Frecuently Answers & Questions About Cusco

Which trek is for me?

CLASSIC INCA TRAIL 4D/3N:
  • Technically is only 3 days hiking and last day visit to Machupicchu.
  • Total distance 45 km. / 26 miles
  • Highest point is dead woman´s pass (on day 2) 4215m. / 6560 ft.
  • The Inca trail considered one of the most important trails that only the high Inca society used to use and now you have the chance to take this important path on the way to Machupicchu.
  • The Inca trail is the only one which arrives into Machupicchu through the Sun Gate, also we can consider one of the few trails which involves so many ecosystems, beautiful sceneries proper of the High mountains, cloud forest, gorgeous views of the sunsets and sunrises, also at night a fascinating view of the southern hemisphere sky. This trail is for those who want to explore original Inca sites as well original sections of the huge network of trails that the Incas built back in the 15th century,

    *** People talk about how crowded can be the Inca trail If we have 500 people hiking per day. There are different programs, schedules and campsites that companies take. We always make sure to coordinate with our team the best times and campsites to have a better experience in our journey to Machupicchu.

    Limit of permits: every day only 500 people. Highly recommended to book in advance your Inca Trail (6 months in advance)
PREMIUM INCA TRAIL 5D/4N:
  • 4 days hiking – 3 nights camping + 1-night hotel in Aguascalientes, last day Machupicchu.
  • Total distance 59 km. / 36.6 miles
  • Highest point is Salkantay pass (on day 2) 4,600m. / 15,255 ft.
  • Lowest elevation is Aguascalientes 2,000m. / 6,561 ft.
  • This version of Inca trail has the same distance, the same path, as the classic Inca trail 4D/3N. The only difference is: you will hike short distances every day, enjoying every single detail of the area. Also night 4 you have included hotel in Aguas Calientes, dinner in Indio Feliz restaurant (one of the finest restaurant in Aguas Calientes), on day 5 very early morning you take the bus to Machupicchu.
  • Normally this version is taken by people who want to take full control of the time, also by families.
SHORT INCA TRAIL 2D/1N:
  • Total distance 11 km. / 7 miles.
  • Highest point is Sun Gate (on day one) 2,700m. / 8,858 ft.
  • Lowest point is Aguascalientes 2,000m. / 6.561 ft.
  • With the short Inca trail you have the chance to visit Machupicchu twice.
    • On day one arriving by 3 pm or 4 pm which is good time to see the sunset and Machupicchu almost without people.
    • On day two you have full walking tour in Machupicchu.
  • This is a great option if you do not have time to hike the classic Inca Trail, however taking this trail you will have the opportunity to enjoy one of the best Inca sites along the 4 days classic Inca trail which is Wiñayhuayna. On the other hand, you will be one of the few people in arriving to Machupicchu through the Sun Gate as back in the times the Incas used to do.
  • Definitely a great option for a family trip.
CLASSIC SALKANTAY TREK & HUMANTAY LAKE 5D/4N:
  • 4 days hiking – 3 nights camping + 1-night hotel in Aguas Calientes and last day visit to Machupicchu.
  • Total distance 59 km. / 36,6 miles.
  • Highest point is dead woman´s pass (on day 2) 4215m. / 6560 ft.
  • Lowest elevation is Aguascalientes 2,000m. / 6,561 ft.
  • You arrive to Aguascalientes on day 4 by foot.
  • On night 3 you will stay in one of our best campsites, which overlooks Machupicchu, where you will have the opportunity to enjoy the sunset and sunrise of the area.
  • This trek is very special for those who want to have a unique experience mixing the high Andes terrains with tropical areas and many ecosystems. This is more challenging so definitely grab your best hiking boots and get ready for a great experience.
ULTIMATE SALKANTAY TREK 4D/3N:
  • 3 days hiking – 2 nights camping + 1-night hotel in Aguas Calientes, last day visit to Machupicchu.
  • Total distance 45 km. / 26 miles (on day 3 you will take a van for a portion of the trail to get earlier to Llactapata, so then you can continue to Aguascalientes)
  • Technically the same trail but is not included the campsite overlooking Machupicchu.
LARES TREK & MACHUPICCHU 4D/3N:
  • 3 days hiking – 2 nights camping + 1-night hotel in Aguas Calientes and last day visit to Machupicchu.
  • You arrive to Aguascalientes on day 3 by train from Ollantaytambo.
  • Total distance 35 km. / 21 miles.
  • Highest point is dead woman´s pass (on day 2) 4,700m. / 15,420ft.
  • Sometimes temperature of the campsites goes below zero.
  • Lowest elevation is Aguascalientes 2,000m. / 6,561 ft.
  • Considered very special for those who want to have a quiet connection with the Andes, with the indigenous people that still practicing their ancient Incan traditions, this trek also goes through indigenous villages where you will see alpacas and llamas, potatoes farm, blue lagoons, sceneries proper of the high Andes.
  • You will have the opportunity to learn about the lifestyle of the local people.
CHOQUEQUIRAW 5D/4N:
  • 4 days hiking – 3 nights camping, (on day 3 you explore Choquequirao).
  • Total distance 42 km. / 26 miles round trip.
  • Highest point is Choquequirao 3,330m. / 10,952ft.
  • Lowest point Playa Rosalinas 1,600m. / 5,250ft.
  • For those who enjoy hiking and are in a moderate shape.
  • The area involves a big variety of flora and fauna like; condors, spectacle bears, hummingbirds, orchids, avocados, bananas, etc.
  • Considered challenging but special if you are looking for another option or if you want to complete visiting the HIGHLIGHTS OF CUSCO. Choquequirao trek involve beautiful sceneries starting with the view of APU PADREYOC which is a glacier; also known as the mountain of the spectacle bears. And down below the APURIMAC CANYON with Apurimac River. Choquequirao is nowadays consider the latest and new marvel of Cusco. So grab your best hiking boots and let’s go for an unforgettable adventure.
AUSANGATE TREK & RAINBOW MOUNTAIN 4D/3N:
  • 4 days hiking – 3 nights camping (on day 3, very early morning you arrive to the PAINTED HILL).
  • Total distance 41 km. / 25 miles round trip.
  • For those who enjoy hiking and are in a good shape.
  • Consider by our guides as one of the quietest places for hiking.
  • The area involves a big group of glaciers, views of gorgeous and colorful lakes.
  • Be one of the first people in arriving to the Rainbow Mountain, absolutely before the others.
  • Considered challenging but special if you are looking for another option or if you want to complete visiting the HIGHLIGHTS OF CUSCO. Choquequirao trek involve beautiful sceneries starting with the view of APU PADREYOC which is a glacier; also known as the mountain of the spectacle bears. And down below the APURIMAC CANYON with Apurimac River. Choquequirao is nowadays consider the latest and new marvel of Cusco. So grab your best hiking boots and let’s go for an unforgettable adventure.
  • Temperatures may go below zero at night.

Inca trail & Alternative trek

HOW DO THE PERMITS FOR INCA TRAIL AND ALTERNATIVE TREKS WORK?
  • INCA TRAIL
    • According Peruvian regulations you can only purchase the Inca trail tickets through a licensed agency.
    • Per day there are only 500 permits available, these count all the people on the trail (including porters).
    • You can see the availability for a specific month at www.machupicchu.gob.pe
      • Click on Consultas
      • Tab and Choose Camino Inca, from the drop down menu, as well as the month you are interested in.
    • The permits are directly linked to a specific person name on a specific date.
    • Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable.
    • Once the permits are sold out, there is no way any will become available again.
    • for more info, do not hesitate to contact us.
  • ALTERNATIVE TREKS
    • There are important regulations given by national institutions like: Ministry of culture, Sernanp and local municipalities in charge to control the areas where the different treks go, however the tickets can be purchased the day you are starting your trek at the first check point.
CAN I DO THESE TREKS WITHOUT SUPPORT TEAM?

Technically yes! However, we highly recommend to go with a support team and guide to have a good experience and travelling without worries.

DO I NEED TO ACLIMATIZE BEFORE THE TREK?

Few days of acclimatization before you start a trek is very important as it will help to reduce the risk of you getting altitude sickness on your trek.
Considering you are an experienced hiker, the distances and heights listed in the trek itineraries will seem short, but we need to consider that many of the treks involve steep climbs and descends which makes a difference to how hard a trek can be.
If you are thinking to stay in Cusco, exploring the city, taking a sacred valley tour or just relaxing, besides your multi-day trek. Please Contact us. We will arrange the best itinerary to help you acclimatize since Cusco is located in a Region with different heights.

CAN I HIKE THE TRAILS WITH CHILDREN?

Absolutely yes! You know your child(ren) best.
If they are active and like to hike, definitely they will be more than happy with these options. However, it helps a lot if they have some hiking experience so they have an idea what to expect.
Some companies recommend 8 years as minimum age.

DO THE TRAILS EVER CLOSE?
  • INCA TRAIL
  • According national regulations, the Inca Trail only closes during February.

  • ALTERNATIVE TREKS
  • Salkantay, Lares, Huchuy Qosqo, Ausangate, Choquequirao and other short treks don’t close.

How I can get to Machupicchu

There is no road to Aguas Calientes which is the village at the base of Machupicchu, however there are 2 ways to get there:

BY TRAIN:
  • Train from Poroy (Cusco) and back
  • 30 min. from Cusco hotel to Poroy train station.

  • Train from Ollantaytambo and back to Ollantaytambo or Poroy (Cusco)
  • 2 h. from Cusco hotel to Ollantaytambo train station
    30 – 40 min. from any other hotel in Sacred Valley to Ollantaytambo train station.
    30 min. from Poroy train station to Cusco hotel.

INCA TRAIL OR ALTERNATIVE TREKS:
  • Inca trail
    • 3 days hiking and 2 nights camping. Starts at km 82 or Piskacucho and arrives into Machupicchu through the Sun Gate, and return by train to Poroy or Ollantaytambo.
    • 1-day hiking, starts at km 104 or Chachabamba (by train from Ollantaytambo to get there) and get to Machupicchu through the Sun Gate and return by train to Ollantaytambo or Poroy.
  • Alternative treks
    • Salkantay trek (4 days hiking and three nights camping) arrive hiking to Aguas Calientes, visit Machupicchu and return by train to Poroy or Ollantaytambo.
    • Lares trek, Huchuy Qosqo trek, and any other trek (if it includes Machupicchu) after 3 or 4 days hiking and camping arrive to Ollantaytambo train station, take the train to Aguas Calientes, visit Machupicchu and return by train to Ollantaytambo or Poroy.
    • Inca jungle trek: hike from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes, visit Machupicchu and return to Ollantaytambo or Poroy train station.

More info? please do not hesitate to contact us [email protected]

Machupicchu travel

WHAT ARE THE OPENING TIMES OF MACHUPICCHU ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK?

Machupicchu park is daily open from 6:00 am to 5:00 pm considering last entry around 4:00 pm.

WHAT ARE THE OPENING TIMES OF HUAYNAPICCHU MOUNTAIN AND MACHUPICCHU MOUNTAIN?
  • Huaynapicchu mountain trail: There are 2 timeslots for stating the hike 7am-8am / 10am-11am.
  • Machupicchu mountain trail: There are 2 timeslots for starting the hike 7am-8am / 9am-10am.

You must be at the control point/trail head, between the time specified with your ticket and your passport. A ticket is valid only for a specific timeslot.

HOW DO I GET TO MACHUPICCHU FROM AGUAS CALIENTES?
  • Bus from Aguas Calientes to Machupicchu and back
  • Buses are running every 15 min between 5:30 am to 5:30pm or more often at peak times, the only bus company is Consettur, so no other vehicles can be found except for ministry of culture vehicles.
    *The bus ticket is valid for any time, any seat and any bus during day

  • Walking from Aguas Calientes to Machupicchu and back)
  • You can hike to Machupicchu from Aguas Calientes, approximately it takes 1 h. and 30 minutes but this is a steep uphill hike, the hiking trail cuts through the switchbacks, this trail is over 2 miles. On the way down it is a little less time.

CAN I TAKE WALKING STICKS INTO MACHUPICCHU?

Walking sticks are not allowed in Machupicchu, unless you are over 60 or have a doctor´s note saying you need to use them, in case you bring them into the site they must have the rubber tips.

What is the best time of year to visit Cusco - Machupicchu?

  • CUSCO CITY
  • Cusco city and associated destination are busy almost all year around.

  • HIGH SEASON FOR GENERAL TOURISM IN CUSCO REGION
  • Tends to be June – August, coinciding with European and North American Holydays.

  • MACHUPICCHU
  • Machupicchu opens all year around, but during April to November receives a high tourist traffic. However, afternoons are the quietest periods to visit.

Luggage and what to pack

According your activities, you will need different clothes/equipment, however here we list some essentials and important stuff you should bring with you.
* A complete trekking pack list for each trek can be found on our different tours – treks.

  • Original passport. (very important).
  • Valid GREEN ISIC card, (if you booked as a student)
  • Small day pack – 30 or 40 L.
  • Water storage – camelback, bottles (recommended 2 or 3 liters)
  • Warm clothes for variable temperatures – 3 ºC: wool hat, scarves, gloves, wool socks.
  • Rain gear: rain jacket, rain pant.
  • Sun hat, sunglasses and sunscreen, sandals.
  • Personal medication.
  • Basic first aids kit.
  • Head lamp.
  • Camera.
  • Battery charger – No electricity along any trek.
  • Hand sanitizer.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Comfortable hiking boots with ankle support.
  • Sleeping bag: it has to be at least -15 ºC (can be rented from overandestravel).
  • Trekking poles in case you book a trek (can be rented from overandestravel).

Are there any luggage limits on my tours - treks?

IN CUSCO AND SACRED VALLEY

Normally we do not place a limit on luggage in Cusco, however there are different treks where we have limits due to the different regulations given by the national institutions in charge of the national parks.

TRAINS TO MACHUPICCHU

The trains have a luggage limits 5 kilograms or 11 lbs. although rarely this is enforced, so we highly recommend to bring an overnight backpack and day pack with you, and the extra luggage you can store in your hotel or in our office in Cusco.

MACHUPICCHU ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK

highly recommended a small day pack, with essentials for three or four hours. If you overnight in Aguas Calientes or you are part of a trek and you have a big backpack, luggage or duffle bag, you can store in your hotel.

INCA TRAIL AND ATERNATIVE TREKS

Depending on if there are porters or horses carrying the equipment, the limits are the following.

  • Inca trail group service: 7 kg (14 pounds) included a sleeping pad.
  • Inca trail premium: 8 kg. (17 pounds) included a sleeping pad.
  • Other treks group service: 9 kg (19 pounds) included a sleeping pad.
  • Other treks premium: 10 kg. (22 pounds) included a sleeping pad.

You need to consider the extras in case you rented:
Sleeping bag 2 kg/4 pounds.
Inflatable sleeping matrass 1 kg/2 pounds.

Cusco and Machupicchu weather

WHAT IS THE WEATHER IN CUSCO REGION?

Due to the location in the Andes, Cusco Region has only two season:

Dry season Rainy season
Between May to October Between November to April
  • dry season: With average temperatures (20°C/70°F) during day and night temperatures sometimes goes below zero. In a regular day it is very warm in direct sun with a clear blue sky, and much cooler under cloud cover or in the shade, normally ground frost overnight.
  • rainy season: With average temperatures (20°C/70°F) during day and night temperatures are (7°C/44°F). Cusco has frequent heavy showers sometimes snow/hail at higher altitudes, it is warm in direct sun and cooler under cloud cover or in the shade.
WHAT IS THE WEATHER IN MACHUPICCHU?

Machupicchu located in the cloud forest, surrounded by mountains frequently shrouded in mist, specially mornings. Due to its location is more humid and hotter than Cusco.
Machupicchu has a very unstable weather, during dry season at mornings typically is foggy, during day is very clear, but during rainy season frequently is foggy.
You can find good climate charts on www.accuweather.com

Travel health and safety

DO I NEED ANY VACCINATIONS?

There are no required vaccinations for Peru. For those who are thinking to visit the jungle; yellow fever inoculation and Malaria prophylaxis are recommended.
We strongly recommend consulting with a travel health professional for a better information and advices.

I HAVE A FOOD ALLERGY, IS THIS A PROBLEM?

Let us know if you have any dietary restrictions. We will always inform to our guides, chefs, restaurants and hotels, and we will make sure everyone is well aware about it.

HOW I CAN PREVENT AN ALTITUDE SICKNESS?

Some doctors prescribe acetazolamide (Diamox) which is very helpful to prevent the symptoms of the altitude sickness. Talk with your doctor if this is a good option for you.
Updating…

Money in Peru

CURRENCY

The national currency is the Nuevo sol. Although in some hotels, restaurants and big markets nearby to the main square do accept US Dollars. But in small supermarkets or to buy small items you need the Nuevo sol.
A better place to exchange money with good rates will always be in-country, especially in the exchange houses than in the banks. Generally, dollar bills must be in pristine conditions, otherwise they will be rejected or exchanged for a lower rate.
At the moment to change or receive any money check carefully for any tears and rips as well for validity, unfortunately false bills are relatively common in Peru.

ABOUT TIPS

Tipping is not obligatory in Peru. However, is a kind gesture, gratefully received after you experience a special time on your tour.
People often tip guides, drivers, waiters and hotel staff, but on your tours you may wish to tip them at the end of your tours instead of each day. You can tip in US dollars or Soles.
*Tips are not included in the price of the tour.

Miscellaneous

WHAT IS THE BTG OR CUSCO TOURIST TICKET?

There are 2 options to purchase the Cusco Tourist Ticket – BTG:

Boleto Turistico General Duration Attractions included
BTG S/130.00 10 days Circuito I – Saqsayhuaman

  • Saqsayhuaman, Qenqo, Puka Pukara and Tambomachay.

Circuito II – Cusco and South Valley

  • Museums: Museo de sitio Koricancha, Histórico Regional, Arte Contemporaneo, Arte Popular, Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo, Monumento a Pachacuteq.
  • Inca places: Tipon and Pikillacta.

Circuito III – Sacred Valley

  • Inca places: Pisaq, Chinchero, Ollantaytambo, Moray.
Boleto Parcial I – BTCP I S/ 70.00 1 day Circuito I
Boleto Parcial II – BTCP II S/ 70.00 2 days Circuito II
Boleto Parcial III – BTCP III S/ 70.00 2 days Circuito III
  • The cost for students under 25 (with the presentation of a valid ISIC card) and for teenagers under 18 (with the presentation of an identity card) is 70 soles (US $20). Children under 11 are free.
  • The tickets for Saqsayhuaman, Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Moray, etc. Cannot be sold individually, you must buy the Boleto Turistico General, and you must pay in soles, no credit cards or US dollars are accepted.

Important: These entrances are not included in the Boleto Turistico General.

  • The ticket to Qorikancha or Santo Domingo Convent.
  • The ticket to the Cathedral.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TIPES OF TRAIN AVAILABLE?

There are two train companies:

  • PERU RAIL www.perurail.com
  • Peru rail has three different train types and the biggest variety of schedules.

    Expedition Vistadome Hiram Bingham – HB
    • A comfortable train although is the lowest class.
    • Small windows in the roof.
    • Limited snacks, drinks choices are offered in both directions.
    • More luggage storage on this service.
    • Carriages are less stable. Carriages with more movement.
    • The first class train.
    • Panoramic windows located beside and above your seat.
    • Big choice of snacks and drinks in both directions.
    • Luggage storage is more limited on this service.
    • Carriage are more stable..

    Overandestravel use this service as part of our standards.

    • This is a luxury train and exclusive for 84 passengers.
    • Much more expensive train than the other listed.
    • This service has more inclusions.
    • VIP lounge at the stations
    • Small carry-on bag.
    • Brunch on board.
    • On board entertainment.
    • Two ways bus tickets AC-MP-AC
    • Entrance ticket to Machupicchu.
    • Guided tour in Machupicchu.
    • Afternoon tea at the sanctuary lodge.
    • Dinner on board.
    • Soft, hot and alcoholic drinks.
  • INCA RAIL incarail.com
  • Inca rail offers three train categories; Premium economy Class, First Class and Presidential Service (Inca Princess Train). This last one with armchairs, meals and space for only 8 passengers. *this service is charter only.

This company only runs trains from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes – Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo

WE WILL BE ABLE TO SEE THE SUNRISE IN MACHUPICCHU?
  • First bus at 5:30 am. from Aguas Calientes and arrives to Machupicchu at 6:00 am.
  • People from the Inca Trail generally arrives to the Sun Gate at 6:45 am.

Therefore, if we book the tour from October to April it may be possible to enjoy the sunrise. Otherwise the sun will be up before you arrive.
Machupicchu opens at 6:00 am

MONTHS SUNRISE TIME
MAY – SEPTEMBER 6:45 AM – 7:15 AM.
OCTOBER – APRIL 5:45 am – 6:00 am

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

If you have more questions, please feel free to e-mail us using our page contact us