HIKING FAQs

What is the right trek for me?

We know that you are hoping for the best possible vacation during your visit to magical Peru, and we understand that searching for the right trek that will take you through an incredible experience to Machu Picchu is very important for your visit. At Inkayni Peru Tours, we are ready to help you however necessary in order to select the route that best suits you! Whichever trek you decide on, be assured that you will have a fantastic experience with us that you will remember for a lifetime!

Here’s an introduction to our treks and a helpful description of each journey:

TRADITIONAL INKA TRAIL  4D / 3N TREK:

The total distance is 45 km (28 mi). The highest altitude, known as Dead Woman’s Pass, reaches 4.215 m (13,828 ft). The lowest elevation in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town) at the end of the trek is at 2.000 m (6,561 ft).

Observations: There is no comparison to this route, for many reasons: its historical importance, fascinating ecosystems, abundant nature and wildlife, and the only trek that arrives to Machu Picchu through the famous Sun Gate. This trail was built at least 800 years ago by the Incas to travel to Machu Picchu from Cusco. It is considered one of the finest ancient roadways, the best among all of South America, which was used only by a select group of elite in ancient times. The entire route is paved with Stone and elaborate stairways through the rough terrain.  Many archaeological sites are connected throughout the trek, as well as frequent changes in micro-climates and ecosystems.

This trek has a very high demand with a daily limit of 500 people. It is highly recommended to make your reservation at least 06 months before your travel date.

TRADITIONAL INKA TRAIL PRIVATE SERVICE 4D / 3N:

This is the same trek as mentioned above, except here your group will be the only ones in your reservation. This is a private service only. You will have a guide, a chef and porters just for yourself and your things. The Inka Trail is the experience of a lifetime, and its challenges may require a more personalized attention and more support for yourself. We offer this opportunity for individuals, groups of close friends, or families. We also offer options for any special dietary needs you may have for all your meals during the trek.

Also includes private tents and some alcoholic beverages.

INKA TRAIL EXPEDITION 5D / 4N :

The 5-Day Inka Trail follows the same route as the traditional 4-Day trek, yet this expedition will use different campsites than the 4-Day groups. This is a better option for those desiring a more relaxed pace and more time to take it easy to enjoy your surroundings.  Each day you will walk shorter distances and have more time to enjoy the archaeological sites along the way. This option also highly reduces the chance that you will be caught in the “mob,” or stuck among other groups of hikers.

The third night offers the luxury of having the chance to camp in Phuyupatamarca, a unique location with the best views on the Inka Trail of the surrounding mountains and high peaks such as Salkantay, Machu Picchu mountain and the Pumasillo glacier. The other highlight is having the option to visit Machu Picchu twice – on Day 4 you will arrive at 4:30 p.m., giving you the chance to enjoy a beautiful sunset looking down over the city. Once again, on Day 5 you have the option to rise very early to catch sunrise and the first magical rays of light among the mountains shrouded in mist.

This trek is recommended for families with children.

INKA TRAIL 2D / 1N:

The total distance of this trek 15 km (9.3 mi). The lowest elevation is 1,900 m (6,233 ft) at the trailhead of KM 104 along the railway to Machu Picchu. The highest point is at the Sun Gate, 2,700 m or 8,858 ft, before entering Machu Picchu.  This trek will traverse elevations much lower than the city of Cusco. Altitude sickness is not a risk here due to this treks proximity to the mountains above the Amazon rainforest where there is abundant oxygen and humidity.

In just two days, you will explore the Andes and arrive twice to Machu Picchu – once for sunset on your first day and again for sunrise the following morning. This option includes lodging in a hotel in Aguas Calientes with an altitude of only 2,000 m or 6,561 ft., even lower that the archaeological complex of Machu Picchu. This area is so remote that you can only arrive by train or by foot.

SALKANTAY TREK TO MACHU PICCHU 5D / 4N:

This alternative is the best option for those looking for more nature, a close experience to the high peaks and glaciers, and less crowds. If there is no space on the Traditional Inka Trail during the dates you requested, this is the best way to still arrive by foot to Machu Picchu, offering you a few benefits that the other treks do not have!

The total distance is 59 km (36.6 mi). The highest point of the trek reaches to Salkantay Pass, 4,650 m (15,256 ft), which passes literally at the foot of Mt. Salkantay, the second highest mountain in the region of Cusco. The lowest altitude is 2,000 m (6,561 ft).

This trek is slightly more adventurous and challenging, yet the landscapes and nature is even more spectacular – crystalline lakes, rugged mountain peaks, glaciers, and impacting views. You will descend from high alpine down into the cloud forest within a seemingly short distance where you will learn about the cultivation of coffee from small farmers and try some of the rich produce from the mountainous jungle, all before arriving to Aguas Calientes and your Machu Picchu experience.

SALKANTAY TO MACHU PICCHU TREK 4D / 3N:

This is the same route through Salkantay as mentioned above – the only difference being that you will cover the same distance in only 4 Days. On Day 3, when you reach the road, a van will take you to the hydroelectric station where you will board the train for a short ride to Aguas Calientes. This evening includes lodging in a hotel in Aguas Calientes before visiting Machu Picchu on your final day.

LARES TREK TO MACHU PICCHU 4D / 3N:

The Lares Trek is a journey through some of the most pristine mountain landscapes of the Andes!

This trek is an excellent alternative to the traditional Inka Trail. During this hike, you walk upon less-traveled roads that pass through authentic high Andean communities, all the way accompanied by beautiful mountains that climb to the sky, along with abundant lakes and streams. During this trek it is still possible to observe life of the common folk of the Andes as it has been for thousands of years.

The route that we offer here starts in the community of Pumahuanca in the Sacred Valley and ends in the hot springs of Lares. You will pass the ruins of Chupani, ascending the valley and passing beautiful waterfalls and views before reaching a high pass next to the glacier of Sikllaccasa before descending for a visit to the community of Cuncani. On Day-3, a van will take you from Lares to the town of Ollantaytambo to catch a train to Machu Picchu.

The highest point on this trek is the high pass at Sikllaccasa – 4,780 m / 15,682 ft

Total distance – 34 km / 21 mi

HUCHUY QOSQO TREK 3D / 2N:

The Huchuy Qosco trek is a wonderful option for those looking for a less challenging trek while still enjoying spectacular mountain views, sections of original Inca trails, visits with local families, and a guided tour to one of the lesser-known Inca temple known as Huchuy Qosqo located within the Sacred Valley of the Inca. This option will distance you from the crowds found among the more popular treks while still offering you the best that Cusco has to offer you. This is great choice for those short on time or for those looking for an easier trek!

I am ready to reserve my expedition! What do I need to do?

Welcome on board! You can make your booking online at any time by writing us an email to info@inkayniperutours.com

¿Are the departure dates guaranteed. ¿Is there a minimum for group bookings?

The only events that may jeopardize your travel dates are natural disasters or other circumstances that may put your safety at risk. Otherwise, our departures are 100% guaranteed as long as there is a minimum of 2 people.

¿Do I need to be physically fit or prepare prior to making any of your treks?

ALL of our treks (Inca Trail, Salkantay, Lares, etc.) are moderately difficult, long, and cover rough terrain. We kindly recommend that you evaluate your physical condition and stamina before booking any of our treks. Being acclimatized before your trek is a MUST, which means arriving at least 2 DAYS prior to the start of your trek. One or two months before your arrival, we recommend practicing a regular exercise routine to prepare your endurance. Our mountains are beautiful and literally breathtaking – the terrain is not to be taken lightly! Although challenging, it is possible to enjoy your experience in every way imaginable, especially when you prepare by following our recommendations. We want you to have the best experience possible and to live each moment to the fullest!

How is the wheater in Peru?

The weather in Peru is extremely varied depending on the region you visit!

Peru has a wide variety of climates due to its proximity to the equator and tropical influence, along with the towering heights of the Andes Mountains and the strong currents of the Pacific ocean. The country is usually divided into three principal geographic regions.

Coast – The main characteristic of the coast is dryness – it is mostly desert, but a desert with mild temperatures, and plenty of humidity. Light rain is possible a few months of the year, but usually the coast is covered in a heavy fog coming from the sea, which brings plenty of mist onto land and often a chilly sensation. During summer months (Dec-Apr), the fog disappears and temperatures may exceed 30ºC (86º F), especially in the north.

Mountains – The Andes has two well-marked seasons – dry season with its endless sunny days from April to October and wet season between November and March. Day temperatures do not fluctuate much all year, but dry season night temperatures often bring a harsh chill due to frequent frost above 3,500 mts (11,500 ft). Most tourist choose to visit during the dry months. Climate varies greatly depending on altitude. In general, mountain weather is wild and unpredictable any time of the year!

Amazon – A tropical climate with two seasons – dry and very hot between the months of April to October and a more mild-heat wet season between November to March. High humidity is present all year long.

Do I need vaccinations to visit Peru?

Please consult with your physician or local travel clinic regarding your visit to South America. Vaccinations for tetanus, diphtheria, and poliomyelitis. If you are visiting the Amazon, a yellow fever vaccination is recommended. Be aware of illnesses such as malaria and dengue, which are best prevented by using repellent. Illnesses are more common in the Amazon than in the Andes mountains.

Why do I need to send a deposit?

We use your deposit (non-refundable) to pay the basic fees to make your reservation official. These fees include entry tickets to reserve space, porters (non-refundable by national law), and a government tax of 18%.

In regards to hotel reservations, we are required to pay penalties for cancellation depending on the date.

The deposit is also used to assure availability and book personnel for all tours and treks, such as chefs, porters, and even reserve horses.

How may I pay my deposit ?

Deposits must be paid using the methods indicated below.

a) PAYPAL:

You can use the PayPal option from our website and follow the steps. Please note that PayPal charges 6% tax for this transaction that is included automatically in this option.

In case you decide to make the deposit directly from your account, don’t forget to add the 6% tax. You can send the deposit to this account:
sales@inkayniperutours.com

b) VISA:

If you use the VISA option from our website and follow the steps. Please note that VISA charges 5% tax for this transaction that is added automatically in this option.

c) WESTERN UNION

You can pay in their offices (they have offices Internationally) or online (http://www.westernunion.com/):
1. Receiver’s first name: Alex Marco
2. Receiver’s last name: Huaman Levita
3. Receiver’s city /Town: Cusco
4. Country: Peru
If using this method, please send an email confirming the amount of the deposit and the tration number (MTCN) you have been given.
NOTE: THE CLIENT WILL ASSUME ALL TRANSACTION FEES.

How can I pay my final balance ?

Final balances for treks must be paid in cash (US$ or Peruvian Soles) in our office in Cusco at least 48 hours before your trek. If your arrival in Cusco has been delayed, you are responsible for informing our agents either by email or phone.

If we do not receive final payment before the deadline and do not receive any message due to a delay, we reserve the right to cancel the reservation and travel plans.

FAQ FOR THE INCA TRAIL

With How Much Time In Advance Should I Book My Inka Trail?

We recommend as soon as possible!! This is a famous route in high-demand, and because the government has restricted access and applied daily limits (200 hikers & 300 porters/staff per day). Due to these factors, we urge you make your reservation as far in advance as possible.

If you plan to travel between the months of April – September, you best make your reservation 06 months before your departure date.

Between the months of October – January, it is possible to make a reservation 03 to 04 months in advance.

What happens with the payment, do you need a deposit?

Once your reservation has been confirmed through our website or a sales agent, a deposit fee of US $ 250 (2017) must be made to confirm your trek. Deposits must be made through PayPal (quickest and preferred method), Western Union or bank transfer.

The remaining balance must be paid in our office in Cusco AT LEAST 48 hours before your trekking departure date, before 7:30 pm.

This remaining balance must be paid in cash (US$ dollars or Peruvian Soles).  When we confirm your trekking reservation, we will send you the details on how to make the deposit for your trip. Please note that the deposit is non-refundable and non-transferable. The deposit is used to purchase your trekking permit and reserve your space. After having made this purchase by sending your information to the government, NO adjustments or changes can be made (dates, names, personal data, etc.) to the reservation.

Is the trek difficult? Do I need to be in good physical condition?

All our treks (Inka Trail, Salkantay, Ausangate, Lares, etc) are moderately difficult, lengthy and traverse rough mountain terrain. We kindly recommend that if you plan to conquer any of these routes to be in relatively good physical condition, plus acclimatization. These means arriving to Cusco at least 02 days prior to your trek departure to adjust to altitude. During the last two months leading up to your trek we suggest a regular and moderate exercise routine to improve endurance and stamina. We wish for you to have the best experience possible!

Is there a maximum or minimum age limit for inka trail?

There are NO government restrictions regarding age limit for Inka Trail. However, as a responsible Tour Agency, we will only accept reservations for children 7 or younger if the parents assume full responsibility for them during the trek. *For families with children, we highly suggest booking a private tour to make your experience more comfortable*

All children below the age of 18 years must be accompanied by an adult.

We require all trekkers age 60 or above to hire an additional porter (12kg) for their convenience.

Trekkers age 65 + must consult with their physician before booking and also before traveling to verify health conditions for participating in a high altitude multi-day trek.

We also suggest that all medical or doctor recommendations be acknowledged, even if this means cancelling your travel plans. We recommend that all clients 60 years of age or above arrive to Cusco at least 03 days before your trekking date to adjust to altitude.

We recommend that all clients age 55 + speak in advance with their physician to consult the best way to plan your trek and inquire that your travel insurance covers activities such as adventure. We will require a medical file confirming a good state of health and NO cardiac problems.

Are vegetarian, vegan, and/or other special diet needs available?

Of course! Without any additional costs! When you make your reservation, please inform us of any dietary needs or requirements, including allergies!

Vegetarian foods will be absent of all meats, chicken or fish. We will assume that eggs and cheese or other lactose products are OK.

Most of our main meals are a buffet-style, leaving you the option to avoid anything undesirable to you.

If there are any food items or veggies that you cannot stomach, perhaps onions, tomatoes, mushrooms.. etc, upon your request we will ask our chef to leave them out or separate this item.

We can also attend lactose-intolerant or gluten-intolerant diets. We cannot accept individuals with serious allergic or life-threatening reactions.

I have a food allergy. May I still participate?

Every day we receive many clients with food allergies to nuts, wheat, etc. Please inform us in detail of your condition upon making your reservation.

We kindly ask that you declare the severity of your reaction and any medication that you take in case of emergency.

If your allergy is severe, we ask that you be accompanied by a friend or individual conscious and fully responsible of your situation and ready with any medication.

WE CANNOT ACCEPT CLIENTS WITH LIFE-THREATENING ALLERGIES

When must I arrive in cusco or arrive to your office?

We require that all clients arrive to Cusco at least 48 hours before the start of your trek, although 03 nights before is ideal. You must pay your remaining balance two days before your departure for your trek. This will assure that all individuals are acclimatized and adjusted to the high altitude conditions to begin your trek comfortably. Please note that your remaining balance must be paid in cash in our office and cannot be paid before your arrival.

Our office hours are Monday – Saturday 9:00am – 1:00pm, 4:00pm – 8:00pm. (Please aim to arrive 7:30pm at the latest!)

Are hiking sticks or poles necessary?

For this trek more than any other, we do recommend hiking sticks, especially for those with any known knee problems. The trail is full of steep ascents and steep drops on narrow Inka stairs. The poles will assist your balance and reduce the impact on your knees. *Inkayni Peru Tours and the INC (National Culture Institute) asks that you not use metal-tipped poles that will damage the trail.*

Inkayni Peru Tours will rent hiking sticks for $15

Where can I store my baggage that I dont need for the inka trail?

Any baggage that is not necessary for your trek may be stored in your hotel in Cusco (most hotels offer this service free of charge). In the case that your hotel may not provide this service, we will store your baggage safely in our office free of charge.

Should I hire an additional porter?

Remember that group service includes a personal porter to carry your things up to 05 kg / 11.02 lb. Before the start of your trek we will provide you with a duffle bag to bring your basic necessities, such as; sleeping bag (average 2,5 kg), and extra clothing (average 2,5 kg). Remember that your porter will not be hiking at your side during the trek, which means you will still need to carry a daypack to have your personal things on-hand throughout the day, such as drinking water, snacks, camera, fleece and raincoat.

How does Inkayni Peru Tours care for the porters?

a) GOOD WAGES:

As a responsible tour agency, we pay our porters a salary of 210 Soles for the 4-day trek AND their transportation expenses (nearly 20% above the legal minimum salary, making Inkayni one of the best trekking agencies in Cusco).

Ideally, all agencies in Cusco should pay this amount, yet sadly, to this day there are many agencies not even paying the minimum legal salary.

b) APPROPRIATE WEIGHT LIMIT:

Within the basic policies of Inkayni Peru Tours is respect for all staff, which means not exceeding weight limits.

This factor is extremely important when choosing a travel agency for trekking.

Unfortunately there are many irresponsible companies (even big-name commercial companies that have often grown due to labor exploitation) that force porters to carry well over 25 kg and disrespect their rights.

For this reason, Inkayni Peru tours will not offer you a private bathroom, hot showers, or personal porter that will carry more than 5kg. This may exceed weight limits for our porters.

We kindly ask that before you choose a company for your trek that offers you these luxury services that you consider the extra weight that will be on the shoulders of your porters.

c) INSURANCE:

Inkayni Peru Tours is one of few companies that offers insurance for our porters.

d) TREKKING UNIFORMS:

Inkayni Peru Tours offers proper attire for all our staff.

What is the weather like during the trek?

The best time for making the trek with good weather is between the months of April – October when there is minimal rainfall and clear skies. The driest months are June – August, which is winter in the Andes.

January to March is summer in Peru, which means rainy season for Cusco and especially the Inka Trail, which is located mostly in the tropical cloud forest.

Are there bathrooms on the Inka Trail?

Many new outhouses have been added throughout the Inka Trail, mostly in the main designated campsites. This has greatly improved the sanitary conditions of the Trail, yet still the situation is not always perfect. All outhouses have cold running water. We recommend you bring a hand-disinfectant for use after visiting the public outhouses. Before each meal, we will provide you with hot water and soap for washing.

What is the potable water situation along the trail?

Inkayni Perú Tours will provide you with boiled water after each meal-time, starting with lunch on the second day (02).

Before this, you may purchase bottled water from small local ‘shops’ located outside local homes, offering water, gatorade, or soda. It is recommended that each person drink at least 02 to 03 liters of water each day.

You will also find small streams, or water on tap roughly every 2 hours along the Trail where you may fill your bottle, provided you have proper filtration/purification system. Water in the Andes is generally clean, but even though it may appear pure, you still must use a purification method for it to become safely potable.

Please consider the environment when you decide to travel and make a trek. Every day technology is improving to make our lives easier and avoid trash. Bring a purification system or bottle (such as UV light) to avoid buying bottled water.

If I am traveling alone may I have my own tent ?

If you are traveling alone and are open to sharing a tent, perhaps with someone of the same sex, there will be no additional cost. NOTE that if you wish to have a private tent, there is an additional cost of US $40.

Is it guaranteed that we camp at Wiñaywayna on the third night of the Inka Trail ?

Wiñay Wayna is the closest campsite to Machu Picchu, making it the favorite site for everyone. At a mere two (02) hours from Machu Picchu, camping at Wiñay Wayna allows groups to arrive very early in the morning to the Sun Gate. Unfortunately, there is not much space available at this site for all groups on the Inka Trail. The second closest campsite known as Phuyupatamarca is still a 5-hour hike to Machu Picchu. When trekking permits are purchased, the goverment is responsable for asigning campsites to groups. Inkayni has the reputation of finalizing group reservations and obtaining permits well before other companies, which means we often have the blessing of camping at Wiñay Wayna the majority of our treks. Between 2014 – 2016 we camped at Wiñay Wayna 99% of the time. One group in all of 2015 could not camp at Wiñay Wayna, so they decided to arrive to Machu Picchu on the third day, sleep in Aguas Calientes, and return to Machu Picchu the 4th morning for sunrise. All of 2016 had us at Wiñay Wayna for our groups on Inka Trail.

Where do I have to be the morning of the start of my trek and where will I finish at the end?

We will pick you up from your hotel to begin your trek and upon finishing, we will also leave you at your hotel.

I wish to have a train company or train option different to that which Inkayni Peru Tours offers, is this possible?

If you wish to change your train company or option (such as Vistadome de Peru Rail, to Ollantaytambo or the whole route to Poroy), or your departure time, additional fees may apply. You must speak with one of our sales agents to inquire about availability and the additional costs.

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