At OUT Adventures we strive to provide a safe, comfortable and fun environment for gay travellers, their friends and family. Get OUT and experience the real world in over 20 countries, with OUT Adventures.Back to index
As you'd expect, activity is key on an Active trip. But, we're not jumping off cliffs or paragliding - unless you want to, and hey, that's entirely your choice. You will however, be exploring new worlds by bike, foot, raft, or perhaps a four-legged animal. Active Adventures are the ideal way to travel if you want plenty of cultural interaction whilst staying physical.Back to index
Bienvenido al Peru! Welcome to Peru.
There will be a pre-trip meeting at around 2:00 pm. This will be followed by an orientation walk and an included group dinner at a local, gay-welcoming restaurant: a great time to try the local specialties such as ceviche!
Check-in time at the joining point hotel is at midday. Early check-in is not guaranteed, however if you arrive early luggage storage is available. For those who arrive early, we recommend you take a walk around Miraflores. Go from Central Park (Parque Kennedy) to LarcoMar via Larco Avenue. Alternatively, go to Parque del Amor (Love's Park) for a nice view of Lima's beaches. Other things to see and do include a tour to Pachacamac (approx 30 km from downtown Lima), the Museo de la Nacion, Museum of the Inquisition, Gold Museum and Archaeological Museum. Please note that we include an orientation walking tour in downtown Lima so there is no need for you to visit downtown prior to the trip.
While Peru's capital officially began life in 1535, when Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro founded the city on the Day of the Three Kings, settlements had been scattered through the valley since before the Incas. The city was in fact built on top of existing palaces and temples belonging to the local chief who had little choice but to move on. Lima was in its prime during the Spanish colonial days and much of the city's attraction now lies in its well-preserved historic centre.
Flanked by streets of ornate colonial mansions, palaces and churches, Plaza Mayor is the best place to start any exploration of Lima. Take a walk through the old streets to get a feel for colonial life. On one side of the plaza is the cathedral, which houses the remains of Lima's founder, Francisco Pizarro. Nearby is the 16th-century monastery of San Francisco which boasts a canvas of the last supper that has a distinctly Peruvian flavour: the disciples dine on guinea pig and drink from gold Incan cups. But the monastery's catacombs are the real draw, and have been Lima's underground general cemetery for hundreds of years. Another fascinating church is the Iglesia de La Merced, just two blocks from the Plaza. There are many fine museums in and around the city including the Museo del Tribunal de la Santa Inquisicion, which gives a fascinating insight into the Spanish Inquisition and the Museo Nacional de Arqueologia which offers a look at Peru's succession of ancient cultures.
Away from the historic centre, mingle with the locals in Lima's cosmopolitan coastal districts of Miraflores, Barranco and San Isidro. Limenos (Lima's residents) are friendly and there are plenty of great restaurants and cafes to sample ceviche, a local seafood specialty.
An early morning flight (approx. 70 min) takes us to Cuzco (also spelled Cusco). As we will arrive around 9 am, the hotel rooms in Cuzco may not be ready, however, a safe place will be provided to store your luggage.
Your leader will take you on an orientation walking tour including a visit to the local San Pedro market.
The Cuzco region truly is the heart and soul of Peru. The city itself is the continent's oldest continuously inhabited city and was the home of the Incas for two centuries before the Spanish built their first capital here. Today, Cuzco is a fascinating combination of both cultures. Inca-built walls line the central streets and many of the elegant colonial buildings are built on or around Incan foundations. This is a city steeped in history, tradition and legend, and is a perfect base for outdoor activities and optional explorations into the Incan world.
Take the time to acclimatize to the city's 3,400 m (11,150 feet) altitude and explore the many baroque churches and ancient temples that dot the city. The cathedral, built on top of an Inca palace, dominates the Plaza de Armas, Cuzco's picturesque heart. The cathedral is one of the city's greatest repositories of art and houses an elegantly carved choir stall and a gold-covered Renaissance altar. Also worth visiting are the churches of La Compania, La Merced and San Blas.
This morning we travel by private minivan through the Sacred Valley on the outskirts of Cuzco. Known as Wilcamayo to the Incas, the lush, fertile valley has long been the main source of food for the high Andes. Maize crops can be seen surrounding the river and covering the terraces carved high into the valley walls.
We will head to a community along the Valley to learn about local lifestyle and activities. If our visit coincides with market day we can spend time browsing the stalls in search of hand-painted gifts or warm ponchos and perhaps even try some of the local language, Quechua.
After our visit to the community, we transfer to Ollantaytambo, the most popular town of the Valley. Situated at 2,792m above sea level, where houses have been built over an ancient Incan town, and which still has the remains of an Inca fortress popular in historical Incan stories.
We spend the night in Ollantaytambo at the far end of the valley. This geometrically perfect town is a magnificent example of Incan urban planning. It is especially admired for the huge terraces that guard the great temple-fortress that clings to cliffs. This is one of the few places the Incas defeated the Spanish.
The four-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a demanding but incredibly rewarding trek. We take our private transfer to the 82 km marker where we're joined by our crew of local porters, a cook and our Inca Trail guides. The trail is part of a series of Incan highways that linked the empire all the way from Quito in Ecuador, to Santiago in Chile. On the trek, you will share a tent with another traveller for three nights, unless you have booked a single supplement in advance. A foam camping mat will be provided to you, your tent will be set up by the porters, and meals will be prepared by the Inca Trail cook and his/her assistants.
The starting point of the trek (the 82 km marker) is located at 2,850m above sea level. Day 1 of the trek includes some uphill hiking to the campsite (over 3,000m above sea level). Take advantage during the 4 days of the trek to get to know your porters. You will realize they work the hardest on the team and are gentle people willing to share with you their culture, language and trek experiences. Today you will see the ruins of Llactapata, burnt to the ground by the last Inca emperor to discourage Spanish pursuit down the trail.
The second day is the most challenging of the trek as we ascend a long steep path (approx. 4 hrs) to reach the highest point of our trek, Warmiwañusqa, or Dead Woman's Pass, at a height of 4,200 m (13,779 ft), before descending to the Pacaymayo Valley (3650m above sea level). Depending upon what has been established by the Government, you might camp here today, or may need to continue further up/down.
We might cross the first and second passes on day 2. From the second pass, Runkuracay (3,980m above sea level/90min uphill) we can enjoy views of the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcabamba before descending to the ruins of Sayacmarca (90-210min downhill). From here it is only a few more minutes to the Chaquicocha campsite (3,620m above sea level).
On day three we continue over the third pass and soon reach the beautiful ruins of Phuyupatamarca, the 'Town above the Clouds' (3,850m above sea level/90min uphill). Start descending real Inca Steps (2 hrs) to reach our final night's camp by the Wiñay Wayna, or 'Forever Young' ruins (2,750m above sea level), with panoramic views of the valley below.
Day four sees a short final hike (90-120min) to Machu Picchu and we climb the steps to the Sun Gate to watch the ruins emerge from the mist below. The feeling as you see the ruins for the first time is indescribable.
While it is thought Machu Picchu was built around 1440 AD as a country retreat for Incan nobility, there is evidence this had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Another school of thought is that this was an astronomical observatory. There is plenty of time for you to decide for yourself as you wander around the many temples, palaces and living quarters. You will have a guided visit (1.5-2 hrs) with plenty of free time afterwards. After taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it is time to return to Cuzco for a well deserved shower and a Pisco Sour in first class in the Vista Dome train.
NOTE: Due to our safety policy, our leader and office are not able to recommend or assist with climbing Wayna Picchu. If you wish to do this, you will be required to sign off of the OUT Adventures trip and purchase a second Machu Picchu ticket to include entry to Wayna Picchu.
For those passengers not interested or unable to hike the trail it is possible to spend an extra 2 extra days in Cuzco then travel by train to Aguas Calientes. The following morning there will be a bus to Machu Picchu so passengers can join the rest of the group for the guided tour. This option must be arranged at the time of booking or local fees will apply.
During the trek the bulk of your luggage will be stored at your hotel in Cuzco. The evening before you start the Inca Trail, you will receive a small duffle bag to pack clothes, sleeping bag and personal items that you'll need for the next 4 days (6 kg maximum). Make sure to pack what you want to wear in your photos at Machu Picchu because you wont have access to your full luggage until after the trek! Your team of porters will carry these bags for you, together with the food and equipment for the trail. Please note that you will not have access to these items until the end of each day, as the porters will always be ahead of the group, so bring a daypack to carry any supplies you may need during the day.
Day 8 is yours to relax, or perhaps take an optional excursion to the archaeological sites of Saqsayhuaman, Qenqo and Tambomachay via private transport. This evening we will have our included farewell dinner at a lovely gay-friendly restaurant.
You are free to depart at any time on day 9. Check out time is 10:00am.Back to index
The itinerary attached is correct at time of printing. Please note: occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you print and refer to the trip notes in your pre-trip packet which is distributed to guests one-month prior to departure, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.Back to index
This is a list of included activities on this trip. All other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in these activities, the cost will not be refunded.
While travelling with us you will experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the country you are visiting. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. Although our groups tend to eat together, you are welcome to break away at any time.
Hotels (5 nights), Fully Supported Camping (3 nights)
All optional activities are entirely your choice and are not included in the price of this trip. The following should be used as a guide only (all prices are subject to change):
Dazzler Hotel Lima
José Pardo 879
Phone: +51 1 6344000
El Mercado Hotel
Calle 7 Cuartones 306
Phone: +51 84 582640
Altitude Sickness: Altitude sickness and oxygen deprivation may be felt while travelling in Peru, particularly when arriving in Cuzco (3300 metres). Symptoms include shortness of breath, headaches, general lethargy and a reduced appetite. It is important that you drink plenty of water and don't attempt too much in a day. For more information about altitude sickness prevention please go to http://www.treksafe.com.au/medical/altitude_illness.htm.
Inca Trail permits: In order to secure Inca Trail permits, it is vital that you provide the
correct and most up to date passport information at the time of booking. Any inconsistency between the information provided and the passport you travel with may result in you not being granted access to the Inca Trail. In the event that Inca Trail permits can't be secured, you will be offered the following options:
Should you choose not to hike the Inca Trail, please advise us in writing at the time of booking, so alternative arrangements can be made. Without prior warning, local fees may apply.
Domestic Flights: Please note domestic airlines allow a maximum of 20kg check in luggage and 5kg hand luggage. Any excess luggage expense will be your own responsibility. Please also note that your return flight from Cusco to Lima is not included in this tour, as we often encourage our guests to spend additional time exploring Cusco.
Early Check-In: Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, however this is not always possible which means we will not be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
Breakfasts Included: There are some simple breakfasts included on this trip which are comprised simply of bread, butter, jam, coffee/tea and juice (or similar).
Weather: As a multi-geographical country, Peru can have very diverse weather. The dry season (April to September) can be freezing in the highlands, cold in the coastal zone, and could present some cold fronts in the jungle. It is recommended that you bring a good sleeping bag, thermals, scarf, gloves, and a warm jacket for travel in the dry season. Most of our guesthouses do not have heating, as this would be a major financial and environmental strain on our hotels and local towns, and energy supply and timing provisions are limited in some places. Please be prepared for some cold showers.
Visas: Please note that visas are the responsibility of the individual traveler. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change. It is important that you check for yourself.
Departure Tax: Please allow approximately US $4 for each domestic departure tax and US $31 for international departure tax from Lima.
Vaccinations: There are no vaccinations required for this trip, however countries that you are travelling to before or after Peru may have restrictions in place for people who are travelling to or have travelled to countries in South America, with specific relation to Yellow Fever.
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, the OUT Adventures Office can be reached by telephone at +1 416 531 8795.
Alternatively, our operating partners at PEAK Adventure Travel can be contacted at +51 99605 5559 or +51 97009 4823
Please note that Peru is a developing country whose infrastructure, values, customs and standards may differ from what you expect in your homeland. Expect poor road conditions and be prepared for some inconveniences such as restaurants and tourist sites being closed from time to time. Sometimes the transportation may be altered or the itinerary may be changed due to circumstances beyond our control.
This trip travels to a somewhat conservative area. We encourage you to experience the destination and culture with the following in mind: Public Display of affection are not common in this area however in some cases holding hands is acceptable. Gay-specific activities and gay-hosted events, meals or day tours may be included as part of this itinerary.Back to index
For the trek on this trip the general rule is you will need to be fit and the more preparation you have done for it, the more you will enjoy it. You will be walking with your day pack, with the possibility of extreme variations in temperature.
On day 2 of the Inca Trail you will be walking uphill from 3000 to 4200 metres above sea level before descending steeply through big steps and difficult terrain. While this challenging walk is the main difficulty our passengers face up on this trip, it is also one of the highlights and worth every minute of it!
This being said, we recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the months before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Doing mountain walks or climbing long staircases with a pack is good preparation. Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trek to its fullest.Back to index
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities and tipping.
Emergency Funds: Please make sure you have access to an additional USD 400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside of our control (eg. a natural disaster or civil unrest) necessitate a change to our planned route.Currency exchange rates often fluctuate. For the most up to date rates please refer to the following website: www.oanda.com.
With ATMs being widely available in major towns and cities, credit and debit cards are the best way to access money - note though that charges are made for each transaction. Please check with your bank before departure that your card is accepted in the countries you are travelling to. Also ensure your bank is aware of your travel plans as - suspecting fraud - they may cancel your cards after the first few international transactions.
Be aware that your withdrawing limit may vary from country to country (regardless of your withdrawing limit in your home country) and it can be as low as the equivalent to US$100 per day.
It is also advisable to carry some cash in small denominations bills, for those times when ATMs may not be available. US dollars are the most readily changeable currency. VERY IMPORTANT: US$100 bills with serial number CB or BE and any other USD bills that are old, torn, written or stamped on will not be accepted by local banks.Back to index
If you are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many OUT Adventures destinations. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips. The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Tipping is not expected in local markets and basic restaurants. However if you wish to tip, round your bill up to the nearest 5%. More up-market restaurants we suggest up to 10%-15% of your bill. Some restaurants already include tipping on the final amount, which should be shown on the bill as: propina, servicio o cubiertos.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest USD 2 per person per day for local guides.
Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however a base of USD 1-2 per day is generally appropriate.
Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline $5-10 USD per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
Inca Trail Staff: While on the Inca Trail, we suggest that each OUT Adventures guest contribute PEN 100-130/USD 35-50 which will be split between all porters, assistants and cook.
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All OUT Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our gay or gay-welcoming group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best vacation possible.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are traveling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. OUT leaders aim to support local guides who have specialized knowledge of the regions we visit - and who better to hear it from than the locals themselves? If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
If you are happy with the level of service provided by your group leader, we recommend that you reward them with a tip of $5-10 USD per person, per day.Back to index
This packing list is to be used as a guideline only. Generally speaking, we recommend that you pack as light as possible. On this trip you will be expected to carry your own luggage from time to time, and you should keep the weight of your main bag under 20kgs/40lbs. You may also want to bring a daypack for any items that you'll need throughout the day when you won't have access to your main bag. There will be opportunities during the trip to do laundry, so there is no need to over pack.
During the trek, the bulk of your luggage will be stored at your hotel in the Sacred Valley. The evening before you start your trek, you will receive a small duffle bag to pack clothes for the next 4 days (6 kg maximum INCLUDING SLEEPING BAG). Your team of porters will carry these bags for you, together with the food and equipment for the trail. Please note that you will not have access to these items until the end of each day, as the porters will always be ahead of the group.
RECOMMENDED FOR THE TREK:
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If you need to be contacted while travelling we recommend email. Wifi is generally available throughout the regions we visit, although it is possible you may be without email contact for several days on some itineraries. If someone wishes to contact you in an emergency while you are on one of our trips we recommend that they contact your local booking agent, or refer to our emergency contact details. We don't recommend that family and friends try to contact you through hotels, as they are subject to change and the reception staff may not speak English.Back to index
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit, sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local partner right away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip but we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
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All OUT Adventures travelers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully in the group travel experience. If, in the opinion of our group leader, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, OUT Adventures reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. We therefore ask that you read the itinerary in these Trip Notes thoroughly and then realistically self-assess your physical ability to complete the trip as described. Please consult with your doctor if you have any doubts. If you have a pre existing medical condition, please make sure you discuss the trip with your doctor.
Please contact your doctor for up-to-date information and prescriptions for vaccinations, anti-malarial requirements and any reasonably foreseeable illnesses whilst travelling. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses/contacts). Please be aware that we are often in remote areas and away from medical facilities for some time during this trip, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Based on the entry requirements for countries visited on this trip, there are no vaccinations needed for entry. However, for more detailed information and to determine if you should take preventative measures to reduce the risk of illness, we recommend you consult your doctor or a travel medical clinic. OUT Adventures cannot provide vaccination recommendations.
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You will be travelling with other gay travellers and occasionally their friends or family. 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 corners of the world and likely a range of age groups 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.
Please note that due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travelers booked on your trip prior the the pre-trip email approximately one month prior to departure.Back to index
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation although a single supplement is often available for an additional charge. For no additional cost, single travellers share with a roommate of the same sex for the duration of the trip in a twin room (2 beds).Back to index
We believe in having fun exploring new cultures, while being responsible travellers. On our trips, generally there are only two rules: No drugs and no prostitution. These two activities can put the entire group at risk, and will result in removal from the trip by our group leader. We appreciate your cooperation.Back to index
After your travels, we would love to hear from you! This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 4 weeks of finishing your trip. Go to: www.out-adventures.com/feedback for more information.Back to index