You’re off to Peru! Now that you’ve booked that ticket and begun to navigate the maze of hotels and hostels you’ll be jetting to and from, it is time to prepare.
Vaccines. As of March 2014 all the vaccines for this trip will be $1,000-$1,500 dollars. This pretty much makes South America just as expensive as Europe so I would suggest planning South America/Asia/Africa trips around the same decade since some of these last a long time. You need Meningitis, Hep A&B, Typhoid, Yellow Fever (Amazon), and Tetanus. Rabies is optional and I skipped it. Malaria and Typhoid are both pills. You also need MMR etc. but if you’re in an American school you’ll have that already. Get these ahead of time so that you have at least two weeks for your body to adjust before you start taking Typhoid, then another two week before you leave and start taking Malaria. There’s nothing wrong with an all at once approach but it’s hard on your system and you’re about to start doing some serious traveling. You can get these shots at any Yellow Fever approved health clinic – call around this can be hard (not impossible) to find since Yellow Fever is CDC regulated.
Hotels in Peru are either one star or four star, there is really no middle ground. You’ll also move around so much you’ll rarely stay in the same place twice. In my suggested itinerary I try to simplify as much as possible. I’d suggest just using Expedia. Their app is really easy, your price is non-negotiable (for providers), if you hate your hotel it is a swipe-click to change it. You will also have your entire itinerary in your smart phone so you can pull up directions etc. very easily. Wi-Fi is readily available everywhere in tourist Peru. (Tourist Peru = Lima, Cusco, sacred valley). How much you want to rough it is up to you. If you prefer the middle of the road (think Holiday Inn) you won’t really find it so I suggest a split. Stay in a nice hotel the night before and after Machu Pichu in Aguas Calientes and stay in a nice place in the Amazon. Cusco is a good place to go cheap.
Bring medical supplies and snacks – see my upcoming packing list!