Mysteries of Chavin

Trek a Pilgrim Route to the Heart of Andean Civilization

Repertory Trip: No Future Dates Set

Trip Level

This trip is level 5+, strenuous, according to our trip grading system. There are seven days of high-altitude hiking, 4.5-6 hours a day, with one 8-hour day. Most hiking is between 12,000 and 15,731 feet, with two passes over 15,000 feet (the highest is 15,731’). Trails can be rough, not the well-maintained switchbacks you may be accustomed to at home. We are in the high Andes, and mountain weather is always fickle, so there will be days when it may be cold as well as days when it can be brilliantly sunny, but nights at high altitudes are always cold. We recommend you make a special effort to get in top physical condition for the trip.

A Typical Trekking Day with Wilderness Travel
Hiking distances on trek are normally measured in hours, not miles, since maps aren’t really accurate enough to assess how far we walk up and down winding mountain trails. With rest stops and photo stops, few people walk faster than one mile per hour in a mountainous region. Some hiking days are shorter than others, and some days are more difficult than others due to altitude gain and loss. On a typical trek day, wake-up is around 6:00 am, when a cup of hot tea or coffee and a basin of warm washing water are brought to your tent by one of the camp crew. After packing up our duffels and having breakfast (often pancakes, oatmeal, eggs, or something similar), we set off on the trail while the crew strikes camp. The crew passes us by midmorning to get ahead and prepare our lunch. There is always a guide in the lead, usually the Trip Leader or the camp manager, who supervises the crew, and a “sweeper” who trails behind the slowest hiker to ensure that no one becomes lost on the trail. Most groups tend to spread out over the trail, taking photos, stopping to rest, and enjoying the scenery. We ask you not to hike ahead of the leader because trails are often not well-marked. If you feel breathless during a long ascent or wobbly during descent, by all means stop until you feel restored. We typically walk for three or four hours in the morning, then stop for a leisurely lunch of an hour or more at a scenic spot on the trail. Lunch is a picnic, perhaps chicken salad, potato salad, avocado salad, or macaroni salad, along with fruit, cheese, bread, and chocolate bars for extra energy. After lunch, we walk for another three hours or so until we reach our next night’s camp. The crew passes us in mid-afternoon and usually has camp set up by the time we arrive. At camp, we have late afternoon tea (or coffee or cocoa) and a snack such as popcorn, cookies, or crackers, which hit the spot after a long day on the trail. Before dinner, there’s free time to read or relax. Temperatures drop quickly as the sun drops behind the peaks, and it’s easy to get chilled after exerting yourself for several hours, so have a few extra layers of clothing ready. It gets dark fairly early (around 6:30 pm). Dinner, served to us in a dining tent with table and chairs, is delicious hot soup followed by a substantial main course and a dessert. After dinner, we can chat away the evening in the dining tent or read by headlamp until bedtime.


Being so close to the equator, Peru has only two climate seasons: a dry season from April to October, and a wet season from December to March. Altitude is the main factor controlling the climate. In the mountains, you’ll encounter sunny days with daytime temperatures ranging between 65°F and 70°F degrees, dropping to the 40s and lower at night. The sun is very strong at high altitude and it can often be warm enough to hike in shorts and a t-shirt. However, it can also get extremely cold; if you’re familiar with mountain weather, you know how suddenly it can get cold even in the daytime if the sun slips behind a cloud. Nighttime temperatures can drop to below freezing. Rain should not be a problem on our trek, but always keep in mind that mountain weather is unpredictable and sudden storms can occur, especially on high mountain passes. The best preparation for the changeable climate of the high Andes is to dress in layers.

Lima lies in a coastal desert where rainfall is rare and temperatures are usually warm (70s and 80s). Days are overcast most of the year due to the Humboldt current that comes up from Antarctica and meets the warm, tropical El Niño current from the north to create the garua, or coastal fog/mist. The climate in the Amazon Basin is generally warm and humid throughout the year but can also be unexpectedly cool (usually 60s) due to the breezes that blow down from the Andes.

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.


We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.