We strongly recommend the purchase of travel insurance. We have seen too many times people have to cancel at virtually the last minute because of health reasons or the illness or death of a family member. Problems with airlines as far as losses due to flight cancellation, delay or lost luggage is another common problem. Trips can also be cancelled due to problems beyond the control of the tour operator (and are thus non-refundable). Peru has enjoyed political and economic stability and peace for the last two decades, except in the region of Lake Titicaca, where labor strikes typically close access for 1-2 weeks every year. In 2001 a strike closed access to the Inca Trail for a couple of weeks. Several years ago protests in Iquitos shut down the airport for a few days. More common are environmental disasters. Earthquakes are common in Peru and in the 1990s several landslides closed the train tracks to Machu Picchu for periods of days to weeks. Floods typically have more far reaching consequences. In 2010 a January flood of the Urubamba River damaged the train tracks to Machu Picchu and access to Machu Picchu was closed until June. In February 2012 the Urubamba flooded again and access to Machu Picchu was closed for several days. The time of highest weather risk in visiting Machu Picchu are the months of January and February, although if train tracks are damaged access may be closed through June. The Inca Trail has sometimes been closed any time of the year due to rockslide avalanche, snow, freezing rain, etc. In the Amazon basin a record flood in April 2012 closed virtually all jungle lodges. The season of greatest flood risk in the Amazon is late March through May.
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