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Hiking in Peru

Safety Basics

Hiking in Peru is an excellent way to see the real Peru. Here are 5 valuable tips on how to do it safely and get the most out of your experience.

Experienced travelers know that hiking is one of the most enjoyable and inexpensive ways to slow down and see the country they're visiting.
Hiking Safety for tourists in Peru
  • Every traveler is unique and all hikers possess their own unique way of handling their upcoming hiking outing.

  • Regardless of who is involved, safety should always be the most important consideration in planning a hike in Peru.

  • It is easy to become too confident so these are some safety guidelines that hikers should always have in mind.

These will always be the basics of safety that every hiker, tenderfoot or advanced, should remain aware of.

Listed here are five of safety tips for hiking in Peru that could protect the life of a hiker and the lives of any group members they take with them.
Hiking tips for Pisco Peru

Hike in the Pisco, Peru Area

Organize the Hiking Trip to Peru

Organizing the trip, for many hikers, may seem like a safety suggestion that takes the fun out of spontaneous hiking expeditions.

When you plan a trip you do not always have to stick to an exact route or plan out every second of the hiking excursion. Instead, stick to the basic principles.

  • Pick a route that fits with your capabilities. This means that if you don't already know how to use a topographical map and compass well, then you ought to follow well marked trails instead of going off trail.

  • Above all, make sure you select a hiking plan that fits your own health and fitness limitations.

  • If you're not familiar with the area that you will be hiking in Peru, always seek out local knowledge about any hazards you may encounter, or research the hike online or in guidebooks.


Inform Others of Your Hiking Plan

Let more than one person know where you are going.

Again, you do not have to give a full route of every moment you will be hiking.

Just let them understand a simple plan and when you plan on returning.
  • Scan or take a photo of the map and draw your route on it and then email it to trusted friends or family. This will allow them to provide the trail map to nearby officials if a crisis arises.

  • If somebody knows when you will be returning, is waiting for a quick email, call or online post from you and doesn't hear from you then they will be able to contact the appropriate authorities with the proper details to find you easily.

Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Bring the Right Stuff

Gear up according to the expected terrain and conditions when hiking in Peru.

Make sure you have the appropriate equipment and clothing to handle the hiking route you have chosen and the possible climactic conditions.
  • Extra provisions, water (or water purification tablets), headlamp (or flashlight) and spare warm clothing are things every single hiking group should have.

  • A small first-aid kit, map, compass, and fire-starting tools (waterproof matches or lighter and a candle) are also crucial, but also come with the responsibility for knowing how to use them.

  • A pocketknife or Leatherman type tool can also be useful and sunscreen, sunglasses and a sun hat will probably be essentials depending upon conditions.

Carry a Communication Tool

A hiker or avid outdoorsman may think to carry a satellite phone, but let's be realistic, not many individuals have access to such extravagances.

A far less pricey option is a "Personal Locator Beacon" such as the Fast Find models which actually has no monthly service fee and can transmit a satellite "SOS" from almost anywhere on the planet.

The fact is that nearly all hikers and outdoorsman rely on their cell phones for communication while on or off the trail.

The primary disadvantage to a cell phone is that there is not good coverage in many hiking areas, especially when hiking in Peru.

If you are not carrying a communication device it may be best to travel in a group so there is always someone available to go for help.

Hike the Lake Titicaca area in Peru and Bolivia

Hike the Lake Titicaca area in Peru and Bolivia

Hire a Guide When Hiking in Peru

In Peru and many part of the world there are local guides available for your treks.

  • Often hiring a guide isn't particularly expensive.

  • Not only will the guide be familiar with local hazards and how to avoid them, but he or she will be able to share a lot of additional information with you.

  • With a guide you may see sights you never would have found on your own and learn about local culture, animals, plants and more.

  • Not all guides in Peru, of course, are well qualified. Locate the best guides via referrals from other travelers, recommendations from trusted locals, or via online reviews.

These are just a few of the tips and advice hikers and all outdoorspeople should keep in mind when making plans to go hiking in Peru.

Remember - Safety on the trail has its place, but safety before ever packing a bag or gearing up is also something that is important to consider.

For more online resources check out the advice from the outdoor safety experts at the Outdoor Safety Institute.

OSI also provides a free outdoor risk management newsletter for outdoor guides and adventure programs.


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Recommended Reading:

Mountains of Peru
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