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South America

Top 5 Tips for Planning a Peru Vacation

by Laura Elise

Incan ruins. Renowned cuisine. Outstanding biodiversity. Peru is a dream vacation destination, full of interesting people, places, and products. If you’re leaning toward taking a trip to Peru to discover what is has to offer, there are a few planning tips.

1. Understand your options. There are many different ways to travel. Some people enjoy the work and anticipation of planning every detail themselves. If this sounds like you, be sure to stock up on guidebooks and check out the web to up-to-date information. Others are too busy and would rather enlist the help of a travel advisor. If this sounds like you, be sure to check out online travel forums and do some searches for the type of Peru travel package you’re most interested in.

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2. Realize the diversity. Peru is full of microclimates, but the three primary environments consist of desert coastline, highland sierra, and the Amazon basin. These three drastically different regions off unique travel experiences within one country. To truly understand Peru’s ecological wealth, consider visiting at least two of these areas. Popular combinations are Machu Picchu and Amazon tours, which take you to the most famous Inca site and then down into the Amazon rainforest and Peru luxury tours that cover multiple parts of the country.

3. Know the rules. Peru is a fairly easy country to visit because it doesn’t require any advanced visas or charge entrance fees. However, when you arrive you’ll be given a small piece of paper called an Andina Card. You must keep this card with you, otherwise you while be charged an extra tax at all your hotels, and a large fee to pay when exiting the country. You also need your passport to board long-distance buses and to enter sites such as Machu Picchu.

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4.Get started early. Because Peru is growing in popularity as a tourist destination, sometimes the best hotels and sites are booked up far in advance. This includes the Inca Trail which people hike to Machu Picchu. Though there are alternate treks, if you which to trek to Machu Picchu be sure to book several months in advance. Some Amazon lodges also have limited availability and should be booked early.

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5. Take it easy. If you’re traveling to the highlands, be sure to factor in down time to adjust to the altitude. Altitude sickness is no fun and can ruin even the best vacation. Places such as Cuzco, Lake Titicaca, and Huaraz are all situated at high altitudes and you should have at least one day to relax and take it easy. Drink lots of water, eat small meals, and avoid alcohol when you first arrive at these destinations.