Frequently Asked Questions
Please click here
to go to our general FAQ
, which has essential information that applies to all of our programs.
Resources to Learn & Teach about Peru
Visit our recommended reading page
to see the list of books GEEO recommends reading before your program (this is not required reading). We also have lesson plans
and Pinterest boards
that may be useful for you as you learn about your destination and prepare to bring lessons back to your classroom.
Terms and Conditions
It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions
page before signing up for this program.
All cancellations must be submitted to GEEO in written form by emailing your request for cancellation to email@example.com. If you do not receive a confirmation that we have received your written cancellation request, please call us at 1-877-600-0105. Verbal cancellation requests will not be honored.
- If you cancel 60 days or more prior to departure, all your program fee payments will be refunded besides your $350 deposit which is kept on file for future use
- If you cancel between 30 and 59 days prior to departure, you will receive a 50% refund and your deposit is kept on file for future use
- If you cancel within 30 days of departure, you will receive no refund, but your deposit is kept on file for future use
- INCA TRAIL FAQ AND MACHU PICCHU REGULATIONS: To get ready for the Inca trail we recommend reading the FAQ on this webpage. (We also provide a basic FAQ for the Trail below.) The rules and regulations controlling the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu are continually changing. Before embarking on your adventure to Peru, it is very important that you familiarize yourself with the Inca Trail booking policies and guidelines by visiting this webpage.
- INCA TRAIL PERMITS AND THE LARES TREK ALTERNATIVE: Inca Trail permits are limited in quantity. If the permits are sold out, participants that book the program and still wish to hike can go on the amazing Lares Trek instead. To get ready for the Lares Trek, we recommend reading the FAQ on this webpage. If you want to hike the Inca Trail, we recommend booking as early as possible for the next year.
- MACHU PICCHU BY TRAIN - OPTIONAL
Roughly 20% of our participants choose not to hike the Inca Trail Trek nor the Lares Trek. This trip is significantly less physically strenuous without a hike. Please advise at time of booking if you do not wish to hike the Inca Trail Trek nor the Lares Trek. Instead, you will have 2 nights in Cusco, travel by train for a night in Aguas Calientes, and join the hikers for the tour of Machu Picchu.
- PACKING FOR THE TREKS: In our continued effort to support the rights of the porters on the Inca Trail, we would like to ensure that they never exceed the weight limit for their packs as set out by the Peruvian authorities. Porters are allowed to carry no more than 6 kg of personal belongings per hiker (for all other Peru treks the limit is 8 kg). That means that, including your sleeping bag, toiletries, clothing, etc., you are allowed a total weight of 6 kg for the hike that will be carried in a duffel bag provided by our local office. Any additional weight must then be carried by you in your day pack. To help achieve this goal, we recommend that you carry travel sized toiletries, that you bring sport sandals that can be worn with socks (which are lighter than running/walking shoes), and that you limit electronics to those that you are willing to carry. Any additional baggage can be left in Cusco, though it is advised that you bring anything of value (e.g., money, passport, credit cards, camera) with you on the trek.
- TIPPING ON THE TREKS: If at the end of your trek, you felt your trekking guide and support team did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference. As a guideline, however, we suggest each hiker contributes the following to a collective pool. We suggest a tipping amount of $40 per person for the Inca Trail Trek and $35 per person for the Lares Trek.
- HOT WATER: Please note that hot water shortages and power outages can be fairly common in Peru, even in upgraded hotels and private homes. We appreciate your patience and understanding that these occurrences are outside of our control.
- LIMA TAXIS: Please be very careful with taxis in Lima. Do not pick-up a taxi on the street as they may be an unofficial taxi that could lead you into a robbery. Have the hotel call you a taxi or if, for example, you are at a museum, have the museum call you a taxi. Be aware of your route before stepping into a taxi. Make sure the taxi driver is avoiding side roads in the Callao neighborhood.
- INTERNATIONAL TICKET NUMBERS: Foreign travelers are exempt from paying a tax on domestic flights in Ecuador. To prove that you are indeed a foreign traveler you must enter your international ticket number (ITN) into the Good To Go check-in system. Travelers who do not submit international ticket numbers at least 30 days prior to Day 1 of their tour will be required to pay the domestic tax on all included flights.
- ALTITUDE: Please note your Adventure travels to high altitude. This is medically defined as anything over 2,440 m (8,000 ft). Most people can travel to 8,000 ft with minimal effects, but everyone reacts to altitude differently and altitude sickness can set in with some people irrespective of fitness and age. In rare circumstances, people have such severe reactions to the altitude that they cannot continue with the trip and must fly back to Lima to be at a lower altitude. For details on how to best prepare and what to do in the unlikely event you are effected on your adventure, please consult your physician. Make sure your doctor carefully checks to make sure any medication you need is safe to use at over 11,000 feet above sea level.
Group Leader Description
This program is run differently than our typical programs. Instead of one tour leader throughout, there are different support staff in the different locations. The first G Adventures staff member will lead your introduction meeting in Lima and take you to the airport the next morning. The second support staff member will handle all activities in Cusco and the Sacred Valley. There will be separate specialist guides for the trekkers. At all times on the ground there will be someone leading the group.
Fitness Level and Trekking Options
The required fitness level required for the trip varies greatly. All travelers will have to contend with the high altitude of the Andes. This trip includes light walking and hiking, but if you choose not to do one of the treks, this trip is suitable for most fitness levels.
GEEO has had many participants complete the treks of varying ages and fitness levels. This includes people ranging from a woman who was 4-months pregnant, a man who had double hip replacement surgery, and a 58-year old woman (who said it was more painful than childbirth). In the end, you have to decide whether hiking is right for you. It is a challenge for anyone, even the fit. If you decide to hike either trail, be prepared for long days of hiking up and down rough-hewn stairs. Do everything you can before the trip to prepare your body.
Half of the people that travel with GEEO are traveling by themselves, so please don’t worry if you have no one who can join you on your trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy, in other words, two people to a room. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. GEEO can find you a roommate of the same gender. Most of our trips have a "My Own Room" option, also known as a "Single Supplement," which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself. If you want to room alone, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. To see the price for the "My Own Room" option, please click here
where you can look up your trip in the extra services spreadsheet.
Please note that if you have booked the "My Own Room" option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops, with the following exceptions: Nights 4-6 – Inca Trail, Nights 4-5 - Lares Trek.
Our groups meet at the hotel we use for the first night of the trip. Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned for that day other then your welcome meeting in the evening, so you can arrive at any time. Similarly, the last day is a departure day during which no activities have been planned.
A G Adventures Representative will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. A welcome note will be left for you in the hotel so you have all the necessary information regarding the meeting time and your transfer times back to the airport the next day. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.
Jorge Chavez International Airport in Callao Lima is approximately a 45-minute drive from the Miraflores district, where our joining hotel is located. The easiest way to get there is via taxi. Immediately after the customs and immigration area, as you head to the exits, you will find an official taxi stand. You can pay for the car at set (approximately $27 USD) rates and won’t need to worry about sorting out a ride outside the airport facilities, where the situation tends to get more chaotic, with many drivers vying for few clients. There are exchange facilities in the Arrivals area open 24 hours. Excess luggage can be stored free of charge at the joining hotel during your tour if desired.
Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local office in Lima. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
G Adventures Office Lima, Peru.
During office hours (Weekdays, 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Local Time): +51 1 241 1650 or 01 241 1650 (from mobile within Peru) or 241 1650 (from payphone within Peru)
After hours Emergency number: +51 99 758 2712,
If you are unable for any reason to contact their local office in Lima or Cusco,
they have a toll-free line within North America (or our regular direct line), which will connect you directly with their Toronto office. In the event that you cannot get through, you can reach a member of their Operations department at the mobile number below.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Outside North America: +1 416 260 0999
Please read this article
on GEEO’s blog for our staff’s suggestions on the best gear to pack for your upcoming travels. You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them up and downstairs, on and off transportation, and to hotels. As a rule, we try not to have to walk more than 15-20 minutes with your bags, which is why we recommend keeping the weight of your bags between 22-30 lb. Most travelers carry a backpack or rolling bag of small to medium size. No XXL bags please! A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person plus a daypack per person.
There may be a weight restriction for the internal flight on this program. Additional bags or excess weight charges may apply. These charges are the responsibility of the passengers.
- Windproof/waterproof rain jacket (Very important)
- Personal clothing for cool to hot weather – we recommend packing 7 or 8 days of outfits, so you only have to do laundry once
- Fleece or down top – it gets down into the 30s F at night in the Andes!
- Winter hat
- Light hiking boots or sturdy walking shoes
- Sun hat
- Water bottle
- Watch or alarm clock
- Small flashlight
- First-aid kit, including lip salve, aspirin, bandaids, anti-histamine, Dramamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, electrolyte powder, insect repellent, extra prescription drugs you may be taking
Inca Trail/Lares Trek Checklist
- Inner sheet (for sleeping bag)
- Wool hat, mitts, or gloves (preferably waterproof)
- Rain jacket/poncho (and rain pants if you want to stay extra dry)
- Strong plastic bags to help keep gear dry
- Winter sleeping bag – this can also be rented locally from G Adventures for 45 Peruvian Soles (about $15 USD), inner sheet included
- Mattress – a foam mattress is included as part of the hike; you can upgrade this and rent a self-inflating type mattress locally from G Adventures for 45 Peruvian Soles (about $15 USD)
- Anti-inflammatory tablets (e.g., Ibuprofen)
- Thermal underwear
- Packable jacket for low temperatures – I recommend down or synthetic down
- Walking poles – can also be rented locally from G Adventures for 30 soles for a pair (about $10 USD)
- Go-Girl (A product that helps women use squat toilets)
- Gatorade Powder packets
- Hand sanitizer/Baby wipes
- Flashlight – headlamp preferred
All other camping equipment is provided for the Inca Trail excursion. Porters carry the camping gear, food, and a portion of your personal belongings. All you will need to carry is a day-pack, containing a waterproof jacket, warm fleece or down top, camera, water bottle, snacks, sunscreen, and hat during the hike.
- Travel pillow
- Money belt
- Phone/Tablet for internet – most hotels have WiFi
- Chargers for electronics as well converters/adapters, if needed
- Packing cubes
- Ear Plugs
- Snacks – packing a few granola bars is a good idea; you can buy snacks when you get there too, so don't go crazy here
- Ziplock bags
- Reading/writing material
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- EUR/USD cash
- Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
- G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information, and dossier
- Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
- GEEO Classroom action plans for your group – this is sent 10-30 days before departure
Laundry facilities are sometimes offered by the hotels.
Passports and Visas
All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport. Please see our general FAQ
for information on obtaining a passport. As with all of our trips, we try to provide the most accurate information we can, but governments sometimes change visa rules. It is your responsibility to double-check the information we provide below by searching here
Americans do not need to purchase a visa for travel to Peru. Non-American participants should check with their government to find out if they need a visa.
As currency exchange rates fluctuate we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com. ATMs are also widely available that distribute the local currency – this is what we recommend as your primary source of cash while traveling. Please make sure you bring at least $200 USD in cash as emergency money just in case you have trouble with the ATMs or lose your bank card. Major credit cards are accepted in most shops but they may charge a 2-4% transaction fee. Visa and MasterCard are useful for cash advances in an emergency situation. Please note that, if carrying U.S. Dollars, they should be in excellent condition (i.e., not torn, wrinkled, or marked on in any way) and printed recently.
It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected – though not compulsory – component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. 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.
If you hiked the Inca or Lares Trails and you felt your trekking guide and support team did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, but, as a guideline, we suggest each hiker contributes the following to a collective pool: $40 per person for the Inca Trail Trek and $35 per person for the Lares Trek. Also, very important, please bring small bills for these tips and on the hike in general. Sometimes the porters want to be paid individually rather than by a collective pool so smaller bills will make that a lot easier. $1 USD bills will work instead of Sols, if need be. You will probably buy some water and snacks while on the hike, and the small bills will come in handy for that as well.
When you part company with the individual tour leaders and local guides, you should tip them, if you think they did an outstanding job. The amount is entirely a personal preference, but as a guideline $2-3 USD per person, per day, can be used.
We legally cannot give you any medical advice. It is very important to consult your doctor or a travel clinic about which vaccinations you will need for your trip. GEEO recommends contacting Passport Health (http://www.passporthealthusa.com/) which has travel clinics throughout the United States. Please take this seriously!
We often find the best prices for purchasing flights is 60 days before departure, but of course, this varies greatly from route to route and year to year. You must wait until this trip is confirmed with the minimum number of required participants before you book your flights.
Typically, we reach the minimum number needed at least 90 days before departure. GEEO and G Adventures bear no responsibility for any flights purchased before the trip is confirmed. You can find out whether this trip has been confirmed here
Your trip begins and ends in Lima. Please double-check our itinerary for the date by which you must arrive in Lima. You can arrive at any time of the day you choose. You can depart any time on the final day of the trip.
Plugs and Converters
There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. two to three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your device.
Peru uses 2- and 3-pronged power plugs similar to those in the United States, as well as a European-style two-prong plug. Peru's voltage is mostly 220V, with a few homes with 110V on the European-style outlets. U.S. outlets are 120V. Most new devices (phones and laptops) can handle the different voltage rates, but some devices only work on the U.S. standard of 120V. Check your device to see what voltage range it handles. Most transformer blocks will have an "Input" line that defines their voltage capacity. For example, "Input: 100-240V" means that it will work on voltages from 100V to 240V. If your transformer can't handle the different voltage, you'll need to purchase a voltage converter. You can find world regional voltage converters power packs at various vendors.
Before you decide on traveling with GEEO, it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. Remember, our programs are quite adventurous.
- The purpose of the accommodation is to provide a safe, well-located place for you to sleep. Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised, but do not expect luxury as we are trying to keep these trips as inexpensive as possible. Sometimes the accommodation is not air-conditioned.
- We use a mix of transportation that gets our guests from location to location safely. Sometimes you will have full days and nights of transportation as our trips tend to cover a lot of ground. Transportation will often be an adventure in itself.
- You must be able to easily carry or roll your luggage, so do not over-pack.
- Please make sure you have thoroughly read the itinerary and can handle the group activities, which sometimes include day hikes with your daypacks.
- We recommend always carrying snacks with you. Meals can sometimes be far apart.
- Please make sure you understand the role of your tour leader on this trip, as they are not the traditional “guide” you may be expecting. While our trips are educational, they aren’t study/lecture trips. We want you to learn through exploring and much of your experience will be based on how active you choose to be in acquiring knowledge and interacting with locals.
Hopefully, this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!
While it is our intention to adhere to the routes described on our website, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable, to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The information on our website is a general guide to the tour and region, and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
Advice From Past Participants
"Most banks were very strict about the condition of the money we wanted to exchange. They wanted money without lines, cracks, tears, even bends in the middle. I would stress that each bill will be inspected and that they will reject money with tears, lines, and/or marks. "
"It might ice-rain-snow on the Lares Trek. Don't worry about packing snacks, use your 3 kilos for extra socks and gloves!"
"Be prepared to buy loads of bottled water. The other option is to bring a water bottle with a filter. CamelBak makes an excellent one for under $100. "
"The Larco Museum in Lima is a great way to start off your trip if you arrive early. It will provide context for what you learn about the rest of the trip."
"The Inca Trail hike will be cold at night. Fill a water bottle with hot water to keep in your sleeping bag."
"Walking sticks are almost mandatory – I never hiked before, so I was not prepared. I bought the infamous wooden stick in town but really wish I rented the metal ones at the beginning!"
"Do the stairmaster regularly at your local gym if you are going to do the hike."
"I think that the Lares trekking was very, very strenuous "
In December, Lima stays around 75°F. In the mountain regions, it is rainier this time of year, but temperatures stay around 68°F during the day and at around 45°F at night. In the highlands, expect the skies to be clearer in the morning, growing steadily cloudy throughout the day. Make sure to bring a rain jacket, and consider bringing rain pants as well in case it's rainy during your hike.
You should pack different layers of clothes, including rain gear, so you can adjust throughout the day. Make sure you have plenty of warm clothing, as it gets really cold on the Inca Trail at night. Because we are at a high altitude, the sun can be quite strong so sunblock and a hat are essential.
Inca Trail FAQ
What is the food like on the trail? Toilets? Tents?
The food on the trail is carried on by our porters and cooked by our amazing chefs. Most people in the group thought it was the best food they ate on their entire trip to Peru.
As far as toilets go, they are disbursed throughout the Trail and most of the places we stop to eat and all of our campsites have them. Most of them are squat toilets and sometimes the bathrooms aren't in the best of shape. There are no showers until we reach the third camp.
The tents for this trip are provided by G Adventures. They are carried, set up, and taken down by our team of porters, so you will not have to stress about them. The tents give plenty of room for two people.
What do I have to carry on my back on the trail?
While on the trail all you will need to carry with you is your water bottle, sunscreen, camera, and a few layers of clothes, allowing you to adjust to the temperature throughout the day. The porters will carry the rest of the things you need. There is a weight limit of 6 kg for the porters. By the time they get a sleeping bag and the mat, there isn't much room left. It wasn't a problem for anyone, but it is good to be aware of the limit.
How cold does it get on the trail?
It gets cold at night. The sleeping bags that G Adventures rents are very warm and cleaned after every trip. We recommend bringing long john tops and bottoms, warm socks, and a warm fleece jacket to wear around the camp at night.
What do I need to bring and what will be provided on the trail?
You should bring the things mentioned in the packing list above. We found the headlamp to be really useful. You can bring your ground pad and sleeping bag if you wish, just make sure the sleeping bag you bring is a winter or fall bag, not a summer bag. Of course, you can rent the ground pad and sleeping bag from G Adventures, which is what most of the participants do. (Most people who bring their own sleeping bags regret not renting the G Adventures sleeping bag because typically people own lighter bags, which aren't warm enough for the trail at night.)
What kind of footwear should I use on the trail?
Hiking boots are great, but running shoes work pretty well too.
How is drinking water handled on the trail?
Our porters boil water at all meals and will fill up your water bottles with clean, sanitized water.
How do permits work on the trail?
Hiking on the trail requires a permit, which is included in the cost of your trip, and G Adventures will take care of the permits. They often sell out and we can only reserve them for you when we have your name, passport number, and deposit. If you want to hike, but the permits have sold out, you have the option to go on the amazing Lares Trek as an alternative. The Lares Trek is a day shorter than the Inca Trail Trek, has fewer Inca ruins, and you do not hike directly into Machu Picchu like the Inca Trail Trek. By and large, however, people tend to love the Lares Trek because it is a lot less touristy, you meet lots of locals, and the hike is just as scenic as the Inca Trail Trek, if not more so.
Should I bring hiking poles on the trail?
If you have hiking poles, bring them, but they must have rubber covers on the bottom as the Peruvian Government does not allow metal tips on the Trail. One teacher on the trip bought a pair of walking poles at Walmart for $18 and said they were “the best purchase of my life.” You can also purchase simple wooden walking sticks at the trail entrance for next to nothing. Most of our participants end up purchasing one walking stick each.
Is it hard to adjust to the high altitude?
Most of the people in our groups have some altitude sickness, but it rarely ruins anybody’s trip. You will fly from Lima to Cusco at an altitude of 3,310 m (10,800 ft), which is a pretty big jump for your body to make. You should consider buying coca leaves or drinking coca tea, which is pretty easy to find in Cusco. These will help your body to adjust to the altitude and ease altitude sickness symptoms. On the Inca Trail, they will make it much easier to climb the steep mountains. That said, we had several individuals in our group whose doctor recommended, for one reason or another, that they NOT use coca leaves. Most folks found coca very useful – and a neat part of the Peruvian experience. We recommend you ask your doctor about coca. Another way to avoid altitude sickness is to take it easy. We will have our first day in Cusco free for you to explore. Make sure you don’t push yourself! Within 3 or 4 days, your body will acclimatize.
What are the toilets like?
All of our hotels have Western sit-down toilets. When we are away from our hotel, you may need to use a squat toilet. These amount to a hole in the ground that you squat over. Again, this is part of the experience and something that you can get used to pretty quickly. You'll probably use a squat toilet several times on your trip. Also of note, many of the toilets you use won’t have septic systems that allow for flushing toilet paper. If there is a little trashcan next to your toilet, please put your used toilet paper in there. Also, it is a good idea to always carry around a roll of toilet paper for use when we are away from our hotels. You can buy toilet paper in Peru and should keep some handy throughout your trip.
Is there any advice specifically for the Lares Trek?
A past GEEO traveler wrote:
"The Lares Trek is a moderate hike but will be challenging for the average day-hiker. Although the hike is only 20 miles, spread out over 3 days, the majority of it is uphill. The combination of altitude, incline, and trail conditions make this Trek feel substantially longer. Trail conditions vary from small dirt footpaths and dirt roads, to rock covered trails and streambeds. Waterproof hiking boots are recommended. I recommend mid-height boots for stability. The downhill portions of the trek are covered with loose stones that make it very easy to roll an ankle.
It is also very important to bring the right clothing on this Trek. The weather changes frequently, and you need to be prepared. Layers are your best option.
In terms of packing for the trip, be prepared to pack light. You will get roughly 20 liters of space on the donkey – think a small backpack. The rest you must carry on your back. I do not recommend taking anything more than a daypack with the essentials. You will regret taking any additional weight. All you really need is an extra shirt, an extra pair of socks, a headlamp, rain gear, and water and snacks. Anything else is extra weight. The gear that G Adventures provides is excellent. There is no reason to bring your own sleeping bag. Also, do your knees a favor and rent two walking poles.
I highly recommend completing this trek. It is a wonderful experience. However, I also highly recommend training for this hike. Hike some small mountains locally, or walk beforehand. If you’re not ready to walk 10 miles straight at sea level with a 10-15 pound backpack on, this hike might be more than you can handle."