). This includes the cities of Iquitos (in the north) and Puerto Maldonado (in the south) and the remote eastern regions of La Libertad and Lambayeque. CDC recommends malaria prophylaxis when visiting any of these locations. There is no malaria risk for travelers visiting only the popular highland tourist areas of Cusco, Machu Picchu, and Lake Titicaca. For complete CDC malaria recommendations for Peru, see Chapter 2 , Yellow Fever Vaccine & Malaria Prophylaxis Information, by Country.

The malaria-endemic areas of concern for most tourists are the neotropical rainforests of the Amazon, north and south (see Map 10-10 ). Although P. falciparum epidemics sometimes occur in the Loreto Region, routine malaria transmission in and around Iquitos happens throughout the year, with peak activity corresponding to the rainy season between January and May. In the south, Peruvian Ministry of Health data document that malaria transmission occurs in and around the city of Puerto Maldonado, the take-off point for travelers staying in rainforest lodges. Most cases reported in this region occur in local loggers and gold miners in the forests. Nevertheless, prophylaxis for travelers planning a visit to any rainforest areas should be strongly recommended.

Other Infectious Diseases

Typical travelers’ diarrhea is relatively common (see Chapter 2 , Travelers’ Diarrhea). Fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter infections should be suspected in anyone with a gastrointestinal illness with fever, systemic symptoms, and failure to improve within 12–24 hours after beginning empiric fluoroquinolone treatment. Azithromycin can be used for people who do not respond to empiric treatment of acute gastroenteritis with a fluoroquinolone.

Cyclosporiasis, an intestinal illness caused by Cyclospora cayetanensis , is also common in Peru (see Chapter 4 , Cyclosporiasis). The parasite, named for the Cayetano Heredia University in Lima, where early epidemiologic and taxonomic research was conducted, causes watery diarrhea, anorexia, weight loss, and cramping and bloating that persists for days to weeks. Treatment is trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole.

In addition to yellow fever and malaria, several other mosquitoborne illnesses are found in Peru, and all travelers should be instructed on how to protect themselves from mosquito bites (see Chapter 3, Mosquitoes, Ticks & Other Arthropods ). Dengue is common in the neotropical areas of Peru and the northern coast. Mayaro virus, an alphavirus transmitted by mosquitoes of the Amazon Basin, causes a dengue-like illness followed by, in some cases, long-lasting and debilitating arthralgias. Chikungunya, another alphavirus, has been reported. Most recently, Zika was identified in Peru. Because of the risk of birth defects in infants born to women infected with Zika during pregnancy, women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant should research the most recent recommendations at www.cdc.gov/zika . Physicians treating patients with signs and symptoms of a dengue-like illness and a recent history of travel to the Amazon should include Mayaro, chikungunya, and Zika as part of their differential diagnosis. For more details, see sections on dengue, chikungunya, and Zika virus in Chapter 4.

Bibliography

  • Cabada MM, Maldonado F, Quispe W, Serrano E, Mozo K, Gonzales E, et al. Pretravel health advice among international travelers visiting Cuzco, Peru. J Travel Med. 2005 Mar–Apr;12(2):61–5.   [PMID:15996449]
  • Llanos-Chea F, Martínez D, Rosas A, Samalvides F, Vinetz JM, Llanos-Cuentas A. Characteristics of travel-related severe Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum malaria in individuals hospitalized at a tertiary referral center in Lima, Peru. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2015 Dec;93(6):1249–53.
  • Mazor SS, Mycyk MB, Wills BK, Brace LD, Gussow L, Erickson T. Coca tea consumption causes positive urine cocaine assay. Eur J Emerg Med. 2006 Dec;13(6):340–1.   [PMID:17091055]
  • Neumayr A, Gabriel M, Fritz J, Gunther S, Hatz C, Schmidt-Chanasit J, et al. Mayaro virus infection in traveler returning from Amazon Basin, northern Peru. Emerg Infect Dis. 2012 Apr;18(4):695–6.   [PMID:22469145]
  • Salazar H, Swanson J, Mozo K, White ACJ, Cabada MM. Acute mountain sickness impact among travelers to Cusco, Peru. J Travel Med 2012 Jul;19(4):220–5.
  • Shaw MT, Harding E, Leggat PA. Illness and injury to students on a school excursion to Peru. J Travel Med. 2014 May–Jun;21(3):183–8.   [PMID:24612303]
  • Steinhardt LC, Magill AJ, Arguin PM. Review: Malaria chemoprophylaxis for travelers to Latin America. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2011 Dec;85(6):1015–24.   [PMID:22144437]

Mark J. Sotir

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a woman walking through the atrium of the Cathedral of Cusco in Peru

  • CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

The collapse of tourism brings problems to Machu Picchu

As international travel disappeared, hospitality workers in Peru turned to farming and construction. COVID-19 vaccines could bring back their jobs.

In the fall of 2020, a woman walked by the Cathedral of Cusco high in the Peruvian Andes. Tourism in the area surrounding the Incan ruins at Machu Picchu have come to a halt due to COVID-19 closures, and many residents have returned to agriculture and other trades to support themselves.

Juan Yupanqui stared at a pile of mattresses, still wrapped in the plastic they came in when he bought them nearly a year ago. He wondered out loud if they would ever do more than gather dust.

The mattresses were stacked in one of the round, thatched-roof guesthouses Yupanqui built last year on his homestead in Patacancha, a small village nestled more than 11,000 feet above sea level near the colonial city of Cusco, in Peru ’s southern Andes. With their small windows and rustic furniture, the cabins were erected to expand his family’s experiential tourism business .

a souvenir store is packed up and shuttered at an Artisan Center in Peru

In the fall of 2020, Rosmery Barriga and her father Ramón Barriga removed crafts and souvenirs from their store in the Inca town of Ollantaytambo, a popular stop on the route to Peru’s Machu Picchu. COVID-19 measures kept the shop closed for months, and the Barrigas experienced thefts and break-ins.

a park ranger watches over the empty Moray Archaeological Center in Peru

Park ranger Tomas Huamanttica Quispe looked over the empty Moray Archaeological Center in the fall of 2020. The Inca site holding terraced depressions is believed to have served ceremonial or agricultural purposes. Like most tourist attractions near Machu Picchu, it was closed for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

a person sits for a portrait in an empty hostel in Peru

Sebastián Tobón, owner of Supertramp Hostels in Aguas Calientes, Peru, sits in one of his empty properties in the Peruvian town adjacent to Machu Picchu. The COVID-19 pandemic has decimated the tourism economy in the area surrounding the Inca ruins, which attract more than a million visitors in a normal year.

Tourist arrivals started to pick up in 2019 after Yupanqui had worked on the property for years, with an average of five groups a month coming to spend a day or two learning how to herd alpacas; weave the colorful red ponchos that are a community trademark; and dance a quellwa tusuy , a festive step that means “dancing bird” in Quechua, the local language.

Yupanqui decided to upgrade his guesthouses after a brisk start to 2020. Then everything came to a screeching halt in March as Peru imposed a harsh lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The French and U.S. tourists he expected that month cancelled, and his cabins have sat empty since then.

Agriculture remains the cornerstone of life in Patacancha and similar hamlets high in the Andean valleys outside of Cusco, but it is tourism that generates cash flow. For now, the visitors have stopped arriving. Yupanqui and thousands of others who worked in the multi-layered tourism industry in the region around Machu Picchu are wondering how long they will be able hold out before tourist dollars and euros return.

A tourism industry in crisis

“Tourism gave us money. Today, we have food, but we don’t have any money,” said Yupanqui, posing for a photo with a lamb, something his visitors used to do. “I get more concerned each day, because we don’t know when this is going to end.”

women sitting together weaving at a textile center

Weavers like Myriam Cuba Callañaupa (far left) usually demonstrate textile crafts and cooking in the village of Chinchero near Cusco. But the COVID-19 pandemic forced her and many other women who work in tourism to temporarily return to farming.

Besides homestay tourism, many of the men in Patacancha earn cash working as porters or cooks for adventurers hiking the Inca Trail, the ancient route that leads to Machu Picchu. Yupanqui, 44, did this for 18 years. Women in the community weave ponchos and other textile crafts sold in local markets.

The Yupanquis and other Patacancha families are getting through the pandemic financial crisis by selling alpaca yarn and chuño , naturally freeze-dried potatoes , to traders. They raise animals for food, though this is not possible for many of the thousands of people who worked in tourism around Cusco.

(Get a taste of why potatoes are such a hot commodity in Peru.)

People hang out outside their family restaurant in Peru

In the fall of 2020, a girl stood outside her family’s store in Aguas Calientas, Peru. The Andean town near Machu Picchu is usually buzzing with tourists, but it has been nearly empty since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Eliana Miranda, director of the Cusco government’s tourism bureau, said 92 percent of people employed in the industry—from hotel receptionists to sidewalk souvenir sellers—had lost their jobs as of August, when Cusco entered into a second lockdown.

“We have had problems in the past, but nothing as devastating to the industry as COVID-19,” she said.

According to Peru’s government, the country’s tourism business could be down as much as 85 percent for 2020. The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates that the direct and indirect economic impact of tourism in Peru in 2019 was approximately $22 billion, or 9.3 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

Cusco’s airport received nearly 635,000 travelers in the first two months of 2020, up 16 percent from the same period in 2019. The number was only 231,726 over the next eight months, with nearly three quarters of those arrivals in March, according to Peru’s Trade and Tourism Ministry. Only 990 passengers arrived at Cusco’s airport in June, compared to 323,367 the same month last year .

Tourist visits to Machu Picchu, the Inca ruins that anchor tourism in Cusco and draw foreign travelers to Peru in general, were down 72 percent in the first half of the year. The site was receiving around 500 people a day in December, nearly all of them Peruvian tourists, down from more to 2,500 during normal times. The government eliminated the entrance fee to Machu Picchu for Peruvians to stimulate domestic tourism. The site received 1.6 million tourists in 2019.

(Learn how women porters are breaking the glass ceiling on the Inca Trail.)

Turning from tourism to other industries

a local train passes people wearing masks in a field in Peru

In the fall of 2020, after a pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the train between Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes, Peru, reopened to local users. Aguas Calientes, nicknamed Machu Picchu Town, is the gateway to the Inca ruins, the most visited tourist destination in the country.

Miranda said there has been an exodus from the tourism industry, with people moving to other businesses or returning to rural areas to wait out the coronavirus crisis. Her office is coordinating with workers’ associations and local governments to provide assistance to people displaced by the collapse of tourism.

“We have labor training and short-term programs to help maintain income. We have been working with municipalities on job programs for people who have returned, but we think it is going to be temporary. Everyone is really waiting for tourism to return,” she said.

A man and his son remove weeds from an apple tree grove in Peru

Fernando Condori Torres and his son Gonzalo tended to apple trees in front of the Ollantaytambo archaeological site in Cusco, Peru in late 2020. Torres, who used to work as a tour guide, had temporarily returned to farming due to COVID-19 shutdowns.

a woman works in the salt pools in Peru

Hilda Ortiz de Orue Bautista worked maintaining and harvesting salt from the natural pools in the town of Maras. The popular Peruvian tourist site was closed for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The clock, however, is ticking for many in the hospitality business.

Rubén Tello, a tour guide who speaks Spanish, English, and Quechua, hasn’t worked in the industry since he helped a group of Thai visitors rush home on March 15, 2020, as the government announced it would be closing the borders. He stayed in his apartment for two months, figuring the situation would be resolved by mid-year. When the pandemic didn’t improve, he decided to “reconvert,” the term being used for people leaving tourism for other industries.

“I thought I could wait this out, but the bills started piling up, and by July I had no choice but to find other work,” he said.

Tello said goodbye to his wife and twin 14-year old boys in the city of Cusco and headed to the nearby jungle lowlands, where he is from originally, to look for employment. He found a job driving a truck on a highway construction project. He later worked as a toll collector.

Tello came back to the city in early December, with two groups of tourists lined up and a few others in the wings. But he is realistic about his prospects. “I can’t make ends meet with a group or two a month. If the situation doesn’t pick up in January, I will go back to the construction job,” he said.

How the industry might rebuild

a tourist policeman stops to talk to two young people at an overlook of Cusco, Peru

In the fall of 2020, a policeman asked locals to keep their social distance on the esplanade of the Church of San Cristóbal above Cusco, Peru. The spot is popular with tourists and residents for its panoramic views of the colonial city.

a woman sweeps the street outside an empty store in Peru

Maria Santos Quispe swept the cobblestones in front of her shop on Cusco’s Hatunrumiyoc Street. Though she usually stocks mostly textile art and other souvenirs, she now also carries fruit and sundries. “I have learned that I have to be attentive to all kinds of people,” said Quispe. “Before we did not offer anything to the local population.”

Sofia Arce, who runs a boutique tourism agency, Intense Peru , said the pandemic is transforming the industry. She worries that many restaurants and hotels catering to tourists could close permanently if Peru tries to simply go back to business as usual.

A former banker, Arce managed through the worst months of the coronavirus crisis with a government-backed loan from the Reactivate Peru program, and has started to rebuild as the country reopens.

Peru began allowing international air travel again in October and, in December, reestablished nearly all routes including long-haul flights from Europe and North America. Arce considers these positive steps for tourism, but believes it will take time to get back to pre-pandemic numbers.

“We have sold four tour packages for December, the first ones in nine months. It is a start, but we are going to have to be super active to regain our market,” said Arce. “There is no room for slacking off if we want to build back better.”

a man laying on a bed with his son working together on his virtual classes in Peru

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, tour guide Fernando Condori Torres spent much of the year away from his home near Cusco. Due to COVID-19 lockdowns and cratering tourism in Peru, in 2020 he has spent more time with his son, Gonzalo.

A new concern for Arce and others in the industry is Peru’s current political instability—it had three presidents in the span of eight days in November—and rising social demands created by the pandemic-ravaged economy. Peru’s economy contracted by 13.4 percent in the first 10 months of the year; the hospitality industry was down 54 percent from to 2019, the most significant drop in the calculation by the national statistics agency. The national unemployment rate is 15.1 percent .

Machu Picchu, just starting to recover, was forced to close again briefly in mid-December when communities along the train that ferries tourists to the ruins called a strike and blocked the tracks, demanding lower prices for locals who also use the service.

(Explore Peru beyond Machu Picchu via sacred rivers, bike trails, and otherworldly sand hills.)

“The political problems are adding a new dimension to the problems here. I think tourists could stay away a little longer if we had instability due to the pandemic,” said Fabricio Zelada, who recently moved back to Cusco after years of living in the country’s capital, Lima.

Peru’s trade and tourism minister, Claudia Cornejo, recognizes that the industry still faces a tough climate, estimating that it might take two or three years for it to return to pre-Covid traffic. The government’s idea is to use the crisis as a reset button so that tourism can “return differently.”

Cornejo said the conditions created by the lack of tourists today should be used by industry “to concentrate on improvements, making upgrades needed so that when receptive tourism begins, we are ready to offer even more than before.”

She sees the kind of experiential, more sustainable tourism offered in places like Patacancha as part of a trend that was gaining ground prior to the pandemic, with tourists wanting to go beyond observing a culture to experiencing it. She said the pandemic might even give it a boost.

“I think experiential tourism is going to continue. COVID-19 interrupted it, but will not stop it,” she said.

Related Topics

  • SUSTAINABLE TOURISM
  • AGRICULTURE
  • ARCHAEOLOGY

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Peru Travel Requirements & Vaccinations

Peru is a country on the northwest coast of South America, officially known as the Republic of Peru. Spanish is the primary language and is spoken by more than 80 percent of the population. In some popular tourist destinations, English is also widely spoken.

The terrain of Peru is widely varied and ranges from hot, dry plains in the Pacific coastal region to tropical rainforests and jungles that extend to the east and occupy almost 60 percent of the country’s land mass. True to its name, the rainforest and jungle regions are characterized by frequent, heavy rainfall and hot temperatures. Portions of the country farther to the south have cooler winters and more seasonal rainfall.

Because of its varied geography and climate, Peru is home to over 1,800 species of birds, over 300 species of reptiles and 500 species of mammals, including the puma, jaguar and spectacled bear.

Some of the many tourist attractions and activities offered in Peru include:

  • Ancient ruins, including the 15th century Inca citadel, Machu Picchu
  • Hiking, climbing and mountain biking through picturesque mountainous regions
  • Manu National Park with its stunning variety of wildlife
  • Town markets offering locally made handicrafts
  • Sandy coastlines and beaches
  • Wide variety of cultural events featuring local art, cuisine and music

Recommended Vaccinations for Peru Travel

  • Hepatitis A
  • Yellow Fever

*Rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for very high risk travelers given that it is completely preventable if medical attention is received within 7 – 10 days of an animal bite.Travelers may also be advised to ensure they have received the routine vaccinations listed below. Some adults may need to receive a booster for some of these diseases:

  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
  • Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis)

Older adults or those with certain medical conditions may also want to ask about being vaccinated for shingles and/or pneumonia.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a travel medicine professional. Not all of the vaccines listed here will be necessary for every individual.

Talk to the experts at UH Roe Green Center for Travel Medicine & Global Health to determine how each member of your family can obtain maximum protection against illness, disease and injury while traveling, based on age, health, medical history and travel itinerary.

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How to Travel to Machu Picchu

Don’t get lost when you visit the Lost City of the Incas.

cdc travel machu picchu

Chris Marinaccio/Travel + Leisure

Every year, millions of people visit the imposing and mysterious Incan citadel of Machu Picchu in Peru. But getting to the massive agricultural terraces, intricate stone constructions, and epic hilltop views of this UNESCO World Heritage site isn't cheap, and it involves some trickier-than-usual logistics. Here's how to expertly navigate your way to Peru's most famous destination, plus our top tips for enjoying your visits to the nearby cities of Cusco and Aguas Calientes on your way.

Reasons to Visit

Machu Picchu is one of the world's most dreamed-about destinations . Mystery is at the center of Machu Picchu's appeal, as the city holds many secrets about the ancient Incan Empire. Knowledge-seekers will find plenty of interesting tidbits to mull over about the city's archaeological significance and the various scientific and religious practices of the Incans who built the magnificent site.

Alongside this adventure through time, a trip to Machu Picchu offers an opportunity to experience Peruvian culture and gastronomy . If you stay a while, you can even make trips to many of the country's other historical wonders, like the perplexing and enormous images etched into the hills of the Nazca Valley , the origins of which are not entirely understood. Throw in a few dishes of tangy ceviche, a rainbow-striped mountain , a desert oasis that looks more like a painting than a real place, and many pisco sours to wash it all down, and you've got a fantastic trip in one of the world's most naturally beautiful countries .

Best Time to Visit

Machu Picchu is open year-round. October through April is the official rainy season, but it can rain at any time. And while peak season is July and August, you should always expect crowds. Sundays can be the most crowded, because that's when people who live in the Cusco province are allowed into the site for free, in addition to the daily visitor limit.

Morning? Afternoon? There is no perfect time to visit Machu Picchu. These days, the site is crowded at all hours and the weather is unpredictable. However, during the rainy season, the mornings are most likely to be foggy. Depending on your disposition, fog ruins the view or adds a patina of mystery to it. Afternoons can be slightly less crowded as day-trippers return to the train station for their trip back to Cusco.

How to Get Acclimated to the Altitude

The last thing you need on your day in Machu Picchu is a case of altitude sickness . Wherever you're coming from is probably much, much lower than Cusco (over 11,000 feet) or Machu Picchu (just shy of 8,000 feet). Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination, so you can adjust gradually and avoid common symptoms like nausea, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and shortness of breath.

Unless you've booked a trip to Machu Picchu that requires an overnight stay in Cusco, we recommend immediately taking the train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes (officially called Machu Picchu Pueblo), the town nearest Machu Picchu. Spend a night or two getting used to the relatively low elevation of Aguas Calientes, at about 6,700 feet, then explore Machu Picchu before returning to Cusco. You can also spend time elsewhere in the Sacred Valley, which, by nature, is lower in elevation than the surrounding mountains. Avoid alcohol and physical exertion while acclimatizing and drink as much water or coca tea as you can stand to help your body slowly adjust to the thinner air.

How to Get There

If Machu Picchu is your goal, you will have to fly into the capital of Lima and then catch a connecting flight to Cusco. From there, the easiest way to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu is to take the train to Aguas Calientes, a scenic 3.5-hour trip each way along tracks that run right along the Urubamba River in the Sacred Valley, with dramatic canyon walls on either side. However, note that the so-called Cusco train station is actually in the nearby town of Poroy. It's a cheap taxi ride, but give yourself at least an hour to get from central Cusco to the train station. Traffic in Cusco can be brutal and seemingly never-ending road work makes things even more congested.

Taking the Train

Rory Fuller/Travel + Leisure

There are three train companies to choose from: Inca Rail , Peru Rail , and the Belmond Hiram Bingham train . The Hiram Bingham service is on a gorgeous train gleaming with brass and polished wood and includes a white tablecloth meal with wine during your journey. It's also much more expensive than Inca Rail or Peru Rail, both of which offer comfortable passage on different types of trains — including ones designed with panoramic windows for an additional fee. Whichever train you choose, book as far in advance as possible. Tickets sell out weeks ahead in some months.

If train tickets from Cusco are sold out, all is not lost. Try to buy another train ticket to Aguas Calientes that departs from the town of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley, or vice versa. Taxis and minivans between Ollantaytambo and Cusco (just over an hour each way) are plentiful. If you have the time, plan an overnight in Ollantaytambo to check out the town, which still features many Incan-built streets and buildings, as well as the archaeological site of the same name. Arrive as early as possible at the site to enjoy the sunrise light and beat the tour buses.

You can also stay overnight in Urubamba, a 20-minute drive from Ollantaytambo, which has a bevy of luxury and boutique hotels such as Tambo del Inka, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa ; Sol y Luna, Relais & Châteaux ; and Aranwa Sacred Valley Hotel & Wellness .

How to Get Tickets

Even when you buy your ticket in advance, guides are required at Machu Picchu, whether you're on an organized tour or traveling independently. Hire one outside the gates, or make a booking in Aguas Calientes.

To control overtourism at Machu Picchu, the Peruvian government has set up a ticketing system , split up into five different circuits. Tickets must be purchased in advance and cost approximately $42 for adults and $20 for students and minors. When you book online, you will be able to see exactly how many tickets are available for that day. On the day of your visit, you will choose between one of the five circuits. The stricter controls help to protect the site from the effects of too many visitors. Before you book, carefully look at the circuits and see which landmarks they include.

You'll need a separate ticket to climb Huayna Picchu (Circuit 4 + Wayna Picchu Mountain). The view looking down on the Incan ruins is a highlight for many but be aware that some sections of this strenuous trail are very narrow and steep. You'll have the choice of starting your climb between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. Go at 10 a.m.; there's a better chance any clouds will have lifted by then.

You can also climb to the peak of Machu Picchu, but this too requires a separate ticket (Macchupicchu Mountain + Circuit 3) and good knees. The trail is almost entirely stairs. You'll have the choice of starting your climb between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. Although it was open in the past, you will also need a separate ticket to make the short walk to the Inca Bridge (Circuit 1 or 2 + Inka Bridge). It's less than an hour round trip along a mostly flat trail to check out a precarious trail, now closed, which the Incas built along a rock face. The newest route, as of 2021, to Huchyu Picchu (Circuit 4 + Huchuypicchu Mountain) is also available with a separate ticket. It's shorter and easier than the other mountain hikes and you'll get a unique perspective of the ancient city.

The Inca Trail and Other Treks

Chris Marinaccio/Travel + Leisure

The other way to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu is to walk as part of an organized multiday Machu Picchu trek along the Inca Trail, a section of one of the hundreds of Incan roads built as the empire expanded. It might sound intimidating, but thousands of people make this trek every year. Dozens of tour operators offer Inca Trail hikes to Machu Picchu, with varying durations and levels of comfort (though all require camping). Note that the Inca Trail leading to Machu Picchu is closed for the entire month of February every year for maintenance.

For a different kind of Peru experience, some tour operators combine a visit to the iconic site with other activities or less-trodden routes to equally impressive sights in the Peruvian highlands. For example, the Inca Jungle Tour combines hiking, biking, rafting, and zip-lining on your way to Machu Picchu, and luxury tour operator andBeyond offers several Machu Picchu itineraries.

You can also drive (most of the way) to Machu Picchu from Cusco to the town of Hydroelectrica (there's a hydroelectric plant there). From there it's a three-hour hike up to Aguas Calientes and then on to Machu Picchu. Many tour companies in Cusco offer this route as a one- or two-day trip using private vans. Some of the most popular alternative routes include Salkantay Mountain, the second city of Choquequirao, and the Lares region.

Salkantay Mountain

For those who prefer a less crowded experience or want to see and experience other aspects of Peru on their way to Machu Picchu, there are many hiking alternatives: the second most popular way to hike to Machu Picchu is around massive Salkantay Mountain, one of the most imposing peaks in the Peruvian Andes at 20,569 feet. Many tour companies offer Salkantay Treks, but Apus Peru, an established and well-regarded Cusco tour company with a focus on sustainable and responsible tourism, offers an express trek , which shaves a day off the normal itinerary for those who want to push their physical limits on their way to Machu Picchu.

Choquequirao

Travelers interested in archaeology should consider the Choquequirao trek with a Machu Picchu extension. This itinerary includes spectacular (but very tough) hiking in the steep Apurimac Canyon and exploration of the Choquequirao archaeological site before arriving in Aguas Calientes and then exploring Machu Picchu.

The Lares Adventure from Mountain Lodges of Peru offers a great combination of Andean hiking and cultural encounters within Quechua communities before arriving in Aguas Calientes to explore the citadel. Other tour companies offer treks through the Lares region, but only this itinerary includes luxury accommodations in their own lodges and full service along the way.

Best Hotels and Resorts

Unfortunately, there are no ancient Incan hotels you can stay in when you arrive at Machu Picchu, and even those who arrive by the Inca Trail usually do so with camping tents. The closest you can get is the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge , which gives you easy access to the site, but you'll be far away from the dining and shopping of Aguas Calientes — either a strenuous 90-minute climb down the mountain or a harrowing 30-minute drive.

Where to Stay in Aguas Calientes

For a luxury stay in Aguas Calientes, you have two main options: the elegant Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo , located near the train station, and design-forward Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel , a boutique property near the foot of Machu Picchu Mountain. But there are dozens of mid-range options, too, plus super-affordable hostels for backpackers like Nativus Hostel , which also has private rooms.

Where to Stay in Cusco

Cusco has more than its share of large, full-service hotels including Inkaterra La Casona , an 11-suite hotel in a 16th-century mansion; Belmond Hotel Monasterio in a former Jesuit seminary; the museum-like JW Marriott El Convento Cusco ; and the stately Palacio del Inka, A Luxury Collection Hotel . If a contemporary boutique is more your style, try El Mercado or Atiq Boutique Hotel .

Best Restaurants

When you're in Machu Picchu, there's a casual cafe and bar with a lovely deck just outside the entrance gates, but the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge's buffet lunch is your only sit-down-restaurant option. It's very good, if pricey. You can always pack your own lunch to eat when you get to Machu Picchu, though, and look forward to a celebratory meal when you make it back to Aguas Calientes or Cusco.

Where to Eat and Drink in Aguas Calientes

As a whole, Aguas Calientes isn't exactly on the cutting edge of Peruvian cuisine. But walk down Av. Pachacutec and you'll find low-key eateries and bars, some serving a selection of Peru's growing crop of craft beers. There are also high-end restaurants inside the two luxury hotels, Inkaterra and Sumaq, which are open to non-guests. More low-key traveler favorites include Restaurante Indio Feliz , serving up French-Peruvian dishes, and Mapacho Craft Beer Restaurant , where you can pair local specialties with craft beer from all over the country.

Where to Eat and Drink in Cusco

Significantly larger than Aguas Calientes, Cusco is one place where you should have no problem finding great restaurants. Cicciolina is a classic tapas bar that feels like a local hangout, serving international and Andean dishes out of an open kitchen. Kion, from the growing Cusco Restaurants group , is a stylish place to enjoy Cantonese cuisine. The decor is Chinese vintage, the flavors are subtle, and the atmosphere is festive.

Chicha is the first restaurant in Cusco from Peruvian superstar chef Gaston Acurio of Astrid & Gastón fame. Located on the second floor of a Colonial building, the restaurant offers haute Andean cuisine (alpaca carpaccio, quinoa with duck) in an airy and well-lit space. After dinner, you can head to Cholos pub near the main plaza, which keeps around a dozen different Peruvian craft beers on tap. Peruvian owner Rodrigo Cardenas is passionate and knowledgeable about all of them.

Best Things to Do in Machu Picchu

When you arrive at the citadel, you'll have to follow the route outlined on your ticket so you may want to study up on some of the city's most exciting sites before you decide. Among the most important are the Sacred Stone, an astronomical clock that corresponds with the spring and autumnal equinoxes, and the Temple of the Sun, which is a great example of the Incans' impressive masonry skills.

During your visit, make sure you have some spare cash (small bills and coins) in your pocket because you will need them to access the only bathroom at the site entrance. You will also need your passport to get into Machu Picchu, which means that to use the bathroom or grab food you should have your passport ready. Hang onto your ticket because you'll need it to get back in. It may seem like a hassle, but you'll be glad you have it on you because just outside the entrance gates, there's a barely marked station where you can get the novelty Machu Picchu stamp in your passport.

On your way to Machu Picchu, you'll also find several interesting attractions in Aguas Calientes and Cusco.

Things to Do in Aguas Calientes

The town takes its name from the thermal springs, which are open to the public for a small fee. You'll also find plenty of souvenir shops at the major market near the train station. While Machu Picchu is the main attraction, of course, you can also visit the Mariposario de Machupicchu butterfly sanctuary .

Things to Do in Cusco

Cusco's pre-Columbian buildings have given this city UNESCO World Heritage status , and its cobblestoned streets, great hotels, museums, nearby archaeological sites, and relaxed atmosphere make it worth spending at least a couple of days here.

Cusco is filled with historic sites both from the Incan and colonial times: don't miss the impressive Coricancha (also spelled Koricancha or Qorikancha), an Incan temple-turned-Spanish church; the Sacsayhuaman Incan ruins; and the Cusco Cathedral. Wander through the streets of the hip San Blas neighborhood, people-watch on the Plazas de Armas, and shop at the San Pedro Market.

Accessibility

Travelers in wheelchairs can access the Peruvian world wonder with the help of tour companies like Wheel the World , which designed the first-ever wheelchair-accessible tour of Machu Picchu. You can contact the company to learn more about their services and their custom wheelchairs that are specially made to travel over the many steps and uneven terrain of the ancient city.

Listen to Travel + Leisure 's "Let's Go Together" podcast for more inspiring stories and adventures celebrating inclusivity in travel!

Packing Tips

Whether you're planning a multiday trek or a quick in-and-out day trip, you should be prepared to dress for mountain conditions . Bring water and a rain jacket, even if it looks like a beautiful sunny day. Speaking of the sun, remember that the ozone layer over Peru is compromised, and that, combined with the elevation, makes the sun extremely strong here, so wear a hat and use plenty of high SPF sunscreen. Keep insect repellant handy as well.

Don't bring drones, umbrellas, walking sticks, or trekking poles since they're all prohibited at Machu Picchu. Travelers who require sticks or poles for mobility can bring them in but only with protective rubber tips over the ends.

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Travel Advisory November 15, 2023

Peru - level 2: exercise increased caution.

Last Update: Reissued with updates to crime information.

Exercise increased caution due to  crime, civil unrest, and the possibility of kidnapping . Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do not travel to:

  • The Colombian-Peruvian border area in the Loreto Region due to  crime .
  • The Valley of the Apurímac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers (VRAEM), including areas within the Departments of Ayacucho, Cusco, Huancavelica, and Junin, due to  crime  and  terrorism .

Country Summary : Crime, including petty theft, carjackings, muggings, assaults, and other violent crime, is common in Peru and can occur during daylight hours despite the presence of many witnesses. Kidnapping is rare, but does occur. The risk of crime increases at night. Organized criminal groups have been known to use roadblocks to rob victims in areas outside of the capital city of Lima.

Demonstrations occur regularly throughout the country. Public demonstrations can take place for a variety of political and economic issues. Demonstrations can cause the shutdown of local roads, trains, and major highways, often without prior notice or estimated reopening timelines. Road closures may significantly reduce access to public transportation and airports and may disrupt travel both within and between cities.

U.S. travelers participating in Ayahuasca and Kambo ceremonies should be aware that numerous persons, including U.S. citizens, have reported that while under the influence of these substances, they have witnessed or been victims of sexual assault, rape, theft, serious health problems and injuries, and even death.

Currently, U.S. government personnel cannot travel freely throughout Peru for security reasons . Read the  country information page  for additional information on travel to Peru.

If you decide to travel to Peru:

  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans as needed.
  • Enroll in the  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program  ( STEP ) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on  Facebook  and  Twitter .
  • Follow the U.S. Embassy on  Facebook  and  Twitter .
  • Review the U.S. Embassy  webpage .
  • Review the  Country Security Report  for Peru.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the  Traveler’s Checklist .
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest  Travel Health Information  related to your travel.

Colombian-Peruvian border area in the Loreto Region – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Drug trafficking and other criminal activity, combined with poor infrastructure, limits the capability and effectiveness of Peruvian law enforcement in this area.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens as U.S. government personnel are restricted from traveling within 20 kilometers of the border with Colombia in the Loreto region, except on the Amazon River itself, without permission. This includes travel on the Putumayo River, which forms most of the Peru-Colombia border.

U.S. government personnel must receive advance permission for any travel to the Peruvian-Colombian border.

Valley of the Apurímac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers (VRAEM) includes areas within the Departments of Ayacucho, Cusco, Huancavelica, and Junin – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Remnants of the Shining Path terrorist group are active in the VRAEM. The group may attack with little or no warning, targeting Peruvian government installations and personnel.

Drug trafficking and other criminal activity, combined with poor infrastructure, limit the capability and effectiveness of Peruvian law enforcement in this area.

U.S. government personnel are restricted from traveling in the VRAEM except for certain areas during daylight hours. U.S. government personnel must receive advance permission for any travel to the VRAEM. The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens due to these travel restrictions.

Visit our website for  Travel to High-Risk Areas .

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Quick Facts

Must have six months validity at time of entry.

One page required for entry stamp.

Free, issued at the port of entry.

None Required.

$30,000 USD. More than $10,000 USD must be declared upon entry.

Same as entry.

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Lima Avenida La Encalada cdra. 17 s/n Surco, Lima 33 Peru Telephone: + (51)(1) 618-2000 Emergency After-Hours Telephone: + (51)(1) 618-2000 Fax: + (51) (1) 618-2724 Email: [email protected]

U.S. Consular Agency - Cusco Av. El Sol 449, Suite #201 Cusco, Peru Telephone: + (51)(84) 231-474 Emergency After-Hours Telephone:  + (51)(1) 618-2000 Fax: + (51)(84) 245-102

Email: [email protected]

Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Peru for information on U.S.-Peru relations.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

COVID-19 Requirements

  • There are no COVID-related entry requirements for U.S. citizens.

Requirements for Entry :

  • A passport with six months validity is required to enter Peru. Migraciones (Immigration) authorities may also require evidence of return/onward travel.
  • Be sure your date and place of entry is officially documented by Migraciones, whether you arrive at a port, airport, or land border.
  • Your length of approved stay will be determined by border officials at the time of entry, and can range from 30 to 183 days. Extensions for tourists are usually not approved, and overstays result in fines.
  • The Embassy is unable to assist if you are denied entry. Peruvian immigration requires airlines to return travelers who are denied entry to their point of origin.

Requirements for Exit :

  • If you do not have an entry record, you will not be allowed to exit the country until immigration authorities confirm the time and place of your entry into the country. This can be a difficult process, costing considerable time and money to resolve.
  • Make sure Migraciones (Immigration) records your entry, and then save the record for your exit. An entry record is required even at remote border crossings, where often the proper officials are not present.
  • Immediately report lost/stolen passports to local police and keep the report. You must apply for a new passport at the Embassy and obtain a replacement entry record from Migraciones using your police report prior to exiting Peru.

Travel with Minors : Regardless of nationality, all children who are traveling with both birth parents are required to have a valid passport and the necessary visa or citizenship of the country where they are traveling. Peruvian immigration procedures are complex for minors traveling without one or both parents/legal guardians.

For entry/exit from Peru, U.S. citizen minors under the age of 18, traveling alone (or with only one parent), generally do not require additional documentation if entering as a tourist for less than 183 days. However, if the stay lasts more than 183 days, then a Permiso Notarial de Viaje is required (see below).

U.S. citizen minors who are dual national Peruvians, traveling alone (or with only one parent), require a Permiso Notarial de Viaje. Furthermore, step-parents or guardians accompanying a dual U.S.-Peruvian citizen minor must provide a Permiso Notarial de Viaje from the non-traveling minor’s parents (as listed on the birth certificate). Finally, if an accompanying parent has sole custody, legal documentation is required (such as a foreign court-approved custody document stating sole custody, a death certificate, a Peruvian court-approved document for travel, or a birth certificate listing only one parent).

A Permiso Notarial de Viaje is a written, notarized authorization from the non-traveling parent(s). Peruvian immigration will not accept a document notarized by the U.S. Embassy or a document notarized by a U.S. notary in lieu of a Permiso Notarial de Viaje. Please be aware that these authorizations are valid for 30 days and one trip only.

How to get a Permiso Notarial de Viaje:

  • In the United States, at the nearest Peruvian Consulate. There are multiple locations .
  • In Peru, at most Peruvian notaries. An apostilled U.S. birth certificate is required for issuance.

The U.S. Embassy is unable to assist travelers who are prevented from traveling for lack of a Permiso Notarial de Viaje.

HIV Restrictions : The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to, or foreign residents of, Peru.

Find information on dual nationality , prevention of international child abduction , and customs regulations on our websites.

Safety and Security

Terrorism:   Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad. Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack – including knives, firearms, and vehicles – to more effectively target crowds. Frequently, their aim is unprotected or vulnerable targets, such as: 

  • High-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.) 
  • Hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists 
  • Places of worship 
  • Schools 
  • Parks 
  • Shopping malls and markets 
  • Public transportation systems (including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights)  

U.S. Embassy Lima enforces a Restricted Travel Policy for Embassy personnel, which is based on its assessment of conditions and developments throughout the country. See the Overseas Security and Advisory Council’s Country Security Report for Peru. See the latest Travel Advisory for Peru .

The VRAEM (Valley of the Apurímac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers) is particularly remote and a known safe haven for narcotraffickers and the last operational remnants of the Shining Path terrorist group.

For more information, see our  Terrorism  page.  

Crime : Crime is a widespread problem in Peru.

  • Sexual assaults and rapes can occur, even in tourist areas. Travel in groups, do not leave food or drinks unattended, and use caution if a stranger offers you food or drink.
  • Intoxicated travelers, including U.S. citizens, also have been sexually assaulted, injured, or robbed while under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
  • Pick-pocketing, robbery, and hotel room theft are the most common crimes. Armed robberies have occurred throughout the city, including popular tourist destinations. Armed assailants usually target victims for their smartphones, wallets, or purses. If confronted by someone with a weapon, it is best not to resist.
  • Incapacitating drugs, such as rohypnol and scopolamine, have been used to facilitate robberies and sexual assaults. Seek medical attention if you begin to feel ill.
  • On routes to and from the airport in Lima, robberies have occurred where the assailant uses a tool to break a window while the vehicle is stopped in traffic.  Keep your belongings in the trunk or out of sight. Authorized taxi booths are present at the airport in Lima that will charge a flat rate according to the destination.
  • Use hotel safes, if available. Avoid wearing obviously expensive jewelry or clothing, and carry only the cash or credit cards that you need.
  • Stay alert in crowds and on public transportation. Be aware that thieves might create distractions to target you.
  • Avoid isolated areas when on foot, especially after dark.
  • Be alert for robberies in which criminals enter a taxi and force victims to withdraw money from ATMs.
  • Use an app-based taxi service, order a taxi by phone, or use a service affiliated with a major hotel, as it is usually safer than hailing an unknown taxi on the street.
  • Use ATMs in well-protected indoor areas such as banks or shopping malls. Avoid withdrawing large amounts of cash at one time.
  • Do not let your credit card out of your sight in order to avoid credit card “skimming.” You should expect the vendor to use a credit card reader in your presence. The vendor will ask for your passport or ID number on the receipt.
  • To avoid carjacking or theft from your car while you are stopped at intersections, drive with your doors locked and windows rolled up. Do not leave valuables in plain view.

There is little government presence in many remote areas of the Andes and Amazon basin. Illicit activities, such as illegal mining, logging, and coca production, are common.

Drug trafficking and other criminal activity, combined with poor infrastructure, limit the capability and effectiveness of Peruvian law enforcement in these areas.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens along the Colombian border and in the VRAEM, as U.S. government personnel are restricted from traveling in these regions.

Demonstrations  occur frequently. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events. 

  • Demonstrations can be unpredictable; avoid areas around protests and demonstrations.
  • Past demonstrations have turned violent.
  • Check local media for updates and traffic advisories. 

International Financial Scams:  See the  Department of State  and the  FBI pages for information.

Financial scams are prevalent in Peru. Scams are often initiated through Internet postings/profiles or by unsolicited emails and letters. Scammers almost always pose as U.S. citizens who have no one else to turn to for help. Common scams include:

  • Money transfers 
  • Grandparent/Relative targeting 

Victims of Crime :  U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance. Report crimes to the local police and contact the U.S. Embassy in Lima. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.

  • U.S. Embassy: +51-1-618-2000 (phone is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week)
  • Local police: 105 (National Police)
  • Tourist Police: 0800-22221
  • IPeru: 01-574-8000 (a tourist information service that has English-speaking personnel)

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas .

  • Help you find appropriate medical care.
  • Assist you with reporting a crime to the police.
  • Contact relatives or friends with your written consent.
  • Provide general information regarding the victim’s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion.
  • Provide a list of local attorneys.
  • Provide information on victims’ compensation programs in the United States .
  • Provide information on assistance programs for victims of crime in Peru .
  • Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution.
  • Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home.
  • Replace a stolen or lost passport.

Domestic Violence :  U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the Embassy for assistance. Telephone (answered 24 hours): +51-1-618-2000

Tourism : The tourism industry, including adventure activities (e.g. paragliding, sandboarding, etc.), is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. U.S. citizens are encouraged to pay attention to waiver and liability policies of tour companies, as they may vary or not exist. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance . 

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties : You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities prior to practicing or operating a business.

Ayahuasca/Kambo/Hallucinogens:  Traditional hallucinogens, often referred to as ayahuasca or kambo, are often marketed to travelers as “ceremonies” or “spiritual cleansing,” and typically contain dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a strong hallucinogen that is illegal in the United States and many other countries.

  • Intoxicated travelers, including U.S. citizens, have been sexually assaulted, injured, or robbed while under the influence of these substances.
  • Health risks associated with ayahuasca are not well understood, and, on occasion, U.S. citizens have suffered serious illness or death after taking these drugs.
  • These incidents often occur in remote areas and far away from modern medical facilities, making the risks even greater.
  • Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Peru are severe.
  • Offenders can expect long pre-trial detention and lengthy prison sentences under harsh conditions with significant expense for themselves and/or their families.
  • Never agree to carry a suitcase or package through customs for anyone.
  • Peru uses strict screening procedures for detecting narcotics smuggling at its international airports.

Customs Currency Regulations :

  • $30,000 USD or its equivalent in cash or negotiable items is the maximum allowed for entry or exit.
  • Any amount in excess of $10,000 USD must be declared and the legal source proven.

Artifacts :

  • Peruvian law forbids the export of pre-Columbian objects and other artifacts protected by cultural patrimony statutes.
  • U.S. customs officials are required to seize pre-Columbian objects and certain colonial religious artwork brought into the United States.

Animal Products/Plants :

  • Avoid products made of wild plants and animals, as many are of illegal origin and may involve protected or endangered species, whose sale and export are illegal.
  • Peruvian authorities will seize any protected species that is sold or transported, either live or transformed into food, medicinal beverages, leather, handcrafts, garments, etc.
  • Some products, including live animals, require special permits when leaving Peru.
  • Knowingly importing into the United States wildlife or plants that were taken from the wild or sold in violation of the laws of Peru (or any other country) is a violation of the Lacey Act (16 USC § 3371).

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification : If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Special Circumstances : Many popular destinations in Peru are remote. These areas have few facilities that are able to provide advanced or emergency medical care.

  • Local rescue capabilities are severely limited. Many mountain areas are too high for helicopters to reach safely. Accidents or injuries while hiking or climbing are common; crisis responders may take hours or even days to reach you if they are traveling over great distances and/or rough terrain.
  • When using tourist company services, travelers are encouraged to use qualified and licensed operators. Many do not meet international safety standards. Inquire about safety standards prior to engaging in adventure activities. The Ministerio de Comercio Exterior y Turismo (Tourism Ministry) website provides information on tourism companies.
  • Always check with local authorities before traveling about local geographic, climatic, health, and security conditions that may impact your safety.
  • Be aware that you may not have access to phone or internet for days at a time. Check in with family prior to going to remote areas and leave detailed written plans and timetables. Use of a personal GPS beacon is encouraged.

Seismic Activity :  Earthquakes are common throughout Peru. On May 26, 2019, a magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck the Loreto region of Peru. One fatality in the Cajamarca region and 11 injuries as well as isolated power outages and some infrastructure damage were reported.

  • Visit Peru’s National Emergency Operations Center (COEN) for more information.
  • In the event of a natural disaster, monitor local media and government agencies, including IPeru , the Commission to Promote Peru for Exports and Tourism (PROMPERU) , and Peru’s National Meteorology and Hydrology Service (SENAMHI) for updates.
  • WhatsApp: IPeru +51-944-492-314
  • Twitter: @Promperu @COENPeru @SENAMHIPeru @Sismos_Peru_IGP
  • Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for information on emergency preparedness and response.

Legal Issues in Peru :

  • The legal system in Peru may require victims or their families to hire lawyers to advance their cases through the legal system, even for victims of serious crimes.
  • U.S. citizens have reported unethical practices by lawyers and others, resulting in costly losses and little hope of remedy through the local judicial system.
  • Peruvian laws are subject to change with little notice . The Peruvian government publishes little information in English. The U.S. Embassy cannot give detailed advice about Peruvian law.

Counterfeit and Pirated Goods : Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also pay fines or have to give them up if you bring them back to the United States. See the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information.

Faith-Based Travelers : See the following webpages for details:

  • Faith-Based Travel Information
  • International Religious Freedom Report – see country reports
  • Human Rights Report – see country reports

LGBTQI+ Travelers : There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Peru.

See our LGBTQI+ Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers with Disabilities:  Peruvian law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical and mental disabilities, and the law is enforced.  Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is as prevalent as in the United States. The most common types of accessibility may include ramps, special cashiers for those with disabilities, and elevators. Expect accessibility to be limited in public transportation, and common in lodging, communication/information, and general infrastructure. There is a significant difference between Lima (and other large cities) and the rest of the country.

  • Rental, repair, and replacement services are available for aids/equipment/devices.
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a list of translators .

Students : See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips .

Women Travelers : See our travel tips for Women Travelers .

COVID-19 Testing:

  • PCR and/or antigen tests are available for U.S. citizens in Peru, and test results are reliably available within one calendar day.
  • Peru is able to test for COVID-19 in country. Private hospitals and laboratories as well as the Peruvian Ministry of Health (MINSA) are administering tests.
  • U.S. citizens are responsible for their own COVID-19 testing costs.

COVID-19 Vaccines:

The COVID-19 vaccine is available for U.S. citizens to receive in Peru. Visit the FDA's website to  learn more about FDA-approved vaccines  in the United States.  

  • Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Sinopharm vaccines are available in Peru.
  • For more information about the Peruvian Ministry of Health’s (MINSA) national vaccine strategy, see (in Spanish)  MINSA's website .

Medical Care :

  • Specialized medical care can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and you are expected to pay in full at the time of discharge.
  • Pharmacies are widely available. However, some medications might not be offered, and brand names will differ from products in the United States.
  • Exercise caution if you explore herbal and folk remedies.

For emergency services in Peru, dial 113 .

Ambulance services are not present throughout the country or are unreliable in most areas except Lima and other major cities. Training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards. Injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi or private vehicle to the nearest major hospital rather than wait for an ambulance.

We do not pay medical bills . Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.

Medical Insurance : Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance overseas. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Check with the Government of Peru to ensure the medication is legal in Peru.

Vaccinations : Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information :

  • World Health Organization
  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Air Quality : Visit  AirNow Department of State  for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.

The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals . We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.

Health Facilities in General:

  • Adequate health facilities are available in Lima and other major cities, but health care in rural areas may be below U.S. standards.
  • Public medical clinics lack basic resources and supplies.
  • Hospitals and doctors often require payment “up front” prior to service or admission. Credit card payment is usually available. Some hospitals and medical professionals require cash payment.
  • Private and public hospitals usually require advance payment or proof of adequate insurance before admitting a patient.
  • Travelers should make efforts to obtain complete information on billing, pricing, and proposed medical procedures before agreeing to any medical care.
  • Medical staff may speak little or no English.
  • Generally, in public hospitals only minimal staff is available overnight in non-emergency wards.
  • Patients bear all costs for transfer to or between hospitals if they do not have insurance.
  • Psychological and psychiatric services are limited, even in the larger cities, with hospital-based care only available through government institutions.

Medical Tourism and Elective Surgery :

  • U.S. citizens have suffered serious complications or died during or after having cosmetic or other elective surgery.
  • Medical tourism is a rapidly growing industry. People seeking health care overseas should understand that medical systems operate differently from those in the United States and are not subject to the same rules and regulations. Anyone interested in traveling for medical purposes should consult with their local physician before traveling and visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for information on Medical Tourism, the risks of medical tourism, and what you can do to prepare before traveling to Peru.
  • We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation in the event of unforeseen medical complications.
  • Your legal options in case of malpractice are very limited in Peru.
  • Although Peru has many elective/cosmetic surgery facilities that are on par with those found in the United States, the quality of care varies widely. If you plan to undergo surgery in Peru, make sure that emergency medical facilities are available and professionals are accredited and qualified.

Pharmaceuticals:

  • Exercise caution when purchasing medication overseas. Pharmaceuticals, both over the counter and requiring prescription in the United States, are often readily available for purchase with little controls. Counterfeit medication is common and may prove to be ineffective, the wrong strength, or contain dangerous ingredients. Medication should be purchased in consultation with a medical professional and from reputable establishments.
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration are responsible for rules governing the transport of medication back to the United States. Medication purchased abroad must meet their requirements to be legally brought back into the United States. Medication should be for personal use and must be approved for usage in the United States. Please visit the  U.S. Customs and Border Protection  and the  Food and Drug Administration  websites for more information.   

Please review Peru's rules on medication .  

Non-Traditional Medicine:

  • U.S. citizens have suffered serious complications or died while seeking medical care from non-traditional “healers” and practitioners in Peru. Ensure you have access to licensed emergency medical facilities in such cases.

Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy :

  • If you are considering traveling to Peru to have a child through use of assisted reproductive technology, please see our ART and Surrogacy Abroad page .
  • Surrogacy is illegal for foreigners in Peru, subject to complex local regulation.
  • If you decide to pursue parenthood in Peru via assisted reproductive technology (ART) with a gestational mother, be prepared for long and unexpected delays in documenting your child’s citizenship. Be aware that individuals who attempt to circumvent local law risk criminal prosecution.

Water Quality:

  • In many areas, tap water is not potable. Bottled water and beverages are generally safe, although you should be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested. Be aware that ice for drinks may be made using tap water. 
  • Many cities in Peru, such as Puno, Cusco, Arequipa, Ayacucho, and Huaraz, are at high altitude. Be aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness, and take precautions before you travel. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about  Travel to High Altitudes .

Adventure Travel:

  • Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about  Adventure Travel . 

General Health :

The following diseases are prevalent:

  • Travelers’ Diarrhea
  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome
  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Leishmaniasis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Yellow fever

Use the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended mosquito repellents and sleep under insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets. Chemoprophylaxis is recommended for all travelers even for short stays.  

HIV/AIDS: For more information visit MINSA’s website (in Spanish): https://www.dge.gob.pe/vih/ .

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about  Resources for Travelers  regarding specific issues in Peru.

Air Quality:

  • Air pollution is a significant problem in several major cities in Peru. Consider the impact seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution may have on you and consult your doctor before traveling if necessary.  
  • Infants, children, and teen.
  • People over 65 years of age.
  • People with lung disease such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
  • People with heart disease or diabetes.
  • People who work or are active outdoors. 

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety :  Driving conditions in Peru are very different from those found in the United States, and can be considerably more dangerous. Visitors are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with local law and driving customs before attempting to operate vehicles.

  • Roads are often poorly maintained and may lack crash barriers, guard rails, signs, and streetlights.
  • Fog is common on coastal and mountain highways, making conditions more treacherous.
  • Slow-moving buses and trucks frequently stop in the middle of the road unexpectedly.
  • Road travel at night is particularly hazardous. Due to safety concerns, U.S. Embassy personnel are prohibited from traveling on mountainous roads at night.
  • Traveling in a group is preferable to solo travel. Spare tires, parts, and fuel are needed when traveling in remote areas, where distances between service areas are long.

Traffic Laws:  Traffic laws are often ignored and rarely enforced, creating dangerous conditions for drivers and pedestrians.

  • Seat belts are mandatory for driver and front-seat passengers in a private vehicle.
  • It is against the law to talk on a cellular phone while driving, and violators may be fined.
  • When driving in urban areas, taxis and buses often block lanes impeding traffic.
  • Directional signals are often not used, and vehicles frequently turn from the middle through traffic lanes.
  • While driving outside major cities and on the Pan-American Highway, you must drive with your lights on.
  • Traffic officers must wear uniforms and identification cards that include their last name on their chest.
  • Traffic officers are not allowed to retain your personal identification or vehicle documents.
  • Under no circumstances should you offer or agree to pay money to traffic officers.
  • If you are involved in an accident, you MUST contact local police and remain at the scene without moving your vehicle until the authorities arrive. This rule is strictly enforced, and moving a vehicle or leaving the scene of an accident may constitute an admission of guilt under Peruvian law.
  • If your car is a rental, call the agency or representative of the insurance company provided by the rental agency.
  • Always carry your driver's license, a copy of your passport, and the rental agreement when you drive a rental car.
  • International driver's licenses are valid for one year, while driver's licenses from other countries are generally valid for 30 days.

Public Transportation : Many buses are overcrowded, poorly maintained, and lack safety features such as seat belts.

  • Bus accidents resulting in multiple deaths and injuries are common due to routes along narrow, winding roads without a shoulder and steep drop-offs.
  • Accidents are frequently attributed to excessive speed, poor bus maintenance, poor road conditions, and driver fatigue.
  • Individuals should use private taxi companies or car-share applications when traveling as opposed to hailing taxis on the side of the road for safety.

See our Road Safety page for more information. Visit the website of Peru’s  national tourist office  and national authority responsible for road safety. 

Aviation Safety Oversight : The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Peru’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Peru’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page .

Maritime Travel : Mariners planning travel to Peru should check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts . Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website , and the NGA broadcast warnings .

For additional travel information

  • Enroll in the  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)  to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • See the  State Department’s travel website  for the  Worldwide Caution  and  Travel Advisories .
  • Follow us on  Twitter  and  Facebook .
  • See  traveling safely abroad  for useful travel tips.

Peru was cited in the State Department’s 2022 Annual Report to Congress on International Child Abduction for demonstrating a pattern of non-compliance with respect to international parental child abduction. Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in  Peru . For additional IPCA-related information, please see the  International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act ( ICAPRA )  report.

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Machu picchu tours: how to get there and tips for visiting.

Here is everything you need to know to plan a trip to Machu Picchu.

How to Get to Machu Picchu

Best Machu Picchu Tours

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A hike around Machu Picchu is a must-do if you're visiting Cusco, Peru.

Note: Some of the below destinations may be affected by the civil unrest in Peru. Check with the U.S. Department of State before traveling.

Machu Picchu is thought to be one of the largest and most impressive Incan cities of its time. Today a UNESCO World Heritage Site with expansive ruins open to visitors, it sits high on a peak in the Peruvian Andes and is accessed via train or on foot. Here are some tips to help you navigate a visit to this incredible archeological site.

What is Machu Picchu? Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Incan city that was abandoned by the Incas after the Spanish conquest. The ruins feature about 200 structures that were used for religious, agricultural, astronomical and ceremonial purposes, though exactly how remains a mystery. It's believed that between 300 and 1,000 people inhabited the city and the area was devoted to the worship of the sun god.

Where is Machu Picchu? Machu Picchu is located in the Peruvian Andes within a tropical mountain forest at nearly 8,000 feet above sea level. Cusco , the nearest major city, is less than 50 miles southeast of Machu Picchu.

When was Machu Picchu built? Historians believe that Machu Picchu was built in the 15th century.

How do you get to Machu Picchu? Machu Picchu can be reached a variety of ways, including hiking the Inca Trail with a tour company, by train or by bus.

When is the best time to visit Machu Picchu? The site is located in the Amazon rainforest in Peru, where the rainy season runs from November to March. To avoid rain, travelers may want to visit during its dry season from April to October. Travelers say that June through August tends to be the busiest, so opting for shoulder months like May or October may help avoid crowds.

Know Before You Go

  • What: Machu Picchu tours
  • When: Machu Picchu is accessible daily with entrances from 6 a.m. to noon or noon to 5:30 p.m. During the month of February, the Inca Trail is closed for maintenance and is inaccessible to visitors.
  • Cost: Entrance tickets cost approximately 152 Peruvian soles (about $45) for adults; 77 soles (around $23) for students.
  • Must-know tip: To tour Machu Picchu, you must purchase your ticket online in advance and print it out as no tickets are sold at the site. Experts and fellow travelers recommend purchasing your ticket several months in advance as there only 2,500 visitors allowed per day. If you choose to visit with an organized tour company, the company will take care of reserving and purchasing the ticket for you.
  • Website: https://www.machupicchu.gob.pe/inicio

When visiting Machu Picchu, you will be given a specific time you can enter the site. Key attractions include the Temple of the Sun, the Room of the Three Windows, the water irrigation system and the Royal Mausoleum. There is an additional fee to visit the mountains of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu, which surround the old city, should you want to hike trails there. After you purchase your ticket – either to Machu Picchu or the site with one of the mountains – be sure to print your ticket and bring it with you along with identification, such as a passport.

Restrooms are located outside the entrance and cost about 2 soles (around 60 cents) to use; there are no restrooms within Machu Picchu. There's no visitor center, but Peru's Ministry of Culture does have an office in Aguas Calientes, a town that acts as the gateway to Machu Picchu. There are also a variety of restaurants in Aguas Calienties to refuel after your trip. Be aware, you also may not be allowed to bring single-use plastics (like sandwich bags) or large bags into the site. If you do bring a large bag, there is a bag storage facility near the site's entrance where you can leave your bag for a small fee as you explore the site.

Machu Picchu is located less than 50 miles northwest of Cusco, a Peruvian city which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cusco can make a great base for your visit to Machu Picchu as many organized tours to the site begin here.

Since Machu Picchu and Cusco sit at high elevations, almost 8,000 feet above sea level, travelers should prepare for altitude sickness. Talk to your doctor before your trip to make sure your body can handle the altitude change. When you arrive, help your body adjust by getting plenty of rest for the first few days, avoiding alcoholic beverages and drinking lots of water to remain hydrated. You should also plan to wear insect repellent and plenty of sunscreen for the trek. Travelers also recommend dressing in layers and wearing pants and long sleeves, even if the weather is warm, as the mosquitos are known to be relentless.

Tour Options

Though you can opt to visit Machu Picchu (and make the necessary travel arrangements) by yourself, a guided tour can help streamline the process. Multiple tour operators offer daytrips to Machu Picchu. The majority of these tours originate in Cusco and leave early in the morning (at or before 5 a.m.). You'll be taken via bus to the town of Ollantaytambo, where groups board trains to Aguas Calientes. From Aguas Calientes, groups board a bus to Machu Picchu. Travelers generally spend approximately two hours at the site before they begin the trip back to Cusco. Exact tour prices vary, though you can expect to spend approximately $300 per person (including train tickets, bus fare and a guided tour of the site). Travelers generally enjoy the tours, extolling the knowledgeable guides, and appreciate the ease by which they could see Machu Picchu. Others caution selecting your tour company carefully as experiences can vary wildly from company to company.

Travelers can also opt to hike from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu on their own via the Carretera Hiram Bingham. The approximately 4-mile journey is a steep climb and can be completed in around 90 minutes. Though an option, most travelers say the walk is long, difficult and lacking in scenery.

Tourists who have ample time, or have a true adventure streak, can hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The approximately 25-mile trail takes about four days to hike and ends at Machu Picchu. To hike the Inca Trail, you must go with a tour company or hire a guide, as it is no longer permitted to hike the trail on your own. Keep in mind that the trail closes each February for maintenance. Tours can last as little as two days (for an abbreviated journey along the trail) or more than a week to experience additional Peruvian sites.

There are a variety of other attractions and ancient sites nearby Machu Picchu that you may want to add to your itinerary. Titicaca Lake, located at more than 12,000 feet above sea level, is the largest lake by volume in South America. The town of Cusco also has much to see, including cathedrals , temples and a plaza used in Incan times , along with many archeological sites. Take advantage of the Cusco Tourist Ticket (also known as Boleto Turistico del Cusco), which grants access to many of Cusco's attractions for one fee.

Getting There

You can reach Machu Picchu by foot, train or bus, though if arriving by train, your ride will end in Aguas Calientes and you will need to ride a bus or hike approximately 4 miles to access the site. You can take a train from one of several stations near Cusco to the city of Aguas Calientes and then ride a bus to Machu Picchu. (Note: Since these train stations are outside Cusco city proper, you'll need to take a bus to get to them). The train ride via Peru Rail takes about four hours and you can choose from a variety of train types, each with a different price point to accommodate any travel budget. Tickets for Peru Rail are available at PeruRail.com.

You can buy bus tickets from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu in advance in Cusco at the Consettur offices, which helps you avoid lines at the actual bus stop. Buses depart from Aguas Calientes approximately every 15 minutes beginning at 5:30 a.m. daily until 3:30 p.m. Visitors recommend getting in line for the bus several hours before your scheduled entrance time at Machu Picchu as lines can be extremely long. Some travelers report getting in line three hours before their scheduled entrance time. You'll also likely encounter lines to take the bus from Machu Picchu back to Aguas Calientes.

Additional tour options:

  • CuscoPeru : Full-Day Private Machu Picchu Guided Tour from Cusco. View & Book Tickets »
  • Viajes Pacifico : Machu Picchu Day Trip. View & Book Tickets »
  • Viajes Peru : Day Tour to Machu Picchu The Inca City. View & Book Tickets »
  • Machupicchu Latin America : 2-Day Tour: Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu by Train. View & Book Tickets »
  • Inkayni Peru Tours : Full day. View & Book Tickets »

Looking for more information on Machu Picchu? Check out the U.S. News Travel Cusco guide .

Tags: Tours , Travel , Vacations , Peru

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What Is Going on at Machu Picchu?

Protesters blocked access to the Incan site in Peru over a new ticketing system. Tourists have been evacuated, but there could be more unrest. Here’s what to know.

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By Mitra Taj

Hundreds of tourists were stranded near Machu Picchu, Peru’s most-visited site, over the weekend after demonstrators blocked railway and bus routes to the site and shut down local shops and restaurants in Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu, in the country’s Cuzco region. Some visitors posted videos on social media pleading for help. The police evacuated about 700 tourists on Saturday. Many left without seeing the site.

The protesters had taken to the streets on Thursday to demand the government rescind a contract that allows a company to sell tickets to Machu Picchu for the first time. Tickets had previously been sold through the office of culture in Cuzco, which is controlled by the regional government.

Protesters agreed to a 24-hour “truce” on Tuesday to take part in talks with government officials. While Machu Picchu is officially open, train service to Aguas Calientes and buses that take tourists to the citadel remain suspended. The U.S. Embassy advised travelers who want to try to reach the site by other means to make sure they take enough food and any medicine they might need.

Machu Picchu, believed to be a 15th-century getaway for Incan royalty, received some 2.2 million visitors last year, below prepandemic levels of 4.6 million. Peru has been trying to encourage tourists to visit other ancient sites in part to prevent overcrowding, which UNESCO has warned could damage parts of its structure.

Who is protesting and why are they angry?

Protesters include tour operators, guides, activists and residents in the region of Cuzco. They are opposed to a private company profiting from sales of tickets to Machu Picchu and claim that the company, Joinnus, an events marketing platform, was chosen to administer the sales last year through a corrupt deal with the culture minister, Leslie Urteaga, which she denies.

Elvis La Torre, the mayor of Aguas Calientes, said that the government did not consult local authorities or residents about the new online system.

Distrust of the government of President Dina Boluarte runs deep in Cuzco, a heavily Indigenous region with countless pre-Columbian ruins. Ms. Boluarte took office in late 2022 after her predecessor was ousted and arrested after trying to dissolve the Peruvian Congress, prompting widespread nationwide protests that she responded to with crackdowns that left 49 civilians dead, mainly in Indigenous regions.

What is the government trying to do?

The government says the new ticketing system aims to make sales more transparent. It alleges that “mafias” with ties to the regional government of Cuzco divert a portion of tickets to sell them on the black market, depriving public coffers of revenue and making it harder to measure the true number of visitors to the site.

The government is also trying to implement a “dynamic” system where the daily limit on visitors changes throughout the year.

The company that buses tourists to Machu Picchu routinely reports higher numbers of tourists per day than the official ticket sales, according to the tourism commission in Congress. The national comptroller’s office found that over 2021 and 2022, 70,000 to 80,000 visitors to Machu Picchu had not been counted by the regional culture office, representing a loss of about $2 million per year.

Where do the negotiations stand now?

Protesters want the culture minister to resign and the contract with Joinnus to be rescinded. On Tuesday, the culture ministry announced that it would move the new ticketing system to a platform administered by the central government, with input from the regional government of Cuzco.

Ms. Urteaga said it would take “a prudent period of time” to transition to a new, state-run system. “We cannot return to the previous system,” she said on X , formerly Twitter. We must have a secure, transparent and objective platform.”

Joinnus said it would agree to end its contract early.

Mr. La Torre, the mayor, proposed updating the regional government’s online platform for selling tickets to ensure transparency. “We’ll agree to modernizing the system of sales of the culture ministry,” he said in a video posted online , but only if the process was “transparent” and “communicated to stakeholders.”

It was not clear if demonstrators would resume their protest after the truce ends at midnight on Tuesday.

Hasn’t this happened before?

Peru is rife with social conflicts, and it is not unusual for residents in rural regions to block roads to draw media attention to their demands and pressure authorities to negotiate.

In the past decade, protesters have blocked railway access to Machu Picchu several times as part of efforts to secure higher salaries for teachers and health workers, lower fares for rail service, or assistance for farmers during an acute fertilizer shortage.

In late 2022 and early last year, tourism in much of southern Peru, including Machu Picchu, halted for several weeks during political unrest after Ms. Boluarte took office.

Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram and sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to get expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation. Dreaming up a future getaway or just armchair traveling? Check out our 52 Places to Go in 2024 .

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COVID-19: travel health notice for all travellers

Peru travel advice

Latest updates: Entry and exit requirements – updated information on entry restrictions at land and river borders with Ecuador

Last updated: May 28, 2024 12:15 ET

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Safety and security, entry and exit requirements, laws and culture, natural disasters and climate, peru - exercise a high degree of caution.

Exercise a high degree of caution in Peru due to high levels of crime, as well as social conflicts and strikes that may occur across the country.

Regional advisory - Avoid non-essential travel

  • Huallaga and Tocache provinces in the department of San Martín
  • the Upper Huallaga and Ene river valleys in the departments of Huánuco and San Martín
  • Padre Abad province in the department of Ucayali
  • Huacaybamba, Humalíes, Leoncio Prado and Marañón provinces in the department of Huánuco
  • Concepción and Satipo provinces in the department of Junín
  • Tayacaja province in the department of Huancavelica
  • the districts of Abancay, Andahuaylas and Chincheros in the department of Apurímac
  • Huanta and La Mar provinces, in the department of Ayacucho
  • Valley of Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro rivers (VRAEM)

Border area with Colombia - Avoid non-essential travel

Avoid non-essential travel to areas within 20 km of the border with Colombia due to drug trafficking and occasional incursions by armed guerrilla forces from Colombia into Peru.

Border area with Ecuador - Avoid non-essential travel

Avoid non-essential travel to areas within 20 km of the border with Ecuador, especially in the Cordillera del Cóndor region, due to the safety threat posed by landmines.

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State of emergency in regions bordering Ecuador

On January 10, 2024, the Peruvian government declared a state of emergency in the northern regions bordering Ecuador following the Government of Ecuador’s declaration of a nationwide state of “internal armed conflict” on January 9, 2024. The state of emergency is in effect in the following regions:

If you are in these regions, you should carry identification with you at all times.

Demonstrations and strikes

Demonstrations and strikes take place regularly throughout the country. Strikes can complicate travel and disrupt public transport and services, including your ability to travel to or leave isolated tourist destinations such as Machu Picchu. They could also lead to border closures with Bolivia. Protestors may also block rivers essential for transportation in some remote regions, including the Manu region of Madre de Dios and Iquitos region. This may result in the temporary detainment of tourists.

Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. Police have used tear gas and other methods to disperse crowds in the past. Authorities often declare a state of emergency in response to demonstrations. 

Peruvian law prohibits political activities by foreigners. You may face detention or deportation if you take part in a demonstration.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Consult local media to be aware of strikes and demonstrations that may affect your stay or travel plans

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

State of Emergency 

The Peruvian government periodically declares a state of emergency in certain areas to allow the military to assist police forces to respond to security incidents and natural disasters. When a state of emergency is in effect, security forces have increased rights to:

  • restrict freedom of movement
  • monitor correspondence
  • conduct search and seizures
  • detain persons of interest

Border area with Colombia

Criminal activity related to narcotics trafficking and occasional incursions by armed guerrilla forces from Colombia at Cordillera del Cóndor, Peru, pose a threat to personal security.

Border area with Ecuador

Cross the Peru–Ecuador border at official crossing points only due to the presence of landmines along the border.

Basic services in the Tumbes district have become increasingly difficult to access due to an increased number of migrants entering Peru from the North land border with Ecuador. The increased population has limited the provision of these services.

Valle de los Ríos Apurímac, Ene y Mantaro (VRAEM)

Drug trafficking.

Cocaine production and trafficking occurs inVRAEM. Travel is particularly dangerous in areas where there is coca cultivation and processing.

Domestic terrorism

Incidents of domestic terrorism have occurred in VRAEM, particularly the region where the Apurímac, Ayacucho, Cuzco and Junín departments meet.

Crime rates are high throughout the country.

  • Maintain a high level of vigilance and personal security awareness, especially at night
  • Avoid walking in deserted or under-populated areas
  • Travel in groups whenever possible

Petty crime

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs, particularly in Lima, in other cities and even in crowded, public areas. Theft occurs frequently in hotels, restaurants, bus stations and airports, on intercity buses and microbuses and while hailing taxis.

  • Avoid wearing expensive watches and jewellery, or showing signs of affluence
  • Ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
  • Never leave bags unattended

Pickpockets and bag snatchers may work in pairs or groups and employ a variety of ruses to divert their victim’s attention. A common scam involves spraying a substance on victims and then robbing them while pretending to help clean the stain, or distracting the victim by asking questions while another person perpetrates the theft. In some cases, thieves on motorcycles will snatch purses, backpacks or cellular phones. 

Violent crime

Violent crime occurs. Incidents have included:

  • kidnappings

Armed robbery

Armed robberies are on the rise. While most victims are not physically injured, criminals will not hesitate to use force when opposed.

  • If you are robbed, hand over your cash, electronic devices and valuables without resistance
  • Be particularly vigilant after visiting a bank, an ATM or a change bureau, as thieves may follow and rob victims.
  • Use ATMs inside banks and during regular hours of service, when guards are on duty

Assaults have occurred along the Inca Trail and in the Huaraz region of the Cordillera Blanca mountains. Hiking in these regions should be done in groups.

Express kidnappings involving tourists have occurred. Victims are usually abducted for a few hours and forced to withdraw money from ATMs for their release. Most express kidnappings take place at night, but incidents also occur during daylight hours. Incidents often involve criminals posing as taxi drivers, or taxi drivers working for organized gangs. Virtual kidnappings occur throughout the country. Criminals use stolen cellphones to contact family members claiming to have kidnapped the owner of the phone and then ask for ransom money.

  • Be suspicious of strangers approaching you on the street
  • Never leave your cellphone unattended
  • Be cautious when using cellphones and smart devices in public as they are often targeted by thieves, especially while people are using them
  • Ensure your phone is password protected

Organized crime

Organized crime is reportedly increasing in parts of Lima Province and in some districts of the Department of Piura. In some parts of the country, military and security forces have been deployed to assist police in combatting organized crime.

Incidents of domestic terrorism occur, particularly in remote jungle areas such as:

  • parts of the Huancavelica and Ucayali departments
  •  the Upper Huallaga river valley in the Huánuco and San Martín departments.

Incidents have included:

  • temporary ambushes of small villages
  • bombings or threats of violence against local security forces or community figures

Overland travel in these regions is unsafe.

Counterfeit currency

Counterfeit currency in both sol and U.S. dollars is a growing and serious problem. Counterfeit bills are widely distributed, including by banks, casinos and local stores.

Avoid moneychangers on the street, as they may carry counterfeit currency or work with pickpockets.

Credit card fraud

Credit card and ATM fraud occurs. Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:

  • pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
  • use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements

Criminals posing as taxi drivers often rob tourists along the route to and from Lima’s Jorge Chávez International Airport.

  • Use a secure taxi service when arriving at and leaving the airport
  • Exercise caution en route to and from your hotel

Thieves also pose as police officers to gain the confidence and cooperation of their potential victims.

  • If you are stopped by local authorities, ask to see official identification and record the officer’s name, badge number and district.
  • For traffic violations, request that the officer issue you a fine in writing, which is payable at a later date.
  • You should also note the location of the arrest.

Legitimate police officers have also extorted money in exchange for dismissing minor offences or traffic violations. They have also stolen money and valuables during searches.

  • If you are searched, even at the airport, ensure you have all your belongings before leaving
  • If you are planning to participate in volunteer activities in Peru, ensure that the company organizing your trip is legitimate
  • Make sure your accommodations and return arrangements are secure before travelling

Useful links

  • Lima Airport Partners
  • Overseas fraud
  • Volunteering abroad

Spiked food and drinks

Snacks, beverages, gum and cigarettes may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.

  • Be wary of accepting these items from new acquaintances
  • Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers

Women’s safety

Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse. Incidents of sexual assault, including rape, occur throughout the country, particularly in tourist destinations. In some cases, tour guides have been implicated.

  • Do not travel alone, especially after dark.
  • Remain particularly vigilant at bus terminals and in taxis.
  • Be careful when dealing with strangers or recent acquaintances, especially regarding the acceptance of rides or other invitations.

Women reporting sexual assault should contact police immediately. Medical examinations at identified clinics are part of the investigation process. Women who have delayed reporting may experience more scrutiny by local authorities.

Advice for women travellers

Adventure tourism

Each year, several hikers and climbers are victims of serious, sometimes fatal, accidents in the Andes, including at the Huayna Picchu peak near Machu Picchu and the Cordillera Blanca region in Huaraz, where Peru’s highest peaks are located.

The Inca Trail is usually closed each year in February for maintenance. Other trails, such as those found in Ollantaytambo, may be poorly marked. Hikers have become lost. Be aware that steep or slippery areas are neither fenced nor marked.

In November 2023, the Cusipata District in Quispicanchi Province closed two access routes to Vinicunca, the “Rainbow Mountain.” The closure follows violent disputes between the municipalities surrounding the access routes. Access to Vinicunca from Quispicanchi Province will be closed indefinitely, but access remains open via the Pitumarca District in Canchis Province.

Remote areas of Peru, where popular jungle excursions operate, may not have cellphone coverage or internet access.

If you intend to hike, trek or climb:

  • never do so alone, and always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company
  • only use licensed companies recommended by the Ministry of Tourism for adventure tours and sports
  • exercise extreme caution while climbing, as local authorities have limited rescue capabilities
  • buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
  • ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
  • make sure that you’re properly equipped and well-informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
  • inform a family member or friend of your itinerary, including when you expect to be back to camp
  • know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal
  • obtain detailed information on trekking routes or ski slopes before setting out and do not venture off marked trails or slopes
  • always leave the contact information of the tour operator with your family and friends
  • always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company if you travel in remote areas
  • iPerú ‎ - Peruvian government’s Tourist Information and Assistance‎
  • APOTUR  - The Peruvian Association of Incoming and Domestic Tour Operators (in Spanish)
  • APAVIT   - Peruvian Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies (in Spanish)
  • APTAE - Peruvian association of adventure, eco, and specialized tourism (in Spanish)
  • Qualified Tourism Service Companies  - Ministry of foreign trade and tourism (in Spanish)

Water activities

There have been several recent white-water rafting accidents and drownings involving tourists, particularly on the Urubamba River near Cuzco. Companies offering white-water rafting, their guides and their equipment may not be held to the same standards as similar companies in Canada. Rescue services may not be consistent with international standards.

Coastal waters can be dangerous. Strong currents exist in the Pacific Ocean and in rivers. Life guards are not always present or properly trained at beaches.

Swimming in jungle lakes and rivers can be dangerous due to the presence of parasites and wildlife.

Seek advice and consult residents and local authorities about conditions before swimming, surfing or participating in other aquatic activities.

Water safety abroad

Ayahuasca ceremonies

Spiritual cleansing and ayahuasca ceremonies, offered by shamans and other individuals, involve consuming substances that can cause medical complications and severely impair cognitive and physical abilities. Exposure to these substances has led to serious illness, injury, assault and even the death of several tourists.

Ceremonies often take place in remote areas with no access to medical or mental health facilities or resources and limited communication with local authorities. Most of the time, the facilities lack basic first aid or emergency plans for those suffering from physical or psychological illness from these ceremonies. Ayahuasca ceremonies are not regulated and there is no way to assess the safety of any of the services, the operators or the shamans.

Road safety

Road conditions and road safety are poor throughout the country. Drivers are extremely aggressive, and they do not respect traffic laws. Mountainous roads can be particularly dangerous, especially at night. Poor signage also poses a hazard. Accidents causing fatalities are common.

Regular police spot checks can cause traffic delays.

When renting a vehicle, always purchase insurance. Most drivers in Peru have only the minimum required car insurance, which may not adequately cover accidents.

Vehicles are a target for robbery. Criminals have thrown objects in front of oncoming traffic in the hope that cars will stop. If this occurs and you need to stop, do so only in a safe location, such as a gas station.

  • While travelling by car, keep your doors locked and windows shut at all times
  • Keep your personal belongings in the trunk of the vehicle, as criminals have been known to shatter windows to “smash and grab” and to attempt entry when they see travel bags or merchandise
  • Avoid travelling by road outside of major cities after dark, when there is a higher risk of robbery

State of the roads in Peru in real time  – Government of Peru (in Spanish)

Thefts on boats by river pirates occur along rivers in the Amazon jungle.

Mariners should take appropriate precautions.

Live piracy report  - International Maritime Bureau

Public transportation

Buses and minibuses operate between most major cities. Demonstrations and strikes can lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

Many of the buses and combis in Lima are old, poorly maintained and overcrowded. Drivers of these vehicles tend to dominate the roads and disregard other drivers or pedestrians.

Intercity bus travel can be dangerous due to the risk of bus accidents, which are usually caused by excessive speed, poor vehicle maintenance and driver fatigue. Armed gangs have been known to stop buses to rob travellers, especially at night. Incidents of assaults on buses have also been reported.

The Government of Peru publishes a list of the bus companies with the highest rates of involvement in fatal or serious injury traffic accidents.

  • Only use reputable transportation companies
  • Contact your travel agency for a list of recommended intercity bus companies

Ministry of Transportation  - Government of Peru (in Spanish)

Trains operate between Arequipa-Cusco-Puno and between Cusco-Ollantaytambo-Machu Picchu . Demonstrations, strikes and derailments can disrupt travel by train, including trains to or from Machu Picchu.

  • Train services – Peru rail
  • Train to Machu Picchu - Inca rail

Licensed taxis are not metered. Taxi drivers sometimes do not provide change or will continue to drive until they can obtain change.

  • Do not hail taxis on the street
  • Reserve a taxi by calling a reputable taxi company or use taxi services associated with major hotels
  • Agree to a fare prior to departure and do not pay until you have reached your destination
  • Try to carry the exact fare

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines

entry_restrictions_at_land_and_river_borders_with_ecuador

Entry restrictions at land and river borders with Ecuador

On January 11, 2024, the Government of Ecuador announced new entry restrictions in response to the ongoing state of internal armed conflict.

All foreigners entering Ecuador at crossing points with the land or river borders must present a criminal record check from their country of origin or residence. The original criminal record check and the Spanish translation must be apostilled and cover the past five years. Minors travelling with their family members will generally be exempt.

If you cannot provide a criminal record check, the Ecuadorian Migration System will check to verify that you don’t have previous convictions.

  • Requirements to enter and exit Ecuador – Ministry of Interior (in Spanish)
  • Entry requirements to Ecuador through land borders – Ministry of tourism (in Spanish)
  • Migration information – Ecuador Immigration Agency (in Spanish)
  • Changes to authentication services in Canada
  • Authentication of documents

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the Peruvian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the  Foreign Representatives in Canada .

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Peru.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

  • Foreign Representatives in Canada
  • Canadian passports

Tourist visa: not required for a stay of less than 90 days per 365 day period Business visa: required  Student visa: required

If you entered Peru with a business visa, you must obtain a certificate from the Peruvian Ministry of the Economy to prove that all Peruvian taxes on income earned during the trip have been paid prior to leaving the country. The certification is required even if no money was paid or earned and must be presented to the central Peruvian immigration office in Lima before departure.

Entering the country

You must register your entry into Peru at the port of entry or checkpoint.

  • Only cross the border at official checkpoints
  • Ensure the immigration office at your port of entry is open at the time you intend to cross the border

Other entry requirements

Customs officials may ask you to show them:

  • a return or onward ticket
  • proof that you have a place to stay
  • proof that you have sufficient funds for the duration of your stay

Length of stay

As a Canadian tourist, you may stay in Peru for up to 90 days in a 365-day period.

Overstaying is a criminal offence. There is a fine for each day of overstay. This fee must be paid upon exiting the country.

Dual citizenship

Peruvian–Canadians entering Peru using their Canadian passport are subject to visit restrictions, including length of stay and associated fines. Dual nationals must use the same nationality to enter and exit the country.

Children and travel

Travellers under 18 exiting Peru after a stay of 183 days are automatically protected by Peru’s law on minors and will require the authorization of both parents/guardians to exit the country.

Children who have resident status in Peru must have written permission from the non-accompanying parents to leave the country.

Children born of Canadian parents in Peru require a Peruvian passport to leave the country for the first time. Contact Peruvian immigration officials for more information.

  • Travelling with children

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

Relevant Travel Health Notices

  • Global Measles Notice - 13 March, 2024
  • Zika virus: Advice for travellers - 31 August, 2023
  • COVID-19 and International Travel - 13 March, 2024
  • Dengue: Advice for travellers - 6 May, 2024

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your  routine vaccinations , as per your province or territory , are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

Yellow fever   is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

  • There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.

Recommendation

  • Vaccination is recommended depending on your itinerary.
  • Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of your trip to arrange for vaccination.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites.

About Yellow Fever Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada * It is important to note that   country entry requirements   may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest   diplomatic or consular office   of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.

There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.

Practise  safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

  Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

 The best way to protect yourself from seasonal influenza (flu) is to get vaccinated every year. Get the flu shot at least 2 weeks before travelling.  

 The flu occurs worldwide. 

  •  In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to   April.
  •  In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and   October.
  •  In the tropics, there is flu activity year round. 

The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.

The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

Malaria  is a serious and sometimes fatal disease that is caused by parasites spread through the bites of mosquitoes.   There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this destination. 

Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic before travelling to discuss your options. It is recommended to do this 6 weeks before travel, however, it is still a good idea any time before leaving.    Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times:  • Cover your skin and use an approved insect repellent on uncovered skin.  • Exclude mosquitoes from your living area with screening and/or closed, well-sealed doors and windows. • Use insecticide-treated bed nets if mosquitoes cannot be excluded from your living area.  • Wear permethrin-treated clothing.    If you develop symptoms similar to malaria when you are travelling or up to a year after you return home, see a health care professional immediately. Tell them where you have been travelling or living. 

In this destination, rabies is carried by dogs and some wildlife, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. While travelling, take precautions , including keeping your distance from animals (including free-roaming dogs), and closely supervising children.

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. Rabies treatment is often available in this destination. 

Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who are at high risk of exposure (e.g., occupational risk such as veterinarians and wildlife workers, children, adventure travellers and spelunkers, and others in close contact with animals). 

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.

The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Typhoid   is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.  

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

There is a risk of chikungunya in this country.  The risk may vary between regions of a country.  Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.

Cutaneous and mucosal   leishmaniasis   causes skin sores and ulcers. It is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a female sandfly.

Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from sandfly bites, which typically occur after sunset in rural and forested areas and in some urban centres. There is no vaccine or medication to protect against leishmaniasis.

  • In this country,   dengue  is a risk to travellers. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
  • Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
  • The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites . There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue.

Zika virus is a risk in this country. 

Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.

During your trip:

  • Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
  • Use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact, particularly if you are pregnant.

If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you should discuss the potential risks of travelling to this destination with your health care provider. You may choose to avoid or postpone travel. 

For more information, see Zika virus: Pregnant or planning a pregnancy.

American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease)   is a risk in this country. It is caused by a parasite spread by infected triatomine bugs. The infection can be inactive for decades, but humans can eventually develop complications causing disability and even death.

Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from triatomine bugs, which are active at night, by using mosquito nets if staying in poorly-constructed housing. There is no vaccine available for Chagas disease.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

There is a risk of   plague   in this country. Plague is a bacterial disease that can cause serious illness, and if left untreated, death.

The occurrence of cases in areas where the plague bacteria are known to circulate can be influenced by weather and environmental conditions. In some countries, this results in seasonal outbreaks. Travellers to areas where plague routinely occurs may be at risk if they are camping, hunting, or in contact with rodents.

Plague is spread by:

  • bites from fleas infected with the plague
  • direct contact with body fluids or tissues from an animal or person who is sick with or has died from plague

Overall risk to travellers is low.   Protect yourself   by   reducing contact with fleas  and potentially infected rodents and other wildlife.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette , which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •   washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) , HIV , and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  

Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.

Medical services and facilities

Quality of care varies throughout the country.

Private hospitals and clinics in urban centres are well-staffed and -equipped to handle any emergency or medical issue. Public hospitals and rural facilities, even in some tourist destinations and major cities, may not meet Canadian standards or may be inadequate to treat serious conditions.

Cases of serious injury or illness in remote areas may require evacuation to the nearest adequate medical facility in the country. Clinic, hospital and evacuation expenses can be costly and the service provider often expects immediate cash payment or confirmation of payment from an insurance company.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a   travel health kit , especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad .

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences, regardless of the amount of narcotics seized at arrest.

If you are arrested in Peru, you should expect lengthy delays to resolve your case, pre-trial detention in harsh conditions and significant related expenses.

  • Pack your own luggage and monitor it closely at all times
  • Never transport other people’s packages, bags or suitcases

Drugs, alcohol and travel

Identification

You must carry photo identification at all times. Keep a photocopy of your passport in a safe place, in case it's lost or confiscated. Failure to show identification could result in detention.

Peruvian authorities may impose fines and other penalties for any action considered to be disrespectful at historical and archaeological sites such as Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo and Saqsayhuaman. Visitors to Machu Picchu must adhere to strict regulations regarding entry restrictions and behaviour within the site. Check with your travel guide or agent for the latest information.

Peruvian law strictly prohibits the export of antiques and artefacts (huacos) from pre-colonial civilizations. Purchase reproductions of colonial or pre-colonial art from reputable dealers only and insist on obtaining documentation from Peru's National Institute of Culture to prove that the object is a reproduction and may be exported.

The export of coca tea bags and products is prohibited.

It is illegal to remove certain fauna and flora items from Peru. Items made from or displaying animals, insects or plants may be seized. If you are convicted of possession of such items, you could face heavy fines or jail sentences.

National Forest and Wildlife Service (SERFOR) - Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation of Peru (in Spanish)

Photography

It is forbidden to photograph military installations.

2SLGBTQI+ travellers

Peruvian law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. However, homosexuality is not widely accepted in Peruvian society.

Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics

Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Peru.

If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Peru, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements .

Travellers with dual citizenship

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and Peru.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Peru, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Peruvian court.

If you are in this situation:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Peru to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.

  • List of Canadian Central Authorities for the Hague Convention
  • International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
  • The Hague Convention - Hague Conference on Private International Law
  • Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
  • Emergency Watch and Response Centre

You must carry an international driving permit. A foreign driver's licence can be used only in Lima and only for 30 days after arrival.

Carry identification and vehicle registration at all times.

International Driving Permit

The currency is the Peruvian sol (PEN). The U.S. dollar is widely accepted.

Credit cards are not commonly accepted outside major cities. Many establishments will request to see a passport to confirm the identity of the person using the credit card. 

ATMs are not easily accessible in small towns. They often have limits to the amount and number of daily withdrawals.

El Niño

The complex weather phenomenon called El Niño happens at irregular intervals of 2 to 7 years. El Niño generally generates heavy rainfalls, occurring at the same time as the rainy season, from November to May.

  • Keep informed of regional weather forecasts before and during your travels, and plan accordingly.
  • Ensure you have adequate insurance to cover the consequences of such events, including the disruption of travel plans. 

Seismic activity

Earthquakes.

Peru is in an active seismic zone and is prone to earthquakes.

Dangerous landslides can also occur, even after minor earthquakes.

Latest earthquakes  - Government of Peru (in Spanish)

Tsunamis can occur following seismic activity. Tsunami evacuation routes are posted along the Costa Verde in Lima and several locations on the coast.

Directorate of Hydrography and Navigation  (in Spanish)

There are active and potentially active volcanoes in southern Peru. Debris from erupting volcanoes may clog rivers and cause them to overflow, resulting in potential flash floods and mudslides. Transportation and services may be affected. Ash clouds may cause disruptions to domestic and international flights. If you live or are travelling near active volcanoes:

  • monitor levels of volcanic activity through the local media
  • pay careful attention to all warnings issued and follow the advice of local authorities
  • Be prepared to modify your travel arrangements or even evacuate the area on short notice

Geophysical Institute of Peru  (in Spanish)

Higher tides are experienced several times throughout the year and may cause flooding and damage along the coast.

Rainy season

The rainy season extends from November to May in the Peruvian Andes.

Seasonal flooding, mudslides and landslides can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services such as utilities, emergency and medical care, food, fuel and water supplies. Roads may become impassable and bridges damaged.

Keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.

  • Emergency monitoring  – National Institute of Civil Defence (in Spanish)
  • Nationwide weather warnings  – National Meteorology and Hydrology Service of Peru (in Spanish)
  • Tornadoes, cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons and monsoons

Local services

  • Police: 105
  • Tourist police: +51 980 122 335 (Whatsapp number)
  • Medical assistance: 116
  • Firefighters: 116

Consular assistance

For emergency consular assistance, call the embassy of Canada to Peru, in Lima, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services .

Risk Levels

  take normal security precautions.

Take similar precautions to those you would take in Canada.

  Exercise a high degree of caution

There are certain safety and security concerns or the situation could change quickly. Be very cautious at all times, monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities.

IMPORTANT: The two levels below are official Government of Canada Travel Advisories and are issued when the safety and security of Canadians travelling or living in the country or region may be at risk.

  Avoid non-essential travel

Your safety and security could be at risk. You should think about your need to travel to this country, territory or region based on family or business requirements, knowledge of or familiarity with the region, and other factors. If you are already there, think about whether you really need to be there. If you do not need to be there, you should think about leaving.

  Avoid all travel

You should not travel to this country, territory or region. Your personal safety and security are at great risk. If you are already there, you should think about leaving if it is safe to do so.

cdc travel machu picchu

How to Plan an Epic Peru Family Vacation

W hether you want to cross exploring the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu off your family’s travel bucket list, or you long to explore the magnificent geological features of Rainbow Mountain near Cusco, Peru represents the perfect spot for a multi-generational family vacation . We’ve been wanting to visit Peru for awhile and have always appreciated Our Whole Village ‘s philosophy and itineraries.

Our Whole Village (OWV) is a family-focused travel agency that designs meaningful and culturally immersive trips for families who want to create lasting memories, travel more consciously, and give back. I asked OWV to put together this Peru guide, including their favorite activities and accommodations.

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. Please check out our  disclosure policy  for more details. Thank you for your support!

Peru Family Vacation Guide

Why take a family vacation to peru.

Peru contains stunning natural beauty, from high-elevation lakes to remote deserts and prime Amazon rainforest. Its rich and varied history means there are archaeological treasures from civilizations as diverse as the Norte Chico, Wari, Nazca, and Inca scattered across the land.

From the colonial charm of Cusco to the ancient splendor of Sacsayhuaman, the iconic llamas and alpacas of the Sacred Valley to the lush rainforests of Puerto Maldonado, there’s something for every age and interest in Peru. What’s more, the “Land of the Incas” boasts some of the best food in the world, founded on agricultural practices left unchanged for more than 2,000 years.

Where Is Peru?

South America is moderately easy to reach from the United States. While Peru has 234 airports, only 24 of those receive regularly scheduled flights from Peru’s leading domestic airlines. Most travelers fly directly into Lima’s Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM) before catching connecting flights to final destinations such as Cusco (CUZ) or Puerto Maldonado (PEM) (for a visit to the Amazon Basin).

What to Know Before You Travel to Peru

Peru currency.

The  official currency of Peru  is the  nuevo sol  (S/) or Peruvian  sol . Since the nation still operates primarily on cash, keep plenty of paper money and coins on hand. Don’t expect to find ATMs or currency exchanges in small villages and towns. 

While US dollars may also be accepted, expect change given in the local currency. So, you’ll have to do a little math to make sure you receive the correct change.

Peru safety

In certain parts of Peru, such as the Columbian and Peruvian border area in the Loreto region, criminal activity is more common. The American government also recommends avoiding the area in central Peru known as the Valley of the Rivers Apurimac, Mantaro, and Ene. 

Remain aware of your surroundings and stay vigilant as you would with any location that you’re visiting while at home or abroad. Use common sense and don’t venture out after dark. For more information on safety during your vacation, check out the  latest update s . 

Vaccinations for Peru

The CDC does recommend travelers to Peru take certain precautions. Hepatitis A is an important one, as well as Typhoid, and Tetanus. Check out these travel vaccines for Peru recommended by Passport Health (which is a great place to go for your shots) to see what you might need to have before a visit.

Transportation in Peru

There is a vast diversity when it comes to forms of transportation in Peru , from antiquated trucks to modern air fleets. As you travel through the countryside, you will need to strike a balance between comfort, practicality, cost, and safety. Better yet, work with a travel company that can organize transportation needs in advance, relying on the most comfortable and modern standards. 

Peru Challenges and Concerns

When traveling to Peru, prepare for soaring heights and panoramic vistas. Of course, these views come with the potential for altitude sickness (or  soroche ). Prevention through acclimatization to higher elevation remains the best line of defense. 

Recognizing the telltale signs of altitude sickness is important. They include loss of appetite or nausea, headaches, lethargy, and poor sleep. To avoid altitude sickness, make rest a priority, avoid alcohol, and eat in moderation.

Healthcare in Peru

The public healthcare system provides all Peruvians with access to medical care regardless of their income. The private health sector is mainly centered in the capital city of Lima. 

Private clinics provide a much higher standard of care than public health facilities, and they have up-to-date medical equipment, supplies, diagnostic equipment, medicine, and well-trained nurses and physicians. Tourists to Peru should purchase an international health insurance policy before arrival to cover any expenses that arise while abroad. 

When is the Best Time to Visit Peru?

As with any vacation, you’ll need to choose the right time for you, but here is what you can expect when traveling to Peru.  Dry Season:  May to October.  Rainy Season:  November through April.  High Season:  July and August, mid-December to mid-January.

Optimal Travel Times:  April to June or September to November. It’s a good choice to travel during these times so that you can enjoy lighter crowds, warmer temperatures, and fewer rainy days.

What to Pack for Peru?

When in Peru, prepare to dress for a variety of microclimates found at various elevations. The nation contains 28 of the 32 world climates. What does this mean for multigenerational travelers? Remember to pack for temperature fluctuations. In other words, layering will be your friend.

Choose wrinkle-free materials that pack easily and can be washed on the go and air-dried. Don’t forget a compact raincoat for the occasional drizzle and a light down jacket for evenings when temperatures can drop drastically. 

You’ll also want to invest in comfortable walking shoes that can handle brief treks through the mountains or jungle. Plus, make sure to leave some extra room to bring back  souvenirs from Peru .

Things to do in Peru with kids

Paddleboard or kayak on piuray lagoon.

Enjoy a 15-minute yoga session before heading out onto Piuray Lagoon for a paddleboarding or kayaking lesson . The calm, mirror-like waters of the lake are perfect for practicing new skills while enjoying breathtaking vistas of the surrounding countryside. 

Enjoy an Immersive Visit to the Huilloc Community

Experience the vibrant indigenous culture of the Sacred Valley of the Incas (or Urubamba Valley) while being symbolically integrated into the Huilloc community. You’ll get dressed in typical clothes and use traditional tools to participate in the lifeways of the Andean people. 

Explore the Peruvian Amazon

From the Tambopata National Reserve to Manú National Park, enjoy spectacular views and many family-friendly activities. These include river cruises, accessible jungle hikes, visits to indigenous villages, and plenty of wildlife observation. A Peruvian Amazon tour is a great way to break up your trip.

Take the Vistadome Train to Machu Picchu

Savor the dramatic scenery of the Andes on a scenic train journey to the station at Agua Calientes. There, board a coach for a 25-minute ride to Machu Picchu , the fabled “Lost City of the Incas” built circa 1450 by the Inca emperor Pachacuti.  

What to Eat in Peru?  

Peruvian food is enjoying a moment and with good reason. This cuisine reflects the diverse history, culture, and local resources of the nation while offering plenty of mouthwatering recipes. What should you order while in Peru? Some of our favorite dishes include:

  • Aji de Gallina : A chicken dish crafted using Peru’s famous bright yellow Aji Amarillo peppers. The slight spiciness of the meal keeps it from descending into boredom without proving “too hot” for kids. 
  • Salchipapas : This mixture of papas (potatoes) and salchidas (sausage) will put a smile on any kid’s (or adult’s) face.  It also represents a hearty treat that’ll stick with you throughout the day. 
  • Papas a la Huanca í na : This glorious mixture of  huancaína , a creamy cheese sauce, over boiled Peruvian potatoes and hard-boiled eggs tastes both rich and satisfying.
  • Mazamorra Morada : This popular dessert is made from purple corn and fruit and will please just about any sweet-loving palate.

From  Aji de Gallina to Salchipapas , there’s no end to yummy Peruvian food for kids. What’s more, the Peruvian reliance on local vegetables and fruits translates into nutritious dishes sure to satisfy without causing a sugar rush.

Accommodations in Peru

Multigenerational travels to Peru provide ample opportunity for three generations (or more) of your family to come together for unforgettable memory-making. It’s important to find accommodations that fit the needs of your family. 

Where to Stay in Peru with a Family

Here are a few more upscale options for the most luxurious traveler:

  • Belmond Miraflores (Lima)
  • Tambo del Inka (Sacred Valley)
  • Titilaka (Lake Titicaca)
  • Inkaterra (Machu Picchu)
  • Belmond Monasterio (Cusco)

Peru Itinerary ideas

A family vacation to Peru should be a minimum of 10 or 11 days long to allow for travel both ways. A flight from New York to Lima takes approximately eight hours. Peru family travel will also require time to acclimate to the high altitude of places within the Sacred Valley, including Cusco and Machu Picchu. 

Peru itinerary: Lima to Cusco

Fly into Lima and spend a couple of days exploring the city. Head to Cusco to start your Sacred Valley experience. At Piuray Lagoon, enjoy a kayaking or paddleboarding lesson before taking a traditional Andean ceramics class. 

Continue to Chinchero, Maras, Moray, and Ollantaytambo, to learn more about the vibrant Inca Civilization. In Huilloc, enjoy a community-based experience that provides a behind-the-scenes look into daily life. Then, take a scenic Vistadome train ride to Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you’ll savor the mystique and adventure of the “Lost City.” 

While visiting Machu Picchu, you can also stop into the small town of Aguas Calientes, nestled along the banks of the Urubamba River. There, the whole family can enjoy shops and eateries, or soaking in the hot springs. Then, take a short walk to the Machu Picchu Site Museum and Botanical Garen where you can explore a wide variety of local flora.

You can also discover the architectural wonders of Cusco and Sacsayhuaman or enjoy a horseback riding expedition in the Andes Mountains with a tour guide. For a sweet stop, participate in a chocolate-making workshop at a chocolate museum. 

This is the  Peru itinerary  we looked at for planning a trip.

Amazon Extension: Puerto Maldonado

Take a short flight from the Lima Airport into Puerto Maldonado Airport and head to the pier just 15 minutes away. From there, spend 45 minutes sailing along the Madres de Dios River to your hotel, experiencing expansive vistas of the forest along the way. 

Choose from a variety of excursions that allow you to explore the rainforest at your own pace. Options include a guided walk to learn more about the Amazon Basin, passing by impressive trees such as the Shihuahuaco and the strangler fig. Or, explore the river by night, keeping an eye out for the rainforest’s nocturnal creatures — owls, capybaras, nightjars, alligators, and more. 

The post How to Plan an Epic Peru Family Vacation appeared first on Groups Are A Trip .

If you are looking for a bucket list family trip, Peru doesn't disappoint. With everything from spectacular hikes to charming towns, and everything in between, a family vacation to Peru is the trip of a lifetime. Here's how to plan a family vacation to Peru.

The Travel Company Making Machu Picchu Wheelchair Accessible

Wheel the World offers travelers specialized wheelchairs that can traverse difficult terrain

Brigit Katz

Correspondent

machu picchu

Machu Picchu, the dazzling Inca city built nearly 8,000 feet above sea-level atop Peru’s Andes mountains, is comprised of sprawling terraces, narrow lanes and more than 100 flights of stairs . More than 1 million tourists make the challenging trek through Machu Picchu each year; now, people in wheelchairs will also get a chance to experience this world wonder.

As Lilit Marcus reports for CNN , the travel company Wheel the World will soon offer the first-ever wheelchair-accessible tours of Machu Picchu.

The idea for Wheel of the World began in 2017, as co-founder Alvaro Silberstein began making meticulous plans to hike the Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, a region known for its staggering mountains and brilliant blue icebergs. Alvaro, who uses a wheelchair, assembled a team that included mountaineers and disabilities experts, and raised $8,000 to buy a specialized trekking wheelchair for the hike, which he donated to the park after his trip so it could be used by other people with disabilities.

From there, Silberstein, then a Berkeley Haas School of Business student, teamed up with friend and classmate Camilo Navarro to launch a company that would make other similarly beautiful but rugged terrains wheelchair accessible.

Already, Wheel the World offers a number of tours in Mexico and Chile, where Silberstein and Navarro hail, according to Caroline Goldstein of artnet News ; the new Machu Picchu experience marks the company’s first venture into Peru. A four-day trip costs around $1,500, including hotel stays and excluding airfare, on par with non-accessible tours, according to Marcus. There is also a single-day Machu Picchu tour, which costs $990.

Ancient sites like this one often can’t be modified with accessible infrastructure due to preservation concerns, so providing the proper equipment is key. Partners donate specialized chairs to Wheel the World; the company uses the Joëlette trekking wheelchair, which is “designed with only one wheel and two long sticks that make it look like a wheelbarrow,” Navarro tells Marcus. “It is a mix of steel and aluminum, like a bicycle, so it’s light.” The chairs can’t be self-propelled, but assistants and trained guides are on hand to help lone travelers.

As is true for any visitor looking to see Machu Picchu up close, trekking through the site may not be easy, but it is now possible for tourists in wheelchairs to do it, as Silberstein showed when he and a woman named Isabel Aguirre became the first quadriplegic and paraplegic travelers to make the ambitious 7-mile journey up the mountain last year.

“[A]t many exhausted moments we wondered if we would make it,” he said at the time, “but ... seeing Machu Picchu from on high was probably the most beautiful moment in my life”.

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Brigit Katz | | READ MORE

Brigit Katz is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared in a number of publications, including NYmag.com, Flavorwire and Tina Brown Media's Women in the World.

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Costa Rica Traveler View

Travel health notices, vaccines and medicines, non-vaccine-preventable diseases, stay healthy and safe.

  • Packing List

After Your Trip

Map - Costa Rica

Be aware of current health issues in Costa Rica. Learn how to protect yourself.

Level 1 Practice Usual Precautions

  • Dengue in the Americas May 16, 2024 Dengue is a risk in many parts of Central and South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Some countries are reporting increased numbers of cases of the disease. Travelers to the Americas can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites. Destination List: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Ecuador, including the Galápagos Islands, French Guiana (France), Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Martinique (France), Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay

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Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor at least a month before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need. If you or your doctor need help finding a location that provides certain vaccines or medicines, visit the Find a Clinic page.

Routine vaccines

Recommendations.

Make sure you are up-to-date on all routine vaccines before every trip. Some of these vaccines include

  • Chickenpox (Varicella)
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)

Immunization schedules

All eligible travelers should be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. Please see  Your COVID-19 Vaccination  for more information. 

COVID-19 vaccine

Hepatitis A

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers one year old or older going to Costa Rica.

Infants 6 to 11 months old should also be vaccinated against Hepatitis A. The dose does not count toward the routine 2-dose series.

Travelers allergic to a vaccine component or who are younger than 6 months should receive a single dose of immune globulin, which provides effective protection for up to 2 months depending on dosage given.

Unvaccinated travelers who are over 40 years old, immunocompromised, or have chronic medical conditions planning to depart to a risk area in less than 2 weeks should get the initial dose of vaccine and at the same appointment receive immune globulin.

Hepatitis A - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Hep A

Hepatitis B

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers younger than 60 years old traveling to Costa Rica. Unvaccinated travelers 60 years and older may get vaccinated before traveling to Costa Rica.

Hepatitis B - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Hep B

CDC recommends that travelers going to certain areas of Costa Rica take prescription medicine to prevent malaria. Depending on the medicine you take, you will need to start taking this medicine multiple days before your trip, as well as during and after your trip. Talk to your doctor about which malaria medication you should take.

Find  country-specific information  about malaria.

Malaria - CDC Yellow Book

Considerations when choosing a drug for malaria prophylaxis (CDC Yellow Book)

Malaria information for Costa Rica.

Cases of measles are on the rise worldwide. Travelers are at risk of measles if they have not been fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to departure, or have not had measles in the past, and travel internationally to areas where measles is spreading.

All international travelers should be fully vaccinated against measles with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, including an early dose for infants 6–11 months, according to  CDC’s measles vaccination recommendations for international travel .

Measles (Rubeola) - CDC Yellow Book

Costa Rica is free of dog rabies. However, rabies may still be present in wildlife species, particularly bats. CDC recommends rabies vaccination before travel only for people working directly with wildlife. These people may include veterinarians, animal handlers, field biologists, or laboratory workers working with specimens from mammalian species.

Rabies - CDC Yellow Book

Recommended for most travelers, especially those staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities or rural areas.

Typhoid - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Typhoid

Yellow Fever

Required for travelers ≥9 months old arriving from countries with risk for YF virus transmission. 1 Included in this requirement are travelers arriving from Tanzania and Zambia, and designated areas of: Colombia (the entire country, except the cities of Barranquilla, Bogotá, Cali, Cartagena, and Medellín, and the archipelago department, San Andrés and Providencia); Ecuador (the provinces of Morona-Santiago, Napo, Orellana, Pastaza, Sucumbíos, and Zamora-Chinchipe, and excluding the rest of the country); Paraguay (the entire country, except the city of Asunción); Peru (the entire country, except the cities of Cusco and Lima, the regions of Cajamarca, Lambayeque, Piura, and Tumbes, and the highland tourist areas of Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail); Trinidad & Tobago (the entire country, except the urban areas of Port of Spain; travelers with itineraries limited to the island of Tobago, and travelers with airport transits or layovers are also exempt from this requirement). Travelers arriving from Argentina and Panama are exempt from this requirement.

Yellow Fever - CDC Yellow Book

Avoid contaminated water

Leptospirosis

How most people get sick (most common modes of transmission)

  • Touching urine or other body fluids from an animal infected with leptospirosis
  • Swimming or wading in urine-contaminated fresh water, or contact with urine-contaminated mud
  • Drinking water or eating food contaminated with animal urine
  • Avoid contaminated water and soil

Clinical Guidance

Avoid bug bites, chagas disease (american trypanosomiasis).

  • Accidentally rub feces (poop) of the triatomine bug into the bug bite, other breaks in the skin, your eyes, or mouth
  • From pregnant woman to her baby, contaminated blood products (transfusions), or contaminated food or drink.
  • Avoid Bug Bites

Chagas disease

  • Mosquito bite

Leishmaniasis

  • Sand fly bite
  • An infected pregnant woman can spread it to her unborn baby

Airborne & droplet

  • Breathing in air or accidentally eating food contaminated with the urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents
  • Bite from an infected rodent
  • Less commonly, being around someone sick with hantavirus (only occurs with Andes virus)
  • Avoid rodents and areas where they live
  • Avoid sick people

Tuberculosis (TB)

  • Breathe in TB bacteria that is in the air from an infected and contagious person coughing, speaking, or singing.

Learn actions you can take to stay healthy and safe on your trip. Vaccines cannot protect you from many diseases in Costa Rica, so your behaviors are important.

Eat and drink safely

Food and water standards around the world vary based on the destination. Standards may also differ within a country and risk may change depending on activity type (e.g., hiking versus business trip). You can learn more about safe food and drink choices when traveling by accessing the resources below.

  • Choose Safe Food and Drinks When Traveling
  • Water Treatment Options When Hiking, Camping or Traveling
  • Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene | Healthy Water
  • Avoid Contaminated Water During Travel

You can also visit the  Department of State Country Information Pages  for additional information about food and water safety.

Prevent bug bites

Bugs (like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas) can spread a number of diseases in Costa Rica. Many of these diseases cannot be prevented with a vaccine or medicine. You can reduce your risk by taking steps to prevent bug bites.

What can I do to prevent bug bites?

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
  • Use an appropriate insect repellent (see below).
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
  • Stay and sleep in air-conditioned or screened rooms.
  • Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.

What type of insect repellent should I use?

  • FOR PROTECTION AGAINST TICKS AND MOSQUITOES: Use a repellent that contains 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up to several hours.
  • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin)
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD)
  • 2-undecanone
  • Always use insect repellent as directed.

What should I do if I am bitten by bugs?

  • Avoid scratching bug bites, and apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to reduce the itching.
  • Check your entire body for ticks after outdoor activity. Be sure to remove ticks properly.

What can I do to avoid bed bugs?

Although bed bugs do not carry disease, they are an annoyance. See our information page about avoiding bug bites for some easy tips to avoid them. For more information on bed bugs, see Bed Bugs .

For more detailed information on avoiding bug bites, see Avoid Bug Bites .

Stay safe outdoors

If your travel plans in Costa Rica include outdoor activities, take these steps to stay safe and healthy during your trip.

  • Stay alert to changing weather conditions and adjust your plans if conditions become unsafe.
  • Prepare for activities by wearing the right clothes and packing protective items, such as bug spray, sunscreen, and a basic first aid kit.
  • Consider learning basic first aid and CPR before travel. Bring a travel health kit with items appropriate for your activities.
  • If you are outside for many hours in heat, eat salty snacks and drink water to stay hydrated and replace salt lost through sweating.
  • Protect yourself from UV radiation : use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, wear protective clothing, and seek shade during the hottest time of day (10 a.m.–4 p.m.).
  • Be especially careful during summer months and at high elevation. Because sunlight reflects off snow, sand, and water, sun exposure may be increased during activities like skiing, swimming, and sailing.
  • Very cold temperatures can be dangerous. Dress in layers and cover heads, hands, and feet properly if you are visiting a cold location.

Stay safe around water

  • Swim only in designated swimming areas. Obey lifeguards and warning flags on beaches.
  • Practice safe boating—follow all boating safety laws, do not drink alcohol if driving a boat, and always wear a life jacket.
  • Do not dive into shallow water.
  • Do not swim in freshwater in developing areas or where sanitation is poor.
  • Avoid swallowing water when swimming. Untreated water can carry germs that make you sick.
  • To prevent infections, wear shoes on beaches where there may be animal waste.

Keep away from animals

Most animals avoid people, but they may attack if they feel threatened, are protecting their young or territory, or if they are injured or ill. Animal bites and scratches can lead to serious diseases such as rabies.

Follow these tips to protect yourself:

  • Do not touch or feed any animals you do not know.
  • Do not allow animals to lick open wounds, and do not get animal saliva in your eyes or mouth.
  • Avoid rodents and their urine and feces.
  • Traveling pets should be supervised closely and not allowed to come in contact with local animals.
  • If you wake in a room with a bat, seek medical care immediately. Bat bites may be hard to see.

All animals can pose a threat, but be extra careful around dogs, bats, monkeys, sea animals such as jellyfish, and snakes. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, immediately:

  • Wash the wound with soap and clean water.
  • Go to a doctor right away.
  • Tell your doctor about your injury when you get back to the United States.

Consider buying medical evacuation insurance. Rabies is a deadly disease that must be treated quickly, and treatment may not be available in some countries.

Reduce your exposure to germs

Follow these tips to avoid getting sick or spreading illness to others while traveling:

  • Wash your hands often, especially before eating.
  • If soap and water aren’t available, clean hands with hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Try to avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home or in your hotel room, unless you need medical care.

Avoid sharing body fluids

Diseases can be spread through body fluids, such as saliva, blood, vomit, and semen.

Protect yourself:

  • Use latex condoms correctly.
  • Do not inject drugs.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. People take more risks when intoxicated.
  • Do not share needles or any devices that can break the skin. That includes needles for tattoos, piercings, and acupuncture.
  • If you receive medical or dental care, make sure the equipment is disinfected or sanitized.

Know how to get medical care while traveling

Plan for how you will get health care during your trip, should the need arise:

  • Carry a list of local doctors and hospitals at your destination.
  • Review your health insurance plan to determine what medical services it would cover during your trip. Consider purchasing travel health and medical evacuation insurance.
  • Carry a card that identifies, in the local language, your blood type, chronic conditions or serious allergies, and the generic names of any medications you take.
  • Some prescription drugs may be illegal in other countries. Call Costa Rica’s embassy to verify that all of your prescription(s) are legal to bring with you.
  • Bring all the medicines (including over-the-counter medicines) you think you might need during your trip, including extra in case of travel delays. Ask your doctor to help you get prescriptions filled early if you need to.

Many foreign hospitals and clinics are accredited by the Joint Commission International. A list of accredited facilities is available at their website ( www.jointcommissioninternational.org ).

In some countries, medicine (prescription and over-the-counter) may be substandard or counterfeit. Bring the medicines you will need from the United States to avoid having to buy them at your destination.

Select safe transportation

Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of healthy US citizens in foreign countries.

In many places cars, buses, large trucks, rickshaws, bikes, people on foot, and even animals share the same lanes of traffic, increasing the risk for crashes.

Be smart when you are traveling on foot.

  • Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks.
  • Pay attention to the traffic around you, especially in crowded areas.
  • Remember, people on foot do not always have the right of way in other countries.

Riding/Driving

Choose a safe vehicle.

  • Choose official taxis or public transportation, such as trains and buses.
  • Ride only in cars that have seatbelts.
  • Avoid overcrowded, overloaded, top-heavy buses and minivans.
  • Avoid riding on motorcycles or motorbikes, especially motorbike taxis. (Many crashes are caused by inexperienced motorbike drivers.)
  • Choose newer vehicles—they may have more safety features, such as airbags, and be more reliable.
  • Choose larger vehicles, which may provide more protection in crashes.

Think about the driver.

  • Do not drive after drinking alcohol or ride with someone who has been drinking.
  • Consider hiring a licensed, trained driver familiar with the area.
  • Arrange payment before departing.

Follow basic safety tips.

  • Wear a seatbelt at all times.
  • Sit in the back seat of cars and taxis.
  • When on motorbikes or bicycles, always wear a helmet. (Bring a helmet from home, if needed.)
  • Avoid driving at night; street lighting in certain parts of Costa Rica may be poor.
  • Do not use a cell phone or text while driving (illegal in many countries).
  • Travel during daylight hours only, especially in rural areas.
  • If you choose to drive a vehicle in Costa Rica, learn the local traffic laws and have the proper paperwork.
  • Get any driving permits and insurance you may need. Get an International Driving Permit (IDP). Carry the IDP and a US-issued driver's license at all times.
  • Check with your auto insurance policy's international coverage, and get more coverage if needed. Make sure you have liability insurance.
  • Avoid using local, unscheduled aircraft.
  • If possible, fly on larger planes (more than 30 seats); larger airplanes are more likely to have regular safety inspections.
  • Try to schedule flights during daylight hours and in good weather.

Medical Evacuation Insurance

If you are seriously injured, emergency care may not be available or may not meet US standards. Trauma care centers are uncommon outside urban areas. Having medical evacuation insurance can be helpful for these reasons.

Helpful Resources

Road Safety Overseas (Information from the US Department of State): Includes tips on driving in other countries, International Driving Permits, auto insurance, and other resources.

The Association for International Road Travel has country-specific Road Travel Reports available for most countries for a minimal fee.

For information traffic safety and road conditions in Costa Rica, see Travel and Transportation on US Department of State's country-specific information for Costa Rica .

Maintain personal security

Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would at home, and always stay alert and aware of your surroundings.

Before you leave

  • Research your destination(s), including local laws, customs, and culture.
  • Monitor travel advisories and alerts and read travel tips from the US Department of State.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) .
  • Leave a copy of your itinerary, contact information, credit cards, and passport with someone at home.
  • Pack as light as possible, and leave at home any item you could not replace.

While at your destination(s)

  • Carry contact information for the nearest US embassy or consulate .
  • Carry a photocopy of your passport and entry stamp; leave the actual passport securely in your hotel.
  • Follow all local laws and social customs.
  • Do not wear expensive clothing or jewelry.
  • Always keep hotel doors locked, and store valuables in secure areas.
  • If possible, choose hotel rooms between the 2nd and 6th floors.

Healthy Travel Packing List

Use the Healthy Travel Packing List for Costa Rica for a list of health-related items to consider packing for your trip. Talk to your doctor about which items are most important for you.

Why does CDC recommend packing these health-related items?

It’s best to be prepared to prevent and treat common illnesses and injuries. Some supplies and medicines may be difficult to find at your destination, may have different names, or may have different ingredients than what you normally use.

If you are not feeling well after your trip, you may need to see a doctor. If you need help finding a travel medicine specialist, see Find a Clinic . Be sure to tell your doctor about your travel, including where you went and what you did on your trip. Also tell your doctor if you were bitten or scratched by an animal while traveling.

If your doctor prescribed antimalarial medicine for your trip, keep taking the rest of your pills after you return home. If you stop taking your medicine too soon, you could still get sick.

Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness. If you become ill with a fever either while traveling in a malaria-risk area or after you return home (for up to 1 year), you should seek immediate medical attention and should tell the doctor about your travel history.

For more information on what to do if you are sick after your trip, see Getting Sick after Travel .

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COMMENTS

  1. Peru

    Not recommended for travel limited to areas >2,300 m (≈7,550 ft) elevation, areas west of the Andes not listed above, the city of Lima (the capital), and the highland tourist areas (the city of Cusco, the Inca Trail, and Machu Picchu). Yellow Fever - CDC Yellow Book

  2. Peru

    The city itself has multiple cultural attractions that travelers can visit on foot (e.g., the Inca Museum, the Qorikancha Temple, the Barrio de los Artesanos in the San Blas neighborhood, and numerous churches). The 4-hour train trip to the ancient city of Machu Picchu (2,430 m; ≈8,000 ft) is extremely popular.

  3. Peru Travel Advisory

    Travel Advisory. November 15, 2023. Peru - Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution. K U T C. Last Update: Reissued with updates to crime information. Exercise increased caution due to crime, civil unrest, and the possibility of kidnapping. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory. Do not travel to:

  4. Travel Advisory: Peru

    Road travel from Lima to Huancayo city. Road travel from La Merced city to the Satipo provincial boundary. Last Update: Reissued with updates to COVID-19 information. For Assistance: U.S. Embassy Lima, Peru. Avenida La Encalada 1615. Santiago de Surco 15023, Lima. +51-1-618-2000. [email protected].

  5. Machu Picchu's strict pandemic rules may be here to stay

    The pandemic is spurring changes to Machu Picchu, some of which may last long after the global outbreak ends. The 15th century Incan archeological site has been a poster child for over-tourism for ...

  6. Peru: Cusco, Machu Picchu & Other Regions

    Travelers to Machu Picchu will arrive and transit through Cusco, 11,200 ft (3,400 m) above sea level. A recent study of travelers to Cusco found that three-quarters flew directly from sea level. ... CDC recommends vaccination for all travelers ≥9 months of age who intend to visit areas of the country <7,546 ft (2,300 m) in the regions of ...

  7. The collapse of tourism brings problems to Machu Picchu

    COVID-19 vaccines could bring back their jobs. In the fall of 2020, a woman walked by the Cathedral of Cusco high in the Peruvian Andes. Tourism in the area surrounding the Incan ruins at Machu ...

  8. Peru Travel Requirements & Vaccinations

    Peru has countless attractions and historic marvels to experience, including the stunning Machu Picchu, picturesque mountainous regions and relaxing sandy beaches. Schedule an appointment at the UH Roe Green Center for Travel Medicine & Global Health to get your travel vaccinations, booster shots and safety tips for staying healthy on your journey to Peru.

  9. The Ultimate Machu Picchu Travel Guide

    Chris Marinaccio/Travel + Leisure. Every year, millions of people visit the imposing and mysterious Incan citadel of Machu Picchu in Peru. But getting to the massive agricultural terraces ...

  10. Peru International Travel Information

    Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution and Travel Advisories.

  11. Machu Picchu Tours: How to Get There and Tips for Visiting

    What: Machu Picchu tours. When: Machu Picchu is accessible daily with entrances from 6 a.m. to noon or noon to 5:30 p.m. During the month of February, the Inca Trail is closed for maintenance and ...

  12. Machu Picchu Access Blocked by Peruvian Protesters Over New Ticket

    The U.S. Embassy advised travelers who want to try to reach the site by other means to make sure they take enough food and any medicine they might need. Machu Picchu, believed to be a 15th-century ...

  13. CDC adds 5 more Caribbean island destinations to its highest ...

    Other notable travel hot spots added to Level 4 this week that the CDC suggests travelers avoid: Peru, home to Machu Picchu, and the United Arab Emirates, where Dubai is located.

  14. Tourists stranded after Peru protests block access to Machu Picchu

    Reuters —. Protests in Peru are blocking access to Machu Picchu, one of South America's most popular heritage sites, with local anger over a new ticketing system halting rail transport to the ...

  15. Travelers' Health

    More. Learn about CDC's Traveler Genomic Surveillance Program that detects new COVID-19 variants entering the country. Sign up to get travel notices, clinical updates, & healthy travel tips. CDC Travelers' Health Branch provides updated travel information, notices, and vaccine requirements to inform international travelers and provide ...

  16. Travel advice and advisories for Peru

    Contact your travel agency for a list of recommended intercity bus companies; Ministry of Transportation - Government of Peru (in Spanish) Trains. Trains operate between Arequipa-Cusco-Puno and between Cusco-Ollantaytambo-Machu Picchu. Demonstrations, strikes and derailments can disrupt travel by train, including trains to or from Machu Picchu.

  17. how should I deal with altitude sickness problems? : r/Machupicchu

    So me and my family are going to go to Machu Picchu in June. The tickets we bought were Circuit 4 + Huchuy Picchu. However, one of my family members have low blood cells, and therefore altitude sickness and low blood oxygen at high altitudes. I checked the altitude of Machu Picchu, and it is around 8,000 feet, which should be fine. However the ...

  18. Helicopters Evacuate Travelers Stranded at Machu Picchu

    Daily Correspondent. December 21, 2022. Machu Picchu, a 15th-century Inca structure in the Andes Mountains Pexels. The Peruvian government has evacuated tourists who were stranded at Machu Picchu ...

  19. Yellow Fever Vaccine & Malaria Prevention Information, by Country

    Not recommended for travel limited to areas >2,300 m (≈7,550 ft) elevation, areas west of the Andes not listed above, the city of Lima (the capital), and the highland tourist areas (the city of Cusco, the Inca Trail, and Machu Picchu). Malaria Prevention. Transmission areas

  20. How to Plan an Epic Peru Family Vacation

    The CDC does recommend travelers to Peru take certain precautions. Hepatitis A is an important one, as well as Typhoid, and Tetanus. ... take a short walk to the Machu Picchu Site Museum and ...

  21. The Travel Company Making Machu Picchu Wheelchair Accessible

    As Lilit Marcus reports for CNN, the travel company Wheel the World will soon offer the first-ever wheelchair-accessible tours of Machu Picchu. The idea for Wheel of the World began in 2017, as co ...

  22. Costa Rica

    All international travelers should be fully vaccinated against measles with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, including an early dose for infants 6-11 months, according to CDC's measles vaccination recommendations for international travel. Costa Rica is free of dog rabies.