Peru — Visas and Vaccinations
Visitors from the US, Canada, the UK, EU states, Australia, and New Zealand do not need a visa to enter Peru, and you will be granted an automatic 180-day tourist visa upon arrival. They will also receive an additional document with an entry stamp and the rights of stay, and it is important that you don’t lose this as it’s needed to exit. Extensions on the visas are not possible, as you will need to leave and reenter, at which time you will be automatically granted another 180 days. Overstaying your visit will result in a fine of US $1 per day, payable on exit of the country.
Health and Safety
A huge amount of Peru is malaria-free since mosquitoes do not live above 6,500 ft, which covers the entire mountainous region of the Andes. Malaria has also been eradicated in Peru at sea level in Lima and the cities to the south, including Ica and Nazca. However, a low risk is present near the Ecuadorian border, between the cities of Tumbes and Chiclayo. An even greater risk is in the jungle to the east of the mountains in Peru, particularly around the Rio Ucayali basin. If you are traveling anywhere between Puerto Maldonado in the south and Iquitos in the Amazon Rainforest, you should consider taking anti-malarial medication.
Altitude sickness is a common ailment amongst travelers to the mountains, where the lack of oxygen can lead to dizziness and shortness of breath. Similar to motion sickness, this condition can be treated with pharmaceuticals, as well as natural remedies like coca tea.
A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is not required to enter Peru. Preventative shots are only recommended if you intend to travel into mosquito zones, but the Andean area is fine. Before entering Peru, it is recommended you are up to date on the following routine vaccinations for hepatitis A and B, MMR, tetanus, tuberculosis, and typhoid six to eight weeks before your intended travel. You may want to consider obtaining a rabies shot if you are headed into the jungle.
Like other countries in South America, Peru experiences a lot of opportunistic crime. As a tourist, you will be okay as long as you conceal valuables and stay vigilant. Pick pocketing is the most common crime, so do not walk around with your wallet easily accessible and avoid carrying a handbag if possible. Stick to the areas around the main attractions since poor neighborhoods may invite unwanted attention.
A couple of scams are prevalent in tourist areas, such as locals impersonating “undercover” cops. Always ask for identification if you are stopped and do not be led astray to side streets where you may be vulnerable, fictitious or not. Another trick is that someone, possibly a child, offers to help carry your bags for a small fee; implying they are trying to help, but it is likely they will run off with your luggage, so only use official porters.