Last week we gave you our top tips on How to Prepare for a Trek in Peru, going over the basics like physical fitness, acclimatization, and the essential packing list to get you fit and ready to hit the trail. In between reps at the gym and checking off the items on your packing list, though, it’s easy to overlook some of the other important stuff as you prepare for a trek in Peru. Here are a few things you don’t want to forget about!
The local currency in Peru is called the sol (plural, soles), and it’s important to have some on hand as you move around the region. While some places accept US dollars, many – especially, small local shops and restaurants – do not. Make sure you have small denominations (bills of 20 soles or less!) and that the bills are in good condition.
Fun fact: The current form of the currency is formally called the “Nuevo Sol” which means “New Sun” in Spanish. It replaced the previous currency, the Inti, in the early 1990s. Inti also means “sun” – in Quechua, the indigenous language of the Andes.
There are numerous ATMs in Cusco where you can withdraw cash in soles or US dollars, and currency exchange kiosks line the main street. Most ATMs will only dispense $200-300 at a time, though, so plan your cash needs accordingly!
It’s impossible to predict what will happen on any journey, and so taking out comprehensive travel insurance is a smart way to prepare for a trek in Peru. Make sure you look for a policy that will cover health concerns, strikes, natural disasters, and anything else that could impact your ability to complete your trek. Specifically, you will want travel insurance that covers you for medical emergencies outside your home country. Read the fine print!
It might seem obvious, but make sure you bring your passport with you when you prepare for a trek in Peru! If you are hiking the Inca Trail, the Peruvian Ministry of Culture may actually ask to see it in order to compare your name to those on the issued permits. AND you will also have the opportunity to get an official stamp at Machu Picchu – but only if you have your passport with you!
How to prepare for a trek in Peru: The little extras
Most personal items and other supplies are available in Peru, but when you prepare for a trek in Peru, it’s a good idea to stock up before you leave home. Here are a few items that we consider a must:
- travel-size hand sanitizer or wipes
- insect repellent
- lip balm
- travel-size hand cream
- toilet paper or facial tissue
- small plastic bags (such as Ziploc bags) – so, so useful
- band aids, mole skin or “second skin”
- pain killers
- altitude pills
- anti-diarrhea pills
- a course of antibiotics – just in case
- feminine hygiene products
- a headlamp or small flashlight
- refillable water bottle
- extra batteries for your camera or other equipment
- a power bank (solar powered if possible!) to keep things like your cell phone and camera charged while on the trail
- a small daypack for on the trail (note: the Peruvian government currently restricts backpacks entering Machu Picchu to 40cm x 40cm)
- a swimsuit
There is so much to consider when you prepare for a trek in Peru, it can seem overwhelming! For more information on what to bring, see our Packing List, or contact our Customer Service team for more tips. And when you arrive to Cusco, remember that the best thing you can do to prepare for a trek in Peru is to spend those first few days taking it easy and drinking lots of coca leaf tea!