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PERU- Winter

Perfect for those looking to experience the region’s archaeological and cultural treasures in a short amount of time, this adventure includes the option of hiking the 4-day Inca Trail into Machu Picchu. If you aren't up for the trek you can relax in Cusco longer and take a train to meet up with the hikers. Either way, everyone in the group gets to visit the amazing Machu Picchu!


Itinerary

December 28 : Lima

Arrive in Lima at any time.

December 29 : Cusco (B)

Hop on a flight to Cusco. Enjoy a free day of shopping and exploring the city. Opt for a city tour.

December 30 : Sacred Valley/Ollantaytambo (B, L)

Enjoy a full-day guided tour of the Sacred Valley. Stop at the G Adventures-supported women's weaving co-op before exploring the Pisac ruins. Break for lunch at the G Adventures-supported Parwa community restaurant in Huchuy Qosco. Finish the day exploring the Ollantaytambo ruins with a local guide.

December 31 : Inca Trail (B, L, D) or Lares Trail (B, L, D) or Non-Trekking Option (B)

Part of the group will hike the three and a half day Inca Trail Trek. Hikers that signed up after the trail permits sold out will hike the two and a half day Lares Trek. Those that don't wish to hike will visit the sites of the Maras Incan salt mines and Moray ruins on their way back to Cusco for another two nights in this wonderful city.

January 1 : Inca Trail (B, L, D) or Lares Trail (B, L, D) or Non-Trekking Option (B)

Inca Trail and Lares trekkers will continue their hiking. Non-trekkers will have a guided tour of Cusco.

January 2 : Inca Trail (B, L, D) or Lares Trail (B, L) or Non-Trekking Option (B)

Inca Trail trekkers will continue hiking. Lares trekkers will finish their hike and be transferred to Ollantaytambo where they will meet the non-trekkers who will be taking an early morning transfer to Ollantaytambo. Together the Lares trekkers and non-trekkers will take a train to Aguas Calientes and spend one night in this town.

January 3 : Machu Picchu/Cusco (B)

This morning the Inca Trail hikers will finish their trek, ending at Machu Picchu where they will reunite with the Lares trekkers and non-trekkers. The group will tour the ruins with both a guided tour and free time. After exploring Machu Picchu the group will travel back to Cusco.

January 4 : Cusco/Lima (B)

You will have the morning to explore Cusco before flying to Lima in the early afternoon. Tonight the group can go out together for an optional last dinner together.

January 5 : Lima (B)

Depart Lima at any time.

Detailed Itinerary

December 28 : Lima

Arrive in Lima at any time. There are no planned activities so check into our hotel and enjoy the city. We will have a group meeting in the evening around 6 or 7 PM. There will be a note at the front desk to let you know what time the meeting is. This note will also tell you what time to meet in the lobby in the morning if you are arriving too late for the meeting. If you miss this meeting, please don't worry, your tour leader will go over everything with you in the morning.

Peru is frequently referred to as the 'Land of the Incas'. It is true that the Incas formed the greatest empire on the continent and left mysterious cities such as Machu Picchu. However, it is important to remember that the Incas were the only the last in a long series of Peruvian civilizations spanning several thousand years and the ruins of many of these earlier civilizations can also be visited. Peru is made up of three main geographical areas: the Andes, the Amazon and the desert coastal area. In this trip we concentrate on the Andes region of south-central Peru and the ancient Inca capital of Cusco.

Known as the City of Kings, Peru’s capital city Lima was founded by Francisco Pizarro on the Day of the Three Kings (Epiphany) in 1535. The Plaza de Armas is the heart of old Lima, and it is here you find the Cathedral, Government Palace and Archbishop’s Palace. The Cathedral dates back to the 1700s and houses the remains of the conquistador Pizarro. Walk the streets surrounding the Jirón de la Unión for great examples of Spanish-colonial architecture and to get a taste for life in a large South American city.

There are many fine museums in and around the city, including the Museo Rafael Larco Herrera, which houses an equally impressive collection of pottery, jewelry, mummies and textiles from the Paracas and Nazca cultures. The more affluent coastal districts of Miraflores, Barranco and San Isidro offer good nightlife and cafés all within walking distance. Limeños (Lima’s residents) are friendly, and the city is filled with excellent restaurants; seafood lovers in particular should be sure to try a ceviche, for which Lima is well known.

If you have the time, we recommend coming into Lima a day or 2 early to explore this interesting city.

December 29 : Cusco (B)

Take a transfer to the airport for the flight to Cusco. Spend the rest of the day relaxing and exploring this fascinating city, and getting used to the altitude. Please take it easy your first day there as strenuous activity can exacerbate symptoms of altitude sickness. You will all be coming back to Cusco for a full free day later on in the trip, which will give you more time to explore.

Cusco is the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city, and the hub of the South American travel network. The city attracts travelers who come not just to visit a unique destination but also to experience an age-old culture very different from their 20th century way of life; one could easily spend a week just in and around the area. Inca-built stone walls line most of the central streets and you don't have to go far to see other major Inca ruins. It is a city steeped in history, tradition and legend.

Tonight you will pack your items for the Inca Trail or Lares Trek. Your main piece of luggage will be put in storage at the hotel in Cusco. If you are not hiking either trail you will have extra free time to explore Cusco.

For those hiking the Inca trail/Lares Trek we have porters who will carry all of the tents, food, etc that make your trek more enjoyable. You are also allowed to give the porters 6Kg of personal belongings per hiker. That means that including your sleeping bag, toiletries, clothing, etc, you are allowed a total weight of 6KG for the hike which will be carried in a duffle bag provided by our local office. Any additional weight must then be carried by you in your day pack. Please note, the remainder of your luggage will be stored for you at one of our hotels in Cusco. It is advised that you bring anything of value (eg. money, passport, credit cards, camera, etc) with you on the trek. Make sure you bring rain gear!

Estimated Travel time: 1.5 hours by plane

December 30 : Sacred Valley/Ollantaytambo (B, L)

Enjoy a full-day guided tour of the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

We begin with a visit to the Ccaccaccollo community center, which G Adventures travelers' donations helped create in 2005, thereby enabling local women to sell traditional textiles to travelers. See local weaving and dyeing techniques used to create garments and souvenirs, and learn how the Planeterra weaving co-operative has impacted the community and those who visit it. This includes the purchase of alpacas to provide a steady supply of wool, looms, and sewing machines as well as several training courses on production, sales and small business management. Opt to pick up some handmade souvenirs and textiles directly from the women who made them. Please note that many of the men that work on trekking support team come from this village.

Then, we take a guided tour of the fascinating hilltop citadel of Pisac, an Incan ruin with plunging gorges, a ceremonial center, and winding agriculture terracing that's still in use today. Be captivated by this truly amazing site sitting amid sweeping green valleys and mountain peaks. Explore the back of the site to see a pocketed cliff across Kitamayo Gorge, which once contained hundreds of Inca tombs.

We then contribute to sustainable tourism in Huchuy Qosqo, a small village of 65 families in the Sacred Valley, by eating at the Parwa Community Restaurant. Learn how the resident-run restaurant was kickstarted by G Adventures and the Multilateral Investment Fund, to become a successful farm-to-table program that boosts the local economy and several spin-off micro-enterprises. Proceeds of this meal go directly back to the remote community.

Continue on to the town of Ollantaytambo. Tour the town and fortress of Ollantaytambo with a local guide. Take a step back in time at this Inca archaeological site; it still shows signs of its former glory, including agricultural terraces, a Temple Hill, and storehouses. Learn how the area, overlooking the Urubamba River Valley, was an important stronghold during warfare between the Spanish and Incas.

Estimated Travel time: 3 hours total by private vehicle

December 31 : Inca Trail (B, L, D) or Lares Trail (B, L, D) or Non-Trekking Option (B)

This morning the group will split into three groups: Inca Trail trekkers, Lares trekkers and non-trekkers.

Inca Trail:
The three and a half day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is physically challenging but worthwhile, and the excursion is within the ability of most reasonably fit. It is a 40-km (25 mile) hike, with 3 high passes to be crossed, one of which reaches an elevation of 4200m (13776 ft). The trail is often steep, and it may rain even during the dry season. The temperatures at night may fall below zero, so it is important to come prepared.

Depart Ollantaytambo for km 82 where we begin our walk in the footsteps of the Incas. Our local crew of porters, cook and guide look after us well for the duration of the hike. Porters carry the majority of the gear for the hike, so those passengers doing the hike only carry a small daypack with water, rain gear, snacks, a camera, etc. As you walk the trail that linked this ancient empire, admire breathtaking views at every step as we move from high plateau areas to dense cloud forest. Depending on the season, you may see a great variety of flora, including miniature and large orchids, and fiery rhododendron bushes.

Today the trekking is fairly easy and serves as good training for the next few days. Pass rambling rivers and a small village, and enjoy scenic mountain views; it’s just a taste of what’s to come.

Start point Km 82 to Wayllambama
Approximate distance: 11km/6.8mi
Estimated hiking time: 5-6 hrs

Lares Trek:
Those booking after Inca Trail permits sell out who wish to hike will be hiking the Lares Trek instead. Equally as difficult as the Inca Trail, the Lares allows you to hike on a more off the beaten track route that winds through remote Andean villages. The hike is two and a half days long. You will have similar camping and porter services as the Inca Trail hikers.

On day one we have an early morning start and will take a van (3 hrs) to Lares town where the hike will start with a leisurely pace through the valley of Cuncani. Hike 4km (2.5mi) to Chancachaca where we stop for lunch. Altitude here is around 3480m (11,417ft). Continue on to Cuncani where we camp for the night at 3872m. The camp is International Development Bank, International Monetary Fund and Planeterra supported project (12,703ft).

Lares town to Cuncani
Approximate distance: 9km/5.59mi
Estimated hiking time: 4.5 hrs

Non-Trekkers:
Anyone electing to not hike and do the Cusco Stay instead will have two extra days to explore Cusco instead of hiking. When the trekkers leave this morning, travelers doing the Cusco Stay will visit the sites of the Maras Incan salt mines and Moray ruins on their way back to Cusco for another two nights in this wonderful city. Please note, your tour leader will be traveling with you the entire time as the trekking group will be led by specially trained trekking guides.

Drive a little more than an hour to get to the Moray archaeological site. Tour these unique Inca ruins, consisting of circular terraces and a sophisticated irrigation system located at 3500m (11483 ft). Learn about the history and study of this fascinating site – speculation has it that it was an Inca agriculture experiment station.

Visit the impressive Maras Salt Mines, after Moray. See thousands of individual ancient salt pools spilling over a hillside. Learn about the different varieties of salt, and try the renowned pink salt, famous worldwide.

The price for the trekking and non-trekking option is the same. Non-trekkers only receive breakfasts, whereas trekkers will receive all meals while trekking.

January 1 : Inca Trail (B, L, D) or Lares Trail (B, L, D) or Non-Trekking Option (B)

Inca Trail:

Start early to trek over progressively more spectacular and steeper terrain on your way to Warmiwañusca (aka Dead Woman’s Pass), the highest point of the trek at 4,198m (13,769ft). Be prepared to face strong Andean weather (blazing sun or cold winds) around the pass. Take the hike slow, and drink lots of water along the way – amazing views are waiting as a reward. Enjoy some ample time to rest and relax after reaching the camp; most campers arrive around early afternoon.

Wayllabamba to Paqaymayo
Approximate distance: 12km/7.5mi
Estimated hiking time: 6-7 hrs

Lares Trek:
Hike from the foothills of Sicllaccasa Mountain 12.2km (7.6 mi) to its high pass at 4750m (15,583 ft), providing scenic views of lagoons and the snow-capped Chicon Mountain. Celebrate after reaching the highest point by making an offering of coca leaves to the Andean gods. Hike downhill another 2.2km (1.3 mi) to QuencaPata, for lunch and to take in the amazing view. Continue hiking downhill another 2.6km (1.6 mi) to our second campsite near a stream. Sleep tonight at about 4,114m (13,497 ft) elevation.

Cuncani to Kuyoc
Approximate distance: 17km/10.5mi
Estimated hiking time: 9hrs

Non-Trekkers:
Live like a local today and enjoy a unique tour of Cusco. Start the day with a visit to the Choco Museum and enjoy some tasty samples and chocolatey drinks. Afterwards, explore old Cusco and discover the history of this Incan city. Finally wander the food stalls in San Pedro Market. You will then have the afternoon free to explore on your own.

January 2 : Inca Trail (B, L, D) or Lares Trail (B, L) or Non-Trekking Option (B)

Inca Trail:
Today we cross two more passes and more ruins along the way. The first pass is at 3998m (13,113ft) where, on a clear day, you can catch a glimpse of the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcabamba. You’ll hike through a cloud forest on the gentle climb to the second pass of the day where you walk through original Incan constructions. The highest point of this pass is 3700m (12,136ft). On a clear day, enjoy the views of the Urubamba Valley. At 3650m (11,972ft) you’ll reach the ruins of Phuyupatamarca, the ‘Town Above the Clouds’. We either camp here or an hour and half further along, near the Wiñay Wayna ruins (Forever Young).

Paqaymayo to Wiñaywayna
Approximate distance: 16km/10mi
Estimated hiking time: 9 hrs

Lares Trek:
Follow the trail to see typical Andean flora and fauna, llamas and alpacas. Descend through the valley of Pumahuanca and meet friendly local Quechua people and explore some Inca storehouses along the way. Trek 3-4 hrs to reach the town of Pumahuanca. Enjoy lunch then hop a van to Ollantaytambo. Continue by train to Aguas Calientes.

Kuyoc to Punta Carretera
Approximate distance: 10.5km/6.5mi
Estimated hiking time: 3.5 hrs

Non-Trekkers:
Today, we travel by private vehicle 2 hours to Ollantaytambo where you meet up with the Lares trekkers and catch the scenic train together to Aguas Calientes where you will spend the night.

January 3 : Machu Picchu/Cusco (B)

Inca Trail:
The final day of the hike starts pre-dawn to reach the Sun Gate before sunrise. Wake up around 03:30 and walk to the checkpoint. Catch the first views of the breathtaking ruins of Machu Picchu on a clear day. Hike down to Machu Picchu where you will join the rest of the group for a guided tour of the site and free time to explore.

Wiñaywayna to Intipunku (Sun Gate)
Approximate distance: 4km/2.5mi
Estimated hiking time: 1.5 hrs

Lares Trek and Non-Trekkers:
Wake up early to experience dawn at Machu Picchu where you will meet the Inca Trail trekkers for a tour of the ruins with both guided and free time.

Everyone:
Machu Picchu is both the best and the least known of the Inca ruins. It is not mentioned in any of the chronicles of the Spanish conquistadors and archaeologists today can do no more than speculate on its function. The local Quechua farmers in the area knew of Machu Picchu for centuries, but it was not until an 11-year-old boy led the American historian Hiram Bingham (who was in search of Vilcabamba) to the site on July 24, 1911, that the rest of the world became aware of its existence. At that time the site was covered in thick vegetation, and Bingham and his team returned in 1912 and 1915 to clear the growth. Over the years, much work has been done on excavating and studying the site. Despite these efforts, many unanswered questions remain.

Follow the local guide to Machu Picchu to learn about its history at a leisurely pace. Gain local insight into the Inti Mach’ay cave, Inti Watana, the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Water, the Temple of the Condor, and the Room of the Three Windows. Take time to sit and feel the energy of this 15th-century site, now both a UNESCO World Heritage site and voted one of the new Seven Wonders of the World (in a worldwide Internet poll).

Use any leftover energy from your Machu Picchu hike to visit the Inca Bridge site nearby (thought by some to be a secret back entrance to Machu Picchu). Trek up to the bridge that's cleaving to a 579m (1,900 ft) cliff, and soak in amazing views of cloud forest along the way.

After exploring Machu Picchu the group will travel back to Cusco.

Estimated Travel time: 1.5 hours by train, then 2 hours by private vehicle

January 4 : Cusco/Lima (B)

You will have the morning to explore Cusco before flying to Lima in the early afternoon. Tonight the group can go out together for an optional last dinner together.

January 5 : Lima (B)

Depart Lima at any time.

Want more adventure? Book two or more GEEO trips in the same year and receive a discount! GEEO will give you 10% off of the lesser value program(s) (up to 3 programs).

If you don’t see a program that interests you that pairs with this trip, but still would like to extend your time abroad, let us know. We will work with you to find a non-teacher trip from our tour operator’s much larger catalog. Even better, if you are an educator we can still offer you a discounted price on the trip you choose!

Stuff You Need to Know

Terms and Conditions

It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions page before signing up for this program.

We want to emphasize the cancellation policy:

All cancellations must be submitted to GEEO in written form by emailing your request for cancellation to jesse@geeo.org. 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.

* Cancellation 60 days or more prior to departure = Deposit is kept on file for future use and all other program fee payments are refunded

* Cancellation between 30 and 59 days prior to departure = 50% refund and your deposit is kept on file for future use

* Cancellation within 30 days of departure = No refund, but your deposit is kept on file for future use

Trip Notes

1. INCA TRAIL FAQ AND MACHU PICCHU REGULATIONS
To get ready for the Inca trail we recommend reading the FAQ this webpage. 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.

2. INCA TRAIL PERMITS AND THE LARES TREK ALTERNATIVE
Inca Trail Permits can sell out at any time. Participants that book after the Inca Trail permits sell out and wish to hike will go on the amazing Lares Trek instead. To get ready for the Lares Trek we recommend reading the FAQ this webpage. Next year, if you want to hike the Inca trai,l we recommend booking as early as possible and certainly before the New Year.

3. MACHU PICCHU BY TRAIN - OPTIONAL
Roughly 20% of our participants choose not to hike the Inca trail/Lares Trek. This trip is significantly less physically strenuous without the hike. Please advise at time of booking if you do not wish to hike the Inca Trail. 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.

4. In our continued effort to support the rights of the porters on the Inca Trail, we would like 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 6kg of personal belongings per hiker (for all other Peru treks the limit is 8kg). That means that including your sleeping bag, toiletries, clothing, etc, you are allowed a total weight of 6kg for the hike which will be carried in a duffle 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, but is advised that you bring anything of value (eg. money, passport, credit cards, camera, etc) with you on the trek.

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, however as a guideline, we suggest each hiker contributes the following to a collective pool. We suggest a tipping amount of $40 per person for the Inca Trail and $35 per person for the Lares Trek.

5. All travelers are required to pay the tax on domestic flights in Peru. Foreign travelers are exempt from this, and proving you are indeed a foreign traveler can be done by providing us with your international ticket number (ITN). 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.

6. 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.

Service Level

Standard:

Step out of the normal tourist mind-set and truly experience the world. Most nights will have you staying in a simple yet clean twin-share hotel or lodge rooms with private facilities, complete with running water and electricity. Occasionally you may have a multi-share night at rustic local guesthouses, with communal bathrooms and the sporadic cold shower. Transportation will be a combination of public transport, private buses and some private vehicles.

Physical Grading

3 to 4:

If you sign up for a trekking option it will include high altitude hiking of up to 8 hours/day or other activities that require a moderately high level of fitness.

If you don't sign up for a trek, moderate hiking and other activities that require only an average/moderate level of fitness to enjoy.

Minimum/Maximum Group Size

This program is confirmed to run and will have a maximum of 16 participants.

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.

Packing List

We suggest that you pack as lightly as possible as you are expected to handle your own luggage. You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them between transport and hotels (max. 15-20 mins walking) and up and down stairs. Luggage space is limited so again, smaller is better.

Most travelers carry a large multi-day backpack or rolling suitcase of small to medium size (no XXL ones please!). In general you want a bag that has a capacity of around 40 to 65 liters. If you are asking us for our suggestion, we would recommend a backpack over a rolling suitcase. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water, cameras and other electronics like smartphones.

Most people automatically assume that the weather is hot in South America, but because of the higher altitude in the Andes, the temperature can feel quite cold, especially at night.

Suggested Checklist

• US Cash for emergencies
• Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
• Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
• Camera
• Warm Fleece or down top (It is very cold at night, especially in the Mountains, so make sure you have clothing that can be layered to keep you warm in temperatures that can get down to the 30's.)
• Windproof/waterproof jacket (Gortex if possible that can be layered with your fleece)
• Small towel
• 8 shirts/t-shirts
• Sun hat
• 1 pair of shorts
• 2 pairs of long trousers
• 1 pair hiking pants/track pants
• Hiking boots/ sturdy walking shoes
• Sunblock
• Sunglasses
• Toiletries (biodegradable)
• Watch or alarm clock
• Water bottle
• First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking).

RECOMMENDED FOR THE INCA TRAIL
• Inner sheet (for sleeping bag)
• Wool hat, mitts or gloves (preferably waterproof)
• Rain poncho
• Strong plastic bags to help keep gear dry
• Winter Sleeping bag (this can also be hired locally from G Adventures for $12 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 mattresses locally from G Adventures for 12 USD)
• Anti-inflammatory tablets (e.g. Ibuprofen)
• Thermal underwear
• Jacket (for low temperatures)
• Fleece
• Walking poles (that can also be rented locally from G Adventures at $5 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 waterproof jacket, warm fleece or down top, camera, water bottle, snacks, sunscreen, and hat during the hike.

In our continued effort to support the rights of the porters on the Inca Trail we would like 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 6Kg of personal belongings per hiker. That means that including your sleeping bag, toiletries, clothing, etc... you are allowed a total weight of 6KG for the hike which will be carried in a duffle 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, eg. contact lens solution, that you bring sport sandals that can be worn with socks (which are lighter than running/walking shoes) and that you limit electronics such as MP3 players to those that you are willing to carry.

Optional Checklist

• Reading/writing material
• Pocketknife
• Money belt
• Travel pillow
• Phone/Tablet for internet (Most hotels have WiFi)
• Chargers for electronics as well converters/adaptors if needed (See FAQ)
•Ear Plugs (Hearos Xtreme Protection 33 decibel ear plugs are a life-saver if you have a snoring roommate)
• 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.)

Document Checklist

•Passport (with photocopies)
•Travel insurance (with photocopies)
•Airline tickets (with photocopies)
•Credit and/or debit card (see personal spending money)
•G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
•Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required (Check our FAQ to see if you need them)
•GEEO Classroom action plans for your group (This is sent 10-30 days before departure)

Laundry

Laundry facilities are offered by the hotel in Cusco for a charge.

Single Travellers

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. If you do not have someone that you are traveling with that you would like to room with, GEEO will find you a roommate of the same gender. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. 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 jesse@geeo.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.

Money

Spending Money

Every traveler is different and therefore spending requirements will vary. Some travelers may drink more than others while other travelers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, and tipping. Please look at our “Costs” tab when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

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 and this is what we recommend as your primary source of cash while traveling. Please make sure you bring at least $200 in US 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 be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than 100USD (or equivalent).

Medical Forms

GEEO travel programs bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, at minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travelers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage. While our tour leaders work hard to ensure that all our travelers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings above for more information.

Optional Activities

Please note: All optional activities are booked and paid for locally in the local currency. You do not have to decide in advance which activities you would like to sign up for. The prices listed are based on the latest information we have received from our participants and G Adventures. They are not guaranteed to be accurate. Please feel free to use them as a guide for budgeting your trip.

Lima

These tours can be booked locally through our Lima office. Please call +51 (1) 989-042-261, contact: Elard Aranibar to reserve your tour and to find out about other available options. All prices are in USD.

Lima:
Lima City Tour $39 (Minimum 2): Tour colonial and contemporary Lima. - Approx 3 Hrs

Pachacamac $50 (minimum 2): Visit the Lost Inca Citadel of Lima. - Approx 3 Hrs

Larco Museum $51 (Minimum 2): This museum contains the best quality gold and silver collection. - Approx 3 Hrs

Culinary Tour $72: Visit a local market. Learn how to make Ceviche and Pisco Sours like the experts. - Approx 3 Hrs

Ballestas Islands with Huacachina From $220 (minimum 2): Enjoy wildlife and history, have lunch in a winery and visit the Huacachina Oasis. - Full day

Nasca Lines $300: Flight over the mysterious Nasca Lines. Services start and end in Lima. - Full day

Lima at Night $75 (minimum 2): Visit the Magic Circuit of Water, walk through the centre of Lima and savour an included dinner. - Approx 3 Hrs

Palomino Islands $75 (minimum 2): Visit the port area of Lima. Spot wildlife and swim with the sea lions. - Approx 5 Hrs (minimum 2)

Cusco

Boleto Turistico (tourist ticket) $25 (half ticket) $46 (full ticket)
City tour $15-20
Horseback riding around ruins (with guide) $40
Horseback riding around ruins (without guide) $15
White water rafting $55
Mountain biking $55
Museo Inka $3.5 entrance
Museo de Historia Regional entrance with Boleto Turistico

Costs

Please keep in mind this trip is designed to give you the freedom to do whatever interests you. Make sure you look over all of the optional activities and keep in mind these additional costs when deciding whether you can afford this program. Very few meals are included on this trip, giving you the opportunity to eat on your own budget. The prices below are in US dollars and are rough estimates so you can budget your trip.

Tour Company Fee

$1756 USD

Non-Educator Fee

$100 USD (Educators do not have to pay this fee)

Optional Activities

$50-$300 USD

International Airfare from USA

Roughly $600-$1200 USD (Can vary widely)
If you require assistance in booking your international airfare we would be happy to assist you. Just email air@gadventures.com for more information. Also see our FAQ for flight advice.

Insurance

$25-$200 USD
Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing cancellation insurance as well.
See our FAQ for advice on Travel Insurance.

Tipping

We recommend $20-$30 USD for your G Adventures tour leader. Budget another $50 USD to tip guides and drivers for other activities.

Meals Not Listed in the Itinerary

Roughly $150-$300 USD

Laundry, Drinks, Phone Calls, etc.

(Make sure you budget for these types of expenses)

Airport and Departure Taxes

$31 USD

Vaccines

$0-$???? USD (Check with your doctor to see what you will need and what is covered by your insurance)

Visa

$0 (Americans don’t need a visa for travel in Peru. Check with your local embassy if you are not American.)

Souvenirs

$0-????

FAQ

What should be my expectations for this GEEO program?

Before you decide on traveling with GEEO it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. To summarize, 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.

• The same goes for transportation. 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. The transportation will often be an adventure in itself.

• You must be able to easily carry or roll your luggage, so do not over-pack. We recommend using a large backpack along with a smaller daypack, which is typically the most comfortable way to carry your possessions.

• Many of our programs occur in locations where it is very hot during the day. Please make sure you have thoroughly read the itinerary and can handle the group activities, which sometime include day hikes with your daypacks.

• We recommend always carrying snacks with you because sometimes meals can 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.

• We try to set up a school visit on each program, but these sometimes fall through due to complications. Please understand they are not a guaranteed part of the program.

Hopefully this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!

Where do I meet the group? What happens when I arrive at the airport?

Our groups meet at the hotel we use for the first night of the trip. We will provide you with the starting hotel information roughly 30 days before departure. Your tour leader will leave a note for you at the hotel's front desk with the introductory meeting time and location.

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.

Do I need a Passport? Do I need a visa?

All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport. Many countries require that your passport not expire within six months of your arrival in that country. Please take the time to look up the passport validity requirements for the country/countries you are visiting on this trip by clicking here.

If you have a U.S. passport, but it has expired, or will expire within 6 months of trip departure, click here for information on how to get it renewed. If you have never been issued a passport or have lost your passport, please click here. Processing time for US Passports is 4-6 weeks so please start this process immediately.

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.

Who travels with GEEO?

GEEO participants are mostly made up of American K-12 teachers. Each group tends to have a good mix of educators in their 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's. About half of our participants are coming alone and do not know anyone in the group prior to the trip. We group single travelers of the same gender together as roommates, unless a participant prefers to pay an additional fee for their own room. If we have an odd amount of one gender we will rotate the single room for free among the participants.

GEEO trips are open to all Kindergarten to University teachers, school staff, school administrators, and soon-to-be teachers pursuing their teaching certificate. Our programs are also open to retired educators. Non-American educators are welcome on our trips.

Each educator who participates in our programs is permitted to bring along up to three friends or family members who are not teachers. Each participant must be of adequate fitness level for their chosen trip. If you wish to bring a guest under the age of 18 GEEO will consider your request, but typically we only allow participants over the age of 18.

What is group travel like?

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of traveling in a group. Your fellow travelers will probably come from all across the US and beyond and are likely to be of a variety of ages too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travelers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.

Is it OK if I am traveling alone? Do I have to have a roommate?

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. If you do not have someone that you are traveling with that you would like to room with, GEEO will find you a roommate of the same gender. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. 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 jesse@geeo.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, on the Lares Trek you may have a roommate in your tent even if you have paid for the "My Own Room" fee.

How long have we been running this program?

GEEO was founded in 2007 and our inaugural trips were run to Peru and India in the summer of 2008. We have run yearly Peru programs ever since, including this itinerary. G Adventures, who actually handle the logistics of the trip have been running trips to Peru for many years so you can have faith that your trip will be safe and well run.

Will I be eating on my own? With the group? Why aren't all meals included?

Eating is a big part of traveling. Traveling with GEEO you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is affordable. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your group leader will be able to suggest favorite restaurants during your trip. Please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.

Why are some activities included in the price of the trip and others are not?

We have found paying locally for activities allows our participants to save money. Not every activity is appealing to everyone and we don't want you to pay for services you might not use. Perhaps you feel sick one day and would prefer to rest. This allows you to decide on the spot what you want to do each day with your free time and at the same time control your budget.

Is it possible to get references for GEEO?

Over 2000 educators have traveled with GEEO since we ran our first programs in 2008. We have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the quality and value of the life changing experiences that we provide.

To read comments from past travelers, please feel free to visit a website that reviews non-profit organizations called Great Non-profits. Please click here for those reviews.

Please contact us if you would like to communicate with some of our former participants for a reference.

Is the itinerary exactly as described on this website?

While it is our intention to adhere to the route 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.

How much money in US cash should I bring? Should I exchange local currency in advance?

This is entirely up to you, but we think it is critical for you to bring along $200 USD in cash for emergencies. This is what GEEO's executive director Jesse does in regards to money while traveling:

"I do not exchange any money before traveling to a country but instead bring somewhere between $200-300 USD in cash. I go to a bank before I leave the US and take out the cash there rather than an ATM. I make sure each bill is in great condition with no rips or tears. I like to have mostly 20's, but in some countries you are better off with 50's and 100's. In some countries, it is also good to have about 20 singles for when you have no small bills in local currency. I divide this money between a money belt, my main backpack, and my daypack.

I also bring an ATM card and a credit card. Before I leave the country I call the bank and credit card companies to let them know I am traveling abroad so they don't think the foreign transactions are fraudulent and cancel my cards when I am most reliant on them. Having a second bank account and bank card is pretty handy so that just in case one card doesn't work at an ATM or is lost, you always have a backup account. It's also important to check with your credit card to see if there is an international transaction fee. Some cards charge up to 4% extra for any transactions made out of the US. My Capital One visa card doesn't have any international transaction fee. I just use this card for traveling so if it gets stolen and I have to cancel it I won't have to worry about recurring automated payments. I like to split up my cards between my money belt, wallet, and one emergency card hidden in my main bag.

When I arrive at the airport I make sure to go to an ATM before leaving the airport and typically take out the equivalent of $150 USD in the local currency. I find that ATMs give the best exchange rate so throughout the trip I will use the ATM card to draw out my spending cash. I will ask our tour leader for an estimate on how much I will need if I am close to leaving a country so this way I do not draw out too much money.

I try not to use the US cash I brought with me so that I can use it in an emergency. Typically I will come back to the US with most of that US cash unspent. On a recent trip, I lost my ATM card and was able to get cash by paying for our group dinners with my credit card and having people pay me their share in local currency. I NEVER take cash advances on my credit card as they charge you an arm and a leg.”

What cities/airports should I book my flight in and out of?

Your trip begins and ends in Lima. Please double check our itinerary for the date on which you must arrive in Lima by. You can arrive at any time of the day you choose. You can depart Lima any time you like on the final day of the trip.

When should I purchase my flights?

This program is confirmed to run so you may purchase your flights whenever you wish.

Where can I purchase flights?

We recommend using www.kayak.com to see what is out there in terms of flights. G Adventures also has a wonderful air department, which can be reached at 1-800-708-7761.

You may also want to take a look at the prices at www.flyforgood.com or call 1-877-359-4466 to speak to a person. They get humanitarian rates from airlines and GEEO is registered with Fly for Good as a non-profit. If you purchase a humanitarian rate flight, you will need a supporting document from GEEO. Please request this from us after you purchase the tickets. Note that humanitarian rates are not available for all flights to GEEO destinations and are sometimes higher than tickets found on Kayak, Travelocity, Orbitz, Expedia etc. Often the layovers are long and sometimes impossible to navigate. Look very carefully at the offer before purchasing your ticket.

Where can I purchase travel insurance?

Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency medical, emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. Regular health insurance plans almost never include emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance, so you will almost certainly need to purchase a separate TRAVEL health insurance plan.

You are welcome to use any travel insurance company you like. In order to receive your trip vouchers you must enter your insurance information into our tour operator’s online check-in system, Good To Go. We recommend doing this 60 days before departure.

The least expensive travel health insurance plan that we have found is the International Teacher Identity Card, better known as the ITIC Card. They have a $26 card that includes the amount of travel medical, evacuation and repatriation insurance you need for our trip, plus other trip insurance benefits. The card will also get you discounts and benefits in over 125,000 locations, including many museums and hotels. Another great thing about the ITIC Card is that it covers you for an entire year and can be used for all your travel during that period, including domestic travel.

GEEO has reached an agreement with the makers of this card to pre-approve all GEEO travelers, so you do not need to submit paperwork proving that you are a teacher. Also, non-teachers who are traveling with GEEO can get this same card, which normally is only for teachers.

To sign up for the card please follow this link:

www.myisic.com/orders/GEEO

While not required, we also highly recommend purchasing cancellation insurance! The $186 Explorer ITIC Card comes with $3000 of cancellation insurance, which is also valid for multiple trips (domestic and international) within a one year period. Even if you don't use the cancellation insurance on your GEEO trip, you might end up needing it for travel expenses relating to a conference!

Please note: Residents of Washington, New Hampshire and Massachusetts cannot purchase this card due to some odd state laws. If you are a resident of one of these states, we recommend purchasing an "International Volunteer Card." They have a $42 card (Plus Plan) that includes the amount of travel medical, evacuation and repatriation insurance you need for our trip, plus other trip insurance benefits. DO NOT get the Basic Plan that they offer as it does not have enough coverage for our programs. To sign up for the card you can follow this link: http://www.volunteercard.com/geeo.html/.

The ITIC and IVC cards are for American residents. If you are not American or are an American living abroad, you will have to find another option.

Is it OK if I arrive a few days early or stay a few days late?

You may want to arrive a few days early at the start of the trip or stay a few days extra at the end of trip. Please feel free to do so.

We will send out an email to all participants roughly 90 days before departure with information on which hotels we will be using for the start and end of the trip as well how to go about booking them.

What vaccinations do I need for this trip? What should I ask my doctor about in regards to the altitude?

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/) who have travel clinics throughout the US. Please take this seriously!

Please note your Adventure travels to high altitude. This is medically defined as anything over 8,000 feet (2,440 meters). Most people can travel to 8,000 feet with minimal effects. However, everyone reacts to altitude differently and altitude sickness can on set with some people irrespective of fitness and age. 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.

Where can we get a list of hotels for this trip?

Other than the first hotel, our partner G Adventures does not provide hotel lists for any of their trips.

The reason for this is sometimes hotels change at the last minute. G Adventures does not want to give out incorrect information because in an emergency that can only cause more issues. Instead we give you 24-hour emergency phone numbers where you and your family can reach staff in the country that you are travelling to or in Canada at G Adventure's headquarters. This way at any time your loved ones can call the emergency contact who can immediately put them in touch with your tour leader no matter how plans have changed.

What are the emergency contact numbers for this trip?

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, 9-6pm 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

Is there clothing that is considered inappropriate that I should not bring?

Peru is a pretty relaxed place and you can pretty much wear anything you would like.

Do I need plugs and current converters for my electronic devices?

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. three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your computer.

Peru uses two- and three- pronged power plugs similar to those in the U.S., 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 its 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.

Is the water safe to drink?

Unless your tour leader tells you differently, only bottled water should be drunk, and this is readily available for purchase. Fruit and vegetables should be peeled, washed in boiled water and in the case of the latter, well cooked. Meat and fish should also be fresh, well-cooked and hot, to avoid possible infection.

Is there Internet access? Should I bring a computer? Mobile phone?

Many of the hotels we use have WiFi (often free, sometime not). There are internet cafes in most of the places we visit and many of the hotels also have computers that can be used. Expect to be able to check your email every two to three days. You can also bring along your mobile phone if you choose. Make sure you check with your phone company before you leave to find out the rates for calling back to the US and if they have any special international plans that are worth taking advantage of. International roaming rates can be extremely high, so you don’t want to be surprised. You can bring a laptop/tablet/smart phone if you wish, but remember, GEEO and G Adventures are not responsible for the damage or theft of your valued items.

What is the weather like?

At the time of the year we run the Peru program Lima is dry with warm temperatures in 70's and 80's. Cusco and the areas where you will trek will have warm temperatures during the day (60's-70's) and will be in the 40's at night. There is a very good chance it will rain while you are there so make sure you have packed rain gear. For the trek you should pack different layers of clothes so you can adjust as the day goes by. Water proof hiking boots are a must! We recommend boots that have been treated with Gortex. Make sure you have plenty of warm clothing as it gets cold at night. Because we are at high altitude, the sun can be quite strong so bring sun block and a hat is essential.

Is there advice that past participants would like to pass onto you?

Quotes from past participants:

"Don't come into the country expecting stores to accept American money- participants would be better off getting local currency at the airport upon arriving in Lima.

"According to a doctor I saw in Cusco, I could not take some of my medications because of the altitude. I wish I had known this in advance (my doctor in Oklahoma City was unaware of this, and I am still not sure the doctor in Cusco was correct). The sudden discontinuation of the medications caused me (and one of the other older participants) some medical difficulty. Make sure your doctor at home carefully checks to make sure your medication is OK to take over 11,000 feet above sea level."

"Money: in Lima and most banks they were very strict about our money. They wanted money without lines, cracks, tears, even bends in the middle. We did get an email with a warning to bring crisp money but I would stress that each bill will be inspected and that they will reject money with tears, lines and or marks. "

"The hike was more strenuous than what we thought. Also, more needs to be stated about possible rain and condition of the trail. We all took too many snacks on the trail. The cooks had prepared great snacks for us each day. There is plenty of hiking once you arrive at the Machu Picchu. We had the perfect amount of time there. It is not necessary to hike the Lares Trek to enjoy the Andes."

What happens if it becomes unsafe to travel on this trip?

Your safety is our utmost priority and we will cancel a trip if we do not feel our participants will be safe. If GEEO or G Adventures cancels your trip we will issue a full refund of any payments you have made including the deposit. If YOU decide to cancel your trip you will have to abide by the rules of our terms and conditions.

What is the relationship between G Adventures and GEEO? Who is running this trip?

GEEO is an independent non-profit organization that helps teachers travel. GEEO has chosen to work with the tour operator G Adventures. We discount their prices for our participants so they are even more affordable for teachers. GEEO also is able to get our participants humanitarian rate airfare and discounted travel health insurance. GEEO customizes these trips for teachers. GEEO provides educational materials to teachers before and after the trip to help bring the participating teachers' experience into the classroom. GEEO provides each participant with a Professional Development Certificate. For more about GEEO, please see our mission statement.

G Adventures is a tour company that GEEO has partnered with to run our trips. For over 25 years, G Adventures has been sending hundreds of thousands of people abroad and today they are the largest adventure travel company in the world. They design the trips, provide expert tour leaders, ground logistics, and work hard to make sure you have an excellent experience.

What are the hotels like?

The hotels we use are clean, comfortable and heated. GEEO trips are designed to be affordable for any teacher, so please don’t come in expecting luxury. All of our hotels on this trip have private bathrooms with western toilets and hot water showers.

Do you have advice on tipping?

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, however as a guideline we suggest each hiker contributes the following to a collective pool. We suggest a tipping amount of $40 per person for the Inca trail 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. US $1 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, however as a guideline $2 to 3 USD per person, per day can be used.

What is the treks like?

The Inca trail is a four day hike on an ancient path used by the Inca people. It’s mostly undulating terrain has lots of stairs that go up and down. Large portions of the trail are paved with stones that were placed here by the Inca themselves.

The Lares trail is a three-day hike on an ancient path used by the Inca people. It’s mostly undulating terrain has lots of stairs that go up and down. Portions of the trail are paved with stones that were placed here by the Inca themselves.

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?

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, however as a guideline we suggest each hiker contributes the following to a collective pool. We suggest a tipping amount of $40 per person for the Inca trail 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. US $1 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, however as a guideline $2 to 3 USD per person, per day can be used.

How cold does it get on the trail?

It gets cold at night. The sleeping bag that G Adventures rents ($10-$20) are very warm and cleaned after every trip. We recommend bringing 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. The headlamp is really useful. You can bring your groundpad 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 groundpad and sleeping bag from G Adventures, which is what most of the participants do.

What kind of footwear should I use on the trail?

If you travel during the rainy season (winter and spring break), you will undoubtedly be walking through water for a substantial amount of time. Waterproof hiking boots are not just recommended, they are required. 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 and ankle.

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. G Adventures takes care of the permits, however they will sell out and we can only reserve them for you when we have your name, passport number and deposit. Last year the permits were sold out by 3/4/14. If you want to hike, but the permits have sold out you will go on the amazing Lares Trek instead as long as we have 4 hikers. The Lares is a day shorter than the Inca trail, has fewer Inca ruins and you do not hike directly into Machu Picchu like the Inca trail. However, by and large 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 if not more so.

Should I bring Hiking poles on the trail?

If you have hiking polls, bring them. Just make sure you have rubber covers for the tips on the bottoms as they do 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 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. If you travel during the rainy season (winter break), you will undoubtedly be walking through water for a substantial amount of time. Waterproof hiking boots are not just recommended, they are required. 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 and ankle.

It also very important to bring the right clothing on this trek. The weather changes frequently and you need to be prepared. During our trek we experienced temperatures ranging from 20-75 degrees Fahrenheit, in addition to rain, snow, and hail. Layers are your best option. A synthetic baselayer (think Underarmour or equivalent) is a good place to start. A fleece and hiking pants, or other quick drying pants, is strongly recommended as your next layer. Lastly, you need rain gear and one additional layer for when it gets very cold. A down jacket worked very well, but a sweater could also suffice. Gloves and a winter hat are also a must.

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, a pair of extra socks, a headlamp, rain gear, and water/snack. 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.

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 3310 meters (10,800 feet) which is a pretty big jump for your body to make. You should consider buying coca leaves or drinking coca tea, which are pretty easy to find in Cusco. These will help your body to adjust to the altitude and ease altitude sickness symptoms. On the trails they will make it much easier climbing those 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 three or four days your body will acclimatized.

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 the septic systems for flushing toilet paper. If there is a little trash can near 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 the toilet paper in Peru and should keep some handy throughout your trip.

Can I bring a rolling suitcase?

Yes, you can. You of course will be leaving your suitcase at the hotel in storage when we are on the hike.

What is expected from me from an educational stand point?

Please take a look at the "Sharing your Adventure section of our website by clicking here.

What should I expect in terms of school visits?

GEEO tries to include a school visit on each of our programs; however these visits are never a guaranteed part of our programming. School visits can be very tricky.

• In many of the countries we visit, schools will be closed for vacation over the summer. In that case we try to arrange an informal meeting with local teachers or a visit to a summer school.

• Some of our shorter programs are so packed with activities and places to see that we feel a school visit would mean the group would have to miss out on something important. In that case a school visit may not be scheduled.

• Many times we spend hours setting up a visit only for the school to cancel on us at the last minute.

• Often arranging school visits is easier if done in person with short notice. Your tour leader will try to schedule ad hoc school visits for your group when possible.

• Each school visit is different. We aim for you to get a tour of the school, sit in on a class and have a Q and A session with some of the staff.

• If we do schedule a school visit it is important that the entire group attend.

• Over time we try to establish long term relationships with schools so we can have more predictable, immersive visits that are rewarding for both our guests and the schools themselves.

Is there any advice for finding funding for this program?

The first thing we recommend you do is speak to your school's principal and/or professional development coordinator. They may know of grants that your school district or state offers. Often schools reimburse teachers for professional development expenses. You can also try contacting your school's PTA or professional organizations that you belong to.

We also recommend applying for a Fund for Teachers grant, www.fundforteachers.org. These grants can be used on GEEO trips. If you want advice on applying for an FFT grant, please email us and we will send you a document that you will find helpful.

Is there any safety advice we should know about?

Care should be taken when wandering around on your own in central Lima, as some areas can be dangerous and pickpockets are daring.

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travelers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelry at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your tour leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your tour leader will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your tour leader will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is G Adventure's policy not to allow our tour leaders to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

What is the GEEO book club and which books have been selected for this program?

GEEO's book club is a way for you and your fellow participants to learn through literature about the places you will be traveling. For each trip we have selected four books, two fiction and two non-fiction. It is completely up to you whether you choose to read them as the GEEO book club is not required for our participants. We hope you will enjoy the books we have selected and they will enhance your experience.

For your convenience we have a hot-linked each of the selected books to amazon.com. If you purchase this book through the link, Amazon will share some of the proceeds from the sale with GEEO, helping to fund our operations. You should hopefully be able to find most of our selections through your library system as well.

For this program we have selected the following books:

Fiction:
Conversation in the Cathedral by Mario Vargas Llosa
Death in the Andes by Mario Vargas Llosa

Non Fiction:
The Last Days of the Incas by Kim MacQuarrie
Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time by Mark Adams

For those looking for more suggestions, here are some other books you may want to consider:

Fiction:
Lost City Radio by Daniel Alarcon
War by Candlelight by Daniel Alarcon
The Dancer Upstairs by Nicholas Shakespeare
Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa
The War of the End of the World by Mario Vargas Llosa
Yawar Fiesta by Jose Maria Arguedas
Deep Rivers by Jose Maria Arguedas
A World for Julius by Alfredo Bryce Echenique
Red April by Santiago Roncagliolo
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
Tonight is Carnaval by Arthur Dorros ( Children’s book)

Non-Fiction:
The Ancient Kingdoms of Peru by Nigel Davies
Running the Amazon by Joe Kane
The Conquest of the Incas by John Hemming

1756.00 USD

International Airfare not included

Availability: 3

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This program is confirmed to run and will have a maximum of 16 participants.

What's Included

  • Guided tour of Sacred Valley and Ollantaytambo ruins
    Visit to a Planeterra-supported women's weaving co-op
    Lunch at the Planeterra-supported Sacred Valley Community Restaurant in Huchuy Qosco, an indigenous village.
    Inca Trail or Lares Trek hike with local guide, cook and porters. (For non-hikers, Maras Salt Mines, Moray archaeological site, Choco Museum, Local Food Market visit, Cusco tour)
    Guided tour of Machu Picchu.

  • All ground transportation and internal flights (Lima to Cusco and Cusco to Lima)

  • Inca Trail Hikers: Hotels/guesthouses (5 nts), camping (3 nts)
    Lares Trek Hikers: Hotels/guesthouses (6 nts), camping (2 nts)
    Non-Hikers: Hotels/guesthouses (8 nts)

  • G Adventures Representatives in Lima and Cusco, Specialist trek leaders on hikes

  • Inca Trail Hikers: 8 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners.
    Lares Trek Hikers: 8 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 2 dinners.
    Non-Hikers: 8 breakfasts, 1 lunch

What's Not Included

  • International air

  • Incidentals

  • Travel Health Insurance

  • Applicable visas

  • Airport Taxes

  • Tips or gratuities

  • Beverages

  • Meals not mentioned above

  • Optional Tours or optional admissions

  • Airport Transfers, unless otherwise mentioned in inclusions.

  • Cancellation Insurance