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What To Bring


Most air lines allow one small carry-on and two check-in suitcases. The check-ins can be up to 62 inches total (get by adding length, width and height), and a maximum weight of 70 lb. each.

We would like to donate items to the QíEros village, so fill one of your suitcases with donated gifts from your co-workers or friends, and use the empty to bring home purchases. The major cause of death is pneumonia. Sleeping bags, windbreakers, longjohns (find natural fibers for items that will be next to the skin), ski mask type hoodies, school supplies, T-shirts, skin conditioner or any other ideas you come up with.

Line the suitcases with a heavy-duty garbage bag or two, with handles, and stuff the gifts into them. That way the elders can just remove the bags and transport them up into the mountains.

LAUNDRY is fast and cheap, so bring things you can wear over and over. Layering is the best idea. It is considered winter, however, in Lima it is summer. And even in the "winter" areas, there is no rain in this season, so it is referred to as summer by some. The bottom line is it is freezing cold at night and can get warm enough for a thin shirt in the daytime. Just make sure the thin shirt has long sleeves. Lots of layers in the morning can be peeled off as it warms up.

Bugs in Machu Picchu pay no attention to bug repellent. Mae Jackson is going to make some Indian Pipe tincture for us to spray on. However, the most important protection is clothing. Wearing long sleeved and long legged silk long johns gives you warmth and protection from insects. If you wear pants over them that have zip-off legs, converting the pants to shorts, still keep those silk johns on and have them tucked into boots. If you think it looks silly, see how swollen purple welts look. Again, the Machu Picchu area seems to be the only place itís a problem. A silk or cotton dickey works well in providing extra warmth in the early morning. It is easier to stuff in a pocket than a whole turtle neck shirt.

EAR PLUGS (donít forget this one. Fireworks go off in Cuzco at sunrise whenever a favorite saint is celebrated. Everyday in the Catholic Church has a saint assigned to it, and someone in town will like her.)

WARM PAJAMAS as evenings are cool. Slippers are nice to have to walk to breakfast at the farm.

PANTS should be comfortable. If they are too heavy, they will probably come back from the laundry damp. If you are a skirt person, make sure you have silk longjohns or exercise pants on under the skirt and tuck the johns into your boots. Exposed skin will be eaten.


FLEECE JACKET with lots of pockets

Emergency rain poncho (about $5 in a plastic pouch)

MONEY BELT reduces chances of robbery

A WAIST PACK will be easier to handle than a backpack. It is very difficult carrying stuff when you can hardly breath. Find a waist pack that has a water holder.


Lightweight HIKING BOOTS. Make sure you break them in NOW, not on the Inca Trail. Wear your boots on the airplane. If your luggage gets lost, you will have these. Also they take up too much room in the suitcase.


HIGH PROTEIN BARS OR SNACKS. The food is awful in Peru. We have done our best to arrange for the best food we were able to hunt down. But long days on the range will need some boosting.

PLASTIC ZIP LOCK BAGS in sandwich and snack size.

SUPPLEMENTS and prescriptions should be brought in their original bottles to avoid being confiscated. You might want to bring a written prescription in case you lose important heart medicine, etc.

SMALL FLASH LIGHT with spare batteries.




Addresses for postcards, pens, NOTEBOOK FOR JOURNALING

Spanish-English dictionary

FIRST AID KIT (Include some "Moleskin" by Dr. Scholl. It protects the feet from shoes and prevents blisters when walking.)

XEROX COPY OF YOUR PASSPORT (On the back of this, write the numbers of your travelerís checks, airline tickets, credit-card telephone numbers in case of loss, health-insurance telephone numbers and other numbers or email addresses important to you.)

BOTTLED WATER is cheaper outside the hotels. Keep a couple big bottles in your room and schlep the smaller ones around.

Nutribiotic grapefruit seed capsules can help if youíve eaten something questionable. Take 3-4 and repeat an hour later.

CASH: Make sure all your bills are new. $1 make good tips, but even the poorest farmer will not accept wrinkled or torn money. Some of the folks from our Ecuador trips actually laundered (no, really, laundered) their money and ironed it so it would be accepted. Peruvian currency is the sol. Bills of S/10, S/20, S/50, S/100 and S/200 are in circulation. The sol is divided into 100 centimos and there are copper coins of .05, .10, .20 and silver coins worth .50 and S/1. Also there are a couple of bi-metallic coins worth 2 and 5 Soles.

Change money with someone our guide picks out for us. Counterfeit money and high fees abound. The guides can take us to a money changer in the Sacred Valley when we feel up to moving.

TRAVELERíS CHECKS: Banks charge 10% to cash them. Itís better just to bring cash and keep it on you in your money belt.

CREDIT CARDS are accepted in shops, restaurants, etc.



Everything weighs 10 times as much when you are climbing the Andes. The disposable cameras are enough weight for me. Itís a shame to waste the opportunity if you can handle it. Videos certainly would be wonderful to look at later.

Lightweight Point and Shoot 35mm cameras can be found and give clearer pictures than the disposable.

BRING YOUR OWN FILM AND BATTERIES. Quality is not the greatest in Peru.


TIME in Peru is the same as the East Coast.

Bring email addresses of people you want to contact upon your safe arrival. There is an Internet center in Aguas Calientes, our first stop. The one in Cuzco is great, but we wonít be there until the end of the trip.




Mary Bontempo

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