Oropendola - Birdwatching in Peru. Awesome jungle trips in Manu and madre de Dios.

Frequent Ask Questions (FAQ)

COMMON QUESTIONS

INCA TRAIL FAQ'S

MANU RESERVE FAQ'S

SANDBOARDING FAQ'S

COMMON QUESTIONS

Do prices on your website include international flights?

Visitors come from all over the world to be part of our trip adventures, and as such, it is very difficult to include international flights in our prices. Purchasing international airfares is best done through secure internet-web based companies. We recommend you to consult your travel agent in your country and purchase it directly there.

Do your tours include pick up at the Lima's airport upon my arrival?

Yes, all our tours includes pick up at Lima airport. We send one of our representatives to do this job. Our representative will be waiting for you at the international arrival sector with a sign on which your names will be written.

Should I take cash or credit/debit cards?

We strongly recommend to bring a bit of cash when coming to Peru, the most accepted foreign currency are American dollars, though travelers check are also changeable in big cities. As to the credit cards, there are ATM's available in every city we visit, so it is easy to withdraw soles or dollars. However you should verify with your bank before your departure, if you card is accepted in foreign countries. ATM's machines are not available at remote areas like Colca Canyon, Titicaca Islands, Inca Trail and the jungle.

Are U.S. dollars/Euros/Travel Checks accepted in Peru?

Yes, they are, but you always get a better rate when you change dollars, usually for travel checks and Euros, banks and street money changers charge lot of commission. They usually give you a poor rate when this is the situation, so we strongly advise you to bring American dollars, and change them at official places such as banks and exchange money agencies.

Do you offer any travel insurance?

Not, we don't. Each of our clients must come with an insurance. We advise you to do it directly in your country prior you travel to Peru.

How many participants are there on your trips?

A maximum number of 10 people. This great number will make it more comfortable, personal, secure, with a level of service that will suit your own particular needs. As part of a smaller group, you will experience a totally new style of travel, a different kind of attitude. It is like being on vacation with a group of friends….like minded travelers that you can share your day-to-day travel experience with. Couples with share a double room at very hotel, and those traveling alone will share a double room too, with a person of the same gender.

Is there any age restriction?

The minimum age is 18, with no maximum age limit. The average range is 20 to 50 years old. And don't worry about coming by yourself, you will quickly make friends with other people who are as keen to see and experience Peru as you are.

Who will be in charge of the group during our trip?

Only in case you choose the program HIGHLIGHTS OF PERU, the group is accompanied by one of our group Tour Leaders, a professional guide fluent in English. Our group leader job is to take the hassle out of your vacation and assist you during your trip. They are very knowledgeable about the regions we visit and offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating places and introduce you to local friends.
We also firmly believe that there is no a better guide than a local guide, someone born and bred in one determined region, so….for this reason, we use at every place we visit a native tour guide, someone who knows the area better than anybody.

Can I book extra nights of hotel accommodation before or after my tour?

Yes, you can. Just send us an e-mail with your request and we will provide you assistance.

Are domestic flights included during your trips?

Yes, they are. We include all internal flights within Peru, and also include local airport taxes.

What kind of vaccinations are recommended for my trip?

Vaccinations are not required, unless you are traveling to the rainforest. If you visit the Peruvian rainforest we suggest a vaccination against yellow fever. The only qualified to provide you with a proper advise is your familiar physician or a specialist from a travel health clinic, so we suggest to talk with him/her before you come to Peru.

Are there mosquitoes in the rainforest we visit?

If you visit the jungle area, yes !!!, we recommend to bring along a good mosquitoes repellent. In case you visit the rainforest during the month of December, January, February or March (rainy season), we strongly recommend a strong especial mosquito repellent. You will have to buy it at your country, as in Peru sometimes is very difficult to find the especial one you need. In addition we also recommend you to bring a couple of long sleeve t-shirts, they are very helpful in this case.

How can I prevent altitude sickness?

If you are just arriving from Lima (sea level) to the highlands (around 3000 m.a.s.l), we recommend you to take it easy, do not push yourself too much on the first hours. It is advisable to drink plenty of fluids such as water or sport drinks. On you first days on the Andes, avoid drinking a lot of alcohol, coffee or tea. They will cause you to urinate more often and become dehydrated. Also avoid smoking. Smoking makes it more difficult for your body to get oxygen.

What kind of clothing should I bring for this trip?

While traveling on the Peruvian coast, you may wear light clothing (shorts, T-shirts, sandals) during the day, it is not cold, excepts mornings and nights where the temperature can drop no more than 8° degree Celsius in winter and 12 °C in summer. During our visit to the Andes we strongly recommend to bring proper warm clothing. You ca also purchase good jumpers, gloves, and huts made of Alpaca and Vicuña wool when you are in Peru. They are pretty warm and inexpensive.

What type of luggage should I bring for this adventure?

Remember that is this more an adventure trip, than a vacation trip, so we highly recommend to bring a good backpack or a duffel bug, as suitcases are sometimes very difficult to store in buses. Remember that you will have to carry your own stuff most of the time, and that, on this kind of trips we usually get on and get off buses and trains, so this could be a little frustrating if you don't have a proper travel luggage.

Do all hotel rooms have private toilets in the accommodation you offer ?

Yes, they do. We usually sleep in mid-range hotels that have large clean restrooms, with hot water all day and night. Even some of them with a nice bath tub. Most of our hotels are centrally located and highly recommended by guide books such as Lonely Planet, Footprint, Let' go among others, due to its excellent service. Before we offered them in our packages, we have visited all of them and verified that all the good things what the people and guide book say is true. If you would like to know more about them, send us an e-mail and we will give you more details.

Is tipping included?

Tipping is not included in our packages, however if you would like to know how much to tip at the places we visit in Peru, we might provide you information about it. Please just send us an e-mail and we will reply as soon as we can.

Do you include meals on your trips?

Yes, meals are included when traveling in remote areas, such as the jungle, Inca Trail, Titicaca Island, and Colca Canyon. Meals are not including on the days that you are staying at big cities. Here we prefer to give our clients the option to choose the great array of food Peru has to offer.
Note: On the Amatani Island at the Lake Titicaca, the meals offered by local families during the home-stay are very basic, so we suggest to bring along some snacks and fruits.

What kind of ground transportation will we use during your adventures?

In order to have more interaction with Peruvians, we offer on most of our journeys especial public buses. Traveling this way, we will see and learn more about Peru, and also will be contributing with the local economy. There are some sections in Peru where, in order to show our clients more of our country, we offer private transportation to make stops at places of interest along the way.

Are there any hidden charges that are not included in the cost of your itineraries?

All what is included is clearly specified at the bottom of each tour package. However, if you have any question, regarding this issue, please do not hesitate in sending us an e-mail with your enquires. We will be very happy in answering all of them.

What will be the temperature?

If traveling in Peru during the winter season (June to November), it is very cold, we strongly recommend warm clothing, especially if traveling on the Andes, where temperatures may drop to 5°C till - 2 °C during the night.
If you come to Peru during summer time ( December to April), the climate is usually very hot on the coast during the day 30 °C and cool on the Andes 22 °C. Nights in summer tend to be a little cold on the Andes 11 °C, so a good fleece is for sure very helpful. It also is a good idea to bring along a rain poncho as it might rain at any time of the year, especially in summer.


What do prices include/exclude?

Although most tours include your accommodation and transport, each tour is different with regards to meals and activities that are included. Please check the itinerary to see what is included or contact us. Items of a personal nature, such as laundry, phone calls, tipping, room service, optional excursions, wine & beverages, etc are not included in our tours, all that is at your own expense. Tour prices also exclude International departure taxes, customs and immigration fees.

How far in advance should I make my booking?

A typical package should be booked 4 to 5 month in advance. Those that include excursions such as, Inca Trail, Nazca Lines, Jungle visits should be booked earlier, as the departure are limited and sell out quickly. For further information, send us an e-mail and will reply within the next 24 hours.

I like what I see. How do I make a reservation?

It is easy. Just e-mail us at info@mysteryperu.com or mysteryperu@hotmail.com and one of our travel consultants will be happy to discuss your travel plans and talk you through the reservation process.

 

INCA TRAIL FAQ'S


Is the Inca Trail always open for hikers ?

The Inca Trail is available almost year around, except for the month of January, when is close due to conservation matters. However, the short Inca Trail will remain open as this trek follows a different route. As to the Machu Picchu ruins, it will remain open the 365 days of the year, unless natural disasters take place along the rail road, the Inca Trail or somewhere else near the sanctuary.

How difficult is to hike on the Inca Trail?

This hike is considered a moderate hiking, however, we suggest to do some training before to come to Peru.

How long is the Inca Trail, how many kilometers per day?

The total length is around 43 km. We will walk on average of 8 to 12 kilometers a day.

Do the porters take our staff during the hike?

No, the porters only take the camping equipment, food supplies among others. Each hiker must take their own stuff.

Is it oxygen bottles available in case we need it?

Yes, it is mandatory to carry a bottle of oxygen. It is available.

What kind of meals do you provide during the hike?

We provide usually pasta, rice, chicken, fresh fruit, Andean rice, snack. The food is excellent, we can guarantee you will enjoy the food.

Is water available along the trail?

Water is available on the first day at the little shops found along the way. The remaining days we will provide boiled water at the campsites. Every evening before you go to sleep, our cook will boil water for you, all you have to do is to bring an empty bottle and ask him to fill it. The water will be warm, and it will be good to warm yourself when sleeping, just put it at your feet to combat the coldness, and the next day, when is totally cold, you can drink it.

How many people sleep in one tend?

We provide for each 2 people 4 people-capacity tent, to allow higher comfort and safe keeping of backpacks.

For further information please visit:

http://www.andeantravelweb.com/peru/treks/inca_trail_4_day_faq.html

 

MANU RESERVE FAQ'S

What is the maximum group size on the camping trips ?

The maximum size of the groups is 10 people per guide. If we have more people (between 11 and 14) we send two guides. If there are more than 14 people we split the group into two independent groups - both with their own boats, guides, cooks and program. The only time they spend together is on the first day and a part of the second, while travelling by bus.

What kind of transportation do you provide for the trip into Manu ?

We own a Russian 6-wheel drive bus for 22 passengers – it is the perfect vehicle to go to Manu considering that the road is not perfect.

Are participants expected to help with setting up the camp and with the cooking, or is this done for us ?

Cooking and dishes are done by the cook and his helper. In principal the boatmen and the guide will put up the tents but since it takes a while people in the group usually assist them - although there is no obligation to do so.

What facilities are there at the campsites, for example, for washing and for toilet facilities, and is the tour luxury ?

We find it important to minimize our impact as much as possible, therefore we do not promote this as a luxury tour. On the contrary you may encounter some physical hardships such as heat, humidity, biting insects, plus basic washing and toilet facilities.
Our base camp at Lake Salvador has good toilets, showers and a dining area. At some camp sites (no more than 2 nights per tour) the only way to wash is in the river and there are no toilets. If you don't like to wash yourself in the river you can ask for a bucket of water and throw it over yourself with a cup. At each campsite we provide water to wash your hands before meals. Nevertheless, your reward is to be part of a rainforest as it has been since the beginning of its time!

What safety measurements do you have ?

Concerning the back-up facilities, all our campsites have a radio communication set either at the site or within 30 minutes walking/boating. All our personnel have been trained in first-aid, and a first-aid kit goes with the tour.

Do the boats have a roof ?

Yes the boats have a roof to protect yourself against the sun and rain (if you are sitting on a moving boat rain always comes in on one side though).

Is all drinking water provided? Is this purified?

Just for the first day you should bring your own water. For the rest of the trip we provide mineral water that we bring in from Cusco.

What is the food like?

Our food is not typical Peruvian food, nor typical tourist food. It is food that lasts in the heat and humidity of the tropical rainforest. For breakfasts there are omelettes, scrambled eggs, pancakes etc. The lunches in general consist of cold salads, since it is usually hot at that time of the day, and the dinners feature soups (the great Peruvian soups!), a main course with meat for the first part of the tour and beans or lentils for the second part (since meat cannot been kept cool for a long time) and desserts of fresh fruits or puddings etc. You can also ask for a special diet, such as vegetarian, leaving out salt or anything else that you need or prefer.

Do you remove all waste from the campsites?

Yes, of course we remove all waste from the campsite. Biodegradable garbage is decomposed in the ground at a specially designed area near Pantiacolla Lodge. Non-biodegradable waste is returned to Cusco.

What is the camping equipment like?

For comfort we provide 3-person tents for 2 people sharing and large single tents for single travellers. We provide sleeping mats and you bring your own sleeping bag. You can hire those here in Cusco between $ 1 and $ 2 per night per sleeping bag in different agencies, depending on the quality of the bag. When you sleep in the tents it is not necessary to use mosquito nets because the tent, with mosquito wiring in the door, will protect you against the mosquitos.

Do we need to bring our own mosquito nets?

You do not have to bring your own mosquito nets; wherever they are needed we will provide them.

What are the overnight conditions for each night of the tour?

First night: Posada San Pedro is a basic lodge with double rooms. The rooms have two beds with mattrasses and mosquito netting. There are shared showers and toilets and a dining area. And there is hot water for the showers.
second night: this is on a beach in tents, without showers and toilets. The tents are 3-men tents, used for 2, so you both fit in and your backpacks as well. There is a screened dinner tent, for toilets you receive a little shuffle to make your own and for a shower you can swim in the river, or ask the guide to bring you a bucket of water.
third and fourth night: at our campsite near Lake Salvador. Our campsite consists of little huts, raised from the forest floor, with beds with mattresses and mosquito netting. There are shared showers and toilets and there is a dining area.
fifth night: on a beach, like the second night.
sixth night: at Tambo Blanquillo, near the clay lick for macaws. This is also a basic lodge with double rooms, shared showers and toilets.
seventh and eight night: at Pantiacolla Lodge, same as above, a basic lodge with double rooms and shared showers and toilets.

For the second and the fifth night, the "real camping" nights on the beaches, there is a lodge alternative, which has a cost of $20.- per person per night extra. Nevertheless, in case the weather would be bad for that second or fifth night, we all go to the lodge, and there will be no extra charge.

Are you guaranteed to see birds at the Macaw Lick?

The dry season is a good season to see the birds. The most likely reason for them to come together and eat the clay is because at certain times of the year there are hardly any fruits available for them, just seeds. Seeds in general have a toxic layer to prevent animals eating them. If the macaws eat them they have a build up of poison in their stomach. To neutralize the acids that the poison produces in their stomachs they eat the clay. In the rainy season there are many fruits up until the beginning of the dry season, which is May. So the macaws eat fewer seeds and more non-toxic fruits and feel less necessity to eat the clay. Usually it means there are fewer macaws present: in the middle of the dry season there may be from 100 to 150 macaws visiting the clay lick in one morning, whereas these maybe only 10 to 50 at the end of the rainy season.

What are the temperaturas like in Manu?

The first night you spend in the cloud forest, at 1600m, where temperatures are about 10 degrees Celsius (50F). In Manu’s lowland forest, the temperature at night is normally around 24 degrees Celsius (75F) and during the day about 30 degrees Celsius (86F). However, cold winds from Patagonia may reach Manu and the temperature may lower to about 10 degrees Celsius (50F). These “friajes” are more common during the southern hemisphere’s wintertime (between April and the end of August).


Is there a lot of walking?

There is not a lot of walking in the sense of going far. All walking is done slowly. This is because most of what you find in a rainforest is vegetation and to be able to pick out the animals you have to take your time to look around, and listen as well. The first day of the tour has an afternoon hike of about two hours. The second day is mostly spent looking for birds and animals on the Alto Madre de Dios River, with less walking than the other days. The third and fourth days feature a short hike to Lake Salvador, and various different hikes in the Reserved Zone and on trails around the accommodation. The fifth day has an early morning walk. The sixth day a two hour walk, and the seventh day no walk at all. Night walks can be added to most days depending on the camp area (it is not possible on beach camps).


Are the flights Boca Manu to Cusco often delayed?

Concerning the Manu flights, they can be delayed, due to bad weather (there is no radar on the Boca Manu landings strip) or other external circumstances, but in appr. 50% of the cases we fly this means a delay of hours. You still return to Cusco on the same day, but in the afternoon instead of in the morning. In about 10% of the cases we fly, people have to wait an extra night at the Boca Manu airport, to return to Cusco the morning of the next day. The extra costs occasioned in the rainforest by a non-flight situation are paid by Pantiacolla (extra overnights, meals etc.). Extra costs outside of the rainforest, such as hotel expenses in Cusco or elsewhere, changing airplane tickets etc., are not Pantiacolla´s responsibility.
The recent construction of a road between Boca Colorado and Puerto Maldonado on the Madre de Dios River, now also gives us the option to return to Cusco by Puerto Maldonado. The two return flight options, the first by Boca Manu and the second by Puerto Maldonado, are used by Pantiacolla according to what best fits your commodity and safety. Also in the case of a return flight by Puerto Maldonado all the costs made in the rainforest will be paid by Pantiacolla.
If you have more questions about the return flights, we are happy to give you more details.


Should I take a malaria prophylaxis?

There is no malaria in the area we visit. However, in a nearby gold miners area there is, and these gold miners may travel back on the same river as we do. Therefore, there exists the possibility that one of the mosquitos, that have no malaria yet, can bite one of the gold miners with malaria first, in the process infecting itself with malaria, and afterwards bite you, and so infecting you with malaria. This probability is very small, and till now no tourist who visited Manu did get malaria, but still it exists. On the other hand, the gold miners do not use a malaria prophylaxis, meaning the malaria has built no resistance against any malaria medication, and curing yourself from being the first Manu tourist who got malaria, will be simple and 100%. This combined with the fact that the malaria prophylaxis are not good for your health, makes me think it is better to not take the tablets, but of course, in the end it is your choice.

The yellow fever situation is about the same. Nevertheless, yellow fever, if you would be the first tourist to fall ill with this disease, is almost always lethal. Therefore, I think it is necessary that one does receive the yellow fever vaccination before entering Manu.

 

SANDBOARDING FAQ'S

I've never done Sandboarding before. Do I need special skills on boards?

No really, if you don't have skills on board, not worry it will be easy to learn. At the very top, there are many little dunes where you can practice, our instructor will teach you how. If you can't manage to stand up on the board, you might also seat or lay on it and go down and have a lot fun. The best part of Sandboarding is that is easy to learn and accessible to the absolute beginner, so no fear !!!

Is it hard to walk on sand?

Yes, if you walk up hill. Fortunately the trail we use is not very steep, it gets only a little rough when getting close to the summit. Keep in mind this is not a competition, we will make a lot of stops for pictures and also to rest. The group always walk together.

Who signs up for this tour?

Active and enthusiastic travelers between ages of 18 to 50. We cater to solos, couples
And small groups.

What should I bring for this kind of tour?

We strongly recommend to bring a little backpack to carry a cap ( as it is very hot sometimes), sun cream, sun glasses, trekking shoes, a camera, some snacks and plenty of water.

Do I need insurance?

Travel insurance is highly recommended. Check with the insurance you already have to see if you are covered.

Do the instructor speak English?

Yes, our guide/instructors speak English, and takes with him an assistance in case of any emergency. We also carry mobile phones and a first aid kit.

For further information please visit: www.sandboard.com