Travel Team | Jun 6, 2013
As soon as you touch down in Peru, you'll notice the change in altitude. Places like Lima and Machu Picchu are located more than 5,080 feet and 8,040 feet above sea level, respectively, which is significantly higher than what most people are used to. Although there's no surefire cure for avoiding altitude sickness, you should at least embrace some tips to help your body adjust quickly. Hydrate, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol until you're more comfortable in the environment.
One of the best ways to get to know more about a culture is by sampling the food, and you'll certainly be able to do that during your trip to Peru. CNN reports that travelers should get used to ceviche, a classic dish that takes fresh fish and mixes it with citrus flavors, peppers and other spices. It's one of the most popular recipes in the entire country and can be found at many different establishments, so don't be afraid to head anywhere from a local vendor to a fine dining restaurant to place your order.
Without a doubt, the most popular spot to see in all of Peru is Machu Picchu. Surrounding this site is a route known as the Inca Trail, which features three hiking paths stretching for miles into the mountains of the nation. Trekking through this land can bring you close to amazing vistas - not to mention give you the thrill of a lifetime - but you need to be confident in your ability to hike before setting out. The trail is physically demanding and should only be completed if you're ready to test your mettle in the rainforest. Using guides or formal tours may also be a solid option for travelers who want to see the Inca Trail while reducing the risk.
Machu Picchu isn't the only fantastic sight you should make sure to see when in Peru. Ancient geoglyphs like the Nazca Lines, which are comprised of more than 10,000 lines arranged to form mysterious patterns and pictures, and archeological sites like Batán Grande, home to more than 50 pyramids and tombs, offer wondrous historic spots that shouldn't be missed.
Even the appeal of these legendary spots shouldn't stop you from spending time in major cities like Lima. With museums, beaches, modern buildings and more, the city is filled with attractions that will enhance your trip. It's a little removed from other hotspots like Cuzco and Machu Picchu, but that doesn't mean it's not worth staying a while.
No matter what you decide to do when exploring Peru, you're going to want to be protected as you do it. While there's a good chance you're vacation will go off without a hitch, you need to be prepared for the possibility that you have a bad reaction to the food or run into trouble hiking the Inca Trail.
Before you hop on the plane to South America, make sure you shop around and check out reviews like this one. Each package will have different elements that may cater to you and your needs, so be sure to read over the policy carefully to understand what is included.
Luke Maguire Armstrong is the author of "The Nomad's Nomad." He has spent the last decade traveling, writing and designing, and funding philanthropic programs around the world.