Here are some of the questions that we are most frequently asked about our Peru treks and climbs. Just contact us if there is anything else that you would like to find out about.
For trekking, it is not necessary to be “super fit”, but you do need to be of generally good fitness and a regular walker. You need to be able to hike continuously uphill (sometimes steep) for 2 to 2½ continuous hours with rest stops.
For climbing you need have good aerobic fitness and be generally strong.
Huaraz where our treks start from is at 3090m, and all the trekking in the area is above 4000m.
For the first few days the altitude can cause you to feel breathless, lethargic and maybe a little nauseous, and for some people the symptoms are more severe.
We always recommend that clients have 2 complete days in Huaraz for acclimatisation before leaving for a trek. We organise day hikes up to around 4000m. To go high for the day and then come back lower to Huaraz to sleep for the night helps with acclimatisation.Our guides and staff are very experienced with managing altitude issues.
On the trek they always walk very slowly to help keep your breathing under control, and there are plenty of opportunities for rest stops and time to take photos.
It is important to drink a lot when at altitude and you need to take in more fluid than you would on an equivalent hike at lower altitude. With good acclimatisation in Huaraz, we find that most of our clients have no or only minor problems with altitude while trekking.
On treks and climbs our crew boil all drinking water for 10 minutes, and it is safe to drink, and does not need further treatment.
We have an unlimited supply of boiled water in the camp for hot drinks and filling drink bottles, and carry a thermos flask with boiled water for the lunch break. In the towns, only drink hot boiled water or bottled water.
The Peruvian Andes is in an equatorial zone. Normally, the weather is more settled from May until September with more chance of having extended periods of good weather. However, you are in the mountains and should expect poor weather at any time.
There is a rainy season normally from end of September until April. Typical weather in this time is to have cloud in the mountains with a period of rain, sometimes heavy, in the afternoons. There can also be heavy rain all day, or days with great weather, it is unpredictable.
In Huaraz during the day, it can be hot at times – up to 25 degrees Celsius in the middle of the day, but at night it is much cooler, around 5 degrees Celsius. On trek, temperatures vary a lot. It can be as warm as 18 degrees C to 20 degrees C during the day out of the wind, or as low 8 degrees C if the weather is not good. . There is always a cool breeze coming from the mountains, so when you stop for a break, it is important to have warm clothes to put on.
When the sun goes down, temperatures drop very quickly. It will be zero degrees C or lower at night, and you can expect to wake up in the morning to heavy frosts.In high camps on climbing trips, you can expect temperature to fall as low as minus 10 degrees C at night in some camps or even lower if there is bad weather.
We have fantastic trek cooks who prepare a wide variety of meals, and each cook has his or her own specialties.
Breakfast is porridge or cereal & yoghurt, with toast and eggs, marmalade, honey and spreads tea, coffee, coca, tea, herbal teas. For lunch the cook prepares hot or cold lunch dish with bread, and we have hot tea, coffee or herbal tea. Afternoon tea is biscuits or a special treat from the cook with more tea & coffee. Dinner is always 3 course – a hearty soup with is a Peruvian specialty, a main dish of chicken or meat with vegetables, or vegetarian option and a dessert, plus tea and coffee, or drinking chocolate.
We give you a snack pack for the day with either biscuits, chocolate, dried fruits, muesli bar, pieces of fresh fruit
The Peruvian system is 220V, 60 cycles AC Power points generally are two point which accept both flat and round plugs. Adapters are not available in Huaraz so you will need to bring your own.
Official currency is Sole. US dollars widely accepted in bigger towns and large hotels, but you need soles for small hotels, shops and in villages.1 US$ = around 3. 2soles.
Always carry plenty of soles in small denominations in coins (2 soles, 1 sole, 5 soles). Street stalls, taxis and even most shops do not have change.
Travellers Cheques should be in US$. American Express Travellers cheques are easiest to change in Peru. In Lima cheques can be changed in “Casas de Cambios” (Change houses), open until quite late in the evening, or in banks, and in some hotels. In Huaraz, cheques can only be changed in banks open approx. 9.30am – 12 noon and 4.30pm to 6pm Monday to Friday. Also open Saturday mornings but best to avoid Saturdays as they are very busy.
Note that most banks have a daily limit on cashing travellers cheques of US$1000 per day. For US$ bring most in small notes – 10’s, 20’s and 50’s. Avoid bringing US$100 bills if possible as there are a lot of counterfeit US$100 bills circulating in Peru, and many agencies, hotels etc will not accept $100’s.
US$ Can be changed in Casa de Cambios in Lima and Huaraz (open till evening), and hotels, banks. Be careful when changing money – check the notes you receive for rips/tears etc. Shops will not accept damaged notes.
Changing Euros to Peru Currency
Euros can also be changed easily in Lima and Huaraz for soles. Generally Euros can only be changed at banks or change houses (not hotels). There is a bank agency in the customs hall of Lima airport. You can change US$ and Euros for soles there and there is no commission.
ATM / Money Machines
There are cash machines in Lima and Huaraz. Don’t totally rely on them though for your cash as sometimes they are not functioning. Maximum withdrawal each time is between US$200 and US$400 depending on the bank. You will need your ATM cards to withdraw cash. Most machines do not accept credit card or debit card cash withdrawals.
Major Credit Cards and travelling in Huaraz, Peru
Accepted in some hotels & restaurants – but check first. Credit cards are not widely used or accepted in Huaraz.
Most of the hotels and guesthouses have a secure locked room where they store clients belongings, and a safe for your passports, documents and money.
You may feel that you would like to give your trekking crew a tip if you consider that they have given you good service and you have enjoyed their company. This is entirely discretionary and there is no obligation.
It is always difficult to suggest appropriate tips when people ask us. All we can say to people is that the crews do work very hard to make everything as perfect for you as possible, and they only have around four months in the year during the trekking season to earn an income for their families for the whole year. They greatly appreciate anything, even clothing or equipment that you feel you can leave behind, but it is not expected and as we say, is entirely at your discretion.
In the towns, most of the restaurants and cafes have service included in the bill, but the staff are lowly paid by Western standards and if you like to leave them a small tip, it is always appreciated.
Our guides and porters are trained in mountain first aid and altitude related illness. We always have a horse carrying equipment along with the donkeys, and for larger groups we take a separate rescue horse. If someone is unwell or has an accident, we evacuate them out by horseback to the nearest road or village where we organise evacuation back to Huaraz.
We always have sufficient staff with our crew so that one of our people can leave to care for the sick/injured client and the rest of the group can continue on with their trek or climb if they wish to.
It is important to realise that we are trekking in remote areas. In some of the most remote areas it can take as much as two or three days to reach a village to be evacuated back to Huaraz, while on other trekking routes we can have you safely back in Huaraz in a day. There is no radio or cell phone contact in most of the areas we trek through. With large groups and climbing trips we have a satellite telephone for emergency.
Contact Anne if you have any questions not covered here. We are here to ensure you have an adventure holiday in Peru that is safe but above all fun!