Nobody wants to get sick while on vacation in Peru, so we hope these tips will help you stay in tip-top shape!
When you’re preparing for a vacation, you probably aren’t anticipating getting sick. A headache, upset stomach, nausea, etc. is sometimes simply your body’s way of adjusting to a new environment. In Peru, just like any other country, there are a number of factors that could cause sickness while traveling, including altitude and food poisoning.
However, the following are some handy tips to help you feel better or avoid getting sick altogether while traveling in Peru.
1. Drink water from a trusted source
While traveling in Peru, we recommend that you drink only bottled, boiled or treated drinking water. Since your body may not be accustomed to the country’s bacteria, drinking water from the tap could make you feel sick. We would even recommend that you brush your teeth using bottled water. In upscale restaurants and hotels, drinking the water should not be an issue since they would serve purified water, ice cubes made with purified water as well as use purified water to wash all fruits and vegetables.
2. Your symptoms could indicate soroche
If you’re traveling at a high altitude in the Andes Mountains of Peru, you’re symptoms could be due to altitude sickness, or soroche. While everyone experiences altitude differently, some common symptoms of soroche include dizziness, shortness of breath, headaches, nausea, upset stomach and loss of appetite. To prevent altitude sickness, it is recommended that you eat lightly before traveling to a high altitude region and avoid heavy foods while you acclimatize.
You may also drink coca tea or chew coca leaves. Coca has been used for centuries by Andean people to combat the effects of altitude sickness. Traditionally chewed or brewed as a tea, the coca leaf is a mild stimulant that world to suppress hunger, thirst, pain and fatigue.
3. Be careful with street food
While traveling in Peru, you may be tempted to have a truly “authentic” experience by ordering something from a street vendor. At Enigma, we don’t recommend that you eat food from street vendors, unless you are with our culinary expert or tour guide. It is often impossible to know exactly how the dish was prepared, what ingredients were used and how sanitary the dish ultimately is. The same rule applies for small markets where you’ll find lots of ceviche and seafood dishes. While ceviche is a popular seafood dish made using far fish, unless the fish is very fresh, the potential for food poisoning is very high.
4. Wash your hands frequently
When traveling in Peru, especially in rural areas, you will likely find that the basics, such as toilet paper and soap, are often not provided in public restrooms. For that reason, it is recommended that you always carry some tissue with you and some hand sanitizing lotion or spray. Moreover, remember that bacteria can be easily transferred by money and other objects, so wash your hands whenever you have the opportunity.
5. Consider an herbal remedy
Besides coca, there is another herbal remedy that you can use when feeling under the weather in Peru; muña! Muña is an herb that grows in the cold highlands of Peru and has a pleasant minty smell. Muña´s main benefit is digestive, meaning that it can help to sooth stomach spasms, indigestion, diarrhea, colic and other gastric issues. Muña makes a really pleasant tea and can complement coca tea when treating the symptoms of altitude sickness.
Nobody wants to get sick while on vacation, but sometimes we can’t control the time or place that illness occurs. We hope these tips have been helpful, but if you do start to feel sick while traveling with Enigma, we’ll do everything in our power to make sure you’re back on your feet as soon as possible! Depending on the severity of your illness, our guides will always ensure that you have everything you need.