Peru Spring Break
Perfect for those looking to experience the region’s archaeological and cultural treasures in a short amount of time, this adventure includes a three-day trek along the Lares Trail. This off-the-beaten-track trek will reward those willing to break a sweat with a stunning combination of mountainscapes, cloud forests and encounters with rural Andean villages. If you aren't up for the trek you can relax in Cuzco longer and take a train to meet up with the hikers. Either way, everyone in the group gets to visit the amazing Machu Picchu!
GEEO and the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS) at the University of Texas at Austin are collaborating on this program. In addition to the local guides arranged by GEEO, you will be accompanied by an academic representative from the University of Texas, who will help you process the experience for your classroom.
This program is open to all educators and their guests.
March 8 : Lima
Arrive in Lima at any time.
March 9 : Cuzco
Fly to Cuzco this morning. You will have the afternoon to acclimatize to the altitude and explore Cuzco on your own.
March 10 : Sacred Valley/Ollantaytambo
Full-day guided tour of the Sacred Valley and Ollantaytambo ruins along with a visit to a Planeterra weaving project in a local community. Shopping opportunities at a local market.
March 11 : Lares Trek
Begin the three-day Lares Trek, or if you don't wish to hike, travel back to Cuzco for free time in this amazing city.
March 12 : Lares Trek
Day 2 of the Lares Trek or for non-hikers, free time in Cuzco.
March 13 : Lares Trek/Aguas Calientes
Complete the Lares trek. All participants will travel by train to the town of Aguas Calientes for the night.
March 14 : Machu Picchu
Today we will have a guided tour of Machu Picchu as well as free time to explore on our own. After exploring Machu Picchu we will travel back to Cuzco.
March 15 : Cuzco
Today is a free day to explore Cuzco.
March 16 : Lima
Fly to Lima in the morning where you will connect with your onward flight home. All services end at Lima airport.
March 8 : Lima
Arrive in Lima at any time. There are no planned activities so check into our hotel and enjoy the city.
There are many fine museums in and around the city, including the Museo Rafael Larco Herrera, which houses an equally impressive collection of pottery, jewelry, mummies and textiles from the Paracas and Nazca cultures. The more affluent coastal districts of Miraflores, Barranco and San Isidro offer good nightlife and cafés all within walking distance. Limeños (Lima’s residents) are friendly, and the city is filled with excellent restaurants; seafood lovers in particular should be sure to try a ceviche, for which Lima is well known.
March 9 : Cuzco
Transfer to the airport for the flight to Cuzco (the flight usually departs early – we may leave the hotel by 4:30 am). You will have the afternoon to acclimatize to the altitude and explore Cuzco on your own.
Cuzco is the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city, and the hub of the South American travel network. The city attracts travellers who come not just to visit a unique destination but also to experience an age-old culture very different from their 20th century way of life; one could easily spend a week just in and around the area. Inca-built stone walls line most of the central streets and you don't have to go far to see other major Inca ruins. It is a city steeped in history, tradition and legend.
Every year Cuzco attracts thousands of travellers who come to delve into its noble but tragic past. It is the perfect base for optional explorations around the city and area as well as a range of outdoor activities. Relax and explore this fascinating city, and take time to acclimatize to the high altitude.
Cuzco’s numerous colonial churches are one of the city’s most common sights. The Cathedral was started in 1559 and took 100 years to build; it is also one of the city’s greatest repositories of colonial art. Immediately in front of the entrance is a vault containing the remains of the famous Inca historian, Garcilaso de la Vega. Also worth visiting are the churches of La Compañía, La Merced and San Francisco.
While most ruins are just outside of the city, the main ruin within is that of the Coricancha, once the Inca Empire's richest temple. Today the ruin forms the base of the colonial church of Santo Domingo. During Inca times this temple was literally covered with gold, but within months of the arrival of the first conquistadors this incredible wealth had all been melted down. It is left to the individual imagination to envision the magnificence of the original structure.
There are several good museums in Cuzco, including the Archaeological Museum, which also houses a small art museum, the Regional History Museum and the Religious Art Museum. Our best advice for exploring Cuzco is to wear a comfortable pair of shoes, arm yourself with a city map and set off to explore!
March 10 : Sacred Valley/Ollantaytambo
Travel with our local guide through the Sacred Valley of the Incas. An important source of food for the Inca, the Sacred Valley is a lush agricultural region that continues to supply the city of Cuzco with much of its produce. Visit the impressive Pisac ruins and the colourful artisan market (market days only). The day trip finishes in the picturesque village of Ollantaytambo, site of another large Inca ruin. Here we catch our breath and prepare for the hike ahead.
Ollantaytambo is your first taste of what lies ahead at Machu Picchu. The town and fortress of Ollantaytambo are strategically situated overlooking the beautiful Urubamba River Valley. This major ruin site is known as the best surviving example of Inca urban planning and engineering. It is admired for its huge steep terraces guarding the Inca Fortress and for being one of the few places where the Spanish lost a major battle during the conquest. We spend the night in this small town before heading out for the start of the hike the next morning.
March 11 : Lares Trek
The 3-day Lares Trek to Machu Picchu is physically challenging but worthwhile, and the excursion is within the ability of most reasonably fit. Please note the Lares Trek is an Inca trail, but it is not the "Inca Trail" that you may have heard of. Equally as difficult as the Inca Trail, the Lares allows you to hike on a more off the beaten track route that winds through remote Andean villages. We chose this trail because it will give you a less touristy experience with more cultural interaction.
NOTE: Those passengers not able or interested in the hike spend 2 days in Cuzco, then travel by train to Aguas Calientes where they rendezvous with the hikers and visit Machu Picchu the next day. If you decide not to do the hike we need to know prior to your departure in order to obtain train tickets. Please advise at time of booking. The price for the hiking and non-hiking option is the same.
For those hiking, on day one we have an early morning start (6am) allows us the best possible views of our incredible mountainous surroundings, dotted with rural villages throughout. The Sacred Valley was the heart of the Inca civilization from the 14th to 15th Centuries, and many people still farm in this lush, expansive valley. Our hike begins in the village of Qeshwarani, from which we begin our leisurely pace through the valley of Cuncani, before the high pass of Cuncani we will eat our picnic lunch. After lunch we continue on our path to the highland village of Cuncani, our destination for tonight. From our campsite, we will have stunning views of snow-capped Colque Cruz.
March 12 : Lares Trek
After pausing to admire our surroundings in the early morning mist, we will proceed around Sondor Mountain to a high pass (an altitude of 4440m), from which we will have great photo opportunities: scenic Huacahuasi Lake and snow-capped Veronica Mountain (amongst others!) are visible from the path. After a good morning’s hike, we stop for a quick rest in a living Inca settlement, where many still farm the traditional crop of potatoes in the same way that their ancestors did. We resume our hike upstream to the second pass, Ipasayqocha (4550m), where we will celebrate by making an offering of coca leaves to the Andean Gods. We descend to our campsite near Lake Ipasayqocha for the night.
March 13 : Lares Trek/Aguas Calientes
Today we will have ample photo opportunities: our gentle path is covered in Andean flora, and animals such as llamas and alpacas are fairly commonplace. If we’re lucky, we might even catch a glimpse of Andean geese, puna ibis, Andean cara caras or condor. We will feel welcomed by the warm Quechua people, whose homeland we have the rare opportunity to see firsthand. The traditional dress and lifestyle of these people is both fascinating and enticing to outsiders. Our descent takes us through the spectacular valley of Patacancha, where everything remains as it has since ancient times. After our 5 hour hike, we reach the town of Patacancha, where we eat lunch and wait for our private bus to take us to Ollantaytambo, we catch the train for an incredibly scenic ride to Agua Calientes, where we will spend the night in a hotel.
March 14 : Machu Picchu
Today we take a 10 minute bus ride to the amazing Machu Picchu where we will have a guided tour of the ruins as well as free time to explore on our own. After exploring Machu Picchu we will take a train and then bus back to Cuzco.
Machu Picchu is both one of the best and least known of the Inca ruins. It is not mentioned in any of the chronicles of the Spanish conquistadors and archaeologists today can do no more than speculate on its function. The local Quechua farmers in the area knew of Machu Picchu for centuries, but it was not until an 11-year-old boy led the American historian Hiram Bingham (who was in search of Vilcabamba) to the site on July 24, 1911, that the rest of the world became aware of its existence. At that time the site was covered in thick vegetation, and Bingham and his team returned in 1912 and 1915 to clear the growth. Over the years, much work has been done on excavating and studying the site. Despite these efforts, many unanswered questions remain.
March 15 : Cuzco
Today is a free day to explore Cuzco.
March 16 : Lima
Fly to Lima today where you will connect with your onward flight home. All services end at Lima airport.
Stuff You Need to Know
Terms and Conditions
It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions page before signing up for this program.
Roughly 20% of our participants choose not to hike the trail. Instead, you will have 2 nights in Cuzco, travel by train for a night in Aguas Calientes where you will join the hikers for the tour of Machu Picchu. This trip is significantly less physically strenuous without the hike.
Step out of the normal tourist mind-set and truly experience the world. Most nights will have you staying in a simple yet clean twin-share hotel or lodge rooms with private facilities, complete with running water and electricity. Occasionally you may have a multi-share night at rustic local guesthouses, with communal bathrooms and the sporadic cold shower. Transportation will be a combination of public transport, private buses and some private vehicles.
May include high altitude hiking of up to 8 hours/day or other activities that require a moderately high level of fitness.
Minimum/Maximum Group Size
This program is full with a total of 16 participants.
Group Leader Description
All GEEO/G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of G Adventure's group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. Our itineraries often have plenty of free time to explore on your own.
While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.
In addition to the local guides arranged by GEEO/G Adventures, you will be accompanied by an academic representative from the University of Texas, who will help you process the experience for your classroom.
Most people automatically assume that the weather is hot in South America, but because of the higher altitude in the Andes, the temperature can feel quite cold, especially at night. We recommend the use of a duffel bag or backpack, whichever is easiest for you to carry. A good size daypack is also essential.
- USD cash
- Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
- Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
- Camera and film
- Reading/writing material
- Fleece top
- Windproof/waterproof jacket
- Small towel
- 4 shirts/t-shirts
- Sun hat
- 1 pair of shorts
- 2 pairs of long trousers
- 1 pair hiking pants/track pants
- Hiking boots/ sturdy walking shoes (water proof shoes are ideal)
- Sport sandals
- Toiletries (biodegradable)
- Watch or alarm clock
- Water bottle
- Flashlight (headlamp preferred)
- Money belt
- First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking).
RECOMMENDED FOR THE LARES TREK
- Inner sheet (for sleeping bag)
- Wool hat, mitts or gloves (preferably waterproof)
- Rain poncho
- Strong plastic bags to help keep gear dry
- Winter Sleeping bag (this can also be hired locally from G Adventures for $12 USD, Inner sheet included)
- Mattress (a foam mattress is included as part of the hike; you can upgrade this and rent a self inflating type mattresses locally from G Adventures for 12 USD)
- Anti-inflammatory tablets (e.g. Ibuprofen)
- Jacket (for low temperatures)
- Walking poles (that can also be rented locally from G Adventures at $5 USD)
- Go-Girl (A product that helps women use squat toilets)
All other camping equipment is provided for the Lares Trail excursion. Porters carry the camping gear, food, and a portion of your personal belongings. All you will need to carry is a day-pack, containing waterproof jacket, fleece top, camera, water bottle, snacks, sunscreen, and hat during the hike.
In our continued effort to support the rights of the porters on the Lares Trek we would like ensure that they never exceed the weight limit for their packs as set out by the Peruvian authorities. Porters are allowed to carry no more than 6Kg of personal belongings per hiker. That means that including your sleeping bag, toiletries, clothing, etc... you are allowed a total weight of 6KG for the hike which will be carried in a duffle bag provided by our local office. Any additional weight must then be carried by you in your day pack. To help achieve this goal we recommend that you carry travel sized toiletries, eg. contact lens solution, that you bring sport sandals that can be worn with socks (which are lighter than running/walking shoes) and that you limit electronics such as MP3 players to those that you are willing to carry.
- G Adventures vouchers and dossier
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
Laundry facilities are offered by the hotel in Cuzco for a charge.
We believe single travelers should not have to pay more to travel so our trips are designed for shared accommodation. Single travelers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Most of our trips have the option for a "My Own Room" which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself.
Every traveler is different and therefore spending requirements will vary. Some travelers may drink more than others while other travelers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Debit and credit cards are very useful for cash advances, but you must remember to bring your PIN number (be aware that many ATM machines only accept 4-digit PINs.). Both Cirrus and Plus system cards are the most widely accepted debit cards. While ATMs are widely available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will work in all of the ATMs in Latin America due to their affiliation with certain card systems. Credit cards can be used in major cities and towns ONLY but please do not rely on them as a method of payment because they are generally not widely accepted. You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies.
Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US dollar cash and cards is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
Please be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than 100USD (or equivalent).
As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
GEEO travel programs bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, at minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travelers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage. Travelers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travelers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our tour leaders work hard to ensure that all our travelers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings above for more information.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at: www.gadventures.com/medical-form.
Please note: All optional activities are booked and paid for locally in the local currency. You do not have to decide in advance which activities you would like to sign up for. The prices listed are based on the latest information we have received from our participants and G Adventures. They are not guaranteed to be accurate. Please feel free to use them as a guide for budgeting your trip.
These tours can be booked locally through our Lima office. Please call +51 (1) 989-042-261, contact: Elard Aranibar to reserve your tour and to find out about other available options. All prices are in USD.
Visit the Lost Inca Citadel of Lima. - Approx 3 Hrs
Larco Museum $55
This museum contains the best quality gold and silver collection. - Approx 3 Hrs
Culinary Tour $55
Visit a local market. Learn how to make Ceviche and Pisco Sours like the experts. - Approx 3 Hrs
Ballestas Islands with Huacachina From $180
Enjoy wildlife and history, have lunch in a winery and visit the Huacachina Oasis. - Full day
City Contrasts $25
Visit the other face of Lima, the shanty towns or Pueblos Jovenes. - Approx 3 Hrs
Lima at Night $55
Visit the Magic Circuit of Water, walk through the centre of Lima and savour an included dinner. - Approx 3 Hrs
Palomina Islands $55
Visit the port area of Lima. Spot wildlife and swim with the sea lions. - Approx 5 Hrs (minimum 2)
Boleto Turistico (tourist ticket) $25 (half ticket) $46 (full ticket)
City tour $15-20
Horseback riding around ruins (with guide) $40
Horseback riding around ruins (without guide) $15
White water rafting $55
Mountain biking $55
Museo Inka $3.5 entrance
Museo de Historia Regional entrance with Boleto Turistico
Please keep in mind this trip is designed to give you the freedom to do whatever interests you. Make sure you look over all of the optional activities and keep in mind these additional costs when deciding whether you can afford this program. Very few meals are included on this trip, giving you the opportunity to eat on your own budget. The prices below are in US dollars and are rough estimates so you can budget your trip.
Tour Company Fee
$100 USD (Educators do not have to pay this fee)
International Airfare from USA
Roughly $800-$1200 USD (Can vary widely)
If you require assistance in booking your international airfare we would be happy to assist you. Just email email@example.com for more information. Also see our FAQ for flight advice.
$35- $200 USD
Please note it is mandatory for all of our travellers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers for both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing an all inclusive plan that covers cancellation/interruption insurance as well.
See our FAQ for advice on Travel Insurance.
We recommend $30 USD for your G Adventures tour leader. Budget another $80 USD to tip guides and drivers for other activities.
Meals Not Listed in the Itinerary
roughly $150-$300 USD
Laundry, Drinks, Phone Calls, etc.
(Make sure you budget for these types of expenses)
Airport and Departure Taxes
Taxi fixed (official) rates at the airport counter.
(It all depends on what you don’t have already/what your insurance covers.)
$0 (Americans don’t need a visa for travel in Peru. Check with your local embassy if you are not American.)
What should be my expectations for this GEEO program?
Before you decide on travelling with GEEO it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. To summarize, our programs are quite adventurous.
• We use basic, no frills accommodation. The purpose of the accommodation is to provide a safe place for you to sleep. Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised, but do not expect luxury.
• The same goes for transportation. We use a mix of transportation that gets our guests from location to location safely. Sometimes you will have full days and nights of transportation as our trips tend to cover a lot of ground. The transportation will often be an adventure in itself.
• You must be able to easily carry or roll your luggage, so do not over-pack. We recommend using a large backpack along with a smaller daypack, which is typically the most comfortable way to carry your possessions.
• Many of our programs occur in locations where it is very hot during the day. Please make sure you have thoroughly read the itinerary and can handle the group activities, which sometime include day hikes with your daypacks.
• We recommend always carrying snacks with you because sometimes meals can be far apart.
• Please make sure you understand the role of your tour leader on this trip as they are not the traditional “guide” you may be expecting. While our trips are educational, they aren’t study/lecture trips. We want you to learn through exploring and much of your experience will be based on how active you choose to be in acquiring knowledge and interacting with locals.
• We try to set up anywhere from 1-3 school visits per program, but these sometimes fall through due to complications. Please understand they are not a guaranteed part of the program.
Hopefully this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!
What does this program have to do with the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS) at the University of Texas at Austin?
GEEO and the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS) at the University of Texas at Austin are collaborating on this program. Since 2008 LLILAS has been promoting GEEO and have grown familiar with our programs. Natalie Arsenault at LLILAS decided that she would like to offer a spring break trip to Latin America for the educators they are in touch with and thought GEEO would be a good fit to run the trip. In addition to the local guides arranged by GEEO, you will be accompanied by an academic representative from the University of Texas, who will help you process the experience for your classroom.
Where do I meet the group? What happens when I arrive at the airport?
Our groups meet at the hotel we use for the first night of the trip. Your tour leader will leave a note for you at the hotel's front desk with the introductory meeting time and location.
When you arrive at the airport you can either take a taxi to the first hotel or book an airport transfer. For an airport transfer you will be greeted at the airport by someone with a sign with your name on it. Some people find this comforting when getting off a long flight in an unfamiliar environment. Typically an airport transfer will cost about twice as much as a taxi would. If we have multiple participants on the same flight we can group those people together to share an airport transfer and save money. We cannot group people together if they are on different flights, even if those flights are scheduled to arrive within minutes of each other. In Jnauray we will send you a form that allows you to book both airport transfers and extra hotel nights.
Do I need a Passport? Do I need a visa?
All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport that will not expire within 6 months of trip departure. If you have a U.S. passport, but it has expired, or will expire within 6 months of trip departure, click here for information on how to get it renewed. If you have never been issued a passport or have lost your passport, please click here. Processing time for US Passports is 4-6 weeks so please start this process immediately.
Americans do not need to purchase a visa for travel to Peru. Non-American participants should check with their government to find out if they need a visa.
Who travels with GEEO?
GEEO participants are mostly made up of American K-12 teachers. Each group tends to have a good mix of educators in their 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's. About half of our participants are coming alone and do not know anyone in the group prior to the trip. We group single travelers of the same gender together as roommates, unless a participant prefers to pay an additional fee for their own room. If we have an odd amount of one gender we will rotate the single room for free among the participants.
GEEO trips are open to all Kindergarten to University teachers, school staff, school administrators, and soon-to-be teachers pursuing their teaching certificate. Our programs are also open to retired educators. Non-American educators are welcome on our trips.
Participants in our programs are permitted to bring friends or family members on their trip. You must be at least 18 years old to participate and of adequate fitness level for your chosen trip.
What is group travel like?
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all across the US and beyond and are likely to be of a variety of ages too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Is it OK if I am traveling alone? Do I have to have a roommate?
Half of the people that travel with us are traveling by themselves so please don’t worry if you have no one who wants to join you on our trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy, in other words, two people to a room. If you do not have someone that you are traveling with that you would like to room with GEEO will find you a roommate of the same gender. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. If you want to room alone, there is a "My Own Room" fee of $154. Please note, on the Lares Trek you may have a roommate even if you have paid for the "My Own Room" fee.
How long have we been running this program?
GEEO was founded in 2007 and our inaugural trips were run to Peru and India in the summer of 2008. This Peru program is a slightly shorter version of the one we run during the summer. G Adventures, who actually handle the logistics of the trip have been running trips to Peru for many years so you can have faith that your trip will be safe and well run.
Will I be eating on my own? With the group? Why aren't all meals included?
Eating is a big part of traveling. Traveling with GEEO you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is affordable. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your group leader will be able to suggest favorite restaurants during your trip. Please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Why are some activities included in the price of the trip and others are not?
We have found paying locally for activities allows our participants to save money. Not every activity is appealing to everyone and we don't want you to pay for services you might not use. Perhaps you feel sick one day and would prefer to rest. This allows you to decide on the spot what you want to do each day with your free time and at the same time control your budget.
Is it possible to get references for GEEO?
Over 500 educators have traveled with GEEO since we ran our first programs in 2008. We have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the quality and value of the life changing experiences that we provide.
To read comments from past travelers, please feel free to visit a website that reviews non-profit organizations called Great Non-profits. Please click here for those reviews.
Please contact us if you would like to communicate with some of our former participants for a reference.
Is the itinerary exactly as described on this website?
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described on our website, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The information on our website is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
How much money in US cash should I bring? Should I exchange local currency in advance?
This is entirely up to you, but we think it is critical for you to bring along $200 USD in cash for emergencies. This is what GEEO's executive director Jesse does in regards to money while traveling:
"I do not exchange any money before travelling to a country but instead bring somewhere between $300-500 US in cash. I go to a bank before I leave the US and take out the cash there rather than an ATM. I make sure each bill is in great condition with no rips or tears. I like to have mostly 20's, but in some countries you are better off with 50's and 100's. In some countries it is also good to have about 20 singles for when you have no small bills in local currency. I divide this money between a money belt and my main backpack and my daypack.
I also bring an ATM card and a credit card. Before I leave the country I call the bank and credit card companies to let them know I am traveling abroad so they don't think the foreign transactions are fraudulent and cancel my cards when I am most reliant on them. Having a second bank account and bank card is pretty handy so that just in case one card doesn't work at an ATM or is lost, you always have a back up account. It's also important to check with your credit card to see if there is an international transaction fee. Some cards charge up to 4% extra for any transactions made out of the US. My Capital One visa card doesn't have any international transaction fee. I just use this card for traveling so if it gets stolen and I have to cancel it I won't have to worry about recurring automated payments. I like to split up my cards between my money belt, wallet and one emergency one hidden in my main bag.
When I arrive at the airport I make sure to go to an ATM before leaving the airport and typically take out the equivalent of $150 USD in the local currency. I find that ATMs give the best exchange rate so throughout the trip I will use the ATM card to draw out my spending cash. I will ask our tour leader for an estimate on how much I will need if I am close to leaving a country so this way I do not draw out too much money.
I try not to use the US cash I brought with me so that I can use it in an emergency. Typically I will come back to the US with most of that US cash unspent. On a recent trip I lost my ATM card and was able to get cash by paying for our group dinners with my credit card and having people pay me their share in local currency. I NEVER take cash advances on my credit card as they charge you an arm and a leg.
I also never use travelers checks, but have heard good things about AAA ATM cards that you can load up with money instead of using travelers checks."
What cities/airports should I book my flight in and out of?
Your trip begins and ends in Lima. Please double check our itinerary for the date on which you must arrive in Lima by. You can arrive at anytime of the day you choose. You can depart Lima anytime after 5:30 PM on the final day of the trip.
When should I purchase my flights?
This program has been confirmed so you may purchase your flights once you have filled out our booking form and received an email back from GEEO.
Where can I purchase flights?
We recommend using www.kayak.com to see what is out there in terms of flights. G Adventures also has a wonderful air department, which can be reached at 1-800-708-7761.
You may also want to take a look at the prices at www.flyforgood.com or call 1-877-359-4466 to speak to a person. They get humanitarian rates from airlines and GEEO is registered with Fly for Good as a non-profit. If you purchase a humanitarian rate flight, you will need a supporting document from GEEO. Please request this from us after you purchase the tickets. Note that humanitarian rates are not available for all flights to GEEO destinations, and are sometimes higher than tickets found on on kayak, travelocity, orbitz, etc. Often the layovers are long and sometimes impossible to navigate. Look very carefully at the offer before purchasing your ticket.
Where can I purchase travel insurance?
One of the least expensive options is the "International Volunteer Card." They have a $35 card (The individual plus option) that includes the amount of travel medical, evacuation and repatriation insurance you need for our trip, plus other trip insurance benefits.
To sign up for the card you can follow this link:
We recommend purchasing cancellation insurance too, which the IVC offers as an additional option.
Another option is www.insuremytrip.com. They offer different options from many different companies. You can also get your insurance directly through G Adventures if you wish.
Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000USD.
Can GEEO book extra hotel nights for me?
You may want to stay longer in Lima so feel free to arrive a few days early or depart a few days later. We can book your extra hotel nights for you if you wish. The price for extra hotel nights for this trip can be found in the costs tab.
In January we will send you a form that allows you to book both airport transfers and extra hotel nights.
What vaccinations do I need for this trip? What should I ask my doctor about in regards to the altitude?
We legally cannot give you any medical advice. It is very important to consult your doctor or a travel clinic about which vaccinations you will need for your trip. GEEO recommends contacting Passport Health, (http://www.passporthealthusa.com/) who have travel clinics throughout the US. Please take this seriously!
Please note your Adventure travels to high altitude. This is medically defined as anything over 8,000 feet (2,440 meters). Most people can travel to 8,000 feet with minimal effects. However, everyone reacts to altitude differently and altitude sickness can on set with some people irrespective of fitness and age. For details on how to best prepare and what to do in the unlikely event you are effected on your Adventure, please consult your physician. Make sure your doctor carefully checks to make sure any medication you need is safe to use at over 11,000 feet above sea level.
Where can we get a list of hotels for this trip?
Other than the first hotel, our partner G Adventures does not provide hotel lists for any of their trips.
The reason for this is sometimes hotels change at the last minute. G Adventures does not want to give out incorrect information because in an emergency that can only cause more issues. Instead we give you 24-hour emergency phone numbers where you and your family can reach staff in the country that you are travelling to or in Canada at G Adventure's headquarters. This way at anytime your loved ones can call the emergency contact who can immediately put them in touch with your tour leader no matter how plans have changed.
What are the emergency contact numbers for this trip?
Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call our local office in Lima. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so we may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
G Adventures Lima, Peru.
Office opened Monday to Saturday, from 9am to 6pm local time (GMT -5).
Tel: Int. Dialing Code +51 1 241 1650.
Lima Emergency Cell Phone: +51 99 758 2712, after office hours.
If you are unable for any reason to contact their local office in Lima,
they have a toll-free line within North America (or our regular direct line), which will connect you directly with their Toronto office. In the event that you cannot get through, you can reach a member of their Operations department at the mobile number below.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 800 465 5600
Calls from UK: 0844 410 1030
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Outside North America, Australia and the UK: 1 416 260 0999
Is there clothing that is considered inappropriate that I should not bring?
Peru is a pretty relaxed place and you can pretty much wear anything you would like.
Do I need plugs and current converters for my electronic devices?
There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your computer.
Peru uses two- and three- pronged power plugs similar to those in the U.S., as well as a European-style two-prong plug. Peru's voltage is mostly 220V, with a few homes with 110V on the European-style outlets. U.S. outlets are 120V. Most new devices (phones and laptops) can handle the different voltage rates, but some devices only work on the U.S. standard of 120V. Check your device to see what voltage range it handles. Most transformer blocks will have an "Input" line that defines its voltage capacity. For example, "Input: 100 - 240V" means that it will work on voltages from 100V to 240V. If your transformer can't handle the different voltage, you'll need to purchase a voltage converter. You can find world regional voltage converters power packs at various vendors.
Is the water safe to drink?
Unless your tour leader tells you differently, only bottled water should be drunk, and this is readily available for purchase. Fruit and vegetables should be peeled, washed in boiled water and in the case of the latter, well cooked. Meat and fish should also be fresh, well-cooked and hot, to avoid possible infection.
Is there Internet access? Should I bring a computer? Mobile phone?
There are Internet cafes in most of the places we visit and many of the hotels also have computers that can be used. Expect to be able to check your email every two to three days. You can also bring along your mobile phone if you choose. Make sure you check with your phone company before you leave to find out the rates for calling back to the US and if they have any special international plans that are worth taking advantage of. International roaming rates can be extremely high, so you don’t want to be surprised. You can bring a laptop/netbook/tablet computer if you wish, but remember, GEEO and G Adventures are not responsible for the damage or theft of you valued items.
What is the weather like?
At the time of the year we run the Peru program Lima is typically a bit rainy with a mild temperature. Cuzco and the Lares trek will have mild temperatures during the day (70's) and will be in the 40's at night. There is a good chance it will rain while you are there so make sure you have packed rain gear. For the trek you should pack different layers of clothes so you can adjust as the day goes by. Make sure you have plenty of warm clothing as it gets cold at night. Because we are at high altitude, the sun can be quite strong so bring sun block and a hat is essential.
Is there advice that past participants would like to pass onto you?
Quotes from past participants:
"Don't come into the country expecting stores to accept American money- participants would be better off getting local currency at the airport upon arriving in Lima.
"According to a doctor I saw in Cusco, I could not take some of my medications because of the altitude. I wish I had known this in advance (my doctor in Oklahoma City was unaware of this, and I am still not sure the doctor in Cusco was correct). The sudden discontinuation of the medications caused me (and one of the other older participants) some medical difficulty. Make sure your doctor at home carefully checks to make sure your medication is OK to take over 11,000 feet above sea level."
"Money: in Lima and most banks they were very strict about our money. They wanted money without lines, cracks, tears, even bends in the middle. We did get an email with a warning to bring crisp money but I would stress that each bill will be inspected and that they will reject money with tears, lines and or marks. "
What happens if it becomes unsafe to travel on this trip?
Your safety is our utmost priority and we will cancel a trip if we do not feel our participants will be safe. If GEEO or G Adventures cancels your trip we will issue a full refund of any payments you have made including the deposit. If YOU decide to cancel your trip you will have to abide by the rules of our terms and conditions.
What is the relationship between G Adventures and GEEO? Who is running this trip?
GEEO is an independent non-profit organization that helps teachers travel. GEEO negotiates with tour companies to get great deals for teachers. GEEO customizes these trips for teachers. GEEO provides educational materials to teachers before and after the trip to help bring the participating teacher's experience into the classroom. GEEO markets these programs to convince teachers to explore the world. For more about GEEO, please see our mission statement.
G Adventures is a tour company that GEEO has partnered with to run our trips. For over 20 years G Adventures has been sending hundreds of thousands of people abroad and today they are the largest adventure travel company in the world. They design the trips, provide expert tour leaders, ground logistics and work hard to make sure you have an excellent experience.
What are the hotels like?
The hotels we use are clean, comfortable and heated. GEEO trips are designed to be affordable for any teacher, so please don’t come in expecting luxury. All of our hotels on this trip have private bathrooms with western toilets and hot water showers.
Do you have advice on tipping?
It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected - though not compulsory - component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels.
If you hiked the trail and you felt your trekking guide and support team did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline we suggest each hiker contributes the following to a collective pool. We suggest a tipping amount of $35 per person for the Lares Trek.
Also at the end of each trip if you felt your tour leader did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.
What is the Lares trail like?
The lares trail is a three day hike on an ancient path used by the Inca people. It’s mostly undulating terrain has lots of stairs that go up and down. Portions of the trail are paved with stones that were placed here by the Inca themselves.
What shape do I need to be in to complete the trail?
In 2008 GEEO had 28 participants attempt the trail and all 28 completed it. This included people ranging from a woman who was 4 months pregnant, a man who had double hip replacement surgery and a 58 year old woman. In 2009 there were 16 participants in one of our Peru groups. Five chose not to go. Two were too ill to begin the trek (food poisoning, be careful with ceviche!), one man turned back after 1 1/2 days and eight completed the trail. One woman said it was more painful than giving birth to a child. In 2010 a good chunk of the group said that it was a lot harder than they anticipated and wished we had stressed how difficult the trek is. In 2011 the hike went smoothly and none of the hikers had any major issues completing the trek.
In the end you have to decide whether the trail is right for you. It is a challenge for anyone, even the fit. If you decide to hike the trail be prepared for long days of hiking up and down rough hewn stairs. Do everything you can before the trip to prepare your body.
What is the food like on the trail? Toilets? Tents?
The food on the trail is carried on by our porters and cooked by our amazing chefs. Most people in the group thought it was the best food they ate on their entire trip to Peru.
As far as toilets go, they are disbursed throughout the trail and most of the places we stop to eat and all of our campsites have them. Most of them are squat toilets and sometimes the bathrooms aren't in the best of shape. There are no showers until we reach the third camp.
The tents for this trip are provided by G Adventures. They are carried, set up and taken down by our team of porters so you will not have to stress about them. The tents give plenty of room for two people.
What do I have to carry on my back on the trail?
While on the trail all you will need to carry with you is your water bottle, sunscreen, camera and a few layers of cloths so you can adjust to the temperature throughout the day. The porters will carry the rest of the things you need. There is a weight limit of 6Kg for the porters. By the time they get a sleeping bag and the mat in there isn't much room left. It wasn't a problem for anyone, but it is good to be aware of the limit.
In our continued effort to support the rights of the porters on the Lares Trail we would like ensure that they never exceed the weight limit for their packs as set out by the Peruvian authorities. Porters are allowed to carry no more than 6Kg of personal belongings per hiker. That means that including your sleeping bag, toiletries, clothing, etc... you are allowed a total weight of 6KG for the hike which will be carried in a duffle bag provided by our local office. Any additional weight must then be carried by you in your day pack. To help achieve this goal we recommend that you carry travel sized toiletries, eg. contact lens solution, that you bring, sport sandals that can be worn with socks (which are lighter than running/walking shoes) and that you limit electronics such as MP3 players to those that you are willing to carry. Please note, the remainder of your luggage will be stored for you at one of our hotels in Cuzco. It is advised that you bring anything of value (eg. money, passport, credit cards, camera, etc) with you on the trek.
If at the end of your trek, you felt your trekking guide and support team did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline we suggest each hiker contributes the following to a collective pool. We suggest a tipping amount of $35 per person for the Lares Trek.
How cold does it get on the trail?
It gets cold at night. The sleeping bag that G Adventures rents are very warm and cleaned after every trip. We recommend bringing warm socks and a warm fleece jacket to wear around the camp at night.
What do I need to bring and what will be provided on the trail?
You should bring the things mentioned in the packing list. The headlamp is really useful. You can bring your groundpad and sleeping bag if you wish, just make sure the sleeping bag you bring is a winter or fall bag, not a summer bag. Of course, you can rent the groundpad and sleeping bag from G Adventures, which is what most of the participants do.
What kind of footwear should I use on the trail?
Hiking boots are great, but running shoes work pretty well too.
How is drinking water handled on the trail?
Our porters boil water at all meals and will fill up your water bottles with clean, sanitized water.
Should I bring Hiking poles on the trail?
If you have hiking polls, bring them. Just make sure you have rubber covers for the tips on the bottoms as they do not allow metal tips on the trail. One teacher on the trip bought a pair of walking poles at Walmart for $18 and said they were “the best purchase of my life.” You can also purchase simple wooden walking sticks at the trail entrance for next to nothing. Most of our participants end up purchasing one walking stick each.
Is it hard to adjust to the high altitude?
Most of the people in our groups have some altitude sickness, but it rarely ruins anybody’s trip. You will fly from Lima to Cuzco at an altitude of 3310 meters (10,800 feet) which is a pretty big jump for your body to make. You should consider buying coca leaves or drinking coca tea, which are pretty easy to find in Cuzco. These will help your body to adjust to the altitude and ease altitude sickness symptoms. On the Lares trail they will make it much easier climbing those steep mountains. That said, we had several individuals in our group whose doctor recommended, for one reason or another, that they NOT use coca leaves. Most folks found coca very useful--and a neat part of the Peruvian experience. We recommend you ask your doctor about coca.
Another way to avoid altitude sickness is to take it easy. We will have our first day in Cuzco free for you to explore. Make sure you don’t push yourself! Within three or four days your body will acclimatized.
What are the toilets like?
All of our hotels have Western sit down toilets. When we are away from our hotel you may need to use a squat toilet. These amount to a hole in the ground that you squat over. Again, this is part of the experience and something that you can get used to pretty quickly. You'll probably use a squat toilet several times on your trip. Also of note, many of the toilets you use won’t have the septic systems for flushing toilet paper. If there is a little trash can near your toilet, please put your used toilet paper in there. Also, it is a good idea to always carry around a roll of toilet paper for use when we are away from our hotels. You can buy the toilet paper in Peru and should keep some handy throughout your trip.
Can I bring a rolling suitcase?
Yes, you can. You of course will be leaving your suitcase at the hotel in storage when we are on the hike.
What is expected from me from an educational stand point?
Please take a look at the "Sharing your Adventure section of our website by clicking here.
What should I expect in terms of school visits?
GEEO tries to include anywhere from 1 to 3 school visits per program; however these visits are never a guaranteed part of our programming. School visits can be very tricky.
• In many of the countries we visit, schools will be closed for vacation. In that case we try to arrange an informal meeting with local teachers.
• Some of our shorter programs are so packed with activities and places to see that we feel a school visit would mean the group would have to miss out on something important. In that case a school visit may not be scheduled.
• Many times we spend hours setting up a visit only for the school to cancel on us at the last minute.
• Often arranging school visits is easier if done in person with short notice. Your tour leader will try to schedule ad hoc school visits for your group when possible.
• Each school visit is different. We aim for you to get a tour of the school, sit in on a class and have a Q and A session with some of the staff.
• If we do schedule a school visit it is important that the entire group attend. In the past we have offended schools that were expecting ten visiting educators and only three came.
• Over time we try to establish long term relationships with schools so we can have more predictable, immersive visits that are rewarding for both our guests and the schools themselves.
Should I bring school supplies with me to donate to a school?
You can if you wish. Please keep in mind it is important for you to pack light for your trip and school supplies can take up a lot of space. Sometimes school visits are at the end of the trip so you may be carrying the supplies for the entire trip. Sometimes we aren't able to arrange a school visit at all so you would then have to figure out a way to give them out yourself.
Our advice is to bring little if any supplies with you and instead buy supplies locally when your tour leader tells you a school visit is planned. They can help the group pool money and purchase supplies such as books, athletic equipment, pencils and paper. This will allow you to give an appropriate gift, save room in your pack and also help the local economy. We encourage you to establish relationships with the schools that we visit. In the past some of our participants have run fundraisers for needy schools and have mailed supplies to the schools.
Is there any advice for finding funding for this program?
The first thing we recommend you do is speak to your school's principal and/or professional development coordinator. They may know of grants that your school district or state offers. Often schools reimburse teachers for professional development expenses. You can also try contacting your school's PTA or professional organizations that you belong to.
We also recommend applying for a Fund for Teachers grant, www.fundforteachers.org. These grants can be used on GEEO trips. Please note that they are only offered to teachers in a limited number of pre-selected school districts around the country.
Is there any safety advice we should know about?
Care should be taken when wandering around on your own in central Lima, as some areas can be dangerous and pickpockets are daring.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your tour leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your tour leader will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your tour leader will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is G Adventure's policy not to allow our tour leaders to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.
What is the GEEO book club and which books have been selected for this program?
GEEO's book club is a way for you and your fellow participants to learn through literature about the places you will be traveling. For each trip we have selected four books, two fiction and two non-fiction. It is completely up to you whether you choose to read them as the GEEO book club is not required for our participants. We hope you will enjoy the books we have selected and they will enhance your experience.
For your convenience we have a hot-linked each of the selected books to amazon.com. If you purchase this book through the link, Amazon will share some of the proceeds from the sale with GEEO, helping to fund our operations. You should hopefully be able to find most of our selections through your library system as well.
For this program we have selected the following books:
The Last Days of the Incas by Kim MacQuarrie
Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time by Mark Adams
For those looking for more suggestions, here are some other books you may want to consider:
Lost City Radio by Daniel Alarcon
War by Candlelight by Daniel Alarcon
The Dancer Upstairs by Nicholas Shakespeare
Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa
The War of the End of the World by Mario Vargas Llosa
Yawar Fiesta by Jose Maria Arguedas
Deep Rivers by Jose Maria Arguedas
A World for Julius by Alfredo Bryce Echenique
Red April by Santiago Roncagliolo
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
Tonight is Carnaval by Arthur Dorros ( Children’s book)
The Ancient Kingdoms of Peru by Nigel Davies
Running the Amazon by Joe Kane
The Conquest of the Incas by John Hemming
This program is full. Please consider traveling with us instead on our Summer Peru program.
*Based on Double Occupancy, International Airfare not included
This program is full with a total of 16 participants.
All ground transportation and internal flights (Lima to Cuzco and Cuzco to Lima)
Hotels (6 nts), Camping (2nts) (Note: Non-hikers get an addition 2nts in hotels instead of camping.)
All activities as per the itinerary
G Adventures Tour Leader, Academic representative from the University of Texas
Lares Trek proters and cooks
Breakfast daily and all meals on the Lares Trek
What's Not Included
Tips or gratuities
Meals not mentioned above
Optional Tours or optional admissions