Peru Travel Advice and Tips
Peru Travel Advice and Tips
Peru travel advice and tips before to do some tour or trek to Machu Picchu.
There are still a few things you should know and some details you should take care of to ensure your comfort, safety and peace of mind.
Please review the following trekking information before your departure to ensure that any surprises along the way will only be pleasant ones.
1.- Do you need to book ahead for the Inca Trail?
Yes, it is recommended that you make a reservation for the Inca trail and pay for your entrance fee well in advance. you should book 5 or 7 moths in advance.
In February, the trek is closed but you can still visit Machu Picchu by train.
2.- Is it possible to do without an agency?
Since June 2002 trekking independently on the Inca Trail has been prohibited. Regulations state that each trekker must be accompanied by a professionally qualified guide.
Checkout our alternative Inca trail treks.
Treks not requiring a permit
- Salkantay 5 or 4 day trek
- Lares Valley 4 day trek
- Choquequirao of 4, 5, 6 and 9 days trek
3.- What should I bring when I’m on the trek?
- Pair of trekking shoes and plenty socks
- Insect repellent
- Sun block
- Dark glasses (shades)
- Rain Gear or rain poncho
- Light clothing for the day and warm for the night.
- Trekking pants (the ones you unzip for shorts)
- Hat or sun cap
- Water Bottle
- Sleeping bag (unless you rent one from the company)
4.- How fit do you have to be to do the Inca Trail?
- You have to be fit. It is a common misconception that because many people do the Inca Trail then it must be easy. But it isn’t.
- The trail is 42km (24.4 miles) long and involves great physical exertion to complete. On the second day you climb two mountains and the highest point is located at 4,217m (about 13,907ft)
5.- What about altitude sickness?
- In general if you take regular exercise and spend a few days in Cusco, or better, in the Sacred Valley, acclimatizing to the altitude you shouldn’t have to suffer too much.
- We offer the Cusco City Tour which you can book whilst you acclimatize.
- The recommended medicine for altitude sickness is WATER AND COCA TEA; our guides know how to treat it.
6.- How many people in the groups?
- The maximum group size is 10 persons. Usually our groups are between 2-7 persons. Nig Adventures is specialize in SMALL and PRIVATE groups and offers a personalized itineraries service.
7.- What does the trail look like in the peak season?
- It could get a little bit crowded, but with the regulations in place, you have enough space for everyone. That why we highly recommend the alternative treks.
8.- Are there toilets on the trail?
- Toilets have improved a lot in the last couple of years and all of the larger campsites have toilet blocks with flush toilets and running water.
- On the whole they are kept pretty clean. If you do need to go to the toilet between campsites then defecate well away from the trail and water supplies; dig a hole, or cover your faces with a rock, and take the paper with you in a bag to deposit in one of the several bins along the way.
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How does the Lares trek compare to Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?
The Lares trek is slightly shorter than the Inca Trail. The trekking part of the 4-day Lares tour actually finishes around midday on the 3rd day at the village called Ollantaytamb. The group then takes the train ride to Aguas Calientes where the group spends the night in a hotel. On the 4th day of the tour the group takes an early bus up to Machu Picchu for a guided tour. Usually the group arrives at Machu Picchu for around 6:00am, before the Inca Trail Hikers. The standard Inca Trail trek, in contrast, starts further along the Urubamba Valley just beyond Ollantaytambo and treks all of the way to Machu Picchu.
Trekkers on the Inca Trail arrive at Machu Picchu around 8:30am. The Inca Trail is famous because it passes many Inca archaeological sites along the route of the trail and also passes through a large variety of eco-systems such as high mountain puna (grassland), cloud-forest and sub-tropical vegetation. The Lares trek takes us through small village communities in the mountains, where you may interact with the real descendants of the Incas. The Lares trek is a more culturally rich trek as it allows us to see Quechua farmers working in the fields, tending their herds of llamas and alpacas.
How far in advance do I need to make a trek reservation for the Lares Trek?
Trek permits are not required for this trek so in theory you could just turn up in Cusco and book this trek a day or two in advance. However the train tickets from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes and back to Ollantaytambo at the end of the trek are becoming more and more difficult for us to purchase at short notice and it is highly recommended that these tickets are bought at least 2 weeks before trek departure. Space within the group is also limited so if you don’t have much time in Cusco and you really want to do this trek then we would recommend making a trek booking as far in advance as possible.
What are the best months to do the Lares trek?
The best months to do the Lares Trek are during the dry season from April to October. Outside these months it is possible that some of the high passes along the trek may become blocked by snow which is why we only offer this trek from April to October.
What about payment, do you need a deposit?
After we have confirmed your trek booking you will need to pay a trek deposit of US$200 per person. The deposit can be paid by PayPal (preferred method as it is quick), or by bank transfer. The remaining trek balance needs to be paid in our office in Cusco at least 2 days prior to the trek departure date, before 7pm.
Is the sleeping bag and mat included?
Sleeping bags are not included and so we recommend bringing a compact three-season sleeping bag. If travelling between May and October a 4-season sleeping bag is recommended. These can be rented in Cuzco for approximately $20 for the length of the trek. Some renters may choose to bring a sleeping bag liner or sheet. Inflatable mats are provided however some travellers also bring their own self-inflating mat.
Is the trek difficult, do I need to be fit?
The Lares Trek is a 37km hike through mountainous regions. The maximum altitude reached is 4550m above sea level which is 350m higher than the highest point on the Inca Trail. You should be well prepared and healthy prior to starting the trek. You have to be moderately fit and take regular exercise. Try walking 15km in a day or go to the gym in the months leading up to the trek. It is also important to be well acclimatized to the altitude. Try to spend at least 2 or 3 days in Cusco (3350m) prior to starting the trek. This time can be put to good use visiting the city of Cusco, nearby Inca ruins and the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Is there a minimum or maximum age limit for the Lares Trek to Machu Picchu?
There is no government restriction on the age limit for the Lares Trek. However as a responsible trekking company Nig Adventures does not accept reservations for children under the age of 8 years old and adults over 65 years old. All children under 18 years old must also be accompanied by an adult. We require that all of our trekkers over 59 years old hire the service of an extra third porter (6kg).
Can I have vegetarian meals?
Our cooks can provide vegetarian meals no problem. Just let us know your dietary requirements when you book your trek.
I have a food allergy, can this be catered for?
We have plenty of clients who have allergies to nuts, wheat, etc. Please give us details of your allergy at the time of booking. Please indicate the severity of the reaction and what type of medicines you have to take in an emergency. If your allergy is severe you must be accompanied by a friend on the trek who is aware of your allergy and the location of any required medicines. Due to the nature of the remote geographical location of the trail and the lack of suitable nearby medical facilities Nig Adventures will not accept any responsibility, either directly or indirectly, for any problems due to your special medical/dietary requirements. We suggest that you to check with your doctor before booking the trek.
What do I need to carry?
We include horses to carry all the other items such as tents, food and cooking equipment. Horses are also provided to carry your personal items such as sleeping bag, mattress and change of clothes up to a maximum of 6kg per person. You will need to carry a daypack with items such as rain jacket, water bottle, camera, sunblock, snacks, valuables etc.
Can I use walking sticks on the trek?
Yes, Many people like to hike with trekking poles or walking sticks. Unlike the Inca Trail there are no restrictions on the use of trekking poles. Metal trekking poles and wooden walking sticks can be purchased in Cusco. Metal poles can also be hired in many equipment hire shops in Cusco for about US3 per day or you may rent is from us.
Are there toilets on the trek?
We will carry a toilet and toilet tent with us on the trek.
What is the maximum group size?
The maximum size of our Lares to Machu Picchu 4 day group service is only 10 persons.
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1.-How do I reserve a space for the Salkantay Trek?
You can rely on our dedicated staff to answer any questions you may have and to take care of every detail of your trip from the beginning to the end. Please email us to: email@example.com to get started.
2.-Will the altitude affect me?
When travelling throughout the Andes in Peru some people will suffer some effects of altitude sickness. If you plan to hike the Salkantay Trek we recommend arriving 2 or 3 days before start your trek to acclimatize to the altitude.
3.-What is the best thing to do in the event of altitude sickness?
Wherever possible “go down”. But, if you are staying in Cusco, you may still feel the effects. The best advice is to sleep, take plenty of fluids and you could also try coca tea. The porters chew coca leaves wrapped around a black resin called llipta. When you are actually walking and active (especially on day two of the trail), this may help since it dilates vessels to increase the blood flow to the parts of the body that need it.
4.-Is the Huayna Picchu Mountain Included?
Yes, with us everything is included on the trek.
5.-Do you require a deposit?
Yes. We request a $200 non-refundable deposit per person along with your personal details (full name, passport number, gender, nationality, DOB) Non-refundable because the deposit we be used to buy your Machu Picchu entrance and Train ticket.
6.-Is the Salkantay Trek difficult?
You know the answer to this one: it depends! You reach 4650m/1417ft on the second day after climbing for the best part of the day. Especially if you are within your first five days at altitude, this may give you headaches and shortness of breath. Don’t forget that even people who live in Cusco (at 3300m) still get short of breath… You must know that Nig Adventures always provide one emergency horse for the group, which can be ridden by the person who is feeling sick or exhausted.
7.-What do I need to bring on the trek?
Backpack, sleeping bag, rain jacket, strong footwear (walking boots are recommended as they provide support to the ankle which reduces the risk of injury especially when trekking in the wet season (December – March). However it is important that your boots are comfortable and well worn-in and not brand new. Many people prefer to trek in tennis shoes but extra care should be taken. We do not recommend trekking in sandals. One complete change of clothing, sweater, jacket (something warm), water bottle and sterilizing tablets (Micropur are recommended and can be bought in local pharmacies in Cusco), flashlight and batteries, broad-brim or peaked cap, sunblock, insect repellent, toiletries and toilet paper, selection of small snacks, chocolate, dried fruit, biscuits etc, camera and plenty of film. You also have to bring your original passport with you on the trek. Inflatable mattress is included for all our clients.
8.-Should I request an extra horse?
Not. Your belonging will be carried by our horses (7kl/15p), even the group will have an emergency horse in case some could need it.
9.-What do we do for water along the Salkantay Trek?
At meal times we will give you teas, coffees etc to drink. You’ll come across a mountain spring, fountain or small stream approximately every 1½ hours along the trail where you can fill up your water bottle. Take a bottle of at least 1½ liter capacity per person. Although the water looks it is always safer to use sterilizing tablets or a water filter. The sterilizing tablets can be bought in most pharmacies in Cusco. With these tablets you have to wait between 30 and 40 minutes before drinking. Bottled mineral water can also be taken from Cusco or bought at Mollepata or Santa Teresa.
10.-What is the best thing to do in the event of altitude sickness?
Wherever possible “go down”. But, if you are staying in Cusco, you may still feel the effects. The best advice is to sleep, take plenty of fluids and you could also try coca tea. The porters and horse handlers chew coca leaves wrapped around a black resin called llipta. When you are actually walking and active (especially on day two of the trail), this may help since it dilates vessels to increase the blood flow to the parts of the body that need it.
11.-How much money should I take?
Please review what is included in your trek in order to estimate what you should take. Along the way you can buy snacks and souvenirs, mostly of a non expensive nature.
12.-When is the best time to go?
This is a difficult question to answer as Peru has a huge variety of weather conditions. We would say travelers can visit Peru any time of the year! Dry season runs from May to September and this is typically the time that is most recommended. However, this is also the cooler time of year. Nighttime temperatures can drop to below freezing at the height of the dry season. June, July and August are the most popular months to visit so you will tend to encounter much larger crowds during these months. In the wet season (December to April), you can expect showers three to four afternoons a week.
For travelers that don’t mind a little drizzle and muddy trails, this time of year offers smaller crowds and greener hillsides, with wildflowers and orchids often in bloom The shoulder seasons, April to June or September to November can often provide the best of both worlds. They typically have fewer crowds and warmer temperatures than the height of the dry season, but still tend to have relatively little rain. For more information, check out our Peru Weather page.
13.-What entry documents do I need?
U.S. citizens need a valid passport and an entry form-tourist card which is provided by your air carrier either at the ticket counter when checking in for your flight to Peru or once on-board. (NOTE: Other nationalities should check with the nearest Peruvian Consulate to determine correct entry requirements.
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