FAQs,inca trail

Why ¿Pacha Expeditions?

PACHA EXPEDITIONS: A Company is Young with new ideas to organize adventure trips and change the work mode of the tourism in general for a real sustainable development of tourism (care for the environment), very good treatment of our staff of workers because they are the engine of our company we do what we offer and our work is guaranteed and recommended we are operators of our own usually small groups , we make that tourists again happy his country after visiting Peru and the wonder of the world, Machu Picchu.

Pacha Expeditions, we are tour operators authorized by the Ministry of tourism of our country are a company that works with people who love their work, experienced guides, cooks, porters and our staff in general are a 100% company, Cusco, we create job opportunities in our city and contribute taxes to the Peruvian Government and more importan in our work to protect nature (mother earth)

Yes. As all our treks (the Inca Trail, Salkantay, Ausangate etc.) are moderately difficult, long and mountainous, we highly recommend that you are relatively fit – and acclimatized – before undertaking them (stair master helps!). During the months (or at the very least, one month) before your trip, you should take regular, moderate exercise. We want you to have an amazing experience and the fitter you are, the more enjoyable the treks will be.

Since we go over heights of 4200m/13750ft to 5200m/17000ft during these treks, we also strongly suggest that you stay in Cusco (3334 meters/10900ft) or another high altitude city (Arequipa (2320m/7586ft) Puno (3850m/12589ft) for some days before leaving on any of these adventure trips. It generally takes 4 weeks to fully acclimatize, however a 4 to 5 day period in a high altitude city will give your body time to adjust and reduce the possibility of altitude sickness affecting you.

  • Avoid over-exerting yourself when you first arrive (however, some gentle activity during the day is better than sleeping)
  • Eat many carbohydrates
  • Drink many fluids
  • Avoid cigarettes and alcohol
  • Avoid taking sleeping pills
  • Drink coca (ancient traditional leaf) tea.

Due to regulations brought in in 2002, the Inca Trail (5, 4 or 2 days) is limited to 500 people per day (including Guides, porters and cooks). It is therefore necessary to book in advance to guarantee a place on the date you want to leave. For Inca Trail treks in the high season (May, June, July, August and September), it is advisable to book at least 5 months ahead.

If you want to confirm your reservation:

A, Send us the following information:

  • Full name
  • Gender
  • Date of birth
  • Passport number (it is important that we receive the passport number that you will use whilst on the trek; please advise if you think you will change your passport before you do the Inca trail)
  • Nationality

B, Confirm whether you are a student (it is necessary to have a valid ISIC card to qualify as a student) and if so scan and email it. (We need to present a copy of your card now and you will need to take the original on the Inca Trail. If for any reason, you will not have your original card when you are going to enter the Inca Trail, please advise us as soon as you know this – the Inca Trail authorities are extremely strict and will not allow you to enter the Inca Trail if you have booked as a student but do not have your original card at the time of entering).

C, Decide whether you want an extra porter who would carry your personal belongings (the price of this service is $150). By hiring a porter, you will only need to carry a very small daypack. (Please note, you can also share one porter between two people – up to 7 kilos* each (7kl. includes sleeping bags and mats) –costing $.80 each.) We provide you with a duffle bag in which to put your belongings that your extra porter will carry. If you do not hire a porter, you will carry your personal belongings including sleeping bag and sleeping mattress.

D, Pay a deposit (Non-refundable) of $.250 per person or $.140 if you are hiring a porter or if you are making deposit for the Service, (the rest can be paid once you arrive in Cusco).

E, Let us know if you have any special dietary requirements or medical conditions that we should know about.

We use your deposit (Non- refundable) to pay official fees when making your official reservation. For example, we need to pay tourist and porter’s entrance fees and taxes (19%). We also use it to secure cooks, porters and horses for our different treks.

-Western Union is the safest and fastest way to wire money (especially when availability is changing very quickly and reservations need to be made ASAP!). You can send money from anywhere in the world in a few minutes or online through www.westernunion.com.

Is an extra porter necessary and how many kilos do they carry for us?

An adventure does not have to mean pain and by hiring an extra porter that carries up to 14 kilos of your personal belongings you will definitely have time to enjoy, take your time and relax more. In addition, you will be creating a job for one more porter and thus helping us to help the local community.

In hiring an extra porter, you will only need to carry a daypack containing water, sun cream, insect repellent, snacks and a coat.

We believe our porters do a huge percentage of the work on the Inca Trail and deserve to be treated well. All our porters are trained and equipped with proper bags to carry the equipment, back supports, t-shirts for the day, body warmers for the cold nights, ponchos for the rain, drinks, snacks and plenty of food. Please see our section on our porters’ welfare but most importantly see them while on the trail!

Notice: Please let us know if you see other groups’ porters being better treated than the PACHA EXPEDITIONS PORTERS!!

No, there is not an age limit but if you are older, we advise you to have a medical check-up before your trip, try to acclimatize to the altitude (see altitude sickness) and train for the trek. We have taken children as young as 7 and people up to the age of 68 many times. Do not worry; we are here to help you do it!! WHERE THERE IS A WILL, THERE IS A WAY….!

As long as you arrive at the camps before it gets dark all is perfectly fine; the guides will keep you informed of distances and hours to be covered after every break, as an average people walk at a rate of 1.8 km per hour meaning a slow pace and resting while you are receiving explanation about the Inca sites and environment from our guide.

For groups of 9 or more people you will always have 2 professional guides! 1 comes with the back person -if you the last you will never be alone and the other guide will be at the front. In case, you have only one guide (for groups or 8 or less people), the guide always comes with the last person in the group.

This is a very novel and revolutionary system that we are using (only Pacha Expeditions makes) and what we have heard from the tourists is that it is very flexible and allows people to travel to the road at the specific date that want to leave and you don’t have to wait for other people to join the group – a minimum of 2 persons is required!

The increase (only if there are 4 or less in your group or to travel on special dates such as Christmas, new year, elections, etc. – Please see our terms and conditions) is requested to make the tour ourselves to pay more for our personnel who sacrifice their holidays or elections (there is a fine here if you do not vote). In Cusco, is a widespread practice in agencies passing tourists to another when the company does not have enough people to do the tour. In this case, know people from different agencies who have paid all kinds of price (sometimes less and sometimes more is a standard price) and all have promised to different services.

Pay increase is also a bonus because his journey becomes a kind of private service (this is an advantage, especially if you are in the mountains trying to escape from the crowds) in this you enjoy more.

No. Unfortunately, once your reservation is officially confirmed with the Inca Trail Authorities (Reservation Office) it is not possible to change or postpone your departure date. You would need to make a new reservation with a new deposit for your new date (this date needs to be one that is at least 5 days before or after your prior departure date). Please note that this is not an agency decision but a local authority regulation.

You will find all our groups to be very mixed in age, gender, nationalities. There are cases when our groups consist of only older people and in other cases only younger people but as an agency we can’t guarantee how old or where our tourists will be from.

We have excellent trained cooks who will provide you with an incredible variety of dishes:

Breakfast: This varies depending on the difficulty of the day ahead. There will usually be a selection of some or all of the following – porridge, scambled eggs, pancakes, bread and jam. Drink-wise, you can have hot chocolate, coffee, English tea and/or a selection of herbal teas (chamomile, lemon grass or simply traditional coca tea).

Lunch and Dinner: You will always have a bowl of soup followed by a main course (chicken, beef, fish etc. with rice or pasta). After this, a dessert and herbal drink will be provided.

Afternoon snacks (Happy Hour!): On finishing the trek every day we will have hot drinks, popcorn, biscuits, bread and jam, chocolate, milo, etc., etc)

Snacks: Before beginning the trek for the day, you will be given – a piece of fruit, a chocolate bar, a small packet of biscuits and some sweets.

*Vegetarian/special diet options are available on request (see below)

Yes. We do provide vegetarian food on request. Please specify your dietary requirements when making your reservation.

Yes. We provide you with water that has previously been boiled or at least 5 minutes (you do not need purification tablets). Therefore, you only need a bottle of water for the first part – until lunchtime – of the first day and then from there on, we will re-fill your bottles all the way to Machu Picchu or to the end of your trek.

Yes. There are several flush toilets along the trail and we highly recommend using them only (please avoid using nature)

The tents for all our treks are 4 man tents but actually 2 enter in each thus allowing you more space and comfort. If you travelling alone and there is an even number of people in your group, you will share the tent with somebody else unless a single supplement is requested ($35).

PACHA EXPEDITIONS: fully complies with the porter’s Law (27608) requirements of payment and insurance. However, tipping (normally on the 3rd night of your trek) is a tradition on the Inca Trail that has been taking place for the (at least) 15 years as a way of showing the porters your gratitude. Generally, the groups prepare a collective tip that is shared out between the cook, head porter and porters (cook and head porter receive more than everyone else heads)

Please NOTE that the amount you tip (or if you tip) is a PERSONAL DESICION and it is not an obligatory.

Tipping the Guide is again a personal decision. If you decide to tip, we recommend that it is according to his/her performance, knowledge and skills while on the trail.

All hostels and hotels in Cusco are accustomed to trekkers leaving belongings whilst on the trek and will have storage facilities at no extra cost. Optionally you can leave your bags with us in our storage.

There is a storage near the control gate where tourists leave their personal belongings, please note that you can only visit Machu Picchu with a small daypack and without food (walking sticks are not allowed either unless is really necessary i.e. age of tourists etc.) this storage service is sometimes free and sometimes you get charged 3 soles (you are in Peru).

We have a very low rate of people turning back once on the trek. Our priority is to help you complete it; all our guides are properly trained and carry a first aid kit and a bottle of oxygen for emergencies. Please do not think about this (you are safe!)

In Cusco dry season starts in April to October, the days are usually sunny and hot but temperatures drop abruptly after 5-6 pm until 7-8 am.

Weather is very changeable from November to March and heavy rains are expected being the wettest month December to March although is not as cold as it is in the dry season.

Month   :   Jan   Feb   Mar   Apr   May   June   July   Aug   Sept      Oct   Nov   Dec

Max º C:    19º     19º   19º   20º     20º       20º     19º   20º     20º      21º   21º    21º

Min º C:     7º        7º      6º     5º      3º        -0º     -0º    +2º       4º         6º      7º      8º

Rainy days: 18     13     15       8        3           1           1        2         5           7        12      16

*Please note: Temperatures are for the Valley of Cusco at 3400masl. And temperatures change depending on the altitude (higher altitude = colder or viceversa) Also note that it could be a bit more wet on the 3rd and on the 4 day of the Inca Trail (cloud forest regions).

If you choose to do the Inca trail, we want it to be the crowning experience of your South America trip. We therefore have some recommendations for a quieter trek:

*As the dry highland months coincide with the high tourist season (due to vacations in North America and Europe), there are generally many tourists on the Inca Trail at this time. If you want to avoid the crowds and have a more relaxing trail, we suggest that you hike it in March, April, May, October or November, although there is a possibility of rain in these months.

*Another alternative to avoid crowds is to hike the trail in * 5 days and 4 nights. During this tour, you will have more time to ‘take it easy’ and explore the trail (Inca Sites, flora, bird-watching etc.). You camp in places behind the normal campsites, where fewer people camp and as you are camping at higher altitudes, the views of mountains and sunrises will be amazing. (Please note that due to the higher altitudes, these campsites are a little colder than those on the 4-day Inca Trail are.)

Train included in all tours is the Cerrojo backpacker (to Ollanta) Train times will only be confirmed once full amount of tour is paid. The earliest train you could take is the 15:55.pm and being the 9:50.pm the last train. PACHA EXPEDITIONS will organize the transport back to Cusco (by taxi or by bus).

Please Note: train times are subject to change depending on Perurail timetable and availability.

If organized in advance, the train can be up graded to Vistadome (larger windows than the backpacker cerrojo train) for an increased price.

¿Got other questions? Please contact us.

Have a wonderful Trek to Machu Picchu!