SHORT INCA TRAIL I N F O
You will receive a briefing at your hotel the evening before the start of the program. This will include timings, checking of documentation and receiving information on personal gear. This is the time to ask any of those last-minute questions you have and tell us about any medical or dietary needs you may have. Were always happy to help but sometimes it’s just easier in person! For programs that start on Monday, group briefings are on Saturday, two days ahead of the program. Please consider our tour briefing in your travel plans and plan accordingly.
We will give you a duffel bag to use for your expedition at the briefing. This duffel will be used to carry all of your personal belongings and will be carried by our team of porters. In consideration of our porters’ health and safety, we kindly ask that your bag not exceed 7kg/ 15.4lbs, including your Southern Peruvian Explorers sleeping bag and air mattress. You will not have access to your duffel bag during the day, therefore, we strongly suggest that you pack all of your personal items (e.g. water bottle, camera, extra layers, sunglasses, sunscreen) in a personal day pack that you will carry throughout the hike.
We will pick you up from your hotel in our personal van at the time communicated during your briefing. That being said, there are parts of the historic center that are difficult, if not impossible to navigate by car. We will let you know in advance if we cannot pick you up from your accommodation, in which case, we will arrange another meeting point. We are happy to provide a list of hotel recommendations per request.
→ Returning To Cusco
Transportation from Machu Picchu back to Cusco is included in your tour. Here is what to expect day of:
Buses run between Machu Picchu and Aguas Calientes all day and are first come, first serve. Leaving Machu Picchu, we will take a 25-minute bus ride down the mountain to the village of Aguas Calientes. After lunch, we will board an afternoon train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo or Poroy. The train rides are 2 hours and 3.5 hours respectively. Your tour guide will give you your train tickets and departure time. Please make sure to be at the train station 30 minutes in advance of departure. Upon arrival to the destination train station, your drivers will be awaiting you with a Southern Peru Explorers sign. We will chauffeur you to your Cusco accommodation.
→ Macchu Picchu Entrance
Machu Picchu entrance tickets allows you to enter the ruins in a certain time slot. You must be there just before this to enter. The time slots are allocated in order to track and control numbers which are currently visiting. There are 9 different time slots taking in visitors every hour from 6am until 2pm.
There are also time slots attributed to climbing either Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain where you will have to pass through a checkpoint in order to continue.
If you have purchased a ticket to hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, your time window will be extended for an additional 2.5 hours.
→Huayna Picchu & Machu Picchu Mountain
Huayna Picchu is the famous mountain you see in the foreground of touristic photos of Machu Picchu. For an extra charge, you can add this to your expereince. The hike takes approx 1 hour up to the top and 1 hour back down. If you are interested in purchasing tickets for Huayna Picchu during your visit, we will need to reserve your ticket up to 3 months in advance. These tickets are also sold in time sessions, giving all visitors a set entrance time. Generally, a later so that you can enjoy a tour of Machu Picchu with your guide beforehand. The Huayna Picchu hike is done on your own, but your guide will be present to show you where to begin.
Machu Picchu Mountain is a longer hike that involves a 1.5-hour ascent to the top and a 1.5- hour descent to the bottom. Although considered a more relaxed trail it does get to high altitudes and requires you to traverse the mountain side. This trek is not for someeone with a fear of heights. Again, there are two time frames and we normally purchase the second time window.
→ Health Concerns
All of our guides are trained in CPR and First Aid. Although they are not medical professionals, we encourage you to share all of your health concerns with your guide before departing for your expedition.
We strongly suggest that you consult with a medical professional to determine your fitness level before traveling and/or participating in our expeditions. Before departing from your home country, you should also seek professional medical advice regarding vaccinations and any medical precautions you should take. Ultimately you are responsible for determining which, if any, of our tours are suitable for you. Southern Peru Explorers will not offer you medical advice. It is your responsibility to weigh the risks and understand the requirements of each tour we offer, based on your personal circumstances, limitations, medical history and fitness level.
If you suffer from extreme altitude sickness or any other illness that prevents you from hiking, and you still wish to visit Machu Picchu, we will coordinate for you a visit to the ruins by train. This accommodation is considered a new trip and may inquire extra fees, but we will try to use as many of the pre-purchased logistics from the original trip as we can. If while hiking you experience sickness that hinders you from moving forward, a Southern Peru Explorers porter will accompany you to the nearest road and wait with you until a Southern Peru Explorers car comes to take you to the closest health clinic. We strongly recommend for you to have personal medical insurance or cover during your trip to Peru.
Generally speaking, the dry season runs from April to September, and the rainy season is from November to February. March and October are typically transitionary months, with both rain and intense sun. That being said, the climate patterns here in Peru have been changing drastically in the past few years. Prepare for both sun and rain by packing a brimmed hat, sunscreen and a waterproof layer. The temperatures here in Cusco remain relatively consistent all year, with cold mornings and evenings. Pack a fleece and down layer to keep warm at night and for the start of our hike each morning. By mid-morning, when the sun is bright, you will most likely want short sleeves for hiking. We recommend that you pack layers, both in your duffel and your day bag so that you will always have options.
Cusco sits at 3399m/ 11,152ft above sea level and the majority of our treks are located at similar, if not, higher altitudes. Because of this, some guests experience symptoms of altitude sickness as their body adjusts to the change in altitude. A general, but not an exhaustive list of symptoms includes headaches, exhaustion, shortness of breath, rapid pulse, dizziness, nausea and/or vomiting.
To help acclimatize to the altitude here in the Andes, we recommend that you get sufficient sleep, drink plenty of water, eat easily-digestible foods, drink coca tea with a little bit of sugar added, and take it easy on physical activity for the first few days of arrival in Cusco. You can also ask your Doctor about the following medications to help with altitude acclimatization: Diamox, Sorochi, and Grovol. All of these medications can be found in Peruvian drugstores.
Our guides have experience with altitude sickness and will be present to assist with any discomfort you may experience while on the trail. Still, we recommend that you consult with your doctor before trekking at high altitudes or using any medications.
Strikes are a common occurrence in Perú and have the potential to cause disruptions or modifications to our tours. Often at times roads are blocked and trains are stopped during strikes, making it impossible to depart from Cusco. We will do everything possible to continue operating our tours during a strike, even leaving the night before your start date if need be.
Still, sometimes we will have no other option but to cancel your tour under these circumstances. The decisions we make are guided by our commitment to your safety. If we decide to cancel your tour, we will communicate our decisions with you, as far in advance as possible.
→ LOST ITEMS
We kindly ask you to be extra mindful with all your belongings throughout your time with us. Remember to always remove your items from vans, tents, restaurants and lodges and do not leave your belongings unattended. You have ultimate responsibility for all of your belongings.
On the final day of your trek, there is a tipping custom. All hikers will put their tips together to give to the guide and the chef. The chef is responsible for distributing the money equally among all of the cooks and porters.
→ TRAVEL INSURANCE
You can never predict what will happen in the future. Don’t let sickness or bad weather be the cause for losing your entire trip. Insurance is a way to protect the investment you have made on this trip, and it comes at a relatively inexpensive cost. We strongly suggest that you consider travel insurance before coming to Peru.
→ GETTING TO CUSCO
Most visitors will arrive in Cusco by plane at the domestic, Alejandro Velasco Astete airport. If you are coming from abroad via Lima, it is essential that you claim your bags in Lima and re-check them for your flight to Cusco. There are five airlines that operate between Lima and Cusco: LATAM, Avianca, Star Peru, Peruvian, and Sky. Despite the price differences, we recommend LATAM and Aviana, as they tend to be more reliable and accommodating when there are flight cancellations and delays.
I N C A . T R A I L . I N C L U S I O N S
Read up on all that is included in our spectacular Classic Inca Trail Trek
→ Professional Guides
All of our guides have studied both English and Tourism. They are native to the region and have a true passion for teaching others about their culture and heritage. All our guides are experienced with the Inca Trail and other high altitude treks. They will support you and ensure you are safe and happy throughout your trip.
Included with your trek is a team of porters who along with our horses carry all equipment and materials necessary for the trek. They usually walk ahead and set up your camp so everything such as your tent, the kitchen and food is ready for your arrival. Your duffel bag is also carried with the porters.
→ First Aid
Every guide Outdoor first aid trained and carries a first-aid kit and oxygen for basic medical problems (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts, scrapes, etc.). In case of emergencies, every guide is equipped with a satellite phone which will allow for a quick exit off the trail to get you directly to a clinic for treatment.
Your transportation from and to this trek is included. You will be picked up directly from your hotel in Cusco and taken to start of your trek in Ollantaytambo. At the end of your trek and visit to Machu Picchu the bus down to Aguas Calientes is also included, as well as the expedition train back from Aguas Calientes. After your return riverside journey on the train, you will reach the train station where you will be picked up by van to take you back to your hotel in Cusco.
Here at Southern Peru Explorers we will always make sure you have clean drinking water at all mealtimes, and enough for you to refill your water bottle when needed. We use fresh spring water running down from the snow-capped mountains for this purpose. We require that you bring a water bottle/s or camelbak that has a capacity of at least 3 litres. In order to care for our spectacular environment, we humbly request that you use a reusable non single use plastic bottle.
→ Chefs & Meals
Our highly trained chefs cook delectable, nutrient-rich meals that honor your food restrictions while surprising you with International and Peruvian flavors. Prepare for a superb culinary experience to accompany this unforgettable expedition. Food is normally served family-style, three times a day, in addition to a pre-dinner tea and snacks throughout your trip. Please make sure to remind your guide of any food restrictions before beginning your program.
→ Tickets & Permits
Southern Peruvian Explorers is one of the few tour operators authorized to both book your permits and operate on the Inca Trail. Permits are registered in your name with a specific date and cannot be modified after confirmation. Your tickets will be purchased by Southern Peru Explorers and looked after by your guide until the time they are needed. These include:
- Machu Picchu Entrance
- Train ticket
- Bus ticket up to MP
- Inca Trail Permit
We consistently maintain and renew our 3-season ad 4-season tents to ensure peak performance in the field. To ensure maximum comfort, we provide you with a four-person tent to sleep you and only one other hiker. We can upgrade single hikers who prefer more privacy to a Eureka Timberline 2XT tent, designed for two persons for personal use. You will have a spacious, wind and waterproof dining tent to comfortably enjoy meals in the company of your group. We also provide sleeping bags and self-inflating roll matts to ensure comfort.
→ Duffel Bag
During your briefing you will receive a personal Southern Peru Explorers duffel bag to pack all of your belongings in. This duffel will be carried by our team of porters, and thus should not exceed more than 7kgs /15.4 lbs, including your Southern Peruvian Explorers sleeping bag and air mattress. Please keep in mind that wou will not have access to your duffel bag during the day, so all personal items needed for hiking (e.g. water bottle, camera, extra layers, sunglasses, sunscreen) should be packed in a personal day pack.
→ Sleeping Bag
You will receive either our North Face or Therm-a-rest’s down alpine mummy bag which has an impressive temperature limit of -6C. Boasting quilted blanket interior, foot warmer pocket and cinchable fitted design. Best of all, these sleeping bag are certified for responsible, sustainable down manufacturing. We carry extra blankets, pillows and sleeping bags for your comfort.
→ Inflatable Mattress
You will also be given one of our self-inflating lightweight roll mats from the leading brand in this area, Therm-a-rest, to make sure you have the best nights rest on any trek. Upon request and availability we can also provide camping beds to make you just at home.
→ NOT INCLUDED
X Huayna Picchu
X Machu Picchu Mountain
X Hiking Poles (available for rent)
W H A T . T O . B R I N G
✓ Original passport
✓ A daypack to carry your personal belongings
✓ Lighter style trekking boots with good ankle support
✓ Warm clothes, fleece and layers for variable temperatures
✓ T-shirts and trekking pants
✓ Underwear and walking socks
✓ Camera / Phone
✓ Sunscreen + Lip Balm SPF30+
✓ Insect Repellent (50% DEET)
✓ Sunglasses & Sun Hat
✓ Refillable Water Bottle