There is no set standard to grade trips accurately with regards to how difficult they are. To give you an idea, the following is a list of trip denominations we use and their descriptions:
EASY: This trip is normally for everyone willing to go a bit further exploring culture and traditional aspects not usually experienced on a regular tour. They sometimes require extended walks or day hikes; therefore, we recommend good physical health and a taste for adventure. Normally, lodging is in small hotels and sometimes on tented camps.
CULTURAL: Trips that place a strong emphasis on exploring cultural aspects and traditions of the local people. These are oriented towards experiencing daily life with local peasants in their local communities.
TREKS:Trips that require good health and physical condition. Walking for several days with magnificent mountain views. Porters and or pack animals carry all our food and gear, you walk with a day pack only. You camp out at night, sleep in comfy tents, enjoying excellent outdoor meals.
MODERATE: Trips that require good health and overall physical condition. It refers to treks were you spend 6 to 8 hours of hiking per day. Hike on trails that lead to passes between 4,000 and 5,000 metersabove sea level with substantial gain and/or loss of altitude in one day. These trips are meant for people who enjoy the outdoors and normaly require some pre-departure physical training. The better shape you are in, the more enjoyment you can get out of a trip.
RIGOROUS: Treks that are longer and more time is spent at higher altitudes. Trails can lead to passes over 5,000 Mts. above sea level with more intense weather and temperature changes. Excellent physical condition and health are required for these trips; previous trekking experience is strongly recommended.
NATURAL HISTORY: Trips that explore the wildlife preserves of Peru. We stay in jungle lodges or camp out in jungle beaches by the river. At times we travel long hours by canoe, boat and bus on rugged roads, ocean front boat excursions, we also combine with stays at hotels.
RAFTING AND MOUNTAIN BIKING: Trips that require good health and physical condition. These are trips that include Biking and/or whitewater rafting on class II to IV rapids. We choose scenic routes and rivers with beautiful surroundings. These are usually day trips combined with easy to moderate trips.
The most important thing to remember is to join a trip with a spirit of adventure, a positive response to the unexpected and willingness to learn from new experiences.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
HOW MUCH TIME DO WE NEED TO ACCLIMATIZE?
This is a relative matter and depends on each individual, but from experience we can say that on average you need two to three days in the high altitude to acclimatize properly.
WHAT DO WE NORMALLY HAVE TO CARRY WITH US?
On our Premium treks you normally carry only a day pack with your belongings for the day. This will usually include: a warm jacket, rain gear, a snack (we provide), water, lip balm, sun screen, bug repellent, personal med kit, Swiss Army knife, flashlight and camera.
On our Backpacker treks you are expected to carry all your personal belongings including your Sleeping Bag and Pad.
STORING THE REST OF OUR LUGGAGE?
All hotels in Cusco have storage to keep luggage you will not need on your trek until you return. Normally this service is free of charge, Always, use small locks, make note and request a receipt for what you leave behind.
WHAT KIND OF BAG IS THE MOST PRACTICAL
Duffle bags are the most practical bags to carry your belongings in a trek.
HOW MUCH CAN I BRING ON THE INCA TRAIL
For the PREMIUM Inca Trail to Machu Picchu you are allowed a duffle bag with a maximum of 18lbs, weight that should include your sleeping bag and pad. This bag will be carried by our group of Porters.
For the BACKPACKER Inca Trail you will carry your own pack. Always, try to be very selective as to what you bring (a packing list will be sent to you as a guideline).
On any other treks weight limit is a bit less restrictive, depends on the number of days, but we ask you to be considered and not overload your duffle bag.
WHAT DO WE NORMALLY EAT AND ARE THERE VEGGETARIAN ALTERNATIVES?
Our meals are based on Peruvian cuisine, cooked using fresh natural products of the region and with an emphasis of providing a nutritious well balanced menu. There is always a vegetarian alternative to all our meals. Let us know in advance if you would like all vegetarian meals. It is important to mention our cooks are well trained in cooking under strict sanitary conditions.
HOW IS WATER SUPPLIED FOR US DURING THE TREK?
We normally boil water in the morning, at lunch and in the evening. This is normally enough for passengers to keep their water bottles supplied. In case you need more water in between those times, we recommend you bring to use water purification tablets for each time you fill your water bottle from a stream or any non-boiled water source.
HOW MANY PEOPLE SLEEP IN A TENT AND HOW ARE THEY?
We normally sleep two people in a tent when you are couples or friends, otherwise you need to request a single tent. We use 4-man high quality tents for every 2 people and 2 man tents for the single passenger.