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Lessons from Peru

Dr Joan Chamberlain TMA member Rockhampton

Yes, yes I know we can’t travel overseas presently, but true travellers will still have passports, suitcases, and travel wish list handy. I recently had 2 comments that reflected this.

Lady early in the day, "You will never get me travelling again, it is just too dangerous, especially those cruises".

Gentleman later the same day, "You know I have my next cruise booked. I cannot wait to get travelling again."

Pick the traveller.

Last year on the 26th December 2019 we left to go to South America. This was the last big combined family holiday before the clan begins to break away, settle and possibly start to have families of their own. We chose South America as our children, Hubby and I have always wanted to travel to South America and particularly to see Machu Picchu and to visit the Galapagos Islands. So, we did, and now in retrospect, our timing could not have been better, arriving back in Oz on 25th January 2020, as the world was starting to spin out of control.

Our plans included 7 of the party of 11 trekking the Quarry Trail and the last day of the Inca trail into Machu Picchu, going to Lake Humantay and up to the amazing Rainbow Mountain, then in the Galapagos a boat cruise and snorkelling with the sea lions. Jealous yet? I hope so. I will provide pictures to entice. It was indeed a most memorable and wonderful experience from all aspects, the scenery, the cultures, the food experience, and the people we met on the way.


Group at Machu Pichu
Getting close to the Wildlife in Galapagos









There were some lessons on the way. As always Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Practical Performance.

Travel Advice.


1.     Research where you are going and understand the conditions and circumstances that may cause delays or changes to plans, allow a little extra time for such events. Leave a spare day here and there. The odd day unfilled can be easily filled with newfound activities, but in a country like South America, that day gives you a buffer day for the inevitable changes in plans, flights, and unforeseen delays. This allows you to be back on track and not lose the momentum of the rest of your trip.

2.     Research the insurance cover you may need. We discovered most insurance policies will not cover you above 3,000 m. Even Cusco itself is above this height, so a broken ankle, from a trip on cobblestones or at the ruins, or a trip to hospital with severe gastroenteritis is all on your pocket. We needed altitude cover (Rainbow mountain 5,000m). Then check out the medical cover, we had some in our party with well controlled chronic health issues (Epilepsy and inflammatory Bowel disease). Not all insurances covered these, and those that did, had a small loading.

3.     Research Phone cover and access. No one covered Peru for international roaming. So we found out how to use public and hotel Wi-Fi and this provided more than sufficient. Fortunately, we were prepared for this and did not get a nasty surprise bill on our arrival home. See if your insurance covers your phones and cameras. We had 2 phones go down over the trip and insurance helped a lot.

4.     Research your vaccinations. I soon discovered that some of our party had been less than attentive to the Government provided vaccines in their youth, and some had lower immune counts than I was comfortable with. Fortunately, we started the schedules early. Good cost saving with Intradermal Rabies as the entire 11 of us needed this. Allow for your vaccines in your holiday costings as this can be an expensive but vital part of the holiday preparations.

5.     Research the places you are going for local rules and safety issues, from water safety to risk of violence and personal safety. Get advice and up to date information for each area, and have a heightened sense for property and personal safety.

There is so much more we learned, but most importantly we learned that a well planned and exciting holiday is the most amazing experience you can have.

Experiences like this only heighten your desire to see and do more.

So, keep dreaming and planning. The world will eventually be open for the adventures to begin again.


Author at Lake Humantay







Group at Rainbow Mountain. Vinicunca — also known as the Mountain of Seven Colors, or more simply Rainbow Mountain — was discovered only recently when the snow covering it melted, revealing the natural beauty of the rock beneath. Formed by weathering, environmental conditions and sedimentary deposits over time, the mountain’s unique minerology created a marbling effect.