Teens on the Trail Trip Notes
Trip code: FFXPA
Trip length: 13 days
- Biking and rafting in the Sacred Valley
- Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
- Village homestay
From Lima, on the arid Pacific coast, you fly to Cusco, the seat of Inca rule for some 500 years and then drive to your base in the Sacred Valley. From here you enjoy activities including biking, walking and optional rafting, passing remote farming villages, Inca ruins and the curious terraces of actively mined salt pans. Continuing through the Sacred Valley you join the Inca Trail and set off on a four-day trek through dramatic mountain scenery to the lost city of Machu Picchu, isolated amongst jungle-clad mountains and swirling mists. Leaving the solitude of Peru’s most enchanting Inca citadel you return to Cusco, the seat of Inca rule for some 500 years. As a final contrast you could take the optional extension to the Amazon rainforest, home to a diversity of life unequalled anywhere on Earth.
You will receive full details of exactly where to meet your Group Leader on the Joining Instructions which will be sent to you 2-3 weeks before your trip starts. For information on when the trip ends please refer to the itinerary as described below.
Discovered in 1535 by Francisco Pizarro, Lima was the principal city of Spanish South America for 300 years until the wave of independence swept the continent. You stay in the pleasant coastal suburb of Miraflores where shady parks, bustling cafes and the South Pacific coastline all lie within easy reach. Hotel - 1 night (AA)
You'll take a short flight from Lima to Cusco today. Cusco, once the imperial capital, was laid out in the rough shape of a puma. Today, its orderly streets bear witness to the extraordinary skill of Inca stonemasons; many are still lined with precisely interlocked stonework, which serves as the foundation for later buildings from the colonial era, creating an atmospheric pastiche of contrasting architectural styles. Hotel - 3 nights (AA) (B)
This morning you visit the fortress of Sacsayhuaman lying just outside Cusco city. The skilfully constructed outer walls consist of massive blocks of stone (the largest weighing over 350 tonnes) which must have been difficult to manoeuvre, let alone to cut and dress with such precision. The tour continues on foot in the city centre and reveals more of Cusco’s historical and archaeological treasures. The rest of the day is free to relax or further explore Cusco. This afternoon you’ll jump on a mountain bike and ride from the ridges above Cusco, exploring a variety of different routes, all of which end up back in town. The routes taken will depend on the ability of the group. (B)
Today, you’ll have a fun day out rafting on the Urubamba River. The section we usually take is the Chuquicahauna section, graded class 3-4 (depending on weather conditions). You’ll receive a full briefing on arrival before setting off on the river to practise your manoeuvres (the minimum age for rafting is 12). As you make your way through the beautiful canyon, where you’ll hopefully see torrent ducks and the magnificent surrounding peaks, the rapids build in intensity. You’ll stop midway for a picnic lunch before finishing your journey and returning to Cusco. (BL)
Sacred Valley (Yucay)
In the morning you transfer to the Sacred Valley. With its warm climate and fertile soil, the Sacred Valley was considered the greenhouse of the Incas, who built many towns and agricultural terraces along its length. Small farming hamlets dot a landscape of patchwork fields; many are still ploughed by oxen and other beasts of burden. En route you reach the village of Pisac (2950m), where you can stop and explore the traditional market and the Inca ruins overlooking the town. This is your first taste of Inca architecture - the ruins stick out on a pinnacle overlooking the valley whilst steep terraces sweep around the hillside. Your hotel is located in the heart of the beautiful Sacred Valley (2800m), in a quiet farming village. Hotel - 1 night (AAA) (B)
Today you will start to prepare for the Inca trail, with a walk up to the village of Chinchero. Leaving the fertile Sacred Valley behind, you follow a newly reopened section of Inca road up the Urquillos Valley, climbing 900m in about four hours to reach the high altitude plains of Chinchero (3760m). This route is rarely walked by tourists and offers great views of the Vilcanota range and hopefully a chance to spot some birdlife such as parrots and hummingbirds. At Chinchero the villagers are famous for their skills in weaving and they can be seen in traditional dress tending their fields. In the afternoon, you can explore the village, where the people of Chinchero offer their textiles in a colourful local market, visit the painted church and investigate the Inca ruins. Tonight you will sleep in a village house and stay with a local family. Local house – 1 night (A) (B) Facilities are limited at a village homestay but this will be an unforgettable night with the local people.
Sacred Valley (Ollantaytambo)
You leave Chinchero by bike on a one day mountain biking adventure which offers five hours in the saddle to experience great views of the Urubamba Mountains. You ride through the quiet countryside of the high Andes, visit the enigmatic circular terraces of Moray before an exciting descent past the ancient salt pans at ‘Salineras’. You finally reach the Sacred Valley at its northern end, where you finish your day cycling along the banks of the Urubamba River reaching the Inca town of Ollantaytambo (2760m), a traditional Inca village laid out on a grid plan (one of only four surviving examples) overlooked by the magnificent fortress of Ollantay. Hotel - 1 night (AAA) (B)
Today you visit the ruins of Ollantay, the only Inca stronghold ever to have resisted persistent Spanish attacks. The steep terraces cling to the mountainside, supposedly in the shape of a llama with a large rock outcrop forming the pack baggage. Right on the ridge with commanding views of the valley, the temple area appears to have never been completed and it is possible to gain a fantastic insight into how these incredible structures were built. This is good preparation for the trail which you will start after your visit to the ruins. You set off to Chilca, where the Urubamba gorge narrows, forcing us to abandon motor transport. Here you meet your trail crew and begin the trek. Heading away from the river, a gentle climb soon brings you to a pleasant campsite at Llactapata (2850m), overlooked by ruins. This is camping made easy: as you walk, you carry only a daypack whilst an experienced team of porters carries all other equipment for you. You will be provided with a duffle bag in which to put items needed for the trek. Anything you don’t need is left behind in Cusco in your main bag. You camp in spacious tents; porters, with the assistance of a cook and helper, do all camp chores. A toilet tent is provided at camp and at each lunch stop.
Approx. 4-5 hours easy walking today. Camp - 1 night (C) (BLD)
You are woken with a hot drink and a bowl of warm water at your tent to prepare for what will be the most demanding climb of the trek. You follow the course of the Cusichaca River, ascending a broad valley to the village of Wayllabamba (3,000m), the last human habitation on the trail. Your porters go ahead and prepare your lunch which will be waiting close to the summit. The trail steepens through fertile cloud forest and eventually onto high altitude grassland until we reach the highest point of the entire trail, called Warmiwañusca or Dead Woman’s Pass, located at 4200m. We pause to rest and enjoy the views before starting a steep descent into the valley below and our camp at Pacaymayo (3700m). About 6/7 hrs demanding walk mostly uphill. Camp – 1 night (C) (BLD)
The tough day! An initial steep climb takes you across the highest point on the trail at Warmiwanusca (Dead Woman’s Pass - 4200m), before you descend to the Pacamayo River. You are rewarded with a spectacular view from the top. A second ascent leads past a fine set of ruins to Runkuracay Pass (3998m); from here the trail is largely downhill! The vegetation changes as you walk through areas of cloud forest that mark the outer edges of the Amazon Jungle. You cross the Aobamba River below the Sayacmarca ruins, which overlooks it from a rocky spur. A final easy ascent over a lower pass, with spectacular views over the Urubamba Valley far below, takes you to the campsite, perched above Phuyupatamarca ruins.
About 7 hours moderate walking today. Camp – 1 night (C) (BLD)
You awake to a spectacular vista and set off this morning on one of the most beautiful parts of the trail. Excitement mounts as you conquer a steep flight of steps and arrive at Inti Punku, the Gateway of the Sun where you aim to stop for a well deserved packed lunch. The toil of the day is forgotten at a stroke as you are treated to a spectacular view of Machu Picchu below. After lingering to admire the panorama, you walk through the site and catch a bus down the narrow access road to rejoin the Urubamba River in the village of Aguas Calientes where you check in to your accommodation and enjoy a well-earned, long shower.
About 5 hours walking today, mostly downhill. Basic Hotel (AA) - 1 night (BL)
Machu Picchu & Cusco
Rising early this morning, you return to the Machu Picchu ruins which you will have largely to yourself before the train brings in day-visitors from Cusco. The magnificent lost city rediscovered by American archaeologist Hiram Bingham in 1911, stands on a high saddle dominated by the jungle-clad peak of Wayna Picchu. You have time to explore the citadel and enjoy nearby walks before catching the late afternoon train back to Cusco. Hotel – 1 night (AA) (B)
Cusco; trip ends
Your trip ends in Cusco. (B)
About The Imaginative Traveller
Our aim has always been to provide exceptional travel experiences. We believe that adventure travel should be stimulating, and that it should give you an authentic experience of a place. We want our travellers to relish the amazing diversity of countries and cultures the world has to offer. Our focus is on innovation, not imitation.
Obsessed with quality
One of our strengths has been our obsession with quality. We've always believed that our commitment to you doesn't end as soon as you've paid for your holiday. On the contrary, it is just beginning. Whilst most operators simply get a local company to handle the day to day operation of their tours, we do it all ourselves. We have managers for each of our key destinations around the world and all our small groups are escorted by our own leaders. Our local teams include guides, drivers, administration staff and contacts in the local community who help us ensure that our adventures are active and involving.
For comparability, all prices in this dossier are quoted in one currency. We use the US Dollar since that is familiar to most. However, once on tour you will need to pay for all goods and services in the local currency. See your Country Dossier for details of exchange rates.
Mountain Biking / Cycling
UNESCO Heritage Sites
Walking & Trekking
White Water Rafting
We consider the Inca Trail as moderate to demanding. Although you may walk for up to seven hours a day and the route involves considerable ascent and descent, it can be done by anyone in reasonable health and with the will to witness the splendid sight of Machu Picchu. Heat, altitude and rough roads can be tiring. The mountain biking is considered ‘moderate', but you can ride in the support vehicle if you are not up to pedalling. Minimum age: 12 years.
Transport - Minibus, train, boat, mountain bike, on foot, domestic flight, raft.
Accommodation - Hotels (7nts), camping (3nts), village house (1nt), basic hotel (1nt).
Meals - 12 breakfasts, 5 lunches & 3 dinners.
Single room supplementA single supplement is available for this trip priced from 175.00 GBP. This does not guarantee a single room for all accommodation. please contact us to discuss this.
Clothing and Footwear
Below is a suggestion of what you might find useful to take on this trip. It is not an exhaustive packing list. If you need further advice, please call us or consult your nearest specialist outdoors store. Be prepared for a variety of temperatures.
- A windproof/waterproof jacket/kagoul
- Warm mid-layer (fleece) is recommend for travel from Jun-Sep)
- Lightweight cotton clothing (tight weave & long sleeves are important for the jungle)
- Walking boots
- Cycling shorts & gloves
- Trainers/sandals for relaxing
- Warm hat, gloves & thermal underwear if travelling Jun-Sept
- Sunglasses, sunscreen and lipsalve
- Travel towel
- 4-season sleeping bag
- (Head) torch & spare batteries
- Insect repellent
- Personal first aid kit
- Some plastic bags (or dustbin liners) to protect the contents of your baggage particularly cameras etc) from dampness/dust
- Biodegradable travel detergent so you can wash clothes
- NB. Should you wish to bring your own trekking poles, only those with rubber tips are acceptable on the walk to Machu PicchuThere is a maximum weight limit of 7kg for your trek back on the Inca Trail, however, there are facilities to leave any luggage you will not need on the trek in Cusco to be collected upon your return.
For your comfort we recommend you travel as light as possible; many airlines impose a maximum weight limit of 20kg – we advise you to take 10kg as you will be on the move a good deal! For domestic flights using light aircraft the usual weight limit is 15 kg.
One main piece (a soft bag or rucksack, not a hard suitcase).
A daypack (25-30 litres), large enough to carry what you need for the day including camera, water, etc.
Try drinking a cup of coca tea to help you adjust to the altitude and remember to pack some headache tablets. Glucose tablets are great for an energy boost.
Just in case your main luggage goes missing en route, It’s a good idea to wear your walking boots on the plane. Everything else is replaceable but a pair of comfortable, well worn-in boots are not.
SOME INTERESTING READING:
Eight feet in the Andes: Travels with a mule in unknown Peru by Dervla Murphy
Inca Kola: A traveller's tale of Peru by Matthew Parris
Rescuing the Spectacled Bear by Stephen Fry
Lost City of the Incas by Hiram Bingham
Conquest of the Incas by John Hemming
Three Letters from the Andes by Patrick Leigh Fermor
Discovering the Inca Ice Maiden by Johan Reinhard
Cochineal Red: Travels Through Ancient Peru - Hugh Thomson
Local Costs - Peru
Approximate costs are given for guidance only, and may vary widely according to location and type of establishment.
Soft drink: US$1.00
Bottle of mineral water (1 litre): US$1.50
Beer (330ml): US$2.00
Bottle of wine (750ml): US$10.00 (shop) or US$20.00 (restaurant)
Local snack lunch: US$8.00
3-course dinner*: US$18.00
*reasonable mid-range tourist class restaurant
Visas & Permits - Peru
Holders of UK & IRL passports do not require a visa to enter Peru, but if travelling via the United States must have a machine-readable passport or a visa will be required for transiting the US. Usual U.S. immigration restrictions apply. Nationals of all other countries should contact their local embassy or consulate. Passports must be valid for at least six months after the end date of the trip. Information can also be found on www.travcour.com.
If you are travelling to the USA after 1st September 2008, the US authorities have introduced a requirement for passengers travelling under the Visa Waiver Programme to register for Electronic Travel Authority NO LATER THAN 72 HOURS BEFORE TRAVEL. The on line application is available at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov
Please note with effect from 8 September 2010 the US will introduce an ESTA fee of $14. The total fee for a new or renewed ESTA will be $14.00.
Please note that a departure tax of approx. $31 per person is payable on departure from Peru. This must be paid in country at the airport. There is also a local tax of approx. $5 per person payable on domestic flights within Peru. Your tour leader will confirm the amount and let you know the procedure.
This information is given in good faith, but may be subject to change without warning. Please note that, where appropriate, obtaining a valid visa is ultimately your responsibility. Please consult a visa agency or the consular authorities 4-6 weeks before departure for the most up-to-date information.
Vaccinations - Peru
The following are recommended:
- Hepatitis A
- Yellow Fever NB: Yellow Fever vaccination is compulsory if taking the Amazon extension or if coming from an infected country, take your certificate with you.
† Malaria Prophylactics required on Amazon extension.
For detailed information and advice concerning vaccinations go to:www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk. Vaccination requirements change periodically so we advise that you check with your nearest specialist travel clinic 4-6 weeks before departure to get up-to-date information.
International rules for carrying medicines vary. Some countries do not allow certain medicines to be imported, or require official documents, such as a doctor’s letter, to prove drugs have been prescribed by a doctor and obtained legally. It is sensible to contact the relevant embassy or high commission of your destination to check what their drug transportation rules are before you travel.
For better or worse, tipping is an accepted part of everyday life, and - although it is always at your discretion - you will be expected to tip to reward service. Your Group Leader will advise you when/how much is appropriate. This can vary widely, but please allow the following as a guide:
Group leader (per day) US$2-3
Local guide (per day): US$2
Driver (per day): US$1
Staff e.g. trek cook/trek porter (per day): US$1
The itinerary and supplementary information has been compiled with care and provided in good faith. However it may be subject to change, and does not form part of a contract between the client and The Imaginative Traveller.
Responsible Travel - Travellers' Guidelines
At Imaginative Traveller we love helping our clients experience the beauty and cultures of the destinations we visit. However, hand in hand with this we have always been aware that we have a responsibility to minimise any negative impacts that tourism can bring.
Responsible Travel is twofold. It’s about taking people to the places they want to go in a safe and responsible manner but also about respecting and maintaining the natural and often delicate balance of the destination. Economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, but should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment.
- It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit.
- We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.
- Whilst it is our aim to show destinations and cultures in a positive light, we do not believe in papering over the cracks or shielding visitors from the realities of life. This does not mean, however, that we condone or endorse certain situations or regimes that may be in place.
Our guidelines are meant not as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make our holidays more enjoyable – for everybody. As cultural and environmental sensitivities vary from country to country more specific guidelines can be found in our individual country and trip dossiers.
Before you depart try to spend some time familiarising yourself with the destination you will be travelling to – their culture and customs. The country dossiers on our website offer detailed information about all the regions we visit. They also include some useful phrases in the local language for you to use on your trip! A few words of the local language can open up many more opportunities for you to interact with the people you will meet.
Although it is tempting to give out pens, sweets and money to people begging, and particularly tempting to give to children, we feel that this encourages a begging mentality and has a long-term negative impact on communities. If someone begging earns more than someone in the same community who works this can discourage local employment. If children regularly bring home money it may discourage their parents from sending them to school. It is of course your own personal choice but you could consider giving to registered charities or contributing to our Responsible Travel fund instead. Money donated through our fund to our worldwide projects is matched pound for pound by Imaginative Traveller and used to help local grassroots projects.
Always ask permission to photograph local people and respect their decision if they would prefer not to have their picture taken.
Respect local dress codes, especially at religious sites. Our tour leaders are always on hand to give you advice about this.
In many of the countries we visit you might see examples of animal cruelty (for example dancing bears, performing monkeys and snake charmers). Please do not take photographs of this or offer money as it encourages the activity.
Respect the environment you are in. It sounds obvious but do not throw litter, take it with you or use rubbish bins! You may see locals throwing rubbish on the street but do not follow their example!
When shopping in countries where haggling is the norm – enjoy it and only pay what you feel is a fair price for the goods you are purchasing. However, remember that the shopkeeper does have to make a living so do stop once you have reached a price you are happy with. Bargaining should be fun but always remember that a small amount can mean much more to the vendor than to you.
Endeavor to take home souvenirs made locally; the money you spend can be very important to the local communities. However, do use your common sense and don’t buy anything that you think might be made out of endangered animals or plants.
To help keep as much money as possible in the host country - try to eat in locally owned restaurants and order local drinks and produce rather than international brands.
In hotels do be conscious of how much water you are using. Many of the areas we visit regularly have shortages; try not to have hour long showers! Don’t leave lights, air conditioners or fans on when you leave the room – you wouldn’t at home!
Respect the environment you are in, especially when in national parks or reserves. Pay attention to rules about keeping on paths, keeping a distance from animals and not removing any of the natural habitat.
Relax and immerse yourself in the differences of the culture you are in – you’ll be back home in the familiar soon enough (and wishing you were still on holiday!). These cultural differences are part of what makes your experience special.
If you would like to offset the carbon dioxide that will be produced on your flights you can do this on our website (on our Responsible travel page). We work with climatecare, who will reduce the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide that you produce in another part of the World through their emission reduction projects. These projects are low carbon efficient technologies in developing countries and not only serve to reduce emissions but also help to spread the adoption of low carbon technologies and improve the quality of life for local communities. Details of climatecare’s projects can be found on their website.
If you would like to contribute to our Worldwide projects, helping communities all over the World, you can also do this on our website or with a sales consultant. Please refer to our responsible travel page on the website for details of our current projects. Any donation you make will be matched £ for £ by Imaginative Traveller (up to a maximum of £1000).
Have a great trip!
Please do let us know if you have any comments about responsible travel at email@example.comThe Imaginative Traveller & The Adventure Company. This trip is operated by our partner company, The Adventure Company. They have more than 10 years experience in adventure travel and they share our ethos for offering unique holiday adventures. As this is a codeshared departure you can expect there to be both Imaginative Traveller and Adventure Company travellers on your trip.