“Wanderlust: a very strong and irresistible impulse or desire to travel the world.”
Peru 2006Getting to Peru: International flights arrive and depart from Lima and there are several airlines that offer many daily flights to Cusco from Lima (approximately one hour). Also, a variety of bus companies provide services to Cusco but you should be prepared for a 22 hour ride! From other major cities there are also flights and bus services are available from most urban areas.
Local ground transportation: Transportation from the airport to downtown Cusco, about 20 minutes away, is by taxi or private hotel car. (A less convenient combi, or small bus, passes outside the airport car park and goes to Plaza San Francisco: unless you have almost no baggage and your hotel is right on that square, it’s not worth the few soles you’ll save to take a combi.) If you take a taxi, note that the fare is likely to drop precipitously if you merely refuse the first offer you get (likely to be S/15-S/20 or $4.30-$5.70). Taxi fare to Cusco is officially S/10 ($2.85) from the airport to the centre, although you can often get one for as little as S/5 ($1.40). Please ask the information desk to arrange an official taxi.
spiral2Health: You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip, please refer to the itineraries for specific information, and carefully assess your ability to handle the travel. For travelers over 70 years of age, a completed Medical Form is required. Please note: we reserve the right to exclude any traveler, from all or any part of any trip (without refund), if it is the reasonable opinion of the group leader, that the traveler is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
Please note: our itineraries travel to high altitudes. 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 onset 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 affected on your tour, please consult your physician.
Safety and Security: Many national governments provide regularly updated advice 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 traveling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travelers’ cheques, cash, and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelry at home – you won’t need it while traveling. 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 traveling on a group trip, please note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax, and explore at your leisure. While your group 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.
Financial Facilities: Banks – Many banks on the main street (Avenida del Sol) have ATMs from which you can withdraw cash with Visa or Mastercard. Many hotels, agencies, and restaurants also accept payment with Visa, Mastercard or American Express. Money/Traveler’s Cheque Exchange – Please check the current exchange rate for an American dollar. There a lot of places (Casa de Cambio) where you can change your money (dollars) or traveler’s cheques into soles. Please note that dollars need to be in perfect condition to be accepted. Slightly torn notes (currency), 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 $100 US (or equivalent). You can also change Euros or English pounds although the rates are not very good. Therefore, it is worth changing your money into dollars or soles before you come to Peru.
A typical Peruvian dish called “lomo saltado” which is made of beef, onions, tomatoes and is accompanied by fried potatoes and rice with cutlery and wine in the background (Selective Focus, Focus on the front of the dish)Food and Drink: There are plenty of local and tourist restaurants that offer a wide-variety of food; from the delicious grilled-guinea pig (local delicacy), ceviche (raw fish marinated in lemon), pollos a la brasa (chicken grilled in a fire-wood oven, served with chips – Peruvian fast food!) to pizza and pasta restaurants.
Popular drinks here are coca tea (tea made from the coca leaf), Inca Kola (soft drink made with lemon grass – only found in Peru!), Pisco Sour (a mix of Pisco, egg whites, lemon, sugar, cinnamon and ice) and chicha (alcoholic drink made from corn). You should be advised that drinking bottled water is preferable for those who are not used to South American water treatment.
costura2Shopping: A great variety of hand-made textiles can be found here; popular buys are alpaca, llama or the high-quality vicuña wool fabrics. There are also beautiful ceramic works and gold and silver jewelry on sale. Most of the best shops are located around the main square (Plaza de Armas) in Cusco.
Tipping: It is customary in South 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.
Important: Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the law, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Mother Nature Peru Tours travelers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or they use prostitutes.
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