‘Absolutely breathtaking’ is how one of our intrepid travel doctors describes this famous landmark.
‘Unlike what many people do, I didn’t do the four day hike into Machu Picchu as I was doing the Santa Cruz trek from Huaraz in the north of Peru later in the trip. Instead, from Cuzco I headed into the Sacred Valley, visiting the Pisac markets, the ruins and town of Ollantaytambo, the salt ponds of Maras and the Inca Ruins of Moray. I then stayed in the town of Aguas Calientes, allowing myself a full day to explore Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu is one of the most unique and amazing views I have ever seen and certainly lives up to its reputation – extensive ruins surrounded by mountains. It is a sight and experience I will never forget. Among other things I would definitely recommend using some tropical strength insect repellent to avoid getting bitten by the midges, and either taking Diamox or allowing time to acclimatise to the altitude’. Dr Boey-Leng Loy
The best time to visit Machu Picchu is May/June. It’s a long way to go and such a beautiful place, that minimising the risk of illness should be a high priority.
Altitude sickness is one of the most important things to consider, given that it lies high up in the Andes at 2430m. There are also a number of other concerns which are worth preparing for, including the fact that although its too high for mosquitoes (and the myriad of illness they transmit), sand-flies and midges can still be a nuisance. Food and water safety is very important with hepatitis A and typhoid vaccination usually recommended and you may want to take a self-treatment kit in the event that you fall victim to a simple but highly inconvenient bout of gastro (travellers diarrhoea).
Travellers to Peru may be required to present a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate for onwards travel and re-entry into Australia and whilst there is no malaria in Machu Picchu, it does become relevant if you add on a trip to the Amazon for example. Simply put, we definitely wouldn’t recommend travelling to Peru without having had an appointment with one of our experienced travel doctors. Dr David Rutherford