Before automobiles came to Perú the entire country was already a vast network of ancient trails (most of them much much older than the Inca empire) which interconnected the entire Andean world, many of those trails are still in use today and go to places that are incredibly remote. Virtually all of the routes we use are remnants of that road system in one way or another. So even with the out-of-control road building in modern Perú we still have plenty of options. There are lesser and little known routes we like to do which are by no means inferior to the more popular ones. If you have something in mind, especially in the Cordillera Blanca, feel free to ask us. We probably know it.
• One pair of comfortable pants adequate for travel.
• One or two pairs of synthetic trekking pants (any style)
• Four or five (including the one you'll have on) shirts ... t-shirts usually
• Four or five pairs of underwear and socks (women may want a sports bra)
• 2 heavier pairs of wool or synthetic socks or whatever is appropriate to your boots for the trek
• One long sleeve shirt for town
• One synthetic long sleeve shirt for the trek
• A pair of light and broken in trekking boots or sturdy trekking shoes
• A light and comfortable pair of shoes/tennis shoes for around town
• A rain jacket or rain poncho
• A warm fleece type jacket
• A pair of rain pant (optional)
• A hat for the sun
• A wool hat
• A light pair of gloves
• Sun glasses
• Bathing suit (optional)
• Basic toiletries
• A tube of lip balm with sunscreen
• A travel towel
• A headlamp or other lightweight light source
• A day pack large enough for your camera, rain jacket, warm jacket, water bottle etc.
• A book, ebook, or tablet for reading
• You may want to bring a light pair of binoculars if you like birds (we're shameless bird-watchers).
• A big backpack or sturdy travel bag to put on the donkeys.
You don't need to be a world class athlete to trek in Peru. These days there are plenty of folks in their 70s perfectly capable of completing even the more difficult treks. You do need to be able to walk up a moderately steep incline for three or four hours... maybe five in the Huayhuash! Long stiff walks, running, cycling, and climbing stairs are all good workouts to prepare for your trek. If you are concerned about your level of fitness we can talk about it and choose a route that will challenge you, but not destroy you.
In the course of our adventures we will encounter indigenous people who live lives far from the mainstream of modern urban life. These kind and remarkable folks are some of the world's last humans living a truly sustainable existence. We admire them and of course intend them no harm, but miscommunication is always a possibility. For this reason we discourage taking photos without permission of adults or children we don't know as they go about their day-to-day business. That being said, no one we work with minds having their picture taken. So, careful with the camera lest you risk having a potato thrown at you!
All of the treks we currently offer go to very high altitudes so proper acclimatization is essential. There are no hard and fast rules, but we suggest at least a couple of days, ideally several, spent living and sleeping above 3000m before you head out on your trek. Everyone acclimatizes at a different rate, so if it is your first experience with high altitude you might want to be a bit conservative and give yourself a little extra time. Eat normally, drink plenty of water, and get some exercise. That being said, it is unusual for someone to leave a trek due to altitude sickness, although the first couple of nights are sometimes a little rough. If you like, we can make a couple of acclimatization days a part of your trek and organize short excursions and hotel for those days.
If you for some reason get sick along the way we have a couple of options: If it's nothing serious you have the option to ride the emergency horse for a day or two and this is by far the most common solution. If you need to leave the trek we will use the same emergency horse to take you to the nearest road, which would rarely be more than a day's ride, and arrange for transportation via satellite. Please understand that you are responsible for any costs incurred in the evacuation, for medical care, and for hotels and food while in town. Evacuation by helicopter is rarely an option anywhere in Peru, but a taxi back to town shouldn't cost more than a couple of hundred dollars. Serious accidents while trekking are very rare, but we are always prepared regardless. Your guide will be a certified Wilderness First Responder with an extensive first aid kit. Medical facilities are good in Cusco and mostly adequate in Huaraz.
The most cost-effective way to pay for your trip is via bank transfer. We also accept Western Union and Paypal (you pay the transfer fees). The trekking season in Peru is not very long so short-notice cancelations can be a big problem for us. If you cancel up to a month before the trip we can make a 100% refund. Anytime after that we only reimburse 50%.
We do not provide insurance, but there are many companies that offer travel insurance that will cover you while you are traveling.
In general Peru is a reasonably safe place to visit. The crime that exists is generally non-violent and mostly just frustrating. In urban places exercise the same level of caution you would in any big American city, but keeping an eye on your bags a bit more than you might otherwise. Drivers in Peru tend to be bad, but we work only with very responsible people. The treks in Cusco and the Cordillera Blanca are very safe with virtually no crime at all. The Huayhuash has had a history of problems, but there have been no incidents involving tourists in many years. The communities take tourism seriously and have made the route much more secure in recent years.