Peru is quickly becoming one of the most popular foreign vacation spots on Earth. People come to visit Machu Picchu, the ancient stronghold of the Incas located in the Andes Mountains or to visit the tropical Amazon rain forest. If you’re planning on making a trip to Peru, there are a few things to keep in mind that can make your trip easier.
Peru Travel Tip #1 – Getting a Tourist Visa
If you’re coming from the United States, you don’t need to get a visa before coming to Peru. On the plane, you’ll be given a form called the Tarjeta Andina Migraciones (or TAM) to fill out with your travel information and length of stay. When you pass through immigration on your arrival, the agent will stamp your tarjeta and your passport with the number of days you’re allowed to stay in the country. Usually, you’ll be given 30 or 60 days, although if you plan on staying longer you can request the maximum of 183 days.
Peru Travel Tip #2 – More on the TAM
Your TAM is an important document. It acts as your visa while you’re in the country. If you stay at a hotel, you’ll need to show it at the front desk when you sign in so that you can avoid paying the resident tax. You also need to turn it in to Immigration when you leave the country. If it’s lost, you may be delayed.
Peru Travel Tip #3 – It’s Hot in December
Don’t forget that the seasons are reversed in South America. December is the Peruvian summer, and you should pack accordingly. The sun, especially in the mountains and on the northern coast, can be fierce. Make sure to bring sun block and a lip balm with UV protection. Sunglasses and a hat with a visor are a good idea, also. In the mountains, the temperature can vary wildly from day to evening; it’s best to dress in layers and to carry a jacket with you. Of course, the opposite is also true. If you’re traveling to Peru in the months of June through October, expect to find cold weather. Even on the coast, the temperature rarely gets above the mid 60s during the winter.
Peru Travel Tip #4 – Watch the Altitude
Altitude sickness, called soroche, can hit anyone hard, even if you’re in the very best of health. If you fly into Cuzco, you may find that you have a headache and dizziness. Coca tea is recommended by the locals to help with the symptoms. You can also take prescription medications ahead of time to help prevent any problems.
Peru Travel Tip #5 – Don’t Get Bugged
If you’re making a visit to the jungle, you’ll want to make sure you’ve had any necessary vaccinations. You can check with the Center for Disease Control to see what their current recommendations are. Dengue fever is also a possibility, so make sure that you bring and use plenty of insect repellent. Long sleeved shirts and long pants will also help prevent bug bites.
Peru Travel Tip #6 – Don’t Drink the Water
It should go without saying, but it’s best not to drink tap water when traveling through South America. Even in Lima, the water is considered contaminated by US or European standards. Stick with bottled water, and make sure that the bottle hasn’t been previously opened.