Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Lima CME

11 Days
Fall
From $5,350
Category:

Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Lima CME

Continuing Medical Education in Peru

This Continuing Medical Education (CME) class in Wilderness and Travel Medicine while exploring Lima, hiking Peru’s Inca Trail and visiting Machu Picchu is a true classic that should be on every adventurer’s “to-do” list.

It is difficult to describe the magnificence of Machu Picchu, a stone fortress city nestled below stunning peaks. It is perhaps the greatest mystery of the Inca Empire. The four-day trek on the Inca Trail to reach this pre-Columbian site is a pilgrimage through time. Beautiful Andean scenery, as well as cultural history, unfolds as we hike up and down steep stone staircases past ancient Inca outposts.

Our guides and porters will carry all of your gear and prepare delicious meals on the trail. After hiking the Inca Trail you’ll have a quick afternoon to explore Machu Picchu, returning the following day to thoroughly appreciate this magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Center.

Wilderness Medicine Continuing Medical Education seminars will typically take place in the afternoons between 5 and 7pm, before dinner is served.

WILDERNESS & TRAVEL MEDICINE CLASSES: COURSE INFORMATION
Accreditation – 16 Hours AMA PRA Category I

WILDERNESS MEDICINE COURSE CONTENT INCLUDES:

  • Altitude Illness
  • Hypothermia
  • Frostbite
  • Heat Illness
  • Snakebites
  • Travelers Illnesses
  • Marine Envenomations
  • Trauma Management
  • Wilderness Orthopedics
  • Water Disinfection
  • Swiftwater Safety and Rescue
  • Basic Wilderness Survival
  • Wilderness Medical Kits
  • Wound Management
  • Patient Assessment
  • Wilderness Dermatology
  • Wilderness Pediatrics

CME ACCREDITATION INFORMATION
This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education through the joint providership of the Center for Emergency Medical Education and Wilderness and Travel Medicine. The Center for Emergency Medical Education is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The Center for Emergency Medical Education designates this live activity for a maximum of 16 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM.

Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Itinerary Snapshot

Day 1
Arrive in Lima. Overnight at AC Hotel Lima Miraflores. (No meals included)

Day 2
Lima’s history through time with an historian. Welcome dinner at a special restaurant. (B)

Day 3
Fly to Cusco & city walking tour. (B)

Day 4
Visit Sacsayhuaman, Awanacancha and Pisac. Dinner at Hacienda Huayoccari. (B & D)

Day 5
Kayak and/or Stand-up paddleboard in Huaypo lake with outdoor picnic lunch. Visit Moray and transfer to hotel. (B & L)

Day 6
Begin hiking the Inca Trail! (B + L + D)

Day 7
Pass through the incredible cloud forests of Yunkachimpa and Corralpunku. Hit 14,000 feet. (B + L + D)

Day 8
Ascend the second pass – 13, 000 feet. (B + L + D)

Day 9 Reach the Sun Gate of Machu Picchu and enjoy a brief initial visit at the ruins. Overnight at the 5-star InkaTerra, Pueblo Hotel in the small town of Aguas Callientas. (B + L + D)

Day 10 In the morning, we take a bus up the twisty road back to Machu Picchu where we spend most of the day. In the late afternoon, we climb aboard a first-class train for a ride back to Cusco. (B)

Day 11
Transfer to the airport and fly to Lima. (B)

Optional Extensions
If you would like to come in early or stay late and spend more time in Lima or Cusco, we’re happy to help you organize and book lodging and activities.

Day 1: Arrive in Lima & transfer to the hotel
Your journey begins in Lima, a pre-Hispanic and vice-royal city, whose historic center has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been recognized as the gastronomic capital of America.

At the airport, a guide will welcome and accompany you to your hotel.

Hotel: AC Lima / Deluxe City View
Meals: None

Day 2: Limás history through time with a renowned historian
In the company of a distinguished Peruvian historian, discover Lima’s history, which began to take shape over three thousand years ago when ancient civilizations built important archaeological centers that we can still visit today. One of them is the Huaca Pucllana, the starting point of your journey through the capital.

Continue exploring the worldview and history of Ancient Peru through more than thirty-five thousand textiles, ceramics, gold and silver objects in the Larco Museum, an eighteenth-century viceregal house considered one of the best museums in the world.

You will go forward in time to the viceregal era as we visit the historic center of Lima. A sample of almost three centuries of Spanish conquest can be seen in its imposing colonial architecture. It has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Hotel: AC Lima / Deluxe City View
Meals: Breakfast. Lunch and dinner paid directly by guests

Day 3: Fly to Cusco & explore the Imperial city by foot
Private transport to Lima´s airport and fly to Cusco.

Your journey continues in in Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire and cultural heritage of humanity. At the airport, a Terra Explorer guide will welcome and accompany you to your hotel.

The city of Cusco is located at 3300 meters above sea level, so we recommend you rest a little to acclimatize optimally.

In the afternoon, discover one of the most beautiful cities in Latin America, full of archeological remains and colorful colonial neighborhoods, witnesses of the passage of time and the events that shaped the history of Peru.

Hotel: Casa Andina Premium / Superior
Meals: Breakfast. Lunch and dinner paid directly by guests

Day 4: Visit Sacsayhuaman, Awanacancha and Pisac. Dinner at Hacienda Huayoccari
Before heading to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, visit the most iconic archeological site in the city´s highest point: Sacsayhuaman, the most important ceremonial fortresses built by the Incas during their heyday in Cusco. Then, continue to Awanacancha, a camelid center where you will appreciate these fascinating animals: llamas, alpacas, vicuñas and huanacos, a great introduction to the Andean culture.

On the way to the Sacred Valley you will discover the Andes, the longest mountain range on the planet, inhabited by legendary indigenous communities and areas untouched by modernity. In the following days, this place will allow you to connect with different ways of seeing the world. We will make a stop at the famous and colourful Pisac market, where locals from different communities gather to sell their unique crafts

At night, we will enjoy a welcome dinner at Hacienda Huayoccari, witness and survivor of a government that eradicated most country estates in Peru in the 1970s. Accompanied by a member of the Lambarri Orihuela family, who have inhabited this Hacienda sin 1916, learn about the history of the Sacred Valley and our country.

You will access their private art collection, a journey through authentic pieces of ancient Peruvian civilizations, viceregal, and republican times.

With a spectacular view of the Sacred Valley and surrounded by seventeenth and eighteenth-century furniture, colonial paintings, lots of popular art, and baroque music, enjoy a delicious lunch prepared with local ingredients that grow in Huayoccari’s organic gardens.

Hotel: Sonestadas Posadas Yucay / Standard
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner.

Day 5: Kayak and/or Stand-up paddles in Huaypo lake with outdoor picnic lunch. Visit Moray and transfer to hotel
Crossing the open fields of the Sacred Valley of the Incas brings us to Huaypo, a beautiful and solitary lagoon perched high in the Andes.

Explore Huaypo, paddling its waters in sea expedition kayaks, and learn how this lake is linked to the surrounding communities and crop fields, and observe the endemic birds that inhabit it as you glide amidst the reflection of the surrounding mountains and snow-capped peaks.
Duration: 1.5 hrs. Kayaking

On the shores of Huaypo, enjoy a delicious luxury picnic in the outdoors.

Continue to explore Moray, the circular terraces that make this center of agricultural experimentation one of the most enigmatic archaeological remains of the Peruvian Andes, and learn how far the Incas went in terms of science and technology. Surrounded by the snow-capped mountains Verónica and Chicón, in green pastures and traditional villages you will arrive to the impressive salt mines of Maras. Over three thousand salt wells were built by the Incas on the slopes of the mountain Qaqawiñay, which are still used today.

Hotel: Sonestadas Posadas Yucay / Standard
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch.

Day 6: Inca Trail. Km 82 to Huayllabamba
The trek begins at km 82 (mile 50) in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, in the Piscaycucho community. Here the porters will be waiting for you with all the equipment ready. They are an essential part of this experience and will accompany you along the entire route.

Hike parallel to the Urubamba River, with beautiful views of the imposing, snow-capped Verónica Mountain, until you reach the village of Miskay. Then, ascend to the viewpoint of Llactapata and be amazed by this ancient and masterful archeological center.

Say goodbye to the Urubamba Valley and enter the Huallabamba Valley, where you will camp in a village carrying the same name, built on the pillars of an ancient Inca settlement.

Overnight: Camp at Huayllabamba
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 7: Pacaymayo
Begin the day’s trek by ascending to Llulluchapampa. The route crosses a forest of Uncas (native Andean tree) and then a dwarf forest until finally reaching the top of the Inca Trail at the Warmihuyñuska Pass, where the landscape transforms into an arid high Andean puna.

From here, a descent with large stone steps will bring you, slowly and magically, to the cloud forest. Flora and fauna will change in front of your eyes and will allow you to appreciate different types of plants and endemic birds until you reach Pacaymayo.

Overnight: Camp at Pacaymayo
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 8: Phuyupatamarca
Today is, without a doubt, the most rewarding day of the entire journey.
In the morning, we strategically wait for the rest of the groups to go ahead so that you can enjoy a less crowded Inca Trail for the rest of the day.

Ascend to the Runkurakay Pass, from where you will see the Warmiñuska Pass and the valleys that descend to the Amazon.

Along a wide, cobblestone, and well-preserved Inca trail, amid orchids, ferns, and brambles, you will enter the cloud forest and continue to the remains of Sallacmarca. This is the ideal habitat for hummingbirds and the spectacled bear, which with luck can be seen in this area.

Finally, continue to Phuyupatamarca, where you will camp with a breathtaking view of the Urubamba and Vilcanota mountain ranges, which blend in front of our eyes to give way to the Amazon. Simply amazing!

Overnight: Camp at Phuyupatamarca
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 9: Through the Sungate into Machu Picchu
This morning, appreciate from the campsite one of the most spectacular sunrises in the Andes with a panoramic view of the surrounding mountain ranges, including the Pumasillo Massif and the imposing Salkantay.

Descend to the ruins of Intipata, an ancient agricultural experimental center with a spectacular panoramic view of the entire Urubamba Valley.

Continue to the most important and impressive archeological site of the entire route: Wiñaywayna. Then, along a path covered with tropical vegetation, cross the Intipunku (the Sun Gate) and be amazed by a fabulous view of Machu Picchu.

Briefly visit the citadel, taking advantage of having arrived at an advantageous hour, since it is less crowded during the late afternoon.

Overnight: Inkaterra Pueblo Hotel / Superior
Meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 10: Machu Picchu
Take the day to explore Machu Picchu at length. Discover the Inca’s history as you walk through squares, temples, fountains, monuments, and residences of the most important religious, political, and cultural center of the Empire.

Optionally, you can climb to the summit of Huayna Picchu, a natural viewpoint that allows you to appreciate the citadel from a different angle. There you will see the breathtaking scenery of the surrounding mountains and the Urubamba Canyon.

In the afternoon, you will board the train that will take you back to the city of Cusco.

Overnight: Casa Andina Premium / Superior
Meals: Breakfast.

Day 11: Transfer to the airport and fly to Lima. Depart to USA
Transfer to Cusco city for your flight to Lima.

IN CUSCO

Casa Andina Private Collection

A beautifully renovated 18th-century manor house, just 3 blocks from Cusco’s Plaza de Armas, replete with authentic colonial character. It offers the intimacy of a boutique hotel but the comforts and services of a much larger property.The hotel is distinguished by its 3 interior patios with wooden balconies. The principal patio, featuring a gurgling stone fountain, is one of Cusco’s emblematic colonial courtyards. In the hotel’s cozy lounge and reading room is a massive stone fireplace that’s always crackling, while the romantic gourmet restaurant invites guests to dine by candlelight in one of 4 connected salons richly decorated with 18th-century Cusco School paintings. Several rooms in the original structure of the hotel feature surviving colonial frescoes unearthed during renovation.

 

IN THE SACRED VALLEY

Casa Andina Sacred Valley

The Sacred Valley’s most complete hotel: a mountain chalet-styled retreat with panoramic Andes views from every room and every angle. On more than 8 landscaped acres (3 hectares), it breathes an air of tranquility and relaxation. Unique among Sacred Valley hotels – most of which remain isolated in the valley, offering precious little for guests to do – it contains an extraordinary, full-service “Sacred Spa”, a domed Planetarium & Observatory for stargazing in the massive Southern Hemisphere sky, and gourmet restaurant and bar.

The 85 inviting, spacious rooms overlook the property’s extensive gardens and feature either private balconies or sunny sitting areas. Equidistant between Urubamba and Ollantaytambo, in the Sacred Valley of Cusco, the hotel is perfectly positioned for easy access to the valley’s abundant attractions and incomparable Inca ruins, including world-renowned Machu Picchu.

IN AGUAS CALIENTES

Machu Picchu Inkaterra Pueblo Hotel

In a private mountainside refuge deep in the lush Andean cloud forest, in the heart of the Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary, lies the intimate Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. From the hotel you are only minutes away from this premier archeological adventure of the Inca Empire. In 2005, the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel was the first Peruvian hotel to be included on Travel+Leisure Magazine’s “The Best 500 Hotels in the World” list. It also appeared on the same publication’s “Top 25” list for Mexico and Central and South America.

Designed and maintained with a keen sense of beauty, the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel blends the simple lines of the Andean architecture, the exquisite handicraft of local artisans, and tasteful furnishings. Cozy one- or two-story whitewashed cottages constructed from local materials line the stone pathways, giving this intimate 85-room hotel the look of a lovely Andean village. Handmade adobe bricks, eucalyptus wood, and cut stones are some of the building materials that give this Andean retreat a feeling of quaint warmth, as well as mysterious spirituality. Colorful local crafts and authentic pre-Columbian artifacts in the public rooms bring the local culture and history to life.

Nature trail:
Miles of trails lace the grounds, winding past waterfalls and through the forest, and wandering through gardens rich with a dazzling array of 372 native orchid species, 172 bird species, 111 species of butterflies, and other natural

Please note: lodging may change depending on availability

Departure Dates:

2023

October 8 – 18

Trip Length: 11 Days
Trip Price:

Trip Cost:
2022
$5,350 per person, based on double occupancy

Includes all transfers, lodging, guiding, and most meals; does not include flights from USA to Lima or Cuzco, Peru.

Additional CME Cost: $695 (16 hrs AMA PRA Category I CME)

Inca trail permits sell out months in advance so please reserve your trip early. A scanned, clear copy of your passport is required with your deposit in order to secure your permit.

Deposit: $600

VISAS & PASSPORTS

U.S. citizens are required to have a passport that is valid for 6 months after your travel dates begin.The Inca Trail requires a permit. The passport you give Bio Bio to get this permit MUST match the passport you have with you when you are in Peru. If, for any reason, you get a new passport, it is of vital importance that you tell us and send us a copy of the new passport. This situation can arise if you, perhaps, lose your passport, get married and change your name, or use different names on different documents.

FLIGHTS & AIRPORTS

You are responsible for booking all flights, international as well as domestic.  However, if you need help, please feel free to call or email the Bio Bio office. One travel agent we often use is:Americas Travel, San Francisco

Office Hours: 10-6 pm Mon-Fri (PST), 888-703-9955

Flying In:
The tour officially begins in Lima. We advise arriving between 10AM – 4PM. If you arrive earlier, you may have a wait for your hotel room.

Domestic Flights
Day 1: Into Lima
Day 9: Lima to Cusco – mid-morning flight, depart ideally between 9.30-10am
Day 11: Out of Cusco

Flying Out:
You can fly out of Cusco to Lima, then home all on Day 11. Or you can choose to spend more time in either of these cities and fly home at a later date. We are happy to help you arrange tours and lodging.

TRAVEL TIMES VIA PLANE
Miami to Lima: 5:25 hrs
Lima to Cusco: 1.5 hrs

Peru is on Central Standard Time

PACKING INFORMATION

Baggage Allowance and Suggested Gear

Please see what restrictions your airline imposes, as the rules and allowances are constantly changing. Typically you are allowed two checked bags up to 50 Lbs each, plus one carry on bag and a purse.

You will be provided with one soft duffle bag when you arrive to Cusco to pack all your gear for the Inca trail. The porters will carry this duffle bag. Your suitcase will be left at the hotel with non-trekking clothes and items – while your suitcases are kept in safe storage we still recommend using a lock on your suitcase.  Keep all important documents, including your passport, with you in your daypack. Please note that your Inca Trail bag with your camping gear will have a weight limit of 18 lbs! This is required by law in Peru to protect the porters. That does not include your tent which will be carried in a different bag.

  • Sleeping bag: A 20 or 30-degree bag is warm enough, in a compression stuff-sack.
  • Sleeping pad: This is very important, and not something you want to skimp on. Thermarest makes a good inflatable pad. Thermarest Lounge chair cover, to turn your pad into a great chair! We can rent Thermarest pads for you in Peru if you’d like. Please let us know in advance so we can reserve them.
  • Camp pillow
  • Travel Clothing: 2-3 pairs of pants and 4-5 shirts that are lightweight and quick drying. A long skirt or nice pants are also nice for special dinners in towns.
  • A day backpack: We recommend that you carry the following items in your daypack: water, sunglasses, camera and film, extra layers in case the weather turns cool, flashlight/headlamp/blister kit.
  • Flashlight and or headlamp, extra batteries. The days are 12 hours long on the equator so it will get dark around 6:00pm.
  • Toiletry kit, personal medicines – particularly allergy and diabetic prescriptions, shampoo, soap, toothbrush, lotion, bug repellent, one roll of toilet paper per person.
  • Rain jacket and pants– lightweight Gortex or similar.
  • Shoes (2 pairs)– One pair for city visits, towns, villages. One pair of lightweight hiking shoes for hiking.
  • 1 fleece light or mid weight – for layering or a lightweight wool sweater.
  • 1 fleece zip up mid weight jacket
  • 2 pairs long underwear – synthetic material both top and bottom
  • 2 or 3 T-shirts
  • Hiking pants of synthetic material or fleece pants: 1 pair of pants that are comfortable to hike in, smart pants by Exoffico or similar that have zip off options.
  • Hiking shorts
  • Down Jacket: The temperature at certain camps can drop below freezing and a warm down jacket as well as multiple layers of fleece are important to have.
  • Wide brimmed sun hat
  • Lotion and sunscreen: Not much Ozone left in the southern hemisphere!
  • Insect Repellent – minimum recommended 20%deet (Jungle Juice) please note: no instances of malaria have ever been registered on this trip.
  • Camera and batteries – back up memory cards and batteries
  • Personal Snacks- You will be provided with great snacks (energy bars, trail mix, fruits) everyday and delicious food on the Inca Trail. Only bring snacks if you have a have a favorite kind or personal preference.
  • Swim Suit
  • H2O bottle (water bottle or camelback) key item! You should have at least a 2-liter water carrying capacity. Filtered water is provided. You will be able to refill your bottles in the morning, at lunchtime and when you arrive to the camp in the afternoon.
  • 2 heavy duty trash bags to keep your camp gear dry inside your duffel (and later for laundry)
  • Ziplock bags: several sizes to help organize your camp items, lotions, socks, underwear, etc.
  • Moist Towlettes: for personal cleaning
  • Small wash towel
  • Trekking Poles (optional) – must have rubber tips on the bottom to protect the trail

BioBio Expeditions has partnered with Tahoe Mountain Sports, our local outfitter, to help you collect the gear needed for your upcoming adventure! Use the promo code BioBio1 at checkout and receive 15% off all full priced items in your shopping cart. Click this LINK to see some products offered at TMS that are on your packing list or visit their online store at: http://www.tahoemountainsports.com

MONEY MATTERS

Currency

Peru is typical of many South American countries in that it effectively operates a dual-currency system. Both the US dollar (dólares) and the Peruvian Nuevo Sol (soles) are in circulation and although the government prefers people to use soles, most sizeable purchases are made in dollars. In practice, this means that anything costing more than, say, a meal in a nice restaurant, is paid for in dollars. The Nuevo Sol is perfectly stable so you don’t have to worry about inflation problems during your stay!

Extra Expenses

You are responsible for 1 breakfast, 4 lunches and 2 dinners (excluding Day 11 post-breakfast). These meals will cost between $5 and $25. And of course, you can go all out at a high-end restaurant. For meals that are included, you will need to pay for your own alcohol. You will also need money for gifts and tipping.

ATMs

Plus, Cirrus and other networks connecting ATMs are available in Peru. The exchange rates you get when withdrawing from cash machines are standard. This is the approach we usually recommend. Cash machines dispense both dollars and soles and most accept the major debit cards. Be aware of counterfeit currency and avoid being followed to and from an ATM machine! Go in pairs!

Credit Cards

If your credit card has been programmed with a PIN, it’s likely you can use your card at Peruvian ATMs to withdraw money as a cash advance. Always ask your bank before you leave home about the number of withdrawals you may make abroad, the limit each day, and also let them know where you are going so they do not put a hold on your card. You may be charged a fee for each transaction.

Most of the bigger restaurants and shops accept credit cards. If you have American Express, Visa, Master Card and Diners Club, you’re probably equipped for any establishment that takes cards. If you only have one, have VISA. A shopkeeper may require you to pay the credit card fee for purchases, so for the most ease, we recommend you use cash whenever possible.

Banking Hours

Banks are generally open from 9am to 6pm. Some banks close for 2 hours from 1pm to 3pm. Banco de Credito del Peru does NOT close. In Cusco you will find many banks on Sol Avenue, one block from the main square. It is recommended to go to an “exchange office”. You must bring your passport to exchange money. Never change a large sum (more than $100) and again, go in pairs, and avoid being followed by robbers.

Personal Checks

Personal checks are not accepted in shops or at your hotels. It’s a good idea, however, to bring a few for possible emergencies.

Travelers Cheques

Travel checks are less desirable as fewer and fewer places will change them, and you may end up in long bank lines. You will need to show your passport to cash your checks at the bank.

Tipping

Tipping is, of course, entirely voluntary and how much you give depends on how you feel about the service you have received. Typically, you should designate 10-15% of the land cost of the trip for tips. For example, a $4000 trip would mean $400 in tips. This will be split up on 2 different occasions:

  1. At the end of the Inca Trail, each client should tip the porters $75-100. This will be divided up among the 20-30 staff that have made your Inca trek possible.
  2. At the farewell dinner of Day 8 in Cusco, you can give the largest portion of your tip to the trip leader and he will divide it up amongst himself and the various tour guides.

Other smaller tips might be for airport luggage carriers, hotel staff and drivers. This is where $1 bills or single soles come in handy. The norm at restaurants is approximately 5-15%.

For some background information, Peru has a minimum salary of 550 Nuevo Soles (US$170) monthly for a 6-day, 48-hour week. However, in many of the lower paid jobs (e.g. waiters, porters etc) this is not always enforced. 1 Nuevo Sol (soles) is roughly the equivalent of US$30.

TRAVEL PRACTICALITIES

Trip Insurance

Bio Bio Expeditions recommends that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. For your convenience, we offer travel protection through Travelex Insurance Services. For more information on the available plans or to enroll, click here or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 05-8655. Travelex Insurance Services, Inc CA Agency License #0D10209. Travel Insurance is underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company, NAIC #22276. 55Y

Immunizations

Although there are no immunizations required to travel to Peru, it is usually recommended that typhoid and diphtheria-tetanus protection be current. Hepatitis A, taken just before departure, is also recommended. The cholera vaccination is no longer officially required, and cholera can be avoided by practicing strict food and water precautions. In general, we advise that you consult your physician regarding recommended immunizations and other health precautions. Bio Bio Expeditions does not take responsibility for which medications or inoculations you and your physician deem necessary for your safe participation on the expedition in Peru.

For further information, call the CDC’s International Traveler’s Hotline:

Phone: 1-888-232-4636
Online: www.cdc.gov

Water

Although it requires a little extra caution when drinking fluids in Peru, it is essential to stay well hydrated. We advise that you not drink any of the tap water in Peru; this includes no ice in your drink. Bottled water is fine to drink and can be ordered at most restaurants and found in local grocery stores. Ask for “agua mineral, sin gas (non-carbonated) or con gas (carbonated)”. When ordering sodas, it is best to request them without ice (sin hielo), as the ice is usually made from tap water. Additionally, be sure to brush your teeth with bottled water.

Food

The major precaution regarding food pertains to raw, unpeeled fruits and vegetables (including lettuce) – avoid them unless you are dining in a high-end restaurant! If you can’t peel it, don’t eat it as it has probably been washed in tap water, or not washed at all, and that can make you sick. The high altitude also affects one’s digestive system so it is recommended to eat in moderation and avoid rich, thick foods (such as mayonnaise). However, don’t be afraid to try new foods and dishes – just be cautious. Peru has some of the finest, most delicious cuisine in the world! We want you to experience the many new flavors and local cuisine, but there are some things to consider when making food choices, especially where you are eating. The more high end restaurants in Cusco are fairly safe bets for trying new things. Street food should generally be avoided. This brings us to our next topic…

Digestive Worries

Traveling to Peru is going to have a notable impact on your body. Despite the many precautions we all take to stay healthy, occasionally one may experience diarrhea. The major problem associated with diarrhea is fluid loss leading to severe dehydration, so it is important to maintain plentiful fluid intake. Avoid milk and avoid caffeine, as it will only further dehydrate you. The best drinks are weak tea, mineral water, and caffeine-free soft drinks. Ideally it is best to let diarrhea run its course, however you may want to bring over-the-counter diarrhea medication to minimize your potential discomfort. We also advise that you carry your own supply of toilet paper, as most of the restrooms in South America either don’t have TP, or they charge you for it. The bottom line (no pun intended) is to drink plenty of fluids and get lots of rest! Lastly, we encourage that you, and all our staff, practice impeccable hand hygiene – you can’t wash your hands enough! Sanitizer gels are great when hand washing with soap and water is not available.

Prescriptions

If you currently take prescription medications, be sure to have a plentiful supply and also the doctor’s written prescription in case you need a refill. It is best to carry medications in your carry-on bag in case of lost luggage. Also, if you wear prescription glasses or contacts, we advise that you bring along a spare set.

Voltage

Electrical current in Peru is 220 volts AC, and the plugs are different from the USA two prong.

Safety

Although the Peruvians are a warm, friendly, fun-loving people, thievery is a common problem. Always keep your wits about you and be aware of your surroundings. When with other people, watch out for each other. Large crowds are prime locations for pick-pocketing to occur. Keep your money in a money belt or hidden pouch around your neck and under your shirt. When purchasing items, do not pull out lots of money. We advise that you leave all valuable jewelry, including watches, at home. Thieves often work in pairs or groups – one tries to distract you (e.g.: by squirting food or paint on your clothing) and in the ensuing confusion, another one makes off with your belongings. The areas around the main square in Cusco are well patrolled by police and tourist police. However, we encourage you to be very cautious and never be walking the streets alone after dark.

Jet Lag Precautions

When you cross several time zones to reach your destination, you often lose many hours of regular sleep. On arrival, your body then must suddenly adjust to new sleeping and eating patterns. The result is jet lag. Its symptoms are fatigue – often compounded by insomnia and restlessness – irritability and vague disorientation. You cannot totally avoid jet lag’ but you can minimize it. Here’s how:

  • Start your trip well rested. Try to begin a gradual transition to your new time zone before you leave.
  • Switch to your destination time zone when you get on the plane. Attempt to sleep and eat according to the new schedule.
  • Try to sleep on overnight flights.
  • Avoid heavy eating and drinking caffeine or alcoholic beverages right before and during your flight.
  • Drink plenty of water and or fruit juice while flying. You should buy a large bottle of water at a kiosk right before boarding – once you have cleared inside security and are “inside”.
  • After arrival, avoid the temptation to nap, unless you didn’t sleep at all on the plane.
  • Don’t push yourself to see a lot on your first day.
  • Try to stay awake your first day until after dinner.

Altitude Sickness

Cusco sits at almost 11,000 feet. This is one of the highest places most of us have ever, or will ever, stay for an extended period of time. The altitude can cause some physical reaction in almost anyone. Most people experience shortness of breath, headaches, and some dehydration. We recommend taking it easy your first day and avoiding alcohol and tobacco. If you feel sick, be sure to rest, breathe deeply, drink lots of fluids (bottled water), and perhaps take a mild pain killer for headaches. Locally brewed coca tea also seems to help. True altitude sickness is rare, but if the symptoms become severe, please let a Bio Bio Expeditions representative know. The front desk of the hotel often has spare oxygen bottles if needed.

How well your individual body adapts to the thinner air depends a good deal on innate factors that you have no control over. That being said, people in top shape often acclimate better because they expend less energy hiking, leaving their bodies ready for the task of acclimatization. Proper hydration has also been proven to be essential in this task. There is no substitute for being in top shape and staying hydrated

Many altitude physicians recommend bringing the following medications for prevention and or treatment of altitude related problems:

Diamox: 125 mg, twice a day. Beginning 24 hours before ascent to a sleeping elevation of 8,000-10,000 feet and continuing through duration of climb. Please discuss with your physician.

COUNTRY INFORMATION

Demographics

Almost the same size as Alaska, Peru is the third largest country in South America, covering 496,226 square miles. Peru is divided into three distinct geographic regions: the narrow, dry coastal plain in the west; the high Andes Mountains roughly in the center; and the tropical lowlands of the Amazon Basin to the east. Peru shares with Bolivia the highest navigable body of water in the world – Lake Titicaca. There is little rainfall along the coast, although he winter is foggy, humid and cool. The capital city of Lima, the temperature is moderate year-round, averaging 65*F.

Several of South America’s most advanced cultures lived in pre-Columbian Peru. The last of these groups was the great Incan Empire, which was unsurpassed in the art of stonecutting and also achieved a high degree of economic and political development. Incan and earlier Chimu ruins, notably at Cusco, Chan Chan, and Machu Picchu, make Peru a favorite destination for archaeologists and tourists. In 1532, the Spanish invaded Peru under the leadership of Francisco Pizarro. They conquered the Incas the next year. The area soon became the richest and most powerful Spanish colony in South America because of its location and many mineral treasures.

Under the leadership of South American liberator Jose de San Martin, Peru declared independence from Spain in July 1821. With the help of Simon Bolivar, the Venezuelan general who liberated several other countries, the fight for full independence was won by 1826. For a century, Peru worked to secure its territory and build its social institutions.

Peru is a republic. It is divided into 24 departamentos (similar to states). The president holds executive power and serves a five-year term. All citizens age 18 and older are required to vote. The unicameral Congress consists of 120 members, who serve five-year terms. Major political parties include the Change 90-New Majority Party, Union for Peru, the Popular Christian Party, and the Popular Action Party.

The population of Peru is approximately 27 million and is growing at 1.75 percent annually. Population density is generally low due to the country’s large land area. Peru’s population is ethnically diverse. About 45 percent is Indian, descendants of the Incan Empire. Many ethnic and linguistic divisions exist among Indians, some of whom are still fairly isolated in the Amazon jungle. Another 37 percent is of mixed European and Indian heritage. Fifteen percent is of European descent (mostly Spanish), and the remaining 3 percent is composed of blacks (descendants of West African slaves), Japanese, Chinese and other smaller groups. About half of the population is younger than age 20. Lima is the largest city, with more than seven million residents.
Language

The official languages in Peru are Spanish and Quechua but Spanish will be your most useful language, even in the highlands. The Spanish spoken in Peru is almost identical to the Castilian Spanish of Madrid, albeit with slightly different pronunciation and a few vocabulary changes. In the high Andes, particularly around Cusco and Puno, many people still speak Aymara or Quechua (the language of the Incas) as a first language, although almost all will also speak Spanish. The good news is that in most places like restaurants, hotels, etc., there is usually someone who speaks English – and, of course, all our representatives and guides speak both English and Spanish.

If you do speak some ‘Spanish’ then you shouldn’t have too many problems speaking with the locals in Peru. The major difference in accent between Peruvian Spanish and Castilian Spanish is that the letters c and z are pronounced like the English s rather than the traditional th. In general, Peruvian Spanish is a little slower and less heavily accented than most Spanish you would hear in Spain.

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2 reviews for Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Lima CME

  1. Hi Wendy – I just wanted to thank you for all you and the team did to make our trip so amazing. Our group collectively agreed that this was one of the most incredible travel experiences ever! Everything was perfect from start to finish; and I also appreciate all your assistance with our unexpected travel snafus.

    A special thanks to Darwin and Elias for sharing their knowledge, expertise, humor, and culture. They are truly awesome guys and did such an unbelievable job with all the logistics and management of our motley crew : ) Plus, they were so much fun to be with!
    The rest of the Inca Trail team: cooks, waiters, and porters were wonderful; and it was really nice to interact with them as encouraged by Darwin and Elias. Getting to the Sun Gate and “money shot” of Machu Picchu with no one else around was also an unexpected and huge treat.

    We had high expectations given Catherine and Tom Silva’s rave reviews of their previous trip. However, those expectations were totally exceeded times 10 – we can’t say enough about what an amazing experience this was. We certainly hope to embark on another Bio Bio adventure in the future and have already told several friends about this one. I’ve also posted a trip advisor rating – thanks for suggesting it. Again, many thanks and all the best!

    Kathy & John

  2. We had an AMAZING time in Peru. We’ve done a lot of travel and can honestly say without hesitation that was the best trip ever!

    Dawn Rubick
    Peru 2017

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