1. How much in advance should I book my trip?
One skill that’s very important in Peru is flexibility. Everything is possible! Depending on the availability you can book until a week or a few days in advance. Also for many tours it’s possible to book only a few days before, except for the real Inca Trail or if you’d like to go up the mountains of Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu. These need to be booked a few months before your arrival. In the months of high season (May-June-July-August) it is however important to organize everything in advance as there will be way more tourists in the city.
2. How do I prepare for the altitude?
The best advice for your first week at high altitude is: take it easy. Don’t go on crazy hikes yet and listen to your body. Everyone reacts differently to high altitudes so it’s important to give yourself some space and let your body adapt. If you’re having a headache, you could stay overnight in the Sacred Valley, which is located lower than Cusco, and then gradually adapt. If you’re worried about your jetlag combined with adapting to altitude, you could first stay at our homestay in Lima and then take your flight to Cusco. But the most important advice is to get enough rest and stay hydrated.
3. What kind of clothes do I bring?
If you’re traveling around in Peru, you’ll need a little bit of everything: light clothes for the hot jungle temperatures and warm clothes for the cold nights in the mountains. During the day when the sun is shining it can be very hot in Cusco, but once the sun goes down at 6 pm, it gets way colder. Don’t worry if you haven’t brought enough warm socks and sweaters, you can find clothes made of alpaca wool (mixed with synthetic wool) everywhere for a very good price!
4. Do I need a visa?
As a tourist you have the right to stay 183 days a year in Peru. When you enter the country you’ll get a stamp with the amount of days you get. Sometimes when they ask how long you’re staying, and you answer “three weeks” for example, they will only give you 30 or 90 days. If you stay longer than that, you should specify this and ask for the maximum of 183 days. People from the EU, the US or Australia don’t need a visa, people from other countries should check with the Peruvian embassy in their country if there’s any paper work required before starting your trip.
5. Do I need to bring cash or can I pay by credit card?
In Cusco (and Peru in general) people still use a lot of cash. In many shops or restaurants it’s not possible to pay by credit card or visa, but there are many ATMs around the Plaza de Armas so make sure you always have some cash with you. Also at the school we don’t have the POS system yet to accept credit card payments, but if you’d like to pay online you can use PayPal or Western Union.
1. What do I bring to class?
Nothing but yourself! We will give you a notebook and a pen and all the class materials, which are included in the class price. At the school we have a water boiler to make tea and coffee for free.
2. Can I change or cancel my classes?
We’re flexible if you’d like to do more weeks of classes than planned or if something happens and you decide to continue your travels earlier than planned.
Our group classes have a fixed schedule every morning so if you miss a class, you’ll have to keep up with your group, but you can also take extra hours private class if you’ve missed something. With private classes there’s much more flexibility in the schedule as it’s only you and the teacher.
We do have a cancellation policy for classes you’ve already booked:
- Cancellation of at least 24 hours in advance: no charge!
- Cancellation on the same day: let us know in the morning if you’re sick so that we can call the teacher. Afterwards you can catch up half the time of the class you’ve missed.
- Cancellation at the same moment: your teacher is waiting for your private class but you’re not there? We’ll have to pay your teacher anyway for his presence and the work he prepared so unfortunately, there’s a charge of 100% for this class. Also for group classes, you will lose the hours you’ve missed that day.
3. Can I change from group to private if I don’t like it?
Of course! Even in the middle of the week we can change you to another group if the level feels too high/low for you or you can change to private classes if you prefer focusing on a specific topic for the rest of your time. When you start in a group on Monday, I do advice you to wait until the end of Tuesday to make changes, because students never have the exact same level in the beginning. There are always small differences that you’ll notice on your first day and you’ll think: “what he says I have learned years ago” or “I don’t know that part yet, maybe this is too difficult for me.” Hold on, because this is great to learn from each other as well!
4. When should I pay for the classes?
You can pay the classes you’ve booked for the week on Monday. If you’ve booked for several weeks you can choose to pay week per week, or to pay the total amount at once (for example if you’ve booked one of our programs). At the school you can pay in cash in dollars or in soles, whatever is easiest for you. If you prefer paying online, we can find a solution using PayPal or Western Union, but these do charge extra costs.
5. Do I get a certificate?
Of course! After your last class you’ll receive a certificate for the total amount of classes you took and the level of Spanish you have. Congratulations!
1. How do I get to my accommodation?
Cusco can be overwhelming when you arrive, especially with all the taxi drivers coming at you at the airport. If you booked a package with us, we will pick you up at the airport for free. If you’re staying at a hostel or somewhere else, we can also pick you up and bring you there for the extra cost of 15 USD.
Please email us your flight number and arrival hour, and we’ll be waiting outside with a name tag. If there’s any delay please call us or send us a WhatsApp message at +51 986 829 508.
If you decide to take a taxi yourself, go outside of the airport and take an official taxi there, make sure they don’t charge you more than 7 soles.
2. Can I decide to stay longer or change accommodations?
Depending on the reservations after you, you can definitely stay longer at the apartment or the host family. If it’s already fully booked after your last day we can find solutions to change your accommodation so that you can stay longer. If you have booked for example 2 weeks host family and 2 weeks apartment, but you love the family so much that you want to stay, there’s no problem to arrange these changes for you!
3. Are the meals included in the price?
At the host family you will get 2 meals a day included: breakfast and lunch/dinner. In the evening Peruvians often don’t eat, or maybe just some bread, because at this altitude it’s harder to digest. Lunch is the most important meal and you’ll find many ‘menus’ in the city center between 5 and 10 soles that include soup, a main dish and a drink. At the apartment you’ll have a fully equipped kitchen to cook anything you like.
4. What time do I have to be home at the host family?
There’s no curfew, and you will have your own key, so you can leave and enter the house whenever you want to. Of course communication is very important, so let the host family know when you won’t eat at home or when you’ll come back late in the evening so that they don’t have to be worried about you. If you’re outside the house the whole day and you decide not to eat with the family, just let them know so that they won’t wait for you.
5. Where can I take care of my laundry?
Most families and apartments don’t have a washing machine, because the laundry service is so easy and cheap in Cusco. You can drop off your bag of clothes and depending on the weight they’ll give you the total price. Mostly the price is around 3 to 4 soles per kilo. In the evening or the next day you’ll pick up your clothes and pay the total price. They do all the work for you.
The family and the apartment will provide bed sheets, but make sure you bring your own towels.
1. Do I need experience to volunteer?
No! At every project there’s a coordinator that will help you with anything you need. There’s no experience required, but only the motivation to help.
2. Is there a minimum age for volunteering?
Normally the minimum age is 18 years old (and there’s no maximum age). But we also know a project where 16-year-olds are accepted, or even younger if the parent or the person responsible is present too.
3. When can I start volunteering and how much in advance should I book?
You can start any Monday, during your Spanish classes or after. Some students like to have the full schedule of classes in the mornings and volunteering in the afternoons, others prefer to focus only on the Spanish first and when they feel more confident they start volunteering. This depends on you. We should coordinate with the projects at least one week in advance.
4. Do I need a minimum level of Spanish to volunteer?
You need to be able to communicate a little bit, but even with basic Spanish this is possible, especially when you decide to work with toddlers or with dogs, their language is universal!
5. Why is there an extra cost for volunteering?
We charge a cost of 30 USD for the coordination of your volunteer work, no matter how long you decide to volunteer. This is only for the work and the time we spend to make your reservation, to bring you there on your first day because it’s often hard to find on your own, and to follow up on your volunteer work and make changes when necessary.
1. What’s a Boleto turístico?
The boleto turístico, the ‘Tourist Ticket’, is an entrance ticket to several ruins and museums in Cusco. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to visit the ruins separately; you can only enter if you have this collective ticket. You can choose between the full ticket or a partial ticket with one of the three circuits.
Full ticket: 130 soles – valid: 10 days
Circuit: 70 soles – valid: 2 days
|Circuit I||Circuit II||Circuit III|
|Tambomachay||Museo Histórico Regional||Chinchero|
|PukaPukara||Museo de Arte Contemporáneo||Moray|
|Museo de Arte Popular|
|Museo de Sitio de Qorikancha|
|Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo|
|Monumento al Inca Pachacutec|
If you have a student card from your university, or an international student card (ISIC) you can get a great discount of 70 soles for the full ticket and 30 soles for a circuit!
2. Where can I book my tours?
We can arrange any tour you’d like to do for you, also tours which are not mentioned on our website. Many agencies on the Plaza de Armas charge ridiculously low prices, because they don’t work with a certified guide and don’t offer good quality. Other agencies charge very high prices because they charge extra for the operations of their agency. We will look for the best value for money and help you arranging your tours, without any extra costs.
3. Can I do the real Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?
If you book months in advance, you definitely can. During your inscription we can check for availabilities of the Inca Trail and adapt your accommodations and classes to these dates. We can also book the Inca Trail for you and help you with any questions you might have.
4. Is it safe to visit places by myself instead of booking a tour?
Cusco is the safest city in Peru, but like in every big city, there are many pickpockets. Always take care of your stuff, don’t carry your phone in a visible place (like the pockets of your jeans), and don’t bring too much money. The touristic sites are very safe with security guards, and also the ‘colectivo’ buses are not too crowded. When you take a normal public bus, you should be careful with your valuables. If you want to practice your Spanish and you prefer taking local transportation and discovering the sites on your own, you should definitely go for it. Mostly the worst thing that happens is that they will try to charge you more than the normal price, but this is a great opportunity for you to use your Spanish and learn to bargain like a real Peruvian!
5. What should I always bring with me?
When going for a tour, don’t forget your bottle of water or buy one on your way. It’s very important to stay hydrated at this high altitude and when you’re busy visiting places it’s easy to forget this important detail. Don’t forget your walking shoes, a hat for the sun, sunscreen, small cash for taxis and buses, a copy of your passport (leave the original at your accommodation), your student card if you have one, bacterial hand gel when there’s no water to wash your hands, and of course your camera!