Inca Trail Tour to Machu Picchu – FAQs
HOW MANY YEARS HAS KONDOR PATH TOURS BEEN IN BUSINESS?
Kondor Path Tours was founded in 2011. After 10 years of leading groups for many other tour agencies, we decided to open our own local direct tour operator. We are proud of our extensive experience especially in Cuzco and Inca Trail to Machu Picchu FAQs.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO GO TO PERU?
Peru has a variety of conditions depending on where you are going! In the Cuzco and Inca Trail to Machu Picchu areas, there are two seasons: dry and rainy. The dry season which is winter in Peru, runs from mid-April to November, so typically it is the most recommended time to vacation in the Andes. Although nighttime temperatures can drop below freezing at the height of the dry season in June, July, and August, these months are the most popular to visit Machu Picchu.
The rainy season begins in December and lasts to mid-April. During this time we can expect some Andes showers, which contribute to the picturesque green panoramic views Machu Picchu Inca Trail Package.
But whatever The Inca trail FAQs or tour you decide to take, and whatever time of the year you decide to come, bring along your adventurous spirit.
WHAT ENTRY DOCUMENTS DO I NEED TO COME TO PERU AND MACHU PICCHU?
U.S citizens need a valid passport and an entry form tourist card, which is provided by your air carrier either at the ticket counters when checking in for your flight to Peru or when on board.
Please note: Other nationalities should check with the nearest Peruvian Consulate to determine correct entry requirements.
IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL IN PERU?
The answer today is definitely, “Yes, in all the tourist areas.” Tours are organized in these locations, so even though 25 years ago it was unsafe to travel around Peru, that is not so today. Nowadays the tourism industry continues to expand so Peru has more tourists than ever before. Cuzco with its numerous fascinating archaeological sites is one of the places that most travelers want to learn more about. And Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, “the lost city of the Incas,” is “a wonder of the world” that should not be missed.
We provide you with information which includes recommended places to stay. This information can be helpful especially in the big cities such as Lima, where Miraflores has become the main area to stay for tourists.
HOW DO I GET FROM THE AIRPORT TO THE HOTEL ON THE ESCORTED TOURS?
All of our package tours include arrival transfer services. Our Kondor team will meet you at the airport (usually Cuzco). Please provide us with all the details regarding your arrival so we can organize your transfer to your hotel or alternate accommodation.
WHAT KIND OF TRANSPORT IS USED FOR THE TOURS?
Kondor Path Tours has a variety of transports including private vans, cars, and comfortable tourist buses, all of them with professional drivers.
The transport for touring and transfer service around the Cusco region are completely exclusive to our organized tours. For example, we provide transport from Cuzco airport to your hotel, Machu Picchu Inca Trail Package from the hotel to the train stations, or to other locations where we celebrate Andean rituals. This service helps to make us a highly recommended tour company.
For those trekking the classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and other alternative routes, we have organized excellent vehicles for transporting our clients and the mountain camp equipment.
The transport for the mountain bike, cross country, or biking tours, has been adapted with a supplemental structure on top of the transport, to carry all the bikes and coolers. This is used for the famous Inca jungle trip or biking around Cuzco city.
WILL THE ALTITUDE IN THE ANDES AFFECT ME?
When travelling throughout the Peruvian mountains, some people may suffer effects from the high altitude. (This problem is referred to in the Inca language as “Quechua” Soroche.) If your plan is to hike the classic Inca Trail, we recommend that you arrive at the city of Cuzco 2 or 3 days before the trek starts, to acclimatize and to have plenty of time to adapt to the Andes. Additionally, drink plenty of water and Coca leaf tea. Also book a traditional tour with us around Cuzco or the Sacred Valley to the Incas, in order to have a little training before the great hike of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. All the tours around Cuzco have trails to keep us active and to awaken our spirit of adventure.
WHAT IS THE BEST TO PREVENT ALTITUDE SICKNESS?
The best recommendation is to first stay for a few days at Urubamba in the Sacred Valley of the Incas which is at a considerably lower elevation than Cuzco city.
Then take some of our organized tours in order to ascend gradually and explore some of the Inca sites. Or you can just relax in the hotel. Drink plenty water, or the best, drinks Coca leaf tea. Note: When you are in Peru, you can carry with you 2 kilos of Coca leaves for drinking or using for the ancestral chewing; when walking, Andean people and the porters, chew Coca leaves wrapped around a black resin called Llipta, a “black or white rock made of ashes.” Chewing Coca leaves activates the vitamins in the leaves, may help dilate the blood vessels that carry oxygen to your body, can alleviate hunger, thirst, and fatigue, and produce a feeling of euphoria.
WILL I GET HIGH ON COCA LEAVES?
The answer is “No,” but it is healthy for your body. Coca leaves are a part of Peruvian culture and are a natural healthy stimulant with additional benefits. They are an integral part of sacred ceremonies as well as everyday life, so they are recommended as part of the experience when visiting Peru.
WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM GROUP SIZE?
Our Kondor Expeditions and tour groups in Cuzco region, including the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu are always small–4 to 16 participants maximum.
HOW DO I RESERVE A SPACE FOR THE INCA TRAIL?
Please follow our instructions and details for a reservation. If you need an extra night in Aguas Calientes village to stay longer at Machu Picchu site, or you need an extra porter to carry your personal belongings for the four days of hiking, just contact us to determine if space is available and/or extra porters are available on your selected date. We will do our best to accommodate your requests; however, the INC (Natural Institute of Culture) and the SERNAM are in charge of allocating camps along the Inca road, and are responsible for maintaining the ecosystem for next generations.
HOW CAN I CHECK AVAILABILITY TO HIKE THE INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU?
LINK this is the most famous Inca trail in South America, so it is recommended that you make a reservation 11 to 7 months in advance before you come to Cuzco, Peru. We need to look for available spaces in the INC (Natural Institute of Culture) system for hiking the Inca Trail. The first day of the hiking season is March 1 of every year, and the last day of the hiking season is January 31. Reserve in time to have a unique experience in the Andes.
IS THERE A WAITING LIST FOR THE INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU IN CASE OF CANCELLATIONS?
The INC (National Institute of Culture) distributes 500 permits per day, and once all permits have been sold out, no more permits will be issued, even if there are numerous group or hiker cancellations. If someone plans to sell their space permit, they are not allowed to access the classic trail to Machu Picchu, because it is personal permit which is non-transferable. A valid passport is required to validate your reservation.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF THERE ARE NOT PERMITS LEFT TO HIKE THE INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU?
Kondor Path Tours has a variety of tours. We can recommend the Lares trek – Ancascocha hike – Salkantay trek which is an incredible 4 day experience on Andean Mountains with lakes and llamas and alpacas living in their natural habitat.
These are just a few examples of the variety of hikes we have. So book your trip with the #1 and come to explore it.
DO YOU REQUIRE A DEPOSIT TO RESERVE A TOUR?
Yes, we require a booking deposit to reserve your tour or trail trek. Please check our terms and conditions. There are different methods to transfer money for the deposit. Then the rest of the package you can pay via the same system, or in cash with “only American Dollars” to avoid high prices of Bank transactions.
WHY IS THE DEPOSIT REQUIRED IMMEDIATELY?
The deposit is required immediately because we have to pay your permit at the time that we request it in order to secure your space on the tour or trek.
The entrance fees to the Inca net roads are purchased at the offices of the National Institute of Culture located in Cuzco city. If you only submit the booking form and you do not complete the deposit transaction, we will not be able to secure your space until we process this payment.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I MAKE MY DEPOSIT?
Once we receive your booking information and the deposit, we will immediately request your permit from the INC. Then we will email you a digital copy of the permits as soon as we receive them, including all papers and tickets.
Note: If you need additional services such as accommodation, we can obtain special rates at hotels including a variety of accommodation: 5 Star, 4 Star, 3 Star, or hostel. We offer you the lowest prices and are happy to make your reservations or tour extensions.
If you are personally booking a hotel, please tell us via email or phone, where your accommodation is in Cuzco city so we can meet you there for your pre-trek briefing.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO ENTER THE INCA TRAIL WITH A DIFFERENT NAME?
No. You need to carry an original passport with the name you used to book the permit to the Inca trail.
IS THE CLASSIC INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU DIFFICULT?
You can do it! The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is easy, moderate, and difficult, but mainly moderate to difficult, especially the second day where we have to climb towards Warmiwañusca pass. A steady walk is the best.
Every day you will wake up with a cup of Coca tea in your tent to give you energy to start the day. Our Kondor porters carry all the mountain equipment and all the necessities during your hike (20 kg per porter), so you can enjoy your vacation.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING FOR THE INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU?
The following is recommended: a comfortable day backpack, an excellent sleeping bag, pad (we provide for you), rain jacket, and strong footwear (hiking boots are recommended as they provide support ankle, which reduces the risk of injury especially when trekking in the rainy season December to April).
Many people prefer to trek in tennis shoes, which are acceptable, but take an extra pair. We do not recommend trekking sandals. Also take one complete change of clothing, a sweater, a warm jacket, water bottle, and sterilizing tablets or whatever chemical or modern apparatus used to exterminate bacteria, flashlight and batteries, peaked or brimmed hat (Andes sun is hot), good sunblock, insect repellent, toiletries and toilet paper, selection of small snacks such as chocolate, dried fruit, and biscuits, camera and film if needed.
Bring your original passport with you on the trek; the green student ISIC card is applicable to discounts.
WHEN SHOULD I HIRE A PORTER?
It is better to organize a Kondor porter before you go on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu rather than realize halfway through that you are not enjoying carrying your big backpack at this altitude. For the Inca trail and other alternative treks to Machu Picchu, we will provide one porter per trekker to carry your personal items so that you can better enjoy your vacation. We do recommend that for the Inca trek bring only the necessary equipment and supplies.
CAN I WAIT UNTIL CUZCO TO HIRE AN EXTRA PORTER?
Unfortunately you cannot wait. You have to book a porter in advance the same as an Inca trail permit. Porters are registered in the Peruvian system of porters and can be farmers from remote areas or from other places where there is unemployment. In order to accommodate them and give them our unconditional support, they need to be booked ahead of time. They also have to pay an entrance fee so this too needs to be organized in advance. There are only a few hundred porters to cover all the work around the network of Inca trails, so this too is a consideration.
WHAT DO WE DO FOR WATER ALONG THE INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU?
Every lunch time we provide juice or refreshment. During the meals we have boiled water. For the first day you have to worry about carrying your own water, because along the trail we have local shops to buy bottled water. We recommend 3 liters of water per trekker. Of course, you know how much water you drink in a one day trek, so avoid to carrying 3 liters if it’s not necessary. Later you can buy more or you can use your tablets to produce pure water.
Second day of the trek to the end, after the breakfast we will supply you with boiled water. If you need more, more is given at lunch time. If you do not want boiled water, as we trek across the mountains there are springs approximately every 2 hours of the trek. Just fill up your water bottle and add some purifying tablets.
During the first day of the trek we can find local shops, and also on the second day halfway through the mountains. (A place called Llulluchapampa which is the last place to buy water or other snack items). The rest of the trek, until we reach the main gate of Machu Picchu, there will only be our team and our equipment. At the gate can buy drinks and ice-creams. It is a little expensive, but you are on vacation! While on the trek, we provide all the necessary meals per day. This includes morning tea, breakfast, some snacks, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner.
CAN I CHANGE MY TRAIN TICKET IF I ARRIVE AT MACHU PICCHU AND I DECIDE TO STAY AN EXTRA NIGHT?
Yes, it is sometimes possible to stay one more day to explore the town and to rest up. The train ticket is difficult to change to another day, but if you are lucky you might change it, or buy another. To change your train ticket you have to go personally to the main train office with your passport.
In any case we can help you book a hotel or hostel at lower prices than are listed on the web sites. Or you can book on your own. Please note that the transport from Ollantaytambo to Cuzco is only part or your original tour. If you decide to stay one more night, we can help to organize another transport to Cuzco from Ollantaytambo village, but it will be an extra cost.
An extra day at Machu Picchu will cost you the entrance fee in Peruvian currency cash. This entrance fee is subject to availability of spaces for the extra day.
WHAT IS THE FOOD LIKE?
All Kondor meals are included on our treks. You will be treated to an extensive variety of fabulous Peruvian cuisine. We choose the finest restaurants in our traditional tours to give you the opportunity to taste a great variety of local delicacies and flavors. In the trekking camps, our chefs are experts in preparing nourishing wholesome and delicious meals in the most remote Andes places. We will accommodate any special diet requests you may have including vegetarian. Just tell us in advance so we can organize our Novo Andina meals.
WHAT ABOUT OUR TRIP LEADERS / GUIDES?
Our experienced native guides are the key for making each trip and journey a unique adventure. Our Kondor guides are the very best who have an in-depth knowledge of foreign language, Andean customs, Inca culture, and ancient history. They take great pleasure in sharing their insights and expertise during your adventure in order to provide an unforgettable experience in Machu Picchu. Kondor leaders are detail oriented, making sure everything runs safely and smoothly.
WHAT ENVIRONMENTAL TRAINING DO YOU PROVIDE FOR YOUR STAFF ON?
We have a specific training session for our workers especially if they are new to our staff. We give them complete information about environmental practices in the area. Most Andean people, including the staff we hire, have respect for Pachamama (mother earth), but we need to educate them regarding the regulations of our parks and reserves areas and to increase their environmental awareness, so they can provide the best service for our clients.
We encourage everyone who travels with Kondor Path Tours to respect the land, the people, and other travelers. This type of focus leads to amazing experiences with incredible insights that bring a sense of satisfaction, responsibility, and consideration for mother earth.
WHAT DOES KONDOR PATH TOURS DO TO MINIMIZE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ON INCA ROADS?
- Selective disposal of garbage (organic & non-organic). Green and red plastic bags are provided at every stopping place and the base camp Machu Picchu Inca Trail Package.
- Garbage removal from natural protected areas, Andean communities which are part of our trek, and other tour roads.
- Provide portable toilets and toilet tents with chemical facilities.
- Follow the rules of the Inca road, including no smoking allowed to maximize nature’s oxygen.
- Use and provide organic soap and detergents.
- Avoid disturbing flora and fauna.
- Show our clients how to walk over the Inca ruins, walls, or archaeological sites to preserve them for next generations.
HOW MUCH TO TIP PORTERS, COOKS, AND GUIDES?
As your heart dictates.
DOES KONDOR PATH TOURS OFFER ANY GROUP DISCOUNTS?
Yes, we offer discounts for a party of 16 participants reserving at the same time and traveling together. Please email us and let us know the specific trip that you are considering and we will give you the discount information.