So you’ve planned for the experience of a lifetime: a trekking adventure in Peru! To make it easier for you to prepare yourself, this blog will acquaint you with some of the important points to note before you set out on your Peru hiking trip with us.
Here are some points to consider when preparing for your trip:
1. What to take list – the supply list you receive with your itinerary will clearly explain what equipment we will provide and which equipment you will need to bring on your own. Please examine it thoroughly and assemble your supplies to be ready at least a week before your departure, to avoid last-minute stress.
2. Personal medical kit – Before leaving your country, make sure that you are carrying a sufficient supply of any prescription medications you rely on, to last for your entire trip to Peru. If you take supplements, you should carry what you need for your trip, as certain supplements may not be available for purchase in Peru. Medications and supplements should be labeled to avoid confusion when arriving in the country.
3. Attend the briefing – It is very important that you attend the briefing we will have the day before your trip so you can meet your guide and fellow travelers. During the meeting, the guide will go over any instructions you will need for the following day/s and will also fill you in on the rules and regulations in effect for the region you will be trekking in. This knowledge will be useful for your Peru hiking trip.
4. Acclimatization Before Hiking in Peru– Most visitors experience some symptoms when arriving at high elevation, including fatigue, dizziness, headache, and nausea. It is recommended that travelers eat lightly for the first day or two and drink lots of liquid, including coca leaf tea to help in adjusting to the altitude. We plan our trips with at least two days to acclimatize at a relatively lower elevation than the heights we achieve on our treks. If you are planning on doing a trek in the Cordillera Blanca, spending a couple of days in Cusco will give your body time to get accustomed to the greater cardio-efficiency that’s required.
5. Respect the guide’s decisions – Our guides are rigorously trained to note the conditions of the trail, what type of weather we are expecting, etc. Additionally, they have received thorough wilderness and first aid training, and have usually been working with Explorandes for a number of years in other roles before they were allowed to lead a trek. In cases where your guide chooses to alter the trekking time or route on a certain day or to stay at a particular campsite, it is because they have noted the conditions and are responding with the safety of our passengers in mind. Although it is okay to ask the guide why he has made a certain decision, for your safety and the safety of the other trekkers, we ask that you respect the decisions he or she makes during the trek.
6. Breathing Tips– Due to the lower barometric pressure your body is subject to at high altitudes, the higher you go, the lower amount of oxygen that enters your lungs. The actual content of oxygen in the air is 20.93%, and this holds true regardless of altitude. There are several techniques that may help your body to compensate for the lower intake of oxygen. One technique to try, especially when you are at rest, is to slow down your breathing: take long, slow breaths until your belly expands and try to exhale completely, allowing more air to enter on the inhale. If you are engaged in an activity, breathe more frequently but try to maintain the deeper breaths. A slow, steady trekking pace as you ascend will also allow your breathing to adjust. Finally, to empty your lungs and allow for a better CO2/ Oxygen exchange rate, purse your lips as you exhale forcefully, completely emptying your lungs, thus allowing more air to come in on the inhale, and enhancing the efficient utilization of oxygen in the respiratory system.
7. Evacuation procedures – Our guides are trained and certified as Wilderness First Responders and have completed Red Cross First Aid training. They also carry a complete first aid kit and are able to treat basic problems and minor injuries that might arise during a trek. In the rare case where a passenger is succumbing to altitude sickness and cannot complete the trek, standard equipment for each trek includes a satellite phone for emergencies, a detailed emergency evacuation plan that includes every evacuation route for each day of the trek, an Oximeter to measure oxygen saturation in the blood (used at the guide’s discretion when he finds it necessary), and a Hyperbaric Chamber to increase oxygen availability for use on remote treks (not brought on the Inca Trail) In the rare instance when an evacuation becomes necessary, the sick person will be evacuated to Cusco and can usually join the group again for the trip to Machu Picchu.
8. Setting a Good Pace– Trekkers sometimes make the mistake of trying to accomplish too much too soon. It is best to set a steady pace that can be maintained throughout the trek by yourself and your group, than to rush ahead in the easy places and slow way down in the more challenging ones.
9. Respect our environmental policies – Please cooperate with us in taking great care of the environment in the regions we visit. We separate trash into organic and non-organic waste: we bring organic waste to be composted in the communities we work with, and we pack non-organic waste to be recycled in Cusco. We use bathroom tents for solid waste elimination: it is then neutralized with ash to convert it to fertilizer. We have eliminated the use of single-use plastics, and ask that you carry a canteen with you for water. Since Peru lacks facilities for recycling batteries, if you have items that use them, please take them home with you. Never throw anything on the ground, so as to keep the environment as pristine as you found it.
10. Social and Environmental Responsibility – A couple of last important points to consider. We consider it our responsibility to not only provide great experiences for our travelers when trekking Peru but also to incorporate the communities we visit into nearly every aspect of the logistics of our trips. This shows that tourism can truly be enriching for all involved. We hire people from local communities and are always thinking of new ways that we can engage locals and create a greater understanding between tourists and communities. In this way, we demonstrate that the tourism industry can be one of real partnership and cultural interchange for all it touches.