The journey prices DO NOT include airfare to and from Peru. The prices do include all in-country transportation, lodging, guides, ceremonies and entrance fees. We've done all we can to not surprise you with any hidden costs.
CANCELLATIONS: We will do what we can NOT to charge you if you need to cancel. But if your in-country air tickets have been purchased or any other expenses will be deducted.
Most hotels provide a light breakfast. While in the jungle lodge we provide all meals. Apart from this no meals are included.
Single rooms are not available at the lodge but may be available elsewhere at an extra cost.
WEATHER: 50% chance of anything, anytime. Be prepared, weather or not.
The rainforest can be in the 80-90's F with 80-90% humidity, hot and wet. The rainforest means rain is possible at any time, be prepared. When cloudy and damp even the forest gets cool.
In the Andes expect cool to cold nights, many perfect sunny days, rain is possible at anytime. Temperatures may go up to the 80's F and down to the 20's F (20's C to -5C). Usually June through August is colder, the Southern hemisphere winter. 20's F (-5C) are possible at night but most days are pleasant, sunny and dry.
All other months are warmer, but with a higher chance of rain. Anytime the clouds block the sun it gets quickly chilly in the high altitudes we are in (Cusco 11,500 ft above sea level). Simply always be prepared for hot, cold or wet. We will be outside a lot. It is far better to have too much protective clothing with you than too little.
PACKING & LUGGAGE - Light is right: We suggest that you carry as few clothes and things as you are comfortable with. As we move from the planes, trains, and vans to our hotels, there are some times when we must walk a few hundred meters/yards while carrying your luggage. If you really can't or don't want to handle your own gear, and you want to bring a lot, we can usually find a native on the spot who would gladly carry your stuff for a small payment. Why do you think they call it luggage?
The train to Machu Picchu allows only a airline sized carry on bag. The rest of your bags we will store in the village and hotel you will stay at after Machu Picchu. We will have time to seperate your bags before boarding the train.
You'll want to be able to lock your suitcase or a backpack during South American air travel (they by law must not be locked during North American air travel). And rather than always carrying everything around with you it is safer to leave the bulk of your valuables locked in your pack or bag in your hotel room. Small combination locks are the most convenient. The little locks that use keys are often way too easy to pick open (I do it somewhat regularly when our travelers lose those tiny keys). I like the Security Clip Combo lock (Eagle Creek) www.campmor.com.
WHAT TO BRING:
Clothing: Your everyday cotton clothes are fine, you don't need to go out and buy 'expedition' clothes for these journeys, you can if you want to but it's really not necessary. Loose clothing is best for traveling (actually for life in general).
Coat: Shelter from the storm, wind and rain shell over a sweater is my preference. If you chill easy by all means bring a warm coat. A large rain poncho works well if you don't otherwise have a waterproof suit.
Sweaters: Come to Peru to buy sweaters. As little as $10-20 will buy you a fine alpaca hand-loomed treasure. While you are at it you may as well buy a bunch of sweaters to take home as gifts.
Hat: The high altitudes and equator sun can fry you. Do not rely on sun block. The best protection is simply long sleeves and pants in light material and a full-brimmed hat. It is convenient to carry a hat that can crush into your pack. Many styles of hats are available upon arrival in Peru.
Laundry: Most towns and our hotels have laundry service. If you have two changes of clothes, you can wear one while the other gets cleaned. Actually, you can also do this by hand. The natives and I don't seem to need a fresh change every day.
Boots: Heavy clunker hiking boots are NOT necessary. Low-top boots or shoes are good enough for climbing around the ruins, mountains, and for rainy or cold nights. Be sure to have good traction soles if this is something you have become dependent upon. For easy cruise comfort you can also bring some sneakers or sandals (the choice of most natives).
Toiletries: Hauling around huge bottles of shampoo and creams can create a major bulk in your luggage. Small plastic bottles are sold in many sizes at sporting goods and most drug stores. You can carry only what is needed for two weeks. Toiletries and medicines are available in the towns. Don't worry about running out.
Earplugs: One of the things 'developing' nations develop is noise. Loud discothèques, televisions and barking dogs now echo through the city nights. Snoring roommates may also add to your audio experience. Light sleepers will do well to carry earplugs. I'm hearing the thump-thump of at least 3 discos as I write this.
Flashlight: You'll need a flashlight and spare batteries; there is no electricity at many of the places we visit. The small but powerful lights using only AA or AAA batteries are easy to carry around; you don't need to carry anything larger.
ELECTRICITY in South America is 220v.
WATER: The lodge provides good drinking water while we are there. For those traveling to Machu Picchu the Andean water is mountain fresh and alive. To secure this excellent water against bacteria it is best to carry a small hand pump filter. Please don't plan on buying plastic throwaway bottles to trash the land every day and the water quality in plastic bottles there cannot always be guaranteed. Purification drops will work also but can get hard on your digestion after a while.
You can find water purifiers at most hiking stores. These I also get through www.campmor.com. I use the: SweetWater Guardian Filter or the SweetWater Walkabout Filter. The AquaPur filter works well too.
I also use two Platypus 1 Liter Reservoirs. The Platypus reservoir folds flat in your pack and bends to get under the lower faucets. You need two water containers, one to pump from and another to carry the purified water.
MEALS: Most hotels provide a light breakfast. When we are in the lodge, beyond the choice of restaurants all meals are provided. Apart from this no meals are provided.
THE MOST IMPORTANT PAPERS: Bolivia and Peru, in the habit of cheap construction, uses small pipes in their plumbing. Thus the toilets are unable to handle the massive wads of paper some people throw into them.
ALL PAPERS, including used bum wad, goes into the waste bins by the toilets.
MONEY $$: For those who don't want to carry cash, American Express traveler's checks are the most acceptable for exchange, any other form of check can be troublesome. The exchange rate on traveler's checks will be a few points lower. If carrying cash be careful not to bring any torn bills, with even the slightest tear your money will be refused. Best is to bring newer bills. The Peruvians will check carefully for counterfeit bills, you will want to be sure for yourself beforehand also. After more than a few dire travel experiences I've learned to always keep a few hundred worth of $20 bills in cash stashed against emergencies.
Attention Travel-Mart Shoppers: Beautiful handicrafts are being offered at amazing 3rd world prices. Have plenty of spending cash at hand. The majority of shops will not accept credit cards.
CREDIT CARDS: Cash can be drawn at many ATM's. When carrying credit cards make a note of their numbers and the telephone numbers to call if lost while out of country. Often North American 1-800 numbers will not work from South America.
PASSPORT AND VISAS: Yes, a passport is needed.
When just wandering around town muggings and pocket slashing can happen; the bulk of your money, your passport and air tickets are much safer locked in your bag and left in your room.
Visitor's Visa: Your visitor's visa will be issued at the Lima airport. They are happy to see you and your spending money and have made the visa process very easy. You do not need to do this beforehand. Now they just check your passport and let you in without any additional papers.
Extra nights in Lima, coming or going, can be arranged, let us know the hotel price range you would like. Airport pickup and return in the morning is usually included. If you would like to get out on the town a personal guide can be arranged at your extra cost, $10 per hour.
IMPORTANT ECO-TRAVEL INFORMATION:
Air Pollution: Until our transportation technologies catch up with our need for new geo-friendly fuels and propulsion, our plane, train and road travel currently add huge amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere. A group called Climate Care based in the UK can help us offset our travel emissions. http://www.climatecare.org/
For a small amount, we can pay them to fund worldwide projects of renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation that will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the air by the same amount that our travel activities increase it. Working with their chart, I figure that from the States, a US$40 donation will offset our South America round trip and in-country travel pollution. Please consider helping us all this way as we hope that soon we will advance into a clean way to travel.
COMMUNICATIONS: As most hotels may answer their phones in Spanish, the best way to contact a group in journey is to E-mail our main office in Peru at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Sacred Heritage in Peru 51/(84) 985-690-495. The offices will quickly relay your message.