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Andean Empire - La Paz to Quito

Valid for all trips departing January 1st, 2012 - March 3rd, 2013 Last Updated:
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Introduction

Really discover what South America is all about on this epic journey through Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. Experience the Pacific coast, the awe-inspiring Amazon and the archeological highlights and cultural treasures of the Andean highlands.

  • Settle in with the locals at a homestay on Lake Titicaca
  • Conquer the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
  • Spot condors at Colca Canyon
  • Colonial cities and volcanoes
  • Experience traditional life in the Amazon.
Duration: 36 days
Start/Finish City: La Paz to Quito
Service Level: Basic
  • Excellent value, amazing prices, quality experiences
  • Simple and clean hotels, guesthouses and hostels chosen for location and character
  • Affordable public and private transport for maximum cultural interaction
  • Plenty of optional activities tailored to your interests and budget
Physical Grading: 4
You might encounter a few high-altitude hikes or other more strenuous activities. Pro tip: Put down that pastry, buster.
Travel Style: Yolo
Adventures for 18 to thirty somethings

Designed for young, budget-minded travellers, Yolo trips maximize time and money by squeezing the most out of a destination. This ain't your typical big-bus tour, though. Small groups, insider access and personal freedom to follow the whim of the moment are the order of the day, every day.

Trip Type: Small Group
Group trips average 12 travellers per departure, depending on the adventure. The maximum is usually no more than 16, but some can be smaller or bigger, depending on the trip. Check individual trips for details.

Itinerary

Route map for Andean Empire - La Paz to Quito (JLQ)

Day 1 La Paz

Today is an arrival day, so no activities are planned. Check into our hotel, relax, enjoy the city and take some time to adjust to the altitude.

Founded by Alonso de Mendoza in 1548, La Ciudad de Nuestra Señora de La Paz (the City of Our Lady of Peace) is the highest capital in the world. Although Sucre is the official capital, La Paz is the Bolivian centre of commerce, finance and industry, and the de facto capital. This is a busy modern city, with its centre at the base of a canyon 5 km (3 miles) wide and sprawling impromptu housing all the way up the surrounding hillsides. The city is at nearly 4000 m (13,120 ft) above sea level, so visitors should be prepared for cool evenings and mornings.

Explore the city’s many fine museums or its historic ecclesiastical structures, such as the Iglesia de San Francisco, whose architectural details reflect the indigenous and mestizo heritage of modern Bolivia. The city is also renowned for its many markets, including the Mercado de Hechicería (Witches’ Market), where Paceños and visitors may purchase potions and incantations made from all sorts of herbs, seeds, and secret ingredients to remedy any number of illnesses (real or imagined) and protect from evil spirits. With streets lined with market stalls and vendors, the pace on the street and the vibrant atmosphere is an incredible experience. There is also a thriving black market and a Carnaval market, where locals purchase carnival costumes. You’ll also find a wealth of shops selling all sorts of handicrafts, mainly alpaca wool products, silver jewellery, woven textiles and leather goods.

Optional activities in La Paz include museums, excursions to Tiahuanaco ruins (cradle of Inca civilization), a tour of the Valley of the Moon, or a visit to the world’s highest ski resort, Chacaltaya (5600 m/18,368 ft). To the south of the city is the Valley of the Moon, with crater-like formations made of sand.

Note: When you arrive in La Paz, you will likely feel the effects of the altitude. Symptoms include shortness of breath, headaches, general lethargy and a reduced appetite. This is no cause for alarm; it is simply your body’s reaction to the altitude. It may take a little time to acclimatize, but before long you probably will not even notice it. Just take it easy for the first day or two, and reduce alcohol and cigarette consumption to minimize the effects. Be sure to drink plenty of water and do not attempt too much in any given day.

Day 2-4 Puno/Lake Titicaca

The drive around Lake Titicaca and through the altiplano from La Paz to Peru is impressive. Once crossing into Peru we head to Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. We overnight in Puno and the next morning we board a boat on Lake Titicaca. We head to Taquile Island for lunch in a local restaurant and the chance for some shopping in the local weaving cooperatives. From there we head to Amantani where overnight with a local family and enjoy typical music of the area. The following morning we will visit the floating islands of Uros en route to Puno.

Titicaca is the largest lake in the world above 2000m, and the views from both Amantaní and Taquile Islands are stunning. On our way to Taquile Island we pass the floating islands of the Uros people. The Uros began their unusual floating existence centuries ago in an effort to isolate themselves from the Colla and Inca tribes. Sadly, the Uros language has died out, and today they speak Aymara due to intermarriage with Aymara-speakers. Today about 300 families live on the islands, however their numbers are slowly declining.

The Totora reeds that grow in the shallows of the lake are used for making everything from the islands themselves to the model boats that the islanders sell. The islands are made up of layers upon layers of reeds; as the layers closest to the water start to rot, they are replaced with fresh reeds on top. The reeds are also used to build their boats, which if constructed well will last up to 6 months.

The people of Taquile Island's unique culture, style of dress and lifestyle make for a memorable visit. The men of the community do all the knitting, as this is strictly a male domain, while the women do the spinning. High quality, locally knitted goods are available for purchase at various cooperatives on the island. Despite the short distance that separates the two islands, Amantaní is quite distinct. Its soil is a rich terra cotta red, due to the high iron deposits, and the colour contrasts brightly with the deep azure blue of the lake and sky and the greenery of the local crops. For the night we split into smaller groups and billet into family homes to experience their style of living first-hand.

The following morning we visit the Uros Islands on our way back to Puno.


La Paz to Puno
Approximate Distance: 297km
Estimated Travel Time: 7.30 hours

Cusco to Puno
Approximate Distance: 389km
Estimated Travel Time: 7.30 hours

Day 5 Cuzco

Today a full day's bus journey takes us through the high Altiplano region to get from Puno to Cusco, the capital of the Inca Empire.

Day 6-13 Cuzco/Ollantaytambo/Inca Trail (3B,3L,3D)

Every year Cusco attracts thousands of travellers who come to experience an age-old culture and to delve into its tragic and noble past. It is the perfect base for optional explorations around the city and area as well as a range of outdoor activities. We spend the next few days relaxing and exploring this fascinating city, while taking time to acclimatize to the higher altitude before our trek.

Note: If you have booked the Peru Adrenaline Theme Pack, you will have the opportunity to do the full-day rafting trip and the half-day horseback riding excursion on 2 different days during your free time in Cusco (days 6, 7, 12 and 13).

Note: If you have booked the Peru Culinary Theme Pack, you will have the opportunity to do the first cooking class in Cusco on day 7 and the second class in Lima on day 21.

Cusco is the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city, and the hub of the South American travel network. The city attracts travellers who come not just to visit a unique destination but also to experience an age-old culture very different from their 20th century way of life; one could easily spend a week just in and around the area. Inca-built stone walls line most of the central streets and you don't have to go far to see other major Inca ruins. It is a city steeped in history, tradition and legend.

Cusco’s numerous colonial churches are one of the most common sights. The Cathedral was started in 1559 and took 100 years to build. It is also one of the city’s greatest repositories of colonial art. Immediately in front of the entrance is a vault containing the remains of the famous Inca historian, Garcilaso de la Vega. Also worth visiting are the churches of La Compañía, La Merced and San Francisco.

While most ruins are just outside of the city, the main ruin within is that of the Coricancha, once the Inca Empire's richest temple. This ruin forms the base of the colonial church of Santo Domingo. During Inca times this temple was literally covered with gold, but within months of the arrival of the first conquistadors this incredible wealth had all been melted down. It is left to the individual imagination to envision the magnificence of the original structure.

There are several good museums in Cusco, including the Archaeological Museum, which also houses a small art museum, the Regional History Museum and the Religious Art Museum. The best advice in exploring Cusco is to wear a comfortable pair of shoes, arm yourself with a city map and set off to explore!

Ollantaytambo is a major Inca ruin site and your first taste of what lies ahead on the Inca Trail. This major ruin site is known as the best surviving example of Inca urban planning and engineering. It is admired for its huge steep terraces guarding the Inca Fortress and for being one of the few places where the Spanish lost a major battle during the conquest. We spend the night in this small town before heading out for the start of the hike the next morning.

INCA TRAIL:
The 4-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is physically challenging but worthwhile, and the excursion is within the ability of most reasonably fit. It is a 44-km (27 mile) hike, with 3 high passes to be crossed, one of which reaches an elevation of 4200m (13776 ft). The trail is often steep, and it may rain even during the dry season. The temperatures at night may fall below zero, so it is important to come prepared.

Depart Ollantaytambo for km 82 where we begin our walk in the footsteps of the Incas. Our local crew of porters, cook and guide look after us well for the duration of the hike. Porters carry the majority of the gear for the hike, so those passengers doing the hike only carry a small daypack with water, rain gear, snacks, a camera, etc. As you walk the trail that linked this ancient empire, admire breathtaking views at every step as we move from high plateau areas to dense cloud forest. Depending on the season, you may see a great variety of flora, including miniature and large orchids, and fiery rhododendron bushes.

You pass several smaller ruin sites, the first of which is Llactapata. The second day climb the long steep path to Warmiwañusca, or Dead Woman’s Pass. At 4198 m (13769 ft) above sea level, this pass is the highest point of the trek. The second pass of the hike is at 3998 m (13113 ft) where on clear days, we enjoy superb views of the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcabamba. The trail goes through some beautiful cloud forest on the gentle climb to the third pass, where you will walk through a causeway and a tunnel, both original Inca constructions. The highest point of the third pass is at 3700m (12136 ft). On clear days you are rewarded for all this work with beautiful views of the Urubamba Valley below. Soon you reach the serene ruins of Phuyupatamarca, or the 'Town above the Clouds', at about 3650 m (11972 ft) above sea level. We will camp either here or an hour and a half further along close to Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young) ruins, a grandiose terraced hillside site, with panoramic views of the valley below and just a short hike from Machu Picchu.

On the final day of the hike we climb the steps to the Sun Gate overlooking the peaks that surround Machu Picchu. When the morning is clear, there is no way to describe the feeling of the first views of Machu Picchu, as the mist rises off the mountains early in the morning and the famous site appears in front of you.


Machu Picchu is both the best and the least known of the Inca ruins. It is not mentioned in any of the chronicles of the Spanish conquistadors and archaeologists today can do no more than speculate on its function. The local Quechua farmers in the area knew of Machu Picchu for centuries, but it was not until an 11-year-old boy led the American historian Hiram Bingham (who was in search of Vilcabamba) to the site on July 24, 1911, that the rest of the world became aware of its existence. At that time the site was covered in thick vegetation, and Bingham and his team returned in 1912 and 1915 to clear the growth. Over the years, much work has been done on excavating and studying the site. Despite these efforts, many unanswered questions remain.

NOTE: Those passengers not able or interested in the hike spend 2 days in Cusco, then travel by train to Aguas Calientes, where they overnight. Next morning they take the bus to the Machu Picchu entrance and rendezvous with the hikers at the ruins. If you decide not to do the hike we need to know prior to your departure in order to obtain train tickets. There is an additional fee for any changes made once Inca Trail permits are confirmed. This fee may vary depending on the changes that are made to your itinerary. Please advise your agent or G Adventures.

Also note that portions of the Inca Trail will be closed for general maintenance during the month of February each year. Also, closures may occur at various times throughout the year due to inclement weather or other conditions beyond our control. During these periods, any tour affected will hike the Lares Trek.

Cusco to Ollantayambo
Approximate Distance: 75 km
Estimated Travel Time: 1.30 hrs

Ollantaytambo to Inca Trail Start
Approximate Distance: 20 km
Estimated Travel Time: 40 min

Aguas Callientes to Cusco
Approximate Distance: 118km
Estimated Travel Time: 3.15 hrs

Distances of the Inca trail:
Day 1 Km 82 to Wayllambama
Approximate distance: 11 km
Estimated hiking time: 5-6 hrs

Day 2 Wayllabamba to Paqaymayo
Approximate distance: 12 km
Estimated hiking time: 6-7 hrs

Day 3 Paqaymayo to Wiñaywayna
Approximate distance: 16 km
Estimated hiking time: 8 hrs

Day 4
Wiñaywayna to Intipunku (Sun Gate)
Approximate distance: 4 km
Estimated hiking time: 1.5 hrs

Intipunku to Machu Picchu
Approximate distance: 1.5 km
Estimated hiking time: 45 mins

Day 14-17 Arequipa/Colca Canyon

Peru’s second most important city after Lima, Arequipa maintains a traditional colonial style and more laid back pace in comparison with the capital. Arequipa was built from a very light coloured volcanic rock called sillar, so older buildings dazzle in the sun, thus giving the city its nickname, “the White City.” The main plaza with its cafés and nearby cathedral is a top draw for visitors.

Those with an interest in history and architecture may take an optional visit to the Convent of Santa Catalina, offering a brief respite from the outside world and a unique view into a by-gone way of life. Spectacular mountains surround Arequipa, the most famous of which is El Misti Volcano, at 5822 m (19096 ft) and with a beautiful snow-capped peak.

Our overnight excursion to the Colca Canyon — one of the deepest canyons in the world — involves a remarkable drive through Inca and pre-Inca terracing. Once at the Canyon look for the king of the Andes, the Andean Condor, as well as alpacas, llamas and vicuñas, while enjoying the stunning highland scenery.

Approximate Distance: 158km
Estimated Travel Time: 4.30 hours

Day 18-19 Nazca/Pisco (1D)

Travel north to one of the world's greatest archaeological mysteries, the Nazca Lines. The lines consist of patterns and pictures etched in the ground, crisscrossing a wide area of flat desert. Some of the lines measure up to 10 km (32 miles) in length, and yet remain perfectly straight. The depictions of birds, insects and animals are only recognizable from the air. Who drew the lines, and why, is something that modern archaeologists can only theorize about, but current beliefs suggest that they may be part of complex agricultural calendar. From the ground we can make out very little, and the best view is from a light aircraft, which can easily be arranged.

The entire desert area was also once the home for the Paracas and the Nazca cultures, which preceded the Incas by more than half a millennia. Remains of the Nazca culture are still visible during an optional tour of an ancient desert cemetery site, which also includes a visit to a pottery workshop.

In the evening we assist in the preparation of a thousand year-old tradition: a "Pachamanca", an ancient ceremony akin to the Polynesian meal of burying a variety of delicious treats wrapped in banana leaves and slow-cooking them with pre-heated rocks buried in the ground.

Continuing north arrive in Pisco, an oasis in this barren land and an important port town. It derives its name from the white grape brandy produced in the region. If you haven’t yet tried the national drink, the Pisco Sour, then this is the place to do it. While the town itself is of considerable historical and archaeological interest, we also use it as a starting point for an optional visit to the Ballestas Islands, where we observe the sea lion colonies, penguins and a variety of other birds.

Arequipa to Nazca
Approximate Distance: 570km
Estimated Travel Time: 8-9 hours

Nazca to Paracas
Approximate Distance: 175km
Estimated Travel Time: 4 hours

Day 20-22 Lima

Founded by Francisco Pizarro, on the Day of the Three Kings (Epiphany) in 1535, Peru’s capital city Lima is known as the City of Kings. The Plaza de Armas is the heart of old Lima and here you’ll find the Cathedral, Government Palace and Archbishop’s Palace. The Cathedral dates back to the 1700s and houses the remains of the conquistador Pizarro.

To get a feel for colonial Lima, take a cab to the Plaza de Armas and watch the changing of the Palace Guard in the afternoon. Walk around the streets surrounding the Jirón de la Unión for great examples of Spanish-colonial architecture and to experience life in a large South American city. There are many fine museums in and around the city, including the Museo Rafael Larco Herrera, which houses an equally impressive collection of pottery, mummies and textiles from the Paracas and Nazca cultures. An optional city tour visits many of the cities highlights.

The more affluent coastal districts of Miraflores, Barranco and San Isidro offer good nightlife and cafés. The Limeños are friendly and the city’s many interesting museums, churches, markets, restaurants and nightlife will surely entice you. Seafood lovers should be sure and try a ceviche, for which Lima is well known.

Approximate Distance: 285km
Estimated Travel Time: 5 hours

Day 23-26 Huanchaco/Mancora

Heading north from Lima along the coast, we reach Trujillo, the largest city in northern Peru. Trujillo is the capital of the Department of La Libertad and is well known for its colonial buildings, proximity to the Chimu ruins of Chan-Chan and our resting point for the evening, the resort of Huanchaco, where the fishermen’s boats are constructed of buoyant reeds and the seafood is both tasty and abundant.

Next we head further north through the Sechuara Desert, one of the driest places on the continent despite infrequent torrential rains brought on by El Niño. The entire Pacific coastline of South America, encompassing Peru and Chile is washed by the cold Humboldt Current, which travels north from the frigid Antarctic waters. Though the land is fairly devoid of life, the ocean waters are rich with shoals of fish and both the Peruvian and Japanese fishing fleets are well represented along the coast.

We follow the Pan-American Highway north to the seaside town of Mancora, a village populated by fishermen and surfers from around Peru and the world. Enjoy the relaxing beach atmosphere before heading north across the border, through the busy town of Huaquillas. The border crossing into Ecuador through Huaquillas is one of the busiest in South America and definitely an experience you won’t soon forget.

Lima to Huanchaco
Approximate Distance: 582km
Estimated Travel Time: 8.30 hours

Huanchaco to Mancora
Approximate Distance: 654km
Estimated Travel Time: 8.30 hours

Day 27-28 Cuenca

Ecuador's third largest town, Cuenca retains a pleasant provincial air with its colonial architecture, art galleries, and museums. The surrounding countryside is an outdoor playground. Visit National Parks, take walks in the beautiful countryside and see Ecuador’s only Inca ruin site.

Cuenca is considered the most beautiful city in Ecuador and has had an exciting history. Barely half a century before the arrival of the Spaniards, the powerful Inca Tupac Yupanqui was undertaking the difficult conquest of the local Cañari people, who struggled bravely to stem the expansion of the Inca Empire. After several years of bitter fighting, Tupac Yupanqui's forces prevailed.

The Inca began the construction of a major city whose splendour and importance was to rival that of the imperial capital of Cusco. Stories of sun temples covered with gold sheets and palaces built using the finest skill of Cuzqueño stonemasons abound. What happened to Tomebamba, as the city was called, is however, a complete mystery. By the time the Spanish chronicler Cieza de Léon passed through in 1547, Tomebamba lay in ruins, although well-stocked storehouses indicated how great it had recently been.

The Tomebamba River divides Cuenca in half, and south of the river lie fairly recent suburbs and the modern university. To the north is the heart of the colonial city. Although Cuenca has expanded to become Ecuador's third largest city with 165,000 inhabitants, it still retains a pleasantly provincial air and the old centre has churches dating from the 16th and 17th centuries. The earliest building is the original Cathedral, construction of which began in 1557, the year Cuenca was founded by the Spanish conquerors.

Explore the city’s sights including cobbled streets, red-tiled roofs, art galleries, flower markets, shady plazas and museums. The villagers in the surrounding areas are expert milliners, creating beautiful and useful Panama hats (which should perhaps more accurately be called Ecuador hats). The ruins of Ingapirca lie approximately an hour and a half drive north of Cuenca, through some of Ecuador's most beautiful countryside. Although it is a major Inca site, not a lot is known about its history

Yet another nearby attraction is Area Nacional de Recreacion Cajas, a protected area of 28,000 ha, about 30 km (19 miles) northwest of the city of Cuenca. The terrain is quite stark, mostly above 4000m (13120 ft) in the páramo (grassy highlands), with many clear lakes and a great variety of bird life, beautiful scenery and good hiking possibilities.

Approximate Distance: 393km
Estimated Travel Time: 8 hours

Day 29-30 Baños

Baños means 'baths' and there are several in and around the town. Some thermal springs come from the base of Tungurahua Volcano (‘little hell' in Quichua), others have melt water running into them from the volcano’s glaciated flanks. Locals swear that the baths are good for your health; it’s definitely worth rising early to watch the dawn creep over the mountains from a hot spring vantage point.

The town is the perfect setting for outdoor pursuits, including canyoning, climbing, horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking and rafting in the surrounding mountains and on the River Patate. Baños is one of the most popular and important tourist spots in the country and you will find many Ecuadorian families vacationing here. One look at this delightfully green mountain town and you will know why. Surprisingly, it is pleasant and unspoiled.

Approximate Distance: 310km
Estimated Travel Time: 8 hours

Day 31-33 Amazon Jungle Homestay (3B,3L,3D)

Today we travel overland to Tena, located on the edge of the Amazon. From there we are transferred for half an hour by truck to the river for a short motorized canoe ride. From here we will walk between 1 and 5 hours to the local community that will be our home for 3 nights. The distance depends on the community with which we will be staying as we move our groups from community to community to equally support the families of that area. When possible we will replace part of the longer hikes with a transfer.

The rainforest is the traditional home of many indigenous communities, whose traditional homelands and way of life are threatened by the encroachment of 20th century industries like mining, petroleum exploitation and large-scale cash-crop farming. Among the most representative are the Siona-Secoya, Cofan, Huaorani, Shuar, Ashuar and Quichua. We will visit the Ricancie community and learn about the traditional lifestyle of these indigenous people.

There is also an incredible amount of biodiversity in this area. We will see a staggering variety of rainforest vegetation and may be able to spot some of the birds that spend their time hiding in the canopy of the forest. There are over 500 species of trees per acre have been recorded in the jungles of the upper Amazon. If this doesn’t seem particularly astonishing, consider that this is ten times greater than either Europe or North America, and you will begin to appreciate the significance of the conservation of this area and others like it.

Approximate Distance: 180km
Estimated Travel Time: 4.30 hours

Day 34-35 Quito

Spend the last few days of your trip wandering Ecuador’s capital city and exploring the countryside around Quito. Take the excursion into the depths of the Amazon jungle, sure to be a highlight of your trip.

Located 2850m (9348 ft) above sea level, Quito, the Ecuadorian capital, enjoys a wonderful spring-like climate, despite the fact that it is only 22 km (14 miles) south of the Equator. It is in a valley flanked by mountains, and on a clear day, several snow-capped volcanoes are visible. As well as its beautiful location, it is rich in history and much of the Colonial Old Town is well preserved.

In 1978 UNESCO declared Quito a World Heritage site, and any new development in Quito's old town is now strictly controlled. Life in Quito tends to be peaceful, though the drivers are fond of using their car horns! There are approximately 2,000,000 inhabitants in the metropolitan area, but the pace is relaxed and the residents hospitable.

Quito is separated into two basic sections, the old and the new cities. The old city is full of interesting historical buildings and many churches. Some of the more interesting ones include the Catedral de Quito, located on the Plaza de la Independencia. Built between 1550 and 1562, it was one of the first neoclassical works in Quito. La Compañía de Jésus Church is considered one of the most beautiful in the Americas. The decorations in the Compañía contain approximately one and one-half tons of gold, and construction of the church took 170 years (1605-1775).

The small, rounded hill that dominates the old town is called El Panecillo or 'the Little Bread Loaf', and is a major Quito landmark. Marvellous panoramic views of the entire city, as well as views of the surrounding volcanoes stretch out at your feet. You can take a trolley (streetcar) or a cab to the Old Town from the New Town.

Quito has a large population of foreigners and is a popular destination for travellers, resulting in a varied and vibrant nightlife where salsotecas and other dance clubs abound. For a real Ecuadorian experience though, be sure and drop by a peña if you can; these are great places for meeting locals and dancing, as well as enjoying local cooking.

Approximate Distance: 186km
Estimated Travel Time: 6.30 hours

Day 36 Quito

Depart at any time.

What's Included

Lake Titicaca excursion, Guided tour of Machu Picchu, 4-day Inca Trail hike with a local guide and cook, Colca Canyon excursion, Pachamanca ceremony in Nazca, Amazon Jungle excursion from Quito.

Highlights

Settle in with the locals at a homestay on Lake Titicaca, Conquer the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Spot condors at Colca Canyon, Colonial cities and volcanoes, Experience traditional life in the Amazon.

Dossier Disclaimer

The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.

Itinerary Disclaimer

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Important Notes

1. The rules and regulations controlling the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu are continually changing. Before embarking on your adventure to Peru it is very important that you familiarize yourself with the Inca Trail booking policies and guidelines as described in a document available on our website, at the following URL address:

http://www.gadventures.com/inca-advisory.php

2. Please advise at time of booking if you do not wish to hike the Inca Trail. Instead, you will have 2 nights in Cusco, travel by train for a night in Aguas Calientes, and join the hikers for the tour of Machu Picchu.

3. Portions of the Inca Trail will be closed for general maintenance during the month of February each year. Also, closures may occur at various times throughout the year due to inclement weather or other conditions beyond our control. During these periods, any tour affected will hike the Lares trek.

4. Please note that this tour combines with other G Adventures tours. As such, the staff and some travel companions on your tour may have previously been traveling together with G Adventures, prior to Day 1 of your tour. Likewise, some staff and travel companions may be continuing together on another G Adventures tour, after your trip concludes.

Group Leader Description

All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders, a G Adventures representative, or an expedition team. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it's the best of both worlds.

Group Size Notes

Max 16, avg 10.

Meals Included

6 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners.

Meals

Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your group leader will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. On truck trips in Africa, aboard the expedition ship Explorer or our Galapagos yachts, while trekking in remote regions etc. food is included, plentiful and made of fresh local ingredients. The above information applies to G Adventures group trips. For Independent trips please check the itinerary for details of meals included. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.

Meal Budget

Allow USD620-815 for meals not included.

Transport

Public bus, train, hiking.

Solo Travellers

We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.

Accommodation

Simple hotels (24 nts), buses (4 nts), camping (3 nts), jungle lodge (3 nts), homestay (1 nt). Note: accommodation can be quite basic/multi-share at times.

My Own Room Exceptions

Night 3: Lake Titicaca homestay, Nights 8-10: Inca Trail, Night 13: overnight bus, Nights 15-16: Colca Canyon, Nights 17, 22 and 24: overnight buses, Nights 31-33: Amazon homestay.

Joining Hotel

La Paz
Hotel Las Brisas
Calle Illampu 742
La Paz, Bolivia
T/ +591 2 246-3646

Joining Instructions

El Alto International Airport is a spectacular drive from the centre of La Paz, where our joining hotel is located. The easiest way to get there is via taxi. You can pay for the car at set rates (approximately $8 USD), from an official uniformed taxi driver. The trip takes approximately 30 minutes and is very scenic. The money exchange desk is open 9am to 7 pm.

If you are arriving from abroad and have paid in advance for an arrival transfer, a G Adventures representative will meet you at the airport. If no one is there, take a public taxi to the hotel and we will reimburse you. If you have not paid for an arrival transfer, the best way to get into town is by public taxi. If your taxi driver does not speak English and you do not speak Spanish, simply show driver the hotel address to simplify communications.

Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned, so you may arrive at any time. Similarly the last day is a departure day during which no activities are planned.

Your Tour Leader will contact you at the hotel on Day 1 and make sure you are settled comfortably. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning. Your Tour Leader will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip.

Arrival Complications

We don't expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your trip leader (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.

Emergency Contact

Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call our local office in Lima. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so we may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

G Adventures Lima, Peru.
Open 7 days a week, 9am to 6pm local time (GMT –5).
Tel: Int. Dialing Code +51 1 241 1650.
Tel/ Fax: Int. Dialing Code + 51 1 719-8873.

Lima Emergency Cell Phone: +51 99 758 2712, after office hours.

If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office in Lima,
we have a toll-free line for North America, which will connect you directly with our Toronto office. In the event that you cannot get through, you can reach a member of our Operations department at the mobile number below.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 800 465 5600.
Calls from UK: 0844 272 0000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Outside North America, Australia and the UK: +1 416 260 0999

What to Take

Most people automatically assume that the weather is hot in South America, but because of the higher altitude in the Andes, the temperature can feel quite cold, especially at night. We recommend the use of a duffel bag or backpack, whichever is easiest for you to carry. A good size daypack is also essential.

Remember that although near the Equator, the higher altitude on some parts of the trip make for cool evenings and you will need a warm sweater or pullover. It’s best to layer clothes rather than bring a heavy parka so that you can take layers off. This is especially true on the Inca Trail, at which time warmer clothing is essential.

Checklist

- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- USD cash and travellers cheques
- Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
- G Adventures vouchers and dossier
- Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
- Camera and film
- Reading/writing material
- Binoculars
- Cover for backpacks
- Pocketknife.
- Fleece top
- Windproof/waterproof jacket
- Warm hat, gloves and scarf (can be purchased locally)
- Small towel and swim wear
- 4 shirts/t-shirts
- Sun hat
- 1 pair of shorts
- 2 pairs of long trousers
- 1 pair hiking pants/track pants
- Hiking boots/ sturdy walking shoes
- Sport sandals
- Sunblock
- Sunglasses
- Toiletries (biodegradable)
- Watch or alarm clock
- Water bottle
- Purification tablets or filter
- Flashlight
- Money belt
- First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking).

RECOMMENDED FOR THE INCA TRAIL
- Inner sheet (for sleeping bag)
- Wool hat, mitts or gloves (preferably waterproof)
- Rain poncho
- Strong plastic bags to help keep gear dry
- Sleeping bag (this can also be hired locally for approximately $15USD)
- Mattress (a foam mattress is included as part of the hike; self inflating type mattresses are available for hire for approximately $15USD)
- Anti-inflammatory tablets (e.g. Ibuprofen)
- Thermal underwear

All other camping equipment is provided for the Inca Trail excursion. Porters carry the camping gear, food, and a portion of your personal belongings. All you will need to carry is a day-pack, containing waterproof jacket, fleece top, camera, water bottle, snacks, sunscreen, and hat during the hike.

In our continued effort to support the rights of the porters on the Inca Trail we would like ensure that they never exceed the weight limit for their packs as set out by the Peruvian authorities. Porters are allowed to carry no more than 6Kg of personal belongings per hiker. That means that including your sleeping bag, toiletries, clothing, etc... you are allowed a total weight of 6KG for the hike which will be carried in a duffle bag provided by our local office. Any additional weight must then be carried by you in your day pack. To help achieve this goal we recommend that you carry travel sized toiletries, eg. contact lens solution, that you bring sport sandals that can be worn with socks (which are lighter than running/walking shoes) and that you limit electronics such as MP3 players to those that you are willing to carry. Please note, the remainder of your luggage will be stored for you at one of our hotels in Cusco. It is advised that you bring anything of value (eg. money, passport, credit cards, camera, etc) with you on the trek.

If at the end of your trek, you felt your trekking guide and support team did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline we suggest each hiker contributes the following to a collective pool. We suggest a tipping amount of $40 per person for the Inca Trail and $35 per person for the Lares Trek.

Laundry

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.

Visas

All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. IT'S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE THE CORRECT TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION.

Spending Money

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances. Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards. While ATMs are widely available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work in Latin America. Check with your bank. You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies. Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US dollar cash, travellers cheques and cards is best, although you will usually be charged a commission or given a less-favourable exchange rate for travellers cheques. Always take more rather than less, as you don't want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.

CURRENCY EXCHANGE TIP: Please be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than 100USD (or equivalent).

As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com

Emergency Fund

Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!

Departure Tax

USD $40.25

Tipping

It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected - though not compulsory - component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $5-10 USD per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your tour leader for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.

Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures Tour Leader did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.

Optional Activities

PERSONALIZE MY TRIP
Extras are specially designed for travellers with unique interests, they are optional add-ons to your G adventures trip that make your adventure more you-centric. Extras must be booked prior to departure.

Extras available on this trip:
PERU CULINARY BUNDLE

Influenced by such faraway places as China, Italy, West Africa and Japan, Peruvian cuisine is almost as much fun to make as it is to eat. the Peru culinary pack puts you in the kitchen alongside pro chefs who will teach you the delicate art of a mouth-watering ceviche.

PERUVIAN COOKING CLASS Lima & Cusco (2 classes), Half-day

PERU ADRENALINE BUNDLE

Merely living day-to-day in Peru can feel like an extreme sport. the adrenaline pack turns the rivers and trails of the Peruvian andes into your own personal playground. Play safe!

WHITEWATER RAFTING Cusco, Full-day
Navigate from cuzco into the fabled Urubamba River valley’s white-knuckle rapids via whitewater raft, gulping down fresh mountain air by the lungful.

HORSEBACK RIDING Cusco, Half-day
Explore the andean foothills and incan ruins the way the locals have for centuries. saddle up with a local guide and gallop around the remains of ancient civilization with a trusty steed.



La Paz:
Chacaltaya tour $18
City tour $20
Mountain biking $60-100
Tiwanaku ruins $17.5
Tiwanaky museaum entrance $13
Museum of Pre-Colombian Precious Metals $1 entrance for ticket to four museums
Casa de Don Pedro Domingo Murillo enterance included in ticket above

Puno:
Sillustani archaeological site $12

Cusco:
Boleto Turistico (tourist ticket) $25(half ticket)$46 (full ticket)
City tour $15-20
Sacred Valley $20
Horseback riding around ruins (with guide) $40
Horseback riding around ruins (without guide) $15
Whitewater rafting $55
Mountain biking $55
Paragliding $95
Bunjee Jumping with transport $80
Inca Museum $3.5 entrance
Quad biking 3 hrs with guide $65

Arequipa:
Santa Catalina Museum $10.5 entrance
Juanita Museum $5.4

Nazca:
Flight over the Nazca Lines $90-$100, depending on the airline available.

Pisco:
Ballestas Island tour $12.5

Lima:
These tours can be booked locally through our Lima office. Please call (1) 719-8866 to reserve your tour and to find out about other available options. All prices are in USD.

Lima City Tour $25
San Francisco Church and catombs $1.80
Museum of the Nation $3.6 entrance
Museum of the Inquisition FREE
Tour colonial and contemporary Lima. - Approx 3 Hrs

Pachacamac $35
Visit the Lost Inca Citadel of Lima. - Approx 3 Hrs

Larco Museum $55
This museum contains the best quality gold and silver collection. - Approx 3 Hrs

Culinary Tour $55
Visit a local market. Learn how to make Ceviche and Pisco Sours like the experts. - Approx 3 Hrs

Ballestas Islands with Huacachina From $180
Enjoy wildlife and history, have lunch in a winery and visit the Huacachina Oasis. - Full day

City Contrasts $25
Visit the other face of Lima, the shanty towns or Pueblos Jovenes. - Approx 3 Hrs

Lima at Night $55
Visit the Magic Circuit of Water, walk through the centre of Lima and savour an included dinner. - Approx 3 Hrs

Palomina Islands $55
Visit the port area of Lima. Spot wildlife and swim with the sea lions. - Approx 5 Hrs (minimum 2)

Mancora:
Surf lessons $7-10/hour

Cuenca:
City tour $25
Cajas National Park $25 -$50
Ingapirca ruins $30

Banos:
Bike rental $5
Hoseback riding $25
Whitewater rafting $30
Canyoning $35
Bungee jumping $15
Salsa lessons $5

Quito: (all activities have 2 person minimum.)

City Tour $24 - Entrance fees not included.
City Tour & Equator Line $32 - Entrance fees not included.
Equator Line Entrance $5
Pre-Colombian Pryamids $28 - Entrance fee $2
Saquisili Market & Cotopaxi $65 - Entrance fee to NP $10
Cotopaxi NP $55 - Entrance fee to NP $10
Bellavista Cloud Forest $50 - Entrances fee to the reserve $10
Papallacta Hot Springs $50 - Entry to the pool costs USD 6 per person
Archeological Trip in Quito $32 - Wed to Sun - Entrance fees not included
Quito Cuisine Trip $32 - Entrance fees not included

All prices are per person in US dollars amounts.
(unless stated otherwise), and are subject to change as services are provided by third party operators. Please note that many optional activities will need to be paid in cash.

Health

Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our group leader they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.

Please note your Adventure travels to high altitude. This is medically defined as anything over 8,000 feet (2,440 meters). Most people can travel to 8,000 feet with minimal effects. However, everyone reacts to altitude differently and altitude sickness can on set with some people irrespective of fitness and age. For details on how to best prepare and what to do in the unlikely event you are effected on your Adventure, please consult your physician.

Safety and Security

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:


www.gadventures.com/travel-resources/safety/

Trip Specific Safety

Care should be taken when wandering around on your own in central Lima, as some areas can be dangerous and pickpockets are daring.

Medical Form

Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility' is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
Please note that all passengers traveling to Antarctica are required to fill out this questionnaire.

The medical questionnaire can be found online at:

www.gadventures.com/medical-form
.

A Couple of Rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.

Trip Specific Responsible Travel

The Problem
Peru's tap water is not potable; therefore most visitors and locals alike consume purified water, often from disposable plastic bottles. This results in a large amount of small plastic water bottles being used, most of which are not reused or recycled.

Just taking the example of 15 travellers on one G Adventures trip, if one person consumes 2 bottles a day, and there are 15 people on a 10 day trip, that's 300 water bottles – just for one group of travellers! As such, there are millions of water bottles used in a year in Peru, and plastic recycling is not an option in most places.

Our Solution
Water dispensers in hotels. Planeterra is working with our partner hotels throughout Peru to provide purified water, by means of a large water dispenser, to their guests, and this of course includes our travellers. Each individual staying at the participating hotels can refill their own bottles from the large water dispenser. This eliminates the need for the daily use and consumption of multiple single-use plastic water bottles.

Planeterra provides the start-up funds to each participating hotel for the purchase of two large water dispensers, and travellers are collaborating by paying about US$2.50, or just under the cost of one large bottle, per day, for access to an unlimited amount of purified water from the dispenser.

Thanks Paula
Paula Quiros, Planeterra Ambassador for Peru, is leading this initiative. As a CEO who has been leading G Adventures trips in Peru for several years, and a passionate naturalist and environmentalist, this has been a personal mission of hers, as well as a Planeterra initiative, to try to eliminate the need for, and use of, single-use plastic water bottles. Thanks to Paula and all of our participating hotels for helping to decrease our impact on Peru’s environment.

Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation

Through our commitment to responsible tourism we have developed the Planeterra Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of people and communities around the world through support of international charities, local organizations and community projects in the places that we visit on our tours. G Adventures matches all individual donations and pays all administration costs, which means that 100% of each donation is doubled and goes directly to support our projects. For more information about Planeterra and the projects we support, or to make a donation, please visit www.planeterra.org

Planeterra Dollar-A-Day Program
Our Dollar-A-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to help us give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar per day for the duration of their tour. 100% of these proceeds will go directly to support our Planeterra projects.

To participate in this program please indicate at the time of booking that you would like to participate in G Adventures’ Dollar-A-Day program, either by clicking the check box online, or by advising your G Adventures specialist or travel agent. (Note: Donation will be charged in the currency of your booking)

Associated Planeterra Project

On this tour you may have the opportunity to visit the following Planeterra projects:

HOUSE OF THE PEOPLE OF THE SUN
Inti Runakunaq Wasin (IRW) is Quechua for “House of the People of the Sun”. It is a non-profit organization based in Cusco that acts as a haven for children and adolescents who live in extreme poverty. The home is open during the day and is run by a staff of volunteer teachers and social workers. Children are given the opportunity to voluntarily drop-in to receive help with homework, a warm meal and participate in a variety of classes and workshops that teach them valuable skills including jewelry making, leather working, cooking, music and English. IRW currently supports 50 children through their programs. However, there are still many more children working and living on the streets of Cusco.

After fundraising for 5 years, a dream was made into a reality in 2009 when Planeterra purchased a permanent home for IRW. Planeterra continues to support the children's training workshops and support programs.

It is possible to visit this project on most tours that pass through Cusco. To arrange a visit please speak to your G Adventures CEO.

How You Can Help? All donations to this project are being matched by G Adventures, please go to www.planterra.org to learn more or make a donation.

WOMEN'S WEAVING PROJECT – Ccaccaccollo Community
In January and March 2005, G Adventures developed and offered training courses to 123 people from four local communities just outside of Cusco to work as Porters and Cooks on the Inca Trail. The women and wives of our cooks and porters from the Ccaccaccollo Community saw how G Adventures was working to provide jobs on the Inca Trail and approached us to ask us for support to develop a women's weaving project.

Three women from the Ccaccaccollo Community took part in a three month training course held by a local organization in which they learned ancient weaving techniques of the Incas including how to dye the wool using native flowers and plants. Each of the three women continued on to teach the rest of the women what they had learned and today 60 women have joined together to create the Ccaccaccollo Women's Weaving Project.

Beginning in April 2005, G Adventures groups began to visit this community as part of the Sacred Valley Tour where they have the opportunity to meet the women and learn about all the stages of the weaving process; from spinning the sheep wool, to dying the wool using natural dyes, and participating in a weaving demonstration. Travellers are also given the opportunity to purchase high quality textiles directly from the women who made them.

By working directly with the Ccaccaccollo community G Adventures and the Planeterra Foundation are encouraging men and women to be proud of their cultural heritage, and enabling them to benefit from tourism in a way that avoids negative social and cultural impacts while providing economic benefits.

How You Can Help
You can help support this project by purchasing these high quality weavings during your visit to the Ccaccaccollo community. All proceeds go directly to the woman who made the weaving.

Donations made through the Planeterra Foundation are based on the needs of the community. In the past our donation has been used to purchase needed construction material to build a place for the women to weave indoors on rainy days and showcase their work. We have also used donation to purchase alpacas for the community so that they do not have to purchase the wool but instead will have their own animals provide a steady supply.

SALESIANO STREET CHILDREN PROJECT
In the last five years the Salesiano Street Children Project has opened its doors to approximately 870 children each year who were either living in the streets or were at immediate risk of being abandoned to the streets by their families. In Ecuador, there are more than 1 million children and adolescents who are economically active, working in the informal sector for more than 40 hours a week. It is not easy to determine the exact number of children living in the streets, but the highest concentrations are in urban areas.

With various centers set up across the country, the Salesiano Street Children Project provides programs and shelter for children working on the streets of Ecuador. Children are provided with valuable programs including medical and family outreach programs, psychological support, schooling, cultural programs, technical workshops in mechanics, carpentry, auto repair, electricity and agricultural skills as well as sports on Sundays.

The Planeterra Foundation supports Salesiano’s reference center, located in La Marin near the main bus terminal which is in one of the poorest sectors of Quito. This center is run by Ivan Troya, an educator who has dedicated his life to helping children in need. Through this center, Ivan and other volunteers provide programs for 50+ children on a daily basis. Parents are able to take part in their family outreach program, while children are provided with a safe environment where they can enjoy a warm meal, receive educational and psychological support, participate in music and cultural workshops and have time to play foosball and other board games. Ivan understands that each child has a unique background and individual needs and he sees the reference center as one of the only places where these children can take a break from working on the streets and spend some time just being children.

It is possible to visit this project as an optional activity on most tours that pass through Quito. To arrange a visit please speak to your G Adventures tour leader.

How You Can Help
For those travellers who have the opportunity to visit La Marin Reference Center we encourage you to bring food items that can be purchased locally. Items needed include milk, bread, eggs, tuna, sugar, coffee, hot chocolate, rice, oil, oatmeal, fruit, vegetables, jam etc. This will help provide children with a nutritious meal when visiting the center.

However, if you would like to make a lasting difference, your donation through the Planeterra Foundation will support the development of a performing arts program for the children of La Marin. The goal of this program is to teach children dance, music and performance skills that they can use to present at various festivals in and around Quito. The estimated cost of this program is $6000 USD annually to develop and maintain the music program which will benefit the 50+ children who attend the center. Funds donated will provide wages for a music instructor, the purchase of uniforms, an amplifier, sound equipment, guitars, microphones, etc.

For more information about these projects and/or to make a donation please visit our website at www.planeterra.org or contact us at info@planeterra.org

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that you'll receive a special discount code for free online prints and we'll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at customerservice@gadventures.com and we will send it on to you.

Newsletter

Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from G Adventures, subscribe at www.gadventures.com/newsletters/

Stay current on how our company invests in our global community through our foundation – Planeterra. Sign up for Planeterra's monthly news to learn more about how to give back and support the people and places we love to visit.

Travel Forum - The Watering Hole

Be sure to stop by The Watering Hole, our adventure travel forum. If you're interested in meeting others booked on your upcoming trip, check out the Departure Lounge section of our forum and introduce yourself. Otherwise, just drop in at anytime to share some travel tips, ask questions, meet other travellers and quench your thirst for travel. Our forum is located at wateringhole.gadventures.com.