Informative talk prior to the walk
In all our tours we offer an informative chat 1 or 2 days before starting the tour, for example, Depending on your schedule, an appropriate time is usually around 6pm – 8pm (the briefing should last from one hour to one hour and a half – depending on how many questions you ask! In this session the guide (or a representative from the travel agency) will explain the route you will take on your trip and have the opportunity to ask last minute questions about the trip.
The advantage of having the information session two days before the walk is that it will give you a last minute opportunity to buy snacks or warm clothes (there are a lot of hats, gloves and scarves for sale in Cusco). Your informative session prior to the excursion will be organized once you have paid your deposit. Please, tell us if the talk time is adequate.
Altitude and acclimatization
We strongly recommend that you acclimate for 2-3 days in a high place (such as Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Arequipa or Lake Titicaca) before attempting any of these walks. The altitude can affect anyone who is at a moderate to high altitude (usually more than 3,000 meters). Altitude sickness is caused by a lack of oxygen, which can be up to one third less than at sea level.
No one understands why some people are affected and others are not. Age, level of fitness and strength are not indicators of how well you will do at altitude. Keep in mind that altitude sickness can be serious, so if your guide advises you to rest or descend, please do what you are told to do.
As most of our walks are a mixture of ascents and descents, altitude sickness is often short-term and suffering from it does not necessarily mean that you will not be able to complete the trek. There are medications available to combat the effects of altitude sickness, for more information please ask your doctor.
Tips for walks
We recommend you check our website «Tips for hiking».
Our main advice is: Go at your own pace. It is not a race. Most of our tours have adequate time for you to take it easy along the way. We also find it more pleasant to stop and rest frequently, admiring the landscapes that arrive early to camp and sit in your tent!
Difficulty of walking in general
In all of our walking tours we have tried to classify your difficulty in the best way possible.
It is very difficult to describe, since it depends on your physical condition, experience and a wide range of factors, including your personal health. The walks in the Andes are never easy! The comments we receive most is «this walk was more difficult than I thought; They should rate it as much more difficult. » (About most walks!) Read our testimonials to learn more about the experience of other travelers.
For example: Huchuy Qosqo is considered easy, Ausangate is considered moderate and Choquequirao to Machu Picchu difficult … but in fact EVERYONE is challenging!
Also, please let us know if you have any medical conditions – that is, back conditions, sore knees, weak ankles, as well as other medical conditions. If you do not tell us, we will assume that you are 100% healthy! We assume no responsibility you always have to assume that the walk would be more difficult than you imagined.
Difficulty of the Inca Trail
While the Inca Classic Trail is a famous hike, it is still a 43 km (26 mile) hike through a high altitude region. The maximum altitude reached is 4200 m above sea level. On the second day of the trek, you will climb 1200 m up, which is a difficult climb. Although our website describes the Inca Trail as «moderate», this is a comparison with other treks in the region, NOT because it’s easy! The Inca Trail is a relatively challenging walk and you must be well prepared (physically and mentally) before trekking.
As indicated in our booking conditions, we strongly recommend that you have your own travel insurance before leaving on one of our hikes. Please note that the non-refundable deposit must be able to be recovered through a travel insurance claim in case of accident or illness.
We can provide you with information on travel insurance, but we believe it is best that you contact the insurance companies in your own country to obtain more information about them. In summary, an individual’s health insurance is very different from typical travel insurance. Read here about typical travel insurance
Health insurance is very different in the sense that it often does not cover emergency evacuation. We strongly recommend that you check your current medical insurance regarding emergency evacuation coverage and we strongly recommend that you obtain travel insurance if you wish to cover your risk of trip cancellation, illness, injury, death, etc., in order to recover some of your expenses in such a case.
Visitors to Peru often want to help people, and while they are on the trek, they can find children asking for gifts or candy. When you do this, remember that by distributing sweets or small gifts, you can corrupt the mentality of the children and create a begging mentality that did not exist before. However, giving nothing does not give the best impression of tourists either.
If you want to bring gifts, consider those that can convey a positive image. This includes fruits, oranges and apples. Children in the high Andes rarely eat fruit, and you are encouraging healthy eating behavior. The drawback is that the fruit is heavy to carry.
Other ideas include dried fruits and bread. Try to avoid everything that has a packaging that will inevitably become garbage. Pens and notebooks are often suggested, but they are not necessarily useful for semi-literate children. Shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste can be purchased at low prices in Cusco and encourage healthy behaviors, but they come in containers. (The packaging becomes garbage).
If you want to contribute in a very positive way, you can bring reading books or simple picture books (in Spanish) you can ask our guide to accompany you to the local school to give them to the teacher.
If you want to give cash when you arrive in a community, ask to see the president, secretary and / or treasurer of the community or the Parent Association. Then, make sure that several people see your gift and that the donation is written in the Acts or community record book.
If you want to bring a gift from your home country, bring something useful, simple and not too expensive. Hats and T-shirts are good gifts, on the contrary «refrigerator magnets» are not (many families do not have refrigerators!).
The Peruvian remote communities still work using the «ayni», the idea of »today for me, tomorrow for you». If you give many things (or many tourists during a period give a little), then the traditional concept of ayni is broken, that is, that the exchanges must be reciprocal. Therefore, although it is good to give, also take into account the long-term implications and what it means for these traditional communities.
Share information about your country of origin
Many people collect small photographs or information about their lives in their country of origin. We encourage this very important cultural exchange, however, really analyze what you show people. The photos of your brother with his new car, your family on ski holidays or your sister with an elaborate dress only emphasize social differences.
Eating With Your Porters and Carriers
We often receive comments that say something like: «I wish we could eat with our porters. I would have liked to know them better. » By saying this, examine your cultural expectations and what you really want. Keep in mind that our porters and muleteers are mostly Quechua-speaking natives who are by nature generally shy and uncomfortable with such interactions. If you «eat with the porters» you may feel good about yourself, but it is questionable if the experience would have been pleasant for them. (We’re not saying do not look for cultural interactions, but the question of eating with porters or staff is one that comes up frequently and we say so – think about what you’re looking for!
Women in Peru are usually treated well always. The vast majority of our guides, cooks and muleteers are men – so if you are a group of two women who have signed up for a walk, expect that you will have a male retinue. (Sometimes we can organize female guides on request!) All of our staff is implicitly reliable.
Peruvians have different concepts of time and space. They enter people’s «personal space» for a long time and if the guide does this and makes you feel uncomfortable, tell them IMMEDIATELY that this is not appropriate in your culture. (Or whatever!) But tell them they prefer to comment on it in your final report.
Recommendations for the exercise
Any exercise recommendation that we can provide is only general and does not apply specifically to you (especially your current physical condition, health status, health conditions, age and previous experience). If you are going to embark on a rigorous physical conditioning program, then you should do so under the advice of the appropriate medical or fitness professionals.
In general terms, you should do any exercise that will improve your current physical condition. The days of walking (usually in most of our walks) are long, so if you can take long walks 2-3 times a week (that is, approximately 1 hour) this will help you improve your general physical condition.
As the Andes region is mountainous, if you can hike in mountainous or rugged terrain it will also help you for your walk through the Andes.
Is there a minimum or maximum age limit for walking?
We do not accept reservations for children under 8 years and adults over 68 years. All children under the age of 18 must also be accompanied by an adult. We recommend that if you are over 60 years of age you should talk to your doctor well in advance about the best way to plan the walk and also to make sure your travel insurance covers such adventure activities.
Customers over 60 years of age MUST arrive in Cusco at least 3 days before starting the trek. For walkers over 63 years of age we also ask you to bring a recommendation from your doctor confirming that you are able to participate in the trekking. Unfortunately if you do not bring a letter from your doctor we reserve the right to cancel your trip and your travel deposit is not refundable. (Please see our general booking conditions for more details).
Comments from our clients
Your guide must give you a comment form to complete the last day. We would appreciate very much if you took the time to complete this form and give us your impressions of your trip.
If we do not receive this form, we will send you an email to send us your comments.
It is very important that we have your comments on all aspects of the trip.