INCA TRAIL HIKE TO MACHUPICCHU
The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is considered one of the best treks in the world due to its exquisite beauty and natural environment. This includes different ecological areas from high Andean deserts to rainforests. Following this ancient Inca Trail, passing through mysterious archaeological sites covered by vegetation environments, creating the impression of being discovered for the first time, to finally reach the lost city of the Incas: Machu Picchu. Our adventure is led by expert guides who will ensure that your trip safe and enjoyable. Our services include native porters for luggage and delicious dishes throughout the trip.
We are a specialist company on the Inca Trail
DAY 1: CUSCO-OLLANTAYTAMBO-KM 82-HUAYLLABAMBA
We’ll pick you up from your hotel between 4:30-5:00 a.m, then we will travel to Ollantaytambo, where you can take the breakfast. After a delicious breakfast , we continue by the Van until KM 82, at 9:00 am we will start the hike and pass through the first Inca Trail check point . The first 2 hours of the trek are relatively easy as we make our way to our first Inca site, Patallacta which is an ancient Inca checkpoint for the inca trail travelers to Machu Picchu. After to enjoy this beutiful site we continue 45 min more to get , our lunch spot in Tarachayoq, in the afternoon we have to walk through 2 small communities, reaching the Huayllabamba village at 5:00 PM , so at 5.30 pm we will have our tea time ,and the dinner at 6.00 pm.
DAY 2: HUAYLLABAMBA – DEAD WOMAN´S PASS – PACAYMAYU
Your porters will wake up you, at 5:00 am with a hot cup of coca tea to get you ready for the day. Today is our longest day and we will start early. We’ll hike for roughly 4 hours to the highest pass of the trek, Dead Woman’s Pass (4215 meters/13829 feet). The first 2 hours , you will walk into highland forest, the way is steps and uphill. Then you will get the place of Llullucha, where we will stop a long time, from this point until the dead woman pass is one hour and a half , the landescape gonna change , is a new mcroclimate, becuase the altitude it gonna be very hard, but not impossible to reach the pass, we’ll stop a short break to enjoy the views before setting off again to descend to the next valley (Pacaymayu Valley – Hidden River). It’s another hour and a half down the side of the valley to our lunch spot, usually time to arrive is at 2:00 pm , this day you will sleep there. In the afternoon is a free time, to relaxing , in case you like a cold shower there is , if not just enjoy the beauty of the landescape, this day we have also tea time and the dinner.
DAY 3: RUNKURAKAY – SAYACMARCA – PHUYUPATAMARCA – WIÑAYHUAYNA
We begin early again, wake up at 5:30am to begin what is commonly felt to be the most beautiful day of the whole Inca Trail. We begin ascending again to the second pass of the trek. It’s 2 hours to the pass and along the way we’ll stop at a small Inca site (Runcu Raccay) and see two huge waterfalls cascading down the opposite side of the valley. After the second pass, it’s another hour downhill hike to reach the magnificent Inca site, Sayacmarca (an otherwise inaccessible village).
We’ll stop here for a rest and have a quick tour of the site and then watch the Vilcabamba mountain range. It’s then just another 20 minutes until we stop for the lunch place, in Chaquicocha at 11:00 am (Dry Lake, 3600 meters). After lunch, we hike for 2 hours along what we like to call “Inca flat” (gradual inclines) and begin to enter the jungle, known as the Cloud Forest. As we walk we will have the opportunity to see the majesty of Salkantay, the second highest snow-capped mountain in Cusco. Towards the end of the Inca flats we begin to make our way up to the last peak at Phuyupatamarka (3600 meters) from where we’ll have great views overlooking the Urubamba River. Down the valley we get our first views of Machu Picchu Mountain but the site itself is still hidden from view. From Phuyupatamarka it´s a 3 hour walk down a flight of steps, to our last campsite, arrival time is at 16:00 pm. Wiñay Wayna is the most spectacular Inca site on the trail after Machu Picchu and the most popular campsite because of its proximity to Machu Picchu.
During the descent we visit 2 Inca ruins, Phuyupatamarka (Town in the Clouds) and Intipata (Terraces of the Sun). At around 16:30PM your guide will give you a short orientation and you will visit the Inca ruins of Wiñay Wayna, spending about half hour there. We will explain the significance of the site and combine all the information given during the treks.
We like to spoil our guests as we enjoy our last feast with the porters and chefs. It’s an Inca Trail tradition to organize a ceremony in the evening to introduce the team to the tourists once again and to thank them for the great job done (if you wish to provide tips for them then you can do so at this time). It is advisable to go to bed at a reasonable time in order to get up in the early hours of the morning to arrive to Machu Picchu at the crack of dawn in hopes that the weather will give us a beautiful sunrise over the ruins at MachuPicchu.
DAY 4 : MACHU PICCHU-AGUAS CALIENTES-CUSCO
Wake up time is at 3:00 AM. We’ll have breakfast at 3:30 AM and wait at the checkpoint to be one of the first team to start trekking when they open the gates at 5:30AM. We’ll wave goodbye to our team of porters and chef and then it’s “Forward On” to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku). From here we have spectacular views of the mountains and Machu Picchu in all its glory. We reach the Sun Gate by 6:30am and then it’s just an hour trek downstairs to reach the Lost City of the Incas. As we approach MachuPicchu the views of the city just get better and better. At about 7:40AM we’ll reach the final checkpoint and enter Machu Picchu to begin our 2 hour private guided tour. After the tour you will have between 3-4 hours to explore on yourself, if you booked any mountain in Machu picchu to climb up, you can do. Then you will go down to Aguas Calientes Town to take the train to Ollantaytambo, arriving to the train station of Ollantaytamabo after 2 hours, then you will take the bus to Cusco, arriving to the small plaza of San Francisco.
INCLUDED IN THE TREK:
- Pick up from your hotel in cusco
- Professional licensed guide fluent in English, Spanish, and Quechua
- Pre trek briefing 1 to 2 days before the trek
- Support staff including professional cooks and porters
- 03 breakfasts, 03 lunches, and 03 dinners
- Boiled water from day 2 until last day breakfast
- Kitchen tent, dining tent with table, stools, and all dining implements
- Camping tents
- Oxigen tank, first aid kit
- Inca Trail permits and entrance to Machu Picchu
- Train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
- Private van to trailhead at km 82
- Bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco.
- Sleeping Bag (rentals available in our office $20.00 usd )
- Huayna Picchu: Huayna Picchu is the mountain that stands next to Machu Picchu. It is a 45 minute hike to the top. Going back down is quite steep, if you are scared of heights. This is done after your tour of Machu Picchu. The cost is $ 80. Arrangements need to be made at least one month in advance, due to popularity. Please understand that weather is out of our control.
- Trekking poles (rentals available in our office $15.00 usd )
- Last day lunch in Aguas Calientes
- Bus Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes ( $ 12.00 usd )
- Early Train ( $ 30 usd )
- Porter extra ( $ 120 usd )
- First breakfast
- Extra drinks as beer, spirits,etc
FREQUENTLY ASQUED QUESTIONS
A.- BEFORE YOU GO
B.- ON THE TREK
C.- BOOKINGS & RESERVATIONS
BEFORE YOU GO.-
Where are the Departure points for our Treks?
Pick up from your hotels at 05:00 am (have early breakfast, most hotels offer breakfast or pack breakfast) we depart at 06:00 am, 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.
Arrival to Cusco and checkin at the Cusco ECO PATH TREK office
We assume most people try to arrive to Cusco 2-3 days before the trek to allow adequate time for acclimatisation and a buffer in case of transport delays. Once you have settled in and rested you must come to the Cusco office to view and reconfirm the information we have pertinent to your trek, personal requirements and sign the conditions ( even if you have already paid in full.) There are occasions when local holidays or unrest may require last minute changes to departure times or some additional information.
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 in your hotel in Cusco.
What should I pack?
- Good rain gears
- Hiking shoes
- 4 pairs of socks
- Trekking poles
- sun glasses
- Mosquito repellent
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 -15º Celcius US $ 20.00
A pair of trekking poles US $ 15.00
Personal porter for 14 Kg US $ 120.00
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 800 gr; 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 = 800 gr
Seeping bag weight = 1-2 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 US$ 70 (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, it may be prudent on your part to keep in mind that a train ride from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes costs approx US$50-80 (in the case you need to leave the trail early).
Do the guides speak English?
Yes all our tour guides speak very well the English, mostly of then have studied in th university of Cusco, aslo are Archeologist, Biologist, and the most important are really funny guys.
How many people will be in my group?
We work with small groups, we use to have 4 to 8 persons per tour guide. If there are more persons we will add another tour guide. Our staff for a group of 8 passengers are: 1 cook, 1 kitchen assistant, 1 head porter, 5 porters.
Should I hire an extra porter?
If you have not trekked in altitude before we would suggest your organise the extra porter, 75% of our travellers hire the extra porter.
The half porter who will carry only 7kg cost $70.00 USD
A full porter who will carry 14 kg cost $ 120.00 USD
ECO PATH TREK provide a duffle porter bag at the briefing the night before your hike. 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.
Please note that there are fines and notifications if you give an excess, If it is overweight at the weigh station, items will have to be removed to reduce the weight.
ON THE TREK
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. ECO PATH TREK 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?
43 Km/ 26 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: 10 kilometers (11 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: 15 km (8 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, ECO PATH TREK 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 Inti Killa 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 $60 and $100 total .
Can ECO PATH TREK accommodate my dietary needs? What kind of food will there be?
Not to worry, ECO PATH TREK 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 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 ECO PATH TREK 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. ECO PATH TREK 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 ( US$ 30-40 ) 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 US$15 and the cook around US$30. 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 18 and 28 soles. (US$8-10) Again, tips are optional not mandatory and dependent on the level of service provided. Obviously if you want to pay more please do so.
SUMMARY:Like in most American countries, tipping is normal practice. If you have enjoyed the service provided by the trekking team we would recommend bringing between 80 and 110 soles ( US$ 30-40 ) to covers tips for the trekking staff. However if you think that you have received poor service you are under no obligation to pay a tip. The trekking team will soon get the message. Please pay tips in cash and do not pay in kind such as in beers etc. We have tried to be as clear as possible about tipping but we understand that this is a complicated issue when many different cultures and lifestyles come together.
The procedure and amounts listed above have been written in conjunction with our guides and trekking staff. We accept that not all of our clients will be in agreement with this information. It is important that you tip the amount that you feel comfortable with. Please try not to let the procedure stress you or cause anyone to feel badly towards other members of the group who wish to pay less than the recommended amount or decide not to pay a tip at all.
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 $80 usd .
How long am I able to stay at Machu Picchu? How I will I get down to Aguas Calientes?
The visits to Machupicchu have been divided into two schedules, the first is (6:00 am to 12:00 pm); and the second schedule is from (1:00 pm to 5:00 pm), whose ticket has a one-time validity, with a duration of only two hours with the guide, then you can stay a prudent time until the middle, if Your ticket is the first turn. This system has been implemented for reasons of care and protection of the world wonder.
What time will I be back in Cusco?
You generally arrive back to Cusco around 7.30 to 9.00 pm so don`t expect to be able to book a flight out for the same night as flights do not exist after 7.00 pm.
Can you explain the train service a little more?
If you make your reservation with much time in advance, we will buy the return train at 2:30 p.m., or 3:20 p.m. If you make your reservation with a time of one month in advance or less than that time, we can not guarantee that you will have an early train, you will be sent to your mail alternative schedules.
BOOKING & RESERVATIONS
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.
There is discount for the students?
With the original student ID gives from the university in PVC material and it must have the next requirements: university information, personal student information, student picture, and expiration date valid only for one year, it year must coincide with the year that student visit Machu Picchu, the discount until 25 years old.
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 US $150 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 issued 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 $15pp)
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. If you choose to pay with credit card you need to pay 10% commission. The prices of the tours are for cash payment. You can withdraw US $ 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 4 mg 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.
WHAT TO BRING
- PLEASE remember to bring your original passport – you will not get on the Inca Trail without it.
- Your original ISIC card, if applicable (please send us a copy at the time of your booking)
- Day Pack
- Sleeping bag ( minimun -10 C° )
- Hiking boots and sandals (very important)
- Trekking poles (you can rent from Eco Path Trek )
- Warm clothes: layers for variable temperatures, especially at night. Thermals/Gloves/scarves: wool socks and wool hat for cold nights: About 4 T-shirts for the entire trek
- Wterproof pants
- Head lamp (very important)
- Camera and extra batteries
- Sunscreen/hat and sunglasses
- Personal medical kit
- Insect repellent
- Rain Gear: a good rain jacket and rain pants and plastic rain poncho.
- Toilet paper
- Small towel
- Camel bag – if not you can take plastic bottles for water
- Extra money for drinks & tips, souvenirs, emergencies etc. (soles or dollars) minimun 500 soles
TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF ECO PATH TREK
Travel in Peru: Eco Path Trek operates in regions where standards of accommodation, transport and services might not be those you would normally expect. However we strive, with all due care and skill, to provide the best services for our tourists. Travelling in Peru requires flexibility, patience, broad-mindedness, good humour and understanding that changes may be made without notice due to circumstances beyond our control (Force Majeure – see below). By booking any of our tours you agree to Eco Path Trek making necessary changes without liability.
FORCE MAJEURE: This is any event that Eco Path Trek could not, even with all due care, foresee or avoid. This covers events such as war or threat, riot, civil strife, terrorist activity, industrial dispute, disease, disaster or adverse weather conditions, fire or all similar events beyond our control. In this case, Eco Path Trek will not accept liability and reserves the right to change, postpone or even cancel the trip (this is the last option of course!).
Increments in Case of Protests, Strikes (FORCE MAJEURE): In the event of a protest / strike, which is not uncommon in Cusco, it may be necessary to leave a day or even 2 days earlier than scheduled so that we are able to comply with other services. In this case, an increment will be charged to cover costs incurred.
Risks: By booking any of our adventure trips (Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Salkantay, Ausangate, Choquekirao, Lares, Vilcabamba trek etc.) you assume the risks associated with them. For these Eco Path Trek accepts no responsibility.
Travel Insurance: We strongly advise you to take out travel insurance that covers accidents, medical expenses and emergency repatriation, including rescue and air ambulance. We also recommend that it covers cancellations and loss of luggage. Please forward a copy/ company name and policy number by email or bring the information when you come to our office.
Sending your main Departure date and back up date: By providing us with a main date and a back up date for your trek (classic Inca Trail, Lares, Salkantay, etc) you automatically authorize Eco Path Trek to use either of these dates for your reservation. Eco Path Trek within the next 48 hours (after you have sent us your booking form and confirm deposit was made) will send you an electronic receipt confirming your trek has been officially booked and also to confirm the exact departure date of your trek.
Sending your Personal Details for Booking: Your passport number and other information must be valid. Please advise if you change your passport number after booking the tour (especially for booking the classic Inca Trail as if we do not make a change in your official details, you may not be permitted to do the trek). Please Note changing passports numbers requires an extra fee (we are able to change passports numbers easily on our receipt but its also extremely important that we make the changes with the Inca Trail authorities)
Student rate: In order to obtain this discount you must have a valid ISIC card. It is important you scan and e-mail this to us at the time of booking and that it is valid on the date you are booked on the Inca Trail/alternative trek (you will need to show the real ISIC card http://www.isiccard.com upon your arrival here in Cusco and in Machu Picchu).
Making a Reservation and payment of deposit:
- For the classic Inca Trails: 3 days, 4 days, 5 or 7 days (Group or Private Service)
We request a $250 non-refundable deposit per person along with your personal details (full name, passport number, gender, nationality, DOB)
The deposit amount is:
$ 250 USD per person for Inca Trail only
Please confirm if you want to climb Wayna Picchu (the 45 minute climb near Machu Picchu site) as it needs to be booked well in advance too; this is $ 80.00 USD per person there are 2 time sessions: 7 – 8am or 10 – 11am – this also needs to be specified although you need to be flexible to either time. Please note, if you get the permits for the 7am start you will probably have to miss the Machu Picchu guided tour.
About the Briefing: The night before your trek there will be a pre-trek talk (briefing) in our office at either 6:00pm or 6:30pm (exact time will be confirmed on your arrival or by email). Your duffle bag will be provided at this time if you have paid for an extra porter for your Inca Trail or if you are doing an alternative trek.
Payment of Final Balance: We require you to pay your final balance in our office at least 48 hours prior to trek departure (please advise if you have any delays on arrival).
(1) Deposit sent for booking is non-refundable nor transferable to any other date, person or tour.
(2) Eco Path Trek must be notified of any changes or cancellations to your trip as soon as you are aware of them, via e-mail or fax so that we do not incur expenses not covered by deposit.
(3) Once final balance has been paid, we will not be able to refund your trek payment in the case of cancellations.
(4) A claim letter for your insurance company can also be provided by us upon request.
(5) Porter service hired can Not be cancelled (a fee is paid for booking this service).
VERY IMPORTANT (1): We strongly suggest staying at high altitude (above 3000 metres – in Cusco or another high altitude city) for 3 to 4 days (minimum) before undertaking the trip. This is in order to minimize the effects of possible altitude sickness. Also, you can help your body acclimatize by drinking plenty of liquids, adding a bit more sugar to your drinks, eating food rich in carbohydrates, avoiding cigarettes and alcohol and drinking coca (ancient traditional leaf) tea. Diamox can also be helpful – please ask your doctor about this.
VERY IMPORTANT (2): We recommend you arrive in Cusco 48 hours or more before trek departure as we may need to leave earlier than scheduled in case of strikes or other events out of our control (see Force Majeure above).
VERY IMPORTANT (3): If you want early train to back Cusco, you have to tell before, this service is extra: USD 30.00.