Is it safe to travel in Peru?
The answer is yes. The international press sometimes reports (with accompanying video footage) public demonstrations, usually against new government policies. These incidents are localized and are generally non-violent. The average tourist is unaffected. The only inconvenience one may experience is the occasional one-day transit halt (“paro” strike). This phenomenon is endemic to almost all of South America. As to street crime, common sense should be exercised when traveling in large urban areas. This is true whether it be Peru, New York or London.
When is the best time to go to Peru?
Travelers can visit Peru any time of the year. Dry season runs from May to October and this is typically the time that is most recommended. However, this is also the cooler time of year. May through October are the most popular months to visit so you will tend to encounter much larger crowds during these months.
In the wet season (November to April), you can expect showers three to four afternoons a week. For travelers that don't mind a little drizzle and muddy trails, this time of year offers smaller crowds and greener hillsides, with wildflowers and orchids often in bloom. Usually, January and February sees the heaviest rains. (sometimes it rains in dry season so always be prepared with a rain poncho)
What is the Currency of Peru? The currency is Peruvian Sol.
Is it possible to have a tailor made tour according to our specific interests? Absolutely, we work with you to create exactly the travel itinerary you want. Whether you are interested in art, architecture, history, food and wine, gardens, family-friendly activities, home stay, shopping, we will arrange for you to have personalized touring with appropriate experts who will emphasize your interests. Tours can be designed especially for you.
Do I need a visa?
Citizens of most Western Europe nations and of the USA and Canada who are entering Peru as tourists do not require visas. Travelers who require visas can normally obtain them from embassies or consulates in their countries of residence. For specific and timely information please contact the Consulate of the particular country closest to you.
What about my passport?
You need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months from the date of your departure. You are responsible for having a valid passport and visa when you travel.
How about domestic flights?
Trekperu can book your domestic flights in Peru for your convenience. We recommend LATAM AND AVIANCA.
Where can I exchange Dollars and Euros for Peruvian Soles? You can exchange DOLLARS and EUROS in banks and Casas de Cambio (exchange houses), TRAVELLER CHEQUES are possible to change in Banks with a small fee. The airport in Lima has a number of exchange houses. In Cusco you can find exchange houses on Avenida el Sol. The exchange rate is about 3.30 soles for 1 dollar. It is recommended not to accept torn bills because they have less value or not accepted.
Are there any ATM machines in Peruvian major Cities?
Yes, there are many ATM machines in Lima, Cusco, Arequipa, Puno etc. , so you can use your ATM card. Most ATM machines are found in the banks in Miraflores in Lima, Avenida el Sol in Cusco, and in the centers of other cities. Please inform your bank one to two weeks before traveling so you will not encounter any problems. We recommend using ATM´s in Banks during business hours for your safety. The bank in Peru will charge you a fee, as well as your bank in your country.
Are there Services for tourists with special needs in Peru? Yes, some higher end hotels provide bathrooms and rooms for special needs. Please advise us in advance so we can prepare.
What about food and water?
Peruvian cuisine is a real delight. The country is divided into three very distinct geographic zones (coast, mountain and jungle) with their own culinary traditions. All should be tried and enjoyed. All throughout Peru there are numerous street vendors cooking various dishes; caution is the watchword here. The average “gringo” stomach probably isn’t up to this sort of adventure. When in doubt, go without. Tap water should be avoided. This is no problem as bottled mineral water (with and without gas) is available virtually everywhere for a very reasonable price.
What should I bring?
Everyone has their personal style as far as traveling goes. For a general idea, we’ve compiled a basic list (several actually, depending on where you plan to go – check them out). Note: Internet cafés are found just about everywhere in Peru. Just in case you’re hopelessly addicted to your laptop.
What precautions should I take in regards to taxis and streets?
It is best to have your hotel all a taxi service. You can take marked taxis during the day, but after sunset and early morning to go to the airport or the train station, it is recommended that the hotel receptionist call a taxi for you. It is much safer to use those taxis that belong to a taxi company. To walk on the streets take the same precautions like in a major city in the USA or Europe. Pay attention to the advice of your tour leader and hotel receptionist and take common-sense precautions such as not going into unfamiliar areas alone, especially at night.
What about electricity?
Peru’s electric grid runs on 220v so if you are going to bring an appliance, like an electric razor, make sure you bring an adapter or purchase one that has a switch or automatically selects the appropriate voltage. Our sockets allow for two-flatted or two-rounded plugs.
What inoculations do I need?
No inoculations are compulsory to enter Peru. Yellow fever is highly recommended for some rainforest areas. Please be reminded that if you travel to Brazil or Bolivia from Peru you will need a yellow fever inoculation.
Is good quality medical care available?
Medical care is generally quite good in private health care facilities in urban areas, but less so in the rural parts of the country. Urban facilities usually have modern equipment and someone on staff that speaks English. It is highly recommended that you take out travel insurance before you leave home. However, hospitals and clinics often ask for cash payment up front. Make sure that you keep all receipts so that you can be reimbursed once you return home. Also, make sure that your travel insurance includes medical evacuation. If you plan on doing any "adventure sports" such as riding motorcycles, scuba diving or even trekking, ask if those activities are covered. They usually aren't, but you can buy supplemental insurance to cover you.
Are there discounts for students with ISIC cards?
Yes, the official system allows a discount on the Inca permits and entrance to Machu Picchu.
When you arrive in Peru:
- Never buy tours or treks from salespersons at airports or from taxi drivers.
- Never buy tours or treks from salespersons at airports or from taxi drivers. (We can't emphasize this point enough)
- Never reveal your name and personal details to anyone unless it is really necessary. Don't give away information about your tour itinerary to anyone that doesn't need to know. When you book your flights or when you arrive at your hotel in Lima people may ask you which trekking company you have booked with. When you arrive in Cusco you may be surprised to find someone waiting for you at the airport with a sign with your name on it. This person may claim to be from the trekking company and kindly offer to take you to your hotel where they will ask you to pay the trek balance! Yes you've guessed it, someone from Lima phoned them through your details and flight times, and the person who met you at the airport wasn't working for the trekking company at all! Whoops! Where did that money go so quickly? Always pay the balance of the trek in the office of the trekking company and not to a "representative" in your hotel.
- Always pay for your trek in the office of the tour operator (I've said it again) and obtain a written receipt. Ensure that the name of the office is actually written outside of the office and that the receipt has the same name as the company. Never pay money to people who pick you up at the airport.
- Try to avoid "too good to be true" offers. A cheap tour price usually means a cheap service. An unbelievably cheap price usually means no service at all!
Problems with service? If you have paid for a trek and the service promised doesn't materialize then you can take your complaint to a government tourist protection body called INDECOPI. Just mentioning their name is usually enough to frighten a company into taking your complaint seriously. However your complaint should first be brought to the attention of the guide during the trek so it gives him/her opportunity to sort the problem out. If things don't improve then ask to see the manager in the office when you return. It helps if you have a receipt with the name and address of the office and a list of what were included in the trek. It also helps if you bought the trek with a company in Cusco and not in Lima or some other part of Peru. INDECOPI have an office in Avenida el Sol in Cusco. Don't go to them unless the complaint is serious and you have given the company the opportunity to sort it out first....
What about altitude sickness?
Altitude sickness, or soroche as it is called in Peru, is sometimes a problem for visitors to the Peruvian highlands. An infusion, called “mate de coca” or coca leaf tea, is made with the leaves of the coca plant (considered to have been a sacred plant for the Incas and still seen as such by many people in the highlands of Peru). It is purported to help relieve altitude sickness and is readily available. Like regular tea it has a mild stimulating effect and a pleasant taste. If anything, a good cup of hot liquid will help keep you hydrated.
Diamox is used by some travelers from the USA, but it is not recommended if you are allergic to sulfa medications. Sorochi or Gravol are pills that can be purchased locally over-the-counter at pharmacies and airports.
Consult with your doctor if you are worried about traveling at high altitudes. Ask if it is OK for you to take any of these medications, or bring your prescriptions with you.
The best thing to do is to get acclimatized to the altitude as quickly as possible by doing a city tour, sacred valley tour or a short day trek. Eating lightly on the first day and avoiding excess physical activity until acclimatized are highly recommended. KEEP HYDRATED but do not overfill your stomach at once. Let your digestive system adjust. Take it easy the first day and your body will have time to adjust to the changes. Most people do NOT have any serious problems with the altitude.
Do I need Travel Insurance?
Yes, we highly recommend travel insurance in case of illness, accident, strikes that may arise without any notice etc.
travel insurance comparison site where travelers search and compare over 250 travel insurance plans to find the best policy to suit their needs.
Frequent asked questions about the INCA TRAIL:
Could I do the Inca Trail without a guide or travel agency?
No, you cannot do the Inca Trail independently. You need to contact a licensed, professional Tour Operator specializing in the Inca Trail who is authorized to purchase the necessary permits with the client’s valid passport. How far in advance should I book the Inca Trail? You must book through a licensed travel agency like ourselves and pay for the permit at least 6 months in advance as the permits sell out quickly by the official system. The official system only allows 500 people per day on the trail.
How do I book the Inca Trail?
We need a copy of a valid passport that has 6 months before expiration date upon completion of your vacation in Peru, copy of valid ISIC card if applicable, deposit of US$300.00 to purchase the permits and fill out the traveler form that we will send you.
Once I have booked my place on the trail, can I change my departure date?
No. Unfortunately once your reservation is officially confirmed and the permit is purchased with the Inca Trail Authorities (INC Reservation Office) it is not possible to change or postpone your departure date. You would need to make a new reservation with a new deposit for your new date (this date needs to be one which is at least 5 days before or after your prior departure date). Please note that this is not an agency decision but a local authority regulation.
If I cancel the Inca Trail due to illness, do I receive a refund?
Unfortunately, the Inca trail ticket is non refundable and non transferable by the official system.
What is the best time of the year to do the Inca Trail? The best time of the year to do the Inca Trail is during is from March to October. However, more people are doing the trail in March, December and January. Sometimes the weather is unpredictable in the Andes and it might rain a little but the sun is very strong during the day and cold in the evenings. Where do I store the bags I don`t need when I go on the trail? You will store your baggage in the hotel storage. Or we can store it at our office. Is the Inca Trail a strenuous and difficult trek?
The difficulty of the trek depends on what you’re used to and your fitness. Some trekkers find it to be physically challenging, however no technical expertise is required. The most challenging aspect of the trek is the altitude that you trek at. Simply walking at high altitude can leave you breathless so climbing 1000m in a matter of hours will test even an experienced trekker. We recommend acclimatizing at least 2 days prior to the trek.
What is the typical group size?
Trekperu operates its own treks with a minimum of 2 persons and maximum of 8 people. However, if you have formed your personal group we do not have a maximum just as long there are available spaces.
Do I need to hire a Porter to carry my belongings and how much does he carry?
We highly recommend hiring an extra porter unless you are a professional hiker. The porter will carry up to 7k/15lbs per person to include the weight of your sleeping bag. Trekking at altitude is very physically demanding so the less you are carrying on your back the easier your trek will be. If you do not hire a porter you will need to carry your sleeping bag, clothes, water and any other personal effects – these can weigh up to 7k/15lbs.
Can I cancel the extra porter once hired?
It is not possible to cancel a porter once they have been hired as a non-refundable permit will have already been taken out for them.
How do I obtain drinkable water during the trek? Trekperu provides boiled filtered water) at each campsite where you can refill your cantee. On the first day of the trek you will bring 1 liter of water to drink until we reach our campsite. From there on the cook will refill your bottle as needed at each campsite. What is the food like on the Inca trail?
A cook accompanies every group on the Inca trail. Almost invariably, travelers comment on the delicious menu. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and hearty snacks are provided for your hike. Meals are a mix of local specialties and international favorites. Vegetarian, gluten free and vegan meals are also available upon request without any extra charge. Other special dietary requests can usually be accommodated as well with sufficient notice. Which campsites do you use?
The campsites are assigned by the official system and we do not get to choose. On the 3rd night you could be assigned Wiñay Wayna closer or Puyupatamarca farther but we will inform you of this. Do you provide toilet and shower services?
We provide hot water for your hygiene and a take our own toilet tent for your usage. There are basic toilets in each campsite but not very clean. Showers available on the third night but you will need to pay them directly to use.
Do you provide medical aid in case of an accident, allergies or other occurrences?
Yes, we do. We have a well-equipped first aid kit and oxygen. Our guides are professionally trained in administering first aid to the passengers.
Note: The passengers must bring their own personal medications for their ailments.
What do I need to bring for the hike? Travelers only need to bring their own personal supplies,sleeping bag and walking poles. If you do not have a sleeping bag, these can be rented from Trekperu. A duffle bag will be provided for your belongings on the Inca trail only if you have hired an extra porter. If you have not hired an extra porter then bring a comfortable backpack. Proper sun gear, comfortable trekking clothes, mosquito repellant, hiking shoes, a flashlight, a camera, and 1-2 refillable water bottles are recommended. Rain gear is also recommended during the wet season (November- April but could rain any time so be prepared) and cold weather gear (warm jacket, fleece, thermals, hat and gloves) are recommended. (dry season is from May to October however you can experience rain anytime.)
What do I need to carry?
We recommend that travelers carry the items that they will need each day while hiking such as water, snacks, camera and film. Porters will carry camping equipment and mats. If you hired an extra porter then they will carry your personals to include your sleeping bag up to 7 kilos per person. We generally ask travelers to bring only the belongings that they will need for the trail and leave any unneeded luggage at the hotel in Cusco or the Sacred Valley. Bring a daypack to carry your personals such as suncreen, jacket, camera, toilet paper and anything you want to use during the actual hiking. You will not be able to get into your duffle bag until you reach your campite. Porters are only allowed 20 kilos and will be weighed along some points to make sure they are not over loaded.
Your porters, guides and cooks have amazing strength, stamina and skill and generally make your trek a thoroughly enjoyable and hassle-free experience. Most people would almost certainly not be able to complete the trek without them. The guide will provide a suggested tipping guide. Remember it is not mandatory but is a nice gesture.
Could we use walking poles for the trek or in Machu Picchu?
Yes, during the trek you may use walking poles but must have rubber cushions. However they cannot be used in Machu PIcchu unless you can prove you have difficulties and need them. Do I need Travel Insurance?
We recommend traveler insurance in case of illness etc
How concerned should I be about the altitude on the hike?
Altitude affects each traveler differently and until you have visited an area with high altitude, it is impossible to predict how your body will react. For this reason, we recommend at least 2 to 3 days to acclimatize by doing our day activities such as the city tour, sacred valley tour, the Spiritual tour or the Colca Canyon Arequipa Tour. This time allows your body to begin acclimatizing (though full acclimatization would take several months) and provides travelers a good indication of how they will feel on the Inca trail (as altitude symptoms are generally the worst on the first day or two at elevation). Commonly, our travelers report mild altitude symptoms such as fatigue, headache, or light-headedness during their first day or two at elevation. Our guides on the Inca trail have oxygen available for travelers feeling the effects of the elevation. Severe altitude sickness is rare. In this case, the best treatment is to go down in elevation as soon as possible. We have never had a traveler that had to be evacuated to low altitude. Many severe cases of altitude sickness are the result of a pre-existing condition that is aggravated by the altitude. It is important to ask your doctor whether or not travel to high altitude is advised, especially if you have a pre-existing heart or lung condition such as high blood pressure, asthma, angina, etc. You might also want to ask your doctor about prescription Diamox, a diuretic that many travelers swear by to help them adjust to the altitude more readily. On the Inca trail, you will be hiking in altitudes ranging from ~ 9000-14500 ft. The highest camping spot is ~ 12000 ft.
Important: Regulations for the Inca Trail All visitors must abide by the Park Rules: do not throw trash on the trails or in the Machu Picchu National Park, do not destroy the natural environment, do not kill animals, do not throw a lit match anywhere or have open fires, do not camp at the archaeological sites only where permitted. The Inca Trail is closed throughout the month of February each year for maintenance. Machu Picchu remains open throughout the year unless there are heavy rains and landslides.
Emergency phone number in the whole of Peru is : 105 (not 911)
Main Embassies :
Great Britain: 617-3050
New Zealand: 422-7491
Thank you for choosing Trekperu for your wonderful vacation in Peru !!!!!!!!!!
Service with a smile.