Here are some tips and general advice for visiting Peru from our past clients: what to bring, what to expect and more!
Bring headlamps for the Amazon rainforest.
November is a great time to go. It is rainy season but it never rained. The weather was perfect (70) and crowds were small.
Be sure to use insect spray in the Machu Picchu area. Tiny sandflies left us all itching even weeks later.
Bring a little masking tape to attach your tourist card to your passport. They make a big deal of that small piece of paper.
When going to Peru it is helpful to get some local money from your bank (our bank was able to order it for us). It is also helpful to have plenty of small bills!
AWR had recommended that we bring school supplies for the kids and give them to our guides. We did this and found that it was much appreciated.
Someone listed to bring Ziploc bags and I thought this was weird. However, we used every single one we brought! Also, the Amazon was the only place that clothes dried by air if washed in the room. The Belmond had laundry service and that was great.
Do the five day trek rather than the four day.
The [Inca Trail] is a real hike, at altitude with significant elevation gain and no bailout point so prepare appropriately or stay on the train and enjoy the tour the next day.
Go with the flow. Enjoy the food, be adventurous.
Be prepared for long uphill climbs. 🙂
Don’t underestimate the difficulty of the Inca Trail! Be ready for some serious steps!
Don’t be afraid to ask AWR about anything to do with your trip. They will gladly answer any of your questions and if they don’t know the answer, they will find out for you, and respond quite promptly.
Let your hair down and just have fun because AWR has made all the arrangements for you!
Stay in Ollantaytambo to acclimate rather than Cusco (that’s what we did, and it was good) and allow 3 days of acclimatization.
For the Inca Trail, go with an open mind, a positive attitude and the discipline to make the time to stop and enjoy the beauty around you. For organizing the trip, doing so with AWR is an excellent start!
No matter how fit you are, the trek will physically challenge you. Relax, take a deep breath to get more O2, drink lots of Gatorade and water, and remember that it’s not a race; it’s important to stop and take in the beauty that surrounds you along the way.
Don’t over pack your day pack – wear the right clothes, footwear and socks to deal with high heat, cold, rain, snow and sleet and have baby wipes, a poncho, sunscreen, bug spray, hat, sunglasses, trekking poles, moleskin, a headlamp, Advil, and your camera on hand.
I think it is important to tell people that hiking the Inca trail is NOT easy. All but one in our group are endurance athletes, and it was harder than we expected.
We loved [the Via Ferrata], but we were a bit surprised in its extreme nature.
We found the hike up Wayna Picchu easier than the Sun Gate. Maybe because it was in the shade.
Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to be winded, as the elevation definitely is a factor. Know your limitations and do not engage in a hike or climb beyond your capabilities.
In the rain forest, use Deet, the natural oils are not affective.
A few soles goes a long way in Peru. We purchased several nice items during the trip. Do not be afraid to bargain, you always obtain a better price with cash.
The Sacred Valley tour day is long. I think we left at 8 and got back at 6!
Wear both hiking boots and trail shoes for different types of activities, take or rent poles, mosquitoes not really a problem on our trip. While some folks got bit, (and bugs love me), I did not even use the bug spray and never got bit!
In hindsight[, I] would have preferred to go directly to Sacred Valley for acclimatization as Cusco at 11k is too high to go right from Lima. I would have preferred at least two days in the Sol Y Luna or at a minimum after leaving [Machu Picchu,] go directly to Sol Y Luna for last night vs Cusco.
Would recommend booking return from Cusco later in evening to better match late night flights back to US or come in sooner and plan sightseeing in Lima. Even though we left airport and went to dinner (others did not), we still had 8 hours between flights!!
Acclimatize longer in Cusco. A day more would have been great.
Be prepared for the trek. Even the one day hike was longer and more difficult thanwe thought it would be. I am not sure if anyone can adequately prepare, but one should understand it could be very difficult for the casual hiker.
Stay an extra day in Aguas Calientes. Go back to Machu Picchu later that first day after a shower and clean clothes and then hike Huayna Picchu the next day.
Bring suitcases with extra room, you will want to buy A LOT at the Pisac Market if you enjoy textiles as much as I do.
Carry small Soles coins for tipping in town.
Bring your passport everywhere! Maybe that is intuitive for others but in the US we don’t have to bring passports everywhere we go, but it is necessary.
Be flexible and good-humored. Stuff will happen in spite of all the groundwork laid by AWR and their agents. Be sure to allow enough time for altitude adjustment before setting off on the trek. We were glad we spent four days in Cusco and the Sacred Valley.