Peru is a country of great cultural and natural diversity, stretching over 2,000 kilometers from north to south: from the equator to the shores of Lake Titicaca and the borders with the Atacama Desert, and from east to west crossing from the Pacific coast to the highest peaks of the Andes, whose slopes descend into the impassable jungle of the Amazon. It would take more than a month to see all the sights in Peru, and it would still only be a glimpse, but to walk around all the beautiful mountain trails would take even longer!
Therefore, when we created our first program in Peru, we tried to include as much as possible of what could be covered in 16 days in order to introduce participants to the various cultural and natural regions of the country. But after the results of several programs we understood that this oversaturation does not always help, as the impressions of new places are often wiped out by fatigue from frequent and long journeys, and unfortunately there is no way to avoid this during visits to different regions.
Therefore we decided to make changes in our program, focusing as much as possible on one region – Cuzco, eliminating at the same time Lake Titicaca, which requires a long journey by bus, and also putting in a separate program climbing El Misti volcano, which by experience is quite difficult for many and requires much more physical exertion than the rest of the trekking.
The basis for the exclusion of these two places served the feedback of the past programs in the participants. Visiting Lake Titicaca leaves a double impression on the majority: on the one hand, here you can make some bright pictures and look at the unusual life of Indians on the floating islands, but on the other hand, it has long been turned into an attraction for tourists and the main goal of the islanders is to sell you more souvenirs, which they do in a very obsessive form. So even though Lake Titicaca is one of the most famous places in the country, the 7 hours on the bus, which actually takes up a whole day of travel, might not be worth it.
The ascent to El Misti volcano also requires a long drive, after which you must start early the next morning to the base camp, and you have to wake up long before dawn for the ascent. Although the mountain is not considered technically challenging, the altitude, strong wind, cold and dry air of the surrounding desert make it felt. Many people find the ascent much more difficult than the ascent to Kilimanjaro (5895 m), which is only slightly higher than El Misti volcano (5822 m). And in some months there may be snow on the pre-top section and the passage requires the use of special equipment – crampons, which makes it more serious preparation than the usual trekking. We want our program to be comfortable and accessible to more people, that’s why we decided to make such a complicated component a separate option for those who have strength, desire and time.
The free days of the program we filled with sights and mountains in the vicinity of Cusco, of which there is a huge amount in this region. First of all, we added an extra day at the beginning of the program for acclimatization. The experience also showed the necessity of such a step, as many of them don’t have time to adapt to the altitude of over 3000m in two days and the further ascent happens without the pleasure, which could be got on the way to Machu Picchu through the most beautiful mountain lakes and mountain passes. We use the remaining days to take the even richer and more scenic part of the Ausangate trek, which will take us to the Rainbow Mountains in 6 walking days. During this time, we will be able to close almost a complete loop around this mountain range and see it from the most scenic angles, which are not available in the short version of the trek. Another benefit of the new trek is that we are further improving our service by adding an indoor toilet and, just imagine, a hot shower to the camping tents of the kitchen and dining area! We are taking large gas cylinders with us, which will be transported by mules, to warm water and refresh ourselves after the day’s hiking in the evening.
In addition, we believe that our participants, going on such a long and exotic journey, should live in the most comfortable conditions, which is also very important for a good rest between trips in the mountains. That’s why we decided to refuse to stay in hostels and budget hotels and chose hotels of *** level with excellent breakfast and necessarily located in the central tourist part of the city near the best restaurants and main attractions. As hotels are actually used for more than a half of the nights in our program (8 of 15), unfortunately, this step requires us to increase the price. But this way we will be sure that no annoying little things in service will spoil the experience of our group in the cities of Peru.