Retrace the steps of one of the most fascinating civilisations in the Americas. Follow Inca traditions and history from Cuzco, through the fertile Sacred Valley and then hike to the ultimate Peruvian icon, magnificent Machu Picchu. Get a taste for colonial Spain in Lima and discover colourful traditions that still remain during this action filled active adventure.
We will be visiting Machu Picchu in March of 2012. The cost of this 8 day trip is $1800, based on double occupancy. Should you be interested in our single rate, be sure to request that rate and information when you email to reserve your spot. A $250 deposit is required to hold your spot, and it must be in no later than 60 days before departure. To make your reservation or ask any questions about this trip, please contact [email protected]. Additionally, ask about our group discounts and rates for the trip as well assistance on airfare deals, etc.
Day 1 Lima
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Peru.
Please ensure you arrive in time for the important welcome meeting at 2pm. Your leader will leave a note at reception telling you where this important meeting will take place. Please ask a member of reception for this information. This will be followed by a leader led walking tour of downtown Lima and an optional group dinner, a great time to try the local specialties.
For those who arrive early, we recommend you talk a walk around Miraflores. Go from Central Park (Parque Kennedy) to LarcoMar via Larco Avenue. Alternatively go to Parque del Amor (Love’s Park) for a nice view of Lima’s beaches. Other things to see and do include a tour to Pachacamac (approx 30 km from downtown Lima), the Museo de la Nacion, Museum of the Inquisition, Gold Museum and Archaeological Museum.
While Peru’s capital officially began life in 1535, when Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro founded the city on the Day of the Three Kings, settlements had been scattered through the valley since before the Incas. The city was in fact built on top of existing palaces and temples belonging to the local chief who had little choice but to move on. Lima was in its prime during the Spanish colonial days and much of the city’s attraction now lies in its well preserved historic centre.
Flanked by streets of ornate colonial mansions, palaces and churches, Plaza Mayor is the best place to start any exploration of Lima. Take a walk through the old streets to get a feel for colonial life. On one side of the plaza is the cathedral, which houses the remains of Lima’s founder, Francisco Pizarro. Nearby is the 16th century monastery of San Francisco which boasts a canvas of the last supper that has a distinctly Peruvian flavour: the disciples dine on guinea pig and drink from gold Incan cups. But the monastery’s catacombs are the real draw-card, and have been Lima’s underground general cemetery for hundreds of years. Another fascinating church is the Iglesia de La Merced, just two blocks from the Plaza. There are many fine museums in and around the city including the Museo del Tribunal de la Santa Inquisicion, which gives a fascinating insight into the Spanish Inquisition and the Museo Nacional de Arqueologia which offers a look at Peru’s succession of ancient cultures.
Away from the historic centre, mingle with the locals in Lima’s cosmopolitan coastal districts of Miraflores, Barranco and San Isidro. Limenos (Lima’s residents) are friendly and there are plenty of great restaurants and cafes to sample ceviche, a local seafood specialty.
Located in Miraflores, our hotel is comfortable and has ensuite rooms and a restaurant and bar attached.
Day 2 Cuzco
An early morning flight takes us to Cuzco (approx. 70 minutes flight). We arrive at approximately 9am so hotel rooms may not be ready. We can store our luggage at the hotel and head out to town for breakfast.
In the afternoon your leader will take you on a a walking tour of Cuzco including the Coca Muesum as well as a visit to the San Pedro market.
The Cuzco region truly is the heart and soul of Peru. The city itself is the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city and was the home of the Incas for two centuries before the Spanish built their first capital here. Today, Cuzco is a fascinating combination of both cultures. Inca-built walls line the central streets and many of the elegant colonial buildings are built on or around Incan foundations. This is a city steeped in history, tradition and legend and is a perfect base for outdoor activities and optional explorations into the Incan world.
Take the time to acclimatise to the city’s 3,400m (11,150ft) and explore the many baroque churches and ancient temples that dot the city. The cathedral, built on top of an Inca palace, dominates the Plaza de Armas, Cuzco’s picturesque heart. The cathedral is one of the city’s greatest repositories of art and houses an elegantly carved choir stall and a gold-covered Renaissance altar. Also worth visiting are the churches of La Compania, La Merced and San Blas.
There are several impressive Inca ruins within the city, the most easily accessed being Coricancha, once the Inca Empire’s richest temple. Once plated in thick gold, the Spaniards built a Dominican Church atop its sturdy walls. The stone fortress of Sacsayhuaman is also worth a visit. Looking over the city from its hilltop position, the fortress is built out of massive stone blocks and is the ultimate example of the Inca’s military strength.
We stay in a hotel in the heart of Cuzco, only a few blocks from the Plaza de Armas and other major attractions, with comfortable ensuite rooms.
Day 3 Sacred Valley/Ollantaytambo
Travel by private transport through the Sacred Valley (approx 2 hours total drive today), on the outskirts of Cuzco. Known as Wilcamayo to the Incas, the lush, fertile valley has long been the main source of food for the high Andes. Maize crops can be seen surrounding the river and covering the terraces carved high into the valley walls.
We will head to a community in the Valley to learn about local lifestyle and activities and if our visit coincides with market day we can spend time browsing the stalls in search of hand-painted beads or warm ponchos and maybe practising some of the local language, Quechua.
After the visit to the community we drive to Ollantaytambo, the biggest town in the Valley, situated at 2,792m above sea level. Depending on arrival time, you may be able to visit the local Inca terraces and fortress (optional).
We spend the night in Ollantaytambo at the far end of the valley. This geometrically perfect town is a magnificent example of Incan urban planning. It is especially admired for the huge terraces that guard the great temple-fortress that clings to cliffs. This is one of the few places the Incas defeated the Spanish.
Days 4-7 Inca Trail/Machu Picchu/Cuzco
Hiking acrros the Andes before Machu Picchu is a demanding but incredibly rewarding trek. Take advantage during the 4 days of the trek to get to know your porters. You will realise they work the hardest on the team and are gentle people willing to share with you their culture, language and trek experiences.
Accommodation on the trek is camping (3 nights). Double tents (twin share) and foam camping mats will be provided. Tents are set up by the porters. Meals are prepared by the trek cook.
The trail is part of a series of Inca highways that linked the Empire, all the way from Quito in Ecuador to Santiago in Chile. As we hike along from high plateau to dense forest you will see the ruins of ancient villages, temples and inns.
Classic Inca Trail Itinerary:
Day 1 – We catch an early bus (approx. 1.5 hrs) to the 82km marker – the starting point of the trek – and are joined by a crew of local porters, cook and guide. Day one is fairly relaxed trek which includes short sections of uphill trekking. The campsite is located at about 3,000m above sea level.
Day 2 – The second day is the most challenging of the trek as we ascend a long steep path (approx. 4 hours) to reach the highest point of our trek, Warmiwanusca, or Dead Woman’s Pass, at a height of 4,200 m (13,779 ft), before descending to the Pacaymayo Valley (3650m above sea level/2 hours downhill). Depending upon what has been established by the Government, you might camp here today, or may need to continue across the second pass. From the second pass, Runkuracay (3,980m above sea level) we can enjoy views of the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcabamba before descending to the ruins of Sayacmarca (1.5-3 hours downhill). From here it is only a few more minutes to the Chaquicocha campsite (3,620m above sea level).
Day 3 – We continue over the third pass and soon reach the beautiful ruins of Phuyupatamarca, the ‘Town above the Clouds’ (3,850m above sea level/90 minutes uphill). Start descending Inca Steps (2 hours) to reach our final night’s camp by the Winay Wayna, or ‘Forever Young’ ruins (2,750m above sea level), with panoramic views of the valley below.
Day 4 – The fourth day on the trek consists of a short hike (1.5-2 hours) to Machu Picchu as we climb the steps to the Sun Gate to watch the ruins emerge from the mist below.
The trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people, but do come prepared: the trail is 45km (28 miles) long and often steep. Generally the days consist of 7 hours walking on average (both uphill and downhill), plus stops for snacks and lunch. Normally trekking starts at 7am (except for the fourth morning) and you reach the campsite around 4-5pm. There is always the possibility of rain, even in the dry season and temperatures may fall below freezing at night. The trail traverses three passes, the highest being 4,200m (13,779ft).
Accommodation on the trek is camping (3 nights). Double tents (twin share) and foam camping mats will be provided. Meals are prepared by the trek cook.
If Inca Trail permits are unavailable at your time of booking, you will be offered to hike the Inca Quarry Trail instead. With spectacular and diverse sceneries the Quarry Trail is an exceptional alternative to the very busy Inca Trail.
This trek is also within the abilities of most reasonably fit people. It is 23km long in total. The trail’s highest pass is at almost 4,500 m which is higher than the Classic Inca Trail’s highest pass.
The first two nights of the trek are spent camping and the third one at a simple hotel.
Inca Quarry Trail Itinerary:
Day 1 – We leave Ollantaytambo early in the morning and drive approximately 30 min. to Choquequilla, a small ceremonial place were Incas used to venerate the moon. A further 30 min. drive takes us to the community of Socma, the starting point of our trek and where we meet the horsemen that will join us during the hike.
After approximately one hour hike we reach the Perolniyoc cascade lookout. This is a perfect photo stop and a great excuse to stop and grab a snack. From here we continue walking to our campsite, located at 3700 metres, where we arrive right in time for lunch. After lunch we set off to explore the Q’orimarca archaeological site, which used to serve as a check point during the times of the Incas.
Day 2 – This is the most challenging but most rewarding day of the hike. A 4 hour hike takes us to the top of the first pass known as Chancachuco (4400 metres). After a well deserved rest we descend about 100 metres for a light lunch. After lunch we continue walking up hill to Kuychiccasa, at 4500 metres, the second and last mountain pass of this trek.
From this point we walk mostly downhill to the small archaeological site of Inti Punku or Sun Gate. This site offers spectacular view of the Sacred Valley and Ollantaytambo underneath and the always imposing “Veronica” mountain in the background. We finally reach our campsite, near the Inca quarry of Kachiqta, at 3750 metres.
Day 3 – After breakfast we visit the quarry, its tombs, storage rooms and the locally called ‘tired rocks’ which are rocks the Incas didn’t finish carving and transporting due to the Spanish conquest.
Day three is all downhill hiking. The first stop is at the Kachiqata quarry, where we witness the work the Incas could not complete due to the Spanish conquest. From here we walk to Ollantaytambo train station where the expedition’s cook will provide box lunches for our train journey to Aguas Calientes.
Once in Aguas Calientes we meet our fellow travellers who opted to take the “Train Option” of this trip. The natural hot springs in town are an unbeatable way to spend a late afternoon/early evening. Tonight we overnight at a simple but comfortable hotel.
Day 4 – Today we take a very early bus (5:30am depending on weather conditions) along the winding road to Machu Picchu (approx. 30 minutes). In Machu Picchu we join the travellers who opted to hike the Classic Inca Trail option of this trip before taking on a guided walk of Machu Picchu.
For those travellers not interested or unable to hike the trail it is possible to spend an extra 2 extra days in Cuzco then travel by train to Aguas Calientes. The following morning we take a bus to Machu Picchu where we join the rest of the group for a guided tour. This option must be arranged at the time of booking or local fees will apply. Although you will not bee accompanied by a leader, Intrepid has an office in Cuzco, so if you need any help please feel free to drop in and ask for assistance. Should you require emergency assistance on these days please refer to the Emergency Contact section of these Trip Notes
While it is thought Machu Picchu was built around 1440 as a country retreat for Inca nobility, there is evidence this had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Another school of thought is that this was an astronomical observatory. After a visit with the trekking guide (approx. 1.5 hours) there is plenty of time for you to decide for yourself as you wander around the many temples, palaces and living quarters. After taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it is time to return to Cuzco (approx. 3.5 hours) for a well deserved shower and a glass of Pisco Sour.
Day 8 Cuzco
Day 8 is departure day. There are no activities planned for today and you are able to depart the hotel at any time. Check out time from the hotel is 10:00am. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel reception. There may be a small service fee.
If you are spending extra time in Cuzco on your own, we recommend you to rest weary legs at a cafe on Plaza de Armas or head out to see more fascinating ruins at Tambomachay and Puca Pucara. For those who can’t get enough active adventure there are plenty of opportunities to go mountain biking, horse riding or white water rafting on the Urubamba River.
For lunch or mid-morning coffee and cake head to Yanapay restaurant on 415 Ruinas St. This restaurant uses all its profits to support children in Cuzco through Aldea Yanapay and its social projects. For more info on Aldea Yanapay visit http://yanapay.facipub.com/
The itinerary attached is correct at time of printing. Please note: occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers’ comments and our own research. Our brochure is usually released in November each year. As such the information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated trip notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
Culture Shock Rating
The comforts of home are more of a rarity. English is not common and the food will be quite different to what you are used to. It is important to observe some of the local customs to not cause offence. Many of the locals’ standard of living may be confronting.
Be prepared for some serious physical activity. The majority of activities included on this trip will be challenging. The fitter you are, the more you will enjoy your holiday.
For the trek on this trip the general rule is you will need to be fit and the more preparation you have done for it, the more you will enjoy it. You will be walking with your day pack, with the possibility of extreme variations in temperature.
On day 2 of the Inca Trail you will be walking uphill from 3000 to 4200 metres above sea level before descending steeply through big steps and difficult terrain. While this challenging walk is the main difficulty our passengers face on this trip, it is also one of the highlights and worth every minute of it.
We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the months before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Doing mountain walks or climbing long staircases with a pack is good preparation. Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trek to its fullest.
This is a list of included activities on this trip. All other activities are optional and at your own expense. For a list of optional activities and sightseeing available on this trip, see the optional activities section below. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
Leader led tour of Lima
Flight from Lima to Cuzco
Leader led tour of Cuzco
Sacred Valley community visit – enroute to Ollantaytambo
4 day Inca Trail trek with porters – Inca Trail
Machu Picchu – Inca Trail
We list the following optional activities for your information. This is not an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only.
They are not necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any of them, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and does not form part of your contract with Intrepid.
If while on the Inca Trail you are happy with the services provided by your local guide and porters a tip – though not compulsory – is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you along the trail. An appropriate amount for the 4 day trek would be between PEN65-100 (US$20-40) per person, which will be distributed by you (or one or your fellow travellers) amongst all porters, assistants and cook.
City tour, Lima – US$25
San Francisco Church and catacombs, Lima – US$2
Pachacamac tour (30 km away from downtown), Lima – US$30 (plus PEN7 entrance fee)
Museo de la Nacion, Lima – PEN7
Museum of the Inquisition, Lima – Free
Gold Museum, Lima – PEN35
Archaeological Museum, Lima – PEN11 (guide fee PEN15)
Boleto Turistico (tourist ticket – full ticket), Cuzco – PEN130
Boleto Turistico (tourist ticket – half ticket), Cuzco – PEN70
City tour, Cuzco – US$10
Horse riding around ruins, Cuzco – From US$35
White water rafting, Cuzco – US$25
Mountain biking, Cuzco – US$35
Museo Inka, Cuzco – US$4
Got extra time before or after your Intrepid adventure? Maybe there is an URBAN ADVENTURE in one of the cities that you’re visiting on your trip?
Intrepid’s Urban Adventures are the city tour with a difference – there are more than 100 to choose from in over 30 cities around the world, with new trips added regularly. They are a great way to get under the skin of the city you’re visiting, in just a few hours. To make a booking contact your local travel agent, Intrepid consultant or visit www.urbanadventures.com
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
If you are happy with the services provided a tip – though not compulsory – is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips.
The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Tipping is not expected in local markets and basic restaurants. However if you wish to tip, round your bill up to the nearest 5%. In more up-market restaurants we suggest up to 10%-12% of your bill. Some restaurants already include tipping on the final amount, which should be shown on the bill as: propina, servicio or cubiertos.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$2 per person per day for local guides.
Porters (If applicable): While on the Inca Trail, we suggest PEN80-120 for all porters, assistants and cook.
Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however a base of US$1-2 per day is generally appropriate.
Luggage loaders (Argentinean bus stations): it is common in Argentina to tip AR$1 for someone to load your bag onto a bus.
Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline US$1-3 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
Demonstrations and protests:
Demonstrations and protests, often in response to local labour or social issues, occur regularly throughout Peru. National strikes can be called at short notice and can cause disruption to road networks leading to inevitable itinerary changes. Intrepid does everything possible for these changes to be at little or no extra cost; however in such circumstances we find that travellers need to access part of, or the entire, emergency fund. Please read below for more information on this trip’s emergency fund.
Inca trail permits are sold on a request basis only. Once your deposit is paid and passport details provided, Intrepid will endeavour to secure a permit for you.
In order to obtain an Inca trail permits, it is vital that you provide the correct and most up to date passport information at the time of booking (date of birth, passport number, expiry date and name spelling exactly as it appears in the passport that you will travel with). Inconsistencies and/or changes between passport details provided at the time of booking and the passport you travel with will most likely result in you not being granted access to the Inca trail.
If for reasons outside your control you must change your passport (your passport gets stole) after your Inca trail permit has been purchased, please contact your booking agent immediately to attempt arrange an alternative permit (fees may apply)
Amongst other restrictions, Inca trail permits are dated. Should you request a change to your original trip or travel day, a new permit will need to be purchased (subject to availability) at an extra cost.
In the event that Inca trail permits can’t be secured, you will be offered the following options:
-Change to another trip or departure
-Hike an Intrepid alternative trek (Machu Picchu visit still included) or
-Stay in Cuzco for 2 nights, travel to Aguas Calientes by train for a 3rd night and visit Machu Picchu before returning to Cuzco.
The Inca trail closes in February to allow cleaning and restoration works. If the trek portion of your trip starts in February you will be automatically booked to hike the Intrepid alternative trek.
Treking Group Size:
In order to maximise resources such as porters, cook, local guides, etc, the maximum group size while hiking (Inca trail or Intrepid alternative trek) may extend to 16 travellers.
Should you choose not to hike at all, please let us know in writing at the time of booking so alternative arrangements can be made. Please note if you choose this option you will be unaccompanied by your group leader. Without this prior warning, local fees may apply.
Weather: The wet season in this region is from December to March when heavy rains can cause disruptions to ground transport. Intrepid will monitor any situations that arise, and may need to change itineraries or activities in response to natural weather occurrences.
A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information. On the following nights the Single Supplement is not available:
Hotels (4 nts), camping (3 nts)
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we are arriving prior to normal check in time. However this is not always possible which means we will not be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
If you have purchased pre or post trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
Due to energy supply and timing provisions being limited in some places, please be prepared for some cold showers.
While travelling with us you will experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region’s specialties so you don’t miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Please check the ‘meal inclusions’ section of these notes for details of meals included.
Allow USD $90 for meals not included.
7 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Please note breakfasts are often simple (bread, butter, jam, coffee/tea and juice would be most common).
Plane, train, minibus, local bus
All Intrepid Latin America group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders, an Intrepid representative or an expedition team. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Hostal El Faro Inn
857 Francia St.
Phone: (+51) (1) 242 0339
Joining Point Instructions
The best way to get from Lima’s International Airport Jorge Chavez to Lima city is by taxi. As you walk out from the luggage collection area, you will find the official taxis counters. We can recommend you to take Taxi Green services. They will charge you 40-45 soles for a trip to Miraflores. The following will be useful in getting to the hotel:
Por favor lleveme al Hostal El Faro Inn, que se encuentra en Calle Francia 857 en Miraflores, a dos cuadras del Faro de Miraflores.
We don’t expect any problems (and nor should you!) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your
group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your trip leader.
If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing
customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in the Trip
Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any
additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
Please note, there may be an alternative finishing point location depending on your date of departure. Please pay close attention to the alternative details listed below.
Hotel Tika Wasi
Calle Tandapata 491(corner with Siete angelitos) San Blas.
Phone: (0051) 84-242627
Fax: (0051) 84-231609
Alternative Finishing Point
Trips departing on Mondays will finish at the Buenavista Hostel.
Hotel Buena Vista Cuzcol
Phone: +51 84 255672
Our Finishing Point Hotel
Located only three blocks from the Plaza de Armas in the historical centre of Cuzco.
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid’s Peru Operations Office can be reached on Tel: +51 99605 5559. For all other enquiries please contact our Reservations department which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week. For further contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/.
Please also make sure you have access to an additional USD$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Please note that visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change. It is important that you check for yourself.
Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your return date. The visa requirements for your trip may vary depending on where you are travelling from and where you are going (ie in which order you are visiting countries).
Chile Reciprocity Tax:
All passengers with passports from Australia, Canada, United States and Mexico must pay a reciprocity tax before entering Interpol control. The amounts are as follows:
Australia – US$61
Canada – US$132
United States – US$131
M�xico – US$23
This tax applies only to travellers entering Chile via its international airport in Santiago. This tax doesn’t apply to those entering Chile by another form of transport.
Argentina Reciprocity Tax:
The Argentine government has recently introduced a reciprocity tax which applies to Canadian, US and Australian citizens. The amounts are as follows:
Australians – US$100 (multiple entry)
Canadians – US$70 (single entry)
Americans – US$131 (multiple entry – valid for 10 years)
This tax is payable in US$ or the ARS (Peso) equivalent. At the moment this tax is payable upon arrival at Ezeiza International Airport only, however this tax may apply from other entry ports at no notice.
Laundry facilities are available in most cities we visit. It’s normally charged per kilo (around $3 per kilo). There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
What to Take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you will not be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes) we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg/22lb.
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for daytrips.
The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Please avoid the purchase of bottled water by bringing and using a water purification method. Some of the options are:
Water purification tablets available from camping stores or pharmacies eg. Micropur.
2% tincture of iodine available from pharmacies – used at 4 drops per litre of water and left for at least 20 minutes. Longer in very cold weather.
Please note domestic airlines allow a maximum of 20kg check in luggage and 5kg hand luggage. Any excess luggage expense will be your own responsibility.
As a multi-geographical country, Peru can have very diverse weather. The wet season (approx November to March) is characterised by rain and average temperatures in the highlands; heat and humidity in the central coast; and rain, heat and humidity in the jungle. The dry season (April to September) can be freezing in the highlands, cold in the coastal zone, and could present some cold fronts in the jungle. It is recommended that you bring thermals, scarf, gloves, and a warm jacket for travel in the dry season. Most of our guesthouses do not have heating, as this would be a major financial and environmental strain on our hotels and local towns.
During our trip there will be many opportunities for you to meet and talk with locals. One way to start any conversation is with pictures. We recommend that you bring some photos/postcards of your family, home, city or country where you live.
Latin Americans can be very conscious of appearance so try to be casual but conservative in your dress. Outside of beach areas halter tops and very short shorts should not be worn. When visiting churches or religious sites shoulders and knees should be covered.
The following checklist is to be used as a guide only and is not intended to be a complete packing list. Any other items that you wish to pack are at your own discretion however you should attempt to comply with the suggested luggage weight limit.
Travel documents: passport, visas, travel insurance certificate, air tickets, Intrepid voucher
Health requirements arranged
Any vaccination certificates required
Money: travellers’ cheques/cash/credit card and money pouch
Day pack to carry your personal needs during the day
First aid kit
Medication/prescriptions (it is a good idea to have a doctors letter if you are carrying a large amount of medication), travel sickness tablets if required
Prescription glasses and contact lens solution if required
Travel plug/international adapter
Refillable water bottle and water purification method – No disposable plastic water bottles are allowed in the Inca Trail. Hard plastic bottles sold on camping stores are OK.
Sunscreen, hat and sunglasses
Lightweight travel towel
Ear plugs/eye mask
Comfortable walking shoes
Local language phrasebook
Camera, film and/or memory cards with spare batteries
Personal audio player with spare batteries
Recommended for the Inca Trail:
Day pack (30-50 litres capacity) or big enough to carry your personal belongings for an overnight stay (a change of clothes, toiletries, warm jacket, camera, water, etc.)
Sunscreen and snacks while hiking.
Inner sleep sheet (for sleeping bag)
Warm hat and gloves
Waterproof jacket or rain poncho (can be purchased in Cuzco for a couple of dollars)
Sleeping bag for temperatures of at least -5 degrees. (this can also be hired locally for approximately US$16)
During the trek the bulk of your luggage will be stored at your hotel in Cuzco.
The evening before you start the Inca Trail, you will receive a small duffle bag to pack clothes for the next 4 days (6 kg maximum). Your team of porters will carry these bags for you, together with the food and equipment for the trail. Please note that you will not have access to these items until the end of each day, as the porters will always be ahead of the group.
back to top Money Exchange
Currency exchange rates often fluctuate. For the most up to date rates please refer to the following website: www.oanda.com.
With ATMs being widely available in major towns and cities, credit and debit cards are the best way to access money – note though that charges are made for each transaction. Please check with your bank before departure that your card is accepted in the countries you are travelling to. Also ensure your bank is aware of your travel plans as – suspecting fraud – they may cancel your cards after the first few international transactions.
Be aware that your withdrawing limit may vary from country to country (regardless of your withdrawing limit in your home country) and it can be as low as the equivalent to US$100 per day.
It is also advisable to carry some cash in small denominations bills, for those times when ATMs may not be available. US dollars are the most readily changeable currency.
US$100 bills with serial number CB or BE and any other USD bills that are old, torn, written or stamped on will not be accepted by local banks.
Peruvian banks are allowed to reject dollar bills which are old, torn (more than one centimetre) and which have too many stamps on them. Please make sure you do not accept bills with these problems as they are hard to use.
Please allow approximately US$4 for each domestic departure tax and US$31 for international departure tax from Lima
Keeping in Touch – communication while on the road
If you need to be contacted while travelling we recommend email. Email cafes are generally available throughout the regions we visit, although it is possible you may be without email contact for several days on some itineraries. If someone wishes to contact you in an emergency while you are on one of our trips we recommend that they contact your local booking agent, or refer to our emergency contact details. We don’t recommend that family and friends try to contact you through hotels, as they are subject to change and the reception staff may not speak English.
Issues On Your Trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local partner straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction – if this is the case please ask the leader if you may speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip but we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully in the group travel experience. If in the opinion of our group leader or company representative any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. We therefore ask that you read the itinerary in these trip notes thoroughly and then realistically self-assess your physical ability to complete the trip as described. Please consult with your doctor if you have any doubts.
You should consult your doctor with a complete list of countries you intend to visit to get up-to-date information regarding vaccinations, anti-malarial requirements or medications for any reasonably foreseeable illnesses whilst travelling in Latin America.
Proof of Yellow Fever inoculation (Yellow Card) is a mandatory requirement for citizens of some countries when entering Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru.
This card may be required by your airlines before allowing you boarding a flight to above mentioned countries.
Customs officials may require you to provide a valid Yellow Card on your way back home.
Yellow Fever vaccination must be applied at least 10 days prior to your departure date.
The World Health Organisation has countries in Latin America registered as zones affected by Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, Cholera, Rabies and Malaria.
We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities for some time during this trip, and for legal reasons leaders/guides are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc.
If you have a pre existing medical condition, please make sure you discuss it with your doctor and be aware of the way altitude may exacerbate your condition.
**Please note that this trip spends time above 2800 metres/9200 feet where it is possible to experience some adverse effects on your health due to the altitude, potentially including Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) and High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE).
Because of this it is very important that you make yourself aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude and monitor your health during this trip. For further information please refer to the AMS information sheet located on the ‘Trip Notes’ link for your trip on our website or check out the following website http://www.treksafe.com.au/medical/altitude_illness.htm.
Your leader will also hand you a copy of the AMS information sheet during your trip as well as holding a short meeting prior to travelling to altitudes above 2800m/9200ft for the first time.
If you are starting your trip in a destination above 2800m/9200ft we strongly advise reading this information prior to arrival.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website’s Safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips: www.intrepidtravel.com/safety.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities however during your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid’s operational safety policy at www.intrepidtravel.com/safety.
We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it is being implemented in the field.
Please be aware that while travelling there is the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy areas. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well lit thoroughfares.
Be particularly vigilant on public transport, including keeping an eye on any luggage that is put underneath the seats or on overhead racks. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware on the roads and even small streets and alleyways. Vehicles find their ways into impossibly small passages leaving no room for both you and the traffic.
In order to avoid fraud, it is advisable that you withdraw money from ATMs located inside banks or guarded shops during business hours only.
The availability of seat belts in vehicles (both privately chartered and public transport) is not a legal requirement in this region/country and is therefore not guaranteed on the transport that we use. Where possible Intrepid chooses transport with seat belts however this is not always possible.
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities differ from those in the western world and not all the accommodation which we use on this trip has smoke alarms, balconies that measure up to standard dimensions, fenced pools or an easily accessed second exit in case of fire. Please consider this issue when booking your trip
Your leader will conduct a brief safety discussion before our trekking activity.
Altitude sickness has the potential to affect all people from 2500m and higher. Please see the Health section of these trip notes for more information.
Travellers hiking the Inca or Lares trek.
In accordance with local laws governing tourism in Peru, trekking groups of up to and including 8 trekkers will be led by 1 local guide. The evacuation of an injured traveller in normal conditions may take more than 8 hours. For the above, and for your own safety, it is crucial that you adhere to the local guide’s safety instructions, particularly in regard to how to prevent trekkers getting separated or lost.
While life jackets are available on water craft, there may be occasions where child size life jackets are not readily available.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company’s 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your tour leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact telephone number rather than the Bank’s name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php for links to various travel insurance providers.
Your Fellow Travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group – patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone’s travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don’t keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well – this takes just a little effort on your part.
Please note that due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
Age restrictions apply to this trip: minimum age 12
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender for the duration of the trip, in accommodation ranging from twin to multi-share. Please note some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis – where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our Comfort and Original style trips you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you will have your own room (where available). Please refer to the important notes if this trip has a single supplement and any accommodation on the trip that the single supplement will not apply to. Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour, pre- and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please refer to our website at www.intrepidtravel.com/responsibletravel for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller.
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid’s philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we have been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. To make things easier we established The Intrepid Foundation. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar, up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$300,000 for all donors in each financial year. And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support in the region, through The Intrepid Foundation; or go to our website: www.theintrepidfoundation.org
Responsible Travel Project
We currently support 5 projects in South America which you can also support through the Intrepid Foundation and have your donation matched by Intrepid Travel:
1. Living Heart – works to improve the lives of disadvantaged Andean women and children within 5 communities of the Sacred Valley, near Cuzco, Peru. You may visit the wonderful Hearts Cafe in Ollantaytambo which helps to fund the organisation’s work.
2. Escuela Winaypaq – provides free primary bilingual education and nutritional support to children living in extreme poverty from 5 villages around the Taray District of the Sacred Valley.
3. Charles Darwin Foundation – we are supporting the restoration of the marine and terrestrial ecosystems of Floreana in the Galapagos Island, home to several critically endangered species.
4. Brazos Abiertos � improves the lives of underprivileged children and mothers in Mendoza, Argentina through food, housing, supplemental education and extra-curricular activities.
More information can be found at: www.theintrepidfoundation.org
We also support the Yanapay Village project which support underprivileged children in the Cuzco area. This progressive community school provides after school educational and recreational opportunities which help support children’s development. The children can do their homework, make use of the library and materials and receive alternative education based on the arts (theatre, music, painting, capoeira, circus arts etc), as well as other topics such as world cultures and religions, ecology, sexuality, languages and reading. Yanapay have a great restaurant and all profits are used to fund and to constantly improve the school.
At Intrepid we care about your porters! The treatment of porters should figure highly when you are choosing your Inca Trail trip. Please visit this link to see our Inca Trail Porter Policy.
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