Tag-Archive for ◊ Inca trail ◊

Views 11 Jun How to prepare for your trip to Peru…mentally and physically!

Five Tips to Help You Prepare for your Trip to Peru ! By making a few easy preparations before departing for your journey to Peru, you can be assured a much more comfortable stay! The following tips have been (almost) life-savers for me… Buen Viaje!

  1. Book in advance!
    Of course not everything needs to be planned in advance…but if you want to see one or more of Peru’s most famous and sought-after sites, you NEED to book beforehand! The best example of this is the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, but also a train tour to Machu Picchu should be booked before arrival, at least in high season. You don’t want to come all the way here just to be disappointed….. The Inca Trail needs to be booked with a travel agency in Cusco 4 to 6 months in advance in high season ( 1-3 months in mid and low season). This, because there is a limit of 500 entries per day, and this includes staff! If you want to trek to Machu Picchu but don´t have 4 to 6 months to plan ahead, you can always check out an alternative treks to Machu Picchu such as the Salkantay, Lares Valley or the ever-popular Inca Jungle Trek!
  2. Salkantay Peru

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Views 10 Ene The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: Day 1 + 2
 |  Category: Must-see Travel Destinations  | 6 Comments

Hiking the Inca Trail had always been a huge ambition of mine.  Directly after arriving at the Amauta Spanish school in Cusco I met a group of students that were booking for later that same week, through their in-house travel Agency Dos Manos Peru! Admittedly I was quite relieved that there was still space; I guess the trail doesn’t get so booked up in the wet season.

The staff of Dos Manos made the whole booking process very easy for us and was very professional in accommodating special requests and dietary needs of one of my fellow hikers. Our guide, Simón, gave us a briefing two days before we left, allowing us time to buy last minute necessities. He described the trail, what our plans were, what would happen each morning before walking and the type of food we could expect. I received a great feeling of confidence and excitement and really lived up to the moment of the first day:

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Day 1
We were picked up very early that fateful Friday from the Amauta Spanish School, and travelled to Ollantaytambo, a town 75km from Cusco for a snack breakfast. This is often a compulsory stop due to the need to pick up porters. Since we were a relatively small group this was a quick affair and we were quickly on the road again, heading for Km 82 where the trek would really start!

After a lengthy entrance process (where our passports were cross-checked with our tickets for name/number discrepancies) and a bridge crossing, we were off! The first morning passed pleasingly and the walk itself was not challenging; quite flat before a slight incline to lunch.

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Views 10 Ene The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: Day 3 + 4
 |  Category: Must-see Travel Destinations  | One Comment

After having hiked for two long days (see here my travel story) we were already half way on our trek to Machu Picchu.

Day 3
By the traditional route, day 3 is the longest day and it also has the most optional detours to see different ruins. So instead of staying in Wiñay Wayna, the traditional end-point of the third day, we decided to take some of these detours and enjoyed these greatly preserved ruins at regular intervals during the day, breaking up the 1000m descent into the cloud forest. On the other hand we got into Machu Picchu a bit later on Day 4, since we had further to walk.

Dejà-vu struck first thing in the morning, as we had to climb out of the valley in which we had spent the night. The 400m climb that you could see from day 2’s descent kicked off a long day. The group got to the top without a problem, but from there it was still a long haul to lunch on the top of the third and final pass; you could almost hear a chorus of stomachs rumbling as we came through the mist and arrived at lunch.

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Lunch also marked the end of any significant uphill walking on the Inca Trail, which was a nice feeling! With careful baby steps we came down to the campsite for a relatively early finish, and that night, somehow, we played football with Simón, Lino and the porters. This was a really nice way of showing our appreciation for their astonishing support on our journey. After the game we had a small presentation ceremony where we gave each person a token of our thanks.

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Views 13 Dic Spend Christmas or New Year’s Day at Machu Picchu in Peru!
 |  Category: Events  | 8 Comments

Haven’t made any plans yet for Christmas? What about spending it high up in the Andean mountains during one of our unique treks in Peru!

The Inca’s of Peru didn’t believe the world is going to end on the 21st of December, and neither do we. However, this particular date could go into history as your first day of the Inca Trail. After four days of hardship and solidarity with new friends you will arrive at the sungate looking upon Machu Picchu; at the break of dawn on Christmas day.

After this incredible moment and accomplishment we will bring you back to Cusco in time for a traditional Peruvian Christmas dinner. You can be assured to look back upon a truly unique and mystical experience (and you don’t have to worry about your diet after 49 km’s of hiking in the Andes!).

Spend Christmas or New Year’s Day at Machu Picchu in Peru!
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Views 11 Dic Check Out Our New Website!
 |  Category: Events  | 5 Comments

We’ve spruced things up at: www.dosmanosnederland.com. Same URL but with a brand new look, better features and the same great choice and value!

If you’re new to Dos Manos Latin America Specialist and haven’t yet visited our website, you’ll be pleased to find a clear overview of the services we offer all over Central and South America, including tours and travel packages, Spanish courses, volunteer work and accommodations.

The excursion section now features extensive destination info and an integrated search function with advanced filters. Booking a hotel or hostel has never been so easy through the intuitive booking application and the Spanish schools and volunteer work in Latin America pages have been designed to provide practical information with of course lots of new photos.

Check Out Our New Website!
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Views 14 Nov Coca Leaves: the green gold of the Andes
 |  Category: Culture and Curiosities  | 8 Comments

Within the Andean vision of the cosmos, nature represents a profound expression of the great Divinity. This has manifested itself in the cult of the Andean people in their relationship with the land, the mountains, certain animals and plants, attributing them sacred meanings and establishing a particular form of communication through complex rituals that persist to this day.

Among the native plants considered sacred to the people of ancient Tawantisuyo (the Inca Empire), we find the Wachuma or San Pedro cactus, the Amazonian Ayahuasca and Coca leaf, all of which embody a means of communication with the gods of nature and source of self-exploration and direction for the Andean man’s spiritual journey.

Coca Leaves: the green gold of the Andes

Of these three sacred plants, the most widely used in the Andean society has been the Coca leaf. Because of its energetic properties and stimulants to the central nervous system, the leaves were already used some 5000 years ago to tolerate strenuous physical labor. While the ancient man did not exactly know its nutritional qualities, they did realize that the chewing of Coca leaves sated the appetite and, therefore, it became the basis of Andean nutrition especially in times of food shortage. Now we know that the plant is extremely rich in calcium, vitamins and minerals. Similarly, the Andean man gradually discovered the medicinal properties of the plant, being used to relieve sore muscles, to regenerate bone tissue, to withstand altitude sickness known locally as soroche and during the Inca period even to treat brain tumors by using its oil. 

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Views 14 Jun Tipon: the perfect daytrip from Cusco
 |  Category: Tips & Testimonials  | Leave a Comment

I have now been in Cusco for almost a year and I am never lost for things to do. This particular weekend I was accommodating some friends that came to town to tackle the famous Inca Trail.

However, before they headed off on their big adventure I felt it would be appropriate to go for a small acclimatization walk. I decided that Tipon would be just the place.

At first glance we could not help but be impressed by the sheer size of the complex and the intricate jigsaw piecing of the enormous stones placed in such a form to achieve perfectly flat and symmetrical surfaces.  The calculations that would have been made in order to accomplish this perfection included factors such as the gradient of the waterways and the angles of the channels that were constructed in order to slow the speed of the water.

Tipon: the perfect daytrip from Cusco!
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Views 31 Ene How to Book YOUR Inca Trail Trek for Spanish students
 |  Category: Adventure Tourism, Events  | Leave a Comment

Step 1: Choose YOUR trek. Choosing the right trek for you depends on your how much time you have before, during or after your Spanish studies, and on your personal preferences. The Classic Inca Trail Trek lasts 4 days and 3 nights and the Short Inca Trail Trek lasts 2 days and 1 night. It is important to note that this trek involves a lot less trekking and camping.

How to Be a Responsible Traveler

Step 2: Check available trek dates. Our travel partner Dos Manos Peru recommends booking your Inca Trail Trek approximately three months in advance, especially for the high season, which takes place from June through August. The Inca Trail is closed during February for maintenance every year. The Peruvian government limits the number of people, including trekkers, guides, porters, etc., that are allowed on the trail to 500 per day. To check the number of spaces available for any day, visit the official Peruvian Ministry of Culture website: www.machupicchu.gob.pe or send an e-mail to info@dosmanosperu.com for updated info.

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Views 21 Ene So the Inca Trail Trek is Sold Out… Now What?
 |  Category: Tips & Testimonials  | One Comment

If you want to do the famous inca Trail in Peru, you need to know you have to book this between 2 – 4 month before arrival, according to the time of year. If you don’t, you are likely to discover that the Inca Trail Trek is completely sold out by the time you want to arrange the trek. Do NOT panic! Even though you cannot trek the Classic Inca Trail, there are still plenty of scenic and adventurous options for visiting Machu Picchu and doing some trekking. Here are the most popular alternatives to the Inca Trail Trek:

One option is to take the train to Machu Picchu! There are three different train services that run to Machu Picchu: the Backpacker Train, the Vistadome Train, and the Hiram Bingham Train. Each train service is priced differently to fit the budgets of different travelers. Train tours to Machu Picchu are usually one day tours, but can be combined with an extra night in Aguas Calientes if you want to spend more time visiting the ruins.

The Backpacker Train
This is the cheapest service but still a comfortable mode of travel to Machu Picchu.

The Vistadome Train
This is a faster and more comfortable way of getting to Machu Picchu. Each train carriage has enlarged side, front, and overhead windows providing panoramic views of the mountain terrain on all sides. This is also a more scenic way of getting to Machu Picchu.

So the Inca Trail Trek is Sold Out… Now What?

The Hiram Bingham Train
This is a luxury train ride and is for those travelers who want to make the most out of their excursion to Machu Picchu.  Breakfast, snacks, cocktails, and a lovely dinner with live music are served onboard this exquisite train.  Enjoy an afternoon tea at the famous Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, located at the entrance to the ruins.  A professional guide will be with you during the whole trip, including the train journey. This is a luxurious, yet pricey way of getting to Machu Picchu.

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Views 19 Ene How to Book the Inca Trail in Peru: Our Five Step Stress-Free Guide
 |  Category: Tips & Testimonials  | Leave a Comment

The Inca Trail is one of the most famous treks of Latin America and takes you in 4 breathtaking days to the amazing Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, in Peru.
Unfortunately many people who visit Peru miss the opportunity to do this trek, because the booking rules are a bit complicated.
Not anymore for you with our Five Step Stress-Free guide.

Step 1: Decide which Inca Trail Trek is right for you. The Classic Inca Trail Trek lasts 4 days and 3 nights and the Short Inca Trail Trek lasts 2 days and 1 night. It is also important to note that this trek involves a lot less trekking and camping. Which trek do you have time for and how much trekking do you really feel like doing? For more alternative options read our article So the Inca Trail Trek is Sold Out… Now What?

How to Book the Inca Trail in Peru: Our Five Step Stress-Free Guide

Step 2: Check for availability. We recommend booking your Inca Trail Trek approximately three months in advance, especially for the high season (from June through August). This is also the dry season so the weather is nicer for trekking! The Inca Trail is closed during February for maintenance every year. You can only book the trek “ last minute” (this is about 6 weeks in advance), if you are booking for the very low season, which lasts from November through January. The Peruvian government limits the number of people, including trekkers, guides, porters, etc., that are allowed on the trail to 500 per day. To check the number of spaces available on any given day, visit the official Peruvian Ministry of Culture website: www.machupicchu.gob.pe or send an e-mail to us at info@dosmanosperu.com.  Inmportant: if the trail is sold out at one travel agency it is really sold out everywhere and there is no chance of booking with a different travel agency. Don’t waste your time contacting every travel agency in Cusco! It is also not possible to book your trek after another trekker has cancelled because individual passport numbers are used to book spaces on the trail.

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