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Vaccinations for Machu Picchu

Pre-Travel Health Concerns for Short Trips to Machu Picchu and Cusco

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Of the recommended vaccinations for Peru, only a few are normally recommended for travelers who plan to only visit Machu Picchu (via Lima and Cusco) during their time in Peru. The following two sections outline the vaccinations that you will probably need and those you can typically ignore for travel to Cusco and Machu Picchu.

Note: The information below is intended as a guide only and is not a replacement for face-to-face professional medical advice. You should always consult your doctor before traveling to Peru.

Recommended Vaccinations for Machu Picchu

The following vaccinations are normally recommended for all travelers to Machu Picchu. You may find that you have already received some of the vaccines, but revaccination (or a booster jab) may be necessary in some cases:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Typhoid
  • Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)
  • Diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus (DPT)
  • Other routine vaccinations: varicella vaccine (chickenpox); yearly flu shot

Low or No Risk Considerations for Machu Picchu

  • Yellow Fever -- According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Travelers who are limiting travel to the cities of Lima, Cusco, and Machu Picchu do not need yellow fever vaccination.” You do not need a yellow fever certificate to enter Peru.
  • Rabies -- Your doctor is unlikely to recommend the rabies vaccination for a short trip to Machu Picchu, unless you will be engaging in specific activities.
  • Malaria -- You will not require antimalarial drugs for a trip to Machu Picchu (unless you later decide to visit a risk area such as the Peruvian Amazon). According to the CDC, “There is no malaria risk for travelers visiting only Lima and vicinity, coastal areas south of Lima, or the popular highland tourist areas (Cuzco, Machu Picchu, and Lake Titicaca).”
  • Dengue -- There is no dengue vaccination; prevention is based on avoiding mosquito bites. Cusco and Machu Picchu are low-risk areas.

Other Health Concerns for Cusco and Machu Picchu

  • Altitude sickness -- Cusco is located at an altitude of 11,152 feet (3,399m) above sea level, making altitude sickness a real concern. You should always allow time to acclimatize when you arrive. Machu Picchu is lower than Cusco and just below the point where altitude sickness typically occurs. The classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, however, rises well into the risk zone.
  • Travelers' diarrhea -- Always one to guard against, travelers' diarrhea is a common ailment in Peru and one that’s best avoided by implementing basic food and water precautions.

References:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Cuzco-Machu Picchu, Peru
MDtravelhealth.com: Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu

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