FAQs


What is an average trekking day?

Wake up call at 0600 with a cup of tea and bowl of water for washing. You then have one hour to pack up your rucksack before breakfast at 0700. This enables the porters to take down your tents whilst you are eating.
0730 Start trekking.
1100 Snack break
1230 – 1330 Lunch break
1530 Arrival at camp. The porters will have set up camp and have hot drinks and snacks waiting.
1800 Three-course dinner and hot drinks
Trekking is at a leisurely pace with plenty of time for rests and exploring the ruins on route. This itinerary is flexible depending on the weather and group health.

What is an average biking day?

0700 Wakeup call and time to pack up gear and tents.
0800 Breakfast and load support truck.
0830 Begin Biking
1230 – 1330 Lunch break
1530 Stop Biking & set up camp
1800 Dinner

This itinerary is flexible depending on the weather and group health.

What is an average rafting day?

0700 Wake-up call and time to pack up your gear.
0800 Breakfast whilst guides load kit on the rafts.
0830-0900 Begin rafting
1100 Snack time
1230 – 1330 Lunch break
1530 Stop rafting and set up camp
1800 Dinner

Rafting is at the speed deemed safe by the raft guides at the water conditions at the time. Plenty of time is allowed for portaging/walking the rapids deemed too dangerous to run.

Who else will be on my fixed departure?

From wonderfully differing backgrounds and countries, our genuinely small groups of 4 – 16 clients, typically share a passion for the outdoors, a healthy appetite for adventure and a love of the good life. No previous experience is necessary for any of our trips unless specified in the adventure.

Do you have any age restrictions?

The minimum age for the most adventure trips is sixteen years. Occasionally younger clients can be taken prior previous consultation with Amazonas Explorer.
Private trips can be arranged for passengers and friends under sixteen years old.

There is no maximum age limit but individuals are asked to be realistic of their capabilities when choosing an adventure trip.

Family trips are specifically aimed at ten to eighteen years olds travelling with their parents. However we can customize family trips for just about any age and even have equipment for babies and toddlers if required/ we can even provide nannies and baby sitters.

What vaccinations do I need for Peru?

A doctor should always be consulted for the latest information and what is suitable for you. or you can check these medical websites, Travel Health Pro
and Fit For Travel

 

Note if you are flying onto or transiting through certain other countries, they may require you have a valid Yellow Fever Certificate if you have been to any area of Peru they deem to be at risk of Yellow Fever. People have been stopped from boarding the plane which transited through Brasil, and on another occasion boarding a plane to Costa Rica, despite not having been to any yellow fever area in Peru.

What medical conditions are considered a risk at altitude?

Most of the adventure trips are at altitudes greater than 2,800m where altitude effects can be felt.
Altitude can aggravate some pre-existing medical condition. Travellers with anaemia, lung conditions, heart conditions, aneurisms, thrombosis and high blood pressure should check with their doctors before undertaking travel at altitude.

Which dietary requiements can you cater for?

All dietary requirements from vegans, Lacto-allergies and general dislikes can be catered for so long as prior warning is given when booking the trip. Please bear in mind that many of our adventures such as trekking require all food to be carried, by person or horse. So there are limits to what we can carry. If on a group tour, your cook is also catering for a number of other people, so their time is limited.

Recommended reading

Turn Right at Machu Picchu – Mark Adams
The White Rock – Hugh Thomson
Cochineal Red – Hugh Thomson

 

The Biking Birder 2016- A Green Birding Quest for 300– Gary Prescott ( Gary is donating one tree to our Lares reforestation project for every book sold).

Trekking in Peru- Hilary Bradt and Kathy Jarvis
Inca Gold – Clive Cussler
Manu – Andre Baertschi & Kim MacQuarrie
Exploring Cusco – Peter Frost

Heart of the Amazon – Yossi Ghinsberg
Running the Amazon – Joe Kane
A Neo-tropical Companion -John C. Kricher
Last days of the Incas – Kim MacQuarrie
Where the Andes meets the Amazon – Kim MacQuarrie and Jordi Blassi
Realm of the Incas – Max Milligan

Inca Kola – Matthew Parris
Birds of Peru (Princeton Field Guides) – Thomas S. Schulenberg
The bridge of San Luis Rey – Thornton Wilder
Touching the Void – Joe Simpson
Into the forests of the night – John Simpson
Field guide to the birds of Machu Picchu – Barry Walker
The Inca Trail, Cusco & Machu Picchu, including High Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek, Lares Trail, Choquequirao and Ausangate Treks and Lima City Guide’ by Trailblazer Guide Books

How safe is Peru?

Petty theft is wide-spread with thieves being quick and clever, most of the time people are unaware they have been robbed until later. Being vigilant with possessions, use a money belt, hooking your rucksack through your leg whilst sitting at tables and checking in and not carrying expensive items of value on display late at night in busy markets and stations avoids most losses. At night in towns the normal street rules apply so do not walk alone. Ensure any taxi your take is an official taxi. In your rooms and campsites keep valuables hidden to avoid temptation. On the whole Peru is still safer than most European cities. If you are really worried about losing anything precious then leave it at home.

How can I stay in touch with home?

The office may be contacted directly in case of emergencies. There are numerous Internet cafes in Cusco for e-mailing home, direct dial phone cards are widely available and telephone calls can be made from most hotels. Tri-band cellular phones also work in the major cities. On remote expeditions we carry a satellite phone but this is exclusively for emergency use. Wi-Fi is available in most major towns.

Tipping

 

PERU TIPPING SUGGESTIONS

Tipping can be a problem in many countries, adding a great deal of stress to your holiday. This is a rough guideline to try and help you work out how much you should tip. Remember that tipping is entirely voluntary and how much you give depends on how you feel about the service you have received. (The main exception to this is Inca trail porters where a tip is expected).

As a background, Peru has a minimum salary of 800 Nuevo Soles (US$250) monthly for a 6 day 48 hour week. However in many of the lower paid jobs (eg waiters, porters etc) this is not always honoured.

Exchange rates vary, but at 3.3 Peruvian Soles to the US Dollar, this makes S/.1 roughly the equivalent of GBP £0.24, USD$0.31 and EUR 0.26. (GBP £1 : PEN S/. 4.18).

AIRPORT BAGGAGE CARRIERS:

Strictly this is not a tip as these people make their living by carrying your luggage from the carousel to your bus. The general rule is between two to five soles per bag.

HOTEL STAFF:

If the hotel staff are helpful and friendly a tip of roughly two / three Soles per bag for the porters helping carry bags to your room and for the breakfast staff leave on the breakfast table a tip of roughly five Sol per person per breakfast. In many hotels this is not expected but the staff will be grateful.

DRIVERS:

Generally drivers doing transfers from the airport to hotel or vice versa don’t expect tips.

However if you have a driver for a few days then it is generally expected to tip. Again the service supplied (ie did he drive safely, did he help with luggage, was he friendly) should determine the size of the tip. A reasonable average would be a total of 10-60 Soles a day in total from the group.

 

SPECIALIST GUIDES:

On many trips you will have a number of specialist guides e.g. jungle, rafting, biking, Colca Canyon or Lake Titicaca guides. In most instances these guides have spent a number of years studying at Colleges or Universities to qualify as guides. Generally these guides will be with you for a few days but sometimes just for a day trip.

As a general guideline it would be expected to tip each specialist guide 70-170 Soles a day in total from the group. Again the group size, depth of knowledge of their area or specialist skill, command of English and friendliness should help determine the tip. Any assistant guides should receive roughly half the amount of the main guide’s tip.

 

INCA TRAIL:

The Inca trail, where you will be supported by a full crew of cooks, assistants and a host of porters etc, is far more complicated to organise in terms of tipping. We recommend that each client contributes 100-300 soles (30-90 US$) into a pot and following the advice of the guide divide it out between the crew of cooks, waiters and porters.

Note: This is one location where tipping is expected.

 

The general consensus as a percentage of the pot is approximate:  20% Cook, 17% Head-porter, 15% Waiter, 13% Assistant Cook, 13% Toilet manager, 22% split between the normal porters.

The number of porters varies:

 

Nº  PAX Nº Porters Nº Guide Total Permits
1 7 1 9
2 8 1 11
3 10 1 14
4 12 1 17
5 13 1 19
6 14 1 21
7 15 1 23
8 16 2 25
9 17 2 28
10 18 2 30
11 19 2 32
12 20 2 34
13 21 2 36
14 22 2 38
15 23 2 40
16 24 2 42

 

 

VEHICLE/MULE SUPPORTED TREKS eg. LARES, CHOQUEQUIRAO, AUSANGATE:

On treks where there is not the same number of staff as the Inca Trail, but there are muleteers, cooks, cooks assistants etc, we recommend that each client contributes around 25-50s/ per day of trekking. For example, for a 4 day Lares trek it would be suitable to tip 100-250s/ (30-75 US$), whilst an 8 day Choquequirao trek would warrant around 150-500s/ (45-150 US$) of tips.

This should again be pooled into a central pot and then with the advice of the guide divided between the crew. As on the Inca Trail, the cook and head porter, head muleteer gets a larger percentage of the pot.

 

For tipping the actual trail guides and assistant guides we recommend following the advice for specialist guides above.

 

TOUR CONDUCTORS:

On some of our bigger tours you will be accompanied by a Tour Conductor who will help deal with all the small problems that crop up when travelling in a foreign, non-English speaking country. Again it would be expected that the group would tip the tour conductor around 40-200 soles per day. The group size, their friendliness, patience, availability and ability to resolve your problems should help determine their tip.

 

RESTAURANTS:

As with most places in the world it is normal to tip in restaurants if the service was reasonable and the food good. A tip of 5% would be adequate, 10% is normal and 15% would be considered excellent.

 

 

SUMMARY:

 

Airport porters Minimum 2-5 Soles per bag – compulsory
Hotel staff 2-3 Sole per bag / per breakfast
Transfer drivers Generally not expected
Drivers S/. 10-60  per day total from the group
Specialist guides S/. 70-170  per day total from the group
Assistant Guides S/. 35-100 per day total from Group
Inca trail support staff S/. 100-300 per client, pooled and divided- Very expected
Other treks support staff S/. 25-50 per client per day pooled and divided
Tour Conductors S/. 40-200 per day total from the group
Restaurants 5-15% for adequate to excellent food and service

 

We hope you find the above information useful and do remember this information is a general guide and that tipping is VOLUNTARY.

 

What electricity supply is available?

220V, 60Hz, American Style two-pin plugs

Train luggage allowances to Machu Picchu?

Only 5kg day-packs of total dimensions <157cm are allowed to travel with you in the train carriages.

What are the international and national flight baggage allowances?

Please check with your flight provider- it varies greatly airline to airline and route to route.

What language is spoken in Peru?

The official language is Spanish.
Quechua, the language of the Incas, has finally received some official status and is widely used in the mountains. Aymara is the language of the mountain people of Lake Titicaca and Bolivia.
The jungle tribes have their own dialects.
English is not widely spoken outside the tourist industry & the normal tourist routes.

Money

The Peruvian New Sol is the current currency. US Dollars can be used in most restaurants (at a poorer exchange rate). UK pounds and Euros are not recommended.
Current exchange rates:
1GBP = 4.23 soles  and 1US$ = 3.25 Soles (correct as of July 2017)

 

All large towns and airports have ATM’s that accept Credit (Visa preferred) & normal bank cards (Connect, Cirrus).
Banks will accept paper credit card withdrawals – but the hours and queues are annoyingly unsociable.
Money changing houses are available in all towns. US Dollars are the preferred currency; GB Sterling is not widely accepted.
Out of towns try to have as many small coins and notes as possible as change is not widely available.

What is there to do in free time in towns?

Your guides will advise you of all possible options during the trip. Cusco has an abundance of good artisan markets, local ruins, internet cafes, bars and restaurants.

It can also be a nice opportunity to just relax and read a book.

What washing and toilet facilities are provided on trips?

Camping toilets and toilet tents are provided on all but the remotest expeditions.
On the rafting the river is generally used for washing and clean water supplied for drinking and teeth brushing.
On the Inca trail bowls of hot water are supplied in the morning and night. Clean hand washing water is available at all meal times.

How many people in a raft

We pride ourselves on our high guide to passenger staff ratio.
Optimal weather and water conditions would give four or six passengers in paddle rafts (raft size depending). We do not pack eight people into any raft. In high water Oar frames are used for extra safety, these may have two or four passengers. Tail frames are also often used to provide more safety.

Where do I store excess gear when out on a camping trip?

All excess gear may be stored in either the Hotels, support vehicles or in the Amazonas Explorer deposit whilst on alternative activities.