Peru Cotahuasi Rafting and Hiking Trip Notes

White Water Rafting Cotahuasi, Peru

Although there are no immunizations required to travel in Peru, it is recommended that typhoid and diphtheria-tetanus protection be current. Hepatitis A, taken just before departure, is also recommended. The cholera vaccination is no longer officially required and cholera can be avoided by practicing strict food and water precautions. In general, we advise that you consult your physician regarding recommended immunizations and other health precautions. ATAC does not take responsibility for which medications or inoculations you and your physician deem necessary for your safe participation on the expedition.

Entry/Exit Requirements:
A valid passport is required to enter and depart Peru. Tourists must also provide evidence of return or onward travel. U.S. citizens do not need a visa for a tourist stay of 90 days or less. Visitors for other purposes must obtain a visa in advance. U.S. citizens whose passports are lost or stolen in Peru must obtain a new passport and present it, together with a police report of the loss or theft, to the main immigration office in the capital city of Lima to obtain permission to depart. An airport tax of $25 per person (price in 2002) must be paid in U.S. currency when departing Peru. There is also a small airport fee for domestic flights. For further information regarding entry requirements, travelers should contact the Peruvian Embassy at 1625 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 605, Washington, DC 20036; telephone (202) 462-1084 or 462-1085; or the Peruvian consulate in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Patterson (NJ), San Francisco, or San Juan.

Altitude Sickness:
We will be traveling over a 15,000-foot pass on our way to the Cotahuasi River. Some people experience small headaches or even nausea. We recommend that you avoid alcohol and using tobacco while at altitude. If you feel sick, be sure to rest, breath deeply, drink lots of fluids (bottled water), and perhaps take a mild pain killer for headaches. Locally brewed coca tea also seems to help. At the altitudes we will be traveling, severe altitude sickness is rare, but can occur.

It is essential to stay well hydrated while traveling, but one must take precaution to prevent sickness. We advise you not to drink any of the tap water in Peru - this includes ice in your drink. Bottled water is fine to drink and can be ordered at most restaurants. Ask for agua mineral sin gas (non-carbonated) or agua mineral con gas (carbonated). When ordering sodas, it is best to request them without ice sin hielo, as the ice is usually made from tap water. Additionally, be sure to brush your teeth with bottled water and not tap water.

While dining in Peru, take precaution with raw, unpeeled fruits and vegetables including lettuce. We recommend that if you can't peel it, don't eat it. Most restaurants wash vegetables in tap water, or don't wash them at all - this will make you sick! The high altitude also affects one's digestive system, thus it is recommended to eat in moderation and avoid rich, thick foods such as mayonnaise. However, don't be afraid to try new foods and dishes - just be cautious. We want you to experience new flavors and cuisine, but there are some things to consider when making food choices.

Despite the many precautions we take to stay healthy, occasionally one may experience diarrhea. The major problem associated with diarrhea is fluid loss, thus it is important to drink lots of fluids. If you get diarrhea, avoid milk and caffeine. The best drinks are weak tea, mineral water, and caffeine-free soft drinks. Although it is best to let diarrhea run its course, you may want to bring over-the-counter diarrhea medicines from home to minimize possible discomfort. We also advise that you carry your own supply of toilet paper, as most of the restrooms in South America either don't have TP, or they charge you for it.

If you take prescription medications that you need to bring, be sure to have a plentiful supply as well as the doctor's prescription. It is best to carry medications in your carry-on bag in case of lost luggage. If you wear prescription glasses or contacts, we advise that you bring a spare set.

Communication With Home:
In most major towns, it is possible to call home from a telephone center. While on the trip, we carry a satellite phone for emergencies only.

Electrical current in Peru is 220 volts AC.

Although the Peruvians are a warm, friendly people, thievery is a common problem. While traveling, always be cautious and aware of your surroundings. When traveling in a group, watch out for each other. Large crowds are prime locations for thieves. Keep your money in a money belt or hidden pouch that you wear around your neck and under your shirt. When purchasing items, do not pull out lots of money. We advise that you leave all valuable jewelry including watches at home. Thieves often work in pairs or groups - one tries to distract you by squirting food or paint on your clothing while the other takes your belongings. At night stay off of side streets and don't walk alone. Take a taxi back to where you are sleeping even if it is a short distance.

We can arrange your flights for you or recommend a travel agent. There are usually choices in arrival times to Lima. Try to avoid the midnight arrivals into Lima because there is no easy comfortable place to stay near the airport. Most flights leave to Arequipa in the early morning. If you have no other choice, we can arrange an airport taxi to the Mira Flores section of town where there are many hotel options.

Fitness Levels:
Although there will be lots of time to relax, read, and rest, this trip is physically demanding. The hike into the gorge is 10-hours long on uneven terrain, but mostly downhill. To best enjoy your experience, we recommend that you be in prime physical condition. Begin a fitness routine, especially one that includes regular hiking.

Below we have compiled a list of web sites that may help you find answers to questions you may have. If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to call or email us.

Money: - This is a universal currency converter site. - Exchange rates and currency forecasts. - A list of ATM machines worldwide.

Clothing / Gear: - Expedition clothing. - Expedition gear and clothing. - Tents, sleeping bags, expedition wear. - Lightweight travel clothing. - Excellent travel gear and tips. - The best prices on camera and video gear. - Anything you could ever want for the river. - Gear and clothing.

Health: - All the latest recommendations on vaccinations and information on health concerns worldwide. - Advice on how to stay healthy while flying.

Passport and Embassy Information: - How to get a passport fast and a list of embassies worldwide.

Weather: - Find out the weather anywhere in the world.

Travel Warnings: - State department warnings for overseas travelers.

Conservation: - Friends of the River.
www.sierraclub,org - The Sierra Club. - Environmental Defense Fund. - The Nature Conservancy. - International Rivers Network.

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