If you are interested in this excursion we may organize the same trip for next year. Email email@example.com for more details.
Feel as though you’ve travelled back in time to explore the birthplace of the New World’s most advanced society, the Incan Empire. Situated on a mountain ridge above the Sacred Valley northwest of Cuzco is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Machu Picchu. This region will send your camera into overdrive as you trek through jaw-dropping terrain, colourful markets, forgotten temples entangled in jungle vines and archeological wonders.
Travel Roots uses their trusted network to ensure that we seek out local tour operators that have sustainable practices. We want to ensure that tourism is done responsibly and that it supports local communities and has a minimal environmental footprint. This tour will not be a cookie cutter template, in a collaborative effort with an adventurous crew from Winnipeg, we created a custom itinerary that is catered to those wanting a more adventurous trekking opportunity but still connects with the Inka Trail.
We decided to trek off the beaten path and take an alternative route to start off with then connect with the famous Inca Trail. The 4 Day/4 Night Salkantay Trek is the most popular trek outside the Inca Trail, you get to pass through different micro-climates changing the scenery dramatically everyday – from glaciers to jungle. On the 5th day we’ll connect with the Inka Trail at km 104 and still have an opportunity to experience some of its famous points of interest as well as the chance to hike in through the Sun Gate. The best of both worlds!
Are you up for a trip to Peru, but adventurous hiking is not your thing? Don’t worry, we can work with you to customize the tour options to create an experience that is well suited for your needs – please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Day 1 (October 29): Arrive in Lima & spend one night there if needed. Free time or group activities can be planned.
Day 2 - 4 (October 30 - November 1): Fly to Cuzco and spend 3 nights there to acclimatize and adjust to the altitude. The altitude in Cuzco is 3400 m or 11,152 feet. There are a variety of day trips and activities that can be organized from Cuzco or you’re free to just chill and relax before the trek.
The evening of Day 4 you will get an orientation/briefing of the Salkantay Trek - Inca Trail Combo.
Day 5 & 6 (November 2-3): SORAYPAMPA – SALKANTAYTAMPA – HUMANITY LAKE - SALKANTAY PASS – WAYRACMACHAY:
We will pick you up from your hotel at 4.30 am to begin our expedition to Machu Picchu. You will be met by your trekking guide, cook and porters who at your hotel then drive around 3 hours in our private van until we arrive to the trail head called Soraypampa.
You will enjoy your first breakfast prepared by your trekking chef and then will start preparing for your journey. When the weather allows, the views from this area are truly breathtaking looking at two big mountains called Humantay 5900 meters high above sea level and Salkantay 6215 meter high above sea level. Your guide will begin introducing the team, take a group photo and around 8:30 you should be on your way hiking to Machu Picchu.
The days hike will be something special as you will explore the real Andes with alpine views the entire time. You will begin with gradual uphill hiking for around 2 hours along the Salknatay valley until we arrive to Salkantay Pampa located at 4000 meters for a break with some more beautiful views. This time looking out at Salkantay glacier peak and Salkantay river. After your break, you will continue the last 1 hour uphill by switchback to our lunch spot at Laguna Suyroccocha located at 4200 meters. Along the way you the views will never disappoint passing by streams, waterfalls from the hillsides and views of both mountains Salkantay and Huamantay.
Meals are always something to look forward to when you hike and you will learn this quickly at your first lunch. You will be met by your trekking chef and porters with hot beverages and then an amazing family style meal will be served for you to enjoy. It’s a lovely spot that you stop for lunch, located really close to the mountain of Salkantay and you can even see (and hear) some avalanches falling from the hill of the Salkantay glacier peak.
You can have a little siesta after lunch and then its time to continue with your expedition, walking the last uphill portion of the day which will take about an hour, towards Salkantay Pass at 4650 meters, the highest point of the trek. We will reward your hard work with some hot drinks or coca tea offered by your team.
The sky will start changing colors and you will be able to enjoy these amazing views without any other tourists – just you and the mountains – which is really special. The views all around you, 360 degrees, are amazing, looking out at salkantay peak, valleys, waterfalls, clouds lifting over the valleys and the beginning of the sunset over the mountains. If there is enough time you will take a short walk to enjoy the small colorful lake located in the foot of the glaciers. Finally you are close to the end of the day, with your last 2 hours downhill to our first campsite called Wayracmachay, located at 3800 meters. Again, you will have some impressive views, make sure you have lots of battery life in your camera. You will enjoy the back side of the mountain, which always has snow on the roof and the cloud forest at the bottom of the valley.
Hopefully the weather will allow you to watch the sunset over the magical location and watch the condors flying above. It will be a great first day of this journey to Machu Picchu. It will be around 5.30 pm when you get to your campsite located at the foot of Salkantay mountain and your trekking staff will have all your tents set up waiting for you with your duffels ready. They will provide warm water to get washed up and changed into something cozy and warm. We will have happy hour with hot chocolate and coffee and then finally your amazing dinner will be served. If the weather allows you will get to enjoy the blue sky and your guide will show you the Inka constellation. You will want to get to bed early tonight as tomorrow will be another long day.
Walking distance: 15 km
Elevation gained: 850 meters
Elevation descended: 850 meters
Weather: Cold, windy, rainy in the wet season
DAY 7 (November 4): WAYRACMACHAY – CHAULLAY – CCOLLPAPAMPA LA PLAYA – SAHUAYAKU:
Your trekking team will wake you up bright and early with a hot drink, served to you at your tent, to help you start the day. Hopefully when you open your tent, you will get the chance to watch the sunrise over glacier peaks and clouds lifting from the green cloud forest. Your guide will provide enough time to pack your stuff properly for the day and enjoy a nice breakfast prepared by your trekking chef. Make sure you get your snacks, fill up your bottles with plenty of water until lunch time (dehydration is key to avoid altitude sickness).
Around 7 AM you will begin the hike which will be 4 hours downhill until you arrive to the lunch spot called Ccollpapampa at 2700 meters. After a few minutes walking from breakfast, you will notice that the microclimate changes immediately from cold and glacier views to the warmer forest with green lush jungle with beautiful flora and fauna. If you are a fan of orchids, there are many different species to view and amazing ferns and begonia flowers as well. Humming birds will be above – quite different from the day before. At lunch you will have some time to enjoy a hot natural thermals which is volcanic water with different minerals which are used as medicinal (thermal baths is optional for 5 peruvian soles).
After lunch it will be 5 hours gradual downhill to our campsite called at Sahuayacku or La Playa at 2400 meters. Along the way you will explore beautiful waterfalls, rivers, and again, amazing flora and fauna. Again this will be another microclimate called tropical forest where local people farm coffee, passion fruit, papayas, oranges and avocados. Upon your arrival to the campsite you will be welcomed by your trekking staff and have time to enjoy your afternoon hot drinks and dinner.
Walking distance: 18 km
Campsite Elevation: 2400 meters
Elevation Descended: 1400 meters
Weather: Warm and hot
DAY 8 (November 5): LA PLAYA SAHUAYAKU – LUCAMABAMBA COFFEE FARM – INKA TRAIL – LLACTAPATA – CAMP IN FRONT OF MACHUPICCHU:
After a nice delicious breakfast served by your trekking staff you will get started on your shortest day – but also the most interesting with beautiful sections along your trekking route to Machu Picchu. You will explore the tropical forest for a little longer and have a lovely visit at an organic coffee farm, tasting the coffee prepared by the local people. Coffee is the main farming industry of local people here and they farm many big hectares of coffee to export to USA, Asia and Europe. Coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia, but it wasn’t until the Spanish invaded Cusco that it was brought to this region. You will also explore some orange and avocado farms.
When you are done, you will get the opportunity to enjoy a part of the Inka Trail and climb for 2.5 hours with amazing views of Santa Teresa valley until you arrive to Llactapata inka site right in front of Machu Picchu. This will be your first site of the Lost City of the Inkas and a very special place to enjoy and spend time. You will be able to see not only Machu Picchu ruins from this spot, but also Huaynapichcu and Machu Picchu mountain. You will explore the Inka site with your guide and he will continue your history lesson and of course you will have plenty of time to take loads of photos. It will then be 15 minutes downhill to your lunch and campsite area. This campsite is owned by a local family and only Alpaca Expeditons has the permission to stay here, which is quite special. It is a great place to enjoy the sunset over Machu Picchu and the mountains and the next day you can observe the amazing sunrise again over this area.
After lunch you will have free time to enjoy the views and to catch your breath from all your hiking and just take pleasure in your accomplishment and the scenery. Again we will serve a lovely happy hour with tea and coffee and your chef will prepare a delicious meal for dinner. Once the stars come out, you can enjoy the Milky Way and the Inka constellation since you will be in the perfect spot with no other light to interfere. This is where Inka astronomers studied the sky to predict the weather – hopefully all clear for your trek.
Walking Distance: 12km
Campsite Elevation: 2700 meters
Elevation Gained: 400 meters
Weather: During day time hot and humid, chilly at night
Day 9 (November 6): LLACATAPATA MIRADOR – HIDROELECTRIC WATER FALLS, MANDOR HIRAM BINGHAMS FARM – AGUAS CALIENTES HOTEL:
Early wake up with a hot glass of coca tea served in your bed by your trekking chef. You will get ready for today’s activity and enjoy your last prepared breakfast by your trekking chef. You will begin the hiking activity with 2 hours downhill, always with views of Machu Picchu until you arrive to the hydroelectric station. The impressive part of this area is the natural waterfall of 300 meters high which generates the electricity for the region of Cusco. You will then arrive to the famous intiwatana (sun dial rock).
According to history, this Inka stone used to work with the famous sun dial rock in Machu Picchu in the winter solstice which was the beginning of new farming season for the Inkas. After to pass this small Inka site you will reach to the train rain road which has a nice path to walk and will take approximately 3 hours until you arrive to Aguas Calientes by the foot valley of Machu Picchu. This section is very interesting because it is a trail that was used by the American Professor Hiram Bingham who rediscoverd Machu Picchu after centuries of it being lost. He walked along this valley looking for the last city of Vilcabamba and he met the farmer Melcor Artaega who guided him to Machu picchu. You will get to pass by the farm of Melochor Artaega where you can see many species of flora and fauna, including the famous Peruvian national bird called cock of the rock, tucanets, propendolas, parrots and orchids. Finally upon your arrival to Aguas Calientes you will enjoy a packed lunch and be set at your hotel to enjoy a hot shower and free visit to the famous hot springs (10 soles, not included) of Aguas Calientes. In the evening you will enjoy your final dinner with your trekking chef and say good bye to him.
Walking Distance: 14 km
Aguas Calientes: Elevation: 2000 meters
Amazing views of HuaynaPicchu and Machu Picchu mountains.
DAY 10 (November 7): INKA TRAIL - SUN GATE - MACHU PICCHU - MACHU PICCHU MUSEUM - PUENTE RUINAS CAMP:
In the morning you will head to the train station to head back a bit to KM 104. Once you
arrive, you will enjoy breakfast before starting your trek. Make sure you bring your original passport since this the very first checkpoint along the Inka Trail!
After breakfast you will have some time to prepare yourselves before beginning the hike. Soon after we will get to explore the first Inka site – Chachabamaba. Chachabamaba was the first ancient Inka checkpoint for entering to the Inka trail. Your guide will give you some background history on this ruin. You will then begin the 3 hour climb up to the most famous Inka site along the Inka trail – Wiñay Wayna. The trail itself is amazing with great views of the Machu Picchu Valley and the Urubamba River. You’ll walk amongst the flora and fauna native to the area. It feels like walking in the gardens of Machu Picchu, there are waterfalls and spectacular views of Machu Picchu Mountain.
The trail itself has some flat areas, and some short uphill and downhill hikes. It does also have steps in sections and can be narrow in some areas, but nothing dangerous. Once you arrive at Wiñay Wayna Inka site you will have plenty of time for a tour by your guide and for exploring the Inka site, temples, waterfalls, gardens, storehouses, watchtowers and farming terraces. Just a few more minutes’ walk to the lunch spot where your trekking chef and porters will be waiting ready with cold drinks and delicious, fresh food that is prepared by our cook and served buffet-style.
After lunch there is time for a short siesta and the opportunity to fill up your water bottles. Then it will be a 1 hour gradual up and downhill hike to get to the Sun Gate where you will have spectacular views of Machu Picchu, Huayna Picchu and the surrounding valleys. The Sun Gate was used by Inkas to observe the sunrise from Machu Picchu during the summer solstice. From here it is another hour hike to arrive into Machu Picchu ruins. Once in Machu Picchu you can explore the watchtower area where you can get charming pictures of Machu Picchu and the sunset over the mountains (without the crowds as we will be the last ones to leave the magical Inka site of Machu Picchu).
We’ll then take the 20 minute bus ride to the campsite of Puente Ruinas. Before we reach the camp, we will visit the small Machu Picchu museum which has interesting photos of the condition of Machu Picchu when it was first discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911, mummies, bracelets, stone working and metallurgy tools, weaving tools and pottery which were found on site.
When you arrive your tents will be all set up, you’ll meet your porters and enjoy a social happy hour with hot drinks and dinner. Later in the evening we’ll have a small ceremony with your chef and porters to say good bye to them. (The next day they will still be there to prepare your breakfast but it’s really too dark to say good-bye to them properly!)
Highlight: Trekking the Inka Trail Enjoying the views from the Sun Gate, sunset views from Machu Picchu Camping at the foot of Machu Picchu
Walking distance: 15km / 8miles
Meals : Included
ElevaFons: Trek starting point 2000m, highest point is Sun Gate 2720m, the camp is at
Weather : Hot and humid
Day 11 (November 8): MACHU PICCHU (THE LOST CITY OF THE INKAS) & RETURN TO CUSCO:
Today will be an early wakeup call at the campsite with hot drinks. You will have time to
prepare your duffle bags and day packs, and then we’ll enjoy breakfast. We’ll then make our way to walk to Machu Picchu. You must have your original passport at the checkpoint, and then your guide will take you to the perfect spot to enjoy the sunrise over the mountains (weather perminng). We’ll then have a 2-hour private guided tour of Machu Picchu ruins with all of its fascinating history, given by your trekking guide and you’ll have plenty of free time to explore Machu Picchu on your own.
If you have booked a permit to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, this is a good time to climb (in the second slot which starts at 10:00am). There are lots of other things to see around Machu Picchu - the Inka Bridge is one of the best options, or you can climb up to Sun Gate for free, or walk around the temple and residential areas of Machu Picchu and mingle with the llamas. You will need to catch your bus back down to the town of Aguas Calientes for your lunch and to get the afternoon train to return to Ollantaytambo. From there you will go by private van back to Cusco where we will drop you off at your hotel.
In Cusco we will have a celebratory dinner!
Highlight : Arrive early to Machu Picchu to enjoy the sunrise
Temperature : warm and humid
Meals : Breakfast is included
Train : Expedition tourist class
Day 12 (November 9): Fly from Cuzco back to Lima. Return home if option is available.
Please note if you would like to spend some extra time in Lima or do any additional activities while in Peru such as a visit to the Amazon Rainforest these can be added to the trip. Contact email@example.com for more details.
- Travel Roots Guide
- 1 night accommodation at a Hotel in Lima
- 4 nights accommodation in Cuzco – 3 nights prior to the Trek and 1 night after the Trek
- Domestic flight to Cuzco from Lima
- Professional Guides for the Trek
- Inca Trail Permits
- Briefing the night before the Trek
- Porters and Horsemen
- Emergency Horse
- 5 nights camping and 1 night in Aguas Calientes at a 3 star Hotel
- Transportation – pick up from Hotel to begin Trek & Train back to Hotel in Cuzco from Machu Picchu
- Equipment – 4 man Eureka Timberline tents that will be shared by 2 people (single occupancy available at an extra fee) & Dining Tent for meals
- Meals during the 7D/6N Trek except on the last day – Lunch is not included
- Water for the Trek is included – you will need to bring your own water bottle or camelback – recommended 3 L
- First Aid for the Trek – fully trained guides will have First Aid Kits and full oxygen tanks in case of emergency – they also have emergency protocol in case something happens
- For the trek each person will get a small pillow, a foam matt, a daypack cover, and a rain poncho
- International Flight to Lima
- Meals in Lima and Cuzco and as mentioned in itinerary
- Travel Insurance – it is recommended to get trip cancellation/interruption. Also ensure that your policy is comprehensive to cover theft, loss and medical problems – read the fine print that it covers trekking and high altitude. Check that your policy covers ambulances and emergency flight home. Please note that World Nomads offers an insurance package specifically designed for trekking in high altitudes - https://www.worldnomads.com/travel-insurance/trekking-and-hiking.
- Rentals - Sleeping Bag: $25 US, Inflatable Air Matt: $20 US, Walking Sticks (Pair): $20 US
- Huaynapicchu viewpoint trek: $65 USD Huaynapicchu is the mountain that stands next to Machu Picchu and has beautiful views from the top of Machu Picchu from above.
In Lima, Cuzco, and Aguas Calientes you will be spending the night in 3 star accommodations based on double occupancy. Single occupancy is available at an additional cost. More details on where we will stay will be posted soon.
On the trek you will have to camp for 5 nights in a shared tent (double occupancy).
Additional Activities in Lima & Cusco can be arranged upon request.
Some options include:
- Lima City Tour
- Cusco City Tour: $150 USD per group of 6 if booked with this trek
- Sacred Valley Tour: $200 USD per group of 6 if booked with this trek
- Maras Moray Tour: $150 USD per group of 6 if booked with this trek
- Huaynapicchu: $65 USD per person
- Vistadome Train (One Way): $65 per person
Tour Option Add-Ons in Peru:
1. Nazca Lines – A series of ancient geoglyphs located in the Nazca Desert in southern Peru. They are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and believed to be created between 500 BC and 500 AD. There are hundreds of individual figures ranging in complexity such as spiders, monkeys, fish, sharks, orcas, and more. They are visible when flying over them in airplanes.
Full Day Tours starting at $250 USD with bus transportation, private van transportation starts at around $375 USD.
2. Arequipa Unesco Heritage Site - The historic centre of Arequipa, built in volcanic sillar rock, a.k.a The White City, represents an integration of European and native building techniques and characteristics, expressed in the admirable work of colonial masters and Criollo and Indian masons. This combination of influences is illustrated by the city's robust walls, archways and vaults, courtyards and open spaces, and the intricate Baroque decoration of its facades.
To get from Arequipa to Cuzco you either have to fly with LAN Airlines (approx. $100 US one way) or take an 8 hour overnight bus ($40 US). Once in Arequipa there are also other interesting activities that you can see including a visit to the Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world.
3. Pisac Ruins – a Peruvian village in the Sacred Valley. The village is well known for its market every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday – the market attracts a lot of tourists though. The area is best known for the Incan ruins of Pisac which lie atop a hill at the entrance to the valley. This awesome site actually has few tourists. More info found at http://www.lonelyplanet.com/peru/cuzco-and-the-sacred-valley/pisac/sights/historic/pisac-ruins
Group tours are available to the Sacred Valley with include seeing some other sites for around $250 USD total for 2 – 6 people.
4. Cusco rafting - Rafting down class II-III rapids through the beautiful scenery of the Andes this tour gives you a rush of adrenaline but without being too challenging. White water rafting is perfect for everyone, families, groups of friends, individuals - the only qualification is an adventurous spirit. If you're looking for something a little more challenging then longer trips with higher class rapids can also be organised. Day trips are around $55 USD. http://www.llamapath.com/white-water-rafting-tour-cusco.html
5. Cusco rock climbing – Rock climbing day trips near Sacsayhuaman near Cusco. Day trips starting at $125 USD per person. http://www.ericadventures.com/machupicchu/cusco-peru-rock-climb/cusco-rock-climbing-course-half-day.html
6. Lake Titicaca Floating Islands – It is possible to take a scenic tourist bus to Puno, the town the is situated close to the lake. There is a cool option to stay over night with a family for a homestay. You will hike the largest high altitude lake in the world, spend time on the floating island with a local family. Total trip will take about 4 days including travel and cost around $160 USD.
7. 3 Day Amazon Tour from Puerto Maldonado starting at $370 USD. Flight from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado is approx. $200 USD for roundtrip. Includes day and night jungle hikes and canoe excursions with a naturalist guide. You can see monkeys, macaws, caimens, a variety of birds, giant otters, jungle trees, worldly insects and fascinating night creatures. http://adventureswithinreach.com/peru/itinerary.php?trip=3-day-Amazon-Rainforest
8: Huaraz Hiking Trip – Huaraz is a trekkers’ paradise. On one side of the valley you have the White Mountains and the other side are the Black Mountains. It is located central-northern part of the country at an altitude of 10,000 ft. It takes seven hours on bus from Lima – there is no airport which makes this destination relatively untouched. Day trips and multi-day trips are available.
SUPPORTING SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL
Travel Roots uses their trusted network to ensure that we seek out local tour operators that have sustainable practices. We want to ensure that tourism is done responsibly and that it supports local communities and has a minimal environmental footprint. That said we have selected to work with Alpaca Expeditions! Here is some information provided by Alpaca Expeditions.
As soon as people book their trip to Peru, specifically Cusco, they start wondering about altitude sickness. The air at high altitudes contains less oxygen than at sea level and forces your body to work harder to get the oxygen it needs. Over several days at high altitude, your body adjusts to the lower amount of oxygen in the air. This is why we always recommend spending at least two days (2) in Cusco before beginning any trek. If you have more time, even better. Cusco is an amazing city with a lot to do, so you won’t be bored.
With altitude sickness, you may first feel like you have the flu or a hangover. You may have a headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, trouble sleeping, trouble breathing during exercise. If any of these effects become severe, please contact our office and we will help you get to a doctor.
Most of the time, these symptoms will be mild. We always recommend easing into activity slowly, allowing your body to adjust. Drink plenty of fluids such as water or coca tea. Coca tea has been used since ancient times to help prevent altitude sickness. Leaves from the COCA PLANT contain alkaloids which helps bring oxygen into your blood, helping your body avoid the effects of altitude sickness. Avoid drinking a lot of alcohol and coffee. They will cause you to urinate more often and become dehydrated. Avoid smoking. Smoking makes it more difficult for your body to get oxygen. Avoid sleeping pills. They may cause shallow breathing at night, making it more difficult for your body to absorb oxygen while you sleep.
Remember the trek to Machu Picchu is not a race. Even those in the best shape will suffer from altitude sickness when they race to the top of the mountain too quickly. Go slowly, it will give your body time to adjust to the mountain.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe medicines, such as are acetazolamide and dexamethasone, to help prevent altitude sickness. Start the medicine 2 days before you get to a high altitude. Continue to take it while you are at high altitude.
You must remember that this is your holiday and you do not want to stress out about the possibility of getting sick from the mountains. Do everything slowly. Drink lots of water. And enjoy the coca tea. If anything does happen and you unfortunately get sick, let your guide know right away – all Alpaca Expeditions guides are trained in how to help you get through it.
Here’s more on how to avoid altitude sickness - http://news.southamerica.travel/avoid-altitude-sickness-cusco-peru/
Of course weather is unpredictable. Typically the dry season in Cusco is from April through October, but this does not stop raining from falling in June or the sun from coming out in December – just be prepared. No matter what month you are doing the trek, please make sure that you have rain gear that includes a waterproof jacket, pants, poncho and waterproof gloves. Many people forget about gloves, but being cold and wet makes hiking very unpleasant.
Also prepare for 4 seasons. Many of the treks through the Andes involve many micro-climates and you will need to be prepared for all seasons. Layers are always key as they are easy to adjust to the different temperatures. And evenings will always be cold, so please be prepared with a warm winter weight jacket.
Here’s a link to weather conditions - http://www.howtotraveltomachupicchu.com/travel-tips/machu-picchu-weather
Every Alpaca Expeditions guide has received training in first aid from a physician. We conduct mandatory training every February – every single Alpaca guides attend. When guiding you, they will have with them a first aid kit for basic medical problems (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts/ scrapes, etc.) and oxygen. They know how to make you feel better.
In case something unexpected happens and you feel you can no longer complete the trek, they will figure out the safest and quickest way off the course and to a clinic. You will never be left alone, you will have a member of the team escort you every step of the way until safely with a doctor. When you are feeling up to it, we will make sure that you still have the chance to visit Machu Picchu and re-connect with your group, traveling by train comfortably.
Obtaining travel insurance before you leave home is strongly encouraged. This way, if something happens, and this is rare, you will not be out of pocket a tremendous amount of money. Alpaca will provide a letter and your invoice to submit to your insurance in this case to help expedite your processing.
It is recommended to get trip cancellation/interruption. Also ensure that your policy is comprehensive to cover theft, loss and medical problems – read the fine print that it covers trekking and high altitude. Check that your policy covers ambulances and emergency flight home.
Please note that World Nomads offers an insurance package specifically designed for trekking in high altitudes - https://www.worldnomads.com/travel-insurance/trekking-and-hiking.
Alpaca Expeditions uses biodegradable soap and transports all our garbage back to Cusco. Our porters are trained to look after the trail and pickup any waste from other groups as well. We also use environmentally-friendly chemical portable toilets that allow us to pack waste out. We believe in leaving no footprint behind.
Alpaca Expeditions is really proud of the work we do for our community. This is a main focus for our company. We have worked with villages directly to help supply them with needs their families were missing. We have supported local schools with by giving them computers and books. We currently sponsor a teacher at the village most of our porters come from to ensure their children are offered the best education.
We buy all our food from local farmers and markets and serve the freshest ingredients. We provide english classes for all our team: guides, porters, chefs and drivers. And we are building a house for our porters to give them a safe and comfortable place to stay before and after our treks so they no longer need to sleep on the floor of a friend.
And twice every year we bring our porters and their families to Machu Picchu. This is our favorite trip to do as they guys who work tirelessly have never visited the Lost Citadel of the Incas. Showing them this place is our biggest honor.
We are always looking to do more and for partners. Please let us know of your ideas and we will work to help.
VACCINATIONS: There are no needed vaccinations for Cusco other than your routine vaccinations, but other areas of Peru, most commonly the Amazon, do require additional treatment. Please consult with the CDC Website for Peru.
The local operators can accommodate to all food requests and allergies and have professionally trained chefs that will be preparing the meals.
GRATUITIES: We go out of our way to make sure our team is well taken care of with a proper salary, but tipping is always appreciated. This should be based completely on your satisfaction. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels.
CHARGING YOUR DEVICES: At the second campsite, there is an opportunity to plug any of your devices low on charge. The local family charges 5 soles per device. Otherwise, we recommend bringing an extra charge supply to keep your music and camera going.
STORAGE: All hotels in the Cusco area are equipped to keep your larger bags safe while you are trekking with us. If you prefer, you can always keep your bags with us. We will keep at our equipment deposit and will make sure they are safe.
ITEMS TO HAVE:
DAYPACKS: Daypacks are not provided by Alpaca Expeditions. You must bring your own, but nothing too large as you don’t want it to be too heavy while your trekking. Plus, Machu Picchu will not allow you to bring in a bag larger than 25L so if you have a large backpack it will need to be stored before your tour. Only essentials while trekking are needed to be on your back: water, snack, camera, sunhat, warm layer, rain layers, insect spray, sunscreen, and first aid kit.
HEADLAMPS: It is strongly encouraged to bring a headlamp for your night camping. There will be no lights at the camping site and hard to get to your dining tent or bathroom without. Flashlights are ok if you don’t have a headlamp, but not as easy to use when you are changing for bed in your tent.
PACKING LIST: Please remember, that layers are key to keeping things light. A few wicking t-shirts, fleece and hiking/yoga pants is all you need for the hike. A warm jacket, hat and gloves and comfortable shoes are good for the campsites and then something lovely for Machu Picchu day and pajamas. Please remember strong insect repellant with Deet for the ruins, they are quite buggy. And your passport needs to be on you at all times – you will need to enter the trail, the citadel and the train. Please also bring your customs card you received on the plane to the office, we will need a copy for our taxes.
Everyone Must Bring Their Own Daypack!
Our team of porters will carry your duffel bags from campsite to campsite. These need to be packed up each morning and will be waiting for you at your evening campsite. But you need to carry your own Daypack while hiking, and these packs should be as light as possible. You only need the essentials, outlined below.
WATER CARRIER: At each meal we will refill your water supply with fresh, clean water. But you need to have a camelback or water bottles to carry enough for a few hours. You should always have between 2 – 3 liters of water and drink constantly. Hydration is the key to feeling well in the mountains.
SNACK: Each day we will supply a snack for you – piece of fruit, cookie or chocolate. Feel free to bring some snacks of your own and candies. But don’t overdo the amount each day. You won’t need much and these can be heavy.
LAYERS: Most of your hiking days will be warm enough for short sleeves, but certain portions of each trek at higher altitudes (especially during the Lares trek) will be colder. A fleece is always handy to have in your bag. Hat and gloves for warmth as well.
RAIN GEAR: While May through September are typically dry months, rain clothes including a jacket, pants, and waterproof gloves are always useful. Rain can happen any time.
SUN ITEMS: Hopefully there will be a lot more sun than rain. Make sure you have a sun hat and sunscreen. Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu are almost always hot.
BUG SPRAY: You want a strong insect repellant with DEET. Mosquitos are quite bothersome.
CAMERA: With extra batteries. There is no place to charge in the mountains.
MUSIC: Whether its an iPhone or walkman (ha), having something to motivate you during the hard parts of the hike can be helpful.
Peru Pack List
What to Bring:
- Immigration Card (given on the plane as you enter Peru)
- Good daypack (the smaller, the better – I recommend somewhere between 18 – 25L)
- Water storage: Water reservoir like Camelbacks are encouraged - but enough for at least 2-3 liters.
- Comfortable hiking boots (lightweight with good soles)
- Copies of Passport and important travel documents such as insurance policies, etc.
GENERAL PACK LIST:
- 2-3 wicking t-shirts and/or long sleeves – Merino wool works well
- 2-3 hiking pants – comfortable pants such as yoga tights – you may want to bring a warmer pair for hiking through the mountain passes
- 4 sets of undergarments.
- Sleeping attire – long johns and comfortable shirt, warm socks if you get cold
- 5 - 7 sets of good hiking socks and 1-2 pairs of lighter socks
- 1 Fleece
- 1 Warm, down jacket: gets very cold at night
- 1 Rain jacket and rain pants
- 1 sun hat
- 1 wool hat
- Headlamp: essential
- Waterproof gloves (even if they are ski gloves, take them)
- Comfortable shoes for camp such as slip ons, flip flops or moccasins
- Walking/Hiking boots
- Waterproof jacket/rain poncho
- Bathing suit (Optional for hot springs)
- Quickdry towel. Alpaca provides small ones, but you might enjoy something a little larger.
- Small bottle of soap or bar of soap cut into small one use pieces: they provide warm water each day to clean - might make you feel fresh if you had a little soap
- Battery Charger: However there is no place to plug in while trekking! Or bring extra batteries for devices such as phones and cameras.
- Large plastic bags or zip lock bags: to help organize items and keep the clean from the dirty.
- Sleeping bag: Recommend down bags for -10C at least
- Trekking Poles
- Face moisturizer
- Bug spray
- Wet wipes
- Toothbrush and paste
- Toilet paper
- Personal medication
- Lip balm
- Kleenex – tissue for running nose
- First aid kit: band aids, moleskin, blister kits, hydration tablets, immodium, pepto bismol, etc.
INSIDE YOUR DAYPACKS:
Daypacks can be any size for hiking, but we always recommend the smaller, the better. Inside Machu Picchu, no bag larger than 25L will be allowed in. If larger, you will need to store outside citadel gates – storage options are safe.
- Water: we supply clean water at each meal. You are responsible for your first morning of water only as we won't have time to filter water until your first lunch. You can fill your bags up at the Hotel
- Sun protection – sunscreen & sunhat
- Rain gear
- Music (iPhone)
- Handsanitizer & wet wipes
- Toilet paper and small plastic bag for waste
- Extra Money for Souvenirs, Drinks & Tips
- Extra pair of socks
- Quickdry towel
- Some First Aid Kit items – blister stuff, bandages, cleaning wipes, etc.
FOR YOUR DUFFELS:
Porters will carry up to 7 kg of your personal items in your overnight duffel bag. This must include your sleeping bag and air matt (if you bring/rent one). If renting from Alpaca these two items weigh 3.5 kg.
- 2-3 wicking t-shirts – long sleeves
- 2-3 hiking pants – comfortable pants such as yoga tights or trousers with zip-offs into shorts
- 4 sets of undergarments.
- 5 - 7 sets of good hiking socks
- 1 Warm, down jacket: gets very cold at night
- Headlamp: essential
- Comfortable shoes for camp
- Bathing suit (Optional for hot springs)
- Battery Charger: However there is no place to plug in while trekking! Or bring extra batteries for devices such as phones and cameras.
- Large plastic bags: to help organize items and keep the clean from the dirty.
- Sleeping bag: Recommend down bags for -10C at least
- Air Mattress
EXTRAS BUT NOT NECESSARY:
- Journal / Notebook
- Spot Satellite Messenger with GPS Track
- Duct tape
- Safety pins
- Extra camera memory cards
- Money belt / money wallet
- Ear plugs if you’re a lighter sleeper
- Extra snacks
- Watch with an alarm
- Sleeping bag liner – helps with staying warm at night too
- Iron pills, O2 Drops, pills for altitude sickness
- Cipro – Traveller’s Diarrhea pills – need a prescriptions for this
- Anti-nausea pills for motion sickness while travelling
- Pain medication for headaches
ADDITIONAL ITEMS TO BRING FOR BEFORE AND AFTER TREK:
- Pair of jeans
- Extra shirts to wear out for dinners, touring Cusco, Lima, etc.
- Cotton and loose comfortable clothing to wear in the Amazon rainforest
More packing ideas can be found at https://www.salkantaytrek.org/information/trek-packing-list
FAQs for Peru!
1. Locations of nearest hospitals if absolutely needed. Travel time? How will the logistics be handled?
Depends on where the person is hurt and how they are feeling. If they need quick attention, we will go to a clinic in the valley - if they can wait, it is better to go to private clinics/hospitals in Cusco. The local team is well trained in getting off the mountain as quickly and safely as possible. But some areas will require some walking to get to a car.
Alpaca Expeditions were once ready to call a helicopter, but it wasn't necessary. It was an older gentlemen that was suffering from what he thought was some heart issues. He had them in the past. But it left very quickly and we were able to get him to a car so quickly that he insisted on not sending one. While you are in the mountains, you are not so far from civilization that there aren't resources much closer to you then needing a helicopter.
2. Where to get medical insurance which covers helicopter extraction if needed, e.g. a broke bone that prevents walking.
It is recommended by Ken to use The Co-operators. If you scroll down the MEC page you will see the link for the Co-Operators Insurance for medical. The phone number is 1-800-449-4084 for a quote over the phone which Ken has done in the past. They are not as restrictive as some other companies since endorsed by MEC.
Ken recommended to not phone a local insurance broker for Co-Op since they might not be as familiar with any policy restrictions related to Peru. Instead I just called the 1-800 number to go direct to head office.
MEC members are eligible for 10% savings on competitively priced travel insurance through The Co-operators, and you’ll be covered when doing outdoor activities. Call 1.800.449.4084 for details. Please have your MEC member number ready.
I also called World Nomads Travel Insurance that is used to arranging travel insurance for higher risk travel activities such as high altitude trekking. Their only downfall is that they do not cover people over the age of 59. Their details can be found on this site - https://www.worldnomads.com/travel-insurance/.
3. Whether to carry US travellers cheque or US currency? What is the exchange rate difference and problems of paying for things with either currency, i.e. bank rate versus street vendor rate?
Yes cash is good, but not necessary if you are Canadian. Travelers Cheques are not used widely in Peru because banks often include hours of waiting just to do simple things. Most businesses don't accept them. Many tourist places accept US currency and of course Soles.
I recommend taking a small amount of US dollars with you (~$100 USD) and then taking out the local currency to pay for food, shopping items and small miscellaneous things. ATMs can be found in the airport upon arrival and in Cuzco.
4. How to minimize the losses of all possessions or loss of all money if the bus is stopped in a remote area and passengers robbed? e.g. Cameras, money, jewellery, etc.
It’s the third world, but much more developed. It is not common in Cusco, but Lima you need to be safe. Cusco is a really safe place so its not really that concern. But I think you need to be vigilant whenever you are traveling. Use common sense, be aware of your belongings, have multiple spots where you keep extra cash, cards, and identification. Bring copies of your passport and important documents such as insurance with you just in case.
5. Suggested data plans to purchase for personal cell phone usage. Or is there even coverage of cell towers along the hiking routes?
Most people, other than Americans, purchase SIM cards here. Most of the hike you will not have any coverage. Wifi will be available in all of the Hotels we stay at.
6. Since we will be in a remote area, how can family in Canada connect quickly with one of us travellers if there is an emergency back in Winnipeg?
If family needs to connect with you while we are trekking, Alpaca’s office can walky talky to the guides. I will provide contact numbers for all of the places we are staying at.
7. What are the weight restrictions for the porter load and our personal carry loads.
The night before your trek, we will have our trekking tour briefing. At the briefing we will review our itinerary and answer any last minute questions. It is also at the briefing that they give you your duffel bags. You will pack all your belongings for the porters to carry in these duffel bags and give them to the guides in the morning. Your sleeping bag and air matt need to be included in this bag. The total amount of stuff should not weigh more than 7 kg (14 lbs).
Whatever you pack in your duffel bags will be with the porters all day and not returned until you get to your first camping site. Remember that if there is anything you need during the day it should be in your daypack and not your duffel bag. We do recommend that you pack all your belongings in plastic bags so that it is easy to find things - it is a helpful way of organizing yourself plus it will keep things clean and dry.
I have begun reminding everyone, and I will continue to remind you as you get closer to the trip, to bring rain gear. No matter what season you travel to Cusco, rain may happen. There is nothing that makes people more miserable than being wet and cold so please remember to bring a rain jacket, rain pants, and waterproof gloves. We will supply a poncho and daypack cover for you. Hopefully none of this will be necessary, but it is always better to be safe than sorry.
8. What are the specifications for the air mattress you mentioned would be supplied free – manufacturer, model?
The air matts are Therm-a-rest Luxury Matts. Most are the purple color - a few blue ones too. They are 3 inches. They weigh 3 lb 7 oz / 1 kg 559 g
10. Is the weight of the air mattress parts part of the porter's load restriction or is it the personal carry load?
Air Mattresses weight has to be factored in for the total weight of 7kg. Sleeping bag plus the air matt tend to weigh approx. 3 kg.
11. What is the weight restriction for the Air Canada flight?
2 checked bags weighing 23 kg each. However the domestic flights only allow one checked bag of 23 kg.
12. Where can we store spare clothes and suitcase luggage from the plane trip, so that we can use this extra stuff once the hiking portion is concluded?
Our Hotel in Cuzco or with Alpaca Expeditions.
13. Is the sleeping bag rentals from Alpaca synthetic or down?
The rentals are all down for -15C. They are Peruvian made, but all down.
14. What are the electric plug-in options for Peru?
All electronics are dual voltage so there is no need for a converter in Peru. Peru has the US (Canada) style plug-ins, but some use the European style so just make sure you have a European adaptor just in case.
Adjusting to the altitude – Recommendations and Ideas for the first 3 days of the Tour
Day 1 Oct. 29: Arrive in Lima at 00:45 (Oct. 30) – go straight to the Hotel in Lima for a good nights rest at Hostal El Patio - http://www.hostalelpatio.net/index.html.
Altitude: Lima is 1550 m (5080 ft) above sea level.
Day 2 Oct. 30: Sleep in and rest in the morning. You will get complimentary breakfast at the Hotel. We are staying in a good location so for those feeling more energetic you can go for a morning walk to check out Lima.
We will depart to the airport at 12 noon in order to make our flight to Cuzco departing at 14:45 – arriving at 16:00 with LATAM Airlines.
Arrive in Cuzco – altitude is 3300 m (10,800 ft). We will get picked up in an airport shuttle and driven to Urubamba to spend the next 2 nights, which is a lower altitude in the Sacred Valley at 2900 m (9514 ft).
We will be staying at the Las Chullpas Eco-Lodge, a quaint hotel in Urubamba surrounded by nature and Andean culture. It’s in a very peaceful relaxed setting to allow you to get adjusted to the altitude in a more tranquil setting than Cuzco. http://www.chullpas.pe
It is recommended to have this day as a relaxing day and not plan any extra activities.
Altitude: 2871 m
Day 3 Oct. 31 – Wake up in Urubamba and have your complimentary breakfast. Here are some recommended activities for people to do in the region to help get adjusted to the altitude. If you’re feeling ok, it is recommended to go to a higher altitude during the day to help get adjusted. Please note if you are having a hard time adjusting to the altitude just rest at the Eco-Lodge, and drinks lots of water.
1. Trip to Cuzco (3300 m or 10,800 ft). – From Urubamba to Cuzco there are a few ways to get to Cuzco – you can catch a taxi which should cost between $20 - $30 each way or on the minibuses or collectivos (collective taxis) for between 4 – 10 soles ($2 – 4).
Self-guided tour options are available and it is recommended to purchase a Cusco Tourist Ticket or Boleto Turistico, which is a permit that you can buy to get free access to a number of sites in and around Cusco.
The Boleto Turistico can be bought at Oficina Ejecutiva del Comité (OFEC), which is on Ave. Sol 103 in Cusco. OFEC are open Mon-Fri 8:00am to 5:30pm & Sat from 8:30am to 12:30pm. Tickets cost 130 Soles for a 10-day pass.
A valid ticket gives you access to the following sites:
Monastery of Saint Catherine of Cusco, Museum of Contemporary Art, Museo Historico Regional, Museo del Sitio del Qoricancha, Museo de Arte Popular, Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo Danzas Folklórico, and Monumento Pachacuteq, Sacsayhuamán, Qénqo, Pukapukara, Tambomachay, Chinchero and the ruins of Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Tipón and Pikillacta.
2. Pisac Village and Market (2900 m or 9514 ft) - Most people visit Pisac to see the market on Sunday, but there are smaller markets on both Tuesday and Thursday. However Pisac is a pretty village and has plenty of small handicraft shops and is worth a visit on any day of the week. There are local buses departing from Cusco every 15 minutes for the one hour ride to Pisac village. Local buses cost about US$2 each way. A taxi can be hired for about US$15 each way. There is no public transport up to the ruins. You can either hike up, starting from the plaza (allow two hours round trip). Alternatively you can negotiate with a local taxi driver to take you there (about 20 minutes following a long winding road) and either return by taxi or walk down hill to the plaza. (A local taxi costs approximately US$10 each way)
3. Pisac Ruins (3347m) The village of Pisac lies about 28 km from Cusco, right along the Río Vilcanota or the Urubamba River as it is also known. The big attraction are the Incan ruins known as Inca Písac which lie atop a hill at the entrance to the valley. They are separated into four areas stretching along the picturesque ridge- Pisaqa, Intihuatana, Q’allaqasa, and Kinchiracay.
More info on the Ruins can be found here: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/peru/cuzco-and-the-sacred-valley/pisac/sights/historic/pisac-ruins.
4. Visit the Nearby Inca Ruins - There are a number of notable Inca ruins within 30-60 minutes from Cusco. Here are the few we recommend you visit. You can easily rent a taxi to take you to these sites (~US$5-20 return, depending on which site), and the first one listed below you can in fact walk too.
Saksaywaman – altitude 3701 m (12,142 ft) - Lying on the northern outskirts of the city of Cusco in Peru, lies the walled complex of Saksaywaman (Sacsayhuaman). The site is famed for its remarkable large dry stone walls with boulders carefully cut to fit together tightly without mortar. The stones used in the construction of the terraces at Saksaywaman, which weigh up to 200 tonnes, are among the largest used in any building in prehispanic America, and display a precision of fitting that is unmatched in the Americas. The stones are so closely spaced that a single piece of paper will not fit between many of the stones. This precision, combined with the rounded corners of the blocks, the variety of their interlocking shapes, and the way the walls lean inward have puzzled scientists for decades. More details found at http://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-americas/unravelling-mystery-behind-megalithic-stone-walls-saksaywaman-001470.
Pikillaqta – altitude 3178 m (10428 ft) - Pikillaqta, which literally means ‘flea place’ in Quechua (don’t worry there are no fleas), is a large Wari archeological site just 20km east of Cusco. The Wari were a civilisation that inhabited huge portions of South America and pre-date the Incas by several centuries. The site is thought to have been used for ceremonies, like large feasts. It was founded in circa 500AD and abandoned in 1,200AD.
Tambomachy – altitude 3337 m (10948 ft) - Tambomachy (aka Tampu Mach’ay or Tampumach’ay), which means ‘guest house cave’, is an interesting ruin situated just north of Cusco on the route to Pisac. The exact purpose of the site is still unknown but some think it may have been used as a spa given its extensive use of aqua-ducts and canals.
Moray – altitude 3500 m (11,500 ft) - Moray (aka Muray) is a super interesting Inca site situated a little further outside of Cusco than the first three Inca sites suggested above (50km away, near the village of Maras). It is however, well worth the visit. The site consists of large circular terraces that may have been used by the Inca’s to study the effects of weather / climate changes. The depth, design and orientation of the terraces means that temperatures can differ by 5 degrees C from top to bottom!! While at Moray you should also take the time to visit Maras Salt Pans.
More travel ideas and things to do in the Sacred Valley and in and around Cuzco are found here - http://www.machupicchutrek.net/things-to-do-in-cusco/#moray
Spend the night back in the Sacred Valley at the Las Chullpas Eco-Lodge.
Altitude: 2871 m
Day 4 Nov. 1 – Wake up in Urubamba (2871m) and have your complimentary breakfast. Since it is Tuesday, the Pisaq Market is open (not as big as the Sunday one). For those wanting to go to the market, I would recommend a morning visit to the market on this day – I believe the market opens at 9am.
The same activities mentioned above can be done on this day. However please note that we will have to be in Cuzco by 5pm that afternoon to check into our Hotel and to meet with Alpaca Expeditions for our orientation before dinner.
**Please note – I recommend not overloading your schedule and doing too much on the first few days. Listen to your body, if you feel good, explore! If you don’t then don’t risk over doing it and tiring yourself out before the trek.
Since some of you may have different interests these additional activities can be done self-guided or you can book a tour. The Hotel that we’re staying at is also happy to help with arranging transportation and recommendations for places to see. Local transportation options seem plentiful and not too expensive especially is people want to split taxi fares.
All the places mentioned are between 30 mins to 2 hours from Cuzco and the Sacred Valley. Here is a link to a map that has all the points of interest marked: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Y33F5IIeRETviT4i_vEERo3eAic&usp=sharing