Answers to commonly asked questions
We know planning an adventure vacation is no small decision, so we’re here to make the process as easy as possible for you. We've been doing this for quite a while, so we’ve got the answers to everything you need to know! Just click on the specific question you'd like to have answered below, chat to us online, or call us on the number that suits you:
1 800 661 9073 [USA and Canada]
1 800 661 907 [Australia]
0808 234 7780 [UK]
0800 234 726 [New Zealand]
0064 3 450 0414 [from anywhere else in the world].
We'd love to hear from you!
How to book
Whenever you’re ready, it’s easy to book your Active Adventure. When you’ve done your research, driven yourself crazy with the choices and made your final decision, follow these steps:
1. Hold your place
The fastest way to reserve your trip is to give the experts a call.
Alternatively, fill out the Availability Request form and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. To secure your place you’ll need a $500 per person deposit (the remainder of the balance is due 60 days before your trip start date), payable by credit card, cheque or wire transfer, whichever works best for you. Once you’re all signed up, you’ll receive a confirmation email giving you access via a login on our Active Adventures Club page where you can access your booking pages and fill in your trip details online.
2. Check your international flight options
Your booking pages and trip notes will outline where you need to be and when to start your trip, so you can move forward with booking your flights. If you’re lucky enough to have time, it’s nice to arrive a few days early to settle into the new place and get used to your surroundings. If you’re on a tight schedule it’s no worries, the trip start time will be outlined in your trip information.
We recommend using a variety of methods to search for suitable flights from your own research online (e.g. Skyscanner.net), to contacting a travel agent, to see who comes up with the best fares.
3. Complete your booking pages online
By logging into your online booking information via our club page you’ll gain access to your trip notes, destination information, a detailed gear list and all the information you need for your trip. There are a few things to fill in – medical and dietary information, extra accommodation requests, gear hire requests etc. – to ensure you are well prepared for your adventure vacation.
4. You're all set
You can now start packing your bags and crossing the dates off your calendar. We look forward to seeing you soon!
On your South America trip you'll stay in a variety of places depending on the destination and activities. In Peru you'll stay in nice hotels, tents while you're hiking (complete with porters to put them up for you, cook your meals and generally make sure it's the best camping experience ever!), jungle lodges and local homes on Amantani Island (a truly once in a lifetime experience).
Your transport will be a mixture of bus, plane, boat, bike and your very own two feet on our trips in South America. In Peru you'll travel by boat in the Amazon to get to your lodge. We also have domestic flights included in our Peru trips to shorten our travel times and to ensure you have the bet experience possible. All your transport is included from the start of your trip and we'll drop you a the airport at the end. The details are all listed in the trip specific itineraries.
All your meals are included as described in the itinerary except on your free days. We have found that people enjoy checking out what is on offer by themselves sometimes, so you can go and see what's out there! On every other day and especially after any long hikes, we've chosen places to eat that can cater for our hearty appetites, work well with our small groups (they know we are coming) and provide us with an authentic destination specific culinary experience. There are always options for you, so you can either be brave or choose something more familiar. On the hiking portion of our trips (such as on the Inca Trails) we work with an outstanding team of cooks who will amaze you with what they can produce on a campsite miles from the nearest town. You can be assured that on all our trips we will make sure you are very well fed.
Our trips are all led by an experienced Trip Leader. Our Trip Leaders are very proud to work with Active Adventures and often lead our trips for many years, for which we are very lucky and very grateful as it means we're able to consistently offer a fantastic level of service. They work closely with our local specialist guides to provide you with a seamless, fun, exciting and memorable trip. They will happily share with you as much or as little as you want to know about the history, culture, social aspects and lifestyle of the country you are visiting.
What books could I read to learn more about Peru, the Incas and archaeology?
We recommend researching as much as possible before you go so that you can have the best possible experience. Reading any Peruvian travel guide will give you a good insight into the history, culture and people of the place you are about to visit. There is plenty to read online too. If you would like to study more in depth then we recommend the following:
- Lost City of the Incas, Hiram Bingham - A first-rate tale of adventure by the man who rediscovered Machu Picchu in 1911. This classic account is a gripping story of exploration, archaeology and natural history -- and still an outstanding overview of the site itself. With original expedition photographs. Originally published in 1952, the book is still an excellent account, not only of the expedition but also of the site itself.
- Conquest of the Incas, John Hemming - This classic masterful prize-winning history of the Inca struggle against the Spanish invasion brings together wide-ranging scholarly material in the interests of telling a good story.
- History of the Inca Realm, Maria Rostworowski De Diez Canseco - This scholarly history boasts the most thorough treatment of the pre-Hispanic Incas available in English.
- The Last Days of the Incas, Kim MacQuarrie - MacQuarrie tackles the personality, aspirations and greed of Francisco Pizarro in this vivid account of the conquest of a continent.
- Art of the Andes, from Chavin to Inca, Rebecca Stone-Miller - This authoritative and concise illustrated survey of Andean art and architecture covers not only Machu Picchu and additional Inca monuments, but also Chan Chan, Nasca and other archaeological sites and cultures.
- Fortifications of the Incas, H. W. Kaufmann, J.E. Kaufmann, Adam Hook - With color photographs and reconstructions, site diagrams and 17th-century engravings, this slim guide introduces building techniques and major Inca sites from Cusco and the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu and Vilcabamba.
- Machu Picchu, Unveiling the Mystery of the Incas, Richard L. Burger, Lucy C. Salazar - Burger and Salazar, both archaeologists at Yale, vividly evoke the art, architecture, culture and society of Machu Picchu in this illustrated, up-to-date survey. With illustrations of 120 gold, silver, ceramic, bone and textile artifacts, Hiram Bingham's original report of the "Discovery of Machu Picchu," published in Harper's Monthly, dozens of archival photographs, and excellent chapters on recent archaeological investigations and insights into life at Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui's royal estate.
- The Incas and their Ancestors: The Archaeology of Peru, Michael Moseley - An outstanding illustrated survey of the archaeology of the Inca, Moche and Nasca civilizations. With hundreds of color illustrations and line drawings, it's an in-depth look at the ancient cultures and history of Peru. A great general introduction.
Do I need travel insurance?
As an Active Adventures South America traveller, you're required to have full travel insurance cover - please be aware that some insurance companies requireinsurance to be purchased within 7 days of deposit payment. We recommend a comprehensive travel insurance policy that includes medical cover, emergency repatriation, trip cancellation and other travel mishaps (e.g. flight cancellations or delays, trip interruption, theft or loss of luggage and personal effects).
Travel insurance can be obtained through local travel agents, some credit card providers or online brokers such as www.worldnomads.com or www.travelguard.com. These and other insurance policy packages can be compared at www.insuremytrip.com. We recommend keeping all travel papers (invoices, receipts, police reports etc.) when you travel in case you need them later to support a claim.
What will I eat in Peru?
What is the weather like in Peru?
What vaccinations do I need for Peru?
What if I get sick?
Do I need hiking boots for the Inca Trail?
Will I need a porter on the trail?
Our porters will carry up to 8kg (17 pounds) of your gear included in your trip fare. They will also carry your group gear, like your tents and food, and this is included in your total amount of your trip.
At the beginning of the Inca trail you'll pass through the official start gate where your tickets will be checked against your passports (your guide will take care of this for you) to allow you to access the trail. Going through a different gate, all the porters will weigh in with their luggage, which ensures that the agreed weights are adhered to.
What is the difference between the Inca and Lares Trail?
There are two hikes to choose from on our Jaguar trip in Peru. There’s the Classic Inca Trail or the Lares Inca Trail, each with unique features and both absolutely incredible! The Classic Inca Trail is a four day hike, which finishes at Machu Picchu on the fourth morning. The last morning is a real highlight - you'll leave your camp at first light and hike for about an hour to the 'sun gate' (or 'inti punku' as it was called by the Incas) to watch the sunrise over Machu Picchu. It's absolutely spectacular and a fantastic way to wrap up the hike - the moment when you first get to see it can be quite overwhelming!
The other option is the Lares Inca Trail, an amazing Inca track which will provide you with an incredible cultural experience as you make your way to Machu Picchu - you'll pass through a number of native highland villages that have very little contact with the outside world, so it’s always a fantastic experience for everyone involved. You'll find far fewer people on this track than on the Classic Route and we quite often have it virtually to ourselves. There are no crowded campsites or queues of people heading up the path, and you can almost feel the presence of the Incas as you make your way along their mountain trails. If you’d like to discuss the options please get in touch.
"We had no idea that the Lares Trail wouldn't have many more people on it... We were completely thrilled that we had chosen this trail based on the information that we'd see more of the local way of life, etc. The amazing icing on the cake was that we were all by ourselves on that trail. That made our trip very, very special. The solitude might be worth mentioning in the literature. It would have helped me know for sure that this was the trail I wanted to take." Sandra Fields (Portales, New Mexico, United States)