Information on tours to Peru:
We have put this page together to help give you information on what you need to know, and what you need to bring, for a mountain biking or trekking trip or tour to Peru. Whether you are hiking to Machu Picchu, mountain biking around Cusco, downhill biking in Ollantaytambo, or taking a horseback riding tour in the Sacred Valley – here is what you need to know. We list general info needed by all travelers first, followed by info needed by adventure travelers, followed last by info needed only by those doing mountain biking trips :
Before you go and Health Issues
You do not need a special visa for Peru, they automatically give you one when you arrive at Lima airport and immigrations. Most flights arrive late at night, and most flights to Cusco depart early in the a.m. For this reason, where to stay upon arriving is a difficult decision with few good choices.
Miraflores, the closest decent neighborhood, is 1/2 hour away at night and up to 45 minute drive during the day depending on traffic, so many people opt to just crash out in the airport for the few hours between flights. If you wish to stay the night in Miraflores, check TripAdvisor or HostalBookers for specific suggestions. There are some hotels near the airport, and they are generally safe but unfortunately not very well run, and often do not respond to emails or even have email. As we have had a lot of complaints over our suggestions in the past, we are not able to recommend specific hotels in Lima. If you don’t want to go to Mirafores or sleep in the airport, there is a hotel on the airport grounds called Ramada Costa Del Sol, contact info can be found via Google, note they are usually full and are quite expensive. The only other option is to wait until you arrive and have a driver take you a nearby hotel for you to inspect and negotiate with. If you use an official taxi it will cost more both for the taxi, as well as the hotel because they get paid a commission.
You generally do not need any special vaccinations to visit Peru, unless you are doing a trip deep into the Amazon. You must check with your doctor or travel clinic, as we cannot dispense medical advice, but for all KB Trips you do not need yellow fever or malaria vaccinations. Regarding altitude, each person is different but in ten years of guiding here we have only had a few actual cases of altitude sickness. The best things to do are get lots of rest and drink lots of water. Coca tea (ask your guide) may help also. We will be at altitudes between 8,000 and 14,000 feet during the trip.
What to Bring
First, the basics: As a general rule, most things are available for purchase in Peru but nearly all of them are locally made and of poorer quality than what you may be used to. Thus, you should bring your own sunglasses, sunscreen (high SPF), insect repellent, all medicines, contact lens solution, camera, extra memory, battery charger, trekking and biking equipment and clothes, personal items, etc. Basic medical supplies can be purchased in Ollantaytambo and elsewhere, but their quality cannot always be relied upon. Basic supplies like bandaids are easy enough to find, but You should definitely bring all medicines that you take or may need to take, such as ibuprofen, anti diahrreal medicines, etc.
Peru uses 220v electric system, so check your electronic’s instructions for converters and electric recommendations. KB Tambo hotel uses 220v electricity as provided by the town. We use the safest system possible but as Peru is a developing country with basic resources, anything can happen. For this reason we cannot guarantee the safety of your electronic devices. We do know that anything that makes heat, such as hair dryers, coffee makers, or hot pots, will likely be fried by Peru’s electricity system. We have not had a problem to date with laptops, tablets, phones, etc but you should check with your manufacturer about their recommendations, options for converters and protectors, etc. We can not guarantee the safety of your device as it is out of our control and all use is explicitly at your own risk. We have never had a theft problem in any of our rooms, if you have any expensive items we can guarantee their safety but you must leave them at the front desk when leaving the hotel. The same would apply when staying in Aguas Calientes or Cusco.
Weather and what Clothing to Bring
From mid-May to late September, it very rarely rains. Your tour is highly likely to be sunny and dry, and very cold at night Night temperatures are in the 40′s but feel twenty degrees colder than that due to the high altitude and moist air. Daytime temperatures are in the 70′s but feel ten degrees warmer than that due to the intense high altitude sun. Nights are very cold, bring a down jacket, stocking hat and warm gloves. Lots of extra socks and underwear is always a good idea.
From September to May it rains frequently. We of course cannot predict the exact weather for your trip, but if you are traveling here during these months you can expect rain. From November to April it is virtually guaranteed. Your best protection is a high quality rain jacket and wide brimmed hat.
Due to both sunburn risk as well as insect bites and possible falls, whether you are mountain biking or trekking or hiking, we recommend long, light weight pants and long sleeve, lightweight and breathable shirt. For shoes, we recommend just one pair of sturdy walking/hiking shoes. (Boots not necessary). You can wear these the entire time, whether you are hiking or biking or going out to dinner. Or if you have other personal preferences, that is fine too. Note that we do not use or provide clipless biking shoes, so if you prefer them you will need to bring your own shoes and pedals. (We can easily switch out the pedals that is no problem.
Money – There are ATM’s in Cusco, Ollantaytambo and (usually) Aguas Calientes / Machu Picchu. They dispense money in either dollars or soles, check your bank provider for exact limits and withdrawal fees. Most smaller businesses do not take credit cards, and many do not take US dollars.
Trekking Info - If you are trekking with us to Choquequirao or another trek, then there are just a few special things you will need to know. All our treks are mule supported, they carry all the gear. We generally do not use porters but instead mules and horses. You will not have to carry anymore than a day pack, in which you would carry your camera, personal water (min capacity three liters water), extra clothing, etc. You will need to bring your own day pack, for your larger mule pack you should have a much larger pack, or check with us if you don’t have one. Trekking poles are a personal choice for some trekkers, if you feel they are necessary please bring your own along as we do not carry any. You should bring your own sleeping bag, but if you don’t want to we can provide one for free. You do not need to bring a tent
Bike Info - The following information only applies if you have booked a trip with us that is all mountain biking. For most trips, including the Clymb’s Epic and Multisport trips, all your biking equipment is provided by us and you do not need to bring anything, not even a helmet. If you have booked any of our Freeride Mountain Bike trips, then here are some things to know. For what to wear, it is largely a personal choice, we recommend you wear what you would wear on a trip to Whistler. We always recommend full face helmet and goggles, though they are not mandatory. Personally, we wear them on every ride we do ! Body armor is optional, depending on the ride. We tend to wear it on about half the rides in the itinerary, we recommend bringing it and the guide will go over every night the following days plan so you can decide on a daily basis whether to wear it.
Very little of the trip is XC riding, but there is some so bring an XC helmet if you choose. We only use platform pedals (ditto our rental bikes) so be sure to bring your own pedals and shoes if you ride clipless. (Extra cleats or clipless shoes are not available anywhere in Cusco) Temperatures vary widely, even during the same rides. We will be frequently at altitude, where it is cold, so you should bring at all times a warm windbreaker and rain jacket, preferably one jacket that does both. Temperatures throughout the trip will be between 45 and 65 degrees in general, depending on whether the sun is out or not.
You should bring your own basic tools – set of allen keys, pump, tire levers, and spare tubes. We do have a shop with more advanced tools and a stand that you can use for free during your stay, however we generally do not carry in stock replacement parts. There are one or two bike shops in Cusco that carry most, but not all, of the typical replacement parts you might need if you break yours. If you have to make a major repair your to bike (such as a bent rim, damaged shock or fork, or hydraulic brake issues being the most common) during an extended tour with us, you may possibly lose a day as it often is not possible to purchase or repair anything quickly here, we want to stress that this is a remote area in a third world country, so everything often takes longer and is more difficult than back home!
We will do all we can to help, but you will have to go to Cusco on your own as we will have to stay with the group. We will help you with all this, of course ! Things like fork seals, springs, etc or anything particular to your model bike are generally not available for same day purchase and may not be available at all. Thus the best possible thing is to only bring a bike in very good condition and bring our own extra parts. You should bring: extra brake pads, a bleed kit and fluid for your brakes (ideally bring an extra pair of hydraulic brakes for your bike), extra spokes, your chain and cassette should be newly replaced before coming to Peru; an extra derailleur hanger or even two is critical! There are no derailleur hangers available to purchase in Cusco. Also, bring an extra derailleur, tubes, and tires or install new tires on your bike before coming. We recommend an all around free ride tire of your personal choice for varied terrain, we like Maxxis Minion DH. Things easily available for purchase in Cusco include shifter cables, inner tubes, oil, and tires.