5 DAY INCA TRAIL TREK TO MACHU PICCHU FAQ
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE 5 DAY INCA TRAIL AND THE 4 DAY?
How does the 5 Day Inca Trail Trek compare to the 4 Day Inca Trail?
The 5 day Inca Trail trek hikes the same route as the 4-day Inca Trail, but you get a better experience. You share the trail and campsites with fewer people. You get more time to acclimatize and cross the high pass a day later. You have more time to enjoy the Inca sites and you visit Machu Picchu twice.
There are many other advantages too, which we will explain below.
What is the difference between the 5 Day Inca Trail vs 4 Day?
|5 DAY INCA TRAIL
||6km/ 3.7 miles
||11km/ 6.8 miles
||15km/ 9.3 miles
||Hotel in Machu Picchu town
||12km/ 7.5 miles
||Return to Cusco
||Tour of Machu Picchu
||Return to Cusco
|4 DAY INCA TRAIL
||10.66km/ 6.6 miles
||17.59km/ 5 miles
||Return to Cusco
||5.57km/ 3.5 miles
||Return to Cusco
But what do these facts and figures mean? How do they translate into what you experience when trekking the Inca Trail, choosing between 5 days or 4 days?
10 reasons why the 5 Day Inca Trail hike is better than the 4 Inca Trail
- You get more sleep
The 5 day Inca Trail does not require the ridiculously early starts of the 4 Day Inca Trail. If doing it in 4 days, most companies pick you up at 5 am on the first day. So you have to wake up at 4 am. You are literally shattered before you start. And who can stomach breakfast at that hour? Then when you get to the start, you join a huge queue with everyone else to get through the checkpoint, which can easily take over an hour.
By contrast, on our 5 day Inca Trail hike, we pick you up at 9 am on the first day. So you can wake up at 8 am, enjoy breakfast, and leave feeling relaxed. You then look around Ollantaytambo and have lunch before heading onto the trail. By starting later, you also miss the crowds at the checkpoint at the start of the Inca Trail.
- You can acclimatise better on the 5 day Inca Trail
The high point of the trek is Dead Woman’s Pass 4215m /13,828 feet. We cross it on Day 3. Everyone else does it on Day 2 so we give you an extra night to acclimatize. It also means that if you are struggling, the decision on carrying on or not does have to be made till Day 3 rather than Day 2. Once you are over Dead Woman’s Pass you are committed to carrying on until the end. As a result of the extra day, you are not only far more likely to complete the trial, but also far more likely to enjoy it.
- The 5 day Inca Trail Trek uses quieter campsites
We carefully choose our campsites to give you the best views or be as close as possible to the ruins. You camp where everyone else has lunch on the 4 Day Inca Trail- so you generally have the campsite to yourself or share it with few others.
The main campsites on the 4 Day Inca Trail are overcrowded and do not have such great views. Stomach bugs often spread fast around the overcrowded 4-day campsites due to the vast number of people in close proximity, so by avoiding these and camping away from others, you will have a far more hygienic experience.
- You get private toilet tents on the 5 day trek
Are you worried about the toilet facilities during the Inca Trail Hike? The in-situ long drop toilets can be a pretty grim affair at the 4 Day Inca Trail. Therefore we erect our private toilet tents at each lunch and campsite. This makes for a far more pleasant and hygienic experience.
- You have more time to enjoy the trek when taking 5 days
By choosing the 5 day Inca Trail trek, you can slow down and enjoy your time on this world-famous hike to Machu Picchu. On the other hand, if you choose only 4 days, you will most likely go home wishing you had taken an extra day as it will probably all be a bit of a blur. Sure, you will have ticked off the Inca Trail, but did you really see it, let alone really experience the trail? Avoid the doubt by giving yourself that extra day to really slow down and enjoy it. After all, it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so why not do it well?
More time to take photos, watch birds, look at flowers
Did you know the Inca Trail has an abundance of flora and fauna? Over 300 species of birds, 250 species of orchids and 300 species of butterflies have been recorded in the Machu Picchu Sanctuary. It would be a shame to rush past them- which is sadly what often happens if you only have 4 days to hike.
You have time to fully explore all the Inca sites
If you only do the 4 day Inca Trail, you will probably have to either rush or skip the following Inca sites: Llactapata, K`anabamba and Salapunku on Day 1, Runcuracay on Day 2, Sayaqmarca and Phuyupatamarca on Day 3, Winay Wayña on Day 4. There simply is no time. But by choosing the 5 day Inca Trail, you have all the time you need to explore these fully.
More time to relax and recuperate in camp
As an added bonus, when hiking our 5 Day Inca Trail, you get more time to relax around camp. We believe this is often undervalued. Not only does it give your body time to recover, but it also allows you to spend more time chatting with your fellow trekkers, and more time to just sit and take it all in. After all, it is not every day you get to camp in such spectacular places.
- You can see a great sunrise
Everyone talks about the sunrise at Machu Picchu. But it is a myth. Machu Picchu is built on an East facing slope. But there are huge mountains to the East of it which block any spectacular sunrise.
However, if you do the Inca Trail in 5 days, you will be able to see a spectacular sunrise ( weather permitting). On the morning of day 4, at Phuyupatamarca campsite, your guide will wake you up with a cup of tea or coffee in time for the sunrise over the 6000m snow peak of Salkantay. Obviously, it depends on the weather, but when it happens, it is spectacular with the snows of the mountain lit in shades of orange and gold.
- You visit Machu Picchu at its quietest
When is the best time to see Machu Picchu? In the afternoon when most people have gone home. We time our 5- day Inca trail hike to arrive at Machu Picchu in the afternoon. This is much better than on the 4-day Inca trail where you arrive in the busy morning. Late afternoon, with the warmth of the day fading away, is truly special. And there are far fewer people.
- You visit Machu Picchu not once, but twice
By visiting Machu Picchu twice, you get to explore it properly. On Day 4 you get your first view of the Inca citadel, before taking time for photos and wandering on through it. Then on Day-5, you do your full guided tour of Machu Picchu.
By contrast, those doing the 4-day trek often leave feeling they have rushed Machu Picchu. They get up before dawn, walk 2 hours along dangerous paths in the dark, do a quick tour then rush down to catch the train back to Cusco. If you are traveling all the way to Peru to see Machu Picchu, then surely it deserves more time than that? So by doing it twice, you can fully do it justice.
- You can get better photos
- Firstly if you want to take photos of your time on the Inca Trail, 5 days allows you far more time to do so. There is less pressure to keep moving which is the case in 4 days.
- Secondly, the light here in the Andes is very harsh throughout most of the day. You can take much better photos early and late in the day when the light is softer.
- Therefore we time our arrival to Machu Picchu late on Day 4 when the light is soft. Then we return on the morning of Day 5 when once again the light is softer. The 4-day trekkers and day-trippers arrive when the light is harsher which makes for pretty bland photos.
- Thirdly, if it is raining on Day 4 when you arrive, you get the chance of a clear day on Day 5. Those on the 4-day trail only have one chance.
- Fourthly -Because you arrive at Machu Picchu when it is almost empty the photos are better, precisely because they are not filled with tourists.
- You travel back to Cusco in comfort.
The train ride back to Cusco is also spectacular. But sadly many hikers who do the 4-Day Inca Trail are so exhausted, that they do not see the scenery outside, they simply get on the train and fall asleep. Because you do the trial in 5 days vs 4, you will have spent the night in a hotel, so feel less tired, thus can actually enjoy the train ride. You will also be in cleaner clothes!
We use the comfortable Vistadome train to help you relax and enjoy the journey back to Cusco.
MORE ABOUT 5 DAYS INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU
- A.- BEFORE YOU GO
- B.- ON THE TREK
- C.- BOOKINGS & RESERVATION
Arrival to Cusco and check in at the Cusco ANDEAN PATH TREK office
We assume most people try to arrive to Cusco 2-3 days before the trek to allow adequate time for acclimatisation and a buffer in case of transport delays. Once you have settled in and rested you must come to the Cusco office to view and reconfirm the information we have pertinent to your trek, personal requirements and sign the conditions ( even if you have already paid in full.) There are occasions when local holidays or unrest may require last minute changes to departure times or some additional information.
Where can I store my luggage while I am on the 5 Days Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu ?
On the trek/tour, you should only bring with you the things you really want/need and leave the rest of your things in your hotel in Cusco.
What should I pack for the 5 day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu ?
- Good rain gears
- Hiking shoes
- 4 pairs of socks
- Trekking poles
- Mosquito repellent
How much does the sleeping mat and sleeping bag weigh?
- Sleepmat weight = 1 kg aprox.
- Seeping bag weight = 2-5 kg aprox.
I am on my own, will I have someone to share a tent with?
Yes another person of the same sex , or if you prefer you can pay a single supplement for a tent just for you. This is US$ 70 (For the entire trek)
Will I need any extra money?
YES, so that you can take part in options such as bottle water/drinks, tips for your trekking staff, souvenirs, snacks in Machupicchu, etc. You should take at least 500 soles as emergency money. Also, for the passengers that are concerned about health, it may be prudent on your part to keep in mind that a train ride from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes costs approx US$50-80 (in the case you need to leave the trail early).
Do the guides speak English?
Yes all our tour guides speak very well the English, mostly of then have studied in th university of Cusco, aslo are Archeologist, Biologist, and the most important are really funny guys. How many people will be in my group? We work with small groups, we use to have 4 to 8 persons per tour guide. If there are more persons we will add another tour guide. Our staff for a group of 8 passengers are: 1 cook, 1 kitchen assistant, 1 head porter, 5 porters. Should I hire an extra porter? If you have not trekked in altitude before we would suggest your organise the extra porter. Unless you have hired an extra porter you will need to carry your day pack.
- The half porter who will carry only 7 kg cost $70.00 USD for all the trip
- A full porter who will carry 14 kg cost $ 120.00 USD for all the trip
ANDEAN PATH TREK provide a duffle porter bag at the briefing the day before your hike. You should bring only what you absolutely need/want on the trek, and store the rest of your belongings in Cusco.
2.- ON THE 5 DAYS INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU
I am not really an experienced trekker?What if I can’t keep up? How difficult is the Inca Trail?
Most people have that concern but don’t worry. Only in extremely rare circumstances does a passenger need to come back early. You just need to remember that you are able to go at a speed that is comfortable for you. Take your time, pace yourself, and enjoy. The Inca Trail is considered a moderate hike. It’s not a technical hike but there are a lot of Inca stairs to walk up and down, and the altitude may affect some individuals. We recommend using a trekking poles and have an early night before the trek.
Are Trekking poles really necessary?
For this trek more than any of the treks, we recommend the use of Trekking poles, especially for those passengers with known knee problems. There are multiple times during the trek that a Trekking poles is handy, be it ascending a mountain or walking down immense sets of Inca stairs. It will help with your balance and reduce the impact on your knees.
How long will I be walking every day? How long is the 5 day inca trail?
This is an approximate breakdown according to our regular campsites:
- Day 1: 12 kilometers (7.4 miles) 5-6 hours.
- Day 2: 12 kilometers (7.4 miles) 7-8 hours (“Dead Womans Pass,” the highest pass of the trek at 4,200m, is on this day )
- Day 3: 16 km (9.9 miles) 7-8 hours. Its the longest day of the trail
- Day 4: 6 Km (3.7 miles ) 6-5 hours
- Day 5: 3 km ( 1.86 miles) 4 hours
The entire trail is about 45 kilometers (27 miles) long from start to finish.
Is altitude sickness common? And how high is the 5 day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?
It’s impossible to predict who will be affected by altitude. Your ability to adapt to high altitude is determined by your genetic makeup and has little to do with fitness or health. Most people will have no problems as long as they take the time to acclimatize properly. A full day spent in Cusco (3399m), taking it very easy and drinking plenty of water is enough for some people but if you can arrange to have minimum 2-3 days in case of any travel disruptions as well then this is what we recomend as there is also so much to do here. The highest point you will reach while hiking the classic Inca Trail is 4200m/13818 ft. You will sleep at 3340m/10988 ft for two nights.
What if I am unable to finish the 5 day inca trail trek?
In the scenario that you are unable to finish the classic inca trail due health issues, ANDEAN PATH TREK will do everything in its power to get you to the nearest civilization and get help or transportation to help. If the issue is respiratory or due to altitude, we do carry at least one tank of oxygen on trek that you will have access to. In extreme cases, a helicopter pick up can be arranged at your own expense. (Travel Insurance required) There are no refunds in the situation that you are unable to finish though. Generally if due to altitude sickness people can´t make it over the pass on the 2nd day they come back to Ollantaytambo accompanied by a porter if just mild (or guide if serious) and if they recover from altitude sickness they stay the night here in Ollantaytambo and then take the train to Aguas Calientes the next day (Day 3) in the afternoon , you will spend the night in any hotel in aguas calientes, and rejoin your group in Machu Picchu early on Day 4 and continue the tour as normal. The additional costs for this such as train ticket and accomodations will be payed by the customer.
Can ANDEAN PATH TREK accommodate my dietary needs? What kind of food will there be?
Yes we are able to accommodate many types of dietary needs upon request at the time of booking. If you are a vegetarian, or cannot eat gluten or have allergies to certain foods, it will not be a problem. The meals of our chefs are one of the most popular parts of our tours too, and the quality will not be reduced when accommodating your dietary needs. The meals are served buffet style and you are able to choose what you would like to eat. Your guides will let you know what time the meals will be served. Our cooks prepare excellent high-energy meals appropriate for a trek of this nature. The menu usually includes quinua, cereals and vegetable soups, Beaf Lomo Saltado with rice, chicken cacerole, fresh fruit and vegetables and a variety of oatmeal, eggs and other breakfast foods as scramble egg, quinua panqueques.
Will I need to bring water?
We recommend that you purchase a 2 lts. bottle of water to take with you on the first day. Every night during the trek, we will boil water so you can refill the same bottle every morning before setting out. Also, you will be able to buy water along the way on Day 1, for the first few hours of Day 2, and of course at Machu Picchu.
Are there bathrooms along the way?
Along the trail there are several sites with toilets. Bring a roll of toilet paper. As far as other trash goes, please carry your own trash to each campsite where the porters will pack it up and take it out.
Is there a chance that my trek will be canceled?
There is very little possibility of a cancellation of a trek by the DRCC (Park Office) even under extreme weather circumstances or even in case of a strike there will be no cancellation. The DRCC or ANDEAN PATH TREK cannot change the date of a trek if there is a general strike. We do everything possible to ensure you get to the trail head to start the trek .
Is the 5 Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu still good during the rainy season? Is it safe?
The trail is perfectly safe during the rainy season. Some people actually like to go during the rainy season because there are fewer tourists. If you are one who doesn’t mind the rain, then we say ‘Go for it!’ You will just have to bring good rain gear and waterproof boots.
What kind of weather can I expect on the 5 day inca trail ? Temperatures?
During the “rainy season” (1 Dec – 1 May), you could have some rain any day but you can expect that it could rain every day in Feb and could be heavy! Often in Dec and Jan you may just get some light continual showers or it could be fine and then a heavy afternoon downpour but in truth you could also have fine days. At the same time, it will also be noticeably warmer at night. The day times will get up to about 25 degrees Celsius, the low will be about 2 degrees Celsius. On the other hand, during the “dry season” (June – Nov) the daytimes will seem strikingly like spring time, with bright and sunny skies, but it will be much colder at night. During the daytime you can expect it to be somewhere in the range of 20 to 30 degrees Celsius and at night it will be as low as 0 to -5 degrees Celsius. It is always best to dress in layers during anytime of year, really. As you hike, put them on when you feel cold or shed them and put it in your day pack when you get hot.
How many trekkers and trek crew are in a typical group?
For a group of max 8 trekkers our typical trekking staff comprise of: 01 guide, 01 cook, 01 assistant cook, and 8 porters.
What is the standard procedure when it comes to tips?
Tips for the above mentioned trekking staff are not included in the price of the trek. Tips are optional not mandatory. Generally tips are distributed amongst the trekking staff (except the guide and the assistant guide ) on the third night of the trek at Wiñaywayna camp after the evening meal since these trekking staff will not accompany the group to Machupicchu. Deciding how much to tip is always a difficult and sometimes uncomfortable decision. We think that a tip should not be used to subsidize a poor wage but should be a way to show the staff that you have enjoyed the trek and appreciated the services that they have provided. Please pay tips in cash and do not pay in kind such as in beers etc. We have tried to be as clear as possible about tipping but we understand that this is a complicated issue when many different cultures and lifestyles come together.
Will I be able to witness the sunrise at Machu Picchu?
In truth it is not typical sunrise. As long as you don´t have too much mist or low cloud then you see the first light illuminating Machu Picchu. It is after dawn though as the sun must rise up over the high mountains surrounding Machu Picchu.
How long am I able to stay at Machu Picchu? How I will I get down to Aguas Calientes?
When the Inca trail tour is done, we arrive at the citadel at 8:30 am. After a 30-minute break to use the bathrooms, and eat a snack. It begins with the guided tour at 9:00 am. The complete circuit takes 2hrs approx. Then we will all retire as it is not allowed to stay longer in the archeological site, by rules of protection of the Sanctuary. At 12:00 pm approx. We must get off by bus to the city of Aguas Calientes where you can have lunch, and then take the train back to Aguas Calientes.
What time will I be back in Cusco?
The train will came back at 14:30 pm, wich arrives to Ollantaytambo train station at 16:20 pm. Then you will be pick up by our private transportation , arriving to Cusco at 18:30 pm, the drop off will be your Hotel adress in Cusco.
3.- BOOKING & RESERVATIONS 5 DAY INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU
What if i’m Student?
How can I use it to get a discount? The Decentralized Department of Culture of Cusco communicates To be considered as a student, you must carry your university card, and not be older than 25 years. This card must be valid at the date of your trip on the Inca trail. The card must have the following requirements:
- The full name should be appreciated
- The photo of you
- The name of your university
- And the expiration date
THE ISIC CARD IS NO LONGER ACCEPTED FOR ENTRY TO THE MACHUPICCHU ARCHEOLOGICAL PARK . The discount that is offered isn’t a ECO PATH TREK discount, but is actually offered by the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Office. For that reason, it absolutely necessary that we have a scan of your card “in hand” when we go to purchase your permits. If you didn’t send us a copy of it along with the initial booking, then make sure to note on the registration form that you have one and will send the scan as soon as possible so that we know to try and wait before we purchase the permit.
Am I able to change dates after the initial reservation?
The only time that you can change your dates with no penalty charge is, if we have not purchased your permit yet. Usually we try to purchase the permits, at the most, the same day yo do the reservation for the Inca Trail. If we do not already have your permit you can change your date. If we already have your permit, the penalty to change is US $150 and there must be availability for the date which you want to move to.
What if do not have my passport right now?
The Park of Machu Picchu requires a valid passport to issued your permit to the trail,best case is to organize your new passport in advance if that is the case. There is the possibility due to the limits of spaces on your requested date to book with your old passport number, them we can do a paperwork to change it.
Can I pay for the entire tour up front?
Usually we only charge the deposit of your Inca Trail to the card to confirm your booking. The balance is paid on your arrival to Cusco in cash. If you choose to pay with credit card you need to pay 5% commission. The prices of the tours are for cash payment. You can withdraw US $ out of the ATMs, which there are plenty in Cusco.
ALTITUDE or MOUNTAIN SICKNESS, SOROCHE
Altitude sickness is serious and can ruin your trip. The biggest mistake you can make is to fly directly to Cuzco (3326m/10,910ft) and expect to hike the next day. Give yourself a few days to adjust to the altitude first. Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), altitude illness, hypobaropathy, or Soroche, is a pathological effect of high altitude on humans, caused by acute exposure to low partial pressure of oxigen at high altitude. It commonly occurs above 2,400 metres (approximately 8,000 feet). Acute mountain sickness can progress to high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) or high altitude cerebral edema (HACE).The causes of altitude sickness are not fully understood. The percentage of oxygen in air remains essentially constant with altitude at 21% up until 70,000 feet (21,330 m), but the air pressure (and therefore the number of oxygen molecules) drops as altitude increases — consequently, the available amount of oxygen to sustain mental and physical alertness decreases above 10,000 feet (3,050m). Altitude sickness usually does not affect persons traveling in aircraft because the cabin altitude in modern passenger aircraft is kept to 8,000 feet (2,440 m) or lower. A superficially related condition is chronic mountain sickness, also known as Monge’s disease, occurring only after prolonged exposure to high altitude. An unrelated condition, often confused with altitude sickness, is dehydration, due to the higher rate of water vapor lost from the lungs at higher altitudes. Those who ascend rapidly to altitudes greater than 2500m (8100 ft) may develop altitude sickness. In Peru, this includes Cusco ( 3326m) Machupicchu (2400m) and Lake Titicaca (3820m). Being physically fit offers no protection. Those who have experienced altitude sickness in the past are prone to future episodes. The risk increases with faster ascents, higher altitudes and greater exertion. Symptoms may include headaches,nausea,vomiting,dizziness,malaise, imsomnia and loss of appetite. Severe cases may be complicated by fluids in the lungs (high-altitude pulmonary edema) or swelling of the brain (high-altitude cerebral edema) If symptoms are more than mild or persist for more than 24 hours (far less at high altitudes), descend immediately by at least 500 meters and see a doctor. To help prevent altitude sickness, the best measure is to spend two nights or more at each rise of 1000m. Alternatively, take 125mg or 250mg of acetozolamide (Diamox) twice or three times daily starting 24 hours before ascent and continuing for 48 hours after arrival at altitude. Possible side effects include increased urinary volume, numbness, tingling,nausea,drowsiness, myopia and temporary impotence. Acetazolamide should not be given to pregnant women or anyone with a history of sulfa allergy. For those who cannot tolerate acetazolamide, the next best option is 4 mg of dexamethasone taken four times daily. Unlike acetazolamide, dexamethasone must be tapered gradually upon arrival at altitude, since there is a risk that altitude sickness will occur as the dosage is reduced. Dexamethasone is a steroid, so it should not be given to diabetics or anyone for whom taking sterorids is not adviced. A natural alternative is gingko, which some people find quite helpful. When traveling to high altitudes, it´s also important to evoid overexertion, eat ligh meals and abstain from alcohol.
ESSENTIAL TRIP INFORMATION
PASSPORT DETAILS REQUIRED
Full passport details are required at the time of booking in order to purchase Entrance fees to certain sites. Additionally, on certain trips, it’s needed to book bus, train or flight tickets. Delays to provide this information may result in booking fees or changes to your itinerary.
A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip however it has a extra cost.
Please ensure you have a day pack or small overnight bag in addition to your main luggage. This will be needed for the Homestay at Lake Titicaca and the night in Aguas Calientes, as you will be leaving your main luggage back at the hotels in Puno and Cusco respectively.
PASSPORTS, VISAS AND ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
If you receive an immigration card upon entry, please ensure you keep this safe as it may be requested at point of exit. For further information regarding country entry and exit fees, please refer to the ‘Money Matters’ section of this document.
It is a requirement of the Peruvian Tax Authority for our trip leaders to show proof that all travelers on our groups are foreign tourists and are thus exempt from the 18% Value Added Tax (VAT) charged to locals. This may require your trip leader to take a photograph of your main passport page and the page showing the immigration stamp you receive upon entry to Peru.
MEDICAL AND HEALTH INFORMATION
All travelers 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 manage and enjoy our style of travel. Please note that if in the opinion of our group leader or local guide any traveler is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve 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 before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained while travelling.
The safety and wellbeing of our travelers, leaders, crew, staff, and suppliers continues to remain our highest priority as we travel. You can read more about how we will keep you safe on our trips, including our COVID-19 Health & Safety
If you are unwell prior to travelling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements. At the group meeting, you will be asked to complete a self-screening health form and report any COVID-19 symptoms as well as any close contact with someone who has suspected or confirmed COVID-19. If you are displaying any symptoms or have any health concerns at this time, we will follow the advice of local health authorities to determine whether medical assistance, isolation or further action is required. We ask all travelers to continue to monitor their health throughout their travels and report any relevant symptoms to their tour leader.
TESTING & VACCINATION POLICY
From 1st May 2021 we introduced new safety measures that apply on all of our trips. On trips departing before 1st September 2021, you will need to show one of the below to your leader at the Group Meeting on Day 1 of your trip:
– Proof of COVID-19 vaccination, or
– Proof of negative COVID-19 test conducted no more than 72 hours before day 1 of your trip, or
– Proof of recovery documentation
In addition, if you’re aged 70+ or have an existing health condition that puts you at a higher risk of serious COVID-19 disease, you are also required to provide proof of vaccination before you can join a trip.
MANDATORY VACCINATION POLICY
From 1st of September 2021 we have introduced enhanced safety measures that apply on all of our trips. You will need to show your leader at the Group Meeting on Day 1 of your trip:
– Proof of COVID-19 vaccination
This policy is in addition to any specific testing or vaccination requirements for entry or exit to a destination or required by your airline.
Some regions of Central & South America can experience outbreaks of dengue fever. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent, and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn. If you have a fever or feel unwell, please let your leader know right away. Protect yourself against mosquito-borne illnesses such as malaria by taking measures to avoid insect bites.
There have been reports of transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in this region and we advise all travelers to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Given possible transmission of the disease to unborn babies, and taking a very cautious approach, we recommend all women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to consult with their doctors before booking their trip.
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.
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.
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.
FOOD AND DIETARY REQUIREMENTS
While travelling with us you’ll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in this region. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule, our groups tend to eat dinner together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There’s no obligation to do this though.
Please let us know your diet requirements before your trip starts.
Generally speaking, in bigger cities/towns vegetarians can expect a reasonable range of vegetarian venues and/or vegetarian options within tourist restaurant menus. However, vegetarianism is not the norm in this part of the world so options can be limited when eating at homestays, small local restaurants, street stalls, markets, etc.
More restrictive diet requirements (vegans, coeliac, gluten intolerance, fructose intolerance, lactose intolerance, etc.) can also be accommodated along this trip but you should expect a lesser variety than what you can expect at home. We recommend that, if possible, to bring your own supply of snacks with you.
For those on strict Kosher or Halal diets, we understand your dietary requirements are important, however, sometimes due to cultural and language differences these are not always easy to convey when you are travelling. Your guide will do their best to assist you in translating your needs when eating out, but please be aware that these diets are almost unheard of in much of the continent and the best they may be able to accommodate is no pork and shellfish. If this will be a concern for you, you may need to consider opting for vegetarian or vegan meals for the included meals in your itinerary. We recommend researching kosher or halal options in your destination country prior to travel to see if you are able to buy snacks once there, otherwise consider bringing some from home.
OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
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 our usual 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 our arrival, especially if we’re arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn’t always possible which means we won’t be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you’ve purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (subject to availability), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
When it comes to money matters on the trip, every traveler is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like drinks, shopping, optional activities, tipping and laundry. It’s always better to bring a little more than you think you’ll need. Also make sure you’ve read your trip details thoroughly, so you know what’s included in the trip price and what isn’t. This should make budgeting a little easier. You’ll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that’s this document).
The recommended amounts are listed in USD for the relatability of universal travelers; however the local currency is needed in the countries you are visiting.
We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to the equivalent of an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved.
MEALS NOT INCLUDED
For this trip we recommend between USD 25 to 50 per day. How do we work this out?
Breakfast – If breakfast is not included, you can expect to pay between USD5 to USD10 at a local café.
Lunch – If you are happy with a quick snack on the go, you may get away with as little as USD5 to USD10 for a set menu at a local eatery or a sandwich and a drink at a café. On the other hand, a lunch meal at a more tourist restaurant can cost between USD10 to USD15.
Dinner – At dinner time, your leader will normally recommend restaurants where you can safely try the local specialties of the region. Expect meals to cost between USD12 to USD25 for a main.
These are indicative prices only. If you are in a tight budget, are happy to eat just local food and are not afraid of an upset tummy every now and then, you can eat cheaper than this. If you want to try just the finest food at the finest restaurants, then you can expect meals to cost as much as in western countries.
CREDIT CARDS & ATMs
ATMs are widely available in major towns and cities across Latin America. Credit cards are generally available in tourist shops and restaurants. Visa and Mastercard are generally preferred over American Express, Diners, etc. Smaller venues take cash only.
Check with your bank before departure that your card is accepted in the countries you are travelling to and what their fees and charges are. 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 USD100 per day. If bringing over cash, please note USD100 bills with serial number CB or BE and any other USD bills that are old, torn, written or stamped on will not be accepted by local banks.
Gratuities aren’t compulsory on your trip, but they can make a big difference to locals employed in the tourism industry. We suggest carrying small notes of local currency around as you go. It’ll make tipping easier.
Most travelers prefer to take a small to medium wheeled suitcase, which is a great size for the packing capacity in our private vehicles. Whatever you take, be mindful that you will need to be able to carry your own luggage, handle it at airports, take in/out of accommodation and perhaps even walk short distances. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible. You’ll also need a day pack/bag for activities and day trips. In terms of weight, airlines generally allow a maximum of 20kg for check in luggage.
Other than the items and clothing you always need on a trip, below we have listed packing suggestions specific for this trip:
– Soft and/or hard copies of all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the hard copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a copy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary
– Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5 litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments
– Electrical adapter plug
– Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes and bandaids.
– Insect repellent
– Watch/Alarm clock or phone that can be used for both
– Ear plugs to guard against a potential snoring room-mate
– Phrase book
Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden.
Laundry is available at many hotels and towns during this trip, although you might need to wait for a two-night stop in order to make sure you get it back in time. While laundry at hotels is usually charged by the item, laundromats usually charge by the kilo, which is generally inexpensive (about USD 2 per kilo)
PHONE AND INTERNET ACCESS
WhatsApp is a popular way to communicate in Latin America. We recommended downloading WhatsApp prior to departure to communicate with by text with your leader and group members during the tour. Once downloaded, please validate your phone number before leaving home as you will not be able to do this once you arrive unless you have international roaming enabled. Connections for making phone calls through WhatsApp are not reliable, so please do not use this app to make calls to our emergency phone line.
All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Andean Path Trek endeavors to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues, and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialized knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location, then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
Most national governments provide regularly updated foreign travel advice on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all destinations and activities on your trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your jewelry at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however, during your trip you’ll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it’s deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
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 or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
In order to avoid fraud and theft, it is advisable that you withdraw money from ATMs located inside banks or guarded shops during business hours only.
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!
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.
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.
LIMA AIRPORT TRANSFERS
For safety reasons, we strongly recommend that during airport transfers in Lima all of your luggage, including hand luggage and valuables, is stored out of sight in the rear boot of the vehicle.
A COUPLE OF RULES
Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden.
Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.
The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips.
By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. You must at all times comply with the laws, customs, foreign exchange and drug regulations of all countries visited, and you also agree to travel in accordance with our Responsible Travel Guidelines.
The decision of the group leader is final on all matters likely to affect the safety or well-being of any traveller or staff member participating in the trip. If you fail to comply with a decision made by a group leader, or interfere with the well-being or mobility of the group, the group leader may direct you to leave the trip immediately, with no right of refund. We may also elect not to carry you on any future trips booked.
If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.
TRAVELLING ON A GROUP TRIP
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.
This is the beauty of our style of travel: many of our travellers join because they are travelling solo and want to meet and share experiences with like-minded people.
We pair up solo travellers with another traveller of the same gender as per your passport or the information we have in our booking system, so if you identify differently from the gender marker on your passport, please let us know in advance. We also have a Single Supplement available on most trips for travellers who prefer to have their own room.
Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour. Pre-trip and post-trip accommodation booked through us will on a single room basis.
Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on an open gender, multi-share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information.
A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information. On the following night the single supplement isn’t available:
Travel insurance is compulsory on all our trips for those travelling internationally. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travelers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company’s 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank’s name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Travelers who reside within the European Union or Switzerland receive basic international health insurance, so travel insurance is not mandatory under European Union Law. However, as this does not cover situations such as emergency rescues, private health care, or repatriation to their home country, comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended. European Union or Swiss travelers who decline travel insurance when travelling outside of their home region must sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting.