Inca Trail Extension Trip Notes

Take the historic Inca Trail hike and be rewarded with spectacular vistas and incredible sights. From Cuzco, travel along ancient pathways on a remarkable journey.

    • 6
    • GGHC
    • Total twin price tool tip
      USD $920
      CAD $980
      AUD $1,020
      EUR €710
      GBP £610
      NZD $1,210
      ZAR R9,285
      CHF FR875
      *
    • Total single price tool tip
      USD $1,035
      CAD $1,100
      AUD $1,145
      EUR €795
      GBP £685
      NZD $1,355
      ZAR R10,420
      CHF FR980
      *
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    • Short Breaks
    • Original
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There is a later version of this trip also available for travel from Jan 1, 2015 to Dec 31, 2015. View later Inca Trail Extension.
Print Version
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2014
Inca Trail Extension
Trip code: GGHC-O
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
Spend a week retracing the steps of the ancient Inca civilisation on the historical Inca trail hike. Explore Cuzco's maze of ruins and cobblestone streets, and discover the fascinating colonial and Inca histories that have visually impacted this fascinating town. Rise early to join our expert local guides and porters for a challenging hike along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Watch the sun rise over the enigmatic ruins and get lost exploring these crumbling structures, an experience that is sure to take your breath away. This week-long tour is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will challenge and reward.
Table of Contents
StyleGroup sizeEmergency funds
ThemesYour fellow travellersVisas
MapSingle travellersIssues on your trip
ItineraryAccommodationWhat to take
We also recommendMeals introductionHealth
Itinerary disclaimerMealsSafety
Culture shock rating TransportTravel insurance
Physical ratingGroup leaderResponsible Travel
Included activitiesJoining point A couple of rules
Optional activitiesJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Money ExchangeArrival complicationsResponsible Travel projects
Spending moneyFinish point Carbon offset
TippingFinish point instructionsFeedback
Important notesEmergency contact
Style
Original
  • Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Themes
Short Breaks
Map
Inca Trail Extension
Itinerary
Day 1 Cuzco
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Cuzco.
You will be met on arrival at Cuzco airport, please ensure that you advise your full flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to trip start. Look out for our representative holding a board with your name at the arrival terminal. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid.
The rest of the day is at your leisure until 6pm, when your Intrepid local representative will meet you at the lobby of the hotel.
The Cuzco region truly is the heart and soul of Peru. The city itself is the continent's oldest continuously inhabited city and was home to 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 Inca foundations. Steeped in history, tradition and legend, the city is a perfect base for optional explorations into the Inca world and to enjoy a range of outdoor activities.
Take the time to acclimatise to the city's 3,400 m (11,150 ft) altitude 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 in the areas surrounding the city such as Saqsayhuaman, Qenqo or Tambomachay. The Boleto Turistico covers entrance into these sites.
For a change of pace, head to the central market and browse the stalls alongside the Quechua-speaking descendants of the Incas and pick up some alpaca goods, magic charms or colourful Andean food.
For a meal or a light snack head to Yanapay restaurant on 415 Ruinas St. This restaurant uses all its profit to support children in Cuzco through Aldea Yanapay and its social projects. For more info on Aldea Yanapay visit http://yanapay.facipub.com/
ALTITUDE SICKNESS:
Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!
Before your trip: Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatising to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor.
During your trip: While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly. Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience:
http://d3oxn90f3yphmd.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/file_attach/52735_product_altitude-sickness.pdf
Included Activities
  • Complimentary airport arrival transfer
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt), Inkarri Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Days 2-5 Inca Trail/Machu Picchu/Cuzco
Hiking across 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 hrs) to reach the highest point of our trek, Warmiwanusca, or Dead Woman's Pass, at a height of 4,200m (13,779 ft), before descending to the Pacaymayo Valley (3650m above sea level/2 hrs 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 hrs 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 mins uphill). Start descending Inca Steps (2 hrs) 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 of the trek consists of a short hike (1.5-2 hrs) 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 hrs 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).
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.
Inca Quarry Trail Itinerary:
Day 1 - We leave early in the morning and drive to Choquequilla, a small ceremonial site were Incas used to venerate the moon. A further 30 mins 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 3700m, 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 hr hike takes us to the top of the first pass known as Chancachuco (4400m). After a well deserved rest we descend about 100m for a light lunch. After lunch we continue walking uphill to Kuychiccasa, at 4500m, 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 views 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 3750m.
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.
Today 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 mins). 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.
Train Option:
For those travellers not interested or unable to hike the trail it is possible to spend an extra two 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 be 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 claims it was an astronomical observatory. After a visit with the trekking guide (approx 1.5 hrs) 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 hrs) for a well deserved shower and a glass of Pisco Sour.
Included Activities
  • 4 day guided hike with porters' support
  • Machu Picchu guided tour
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nts), Hotel (1 nt), Inkarri Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Day 6 Cuzco
Today is departure day. The hotel check-out time is 9am. You can arrange with hotel reception to store your luggage if you wish to depart later.
Spend your last morning relaxing, shopping or exploring more of Cuzco's sights. Rest weary legs at any of the cafes around Plaza de Armas. For those who can't get enough active adventure, there are plenty of opportunities to go mountain biking or whitewater rafting on the Urubamba River.
  • GGHC-O - Single Supplement (Trail portion) (GGHC-O)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
  • Machu Picchu Explorer (Original) (GGHT-O)
  • Machu Picchu Explorer (Comfort) (GGHT-C)
Itinerary disclaimer
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's 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
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
Culture shock rating

The comforts of home are more of a rarity. English isn't common and the food will be quite different to home. It's important to observe some of the local customs to not cause offence. Many of the locals’ standard of living may be confronting.
Physical rating

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'll 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.
Included activities
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
Optional activities
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
Money Exchange
The official currency of Peru is the Peruvian Nuevo Sol (PEN).
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 don't accept bills in such conditions as you may not be able to use them.
With ATMs being widely available in major towns and cities, credit and debit cards are the best way to access money in Latin America (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$100 per day.
It's also advisable to carry some cash in small denominations bills, for those times when ATMs may not be available. US$ dollars is the most readily changeable currency.
VERY IMPORTANT:
US$100 bills with serial number CB or BE and any other US$ bills that are old, torn, written or stamped on will not be accepted by local banks.
Spending money
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.
Tipping
If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's 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.
We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader/guide.
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: 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 (Argentinian bus stations): It's common in Argentina to tip AR$1 for someone to load your bag on to a bus.
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.
Important notes
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:
Please note this trip can be confirmed immediately until 30 days out from the departure date, however Inca Trail permits are sold on a request basis only. Once your deposit is paid and passport details provided, we will endeavour to secure a permit for you and get back to you within 72 hours.
In order to obtain an Inca Trail permit, it's 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 (ie. your passport gets lost or stolen) 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'll be offered the following options:
1) Change to another trip or departure.
2) Hike the alternative Quarry Trail, which includes a visit to Machu Picchu.
3) 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'll automatically be booked to hike the Quarry Trail.
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'll be unaccompanied by your group leader. Without this prior warning, local fees may apply.
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.
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.
Group size
Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
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.
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. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit: www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
Single travellers
On some trips accommodation is available only on a shared basis with other travellers, who might not necessarily be Intrepid travellers. Arrangements vary depending on the trip from twin to multishare, so refer to the daily itinerary for more details on your accommodation. In some situations you may have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure you have your own room.
Accommodation
Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nts), Hotel (2 nts), Inkarri Hotel or similar (2 nts)
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in your selected accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for your arrival, especially if you're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible, which means you won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, you can store your luggage and explore the new destination.
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
Camping on the Inca Trail is in twin share tents. Foam camping mats will be provided. Tents are set up by the porters.
Meals introduction
While travelling with us you'll have the opportunity to experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities 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.
Meals
5 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
USD 140.00
Breakfasts are often simple (bread, butter, jam, coffee / tea and juice would be most common).
Transport
Train, Minibus
Group leader
This Short Break Adventure is a 'join in' group departure, which means you are not accompanied by an Intrepid group leader - our local representative fills this role - and the configuration of any fellow travellers in the group might change during the trip.
The aim of our local representative is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. On this style of trip you might have one person stay with you for the entire journey, or you might get to enjoy the variety of having someone different for each day and/or activity. They will all be to provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and, where possible, introduce you to our local friends. While some may not be guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects.
Joining point
Hotel Awkis Dream
Calle Collacalle Nº 310 - 312
Cusco
Cuzco
PERU
Phone: 084 221521
Fax: 084 234085
Joining point instructions
The easiest way to get from Cuzco airport to your hotel is by taxi. Upon collecting your luggage make your way to the official taxi booths located inside the arrival lounge. A ride to a city hotel should cost between 5-10 Soles and take approximately 10 minutes.
Arrival complications
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the Joining Instructions section above for who to contact.
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, again following the Joining Instructions in these 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.
Finish point
Hotel Awkis Dream
Calle Collacalle Nº 310 - 312
Cusco
Cuzco
PERU
Phone: 084 221521
Fax: 084 234085
Finish point instructions
If you have pre-booked a departure transfer, please inform your leader and they will notify you of your departure transfer time.
If you are making your own way to the airport the hotel will be able to help book you an airport shuttle or taxi. Please ask at reception.
Emergency contact
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Peru Operations Office can be reached on:
Outside Peru: +51 99605 5559 or +51 97009 4823
From within Peru: 996 055 559 or 970 094 823
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:
Emergency funds
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$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.
Visas
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. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
PERU TOURIST VISA
Australia: Not required
Belgium: Not required
Canada: Not required
Germany: Not required
Ireland: Not required
Netherlands: Not required
New Zealand: Not required
South Africa: Not required
Switzerland: Not required
United Kingdom: Not required
United States: Not required
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 representative 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 to 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.
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 won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes).
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'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
CLIMATE & CLOTHING:
Most people automatically assume that the weather is hot in South America, but because of the higher altitude in the Andes, the temperature can feel quite cold, especially at night. Please pack accordingly.
HIKING IN PERU.
The evening before you start your trek, you will be given a small duffle bag to pack your clothes for the next four days. Your weight allowance is 6 kg max. While you hike, the bulk of your luggage will be stored at your hotel in Cuzco.
Your team of porters will carry your duffle bag for you, together with the food and camping gear. It's important to be aware that you will not have access to your items in the duffle bag until the end of each day, as the porters will always be ahead of the group.
For during the trek, you need a day pack big enough to carry personal belongings such as a warm jacket, a rain jacket, your camera, sun cream, snacks, water, etc. Usually a 30 to 50 litres capacity back pack is big enough.
Sleeping bags can be hired locally for approximately US$18.
Hiking poles can be hired locally for approximately US$14
Rain ponchos can be purchased in Cuzco for a couple of dollars.
WATER BOTTLE:
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. 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 ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.
While trekking, boiled or safe water is available for drinking. However, you should also carry a water purification method. Options include:
- 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.
Health
All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, 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.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
WHO REPORTS:
The World Health Organisation has countries in Latin America registered as zones affected by hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, rabies and malaria.
YELLOW FEVER:
A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home.
It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.
ALTITUDE SICKNESS:
Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!
Before your trip:
Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatizing to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor.
During your trip.
While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly.
Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience:
http://d3oxn90f3yphmd.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/file_attach/52735_product_altitude-sickness.pdf
Safety
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 trip.
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.
In addition to any included activities on your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. Our local representative may be able to assist you with 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 judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that our local representative has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's 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 on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
HIKING THE INCA TRAIL OR MOONSTONE TRAIL:
In accordance with local laws governing tourism in Peru, trekking groups of up to and including 8 trekkers will be led by one local guide. The evacuation of an injured traveller in normal conditions may take more than 8 hours. For your own safety, it's crucial that you adhere to the local guide's safety instructions, particularly in regard to how to prevent trekkers getting separated or lost. Your leader will also conduct a brief safety discussion before our trekking activity.
On the Moonstone Trail, a horse is available to aid the evacuation of an injured traveller (horses are not allowed on the Inca Trail). This resource is not part of the activity itself, may be up to an hours walk away and should not be expected to assist travellers simply wanting a rest from trekking.
Your guide will conduct a brief safety discussion before our trekking activity.
FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
BALCONIES:
Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
SEAT BELTS:
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. 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. 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.
LIFE JACKETS:
While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.
MONEY WITHDRAWAL:
In order to avoid fraud, it is advisable that you withdraw money from ATMs located inside banks or guarded shops during business hours only.
Travel insurance
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 trip, you won't be permitted to join the trip until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by our local representative.
If you have credit card insurance our local representative 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 our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
Responsible Travel
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 visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
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.
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 local representative 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've 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. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. 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$400,000 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 through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
Responsible Travel projects
Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Peru include:
* Living Heart focuses on improving the education, nutrition and health of disadvantaged Andean women and children near Cusco. Currently they provide free breakfasts, assist local schools with educational supplies and organise visits by doctors and nurses. They are also raising funds to build homes for orphaned children and abused women and children.
*Project Peru aims to break the circle of poverty, offering opportunities through education, independence through responsibility, and dignity through employment. Up to fifty children between the ages of 3 -18 are housed in the refuge located in Zapallal, a desert shanty town of Lima. These children come from extreme poverty or great moral risk.
Carbon offset
Carbon Offset C02-e 163.00 kgs per pax.
Feedback
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
Remember that once you’ve left your feedback you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.