Peru Treks FAQ
Do you have questions about your Peru trekking vacation? Check here for answers to the questions our travelers most frequently ask about visiting trekking in Peru. If you cannot find the answer to your specific question, feel free to contact us directly.
For specific information about the Inca Trail, visit our Inca Trail Frequently Asked Questions page.
1. What treks are available in Peru?
The Inca Trail is perhaps the most popular trek in Peru, but it is just one of many spectacular trekking options that this beautiful country has to offer. The Inca Trail is also subject to various restrictions that limit its accessibility, whereas alternative treks, that are just as rewarding, can be organized more easily.
The Lares Trek or the Salkantay Trek are only two examples of the various other extraordinary trails in Peru. You can visit our Peru trekking page to see what we offer.
2. What is altitude sickness and how can I prevent it?
Many of Peru’s trails are located at very high altitudes, reaching over 10,000 feet above sea level. Therefore, there is the possibility that you will suffer some of the side effects of altitude sickness. Each person is affected differently, but general side effects usually include headaches and exhaustion as the body adjusts to the change in altitude.
Here are some tips to help your body acclimatize:
- Make sure you get sufficient sleep.
- Before going to high altitudes, don’t eat too much. Avoid fatty food and instead opt for easily-digestible foods.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Take small steps to let your body get used to the altitude.
- A lot of people sell muña & coca leaves in the streets, both of which naturally help open your lungs and relieve headaches. A popular option is coca tea with a little sugar added.
Ask your Doctor’s Advice about the following mediations, which could help you avoid altitude sickness: Diamox, Sorochi, Grovol. These can be easily found in Peruvian drugstores.
3. What is the weight limit for luggage on the treks?
For the train between Cusco, Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu, 11 pounds (5 kg) of luggage is permitted with dimensions of 62 inches total of length x height x width (157cm). If your luggage exceeds this allowance, there will be a surcharge.
In general, it is recommended to only bring what you need for the trek (and for one night in Aguas Calientes if you schedule an extra day in Machu Picchu). Most treks leave from and return to Cusco. You can leave your luggage in your Cusco hotel and they will keep it safe for you.
Personal porters can legally carry a maximum of 33 pounds (15 kg), with 11 pounds (5 kg) allotted for the porter’s personal items.
4. Are there fees not included the price of my trek package?
Depending on the trail you choose to trek, some fees may or may not be included in your package. If you are hiking along the Inca Trail, your entrance ticket is included. See our Inca Trail Frequently Asked Questions page for more information, or ask your travel advisor.
5. What should I pack for my trek?
Depending on the season, you will need to pack warm or light clothing, ask your travel advisor for specifics. However, remember that all trek trails will generally take you to very high altitudes where temperatures are often low, so you should bring warm clothes with you regardless of the season. Here is a list of equipment that you will find useful for all treks in Peru:
- Day backpack
- Comfortable hiking boots
- Rain gear
- Lightweight hiking pants and shorts
- Lightweight shirts
- Cold weather jacket
- Long sleeve warm sweater
- Insect repellent
- Bathing suit
- Cameras, chargers, and memory cards
- Trekking poles (only wooden poles are allowed in order to avoid damaging the trails)
6. What level of fitness is required?
For the treks, you will need to be in general good health. Most treks in the Cusco areas are rated as moderate in difficulty levels. The trails are generally well kept and easy to follow, with a few steep climbs along the way. High altitudes usually pose the biggest challenge to trekkers, as some trails include passes from 11,000 feet (3,300 meters) to over 15,000 feet (4,580 meters) above sea level. Therefore, it is very important to make sure you take some time to acclimatize to the altitude before you start your trek. Most people choose to arrive to Cusco a day or two in advance to prepare their body to the high altitude.
7. Is it customary to tip the guides and porters? If so, how much is recommended?
On the last night of your trek, there is a tipping custom: all the hikers put their tips together and give them to the guide. The guide will then distribute that money between all the Inca Trail personnel. We advise anything from $10 USD to $40 USD per hiker, but you should only tip according to the level of service you believe you have received.
We work hard to ensure that all information is current and accurate. However, the Tourism Industry is rapidly evolving in Latin America and many changes can occur overnight. Please speak to a Travel Advisor for the most up-to-date information on any of our Latin America destinations!