The airport in Cusco currently is only for domestic flights, so all international travelers must disembark in Lima and go through Customs there. Even if your flight to Cusco is the same day by the same airline carrier, you must disembark in Lima, grab your bags, go through Customs, and check back in again.
Flying to Cusco can be tricky. Delays occur often and it is not uncommon for flights to be cancelled. Please be sure to arrive in the city at least two days before your trek start date. LAN Peru is the most reliable airline. Avianca and Peruvian Airlines are acceptable companies, as well. You will not return from your trek until around 8:30 p.m. on the last day, so be sure your flight out of Cusco is not until the following day.
Any extra luggage can be stored safely in Cusco at either your hotel. They will return once you are back in Cusco. Make sure your bags have some kind of identification on them so they are easy to locate. We recommend packing lightly for your excursion.
As soon as people book their trip to Peru, specifically Cusco, they start wondering about altitude sickness. The air at high altitudes contains less oxygen than at sea level and forces your body to work harder to get the oxygen it needs. Over several days at high altitude, your body adjusts to the lower amount of oxygen in the air. This is why we always recommend spending at least two days in Cusco before beginning any trek. If you have more time, even better. Cusco is an amazing city with a lot to do, so you won’t be bored.
With altitude sickness, you may first feel like you have the flu or a hangover. You may have a headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, trouble sleeping, trouble breathing during exercise. If any of these effects become severe, please contact our office and we will help you get to a doctor.
Most of the time, these symptoms will be mild. We always recommend easing into activity slowly, allowing your body to adjust. Drink plenty of fluids such as water or coca tea. Coca tea has been used since ancient times to help prevent altitude sickness. Leaves from the Coca Plant contain alkaloids which helps bring oxygen into your blood, helping your body avoid the effects of altitude sickness. Avoid drinking a lot of alcohol and coffee. They will cause you to urinate more often and become dehydrated. Avoid smoking. Smoking makes it more difficult for your body to get oxygen. Avoid sleeping pills. They may cause shallow breathing at night, making it more difficult for your body to absorb oxygen while you sleep.
Remember the trek to Machu Picchu is not a race. Even those in the best shape will suffer from altitude sickness when they race to the top of the mountain too quickly. Go slowly, it will give your body time to adjust to the mountain.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe medicines, such as acetazolamide and dexamethasone, to help prevent altitude sickness. Start the medicine two days before you get to a high altitude. Continue to take it while you are at high altitude.
You must remember that this is your holiday and you do not want to stress out about the possibility of getting sick from the mountains. Do everything slowly. Drink lots of water. And enjoy the coca tea. If anything does happen and you unfortunately get sick, let your guide know right away – all True Mountain Tourist guides are trained in how to help you get through it.
Of course weather is unpredictable, just be prepared. No matter what month you are doing the trek, please make sure that you have rain gear that includes a waterproof jacket, pants, poncho and waterproof gloves. Many people forget about gloves, but being cold and wet makes hiking very unpleasant.
Also prepare for four seasons. Many of the treks through the Andes involve many micro-climates and you will need to be prepared for all seasons. Layers are always key as they are easy to adjust to the different temperatures. And evenings will always be cold, so please be prepared with a warm winter-weight jacket.
There are generally only two seasons in the highlands – wet and dry
Dry: May to October
Wet: November to April
To protect your travel investment, we highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance before you leave home This is a great way to protect yourself while visiting Peru. Most people need one or two days to adjust to the high altitude in the mountains In case you have a hard time adjusting to the altitude, it is best to have insurance if you miss your tour.
All of our treks include porters, who are responsible for carrying and setting up all equipment. They will also carry your personal duffel, which you will receive at your briefing the night before your trek. This duffel can not exceed 7 kg/14 lbs, and must include your sleeping bag(2kg) and an air mattress(1kg) if you choose to rent these from us.
Although tipping may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travel We hope that every trip we lead is exceptional, but tipping should be based completely on you satisfaction.
If you feel like your guide, porters and chef have done an amazing job for you choose to give a tip, we have some general guidelines on how much to give. Generally groups give collective tips that are shared between the cook and all porters. This tip is customarily presented on the last nigh of the trek, after your final dinner We recommend that each porter receives about 60 soles and your cook about 150 soles or more. That way they will end up with a great tip. The tip for your guide is done personally at the end of your trek.
There are not ATMs on the trek so we recommend bringing enough cash when you leave Cusco.