TERMS AND CONDITIONS
WHY PHOTO TOURS PERU?
PHOTO TOURS PERU (a licensed tour operator) is an agency that works with knowledgeable, experienced Tour Guides, really cares about the porters’ welfare, is environmentally sensitive and believes strongly in sustainable tourism in general. PHOTO TOURS PERU has created jobs for many guides, porters and cooks and contributes to the Peruvian government with 19% taxes on all sales (overseas companies are exempt from payment).
Thanks very much for choosing us! Please read the following carefully before booking, as the Peruvian system of services and products sometimes differs to that in your home country.
Travel in Peru: Photo Tours Peru operates in regions where standards of accommodation, transport and services might not be those you would normally expect. However we strive, with all due care and skill, to provide the best services for our tourists. Travelling in Peru requires flexibility, patience, broad-mindedness, good humor and understanding that changes may be made without notice due to circumstances beyond our control (Force Majeure – see below). By booking any of our tours you agree to Photo Tours Peru making necessary changes without liability.
This is any event that Photo Tours Peru could not, even with all due care, foresee or avoid. This covers events such as war or threat, riot, civil strife, terrorist activity, industrial dispute, disease, disaster or adverse weather conditions, fire or all similar events beyond our control. In this case, Photo Tours Peru will not accept liability and reserves the right to change, postpone or even cancel the trip (this is the last option of course!)
Increments in case of Protests, Strikes (FORCE MAJEURE):
In the event of a protest / strike, which is not uncommon in Cusco, it may be necessary to leave a day or even 2 days earlier than scheduled so that we are able to comply with other services. In this case, an increment will be charged to cover costs incurred.
Risks: By booking any of our adventure trips you assume the risks associated with them. For these risks Photo Tours Peru accepts no responsibility.
Travel Insurance: We strongly advise you to take out travel insurance that covers accidents, medical expenses and emergency repatriation, including rescue and air ambulance. We also recommend that it covers cancellations and loss of luggage. Note that you may have to request your trek as an add on, as many companies only cover trekking to 3000m. We also highly recommend that your insurance covers all of your photography equipment, as you will be exposing it to more extreme use and conditions than usual. Please forward a copy / company name and policy number by email or bring the information when you come to our office.
Holiday or Election Increments:
An increment of *$50 per person is applicable for all treks (regardless of group / private option / size of group) leaving during these holidays: Christmas (Dec 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th) New Year (Dec 29th, 30th, 31st, Jan 1st).
An increment is also applicable in order to leave during election days (people are fined in Peru if they do not vote).
We use the increments to pay staff a bonus for working during their holiday or it is used to pay the fines.
Do I need to be fit?
Yes. As all our treks are moderately difficult, long and mountainous, we highly recommend that you are relatively fit – and acclimatized – before undertaking them (stair master helps!). During the months (or at the very least, one month) before your trip, you should take regular, moderate exercise. We want you to have an amazing experience and the fitter you are, the more enjoyable the treks will be.
Since we go over heights of 4200m/13750ft to 6334m/20780ft during these treks, we also strongly suggest that you stay in Cusco (3334 meters/10900ft) or another high altitude city such as Arequipa (2320m/7586ft) or Puno (3850m/12589ft) for some days before leaving on any of these adventure trips. It generally takes 4 weeks to fully acclimatize, however a 4 to 5 day period in a high altitude city will give your body time to adjust and reduce the possibility of altitude sickness affecting you.
Some recommendations to help your body acclimatize are:
- Avoid over-exerting yourself when you first arrive (however, some gentle activity during the day is better than sleeping)
- Eat lots of carbohydrates
- Drink lots of fluids
- Avoid cigarettes and alcohol
- Avoid taking sleeping pills
- Drink coca (ancient traditional leaf) tea
Why do I need to book in advance and how far in advance should I book?
Due to regulations brought in in 2002, the Inca Trail (12, 7, 5, 4 or 2 days) is limited to 500 people per day (including guides, porters and cooks). It is therefore necessary to book in advance to guarantee a place on the date you want to leave. For Inca Trail treks in the high season (May, June, July, August and September) it is advisable to book at least 6 months ahead.
How can I book a place on the trail?
If you want to confirm your reservation:
A. Send us the following information:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Passport number (it is important that we receive the passport number that you will use whilst on the trek; please advise us if you think you will change your passport before you do the Inca trail)
B. Confirm whether you are a student (it is necessary to have a valid ISIC card to qualify as a student) and if so scan and email it. (We need to present a copy of your card to buy the permit and you will also need to take the original on the Inca Trail. If for any reason, you will not have your original card when you are going to enter the Inca Trail, please advise us as soon as you know this – the Inca Trail authorities are extremely strict and will not allow you to enter the Inca Trail if you have booked as a student but do not have your original card at the time of entering).
C. Decide whether or not you want an (1) extra porter who would carry your personal belongings (for 2015 the price is $140). By hiring a porter you will only need to carry a very small day pack. (Please note, you can also share one porter between two people – up to 7 kilos* each (7kg includes sleeping bags and mats)–costing US$70 each.) We provide you with a duffle bag in which to put your belongings that your extra porter will carry. If you do not hire a porter, you will carry your personal belongings including sleeping bag and sleeping mattress.
Please note that sleeping bag, sleeping mattress, clothes, etc. are carried by the tourist if no extra porter is hired.
D. Pay a deposit (Non-refundable) of US$300 for the classic Inca trail tours and US$300 for any of our alternative treks to Machu Picchu (the rest will be paid once you arrive in Cusco).
Final balance needs to be paid in cash at least 48 hours before your departure. Please come by the office to do so and for us to confirm the time and date of your pre-trek briefing (usually the night prior to departure). Please also bring your travel insurance information (company name and policy number) for our records.
*The balance is to be paid in either US Dollars or Peruvian Soles (US$ 1 = 3.40 Peruvian soles).
E. Let us know if you have any special dietary requirements or medical conditions that we should know about.
Why do I need to send a deposit?
We use your deposit (Non- refundable) to pay official fees when making your official reservation. For example, we need to pay tourist and porter entrance fees and taxes (19%). We also use it to secure cooks, porters and horses for our different treks.
What options are there to pay the deposit?
1) Western Union (for alternative treks and for Inca Trail reservations) is the safest and fastest way to wire money (especially when availability is changing very quickly and reservations need to be made ASAP!). You can send money from anywhere in the world in a few minutes or online through www.westernunion.com.
2) Credit card Visa (only for Inca Trail tours) – we have an online payment system which you can use to pay with your credit/debit card. Go to our homepage, click on ‘payment on-line’ and follow the instructions. In this case, we ask you to pay an additional 9% on the deposit to cover visa commission.
3) PayPal: (for alternative treks and for Inca Trail reservations)
Go to www.paypal.com and if you have an account, enter your account information (username and password) and send the deposit to: Flavio Huamani Quejia, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please add 5% to the amount of deposit you are sending and confirm by email that you have sent your payment this way.
Is an extra porter really necessary and how many kilos do they carry for us?
An adventure does not have to mean pain and by hiring an extra porter who carries up to 14 kilos of your personal belongings you will definitely have time to enjoy, take your time and relax more. In addition, you will be creating a job for one more porter and thus helping us to help the local community.
In hiring an extra porter, you will only need to carry a daypack containing water, sun cream, insect repellent, snacks and a coat.
If an extra porter is not hired you will be carrying everything you decide to take on the trail including your sleeping bag and the mattress (a foam sleeping mattress is provided)
Are the porters treated well? Yes!!!
We believe our porters (The Green team) do a huge percentage of the work on the Inca Trail and deserve to be treated well. All our porters are trained and equipped with proper bags to carry the equipment, back supports, t-shirts for the day, body warmers for the cold nights, ponchos for the rain, drinks, snacks and plenty of food, we provide insurance.
Can I cancel my porter after I have booked it?
No. Unfortunately you cannot cancel your porter after you have booked it. Porters are booked well in advance and a fee is paid to get their permits.
Is there an age limit to do the trail?
No, there is not an age limit but if you are older, we advise you to have a medical check-up before your trip, try to acclimatize to the altitude (see altitude sickness) and train for the trek. We have taken children as young as 7 and people up to the age of 68 many times. Do not worry, we are here to help you do it!! WHERE THERE IS A WILL, THERE IS A WAY….!
Do I need travel insurance?
We strongly advise you to get travel insurance that covers accidents, medical expenses and emergency repatriation, including rescue and air ambulance. We also recommend that it covers bad weather tour cancellations, loss of luggage, and all of your photography equipment. We cannot accept any responsibility for loss or damage to photographic equipment or any personal items during the course of the excursion. Please forward a copy/ policy number to our offices. You can use travel insurance comparison sites where travelers search and compare over 250 travel insurance plans to find the best policy to suit their needs.
What if I am very slow or want to see or enjoy more?
You will never be left alone if you are the last one in your group! As long as you arrive at the camps before it gets dark all is perfectly fine; the guides will keep you informed of distances and hours to be covered after every break, as the average person walks at a rate of 1.8 km per hour meaning a slow pace and resting while you are receiving explanation about the Inca sites and environment from our guide.
For groups of 9 or more people you will always have 2 professional guides! One will always walk with the last person – if you’re the last you will never be alone and the other guide will be at the front. In case you have only 1 guide (for groups or 8 or less people) the guide always walks with the last person in the group.
Once I have booked my place on the trail, can I change my departure date?
No. Unfortunately once your reservation is officially confirmed with the Inca Trail Authorities (INC Reservation Office) it is not possible to change or postpone your departure date. You would need to make a new reservation with a new deposit for your new date (this date needs to be one which is at least 5 days before or after your prior departure date). Please note that this is not an agency decision but a local authority regulation.
Where are the other people in the group from?
You will find all our groups to be very mixed in: age, gender, nationalities. There are cases when our groups consist of only older people and in other cases only younger people but as an agency we can’t guarantee how old or where our tourists will be from.
What’s the Private (Luxury) Service?
It is a special service – all inclusive – to spoil you! You could be honeymooners, a family, a group of friends, etc. It is normally a small group (but can also be a big group). In this service, we included private porters who carry up to 7 kilos of personal belongings in duffle bags (provided by the agency). No one you don’t know/want joins your group unless this is requested to lower the costs.
What about the food?
We have excellent trained cooks who will provide you with an incredible variety of dishes*.
Breakfast: This varies depending on the difficulty of the day ahead. There will usually be a selection of some or all of the following – porridge, scrambled eggs, pancakes, bread and jam. Drink-wise, you can have hot chocolate, coffee, English tea and/or a selection of herbal teas (chamomile, lemon grass or simply traditional coca tea).
Lunch and Dinner: You will always have a bowl of soup followed by a main course (chicken, beef, fish etc. with rice or pasta). After this, a dessert and herbal drink will be provided.
Afternoon snacks (Happy Hour!): On finishing the trek every day we will have hot drinks, popcorn, biscuits, bread and jam, chocolate, Milo, etc, etc!
Snacks: Before beginning the trek for the day, you will be given a piece of fruit, a chocolate bar, a small packet of biscuits and some sweets.
*Vegetarian diet options are available on request (see below)
Do you have a vegetarian option?
Yes. We do provide vegetarian food on request, as well as catering to other dietary requirements. Please specify your dietary requirements when making your reservation.
Do you provide us with drinking water?
Yes. We provide you with water that has previously been boiled for at least 5 minutes (you do not need purification tablets). Therefore, you only need a bottle of water for the first part – till lunch time – of the first day and then from there on we will re-fill your bottles all the way to Machu Picchu or to the end of your trek.
Are there many toilets along the Inca trail?
Toilets have improved a lot in the last couple of years and all of the larger campsites have toilet blocks with flush toilets and running water. On the whole they aren’t kept very clean. If you do need to go to the toilet between campsites then defecate well away from the trail and water supplies; dig a hole, or cover your faeces with a rock, and take the paper with you in a bag to deposit in one of the several bins along the way. There are hot shower facilities are Wiñay Wayna on day 3, although they are usually pretty dirty.
How many people in the groups?
The maximum allowed group size is 16 persons with 22 porters. Our average group size is about 8 to 10 people but there are times we have groups as small as 2 people (the minimum number required to run any adventure trip).
How many people go in each tent?
The tents for all our treks are 4 man tents but actually only 2 people stay in each, thus allowing you more space and comfort. If you’re travelling alone and there is an even number of people in your group, you will share the tent with somebody else unless a single supplement is requested.
Why and how much should we tip the porters?
Photo Tours Peru fully complies with the Porter’s Law (27608) requirements of payment and insurance. However, tipping (normally on the 3rd night of your trek) is a tradition on the Inca Trail that has been taking place for the (at least) 20 years as a way of showing the porters your gratitude. Generally the groups prepare a collective tip which is shared out between the cook, head porter and porters (cook and head porter receive more than everyone else). Suggested amount to tip is 70 soles to each porter and double to the cook (from the whole group not from each tourist).
Please NOTE that the amount you tip (or if you tip) is a PERSONAL DESICION and it is not an obligatory.
Should we tip the guide?
Tipping the guide is again a personal decision. If you decide to tip we recommend that it is according to his/her performance, knowledge and skills while on the trail.
Where do I store the bags I don’t need when I go on the trail?
All hostels and hotels in Cusco are accustomed to trekkers leaving belongings whilst on the trek and will have storage facilities at no extra cost. Optionally you can leave your bags with us in our storage.
Where do I store the bags before the Machu Picchu guided visit?
There is a storage near the control gate where tourists leave their personal belongings, please note that you can only visit Machu Picchu with a small daypack and without food (walking sticks are not allowed either unless is really necessary i.e. age of tourists etc.); this storage service is sometimes free and sometimes you get charged 3 soles (you are in Peru)!
What if I get ill and need to turn back?
We have a very low rate of people turning back once on the trek. Our priority is to help you complete it; all our guides are properly trained and carry a first aid kit and a bottle of oxygen for emergencies. Please do not think about this (you are in good hands!).
What about the weather?
In Cusco dry season starts in April to October, the days are usually sunny and hot but temperatures drop abruptly after 5-6 pm until 7-8 am.
Weather is very changeable from November to March and heavy rains are expected being the wettest month December to March although is not as cold as it is in the dry season.
·Please note: Temperatures are for the Valley of Cusco at 3400masl. And temperatures change depending on the altitude (higher altitude = colder). Also note that it could be a bit wetter on the 3rd and 4th day of the Inca Trail (cloud forest regions).
Can we avoid the crowds?
If you choose to do the Inca trail, we want it to be the crowning experience of your South America trip. We therefore have some recommendations for a quieter trek:
As the dry highland months coincide with the high tourist season (due to vacations in North America and Europe) there are generally a lot of tourists on the Inca Trail at this time. If you want to avoid the crowds and have a more relaxing trail, we suggest that you hike it in March, April, May, October or November, although there is a possibility of rain in these months.
Another alternative to avoid crowds is to hike the trail in 5 days and 4 nights*. During this tour, you will have more time to ‘take it easy’ and explore the trail (Inca sites, flora, bird-watching etc.). You camp in places behind the normal campsites, where fewer people camp and as you are camping at higher altitudes, the views of mountains and sunrises will be amazing. (Please note that due to the higher altitudes, these campsites are a little colder than those on the 4 day Inca Trail.)
* This 5 day, 4 nights Inca Trail is also suitable for older people or anyone who wants to walk at a more leisurely pace.
What about the train back to Cusco?
The train included in all tours is the Cerrojo backpacker (to/from Ollantaytambo), train times will only be confirmed close to the time of the trek.
Please Note: train times are subject to change depending on Peru rail timetable and availability.
If organized in advance, the train can be upgraded to Vistadome (larger windows than the backpacker cerrojo train) for an increased price.
Which vaccines do I need for Peru?
Some recommended vaccines for Peru include:
Yellow fever, if you are going to the jungle areas (Puerto Maldonado, Manu, Tambopata, Iquitos,etc). The Health Ministry has recently informed that no cases of yellow fever have been reported for the past 15 years, but the vaccination is still a local requirement. You could be requested to show a certificate upon arrival to Puerto Maldonado.
You should take the vaccine at least 10 days prior to arrival to Peru. If for any reason, you do not take it in your country; you may take the shot at the Jorge Chavez International airport.
You should also ask your doctor about the possibility of taking extra precautions and take shots for diphtheria, tetanus, typhoid, polio or Hepatitis A & B.
HEALTH AND FITNESS REQUIREMENTS
Participants must be in good health and physical condition and are strongly advised to follow our pre-departure fitness training recommendations, where offered and/or necessary. Your acceptance of these booking conditions and payment of a deposit indicate you believe you are of sufficient physical condition to participate in this tour and have satisfied yourself of this through consultation with an appropriate medical professional. If you suffer from severe muscular, chest, heart or bronchial disorders, or if you are a severe asthmatic, or have high blood pressure, you are strongly advised against participating. Tours take place in remote areas where there is little or no access to normal medical services or hospital facilities for serious problems. Where necessary, evacuation can be prolonged, difficult and expensive. Medical and evacuation expenses will be the responsibility of the Client, for this reason it is recommended that you are strongly encouraged to take out appropriate travel insurance. Inca Land Adventures reserves the right in its absolute discretion to refuse a Client the right to participate in a tour on medical or fitness grounds.
Your payment of a deposit is declaration that:
• you are in good health and mental and physical fitness at the time of booking this tour;
• you have disclosed to Photo Tours Peru every matter concerning your health and mental and physical fitness of which you are aware, or ought reasonably be expected to know, that is relevant to Inca Land Adventures decision to permit you to go on the tour;
• upon any adverse change in your health or fitness that may be likely to affect Inca Land Adventures’ decision to accept the risk of permitting you to go on the tour, you will IMMEDIATELY notify Inca Land Adventures in writing of any such adverse change.
You acknowledge that the obligation to disclose under this condition continues from the time of booking the tour through to departure and extends for the duration of the tour. If you fail to comply with the duty of disclosure in this condition and if Photo Tours Peru would not have permitted you to undertake the tour, or continue participation of the tour, had you made full disclosure under this condition, Photo Tours Peru will not be liable, for personal injury, death or property damage or loss incurred by you.
RELEASE AND WAIVER OF LIABILITY
In consideration of Photo Tours Peru accepting your booking application and in consideration of you being permitted by Photo Tours Peru to join the tour:
You release Photo Tours Peru and its owners and employees from all cost, liability, loss or damage incurred or suffered by you directly or indirectly during the course of the tour/trek and resulting from your personal injury, illness or death or damage to or loss of your property
You waive any claims that you have, or may at any time have, against Photo Tours Peru and its employees and you agree, by accepting the additional inherent dangers and risk associated with the tour, not to make any claim against or seek any compensation from Photo Tours Peru or its employees in respect of any personal injury, illness or death suffered by you or damage to or loss of property sustained by you as a result of your participation in the tour.
HIRE OF EQUIPMENT
If you hire equipment from Photo Tours Peru, you are responsible for this equipment for the entire length of the tour and you agree to pay repair/replacement costs if broken or lost.
I acknowledge that this is an adventure tour and that there are risks involved. I have read, understood and accept the General Booking Conditions of Photo Tours Peru, including the conditions regarding refunds.
YOUR SIGNATURE ON THE PREVIOUS PAGE IS ACKNOWLEDGEMENT THAT YOU HAVE ACCEPTED THE TERMS & CONDITIONS ON THIS FORM. (If you are unable to scan & email the signature then your payment of a deposit is an acceptance of the terms & conditions on this form)
Flavio Huamani, Photo Tours Peru
Adress: Urbanizacion Flor de la Cantuta B -2 San Sebastian Cusco Peru