So, I saw many different sites that offer trails around Cusco, but what makes PaRa Travels different from the rest?
First of all, we highly value our customers! We take it for granted that their needs, opinions and privacy matter. As a fully registered Dutch travel agency, we want to keep it rather simple. We offer personal contact and are always ready to answer your questions. Once the whole picture is completed, we guarantee secure bookings and keep you up to date before and during your journeys. And, – not the least – we offer all this for the lowest price guaranteed for all pre-booked tours around the internet! We. Connect.
- After we have put together the perfect journey, we will direct you to your specific product(s) page(s). On these pages everything is described clearly for you.
- We work with a pre-determined deposit in order to make your reservations. The remaining amount has to be paid in Cusco one or two days before the tour, during the informational meeting. The exact amount that has to be paid beforehand and afterwards, are exactly written on the page
- We need some of your personal details to make further steps. Don’t worry, we make sure your information is processed safely.
- Passport details:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Passport number
- The exact date of your tours
- Student card information in case you are student (please check ”What requirements does my student card needs to get my discount”)
- Passport details:
- Once you have paid the deposit, we instantly get a message from our payment-system. We send you a proof of payment which means that everything was processed correctly. So sit down and relax, this is our time the shine; we make sure to settle all your reservations and tickets as soon as possible.
- Some of the trails offer us an actual ‘ticket’ that we can send you before starting your tour. However, in some cases this is not possible. Don’t worry, we have made sure your tour is reserved and that you are ready to go once you have arrived in Cusco.
- Wait and look forward to your next journey! We will keep you up to date about important information regarding your tour.
Peru has different areas with different climates, so we have focussed on the highlands and on the amazon (both Cusco region).
- The temperature in the highland is rather stable and differences are mainly because of your current altitude and whether it’s day or night. The higher and the later, the colder it gets. The Andes both has a dry and a wet season.
- The dry season is from May-October with temperatures between 15-25°C depending on your altitude. As soon as the sun goes down, the temperature starts decreasing down to 0 – 5°C.
- The rainy season is from November-April. As the name suggests, it rains a lot during these months. The differences in temperature between day and night are less extreme than during the dry season, ranging from 20°C during day and 5 °C during night.
- The rainforest (east of the Andes) is known for its subtropical climate, which means high humidity and constant temperatures around 25 °C.
- The rainy season in this region is from November-April. The typical ”rainforest rain” is powerful yet short, hereafter the sun brakes through rather quickly. However, during this season, the forest has troubles with floats so now and then.
- In the dry season, from April-November there is much less rain.
Concluding, the best season to visit Peru is during the dry season (roughly April-October). Remember that in the high season (May-August) the winter season has began which means that the temperatures can get below 0 on great altitudes.
The months September-December are getting more and more popular, since people like to enjoy the more pleasant temperatures and want to avoid the crowded period. Do keep in mind that during those months the clouds – with or without rain – arise more often!
What is altitude sickness?
Arequipa (2.300 meters above sea-level) and Cusco (3.400 meters (2.300 meters above sea-level) are both cities situated in the highlands of Peru; the Andes Mountains. As you may know, the oxygen amount in the air gets lower and lower as you travel your way up. This may result in symptoms like headaches, vomiting, tiredness, diziness and having troubles falling asleep, also know as a condition named altitude sickness or acute mountain sickness (AMS). Symptoms typically occur above 2.500 meters.
Will I get symptoms of altitude sickness?
Young or old, man or woman, trained or not: it is impossible to predict who gets these symptoms. If you’ve ever experienced altitude sickness before, chances are greater that you may experience it again. Besides this, rapid elevation and high intensity activities increase the chance of getting altitude sickness.
How can I prevent altitude sickness?
The easiest way of preventing symptoms is by gradually elevating; a standard rule is to elevate no more than 300 metres per day. In case you take the ‘standard’ southern route from Lima-Arequipa-Cusco by bus, you gradually elevate from sealevel to higher levels.
What can I do if I do get symptoms of altitude sickness?
There is no proven treatment for altitude sickness, except for descending to a lower altitude. If your symptoms are not too severe, they may decrease after resting and drinking enough, as you gradually get used to the new height. Besides this, ibuprofen may work for your headache. Many Peruvean people advise to take coca leaves, however, there is no proof this actually works. Also the effect of oxygen treatment is not sufficiently studied.
Machu Picchu Tours
1. The Inca Trail is the official trail to the Machu Picchu. This simply means that you hike on the routes that the former inhabitants of Peru, the Inca’s, built to reach the Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu. These paths are of great value and are taken care of by the ministry of culture and the government of Peru, which also is the reason for the higher costs of this tour. Mainly in high season, make sure to book ahead around 9 months before departing to make sure you get your tickets.
2. The Salkantay Trail is a good alternative and is just as the Inca Trail made for hikers. You will come across high mountains, forests and visit places like the “Lago Humantay” during the hike; experience the nature during your nights camping in tents under the stars!
3. The Jungle Trail, also called the Inca Jungle Trail, is yet another alternative. Roughly it is a combination between several activities and hiking. Besides experiencing the mountains and forest, you go downhill mountain biking, rafting and ziplining. Eventually you reach the Machu Picchu, so it is a little less hiking than the other trails. For more information, take a look at
4. The short trails are specially made for people short on time but who don’t want to miss the unique experience of Machu Picchu. In either one or two days you take the train retour from Ollantaytambo – Machu Picchu.
5. The combination tour to Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu is perfect for people who are eager to visit both the Sacred Valley and the Machu Picchu in a short time. In just 2 days you get to see both of these cultural highlights. We make our way through the ancient valley and find the tracks left by its old inhabitants; the Inca’s. While visiting cultural places like Salineras de Maras and Moray we get closer and closer to the final destination of this tour; Machu Picchu!
The only difference is the way back from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo on the last day of your trail:
- By bus: In case you choose to travel by bus you should start hiking downwards from Machu Picchu at around 11 a.m. (based on the morning visit). You then have to walk back to Hydroelectrica where the busses leave at 03:00 p.m. and take around 6-7 hours to take you back to Cusco.
- By train (+70 euros): In case you choose to travel by train you can hike downwards from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes in the afternoon. From there, the train takes you in about 2 hours from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo. In Ollantaytambo, a bus takes you to Cusco in about 2 more hours where you arrive at around 10 p.m.
Things to keep in mind, helping you too choose:
- You will arrive back to Cusco at around the same time.
- The train is more comfortable because you have to travel less time and the seats are more relaxing.
- In some cases, you get lucky and get to spend some more time around Machu Picchu when travelling by train. Do note that there is a maximum duration that people are allowed in the actual park of Machu Picchu!
- Both the train and the bus have beautiful sights during the ride.
There are 2 mountains close to Machu Picchu which both give you the opportunity to watch the Inca Capital from further above.
- The Huayna Picchu is a shorter walk; you only need around 45 minutes to go up. At the top there is a nice archaeological center which you can visit. The hike down is also around 45 minutes.
- Machu Picchu Mountain takes around 1.5 hours to hike up. Just like the Huayna Picchu, there is an archaeological center which you can visit. Getting down will take you approximately 1.5 hours as well.
Additional costs for both mountains are 50 euros for our Machu Picchu tours. Unfortunately, at this time the ministry of culture and the government of Peru arranged it differently for the official Inca Trails; in this case the additional costs are 60 euros. This is explained because of the fact that you cannot buy a Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain ticket solely, and have to buy an extra ”Machu Picchu + mountain ticket” on top of your official ”Inca Machu Picchu” ticket. We’re sorry, but this is not up to us!
Keep in mind that if you decide to return by bus after the Machu Picchu, the time schedule is strict. Hence, if you want some more time to enjoy Machu Picchu, we advise you to return by train.
During your Machu Picchu trail it is possible to make use of a mule for carrying your luggage. Additional costs are 150 soles per person with a maximum weight of 15 kg per person. Please make sure to tell us that you would like to hire a mule at least one day before starting your hike!
After a tiring day you want to relax in your bed, and for some people nothing is more relaxing than a private room or tent. All tents are for 2 persons. If you want to have more privacy in your hostel, it is possible to ask for a private room. In the case you want a private room, please let us know beforehand.
Prices – in total, for the whole tour – are the following:
Jungle Trail (one or two persons): €25,-
Salkantay Trail two persons: €25,-
Salkantay Trail one person: €40,-
Inca Trail (one or two persons): €30,-
Short Trail: (one or two persons): €25,-
A sleeping bag is needed in all of our camping tours, which are the Salkantay Trail and the Inca Trail. Especially for our customers it is possible to hire a sleeping bag for 20 euros during your tour. Furthermore, you can also hire walking sticks for 20 euros. Please ask about this before you depart from Cusco!
Unfortunately, not all student cards are allowed by the government and the ministry of culture of Peru. To summarize, your student card needs the following requirements:
- It’s a plastic card (a proof of registration on a paper is not accepted)
- You’re 25 years old or younger (verified using your passport)
- The card needs to mention:
- Your name
- Name of your university (unfortunately, some cards/schools, like the ISIC student card, are not accepted)
- The current study year (valid until is not accepted)
A valid student card gives you a 50% discount on the Machu Picchu entrance, which adds up to around 20 dollars. Mostly, the student card is only needed for reserving your Machu Picchu ticket. However, in some cases, you need to show the card at the Machu Picchu entrance as well.
So, you are ready to hike and ‘survive’ your nights in either hostels or tents, but how about the facilities during your tour?
- The Inca Trail, Jungle Trail and Salkantay Trail:
- Toilets: There are always toilets available at the camps for you to use freely. However, on the hikings paths, they can charge you money to use them. A normal price would be 1 sol.
- Showers: Because it is not given that there is clean water at all places, in some camps they charge 2 soles for cold water and 10 soles for hot water. It’s up to you!
Amazon Jungle Tours
So, we are offering three different Amazon jungle experiences, but which one should you choose? Besides the differences of activities and location, other differences are written below. 2 of the three parks are located near Cusco, they are:
- Manu National Park:
- The tour starts and ends in Cusco, this means that your transport is included in the tour. It is a long drive, crossing remote areas including roads which are not as good as you are used to (the jungle experience has begun)! Because of this, Manu is less touristic which makes it more expensive.
- There are more animals on a narrower area, which means that the chance of seeing more (and more rare) animals is higher.
- Tambopata National Reserve:
- The tour starts and ends in Puerto Maldonado; a city close to Cusco. This means that you have to travel there either by bus or by train since this is not included in the tour. The transportation from Cusco is organized rather well.
- The density of animals is a little lower than in Manu National Park. This means that the chance of seeing rare animals is slightly lower as well.
- Iquitos Amazon:
- The tour starts and ends in Puerto Iquitos. This means that you have to travel there by plane since as it’s the biggest city in the world that is not reachable by road. The flight to Iquitos is not included in our tours.
- The floodplain forest near the city offers a great starting point for a true Amazon experience. Certainly if you consider the fact that the Amazon River is one of the seven natural wonders of the world!
- Iquitos is also known for its spiritual tourism; Ayahuasca is a drink made from the vine ”Banisteriopsis caapi” which is studied extensively for its medicinal purpose. The drink is also named nation’s cultural heritage.
The Manu National Park is divided into 3 parts:
- Manu cultural zone
- Manu reserved zone
- Manu national park
During our tour we only visit the first two parts of the Amazon forest. The actual national park (which makes the name rather confusing) is only for biologists and scholars who have got special permits from the Peruvian ministry of environment.
After a tiring day you want to relax in your bed, and for some people nothing is more relaxing than a private room or tent. During both the Manu, Tambopata and Iquitos tour, we offer twin rooms to our customers. In the case you want to sleep alone in a private room, please let us know beforehand.
Prices – in total, for the whole tour – are the following:
It is not necessary to bring a sleeping bag, matress etc to the amazon tours.
Below we added what the normal group sizes of our tours are. In some cases it is possible that it differs a little:
- Rainbow Mountains: a minimum of 8 and maximum of 19 people
- Sacred Valley: a minimum of 8 and maximum of 19 people
- Humantay Lake: a minimum of 8 and maximum of 19 people
- City Tour: a minimum of 19 and maximum of 28 people
- Arequipa Colca Canyon: a minimum of 8 and maximum of 19 people
- Puno Lago Titicaca: a minimum of 2 and maximum of 36 people
- Uyuni Salt Flats (Bolivia): a minimum of 4 and maximum of 7 people
- Huacachina Desert: a minimum of 2 and maximum of 15 people
Phone/Whatsapp: +31 6 44668062
PaRa Travels B.V.