Frequently Asked Questions
To Lima: All international flights into Peru route through Lima, with connections to all destinations throughout the country. Some flights out of North America and Europe arrive to Peru late in the evening, after the last flight to Cusco has departed. In these cases, an overnight in Lima will be required before proceeding to Cusco. MLP’s staff is happy to assist in making any additional hotel arrangements if necessary.
To Cusco: There are four airline carriers that fly roundtrip between Lima and Cusco: LATAM Airlines, AVIANCA Airlines, Star Peru and Peruvian Airlines. All of them offer similar schedules and in-flight service, but we usually recommend either LATAM airlines or AVIANCA as they tend to be the most helpful when unexpected flight cancellations or delays occur. MLP staff is available to assist you in selecting the best flight options for your trip.
MLP always encourages our adventurers to extend their trips with at least a couple extra pre-trip days in Cusco to provide time for both acclimatization and to enjoy the remarkable beauty of the historic city. El Mercado by MLP can be a great choice for those looking for a boutique hotel experience combining comfortable rooms, excellent service, and Peruvian charm. We also highly recommend our guests to plan an extra night at Machu Picchu for additional time to explore the Sanctuary.
MLP will happily help you plan and book any additional hotel nights or activities you might like to experience during your time in Peru. We also offer a collection of trip extensions within the Cusco region and to some of Peru’s other most notable destinations: Lima, Arequipa, Sacred Valley, Nazca Lines, Lake Titicaca, the Amazon, and of course within Cusco.
Please alert your Travel Specialist if you’d like to build any of the additional options into your trip.
All guests are required to provide valid Proof of Travel Insurance, including specific coverage for adventure travel activities in Peru. MLP can set you up you with an appropriate insurance with coverage (at an extra charge, to be advised prior to your trip) for medical expenses and medical emergency evacuation. We can also assist you in extending this coverage to include any travel days beyond the dates of your MLP adventure, in the event you are planning to spend any additional time in Peru on either end of the trip.
The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu: Guests hike 4-8 hours a day on 6 consecutive days, over rugged mountain trails at elevation (crossing a high altitude pass above 15,000 ft before dropping into lower elevations en route to Machu Picchu). Pre-trip preparation should include challenging cardiovascular exercise (including regular hikes on varied terrain) and a healthy, balanced diet. Well-worn hiking boots and additional acclimatization nights in Cusco before the trek are both highly recommended. But all guests are encouraged to hike at their own pace, taking breaks whenever needed, to ensure a successful and enjoyable trek for all.
Sacred Valley and Lares Adventure to Machu Picchu: Features a fully flexible itinerary, with a menu of à-la-carte day hikes and cultural adventure activities, designed to showcase not only the scenic beauty of this remote area, but also the remarkable local culture of the Andean communities found in the Sacred Valley and Lares region. While general good health and an active lifestyle (including regular walking and/or hiking excursions) are necessary prerequisites to fully enjoy all variations of the program, Sacred Valley and Lares Adventure participants can have confidence that there will always be an option to suit their individual interests and needs. Pre-trip fitness planning, well-worn hiking shoes, and extra acclimatization nights in Cusco before the trip still come highly recommended. Those interested in taking advantage of the harder day hike options available (a series of breathtaking trail days, on par with those found on the Salkantay) should build a more intensive fitness regimen into their pre-trip preparations.
The weather of Cusco is defined by two seasons: rainy and dry. Rainy season typically runs November through March with average temperatures around 56°F (13.3°C). Occasional showers are expected throughout this period, with the heaviest rains often occurring in January and February. Dry season is normally April through October, during which time we expect to see mostly sunny days followed by cooler nights and the possibility of morning frost. Average daytime temperature around this time is 49.5°F (9.7°C), while July is regularly recorded as the coldest month of the year. In some locations night temps can drop down as low as 32°F (0°C).
Note: It is important to keep in mind that Cusco is located in a high mountain environment where variable weather is the norm. Rain can occur in the middle of July just as sun may appear in January, so it is always important to be prepared for mixed conditions.
Altitude sickness is most common at elevations above 6562 feet and results from the body adjusting to a decreased amount of oxygen. To combat this, MLP recommends spending two nights in Cusco prior to the start of your program. This amount of time seems to work well for most people. In addition, it is always important to remember to drink plenty of water. Each of our lodges has purified water and guides will carry extra water throughout each route. Oxygen is also carried on the trail and available at the lodges. In cases of high altitude sickness, a hyperbaric chamber is available at the lodges.
It is important to note that everyone’s tolerance to altitude differs, and the best preparation will always be good physical training including a healthy diet and physical fitness routine (with hikes!) as part of one’s pre-trip training regimen. We also recommend you spend your first day in Cusco resting, eating light, drinking plenty of water, and avoiding alcohol, tobacco or any substances that might interfere with good delivery of oxygen to the body or cause dehydration. You may also want to try our delicious coca leaf tea, a Peruvian beverage, which is known to help with altitude sickness.
Once you’ve booked your MLP adventure, a packing list will be sent to you outlining items needed for your trip. We recommend packing your belongings in a mid-sized soft duffle bag for the duration of the program. MLP offers duffel bags on loan (by request at the pre-trip orientation in Cusco) to any guest who might wish to use one. The train to Machu Picchu imposes a baggage weight limit of 8kg/18lbs per person. To ensure your bag does not exceed this amount, we highly recommend taking advantage of the MLP duffel and storing your extra luggage at your hotel in Cusco. You will only need a day-pack for each day’s hike and your duffel will meet you upon arrival at each evening’s lodge.
The highland landscape is full of contrasts, ranging from high rolling plains to snow-capped mountain peaks and fertile mountain valleys.
Second only to the Himalaya, the Andes rise to over 19,000 feet with year-round glaciers sitting above 15,000 feet. This rugged Andean landscape shows off dramatic ranges separated by deep, vertical canyons and incredible mountain scenery. The eastern slopes of the Andes are veiled in green cloud forests which receive plentiful rainfall as they drop into the Amazon Basin.
All trails in our programs are well maintained and safe. Adventurers can expect to cross sections of old Inca Trail in addition to exploring beautiful valleys, mountain passes and cloud forests upon paths that may sometimes include steep, rocky or even muddy terrain. Be prepared to witness different bio zones almost every day!
MLP uses private transportation for both of our programs. We have comfortable passenger vans driven by professional chauffeurs who are well acquainted with each trip’s route. Guests will be picked up and returned to their Cusco hotels at the start and end of their MLP adventure. On the Sacred Valley and Lares Adventure to Machu Picchu, the same vehicle will stay with each group throughout their journey.
The official currency of Peru is the “Nuevo Sol” (S/.), although US Dollars are also widely accepted throughout the country. If you are carrying cash, be sure to bring crisp, unmarked US bills (torn or defaced currency will not be accepted locally). ATM machines are readily available in the city of Cusco, dispensing both US Dollars and Nuevos Soles. ATMs are not commonly found in outlying areas, so it is best to plan ahead. Credit Cards are generally accepted in the more upscale restaurants and shops in Cusco and the Sacred Valley only.
Note: VISA is the most widely accepted.
During your MLP trip, you will only need to carry a bit of cash for souvenirs and minor personal expenses. We recommend bringing Nuevos Soles in small denominations for purchases en route. Optional gratuities for trip leaders, assistant guides and any other staff acknowledgement can be given in either currency. Additional expenses at the lodges (such as massage, laundry services, or alcoholic beverages) can be charged to your credit card or paid in cash on site (either Nuevos Soles or US Dollars).
Tips are included in the tour price for all lodge and logistic staff. The only tips not included are those for the trip leader and assistant guide. We generally suggest a tip of $5-10/per day, per guide, but leave all tipping to your discretion.
Our lodges are located in remote high mountain locations where a mobile signal can sometimes be difficult to obtain. Despite this, all of our lodges have been set up with Wi-Fi and telephone connections to ensure our guests can communicate with friends and family beyond. Of course we also invite you to disconnect from your daily routine and instead take the opportunity to recharge yourself during your time here with us in the Peruvian Highlands.
MLP follows a detailed protocol in case of medical emergency. Every MLP guide has completed a Wilderness First Aid certification and carries a full first aid kit, portable oxygen, a portable hyperbaric chamber and radio with them on the trail at all times. An MLP company doctor in Cusco is always available by telephone for medical assistance and additional basic medical equipment is stored at each MLP lodge.
Your pre-trip information pack will include an emergency contact number in the event family or friends at home need to reach you in an emergency.