Photo by Yepo
Take on the full Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu and visit two of Peru’s finest Inca ruins, near Cusco.
Choquequirao, or Chokekirao, is comparable in size to Machu Picchu, dramatically located on a promontory nearly 1,700m above the Apurimac River.
It is only accessible by this tough trek, and our mule-supported hike takes in high passes, perfectly preserved Inca Trails and awesome Andean peaks.
Our hiking reward is a spectacular and rarely seen view of Machu Picchu.
The trek is approximately 55km / 34 miles long with almost 3,000m/9,850ft of both ascent and descent.
We traverse high passes of up to 4,600m/15,092ft and river crossings as low as 1,450m/4,757ft.
You pass from the ice-capped peaks of the high Andes – all sharp ridges, deep gorges and raging rivers – to the lush flora and prolific wildlife of the sub-tropical rainforest.
Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu is one of the finest and most satisfying treks and routes near Cusco.
We leave Cusco early, driving to the village of Capuliyoq, stopping enroute to visit the arqeological sites of Sawite and Tarawasi (optional).
We are greeted by the majestic mountains of the Vilcabamba Range, have an early lunch and start our 1600m descent into the Apurimac canyon.
We cross the river and continue to set up camp for the night.
Distance walked: 18.7km/11.6 miles
Max altitude: 2,993m/9,820ft
Min altitude: 1,473/8,431ft
Starting altitude: 2,898m/9,508ft
Finishing altitude: 1,473m/8,431ft
We continue our trek steeply up, passing the small settlement of Maranpata.
This is a tough day, full of long uphills – we need to start early and it’s a slog at times, but the scenery around us will lift our mood and give us a well-earned sense of satisfaction.
We set up base camp just short of the Choquequirao ruins.
Distance walked: 9.7km/6 miles
Max altitude: 3,046m/9,994ft
Starting altitude: 1,473m/8,431ft
Finishing altitude: 3,046m/9,994ft
We start the day with a tour of the amazing ruins of Choquequirao with plenty of time for exploring this dramatically located site, 1,700m above the roaring Apurimac river. The site is extensive, in area far bigger than Machu Picchu.
The terraces stretch out in all directions, there’s a chain of ritual baths and a central plaza surrounded by fine ceremonial, high status residential architecture. There are still parts of the site being uncovered, work goes on to clear the thick cloud forest.
The purpose of Choquequirao reamins largely unclear.
The site isn’t menioned in the Spanish chronicles and nothing was known of it until the 18th century.
Theories abound, including that the stone-work is that of en-slaved Chachapoyans from the North – they were supposedly more than happy to burn and leave the site on the downfall of the Incas.
Another is that it would have been used a main highway look-out by the last Incas during their thirty year exiled rule in Vilcabamba: this Inca road would have connected Vilcabamba to the Central Highlands whilst by-passing the Spanish in Cusco.
We bid farewell to the site, pick up our belongings then have a short trek to our next camp at Pichaunuyoc, a recently uncovered site, thought to be a water shrone.
Distance walked: 8km/5 miles
Max altitude: 3,280m/10,764ft
Min altitude: 2,438m/7,999ft
Starting altitude: 3,046m/9,994ft
Finishing altitude: 2,438m/7,999ft
Today we start with a descent into the Rio Blanco canyon famous for its nasty biting sand-flies called Pumahuacachi – literally “making the puma cry”.
Then another tough climb of 1,200m/3,937ft up to the small campsite of Maizal at an altitude 3,000m/9,843ft.
This is probably the toughest day of the trip but allowing all day and using the support horses where necessary, it is manageable by fit trekkers. Again we enjoy amazing views of three valleys and the impressive snow covered peaks of the mighty Salkantay and Padrilloc.
Our campsite tonight is one of the most beautiful places on our trip.
Distance walked: 7.3km/4.5 miles
Max altitude: 3,037m/9,964ft
Min altitude: 1,908m/6,260ft
Starting altitude: 2,438m/7,999ft
Finishing altitude: 3,037m/9,964ft
Starting early again we climb to the Abra San Juan pass at 4,050m/13,287ft with spectacular views of the Cordillera Vilcabamba mountain range (when not in cloud), passing on route Corihuayrachina and the interesting old silver mines of Mina Victoria thought to have been worked for over a thousand years.
We can spot remnants of old Inca trails. After a second pass at Choqueqatarpo (4,000m/13,123ft) we begin our way down, descending to the charming village of Yanama, surrounded by mountains. Here we bid farewell to our arrieros before driving to the small hamlet and Inca terraces at Lucmabamba – via a scenic tarmac road.
Distance walked: 10.2km/6.3 miles
Max altitude: 4,142m/13,589ft
Min altitude: 3,037m/9,964ft
Starting altitude: 3,037m/9,964ft
Finishing altitude: 3,568m/11,709ft
We have the opportunity to take a last day of hiking through coffee and tropical fruit plantations, then on into some pristine cloud forest.
This is original Inca Trail, and it leads to the Inca site of Llactapata. The site is only just being cleared now, it was discovered only a few years ago.
From Llactapata the views are stunning – straight across deep valleys to Machu Picchu. This is a view of Machu Picchu that few people get to see.
We can picnic here, soaking up the views and the amazing geography of this cloud forest area of deep ravines and soaring ridges. Setting off again we have a steep descent to the Urubamba valley and the train station.
From here we take a zig zag path to the hydroelectric dam on the Urubamba River and on to Machu Picchu Pueblo (formerly known as Aguas Calientes).
Here we check into our hotel and enjoy a shower. Then you are free to head out to sample some of the many restaurants and bars.
Distance walked: 18.8km/11.7 miles
Max altitude: 2,777m/9,108ft
Min altitude: 2,042m/6,700ft
Starting altitude: 2,087m/6,850ft
Finishing altitude: 2,042m/6,700ft
First thing in the morning we catch a bus (or the energetic can hike) to Machu Picchu and have it virtually to ourselves for a full guided tour, with time afterwards to climb Huayna Picchu (due to permit restrictions, please let us know when booking if you want to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain), walk out to the Inca bridge or else just wander through the ruins soaking up the amazing atmosphere.
We return to Aguas Calientes and board the afternoon train back towards Cusco, via the train station at Poroy. Here our waiting bus drives us back to Cusco and your hotel.
If you have the energy you can then explore Cusco’s excellent nightlife.
IMPORTANT – Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu mountain permits.
If you wish to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain, permits have to be pre/booked and come at an additional cost.
Machu Picchu mountain has to be climbed before 11am, and there are two departure times for Huayna Picchu:
Group 1 (G1): 0700 – 0800
Group 2 (G2): 1000 – 1100
The price is USD25 including the entrance fee to Machu Picchu.
For a short description of the walks, please see below.
Huayna Picchu mountain
A steep one-hour climb (360m above the main Machu Picchu ruins), much of which is up Inca stairs. The climb involves scrambling and requires a good head for heights as there are some drops and a set of steep stairs – with no railing.
The views from above are wonderful and certainly reward those who tackle it. It’s worth visiting the Temple of the Moon on the west side of Huayna Picchu mountain, 400m below the summit. There is some high quality Inca stone work inside a cave, once a sacred place. Climbing Huayna Picchu is popular and permits usually sell out, which means there will be 200 climbers for each time slot given.
Do not attempt this climb if you are concerned about suffering from vertigo.
Machu Picchu mountain
Just south of the site, and overlooking it, is a 650m climb up a well made Inca pathway (approx 1.5 hrs to top, 1 hr down) to the top of Machu Picchu Mountain.
There are some Inca constructions on the top that were probably for religious ceremonies, given the prominent position of the mountain. The hike takes you through lush forest, keeping a look out for interesting birds, flowers and snakes sunbathing on the path.
The views over the site a great and you can view the iconic Huayna Picchu as the backdrop to Machu Picchu, as well as the mountains beyond. It is attracting more and more people as an alternative to Huayna Picchu but is still a lot quieter.
Aguas Calientes River Walk
A very simple and straight forward, yet very enjoyable walk is the walk along the river in Aguas Calientes. Keep your eyes open, as otters and capybara have been spotted here before! Your hotel receptionist can point you in the right direction and once you are the river, you just walk along from there.
And last but not least – don’t forget you can soak your aching muscles at the Aguas Calientes hot springs in town!
Transport to and from the trail in private vehicle; all camping and cooking equipment including camping mat, spacious two-person tents, dining, cook and toilet tent. First-aid kit including oxygen; English and Spanish-speaking guides, mules, cook team, entrances to Choquequirao and Machu Picchu Inca sites. Simple hotel in Aguas Calientes. All meals as indicated in the itinerary (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner).
National or International flights, personal belongings, sleeping bag (available for rent), entrances to Huayna Picchu & Machu Picchu mountains, personal expenses, travel insurance and tips. Lima hotels, day rooms, tours and all internal flights are not included but can also be organised and quoted for on request.
Camping with dining tent and toilet tent, plus one night hostel (2*) in Aguas Calientes (upgrades available at extra cost).
All guides are certified, bilingual, English-speaking guides who have worked with us for many years.
Cooks, mule drivers and additional staff are all from the local communities and we have worked with them for a long time.
Vegetarians and many other dietary requirements are catered for without problems. Please let us know in advance of any requirements you have.
You wake early, usually around 07.00. Breakfast is served in a dining tent, and consists of hot drinks, porridge, toast, jams and bread, and your guide will explain the day’s trekking plans.
Lunch is usually around 13.00 and can feature soups, meats, salads and fish, with vegetarian options and hot drinks too.
The campsites are comfortable and around 17.00 hot drinks, popcorn and other snacks are served to help you recover energy.
Dinner is served around 19.30, and will feature pasta, mashed potatoes, meat, fish or vegetarian options, followed by hot drinks and a pudding.
Although this trek starts at (relatively) lower altitude than others we offer, it is a strenuous trek. Climbs are long and steep.
Those with no previous trekking experience can trek this extended Choquequirao trek, but previous experience of hiking is beneficial.
The trip is open to anyone with a positive attitude who wants to walk in a stunning and remote part of Peru’s Andes, but please remember that this is a tough trek. It can get very hot in the Apurimac canyon. There are support mules if needed.
You hike 5-7 hours a day for a week, over rugged mountain trails at elevation and with some long ascents and descents.
Pre-trip preparation should include challenging cardiovascular exercise (including regular hikes on varied terrain) and a healthy, balanced diet.
Well-worn hiking boots and additional acclimatisation nights in Cusco (3-4) before the trek are both highly recommended.
All guests are encouraged to hike at their own pace, taking breaks whenever needed, to ensure a successful and enjoyable trek for all.
Most people go to bed fairly early after a long day trekking, to recover energy for the morning.
Peru is the perfect holiday destination for adventure travellers that want an amazing variety of activity, geography and cultural travel experiences.
The breadth of travel experiences in Peru is breathtaking – from trekking in the Andes to Machu Picchu to the tropical jungle of the Amazon, and plenty in between.
The people of Peru make it a special destination too, with its colourful and traditional street life and friendly locals.
Peru is made up of 3 distinct geographical areas: the coast, the mountains and the jungle.
The costa or coastal region is a narrow ribbon of desert 2,250 km long, crossed by fertile river valleys flowing from the Andes. It takes up 11% of the country and holds more than 40% of the population.
The cold Humboldt current gives rise to a blanket of mist – the garua – which hangs above coastal cities like the capital Lima from May to November.
Heading east, you’re soon climbing above the garua and into the Andes. The sierra, or mountainous region, covers some 25% of Peru’s territory and contains 50% of the population. The sierra inhabitants are mainly Indigenous or Mestizo, and many still speak Quechua or Aymara.
The sierra contains dozens of 6,000-metre snow peaks and volcanoes, including Huascaran (6,768m) the highest mountain in the tropics. The deep valley basins contain most of the towns and arable land; the terracing and canal systems of the Incas and pre-Incas are often still used today.
The eastern Andes are heavily forested up to 3,350m and sweep down into the Amazon Basin.
Peru’s selva or jungle makes up almost two thirds of the country’s area, but holds only about 6% of the population: the only towns with significant populations are Iquitos and Pucallpa.
You can also read about the weather of Peru in our blog.
Peru is located in the southern tropics (latitudes 0º to 18º), but climate varies significantly according to season, altitude and region.
Lima & the coast
From May to October, Lima is often overcast, but with minimal precipitation. There are sunny spells, and it’s a fresh to pleasant 13-20ºC.
At the same time, inland areas and the north coast mid to high 20’s ºC.
November to April is generally warm and sunny and Lima enjoys warm temperature of 19-25ºC, with the coast averaging 22-30ºC.
Climate depends largely on altitude. As a rule of thumb, below 2,000m climate is mild and above 2,000m warm clothing is required for evenings, nights and early mornings.
The Andean sun is very strong.
May to Oct (dry season in The Andes)
Cusco (3,300m): Average max/min temps: 22ºC /2ºC. Average 3 or 4 wet days per month.
Arequipa (2,380m): Average max/min temps: 26ºC /9ºC. Sunny more than 340 days/year with minimal precipitation.
On highland treks: Conditions are generally dry. However, at this time of year, expect a range of conditions within a single day: cold/freezing nights at camps above 4,000m, where pre-dawn temperatures can be -5ºC; warm, spring-like mornings and afternoons; and cold evenings.
Note that mountain weather can be fickle and localised, and that precipitation is not unknown in the dry season. Expect temperatures to swing between sun and shade, sheltered and exposed ground and with altitude gain and loss. A quick-setting sun means temperatures drop fast.
In the cloud forest, e.g. around Machu Picchu, daytime conditions are generally warm or hot, and evenings cool.
Nov to March/April (wet season in The Andes)
Cusco: Average max/min temps: 23ºC /6ºC. Average 13 wet days per month.
Arequipa: Average max/min temps: 25ºC /14ºC.
On highland treks: Wetter conditions, with cooler days and milder nights than dry season. Jan-Mar usually the wettest months.
The Amazon rainforest
Year-round, weather conditions are hot and humid and there is always the risk of rain
There is a ‘dry season’ in Tambopata and Manu between May and October. The average daytime high temperature is between 25°C and 34°C and the average nighttime low is between 16°C and 22°C. Heavy downpours typically occur every few days.
Around 80% of annual average rainfall – approx 2,000 mm in Manu and Tambopata and 1,400 mm in Iquitos – occurs in the wet season Nov-April.
On rare occasions, between May and September, cold fronts from Argentina – ‘friajes’ – can sweep into southwest Amazonia and push temperatures down to 9° C. (Friajes usually last between 1 and 3 days).
You will also need a valid passport with at least 6 months remaining validity.
British nationals do not need a visa for Peru. Fill in a 90-day tourist visa on arrival, and keep the tourist card with you to show at check-in at hotels and for when you leave the country.
Inca Trail trekkers will need to carry their passport, with which the Inca Trail permit was bought, throughout the Inca Trail trek.
Non-UK citizens are advised to contact their Embassy for up-to-date visa advice.
We strongly suggest that everyone planning to travel to Peru visits their local doctor/travel clinic prior to departure for the latest vaccination information.
For people travelling to the Amazon/coast below 1,500m north of Lima and regions below 1,500m:
Good kit is vital for every trip.
Book with Andean Trails and get 15% off Páramo’s fantastic ethical and high performance outdoor gear.
When planning for the varied climatic conditions encountered, layering is the most practical and versatile clothing system. It’s worth remembering that our clothing keeps us warm by retaining and isolating the heat we ourselves create.
To best maintain body heat, several layers of lightweight, warm and quick-drying clothing are far more efficient than one or two thick layers. Layers should have the following qualities:
First (base) layer: This layer wicks the sweat away from our skin, thus helping keep the body dry and warm. To this end, synthetic fabrics such as polypropylene should be used.
Mid layers: These isolating layers should also be synthetic (e.g. the known polar linings such as polartec or windblock, which are light and insulate twice as well as wool). Very important layers for retaining body heat.
Outer layer / shell: Finally, the vital layer which protects us from climatic adversities. A breathable, wind-proof and waterproof anorak, such as Goretex.
Give plenty of thought to kit selection, and try to keep weight down.
We also carry an extensive first aid kit & oxygen on all trips, but these are generally for emergencies only.
Below is a more detailed kit list.
Detailed kit list
All other non-personal trekking camping gear e.g. tents, cutlery etc is provided.
In order to get the most out of a trek we classify as ‘hard‘, you should be in great physical condition and used to trekking, camping and heavy carries.
It is not easy to grade the fitness level required for any trek, since it is a subjective matter.
However, for treks classified as hard, expect to trek 7+ hours per day carrying a heavy back-pack (15-20kg), with several long ascents and descents.
This tour features a mix of private and shared transfers, and public buses/trains.
Official name: Republic of Peru
Country population: 27,083,000
Capital city: Lima (8.1 million)
Largest cities: Lima, Arequipa, Trujillo, Chiclayo
Languages: Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymará
Latitude/Longitude: 10º S, 76º W
Official currency: New Sol
Major industries: copper, gold, zinc, textiles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals
Time zone: GMT-5
Being at altitude, especially in the tropics, is usually a pleasure as it isn’t so hot, there are few insects and the air is clear.
However, when gaining altitude, air pressure drops and the amount of oxygen reaching the lungs is reduced. Although we build plenty of acclimatisation time into our itineraries, certain ill-effects are possible. Nevertheless, all of these can be minimised or prevented if care is taken.
On reaching heights above 2,500m (approx. 8,200 ft), especially when ascent has been straight from sea level, heart pounding, mild headache and shortness of breath are normal, especially on exertion.
Acute mountain sickness (AMS) is a syndrome known locally as soroche, whose symptoms can include of bad headache, dizziness and nausea).
To avoid AMS, you should:
Games throwing water, flour as well as dance and music.
Location: Highlands and some coastal areas.
Festival: Fiesta de La Candelaria
Culture, music and dancing
Festival: Fiesta de La Vendimia
Wine harvest festival
Festival: Inti Raymi
Independence day – celebration of Peruvian culture – various activities
Location: Country wide
Andean Trails can book all your international and domestic flights for this trip and for UK passengers, we have full ATOL bonding and can book flights with most airlines.
International flight prices are variable and usually can only be guaranteed at the time of booking. If you would like to upgrade to business or first class, or even arrive at an earlier date/depart at a later date we can also arrange this for you.
International flights will arrive into Lima. If you arrive in the afternoon, you will most likely need to overnight in Lima before travelling onwards. If you arrive into Lima in the morning, it is possible to make connections to Cusco, Arequipa, Lake Titicaca etc, on the same day. You need to acclimatise in Cusco or a similar altitude (Puno for example) before you start the Inca Trail. Ideally, this will be for three nights, immediately prior to the trek start date.
Please contact us for flight and acclimatisation advice especially if you do make a connection on the same day. It is important to purchase a through ticket and not separate tickets for connections, so that you are covered for any delays. Passengers with separate tickets who are delayed run the risk of having to buy an entirely new ticket to continue their journeys.
Please note all airline schedules are subject to change and are out of our control.
Andean Trails has two decades of experience of dealing with South America holidays.
We pay a fee to the CAA for every licensable passenger we book since we hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an advance booking.
We also offer ATOL (Civil Aviation Authority) protected holidays to give our customers peace of mind when booking and travelling.
When you buy an ATOL protected air holiday package from Andean Trails Ltd you will receive a Confirmation Invoice from us confirming your arrangements and your protection under our Air Travel Organiser’s Licence number 6275.
You can read more about ATOL, who is covered and what protections you have if not ATOL-covered, on our ATOL page.
What is ATOL?
The CAA’s ATOL scheme offers protection to your money and your holiday if you book with us. Not everybody is covered (see ‘Who is covered?’ for more), as you must purchase an ‘air package holiday’ with Andean Trails to be protected.
And ‘air package holiday’ is defined as including a flight and some ground services (hotel, transfer, trek etc). This is also known as an ‘ATOL-protected holiday’.
Who is covered?
To be covered by ATOL, you must book a flight and some ground services with us and be from the UK. If you are from the UK and only book ground services and no flights, you are not covered by ATOL (see below for more on how non-ATOL clients are covered).
If you are outside the UK and buy flights with us, you will be ATOL protected IF any of the flights booked with Andean Trails touches/stops in the UK at any point during your holiday package booked with us.
If you buy your flights elsewhere, please check with that agent if you are ATOL protected. Be careful with online flight purchases and make sure you know what protection you have, if any, before paying for flights.
Not all holiday or travel services offered and sold by us will be protected by the ATOL scheme. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking.
For land only holidays not involving any air travel, in accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992”, all UK passengers booking with Andean Trails Ltd. are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all money paid to us, arising from cancellation or curtailment of travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Andean Trails.
I’m not ATOL covered, what protection do I have?
If you are not ATOL covered, any payments you make to us go to a Trust account.
We can only access this money once your tour has been completed, meaning that if anything happens to Andean Trails Limited while you are on holiday, then your money is secure and you can either complete the trip or be able to make it home.
If you pay for your holiday with a credit card, some offer payment protection – please check with your cardholder.
You also should have cancellation protection written into your insurance (which we recommend you have at the time of booking) in case you need to cancel.
The Lima suburb of Miraflores is a good base for easing yourself into Peruvian culture.
Although a fairly safe district, we strongly recommend taking these precautions in Lima and also throughout the country:
Read some of our blogs about food and drink in Peru:
Main dishes (meat)
Churrasco and Lomo Fillet or rump steak.
Apanado Breaded meat cutlet.
Chorrillana Meat smothered in tomato & onion sauce.
Adobo (Cusco speciality) Chopped, marinated pork in a richly seasoned gravy.
Piqueo A very spicy stew with meat, onions and potatoes.
Sancochado Lots of meat, vegetables and garlic.
Lomo saltado Chopped meat in a sauce containing onions, tomatoes and potatoes.
Picante de … Meat or fish with a hot, spicy sauce.
Parrillada Grilled beef, sausage and offal.
Chicharrones Chunks of pork, deep-fried with roast potatoes and corn.
Chaufa Chinese-style fried rice.
Cabro or Cabrito Goat meat.
Antichuchos Beef-heart shish kebab.
Pollo a la brasa con papas The ubiquitous spit-roast chicken and chips.
Pachamanca Typical highlands festival/Sunday treat. Meats and vegetables cooked underground on hot stones.
Fish dishes (mainly coast)
Chorros a la chalaca Mussels with tomato and onion sauce (cold starter).
Conchas a la Parmesana Scallops with melted parmesan (hot starter).
Ceviche de pescado/mariscos Marinated fish/shellfish.
Tiradito de pescado/mariscos Marinated fish/shellfish in hot sauce.
Corvina/Lenguado Sea bass/Sole.
Chicharron de Pulpo/Calamares Deep-fried Octopus/Squid.
Jalea Dish of deep fried fish & shellfish.
Sudado de pescado Steamed fish.
Fish dishes (mainly highlands)
Pejerrey a la plancha Grilled fresh-water king fish.
Trucha frita Fried trout.
Chupe de Camarron Rich soup of fresh-water shrimp.
Mazamorra morada Pudding made from purple maize and fruit.
Flan Crème caramel.
Picarones Delicious rings of fried batter served with syrup.
Keke or torta Cake.
Pisco Grape brandy. Very popular as Pisco Sour cocktail, with lemon, sugar and egg-white.
Chicha de jora Fermented maize beer. Integral to many rural celebrations. In Andean villages, look out for houses with bright plastic ‘flower’ tied to a pole above door: this indicates that the householder sells chicha.
Chicha morada A soft drink made from purple maize.
Cerveza Lager-type beer which is very popular. There are several regional brands such as Cusqueña and Arequipeña.
Vino Many local Peruvian wines are very sweet by gringo standards. Tacama and Ocucaje are the best ‘export-quality’ Peruvian wine brands. Good Chilean wines available locally include Undurraga and Casillero del Diablo. Wine is available in smarter restaurants and is served by the bottle (botella) and sometimes by the glass (copa).
Vino tinto Red wine.
Vino blanco White wine.
Agua mineral Mineral water. You need to specify con gas (carbonated) or sin gas (non-carbonated).
Mate Herbal tea. The best known is mate de coca , which is often served to tourists on arrival in Cusco, Huaraz or Puno to ward off symptoms of altitude sickness. Many other herbal teas such as manzanilla (camomile), hierba luisa (lemon grass), hierba buena (mint) and anis (aniseed) are available. Mate is usually served after lunch.
Jugos Fruit juices.
Currency & Money Exchange
Peru’s monetary unit is the “Nuevo Sol” (S/.)
Most of your transactions will be in Soles, but US dollars are often accepted, too, if they are small denomination, unmarked and undamaged bills. Try to take 5s, 10s and 20s.
ATM debit/credit cards are now widely used in major restaurants, hotels and shops (with fees), and there are ATM (‘hole-in-the-wall’) machines widely available in towns and cities.
When changing money, don’t change with street changers (cambistas). Use a bank or casa de cambio (bureau de change). Ask for ‘billetes chicos’ (small notes, i.e. 10 or 20 sol notes) as obtaining change outside towns and cities can be difficult. Count your soles carefully before handing over your US dollars, and look out for forged notes.
Exchange rate: USD 1 = 3.2 Peruvian Soles (approx.), June 2018.
Eating and drinking
Peru has a great culinary tradition.
There are more and more top-end restaurants opening in Lima and Cusco, where you can easily spend more than USD 100pp on food and wine.
Prices vary greatly, below is a rough guide to what you can expect to pay in Peru.
Don’t forget to read out tipping guide to Peru.
Beer/soft drink: USD 2
Menu del dia: USD 3-5
Coffee: USD 1
Tourist style restaurant
Beer/soft drink: USD 2-3
Main dish: USD 10 upwards
Coffee: USD 2
Tipping is entirely voluntary and how much you give depends on how you feel about the service you have received.
For background, Peru has a minimum salary of 550 Nuevo Soles (US$170) monthly for a 6 day 48 hour week. However in many of the lower paid jobs (eg waiters, porters etc) this is not always enforced.
This is a rough guideline, based on an approx. rate of USD 1 = Peruvian Soles 3.
Inca Trail (if applicable)
If you are hiking the Inca Trail, you will be supported by a full crew of cooks, porters, waiters etc, and it is a little more complicated to organise in terms of tipping.
We recommend that each client contributes 100-300soles (30-90US) into a pot and following the advice of the guide divide it out between the crew of cooks, waiters and porters.
For tipping the actual Inca Trail guides and assistants we recommend following the advice for specialist guides above.
The international code for Peru is +51.
Regions have dialling codes, with a 0 prefix.
Peru’s landlines have 6-7 digits, and to call landline-landline in the same city, simply dial the 7 digits.
If calling landline to another regional landline/city, start with a 0 then the regional code.
If using your own mobile phone to call a landline, dial the country code, the regional/city code without the 0, and then the number, e.g. for Lima (code: 01), dial +51 1 1234567.
Mobile phones start with a number 9, and are 9 digits in length.
If you are dialling a Peruvian landline/mobile to a Peru mobile, simply dial the full 9-digit number from anywhere in Peru.
If using your own mobile phone to call a Peruvian mobile, dial the country code, then the 9-digit mobile number: e.g. +51 999 999 999.
Almost all unlocked phones will work in Peru with a local SIM, however – check with your provider before arrival if your phone will work.
Roaming charges may be high – again, best to check.
Most hotels, cafes, restaurants and airports offer free and generally good Wi-Fi.
There are plenty of locoturios – internet cafes – offering cheap and good internet in most towns and cities.
Head to the privatised postal service, Serpost.
Learning a few words of Spanish can really ingratiate you with the locals you’ll encounter, adding to the enjoyment of your holiday.
Below are some basics to get you started.
Good morning Buenos días
How are you? ¿Cómo estás?
Good afternoon Buenas tardes
Good bye Adiós
Most frequently asked questions (theirs):
Where are you (plural) from? ¿De dónde eres (son)?
What time is it? ¿Qué hora es?
Where have you come from? ¿De dónde vienes?
Give me (frequent, unwelcome question) Dáme / regálame
Most frequent questions (yours):
How much is it? ¿Cuánto vale?
What is this place called? ¿Cómo se llama este lugar?
What’s your name? ¿Cómo te llamas?
Do you have a map? ¿Tienes un mapa?
In the street / places:
Where can I find a currency exchange? ¿Dónde encuentro una casa de cambio?
Where is there a cash machine? ¿Dónde hay un cajero automatico?
Where is the underground/subway station? ¿Dónde esta la estacion de metro/subte(Buenos Aires)?
Where can I find a taxi? ¿Dónde puedo encontrar un taxi?
Where can I find a Supermarket? ¿Dónde puedo encontrar un supermercado?
Where is the hospital? ¿Dónde esta el hospital?
Where can I find a restaurant? ¿Dónde puedo encontrar un restaurante?
In the hotel:
What floor am I on? ¿En qué piso estoy?
Where are the elevators/lifts? ¿Dónde están los ascensores?
How do I access the Internet? ¿Cómo puedo acceder a Internet?
How do I call for room service? ¿Cómo llamo para el servicio de habitación?
How do I call down to the front desk? ¿Cómo llamo a la recepción?
In the restaurant:
A table for two/four please Una mesa para dos/cuatro, porfavor
I would like to drink… Me gustaria tomar….
May I see a menu? Puedo ver la carta/menu?
I would like to order.. Me gustaria pedir…
Can you bring me the check/bill please. Me trae la cuenta por favor
I need help. Necesito ayuda.
I have lost my passport. He perdido mi pasaporte.
Someone stole my money. Alguien robó mi dinero
I have been robbed. Me han robado
I need to call the police. Necesito llamar a la policía
I need to call the (country) Embassy Necesito llamar a la embajada de (country)
Andean Trails believes in Responsible Travel and actively supports several community projects.
Please see Our Advice and Our Ethos for more, and learn about the Projects We Support.
We operate the Inca Trail, our treks and tours with local firms.
We make sure that on our tours and Inca Trail we employ local staff, who are paid fair wages.
With the Inca Trail, We provide free life insurance to all of our porters. Tented accommodation and meals are provided for all trekking staff as well as foam mats, sleeping bags and rain ponchos. We have also provided the staff with trekking shoes. We ensure our porters carry a maximum of only 20kg. We offer them backpacks and they generally use back supports.
Clean burning fuel is used to cook the meals on the Inca Trail and porters carry gas stoves and butane bottles. We use biodegradable detergents when washing the cooking and eating utensils. If any part of our tour or trek is operated by another company, we try to ensure that high standards are maintained.
Our additional support helps the Huchuy Yachaq project which supports children and families in one of the poorest communities in the district of Cusco.
Responsible Tourism – Code of Conduct:
All our activities are governed by our respect for the environment and the people who live in it. We aim to make a positive impact both in the UK and in the Andean countries we work in (Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina).
We agree with the principals of sustainable development and specifically promote environmentally aware tourism in the Andean countries, in order to preserve the heritage of the people who live there and to help protect their environment.
In the UK we use recycled paper where possible, recycle what we can and attempt to keep waste to an absolute minimum.
Throughout South America we work together with local people, paying them a fair price, and putting money into the local economy. We do this by using local agents, local trek staff and experienced and qualified local mountain and cultural guides who have an in-depth knowledge of their own country. Our porters on the Inca Trail are fairly paid, carry a maximum load of 20kg and are supplied with tents and food. In other areas we use donkeys or horses to carry loads.
We use locally owned services such as hotels and restaurants, wherever possible. We buy fresh local produce for all of our treks from markets in each departure town. We use public transport whenever possible and feasible.
We have ongoing contact with the teams that we work with and also with local families in the areas we trek through, developing relationships with them and donating goods such as clothes and shoes to their communities, through appropriate local agencies. We also support local Peruvian charities, specifically NIÑOS in Cusco, and CARE in the Huaraz area, plus Huchuy Yachaq.
If you have any suitable (warm) clothes and shoes that you would like to donate to Peruvian children please take them with you and give them to your tour leader, who will ensure they go to a suitable organization.
When out on tour we encourage learning about the countries we travel in, the local culture of the teams we work with and the areas we pass through. Our guides hold informal talks with groups to inform about and discuss with them all aspects of local life. This helps understanding of the area and appreciation of the people who live there.
Our group sizes are kept to a maximum of 16 people, and we encourage smaller groups where possible. This minimises the negative impact we make on the local people, the wildlife and the environment, and increases the quality time spent in contact with the local people and environment.
When trekking we adhere to a responsible tourism code of practice and are also involved in ongoing training of our trek staff.
A full Health and Safety document will be sent to you at the time of booking and before you travel.
You can also read it on our website, or contact us for more information.
Many of our tours travel through remote areas.
We believe our clients should be aware that the remoteness of some of our tours so very special could also cause certain problems.
Thus, whilst we endeavour to minimise the chances of anything unexpected happening, it has to be noted that no itinerary can or should be rigidly adhered to.
This is the very nature of adventure travel and we expect our clients to be prepared for delays and slight alterations in our programmed events.
It is a condition of booking any of our holidays that you have comprehensive travel insurance to cover you for trip cancellation (by you), activities involved and destination. This cover should include repatriation costs, air ambulance and helicopter rescue.
We work with Travel Nomads, who offer insurance solutions to people in more than 140 countries across the world.
Should you decide not to purchase this insurance, you must provide us with details of your alternative insurance with or before your final payment.
What's a group trip?
Join a small group of like-minded travellers on a guided trip.
What's a tailor made trip?
We put together a bespoke tour to fit your requirements.
Prices From $925 / £771 per person
Dates: From March 2019 to January 2020
Capacity: 16 per person
Enquire about booking
Prices From $665 / £554 per person
Dates: From March 2019 to October 2019
Prices From $587 / £489 per person
Prices From $996 / £830 per person
Dates: From January 2019 to December 2020
Prices From $1,905 / £1,587 per person
2019 price based on two trekking together
Departures any day.
Enquire about booking
Ask a question and our expert in this area will have your answer.
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+44 (0)131 467 7086
+44 (0)131 554 6025
I was amazed at how smoothly everything went, having only had experience in developing countries of Africa and Asia backpacking which is usually quite fraught at airports and railways. We were collected and looked after with absolutely no fuss, refreshments and comforts sorted out all the way by courteous staff.
The trekking guides cooks and wranglers were all great. Food was varied tasty and much better than I'd expected. Tents and mats were fine. The Amazon lodge was really nice and the programme you put together kept us busy and entertained. The best bits were jumaring into the tree and kayaking, although it was all good.
D. Rampersad, UK, 2010
» Peru Family Adventure Holiday
B. Sawford, Australia, 2010
» Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu
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26th July, 2019 1:29 pm
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