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F. A. Qs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is included in the price of the tour?

All these details you will see in the website incaspath.com

Where are the Departure points for our Treks?

Pick up from your hotels at 04:00 am (have early breakfast, most hotels offer breakfast or pack breakfast) we depart at 06:00 am from just Plaza Regocijo please provide a clear contact details of your accommodation at your check-in in the Cusco office. Your guides will provide procedure`s details at the “pre trek briefing” the night before you depart.

Where can I store my luggage while I am trekking?

On the trek/tour, you should only bring with you the things you really want/need and leave the rest of your things with us. Incas Path trek offers free luggage storage for all of our customers. If you have luggage that you wish to leave with us in Cusco then bring it to the meeting point on the morning of the departure.You can then pick up your things up from the safe storage in Incas Path office any time after your trek.

What should I pack?

-Pair of trekking shoes and plenty socks
-Insect repellent
-Sun block
-Dark glasses (shades)
-Rain Gear or rain poncho
-Light clothing for the day and warm for the night.
-Trekking pants (the ones you unzip for shorts)
-Hat or sun cap
-Water Bottle
-Sleeping bag (unless you rent one from the company)
-A more detailed suggested list of equipment can be found in the 4 day Inca Trail Itinerary.

I don`t have a good sleeping bag. Can I rent one?

YES you can just organise it at the time of booking. Down sleeping bag minus 8º Celcius USD 15.00 45 Liters Backpack USD 20.00 A pair of trekking poles USD 20.00 Personal porter for 14 Kg USD 75.00 (Half porter). I don`t have a sleeping mat. Do I need one? We include in the cost of the tour the loan of a sleep mat for the duration of the trek. This is a fairly thick bulky mat that weighs 1 kg and we still say if you are travelling with a termal-rest or technologically advanced type of sleep mat then definitely bring that instead!

How much does the sleeping mat and sleeping bag weigh?

Sleepmat weight = 1 kg Seeping bag weight = 2-5 kg

I am on my own, will I have someone to share a tent with?

Yes another person of the same sex or if you prefer you can pay a single supplement for a tent just for you. This is USD.70.00 (For the entire trek)

Will I need any extra money?

YES, so that you can take part in options such as bottle water/drinks, the natural hot springs in Aguas Calientes (10 soles), tips for your trekking staff, souvenirs, snacks in Machupicchu, etc. You should take at least 300 soles as emergency money that hopefully you will return to Cusco with! Also, for the passengers that are concerned about health.

Do the guides speak English?

Yes all our tour guides speak very well the English, mostly of then have studied in the University of Cusco, aslo are Archeologist, Biologist, and the most important are really funny guys.

How many people will be in my group?

We require 2 person minimum for our treks, indicated dates on web avalaibility are open groups in which you are welcome to join, Average 10-12. We can have up to 8 trekkers with one guide and from 9 -16 trekkers we have 2 licensed trekking guides.
During low season the groups are more likely to be small and during high season the groups will likely be full.
The CULTURE MINISTERY has a rule in place that limits the amount of passengers per 2 guides to 16 persons. If we are getting a lot of requests for a date and there are still a good number of permits available, we can easily open up a second group for the same date.

Should I hire an extra porter?

If you have not trekked in altitude before we would suggest your organise the extra porter. Unless you have hired an extra porter you will need to carry your own back pack, sleeping bag and the mattress and water for the day. 75% of our travellers hire the extra porter for 7 kilos = USD.70.00. If you would like to have a porter carry your things, one can be hired for USD.70.00,shared porter, each porter carries 14 Kg plus his gear) INCAS PATH . You should bring only what you absolutely need/want on the trek, and store the rest of your belongings in Cusco.
Even if you do hire a porter you will still need a day pack with you so that you can carry such items as your camera, water bottle, snacks (energy bars, dried fruits, nuts, sweets, remember glucose is a big help and imperative in the heights), sunscreen, sun-glasses, a fleece or something warm and a poncho (during the rainy season or cloudy days) and anything else you will need before lunch as the porters do not walk alongside you. You will meet up with your bag at lunch and then it will be waiting for you in your tent at the campsite. It is best to put everything up to 14 kgs in one duffle bag if you are a couple or 2 for the porter so that you don’t have 2 large backpacks in your tent.
Please note that there are fines and notifications if you give an excess of 7 or 14 kgs, so try to under-pack rather than over-pack—if it is overweight at the weigh station, items will have to be removed to reduce the weight.

I am not really an experienced trekker? What if I can’t keep up? How difficult is the Inca Trail?

Most people have that concern but don`t worry. Only in extremely rare circumstances does a passenger need to come back early. You just need to remember that you are able to go at a speed that is comfortable for you. Take your time, pace yourself, and enjoy.
The Inca Trail is considered a moderate hike. It’s not a technical hike but there are a lot of Inca stairs to walk up and down, and the altitude may affect some individuals. We recommend using a trekking poles and have an early night before the trek.

Are Trekking poles really necessary?

For this trek more than any of the treks, we DO recommend the use of Trekking poles, especially for those passengers with known knee problems. There are multiple times during the trek that a Trekking poles is handy, be it ascending a mountain or walking down immense sets of Inca stairs. It will help with your balance and reduce the impact on your knees. INCAS PATH and the DRCC ask that you not use trekking poles with metal tips as it damages the trail. You can purchase rubber tips for metal poles from any local camping shop.

How long will I be walking every day? How long is the trail?

46 Km/ 28 Miles
This is an approximate breakdown according to our regular campsites:
-Day 1: 12 kilometers (8.6 miles) 6-7 hours Ayapata camp.
-Day 2: 18 kilometers (10.9 miles) 7-8 hours (“Dead Womans Pass,” the highest pass of the trek at 4,200m, is on this day and the longest day )
-Day 3: 10 km (7.3 miles) at 5-6 hours.
-Day 4: 6 Km around 2 hours walk before arriving to Machu Picchu.
You will wake up around 4.30 am, 1 hour to Inti-punku \”Sun`s Gate\”
The entire trail is about 46 kilometers (27 miles) long from start to finish. If you still want more, climbing Huayna Picchu provides yet another hour and a half round trip. Check for the free passes with your tour guides.

Is altitude sickness common? And how high is the Inca Trail?

It’s impossible to predict who will be affected by altitude. Your ability to adapt to high altitude is determined by your genetic makeup and has little to do with fitness or health. Most people will have no problems as long as they take the time to acclimatize properly. A full day spent in Cusco (3399m), taking it very easy and drinking plenty of water is enough for some people but if you can arrange to have minimum 2-3 days in case of any travel disruptions as well then this is what we recomend as there is also so much to do here!. The highest point you will reach while hiking the Inca Trail is 4200m/13818 ft. You will sleep at 3340m/10988 ft for two nights.

What if I am unable to finish the trail?

In the scenario that you are unable to finish the trek due health issues, INCAS PATH will do everything in its power to get you to the nearest civilization and get help or transportation to help. If the issue is respiratory or due to altitude, we do carry at least one tank of oxygen on trek that you will have access to. In extreme cases, a helicopter pick up can be arranged at your own expense. (Travel Insurance required) There are no refunds in the situation that you are unable to finish though.
Generally if due to altitude sickness people can`t make it over the pass on the 2nd day they come back to Ollantaytambo accompanied by a porter if just mild (or guide if serious) and if they recover from altitude sickness they stay the night here in Ollantaytambo and then take the train to Aguas Calientes the next day (Day 3) and we look after them in Hostal Paqarina and then they rejoin their group in Machu Picchu early on Day 4 and continue the tour as normal. The additional costs for this such as train ticket and accomodations is payable by the passenger and usually is between USD.80.00 and USD.100.00 total.

Can INCAS PATH accommodate my dietary needs? What kind of food will there be?

Not to worry, INCAS PATH is able to accommodate many types of dietary needs upon request at the time of booking. If you are a vegetarian, or cannot eat gluten or have allergies to certain foods, it will not be a problem. The meals of our chefs are one of the most popular parts of our tours too, and the quality will not be reduced when accommodating your dietary needs. The meals are served buffet style and you are able to choose what you would like to eat. Your guides will let you know what time the meals will be served.
Our cooks prepare excellent high-energy meals appropriate for a trek of this nature. The menu usually includes quinua, cereals and vegetable soups, Beaf Lomo Saltado with rice, chicken cacerole, fresh fruit and vegetables and a variety of oatmeal, eggs and other breakfast foods as scramble egg, quinua panqueques.

Will I need to bring water?

We recommend that you purchase a 1.5 – 2 litre bottle of water to take with you on the first day. Every night during the trek, we will boil water so you can refill the same bottle every morning before setting out. If you are planning to drink from any streams or waterfalls, we strongly suggest you bring water purification tablets or filters.
Also, you will be able to buy water along the way on Day 1, for the first few hours of Day 2, and of course at Machu Picchu.

Are there bathrooms along the way?

Along the trail there are several sites with toilets. Bring a roll of toilet paper. As far as other trash goes, please carry your own trash to each campsite where the porters will pack it up and take it out. Leave no trace Please do not litter.

Is it good to bring toddlers on the trail?

If you are thinking of bringing any small children with you, we highly recommend arranging a private tour with us instead of going on a group service departure. That way, you can get the extra attention that you will require from the guide. It should be remembered that it is likely you will have a difficult time as it is, so if you have never done higher altitude trekking with your child before, you’ll want to carefully consider your enjoyment and the enjoyment of the child. Also, it should be kept in mind that the emergency rescue services while on the trek are extremely limited.

Is there a chance that my trek will be canceled?

There is very little possibility of a cancellation of a trek by the DRCC (Park Office) even under extreme weather circumstances or even in case of a strike there will be no cancellation. The DRCC or INCAS PATH cannot change the date of a trek if there is a general strike. We do everything possible to ensure you get to the trail head to start the trek for the permit date and this means that we must have correct contact details as about 4-5 times a year there is a general strike. This means no land transport is allowed to travel and so the night before the trek /strike date we have to gather everyone together and drive to the trail head area to camp the night before so we make sure that the trek goes ahead.
In the case that a passenger decides to cancel the tour for whatever reason, you will just have to pay US$50 more and we can put you on a train to Aguas Calientes. That way you are still able to use the Machu Picchu entrance join your group for a tour and return train ticket at least.

Is the trail still good during the rainy season? Is it safe?

The trail is perfectly safe during the rainy season. Some people actually like to go during the rainy season because there are fewer tourists. If you are one who doesn’t mind the rain, then we say ‘Go for it!’ You will just have to bring good rain gear and waterproof boots.

What kind of weather can I expect on the trek? Temperatures?

During the “rainy season” (1 Dec – 1 May), you could have some rain any day but you can expect that it could rain every day in Feb and could be heavy! Often in Dec and Jan you may just get some light continual showers or it could be fine and then a heavy afternoon downpoor but in truth you could also have fine days. At the same time, it will also be noticeably warmer at night. The day times will get up to about 25 degrees Celsius, the low will be about 2 degrees Celsius.
On the other hand, during the “dry season” (June – Nov) the daytimes will seem strikingly like spring time, with bright and sunny skies, but it will be much colder at night. During the daytime you can expect it to be somewhere in the range of 20 to 30 degrees Celsius and at night it will be as low as 0 to -5 degrees Celsius.
It is always best to dress in layers during anytime of year, really. As you hike, put them on when you feel cold or shed them and put it in your day pack when you get hot.

How many trekkers and trek crew are in a typical group?

For a group of max 16 trekkers our typical trekking staff comprise of: 01 guide, 01 assistant guide, 01 cook, 01 assistant cook, 01 general assistant in charge of setting up and organization of safe campsites and 18 porters or carriers.
If the group is 8 or less then just 1 guide, 01 cook, 01 general assistant in charge of setting up and organization of safe campsites and 12 porters or carriers.

What is the standard procedure when it comes to tips?

Tips for the above mentioned trekking staff are not included in the price of the trek. Tips are optional not mandatory. Generally tips are distributed amongst the trekking staff (except the guide and the assistant guide ) on the third night of the trek at Wiñaywayna camp after the evening meal since these trekking staff will not accompany the group to Machupicchu.
Tips for the Cook, Assistant cook, Coordinator & Porters:On the third night at dinner time someone from the group is usually elected to collect the tips. Please remember to take plenty of small denomination bills in Peruvian Soles. We recommend that the cook should receive about 50% more than the other trekking staff. The money should be paid directly to each individual or representative of porters rather than given to the guide or cook. Deciding how much to tip is always a difficult and sometimes uncomfortable decision. INCAS PATH pay our trek staff fairly and treat them with respect and try to provide good working conditions. We think that a tip should not be used to subsidize a poor wage but should be a way to show the staff that you have enjoyed the trek and appreciated the services that they have provided. The tip should therefore be optional and not mandatory. However, if you have enjoyed the service, we recommend that each person in the group contributes between 80 – 110 soles) to a “pot” which is then distributed amongst the cook, assistant cook, general assistant and porters. This should ensure that each person will receive a tip of about USD.15.00 and the cook around USD.30.00 Obviously if you want to tip more please do so.
Tips for the Assistant Guide: The assistant guide will accompany the group to Machupicchu and Aguas Calientes, he is incharge of getting the passes for Wayna Picchu climbing. We therefore recommend that you tip the assistant guide at the lunch time on the fourth day in Aguas Calientes. We suggest that each person in the group tips the assistant guide between 15 and 20 soles. (US$5-7) Again, tips are optional not mandatory and dependent on the level of service provided. Obviously if you want to pay more please do so.
Tips for the Guide: The guide will accompany the group throughout the tour including Machupicchu. We recommend that you tip the guide after the tour in Machupicchu at the time of lunch in Aguas Calientes We suggest that each person in the group tips the main guide between 80.00 and 100.00 soles.) Again, tips are optional not mandatory and dependent on the level of service provided. Obviously if you want to pay more please do so.

Will I be able to witness the sunrise at Machu Picchu?

In truth it is not typical sunrise. As long as you don´t have too much mist or low cloud then you see the first light illuminating Machu Picchu. It is after dawn though as the sun must rise up over the high mountains surrounding Machu Picchu.

Will I be able to climb Huayna Picchu (300 mts)?

If you are wanting to include an ascent of Huayna Picchu in your visit to Machu Picchu, note that The trail to Huayna Picchu is safe but very vertical and is about an hour and a half round trip beware that there are new regulations since July 2011 and permits have to be bought in advance. if you want us to organise your permit to climb Huayna Picchu and we must have this request in writing and confirmed at the time of your booking indicating you will pay the extra $ for this permit. Deposit for this tour including Huayna Picchu permit is USD.65.00
If you are considering Huayna Picchu we just want to make sure you know your best value for money options especially since you are already staying the night in Aguas Calientes with Inca Trail 4D/4Nights option (with morning train to Ollantaytambo on the 5th day.) If you have the time to stay until the afternoon of the 5th day this programe Inca Trail plus Huaynapicchu Mountain & Aguas Calientes 5D/4N– may be a better option. The Peruvian Cultural Institute INC, still does not allow for people with an Inca trail permit to simply add the Huayna Picchu permit valued at about USD.10.00 to it. They only sell the Huayna Picchu permit combined with a Machu Picchu entrance and this cost is at least USD.65.00. To get the best value from this US$55 you should stay the night in Aguas Calientes and re-visit Machu Picchu the next day with your climb up Huayna Picchu mountain done then as you also get that full extra day in Machu Picchu( A walk to Inca bridge can complete this great experience). This is especially a good opportunity in wet season giving you a second opportunity to see Machu Picchu in good clear weather.
So this package includes the second entrance to Machu Picchu on the 5th day and permit to climb Huayna Picchu Mountain and train in the afternoon back to Cusco arriving around 20:00 pm on your 5th day.
Please note your entrance to Machu Picchu and permit for Huayna Picchu are with your name and passport details so are non transferable and non refundable.

How long am I able to stay at Machu Picchu? How I will I get down to Aguas Calientes?

You will have a guided tour of the ruins that lasts approximately 2-3 hours, after which time you will have 2-3 hours more to spend on your own. You can climb Huayna Picchu or just explore. After the guided portion, your guide will give you a bus ticket for the transfer down to Aguas Calientes. You can take the bus anytime you like. Come down to aguas calientes you will choose the restaurant to take the lunch,If you choose to skip the lunch, then you just need to be down in time for your train ride.

What is the Special 4th Night in Aguas Calientes? Is it for me?

Inca Trail 4D/4Nights Group Service is the regular Inca Trail 4d/3n plus 1 night (based on double/triple accommodation) in Aguas Calientes (Machupicchu town). It is a great way to take advantage of the relaxing jungle ambiance of Aguas Calientes. There are more trails to venture on for further exploration including the Putukusi Trail, where the summit offers an amazing view of the immense site and Huayna Picchu Mountain. Or to wind down after a grueling trek, soak in the natural hot springs for 10 soles. The soothing, naturally heated waters are said to possess healing properties.

What time will I be back in Cusco?

You generally arrive back to Cusco around 20.30 -21.00 pm so don`t expect to be able to book a flight out for the same night as flights do not exist after 19.00pm.

What are the benefits of doing a private trek?

One of the main reasons why the private option is sought after is because you do not need to worry about which dates we have departures set for or if our departures have enough space. Your only concern is whether or not there are permits available. You can choose almost any date that you want if permits are available. In addition to the convenience and flexibility in booking, the private option provides a more personal trip experience for your group. We will pick you up and drop you off at your hotel. The guide will focus all of his energy and attention on your group. You can also be more specific about the foods that you would like to be served during the trek. It is a truly wonderful experience to go on such an amazing journey with only your friends and loved ones. Ask TO Eco Path Trek office Sttaf, how you can arrange your own private tour.

What is an ISIC card? How can I use it to get a discount?

ISIC stands for “International Student Identity Card” and is the internationally accepted form of student identification. The DRCC accepts ISIC for discounts. The discount that is offered isn’t to INCAS PATH discount, but is actually offered by the DRCC and INCAS PATH passes the discount on to you. For that reason, it absolutely necessary that we have a scan of your card “in hand” when we go to purchase your permits. If you didn’t send us a copy of it along with the initial booking, then make sure to note on the registration form that you have one and will send the scan as soon as possible so that we know to try and wait before we purchase the permit.

Am I able to change dates after the initial reservation?

The only time that you can change your dates with no penalty charge is if we have not purchased your permit yet. Usually we try to purchase the permits, at the most, a few days after your deposit is paid—depending on the urgency of the situation of course. The only time that we don’t get them within a few days is if you have reserved a date more than 6 months ahead of time. If we do not already have your permit you can change your date. If we already have your permit, the penalty to change is USD.150.00 and there must be availability for the date which you want to move to.

What if do not have my passport right now?

The DRCC requires a valid passport to issue your permit to the trail, best case is to organize your new passport in advance if that is the case. There is the possibility due to the limits of spaces on your requested date to book with your old passport number, them we can do a paperwork to change it, ( extra of USD.15.00)

Can I pay for the entire tour up front?

Usually we only charge the deposit of your Inca Trail to the card to confirm your booking. This deposit and the details completed on your booking form are used as a guarantee for the balance and other tours. The balance is paid on your arrival to Cusco in cash. You can withdraw USD out of the ATMs, which there are plenty in Cusco. If you like, some people prefer to pay the full balance by Western Union or Bank just before starting their travels to avoid carrying cash or spending time finalizing things when they arrive so let us know if you would prefer this.

ALTITUDE or MOUNTAIN SICKNESS, SOROCHE

Altitude sickness is serious and can ruin your trip. The biggest mistake you can make is to fly directly to Cuzco (3326m/10,910ft) and expect to hike the next day. Give yourself a few days to adjust to the altitude first.
Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), altitude illness, hypobaropathy, or Soroche, is a pathological effect of high altitude on humans, caused by acute exposure to low partial pressure of oxigen at high altitude. It commonly occurs above 2,400 metres (approximately 8,000 feet). Acute mountain sickness can progress to high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) or high altitude cerebral edema (HACE).The causes of altitude sickness are not fully understood. The percentage of oxygen in air remains essentially constant with altitude at 21% up until 70,000 feet (21,330 m), but the air pressure (and therefore the number of oxygen molecules) drops as altitude increases — consequently, the available amount of oxygen to sustain mental and physical alertness decreases above 10,000 feet (3,050m). Altitude sickness usually does not affect persons traveling in aircraft because the cabin altitude in modern passenger aircraft is kept to 8,000 feet (2,440 m) or lower. A superficially related condition is chronic mountain sickness, also known as Monge’s disease, occurring only after prolonged exposure to high altitude. An unrelated condition, often confused with altitude sickness, is dehydration, due to the higher rate of water vapor lost from the lungs at higher altitudes. Those who ascend rapidly to altitudes greater than 2500m (8100 ft) may develop altitude sickness. In Peru, this includes Cusco (3326m) Machupicchu (2400m) and Lake Titicaca (3820m). Being physically fit offers no protection. Those who have experienced altitude sickness in the past are prone to future episodes. The risk increases with faster ascents, higher altitudes and greater exertion.
Symptoms may include headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, malaise, imsomnia and loss of appetite. Severe cases may be complicated by fluids in the lungs (high-altitude pulmonary edema) or swelling of the brain (high-altitude cerebral edema) If symptoms are more than mild or persist for more than 24 hours (far less at high altitudes), descend immediately by at least 500 meters and see a doctor.
To help prevent altitude sickness, the best measure is to spend two nights or more at each rise of 1000m. Alternatively, take 125mg or 250mg of acetozolamide (Diamox) twice or three times daily starting 24 hours before ascent and continuing for 48 hours after arrival at altitude. Possible side effects include increased urinary volume, numbness, tingling, nausea, drowsiness, myopia and temporary impotence.
Acetazolamide should not be given to pregnant women or anyone with a history of sulfa allergy. For those who cannot tolerate acetazolamide, the next best option is 4mg of dexamethasone taken four times daily.
Unlike acetazolamide, dexamethasone must be tapered gradually upon arrival at altitude, since there is a risk that altitude sickness will occur as the dosage is reduced. Dexamethasone is a steroid, so it should not be given to diabetics or anyone for whom taking sterorids is not adviced. A natural alternative is gingko, which some people find quite helpful.
When traveling to high altitudes, it´s also important to evoid overexertion, eat ligh meals and abstain from alcohol.
Altitude sickness should be taken seriously, it can be life threatening when severe.

- NOTES:
(1) Visit the Huayna Picchu: To climb the Huayna Picchu, this requires a good time to book in advance. We take care of the reservation and guarantee your entrance to Huayna Picchu. The entrance to the mountains is USD.65.00
(2) Additional Porter: By law (26,702) of the Department of Employment, in collaboration with a company shall be issued under the conditions that the customer requires. However, the customer baggage must not exceed 12 kg, as it only allows the user to carry 14 kg. The service costs USD. 120.00 And includes transportation, entrance to the trail and food.
(3) Tips: To porters, cooks and guides are always welcome. The owners are also very grateful for a small donation, for example clothes or school supplies for their children.