Are you dreaming of wandering the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, exploring the depths of the Amazon rainforest, and sampling Peru’s incredible cuisine? I don’t blame you one bit – this amazing country is on so many bucket lists for good reason! But before you click ‘purchase’ on those flight tickets, it’s crucial to understand Peru’s entry and health requirements. While a little preparation is needed on your part, it will ensure you can fully immerse yourself in the magic of Peru without any hiccups. Read on below as I break down everything you need to know about getting vaccinated for Peru and staying healthy during your travels.
Which Vaccines Do You Need for Peru?
Peru requires proof of yellow fever vaccination if you are traveling from or have transited through a country with risk of yellow transmission. This includes countries in South America and Africa – check the latest list here. The vaccine must be administered at least 10 days before entering Peru and you must bring your International Certificate of Vaccination (aka Yellow Card) as proof. I know, getting a shot doesn’t sound fun, but yellow fever is a serious and potentially fatal viral disease, so it’s worth it!
In addition to yellow fever, there are some other immunizations that are highly recommended for travel to Peru:
- Hepatitis A – This vaccination provides protection against the Hepatitis A virus which can cause severe liver disease. It is recommended for all travelers to Peru since Hepatitis A can be contracted through contaminated food or water. The vaccine requires 2 doses spaced 6-12 months apart. But you should get the first dose at least 2 weeks before departure.
- Typhoid – Typhoid fever is another disease that can be spread through food or drink contaminated by Salmonella Typhi bacteria. While rare, typhoid outbreaks do occur in Peru, so it’s better to be protected through vaccination if possible. There are a few options for typhoid immunization – injections or oral tablets.
- Rabies – Only recommended for travelers who plan to spend a lot of time outdoors, hiking, biking, camping, or interacting closely with animals in Peru. Rabies is transmitted through the saliva of infected mammals and is nearly 100% fatal once symptoms start.
- Routine Vaccines – Make sure you are up-to-date on all your routine vaccinations like MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), polio, tetanus, etc. Check with your doctor or travel clinic for guidance.
If possible, get vaccinated at least 4-6 weeks before your departure date to Peru. This gives your body time to build immunity. And don’t forget to bring your vaccination records with you as proof!
Staying Healthy in Peru
In addition to getting your vaccinations for Peru, there are some other health factors to consider both before and during your trip:
Many popular tourist destinations in Peru like Cusco and Machu Picchu are located at very high altitudes of 8,000-11,000 ft. The lower oxygen levels and atmospheric pressure can cause altitude sickness in some people with symptoms like headache, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue.
To prevent altitude sickness, Drink plenty of water, avoid strenuous exercise, and give yourself 1-2 days to acclimate in Cusco before doing any active excursions. There are also medications that can help reduce symptoms.
Food and Water Safety
Consuming contaminated food or water is one of the most common ways for travelers to get sick abroad. In Peru, it’s best to be very careful about what you eat and drink.
Avoid raw fruits/veggies that can’t be peeled. Only drink bottled water, boiled water, or water treated with chlorine or iodine. For extra safety, consider bringing a portable water purifier. And don’t eat from sketchy street vendors.
Mosquitoes in Peru can transmit potentially serious diseases like Malaria, Zika, Dengue Fever, and Chikungunya. To prevent mosquito bites:
- Wear lightweight, light colored, long sleeve shirts and pants.
- Use EPA registered insect repellent.
- Treat clothing with permethrin.
- Sleep in air conditioned rooms or under treated bed nets.
I always recommend getting comprehensive travel insurance for international trips. It provides coverage in case you get sick or injured abroad and need medical treatment, evacuation, or trip interruption. For Peru, look for policies with emergency medical and emergency evacuation coverage of at least $100,000 – $300,000.
Entry Requirements for Peru
To enter Peru, there are a few mandatory requirements beyond just having a passport. Be sure to come prepared with:
- A negative COVID-19 test result – Either a PCR or antigen test accepted. Must be taken within 48 hours of your departure flight to Peru.
- A completed Peru Health Declaration Form – Known as the DV-Q. Must also be completed within 48 hours of departure. Easily done online here.
- Your International Certificate of Vaccination – For proof of yellow fever and/or other recommended vaccines for Peru.
Having all your documentation ready and in order will make breezing through customs a piece of cake!
Bottom Line on Traveling to Peru
Preparing for a trip to Peru does involve more planning and precaution than traveling somewhere like Canada or England. But the rewards of exploring this amazing country far outweigh any hassle!
Get your vaccinations, pack smartly, and thoroughly research any health and safety risks. The small amount of effort is absolutely worth it. With the right preparation, Peru can exceed your wildest travel dreams. I hope this guide gave you the information you need to start planning an epic, memorable, and meaningful journey. Let me know if any other questions come up!