Start Here: Preparing In Cusco
You've made it to Cusco, Peru and are about to embark on your journey of a lifetime to hike to Machu Picchu!
Here's all you need to know about preparing in Cusco for your Inca Trail hike. Acclimatizing, checking in, packing your trekking bags, FAQs, what to expect.
ONCE YOU'RE IN CUSCO
CHECKING IN & PAYMENT
Checking In & Payment
Once you are settled in Cusco, please check in with our office. This allows us to know that you have arrived safely and feel good and ready for your trek. This is also when you can settle your balance. All balances must be paid before your tour commences.
Our office is very conveniently located by the MAIN SQUARE in Cusco. If you are heading straight to the Sacred Valley before your tour, please let our office know beforehand so we can coordinate a time to review your itinerary and get you your duffel bags (if needed).
We accept both US or Peruvian currency - any denomination, but NO TORN BILLS please. All bills should be in good condition.
CREDIT CARD PAYMENTS: We can accept payments by VISA in our office but this will incur a 5% transaction fee. All other credit cards can be used by paying through PayPal, which requires a 5.5% transaction fee.
Heladeros Street 157, Office 24 - 25, 2nd floor
Monday through Saturday: 9AM - 1PM & 3PM - 7:30PM
Sunday: 4:30PM - 7:30PM
Plan to Spend a Minimum of 2 Days in Cusco to Acclimatize
Altitude sickness is manageable if you give your body the chance to acclimatize in Cusco for a minimum of 2 days before your trip. Learn more about Altitude Sickness here!
Hike Briefing the Evening Before
Join us at our conveniently located office, close to the center of Cusco, for a 45 minute briefing the evening before all camping treks. Briefings are at 6:30PM with your trekking guide and last for 45 minutes. We will answer all last minute questions and hand out your duffel bags that will be carried by the porters.
* 2 Day Inca Trail with Hotel will receive a small briefing by office staff at time of check in.
Duffel bags, daypack covers, ponchos, and your personal porter
Most of our competitors charge extra for a personal porter to carry your belongings, but not Alpaca. In order to make your trek as comfortable as possible, we include this service in our price.
We provide a duffel that can be packed up to 7kg/15lbs of your personal items needed outside of hiking times so you can just carry your daypack of necessities and keep it as light as possible.
We also offer free daypack covers to keep your bag dry in case of rain, and plastic ponchos. These are recycled and reused.
WHAT TO EXPECT
What will I carry while trekking the Inca Trail?
We include a personal porter for everyone so they will be responsible for carrying your supplies from place to place, but everyone must have a day pack that should include everything they you for hiking hours, since your duffel will only be available in the morning and evening.
You will be out for several days, and therefore, you will need several items to make your trek more comfortable: backpack, raincoat, strong footwear, sweater and jacket, water bottle, flashlight, insect repellents, sunblock, antiseptic hand gel, and toiletries and toilet paper among other personal effects. You might also need to carry snacks, biscuits, and dried fruit. Alpaca Expeditions will provide you with some snacks.
Everyone must bring their own day pack: Our team of porters will carry your duffel bags from campsite to campsite. These need to be packed up each morning, and will be waiting for you at your evening campsite. You will need to carry your own day pack while hiking, so these packs should be as light as possible. You only need the essentials as outlined below.
As far as the size of your day pack – Machu Picchu does not allow bags larger than 25L inside the citadel. This will be more than enough weight to allow for everything you will need while hiking. If you prefer a bag that is larger, it will not be a problem. You will just need to check the bag at Machu Picchu, at a safe area. It will cost three or five soles, depending on which area you choose.
Water: At each meal we will refill your water supply with fresh, clean water, but you need to have a camel back or water bottles to carry enough for a few hours. You should always have between two and three liters of water to drink constantly. Hydration is the key to feeling well in the mountains.
Snack: Each day we will supply a snack for you (piece of fruit, cookie or chocolate). Feel free to also bring some snacks of your own, but don’t overdo the amount because this can add unneeded weight.
Layers: Most of your hiking days will be warm enough for short sleeves, but certain portions of each trek are at higher altitudes (especially during the Lares trek), so they will be colder. A fleece is always handy to have in your bag. Hat and gloves are advised, as well.
Rain Gear: While May through September are typically dry months, rain clothes including a jacket, pants, and waterproof gloves, are always useful. Rain can happen any time.
Sun Items: Hopefully there will be more sun than rain. Be sure you have a sun hat and sunscreen. Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu are almost always hot.
Bug Spray: You will want a strong insect repellent with deet.
Camera: Be sure to bring one with extra batteries. There is no place to charge electronics, in the mountains.
Music: Bring your headphones and devices to play music, having something to motivate you during the hard parts of the hike can be helpful.
Toiletries and First Aid: Hand sanitizer, band-aids and ibuprofen (or your preferred pain reliever/anti-inflammatory) are always advised.
Toilet Paper: While trekking you may need to use the Incan Toilets (go behind a bush). Make sure that you have a small bag to dispose of any paper used.
Wallet And Passport: It is safer to keep these items on your person.
What will I eat on the Inca Trail?
Enjoy the Best Chefs in the Mountains!
We include all meals and snacks for our treks, up until the last lunch (after your tour of Machu Picchu). For your last lunch in Aguas Calientes, or for all train tours, you will choose from the many restaurants in Aguas Calientes.
You may be curious about the quality of the food provided by Alpaca Expeditions. It is prepared by a chef in a small tent, on a stove. Check out our reviews, and you will recognize how pleased our trekkers are with their meals. Our professionally trained chefs prepare the best breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks. After completing each day’s trek, you will enjoy a social happy hour, before being treated to a delicious buffet dinner, that will undoubtedly exceed all your expectations of food on the Inca Trail.
All food is prepared from fresh ingredients, purchased in the Cusco local market. The porters transport the food and the chefs prepare it. We do not use any canned or re-hydrated food. It is all fresh, healthy and delicious!
Do you have special dietary needs? No problem! We can cater to vegetarians, vegans and all food allergies. Let us know at the time of booking.
There is plenty of water provided during each trek. We take tap water from each campsite and boil it for 15 minutes, so it is safe to drink. You only need to carry enough water to get you to each stop. You can refill your bottles at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
You will be well fed on any of our Adventure Treks. There will be up to five eating opportunities a day, beginning with a big breakfast, a snack, tremendous lunch, afternoon tea, and finally, dinner.
You will be treated like royalty when you’re on the Trail! We also encourage you to bring some coca leaves.
Below is a sample menu:
- Breakfast – Scrambled eggs, pancakes, omelets, oatmeal, cereal, fruit salad, toast, orange juice, milk, tea, coffee, hot chocolate
- Snack – Fruit, cookies, cereal, chocolate, candies
- Lunch – Corn or mushroom soup, chicken and rice, sausage, fried fish, ceviche, steak, beans, fried rice, french fries, boiled potatoes, vegetables, salad
- Happy Hour – Popcorn, fried wontons, tea, coffee
- Dinner – Stuffed chicken, vegetable tortillas, pizza, spaghetti, pork cutlet, sautéed vegetables, salad
READY TO GO!
For all of our treks and tours we require a deposit of $200 per person, the balance is payable when you arrive to Cusco. Please note that all of our tours are priced in US currency.
We use PayPal for sending deposits, that way you can use your credit card. PayPal charges a 5.5% service fee (for the international transfer), so the total deposit per person ends up being $211 per person and should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our PayPal page can be found here.
When we receive your booking form details and deposit via PayPal, we will send you a booking invoice and confirmation that we have received your deposit and your tour has been booked.
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.
Here are some frequently asked questions about what to expect with us!
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