What to bring
Dictionary; Spanish grammar book in your own language (there are no Spanish grammar books or dictionaries available in Cusco); email addresses; a guidebook; novels; a small gift for the guest family; a warm jumper/sweater; a raincoat; walking shoes/hiking boots; sleeping bag (for Inca Trail, although these can be rented as well); water purification tablets (can be bought in Cusco as well); pocket knife; torch/flashlight.
Money in Peru
The currency of Peru is the Nuevo Sol. At the time of writing USD $1.00 was equal to S/. 2.80. There are a number of automatic teller machines that take credit cards and there are numerous "Casas de Cambio" where Travellers Checks may be cashed. There are ATM machines, which are Banco Latino and Banco del Sur. It is useful to arrive with American dollars.
Altitude Sickness (soroche)
Some people experience some discomfort at this altitude. We recommend at least a couple of hours of rest prior to the commencement of classes (or any other activity). The symptoms of altitude sickness or soroche are headaches, dizziness, stomach upset and tiredness. These symptoms can be managed by reducing the alcohol intake; drinking lots of fluids (coca tea!); eating light meals and getting plenty of rest.
Watch out for sunburn at high altitude. The ultraviolet rays are extremely powerful. The air is also excessively dry at high altitude and you might find that your skin dries; use a moisturiser and some vaseline.
It is recommended that prior to arrival, students undertake a thorough medical examination, purchase health insurance and consult their physician about the necessary injections. You should be protected against typhoid, polio, tetanus and hepatitis. A yellow fever vaccination is only required if you are going to the jungle. Check malaria prophylactics for all lowland rural areas to be visited (there is no malaria in the Cusco area!). Vaccination against cholera is not necessary. Further information on health risks abroad, vaccinations etc. may be available from your local travel clinic.
The rainy season in Cusco occurs from November through March. Students may still walk the Inca Trail, however, it may be wet at times. During the dry season, from April to October, the weather is generally sunny. Temperatures are hot during the day and cold at night. It is recommended that students bring a wet weather coat and a warm coat for the nights and inside buildings, as they don't have heating.