**NEW ITINERARY FOR 2018** This itinerary will be operated from March 1st 2018 onwards
In ensuring the most complete experience along the Salkantay Trail, we are now offering our re-designed Salkantay 5D trek. Our new itinerary includes the hike to the impressive, crystalline-blue Humantay lagoon and the overnight stay in our Llactapata Campsite – right in front of Machu Picchu. We think this experience will be unlike any other offering and truly phenomenal.
Price: $595USD Per person
AFTERNOON 1: Transfer to Campsite
We will pick you up at 3 p.m. from your hotel, where you will meet your Alpaca trekking team. From here, we will head in our private van for a 3.5 hour drive to the campsite in Soraypampa, located at 3,800 m.a.s.l. We will arrive just on time to take photographs of the sunset over the glacier peaks.
At the campsite, your guide will settle you in your tents before enjoying your dinner along with some hot drinks. Your night will be accompanied by the countless stars adorning the night sky.
** Because you will likely be checked out of your hotel before the departure time, the meeting point for this trek is at our office which is located very close to the main square.
NO HIKING TODAY
Elevation at Campsite: 3800 msl
Weather: Cold, windy, rainy in the wet season
**When you book this trek, please choose the day you want to start the hike (so Day 1). Departure is the night before where you will stay at our private camping site and enjoy your first dinner prepared by your Alpaca Expeditions chef.
Day 1: (Hiking Begins) SORAYPAMPA CAMPSITE – HUMANTAY LAGOON – SALKANTYA PASS - WAYRACPUNKO
After a good night’s rest, you will have early wake up to enjoy your breakfast before your trek. During this morning, there will be a short team introduction between all trekkers and the Alpaca Staff to ensure a positive, family-like experience. After the introduction, you will give your duffle bags to the muleteers for carrying.
The day´s hike will begin by visiting Humantay Lagoon. This will be a hike of approximately 1.5 hours along a steady uphill. Once at the lagoon, you will enjoy the serene views of the crystalline-blue water of Humantay Lagoon; often described by many as an ¨other-worldly´´ paradise perched on the skirts of Humantay Glacier. If the skies are clear, you will be witness to the first sun rays peaking though the snow-covered peaks, and if you are brave, you will also have the chance to touch the almost-frozen water so that you may stay young forever!
The advantage to visiting Humantay Lagoon in the early morning hours is the quiet surroundings with NO other trekkers besides those in your group. Due to the popularity of this location, this is not something everyone can enjoy!
After breathing in the beauty of such magical place, you will begin making your way back down to the starting point to continue with your hike to the lunch spot in Soyroccocha. This hike will be approximately 3 hours on gradually ascending terrain. On your way, you will pass places such as Salkantay Pampa and will enjoy the outstanding views of the surrounding peaks and snow-covered mountains. After lunch and a well-deserved rest, you will continue with your hike for about 1 hour more until Salkantay Pass at 4,650 m.a.s.l.- the highest point of the trek. Once here, you will be rewarded with hot drinks before continuing!
From Salkantay Pass, it will only be a remaining 3 hours of hiking downhill to our last campsite for the day, Wayracmachay. Upon arrival to the campsite, the trekking staff will have your tents set up and with your duffel bags ready. They will provide you with warm water to get washed up, so that you may change into something warm. We will have a happy hour with hot chocolate and coffee, followed by dinner. If the weather allows, you will get to enjoy the blue sky, along with a brief introduction to the visible Inca constellations.
Walking Distance: 18km
Elevation Gained: 850 meters
Elevation Descended: 850 meters
Weather: Cold, windy, rainy in the wet season
Day 2: WAYRACMACHAY – CHAULLAY – CCOLLPAPAMPA LORETA (Private Campsite)
Your trekking team will wake you up early with a hot drink to help you start the day. Hopefully, as you open your tent, you will see the sunrise over glacier peaks and clouds, lifting from the green cloud forest. You will have time to pack up and enjoy a nice breakfast prepared by your trekking chef.
At around 7 a.m., you will begin the day´s hike by hiking for approximately 4 hours downhill until reaching the lunch spot at Ccollpapampa (2,700 m.a.s.l.). In this hike, you will begin to notice the micro-climate and fauna & flora changes. You will begin from cold, glacier views to warmer, lush, jungle surroundings. There will be many different species of orchids to see, as well as ferns and begonia flowers. Humming birds will be above you, a difference from the day before.
After lunch and a well-deserved rest, you will continue with your trek to the next private campsite called La Loreta at 2400 m.a.s.l. This hike will be approximately 4 hours on gradually downhill terrain. Along the way you will explore beautiful waterfalls, rivers, and again, flora and fauna. This will be another micro-climate called tropical forest, where local people farm coffee, passion fruit, papayas, oranges and avocados. Upon arrival to the campsite, you will be welcomed by your trekking staff and will have time to enjoy a free hot shower, hot Jacuzzi and perhaps even swim in our swimming pool. There will also be time to walk around our ecological garden to see some of our garden of coffee, avocado, chillies, tomatoes and pineapples. Dinner tonight will be at our building with views to the Salkantay River which you will hear below to help you fall asleep at night.
Walking Distance: 18 km
Campsite Elevation: 2,400 meters
Elevation Descended: 1,400 meters
Weather: Warm and hot
Day 3: LORETA – LA PLAYA SAHUAYAKU – LUCMABAMBA COFFEE FARM – LLACTAPATA (Camp in front of Machu Picchu)
After a delicious breakfast, you will get started on your shortest, but most interesting day of the trek. Today you will experience the most beautiful sights along your trekking route to Machu Picchu. You will explore the tropical forest and will have a visit to a local, organic coffee farm. At the farm, you will have the opportunity to explore some of the orange and avocado plantations and taste some of the freshly-brewed coffee. Also at the farm, you will have a brief introduction regarding the coffee in this region and its importance as the main farming product to all locals. As you will learn, the coffee in this region was introduced to the region after the Spanish conquest and most of the harvested coffee is exported to countries including the United States, Asia and Europe.
After the coffee farm visit, you will continue with your trek to Llactapata by hiking along a section of the Inca trail for approximately 2.5 hours. On your way to the Llactapata Inca site, you will see amazing views of the Santa Teresa valley. At Llactapata, you will get the first glance of Machu Picchu – including the main archaeological site, Machu Picchu Mountain and Huayna Picchu Mountain. You will also have the opportunity to explore the Llactapata Inca site along with your guide and take photographs for the books!. From here it will be an additional 15 minutes downhill to your lunch and campsite area. This campsite is owned by a local family, and only Alpaca Expeditions has permission to stay there. You will find the campsite to be great place to enjoy the sunset and sunrise over Machu Picchu.
After lunch, you will have some free time to enjoy the views and relax from the hiking. Again, we will serve a lovely happy hour, with tea and coffee, and your chef will prepare a delicious meal for dinner. Once the stars come out, you can enjoy the Milky Way and the Inca constellations – just like the Incan astronomers did to predict the weather.
Walking Distance: 12 km
Campsite Elevation: 2,700 meters
Elevation Gained: 400 meters
Weather: During day time hot and humid, chilly at night
Day 4: LLACTAPATA LOOKOUT – WATER FALLS AT HIDROELECTRICA – MANDOR HIRAM BIINGHAM FARM – AGUAS CALIENTES
Your trekking team will wake you up early with a hot drink to help you start the day. You will get ready for today’s activities and enjoy your last breakfast prepared by your trekking chef. The day´s hike will begin with a 2 hour, downhill path, with views of Machu Picchu, until Hidroelectrica Station. The most impressive part of this area is the natural 300 meters high waterfall which generates the electricity for the region of Cusco. From Hidroelectrica Station, you will then continue to the famous Intiwatana (sun dial rock). According to history, this Inca stone used to work with the famous sun dial rock in Machu Picchu, during the winter solstice, which was the beginning of a new farming season for the Incas.
From the Intiwatana, you will continue to the train tracks, which have a nice path to walk on. The hike along the train tracks will be approximately 3 hours and will lead to the town of Aguas Calientes, located at the foot of the valley of Machu Picchu. This section of the hike will be interesting as it was the trail used by the American professor, Hiram Bingham, when rediscovering Machu Picchu. On his way to Machu Picchu, Hiram Bingham met with local farmer Melochor Artaega, who eventually guided him to Machu Picchu. On your hike, you will hike pass Melochor Artaega´s farm, where you will see many species of flora and fauna, including the famous Peruvian national bird called Cock of the Rock, tucanets, propendolas, parrots and orchids.
Finally, upon your arrival in Aguas Calientes, you will enjoy your packed lunch. You will then go to your hotel to enjoy a hot shower and a visit to the famous, hot springs (10 soles, not included), of Aguas Calientes. In the evening, you will enjoy your final dinner with your trekking chef and say good bye to him.
Walking Distance: 14 km
Aguas Calientes Elevation: 2,000 meters
Accommodations: inti punku (or similar)
Day 5: MACHU PICCHU – RETURN TO CUSCO
Today will be the most important day of your expedition. To get the most out of the day, we encourage every group to have an early breakfast before catching one of the first buses up to Machu Picchu (starting at 5:30 a.m.). The hotel will hold your bags for you while in Machu Picchu. This way, you will only be required to take your personal backpack with all essentials up to Machu Picchu. The bus ride from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu will take approximately 30 minutes.
Once in Machu Picchu, your guide will introduce you the beauty of Machu Picchu. You will head directly to a well-sought out location from where you will watch the sunrise and take photographs. Your guide will then guide you around the main sectors of the citadel, for a total of 2.5 hours. During this guided tour, you will learn some more about the history and culture of the Inca Empire. At the end of the tour, you will have some time to yourself or, if you arranged to hike Huayna Picchu* (must be booked in advance, as it sells out and costs $35 per person), your guide will show you where to begin this hike, which will take no more than 2 hours round-trip.
For your return from Machu Picchu, we recommend to begin heading back to Aguas Calientes town by no later than 2 hours prior to your train departure. Your guide will inform you of your train times prior to your return. The train return from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo will take approximately 2 hours. In Ollantytambo, our Alpaca Staff will be waiting for your right by the station´s exit door ready to bring you back to Cusco by car. The car ride to Cusco will be approximately 2 hours and will have you dropped off at your hotel in Cusco.
- Machu Picchu Mountain may be hiked as well, instead of Huayna Picchu Mountain. This hike is more challenging and takes three hours minimum, round-trip (at an extra cost of USD $35 per person). You always have the opportunity to climb to the Sun Gate for free. This is a much easier walk of two hours, round-trip.
Briefing: The night before your trek, you will come to our office for your briefing. You will receive your duffel bag that will stay with your porters, while you hike. This bag should not exceed 7 kg/14 lbs and does need to include your sleeping bag and air mattress.
Professional Guides: All of our guides studied English and tourism at University. They all grew up in this region and have a true passion to teach others about their heritage. They are fun yet professional, and will ensure you are safe and happy.
Porters: We include a personal porter, who is responsible for carrying your duffel bag containing your personal items. There is no additional fee for this. We will give you your duffel bag at your briefing the night before, to be filled with the things you will need for the next night and day. You will not have access to your duffel bag until your arrive at your evening campsite.
Hotel: The alternative treks all end in, or before Aguas Calientes. The last night is spent at a hotel in the village, rather than camping. This 2 star hotel is included in the trek cost, and is based on a shared room. If you would like to upgrade your hotel, or prefer a single room, there will be an additional cost.
Transportation: All your transportation is included in this trek. You will be picked up directly from your hotel around 4 a.m., and brought to the start of the trek, to the trail head. Your guide will hand out your bus ticket to make your way down from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes, and you will be booked on the expedition train leaving that afternoon. If you prefer, you can upgrade your train leaving Aguas Calientes to the Vistadome train for $75 per person. Once you arrive to the train station, we will bring you back to your hotel in Cusco.
Equipment: Alpaca Expeditions has the best equipment. We use four man, Eureka, Timberline tents that are shared by only two people. You will have a spacious dining tent to enjoy your meals in.
Food: The Alpaca Expeditions chefs cook delicious meals that many previous trekkers have raved about. We honor all food restrictions. Be sure to remind your tour guide of any food restrictions at the beginning of your trek. Food is typically served family-style. You will enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner each day of the trek, along with a happy hour of tea and snacks. You will also be provided a snack each morning, for you to enjoy along the hike. Your last meal with your chef will be after breakfast on day four. Lunch the last day is not included.
Water: Beginning from your first lunch until your last breakfast, Alpaca Expeditions will supply all the water needed. This water will be boiled, filtered and then cooled, before distributing. You must supply your own water bottles or camel back. We recommend carrying about 3L worth. We will refill our waters at each meal.
First Aid: Every Alpaca Expeditions guide has received training in first aid from a physician. We conduct mandatory training sessions every February, which every single Alpaca tour guide must attend. Your tour guide will always have a first-aid kit for basic medical problems (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts, scrapes, etc.) and oxygen. We will get you off the trail as quickly and comfortably as possible, if needed, and ensure you get directly to a clinic for treatment.
Extras: We believe it's the attention to small details that separates us from other tour companies. Every trekker receives a small pillow to sleep with, a foam mat for insulation, a day pack cover to protect their things while hiking and a rain poncho. We will work hard to create your best vacation.
Satellite Phones: Our top priority will always be the safety of our clients and our team. While we are prepared and all our guides are trained for most of the issues clients have on the mountain, being a phone call away from any doctor, hospital or friend helps everyone feel assured that they are safe. Radios, which all our guides have, are limited in how far they can reach, so Alpaca Expeditions has added Satellite Phones to every trek. Every guide will have a fully charged phone that can be used anywhere on the mountain to connect us anywhere in the world. And they can be used by our clients for non-emergencies as well. While they are not cheap to use, they are available just in case you need to check in on the puppy you left at home with grandma.
Rentals: Every trekker needs a sleeping bag, when camping. Inflatable air mattresses and walking sticks (with rubber tips) are optional, but encouraged. If you don’t want to bring any of the above, they are all available for rent:
Sleeping Bag: $25
Inflatable Air Mattress: $20
Walking Sticks (Pair): $20
Huayna Picchu: Huayna Picchu is the mountain that stands next to Machu Picchu. It is a 45 minute hike to the top. Going back down is quite steep, if you are scared of heights. This is done after your tour of Machu Picchu. The cost is $35 per person. Arrangements need to be made at least one month in advance, due to popularity. Since you are hiking the Inca Trail, you will experience a similar view from the Sun Gate. Please understand that weather is out of our control.
Day packs: Day packs are not provided by Alpaca Expeditions. You must bring your own. Be sure you don't being anything too large, as you don’t want it to be too heavy while you're trekking. Plus, Machu Picchu will not allow you to bring in a bag larger than 25L, so if you have a large backpack it will need to be stored before your tour. Only essentials are needed while trekking: water, snack, camera, sunhat, warm layer, rain layers, insect spray, sunscreen, and a first-aid kit.
Headlamps: It is strongly encouraged to bring a headlamp for your night camping. There will be no lights at the camping sites and it is hard to get to your dining tent or you bathroom tent without one. Flashlights are acceptable, if you don’t have a headlamp, but make some tasks more difficult.
Flights: Flying to Cusco can be tricky. Delays occur often and it is not uncommon for flights to be cancelled. Please be sure to arrive in the city at least two days before your trek start date. LAN Peru is the most reliable of the airlines. Avianca and Peruvian Airlines are acceptable companies, as well. You will not return from your trek until around 8 p.m. on the last day, so be sure your flight is not until the next day, when leaving Cusco.
Gratuities: Tipping is always appreciated and should be based completely on your satisfaction. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels.
Travel Insurance: This is not required, but always recommended. For those of you who live at sea-level, landing in Cusco will take an adjustment period. Most people need one or two days to adjust. In case you have a hard time adjusting to the altitude, it is suggested to have protection for missed tours.
The Salkantay Trek can leave any day of the week, from March through December. We do not run this trek in January or February.
$595 per person
A group tour means that it is open for other trekkers to join you. This means that your group will have varying hiking and fitness abilities. All our guides are experts on how to keep the trek moving and happy no matter how fast you hike.
Private tours are available and priced by party size.
2 Trekkers: $755 per person
3 Trekkers: $730 per person
4 Trekkers: $680 per person
5 Trekkers: $655 per person
6 Trekkers: $625 per person
7 Trekkers: $615 per person
8 or more Trekkers: $595 per person
* All our tours are priced in US Dollar.
$25 off per person
Student discounts apply to anyone who has a valid UNIVERSITY STUDENT CARD at the time of the trek or who is 17-years-old or younger. For those using an university student card to receive the discount, we need to see a copy of the card at booking. For those booking children 17-years-old or younger, we need a copy of their passport at booking time. Please send all to firstname.lastname@example.org.
More Information about STUDENT CARD
Inti Punku Hotel
This is a 3 star hotel and is based on sharing a room – either double, matrimonial or triple. There is a single room surcharge of $30 if you are booking alone. Rooms all include private bathrooms, with hot showers and wifi. We can also upgrade your hotel, if you prefer something fancier. Please remember that the service you receive in Aguas Calientes may not be comparable to that in Cusco. Below is a list of possible upgrade options, although we can usually work with most hotels in Aguas Calientes.
La Cabana : +$40 pp shared (+$110 for a single)
Casa Andina : $40 pp shared ($110 for a single)
El Mapi : +$70 pp shared (+$170 for a single)
There are several optional upgrades you can include in this trip. Below is a quick list of prices, but check our Overview section for more details.
Huayna Picchu: $35 per person
Montana: $35 per person
Vistadome Train (one way): $75 per person
EQP & FOOD
Another highlight of booking with Alpaca Expeditions is getting top equipment and probably the best food you will eat while in Peru.
Every camping tour includes a spacious 4 man tent that will be shared by only two people so you can spread out a bit. These are all Eureka Timberline Tents made for all seasons. Our rentals are top of the line: Black Diamond Adjustable Walking Sticks and Thermarest Luxury Air Matts. Sleeping Bags rented from us are mummy style down bags for -15C and liners are always included.
For more information on our equipment, CLICK HERE.
Every trek includes a chef that has been trained in culinary school. They have learned the magic of mountain cooking and you will be amazed. You will enjoy full breakfast, lunch and dinner all served hot and tasty. We also include Happy Hour with snacks and some hot tea before dinner. The key to feeling good on a trek like this is eating well and staying hydrated.
Meals are all served family style - large plates for everyone to take what they like. And all food restrictions are honored. No matter if you are vegetarian or gluten free, you will always be well fed.
Water is provided by Alpaca Expeditions at every meal. We will boil, filter and cool down all water before distributing out to our clients to ensure that its healthy for drinking. Because of this process, you do need to provide your own water for the very first morning of your trek. We won't have a chance to get you clean water until lunch on Day 1.
You should always begin your hike with 2-3 liters of water - so make sure you have a large enough water bottle or camelback to store this.
For more information on our Food & Water, CLICK HERE.
PORTERS & HORSEMEN
While our Salkantay trek does include horses, they will only be able to join you for the first day and a half of the trek. The rest of the time, our porters will be responsible for all the heavy lifting. It is also during this first day and a half that an emergency horse will be available. After this, you are responsible for hiking on your own.
Our porters, who we lovingly call the Green Machine, are the pride and joy of our company and what separates us from others. We are dedicated to making a difference in their lives and their family's life and for that we are rewarded with the hardest working team in the mountains.
Alpaca Expeditions Porters:
Raul Ccolque Ccolque, the owner & general manager of Alpaca Expeditions, worked as porter from 2000 to 2003. While he saw some companies treating their porters better than others, he felt there was not enough being done for them and their families. We could not have a company without our porters and because of that we want them to be part of our family. We want to know them, listen to them and follow through on our promise to make their lives better.
Our porters range from 18 years old until 55 and come from several different villages in Cusco region. We employ approximately 250 porters from the following villages:
- Comunidad wakatinku 25 porters, located at 3800 meters
- Comunidad Llullucha 20 porters, located at 3700 meters
- Comunidad Choquekancha 25 porters , located at 3400 meters.
- Comunidad Pumapunko $ 25 porters located at 3700 meters
- Comunidad Kachin 25 porters located at 3700 meters
- Comunidad Anparaes 25 porters located at 3500 meters
Quechua is their main language and farming is their main economic activity. Being a porter is a second income for them.
Our Promise to Our Porters:
We understand clearly that we could not be successful without our team of porters. They have promised us that they will work endlessly to make each trekker have a magical journey, so we have made an equally important promise to them to do what we can to make this difficult job a little less daunting.
As we explained earlier, most of our porters live in a village outside of Cusco – typically 2 to 4 hours away. We cover all entrance fees (45 soles – $15 US per porter) and transportation to and from the trek for our porters, separate from their salary. They are paid directly after the trek preventing them from traveling back to Cusco before heading home. This is unfortunately not common. They receive better wages, health insurance and all their equipment for free. This includes hiking boots, pants, jerseys, fleeces, jackets, hats, flashlights, sleeping bags, sleeping bags, and amazing food to eat. We make sure they have a comfortable bed in a lovely room to sleep before (and after if needed) the trek instead of crashing on a floor like others. We visit the communities they live in and supply toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap and other needed supplies to their families. Books for their students.
This is just the beginning for us and we are always looking for ways to do more.
How much does the Alpaca Expeditions Porter Carry?
While the government allows each porter to carry up to 25kg, we keep our limit at 20kg. Each porter will carry up to 15kg from the company and 5kg of their own personal stuff. This is why its so important to keep your personal duffel down in weight and not exceed our allowed 7kg. You will see other companies carrying clearly more than the allotted weight – we will not allow our porters to carry this burden.
Keeping them Comfortable…
Every year Alpaca Expeditions provides a new sleeping bag and sleeping pad for each porter. Our jackets are all lined and warm and our boots that are provided are all waterproof.
What do the Porters Eat?
Our porters will eat the very same amazing meals you have. Our chef buys enough food to cook for all our trekkers and porters and makes enough for everyone to be too full at the end of the day. While you will notice that we always serve huge portions, none of this is wasted. Whatever is leftover after you and our team eats will go directly back home to the families of the team for them to enjoy themselves.
Helping Their Families…
All our porters are quechua language speakers who come from farming villages where they take only advantage of the seasons to grow their crops but Alpaca Expeditions will help them in many ways to keep growing their comunity especially in education, health and culture. We have different ongoing projects and hope to add many more. Some of the projects we have completed or continue doing are:
Every 3 months, we take a kit of toiletries to Wakantinku elementary school for 204 quechua speaking children. They range from 3 – 12 years old from kindergarden to 6th grade. When we arrived to this village for the first time a few years ago, kids had trouble keeping up with daily hygiene. We make sure they always have toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, and hand sanitizer.
We planted more than 3,000 native trees, Queuña (andean polylepis), in the community of Wakatinku to reforest their village. This tree will be more sustainable than others they have used and will eventually be a fertilizer for their village to help grow more grass for their Alpacas which are the most common and typical annimals located at this village.
We covered the 2015 salary of a full time teacher in the High School of Wakatinku to teach math, art and english. This teacher has done amazing work and helped to graduate the first class from the village. We plan to continue this sponsorship and supply another years salary.
Every February we invite our porters and their families to come with us to visit Machu Picchu. Sadly, this was their first time to the ruins and a really special experience for us. Last year we went with families from Wakawasi village, a community we visit on the Lares Trek. We plan on doing this trip every February with new families to help them enjoy their own history.
In October 2015, we helped celebrate the end of the school year with 17 students and their parents and some of our porters for a trip through the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. This 2 day trip followed the same itinerary that our clients enjoy.
Often our clients have asked how they can help. Some Alpaca Expeditions trekkers raised money back at home to buy some computers to donate to a local village. We matched their donation and went together to donate 4 computers to the school in Wakatinku village for the kids to enjoy. This was their first experience on computers and something that has been really successful. Of course its hard for 204 students to share 4 computers, so we hope to bring some more in 2016.
To help celebrate the anniversary of Llulucha village this last July, we booked and provided transpiration for an amazing local band, Alicia de Acomayo, to play. It was a great party for everyone to enjoy.
We are working with a local clinic in Cusco to provide dental care and provide skin examinations for the children of each of our porters villages.
We have recently bought land in Cusco that is currently being constructed to create a dormitories, classrooms and teaching kitchens for our team. This is for those who do not live in Cusco to have a nice, warm place to sleep before their treks. We will have english classes, computer classes and cooking classes here for any member of our team and their family to use, free of charge. This is a huge project for us that we are really excited about.
This is a touch of the projects we have done and continue to do. We are a small local company here in Cusco who promises to be as dedicated to our team as they are to us. We are lucky enough to have the best porters in the region and we feel responsible to make sure they are healthy, strong and capable of providing their families with the best life possible.
THE GREEN MACHINE
Getting to Cusco
The airport in Cusco currently is only for domestic flights, so all international travelers by plane must disembark in Lima and go through Customs. Even if your flight to Cusco is the same day by the same airline carrier, you must grab your bags in Lima and then check them back in.
The best way to get to Cusco is by air and there are several options in airlines. LAN tends to be the most expensive, but has the most options and flights. Expect delays or flight cancellations. Due to the high altitude of Cusco, it tends to be difficult to land and any acclimate weather will stop air traffic. Bus travel is always available and while the trip can be long, especially from Lima, the buses in Peru are very well maintained and comfortable. This option is strongly encouraged if coming from a city closer to Cusco, like Puno. Lima buses will take about 20 hours to arrive.
Any extra luggage you have with you can be left safely in Cusco at either your hotel or with us at the Alpaca Expeditions deposit while you trek. We will grab from you the morning of your trek and return once you are back in Cusco. Make sure your bags have some kind of identification on them so they are easy to locate.
As soon as people book their trip to Peru, specifically Cusco, they start wondering about altitude sickness. The air at high altitudes contains less oxygen than at sea level and forces your body to work harder to get the oxygen it needs. Over several days at high altitude, your body adjusts to the lower amount of oxygen in the air. This is why we always recommend spending at least two days in Cusco before beginning any trek. If you have more time, even better. Cusco is an amazing city with a lot to do, so you won’t be bored.
With altitude sickness, you may first feel like you have the flu or a hangover. You may have a headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, trouble sleeping, trouble breathing during exercise. If any of these effects become severe, please contact our office and we will help you get to a doctor.
Most of the time, these symptoms will be mild. We always recommend easing into activity slowly, allowing your body to adjust. Drink plenty of fluids such as water or coca tea. Coca tea has been used since ancient times to help prevent altitude sickness. Leaves from the Coca Plant contain alkaloids which helps bring oxygen into your blood, helping your body avoid the effects of altitude sickness. Avoid drinking a lot of alcohol and coffee. They will cause you to urinate more often and become dehydrated. Avoid smoking. Smoking makes it more difficult for your body to get oxygen. Avoid sleeping pills. They may cause shallow breathing at night, making it more difficult for your body to absorb oxygen while you sleep.
Remember the trek to Machu Picchu is not a race. Even those in the best shape will suffer from altitude sickness when they race to the top of the mountain too quickly. Go slowly, it will give your body time to adjust to the mountain.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe medicines, such as acetazolamide and dexamethasone, to help prevent altitude sickness. Start the medicine two days before you get to a high altitude. Continue to take it while you are at high altitude.
You must remember that this is your holiday and you do not want to stress out about the possibility of getting sick from the mountains. Do everything slowly. Drink lots of water. And enjoy the coca tea. If anything does happen and you unfortunately get sick, let your guide know right away – all Alpaca Expeditions guides are trained in how to help you get through it.
Of course weather is unpredictable. Typically the dry season in Cusco is from April through October, but this does not stop rain from falling in June or the sun from coming out in December – just be prepared. No matter what month you are doing the trek, please make sure that you have rain gear that includes a waterproof jacket, pants, poncho and waterproof gloves. Many people forget about gloves, but being cold and wet makes hiking very unpleasant.
Also prepare for four seasons. Many of the treks through the Andes involve many micro-climates and you will need to be prepared for all seasons. Layers are always key as they are easy to adjust to the different temperatures. And evenings will always be cold, so please be prepared with a warm, winter-weight jacket.
Every Alpaca Expeditions guide has received training in first aid from a physician. We conduct mandatory training every February – every single Alpaca guide attends. When guiding you, they will have with them a first aid kit for basic medical problems (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts, scrapes, etc.) and oxygen. They know how to make you feel better.
In case something unexpected happens and you feel you can no longer complete the trek, they will figure out the safest and quickest way off the course and to a clinic. You will never be left alone, you will have a member of the team escort you every step of the way until safely with a doctor. When you are feeling up to it, we will make sure that you still have the chance to visit Machu Picchu and re-connect with your group, traveling by train comfortably.
To protect your travel investment, we highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance. Obtaining travel insurance before you leave home is strongly encouraged and very easy. In fact, we work with a great agency in the United States that has helped to make it easy and affordable. This is a great way to protect yourself while visiting Peru.
If interested in booking through our trusted partner, Ahart, Frinzi & Smith, CLICK HERE.
Alpaca Expeditions uses biodegradable soap and transports all our garbage back to Cusco. Our porters are trained to look after the trail and pick up any waste from other groups, as well. We also use environmentally-friendly chemical portable toilets that allow us to pack waste out. We believe in leaving no footprint behind.
Alpaca Expeditions is really proud of the work we do for our community. This is a main focus for our company. We have worked with villages directly to help supply them with needs their families were missing. We have supported local schools by giving them computers and books. We currently sponsor a teacher at the village most of our porters come from to ensure their children are offered the best education.
We buy all our food from local farmers and markets and serve the freshest ingredients. We provide English classes for all our team: guides, porters, chefs and drivers. And we are building a house for our porters to give them a safe and comfortable place to stay before and after our treks so they no longer need to sleep on the floor of a friend.
And twice every year we bring our porters and their families to Machu Picchu. This is our favorite trip to do as the guys who work tirelessly have never visited the Lost Citadel of the Incas. Showing them this place is our biggest honor.
We are always looking to do more for our partners. Please let us know of your ideas and we will work to help.
Personal Porter Included
All of our treks include porters, who are responsible for carrying and setting up all equipment. They will also carry your personal duffel, which you will receive at your briefing the night before your trek. This duffel can not exceed 7 kg/14 lbs, and must include your sleeping bag and air mattress.
Each Alpaca Expeditions porter is given a proper uniform, salary and insurance. They are the backbone of our company.
- Valid, STUDENT CARD (if you booked as a student)
- Immigration Card (given on the plane as you enter Peru)
- Good daypack (the smaller, the better)
- Water storage: Water reservoir like Camelbaks are encouraged - but enough for at least 2-3 liters.
- Comfortable hiking boots (lightweight with good soles)
FOR YOUR DUFFEL:
Remember you are packing for 2 nights of camping and 1 night in a hotel. Porters will carry up to 8 kg of your personal items. This must include your sleeping bag and air matt (if you bring/rent one). From us these two items weigh 3.5 kg.
- 2 wicking t-shirts
- 2 hiking pants
- 4 sets of undergarments.
- 3 sets of hiking socks
- Bathing suit for Hot Springs
- 1 Fleece
- 1 Warm, down jacket: this trek includes 2 cold nights camping
- 1 Rain jacket and pants
- 1 sun hat
- 1 wool hat
- Headlamp: essential
- Waterproof gloves (even if they are ski gloves, take them)
- Comfortable shoes for camp
- Walking boots
- Waterproof jacket/rain poncho
- Quickdry towel. We provide small ones, you might enjoy something a little larger.
- Small bottle of soap: we provide warm water each day to clean - might make you feel fresh if you had a little soap.
- Battery Charger: There is no place to plug in while trekking!
- Large plastic bags: to help organize and keep clean from dirty.
- Sleeping bag: Recommend down bags for -10C at least
- Face moisturizer
- Bug spray
- Wet wipes
- Toothbrush and paste
- Personal medication
- First aid kit: band aids, moleskin, etc.
INSIDE YOUR DAYPACKS:
Daypacks can be any size for hiking, but we always recommend the smaller, the better. Inside Machu Picchu, no bag larger than 25L will be allowed in. If larger, you will need to store outside citadel gates.
PassportValid, STUDENT card (if you booked as a student)Immigration Card (given on the plane as you enter Peru)Good daypack (the smaller, the better)Water storage: Water reservoir like Camelbaks are encouraged - but enough for at least 2-3 liters.Comfortable hiking boots (lightweight with good soles)
- Water: we supply clean water at each meal. You are responsible for your first morning of water only as we won't have time to filter water until your first lunch.
- Rain gear
- Music (IPhone)
- Toilet paper and small plastic bag for waste
- Extra Money for Souvenirs, Drinks & Tips