For travellers willing to step outside their comfort zone, who don’t mind being thrown in at the deep end. Just the ticket for those aged between 18-35 or anyone young at heart with an open mind, an eye on the budget & a nose for adventure.
Explore the world on two feet - or two wheels! Our active trips range from classic treks & trips where walking forms an integral part of the itinerary to cycling tours offering a totally new perspective on a destination. All our active trips are fully supported.
Our Basic tours offer superb value and are ideal for those who are happy to forgo some creature comforts in favour of an authentic and fun experience. Under the leadership of a fully trained tour leader, you will enjoy all the highlights and freedom of independent travel with the convenience, security and companionship of a small group.
We ask that you read it carefully and that you take the document with you on your holiday. It contains information on visas, vaccinations, spending money, etc, as well as a detailed, day by day itinerary of your trip.
International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
Australians, Americans, Canadians, British and New Zealanders do not currently require a visa for Peru. For all other nationalities please reconfirm your visa requirements with your travel agent.
Many governments publish up-to-date travel advice for countries around the world. Information is gleaned from both local and international sources as well as ‘friendly’ governments, and the notices are often on the cautious side. Sometimes there will be conflicting information. For example, the Australian, UK and Canadian governments may agree on the nature of the advice; however, frequently they do not. And sometimes the views expressed by a particular government can be coloured by political considerations. We will monitor these travel advisories closely and may alter itineraries or cancel trips as a result. However, it is also your responsibility to stay informed and form a balanced view. We recommend that you visit the websites or contact the departments listed below. Unless otherwise stated, it is not normally the intention of the relevant government travel advice to dissuade you from travelling. Rather, it is to inform you of where and when you should exercise caution to avoid problems. Please also note that, as a responsible tour operator, we maintain constant links with our ground operators and your safety - at all times - is our paramount concern. You can check your government's latest travel advice at one of the links below:
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
U.S. Department of State New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
We strongly recommend you visit your doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you regarding the appropriate inoculations. In some places anti-malaria medication may also be required. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure so allow yourself plenty of time. Obtain a certificate of vaccination and carry this with you on this trip. A dental check up is also highly recommended
Yellow Fever: This vaccine should be administered at least 10 days prior to travel and must be recorded in an official certificate book. You may be asked to produce this certificate by immigration and health officials both whilst travelling overseas and upon your return to your home country so you must carry this booklet with you at all times.
Other vaccinations may be required or recommended for this trip so you should consult with your travel doctor to obtain the latest up to date information.
Remember, it is your responsibility to ensure that you obtain any vaccinations or preventative medicines for the countries you are visiting – or any which may be required by your home country upon your return.
For travellers from Australia and New Zealand, we recommend the Travel Doctor-TMVC clinics (see www.traveldoctor.com.au or phone 1300 658 844 for an appointment in Australia). Travellers from countries other than Australia and New Zealand should contact similar organisations or their travel doctor for advice. General health and vaccination information is available to all travellers at
www.traveldoctor.com.au/travelreport. Some vaccines require more than one dose, so arrange for your visit at least 4-6 weeks before you travel.
We recommend that you photocopy the main pages of your passport, your airline ticket, itinerary, insurance policy, traveller’s cheques and credit card. Keep one set of photocopies with you, separate from the originals. Leave one set of copies at home with family or friends. It is also worth taking some extra passport photos with you in case of additional visas, permits or other unforeseen paperwork.
This trip ventures over 3500 metres, so there is a potential risk of being affected by altitude sickness. Our itineraries are designed to enable travellers to acclimatise to these altitudes, but it is still possible for you to be affected. Your ability to acclimatise has little to do with fitness or health, and most people travel without problems, as long as they take the time to acclimatise properly. We take this very seriously; have over 30 years experience and one of the best safety records in adventure travel.
Our leaders are experienced trekking guides, and will brief you fully, prior to the start of your trek. The general consensus is to drink plenty of water as soon as you reach altitude, avoid alcoholic drinks for the few days prior to your trek, walk slowly rather than hurrying and enjoy the scenery, wear sunglasses during the day, avoid sleep during the day, and wear adequate warm clothing.
When we first arrive at altitude it is common to feel a little short of breath and experience headaches, so it is best not to rush around too much on your first day. Other symptoms of altitude sickness may include general lethargy and a reduced appetite. In most cases a good night's sleep and plenty of water will help you feel better. We recommend that you seek medical advice prior to booking. In addition, if you plan to take any medications during your trek, you need to let us know before you depart and it is a good idea to discuss this with your leader before you begin the trek.
Our itineraries ensure that you have time to acclimatise in Cusco (3249m), before you commence your trek to Machu Picchu. Most days begin around 7am and you can expect to trek between 5-8 hours for the first three days, with many rest opportunities available. Day two is generally the longest and most difficult day, as the highest passes are reached on both the Classic Trail (4200m) and Quarry Trail (4450m). You can expect to trek over well defined paths and Inca stone pathways, so properly worn in, waterproof boots are essential.
To prepare for the trek, full-day hikes with a weighted pack are a great idea. Whilst our porters will be carrying your kitbag, you will need to carry your day pack (camera, water, waterproof/windproof jacket and pants, sun cream etc). Although you may start the day in full sunshine, you can experience rainfall a few hours later, so it is essential to prepare for all kinds of weather.
For those travellers completing the Classic Trail, we recommend taking the stairs as often as possible, leading up to your trek, as this will assist with the challenging Inca stone pathways. It is also possible to hire trekking poles in Cusco, to assist with your treks (US$7 for 1/ US$14 for 2). We recommend adjustable, metal poles, with a rubber stop on the end to protect the stone pathways.
Remember - the lighter you travel the better! A soft-sided duffel or sausage bag is the ideal form of luggage. It is recommended that you keep your luggage weight around 15kg and certainly no more than 20kg. A small or medium-sized backpack (45-50 litres) is another good option, but preferably one without a frame.
When you pack your clothing, consider the climate at the time of year you are travelling and any specific requirements for your trip as at certain times of the year some of the items suggested in the list that follow may not be necessary. Keep in mind that the weather will vary significantly from place to place. Laundry facilities are available in some destinations.
Below is a list of equipment and documentation that we suggest you take with you. Please use this checklist as a guide when packing for your holiday.
During the duration of the trek, we will provide a Gecko’s bag and inflatable sleeping mat. You will need to bring your own sleeping bag and sleeping sheet with you, but please note that you can hire a sleeping bag in Cusco for approximately US$20 for the duration of the trek. There will be time to arrange this with your tour leader at your group briefing in Cusco.
Please note - you may also wish to purchase locally a plastic poncho – approximately US3, which are lightweight, and good for protecting your clothing and day pack during the trek.
Porters will carry your Gecko's bag (maximum: 5 kg (3kg for personal gear and 2kg for sleeping bag/sheet) during the trek although we recommend you pack as light as possible and store your additional luggage at our Cusco hotel. On the other hand, you will be trekking to fairly high altitude and possibly encountering cold conditions, especially at night, so you must be adequately equipped for the trek. You will be responsible for carrying your day pack during the trek. At the end of the trek, the Gecko's bag will need to be returned at the Cusco hotel.
During the day, conditions may be quite warm while you are walking, but you must be prepared for possible cooler temperatures. This is especially the case from late afternoon until morning when it can be decidedly cold at high altitudes.
In addition to those items suggested in our packing checklist above, we suggest you consider the following:
It is a good idea to take a small medical kit with you, and you should consider packing the following items:
Antibiotics, Lip-balm, moisturiser, sunscreen, headache tablets, antiseptic (e.g. Betadine), anti-diarrhoea tablets (for changes in diet and water), laxatives, band-aids/moleskin/dressing strips for blisters, small scissors/tweezers. Note that moleskin is particularly good for blisters and can be obtained from any pharmacy.
It is also recommended to carry a letter from your doctor explaining any less common prescribed medications that you may be carrying.
Stomach upsets are not uncommon when travelling through new destinations (usually a 24 - 48 hour 'bug') and this may cause diarrhoea, leading to dehydration. Should you develop a stomach upset you should eat only in moderation and drink plenty of fluids. It is a good idea to carry a couple of sachets of rehydrants with you (such as Gastrolite). We also suggest that you carry one of the common anti-diarrhoea tablets such as Imodium.
It can be quite easy to get sun burnt when you are not accustomed to the sun in new climates. You should take sensible precautions such as wearing a hat and using a good UV sunscreen. Finally, drink plenty of fluids - preferably water.
In general, water is not safe to drink in the areas through which we travel. Bottled Water is widely available and most travellers prefer to drink this. Your guide can assist you in regards to the relative safety of tap water and the availability of bottled water on each tour. When walking, or in hot conditions, you must make a conscious effort to maintain your hydration, drinking as much water/tea as possible to offset fluid loss.
The unit of currency is the nuevo sol (S/). The sol is divided into 100 centimos.
Check out www.xe.com for current exchange rates.
Traveller's cheques can be changed at banks and at exchange bureaus. Cheques are best in US dollars, issued by American Express. There are ATMs in Lima and Cusco and if you have a Visa card, Mastercard or any card compatible with Cirrus or Plus you may be able to draw cash from this service. This service is not always available so you should not rely solely on this method of receiving funds. A mixture of US dollars traveller's cheques and a small amount of US dollars cash is still the best way of carrying money, however, the change rate for cash dollars is usually better than the rate for traveller's cheques. At Lima Airport, there are bureaux de change in the main hall of the international zone and a post office on the 2nd level. ATMs are available throughout the airport.
You will need to take money with you to cover any additional meals/drinks not included in your tour cost. You will also need to budget for bottled drinking water plus such things as tips, laundry, souvenirs, additional sightseeing, optional activities and excursions, and possible delays. It is much better to come with more than you would expect to spend and to end the trip with a surplus, rather than being caught short! It is always useful to carry an additional amount for emergencies that can happen en route. If there is a medical emergency you are sometimes required to pay at the source and reimbursement is made later by the insurance company. This is a situation where a credit card can be useful.
On this trip 5 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 3 dinners are included. We suggest that you allow approximately US30 in Peru per day for your additional lunches, dinners, snacks and drinking water where necessary. Allow approximately US$15 per day for souvenirs and shopping, more if you are a big spender.
Shopping is a personal thing that, again, varies enormously. On average, people spend anywhere between US$50 and US$150 on souvenirs, art, tailor-made clothes etc.
In addition you should carry sufficient funds for extra sightseeing and optional activities in Cusco
In most countries you must pay an airport departure tax. Some departure taxes are now added into the cost of your airline tickets and paid for at the time of purchase. Others must be paid at the airport of departure and will need to be budgeted for. The following information was correct at the time of writing, please check the latest information with your travel agent: Peru (International) US$31. Peru (Domestic) US$6-US$7 (this varies from airport to airport).
Although the culture of tipping may not be part of your own culture it is nonetheless part of the culture in this area of the world and it is often the way someone such as a waiter makes a living. On our group touring trips your local leader will advise you on this matter, however, as a guideline we would recommend a tip of 10% in restaurants and US$2 per person, per day for a local guide at a site. If you are unhappy with a service of course you are under no obligation to leave a tip however if the service has been satisfactory please consider our advice above.
On many of our group touring trips, your tour leader may discuss with you the idea of running a tipping kitty whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then the tour leader pays the tips and keeps a record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour is returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing what is an appropriate amount to tip. A tipping kitty is not used in every country in Latin America, however where it is used, we find the above system is the easiest and fairest method. The usual amount contributed to the tipping kitty is about US$2-US$3 per person per day.
Your local leader also works hard to ensure that you have a great holiday and a tip for them is appreciated. If you are happy with their service we recommend US$3 per person per day. The same would be applicable for the driver of any private transportation that we use.
On the final day of your trek it is customary for the group to make a presentation to the trekking staff. As a guideline we would recommend US$10 for each day of the trek. This is a personal way of thanking the porters and guides for the wonderful service they provide. Please remember, if you are unhappy with any service, you are under no obligation whatsoever to leave a tip.
Please refer to your itinerary for the joining hotel name and address. Your final itinerary is provided approximately two weeks prior to departure.
If you have confirmed and paid for an airport transfer with us, please look for your driver in the arrivals area outside the customs hall. They will be holding a sign with your name on it and/or our company logo. If you cannot see them, please call our local operator for assistance:
Peru: PEAK Adventures
+51 99605 5559 or +51 97009 4823
If you have not pre-booked an arrival transfer you will find taxis available on arrival. You should agree to the price before your take off into town, and expect to pay the equivalent of US$10.
There will be a pre-departure meeting on the evening of Day 1 at 7pm. Please check on the message board for a note from your tour leader, confirming the time and location of the meeting.
Generally, your room will be available from around midday. Sometimes it may be available mid-morning but this is in no way guaranteed. If your flight is scheduled to arrive in the early morning you may have to wait until your room becomes available. Alternatively you can book one night's pre-tour accommodation that will ensure that your room is ready whenever you arrive. Rooms must generally be vacated by 12 noon unless you have made prior arrangements with the hotel reception. If you want to keep your room for longer you may have to pay an additional charge.
Please ask first if you want to take someone's photograph. This is just a normal courtesy and if you are refused permission please abide by that person's wishes. At certain ancient sites, and in most museums, photography (video or still) may be forbidden, or may incur an extra charge for camera-use. Do not take photos of buildings, structures and personnel of potential military significance (including airports, bridges, and police stations).
Travelling with us can provide you with some really rewarding travel experiences. Our tours visit countries where travel modes and lifestyles are often not as sophisticated as our own. There is also a laid-back attitude amongst workers and there will often seem to be huge amounts of red tape and bureaucracy when doing the simplest things. You will enjoy your trip much more if you slip into the rhythm of local life and are prepared to take things as they come.
In most countries even the smallest quantity of an illegal substance is considered a very serious offence and can carry lengthy jail terms. Avoid any contact with illegal drugs. Don’t put yourself and others at risk and never carry bags or luggage for other people. Any person found to be carrying or using illegal drugs will be asked to leave the trip immediately without the right to any refund.
Costs in Peru are lower, on average, than those in developed countries, but higher than those in many neighboring countries. Lima and Cusco are the most expensive parts of the country. 1 litre of water US$1 30cl bottle of soft drink US$0.70 50cl bottle of beer US$1.70 Budget meal – US$2 to US$5
Very Important - Correct Passport Details: In order to obtain your permit to trek the Inca Trail it is vital that you provide Gecko's with accurate details of the passport you will be travelling on in Peru. If you are travelling on a different passport from what is shown on your permit, you will be refused entry at the entrance to the trail.
Sister Companies- Please note that if there are less than four people schedules for your trek to Macchu Picchu it is likely that you will be trekking with clients that have booked through one of our sister brands.
Book Early: The Peruvian Government has introduced strict quotas on the number of permits issued for hiking the ‘Classic’ Inca Trail route. These can often be sold out months in advance. To apply for your group’s permits, we will need your deposit, passport details and date of birth, so we ask that you book your holiday early. In the event that we are unable to obtain permits for the ‘Classic Trail' we will use the alternative 'Quarry Trail', an equally challenging trek culminating in a visit to Machu Picchu.
Meals during trek: Please note that we are unable to cater for those with a gluten intolerance (Coeliac) during the trek. Food labelling standards vary quite dramatically from country to country so it is not always safe to rely on ingredient labels in another country. Secondly, due to the remote nature of the trek and available cooking facilities, cross-contamination cannot always be fully avoided.
Typical meals during the trek: Breakfast (toast, fruit salad, ground corn tortillas, vegetable omelette, fried plantains), Snack (biscuits, tea, pop corn, chocolate bars, hot chocolate), Lunch (Vegetable soups, steamed trout, roast beef, quinoa grained, mashed or scalloped potatoes), Dinner (Chicken, rice, goulash, rosemary potatoes, chicken wrapped in tomato sauce)
Public Holiday Inconveniences: Please be prepared for the inconvenience of sights such as museums and churches being closed to tourists on public holidays (ie. Christmas Day and New Years Day). Throughout Latin America, quite a few museums are closed on Mondays.
Hotel Breakfasts: Breakfasts in Latin America are simple affairs. They consist of tea or coffee, fruit juice, bread rolls, butter and jam. Eggs and fruit are sometimes available on request, for a small charge.
Meal requests/ allergies: Please note - any special meal requests must be noted on your booking form when making your reservation. We may not be able to cater for any late requests advised on arrival.
In the event that trekking permits for the 'Classic' Inca Trail route are unavailable, we will use the 'Quarry' route. The Quarry Trail, is an exceptional alternative to the 'Classic' trail.
This trek has all the components you expect from an Intrepid operated hike in the South American Andes: it’s safe, landscapes are breathtaking, there are opportunities to interact with local communities and to visit smaller and less known Inca archaeological sites.The overall distance hiked on this trek is approximately 26km, the maximum altitude reached is 4,450 metres above sea level. Since permits are not required for this trek, there are no restrictions as when you book your trip.
INCA QUARRY TRAIL: The Inca Quarry Trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people. It's 26km long in total. The tail's highest pass is at 4,450 meters above sea level.
Throughout the trek your gear (and camping gear) will be carried by horses (as opposed to porter).
The first two nights of the trek are spent camping and the third one at a simple hotel. Double tents (twin-share) and foam camping mats will be provided. Tents are set up by the porters. Meals are prepared by the trek cook.
Day 1 - We leave Cusco early in the morning to drive to Ollantaytambo and onto Choquequilla, a small ceremonial place where Incas used to venerate the moon. A short drive from here takes us to Rafq'a, the starting point of our trek and where we meet the horsemen that will join us during the hike. After an approx. 1hr walk we reach the small community of Socma.
A further 60min walk takes to the Perolniyoc cascade lookout. This is a perfect opportunity to stop for photos and a snack.
From here we continue on to our campsite, at 3700 meters above sea level. All going well, we should reach our campsite by lunch time. After lunch we set off to explore the Q'orimarca archaeological site, which used to serve as a check point during the times of the Incas
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
Day 2 - This is the most challenging but most rewarding day of the hike. A 3hr walk takes us to the top of the first pass, known as Puccaqasa (approx 4370 meters). After enjoying the views of the valley below we walk down for 30min to our lunch spot.
Rested and full of energy again we take on a 2hr hike to the highest pass of the trek: Kuychicassa (4450 meters).
From here we head down for 2hr to a site the Incas called Inti Punku, (meaning Sun Gate - this is not the Sun Gate where you enter the Machu Picchu site) with imposing views over the valley bellow and the Veronica mountain raising over the horizon.
Our campsites is a stone throw away at Choquetacarpo (3600 metres)
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
Day 3 - Day three is all downhill hiking. The first stop is at the Kachiqata quarry, where we witness the work the Incas could not complete due to the Spanish conquest.
Approximately at midday we finally arrive to the town of Kachiqata - the end of this challenging and fascinating trek.
From here we visit Ollantaytambo and in the afternoon we travel by train to Aguas Calientes. The natural hot springs in town are an unbeatable way to
spend a late afternoon/early evening. Tonight we overnight at a simple but comfortable hotel.
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
Day 4 - Today we take a very early bus (5:30am depending on weather conditions) along the winding road to Machu Picchu (approx. 30 minutes). In Machu Picchu we join the travellers who opted to hike the Classic Inca Trail option of this trip before taking on a guided walk of Machu Picchu.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
The Inca Trail is a highlight of any visit to Peru and it is highly recommended to anybody who is up to the physical demands of a Moderate trek. For those people joining a Gecko's trip who do not wish to join the four-day hike, Gecko's can make alternative arrangements that allow additional time in Cusco and return transport and accommodation to Aguas Calientes at the base of Machu Picchu. Should you choose these alternative arrangements, the price for your Gecko's holiday remains the same.
You must notify Gecko's at the time of booking if you wish to take this option, which replaces the 4 Day Inca Trail.
Your time in Cusco is your own. Accommodation will be provided for these two nights and breakfast is included. Your tour leader will not be available during this period as he or she will be trekking to Machu Picchu with the rest of the group.
Meals included: 2 breakfasts
Your tour leader will have provided you with your return train ticket to Machu Picchu and your accommodation vouchers for your stay in Aguas Calientes. Please make your own way to the station to depart on the early morning train to Machu Picchu. The train trip will take approximately four hours to reach Aguas Calientes. Once you arrive in Aguas Calientes you should check into your hotel. Please refer to your accommodation voucher for the hotel details. All of the hotels are a short walk from the railway station.
In order to visit the site of Machu Picchu, you will take a bus up the steep zig zagging road to the entrance of the ruins. The buses depart regularly. The ruins are open from 7am to 5pm daily and we will cover the cost of your return bus fare to the ruins and the entrance fee. The vouchers can be used the afternoon of Day 3, or the following morning on Day 4. If you wish to visit the ruins twice, the second visit will be at an additional cost of approximately USD $70 (paid locally).
Those in your group who have trekked the Inca Trail will arrive at the site around 7am on day 4. It is possible to arrange to meet up with the other members in your group at the ruins, to join a fully guided tour of this ancient and mystical Inca City. Before taking the bus back down to Aguas Calientes, there is free time to explore the ruins at your own pace, soaking in the atmosphere. For the adventurous, you can climb to the top of Huayna Picchu, where you have the opportunity to see Machu Picchu from a unique vantage point. You can also make the short hike up to the Sun Gate for that classic photo of Machu Picchu.
In the afternoon of Day 4, we have time for lunch, before catching the train back to Cusco with your fellow trekkers.
Meals included: 2 breakfasts
Head out to the markets in Pisac, grab yourself a Cusqueno beer and start getting acclimatised (you're 11,500ft above sea level, after all).
Meals included: 4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
There will be a few tough days. Dead Woman's pass on Day 2 will test you, but it's worth all the sweat and tears when you watch the sunrise at Machu Picchu's Gateway of the Sun. Pretty apt name.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Thank the great God Huiracocha that you don't have to get up at daybreak and hike the hills all day.
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please ensure that you have the most up-to-date information for your trip. We recommend that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure. If you have any queries, please contact us. We are here to help you!
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17 April 2013
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