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 Home > Dos Manos Newsletter > Dos Manos Newsletter 2005
Issue 1 DOS MANOS TRAVEL AGENCY - NEWSLETTER December 2005
IN THIS ISSUE
  Welcome
  Thinking of going on the Inca Trail?
  Travellers Forum
  Alternative Hikes
  Staff Profiles
  Dos Manos Discounts
  A Visitor to Cusco...
  Dos Manos & Responsible Trekking
  Tipping Advice for Treks
  Cultural tours
  Trekking Staff
 
CONTACT US
Call Us
 Tel: +51 84 235115

Write Us
 info@dosmanosperu.com
 
DID YOU KNOW...
Did you know that from the 1st of January onwards DOS MANOS is extending its operations internationally to Bolivia and Argentina? Stay posted by checking out our website frequently!
 
 THINKING OF GOING ON THE INCA TRAIL?
 
Since 2004, the number of trek permits is limited to 500 per day (about 200 tourists and 300 trekking staff) so if you want to do this trek it is VITAL to book well in advance. For the high season (May to September) it advisable to book at least 3 months in advance to guarantee a place. Permits are sold on a first come, first served basis, and once all places have been booked, NO trekking operator can offer you a space on the Inca Trail. There is no system with a waiting list. All spaces are personal and non-transferable and even if someone would cancel, no one else could take that space. Even in the low season you should book as far in advance as possible. Please also note that the Inca Trail is closed in February of each year for maintenance.

Fixed departure discounts!
Did you know that we offer a 5% discount if you sign up for one of our fixed departure dates? For 2006, the fixed departure dates for the Traditional Inca Trail (4 days/3 nights) are.

March: 18, 25, April: 8, 14, 21, 29. September: 1, 15, 29.
May: 13, 18, 27, June: 8, 15, 18, 20. October: 5, 20, 27.
July: 1, 14, 17, 22, 24. November: 1, 17, 25.
August: 3, 12, 25, 29. December: 2, 14, 21, 27, 28.

We also offer the 5% discount for fixed departure dates for most of our trekking tours.
 TRAVELLERS FORUM
It’s always great to get connected with other travellers from all parts of the world. Have you checked out our Dos Manos Travellers Forum yet? There is a real wealth of information here about living or working in Cusco, travelling in Peru and Machu Picchu. Perhaps someone has asked just the same question that you are thinking… or perhaps you can pop a post on the forum and find out what others have to say…

 ALTERNATIVE HIKES
Don’t despair if you can’t get a place on the Inca Trail– there are a broad range of fascinating hikes available that can offer you a different, and often less crowded alternative to the Traditional Inca Trail. We recommend:

 The Salkantay Trek (5 days/ 4 nights)
This hike has spectacular views of the snowcapped “Apu” Salkantay before crossing the Andes and descending down to the high jungle. We pass through an amazing progression of ecological zones, from sparsely vegetated alpine meadows flanking spectacular glaciated peaks, and down through subtropical forest. Our visit to Machu Picchu on Day Five is made more exhilarating having trekked across rugged terrain to arrive at this famous citadel of the Incas.

Fixed departure dates 2006: April: 11, 27 May: 10, 23 June: 10, 25 July: 4, 26, August: 8, 23 September: 4, 27

 Choquekiraw hike (5 days/ 4 nights)
This is a spectacular though relatively difficult hike that crosses the Canyon of the Apurimac River and ends up at the mysterious ruins of Choquekiraw. Perched high on a ledge above the Apurimac, Choquekiraw appears to have been an Inca city with scattered and fascinating sectors. Choquekiraw is made more special by its location – overlooking one of the deepest canyons in the world.

Fixed departure dates 2006: March: 20 April: 10 May: 3 June: 16, July: 7, 23 August: 11, 24 September: 10, 25 October: 4, 21 November: 5, 19 December: 4

 Ausangate hike (6 days/ 7 nights)
Situated at the heart of the Vilcanota mountain range, Ausangate is a splendid snow capped massif. It is surrounded by rich Andean wildlife and a range of stunning bright blue and green lagoons which reflect and enhance the brilliant white snow of this sacred mountain. This, without a doubt, is one of the most visually attractive hikes in the Cusco region.

Fixed departure dates 2006: April: 31 May: 31 June: 11 August: 6 September: 13, October 17, November 12, December 18

 Vilcabamba trek (7 days/ 6 nights)
This is a very interesting hike that takes you to new and fascinating sights each day, including visits to the important archeological sites of Ñusta Hispana, Vitcos and Rosaspata. This tour offers an excellent combination of culture and nature and is incomparable with any other hike. This tour is a real adventure and is recommended to people who like to get off the beaten track and do something different!.

Fixed departure dates 2006:
March: 13 April: 25 May: None June: 27 July: 20 August: 21 September: 20 October: 12

 Lares Trek to Machu Picchu (7 days/ 6 nights)
This is a spectacular trip through the Andes mountains for those who want to combine adventure with a visit to Machu Picchu. You visit a range of differing landscapes, such as the high mountains near Lares as well as the warm upper jungle at Santa Maria. In addition, you have the chance to travel by horse, bicycle, and foot! This is a fantastic tour for those who really want to see a lot of traditional Peru, and its’ diverse landscapes in a short time.

Fixed departure dates 2006: April: 18 May: 29 June: 28 August: 15 September: 18, October 10, November 7.

We also offer 3day/4 night and 4 day/5 night (including MachuPicchu) Lares treks which are both highly recommended. Please ask our friendly staff!
 STAFF PROFILES
In this newsletter, we have decided to introduce you to the Manager of Dos Manos agency- Marcela. Those of you who have stayed with us in Cusco will remember her for her smile and willingness to help out!

Name: Marcela Pantigozo.
From: Cusco.
Length of time working at DOS MANOS: Since 2003.

1. Why do you enjoy working at DOS MANOS?
I like making sales and doing the programs. I particularly like making really long programs eg. Lima, Nazca, Arequipa. I especially enjoy when the person returns and say that everything went very well. I like this feeling, and I like making the contacts in other cities.

2. What does your job involve?
It’s everything really! In 2003 I opened the agency; I did the programs, the reservations and made the first contacts. I do the sales by email and answering queries. I still do the transfers on Sundays, picking up students from the airport and transferring them to the Residence or their home stay accommodation. I also run operations; I coordinate the guides, cooks and porters and look for ones that are responsible and trustworthy. I do talks in Amauta Spanish School on Mondays to the students about the Andean culture as part of their extra activities. We talk about themes like Machu Picchu, Sacsayhuamán, Puno, the Sacred Valley and the Valley of Vilcanota.

3. What is your most memorable moment at work?
I have had various moments when it was very funny, also moments when people have given me a lot of thanks for organising their trip. But the moment that I will always remember is my first sale for Dos Manos – he was an Amauta student who had a disability with his leg and he couldn’t move as freely as the rest of us. I organised a special trip for him to Puno and when he returned everything had gone well and he was very happy. Then last year he returned and he looked especially for me in the agency – it was a very nice feeling.

4. What do you consider is a MUST DO activity in Cusco?
Definitely visitors should visit the archaeological sites so that they can know the greatness of the Inca culture, which was the predecessor of Peruvian culture today.

5. Any other comments?
I always hope that the people that we work with are very professional.
 DOS MANOS DISCOUNTS
Did you know that DOS MANOS has a very generous discount policy? There is a 5% discount for people who sign up for the fixed departure dates for 2006 (eg the dates listed above). This discount can be combined with ONLY one of the following 5% discounts:

 Students of the AMAUTA SPANISH SCHOOL or
 Members of the South American Explorers;
 ISIC card holder.

Please note: ISIC card holders also receive a discount that is offered on entry to Machu Picchu. We regret that we are not able to offer discounts on accommodation or transportation segments (eg. Flights and bus).
 A VISITOR TO CUSCO...
 
In each newsletter we would like to profile a Dos Manos client – someone who can give the low down on what it was like to be a tourist in Peru.

Name: Marjolijn Vreeken.
Nationality: Dutch.
Age: 29.
Program: Inca Trail 4 days.
Time in Peru: 3 months Volunteer, travel and Spanish classes.

1. The highlights of my stay in Peru were:
 My volunteer work, I work with street kids. We organize after school activities.
 One week of Spanish class in Urubamba with AMAUTA Spanish school
 The Inca trail

2. My favourite part of the Inca Trail was Day 2! The climb up to Dead Woman’s Pass was like a personal achievement to me!
People who already had reached the top where encouraging all others who still had to climb up! This really gave a feeling of togetherness!.

The other highlight was the arrival at the sun gate on day 4. From here you get your first sight of Machu Picchu. A very special moment!.

3. My most memorable moment of the Inca Trail?
The moment that I arrived on the top of Dead Woman’s Pass! I also liked the moment in which we as a group gave our tips to the porters. This was a moment in which we thanked the porters for their hard work and also gave a great feeling of togetherness.

4. My recommendations to other tourists visiting Peru:
Do the Inca Trail! It is an amazing experience!

 Come to Cusco!
 Visit other places in the Sacred Valley.
 Before traveling, make sure to be informed a little about the Inca and Peru’s history.
 Visit places that are not so touristic, e.g. visit people in the country side
 Go hiking in the Andes!

5. Other comments:
Dos Manos organized this trip in an excellent way! The food was great; we had fun with the group. Guides were very responsible and professional. They told us a lot about the trail, the history and Incas. There were medicines for all kinds of illnesses. Compliments to Dos Manos!!!
 DOS MANOS AND RESPONSIBLE TREKKING
Here at DOS MANOS we believe in responsible tourism and working with our guides, porters and muleteers in a manner so that you get the best service. We are amongst the agencies that pay the best and we provide our guides, porters, and muleteers with their own sleeping tents and mats as well as ensuring that they are given sufficient food (not just what is left over after the tourists are finished). Simply, the cheaper the trek, the less likely it is that the agency really looks after its porters. We pay 20% above the set minimum wage for porters while many agencies pay about 40% less. The Inka porter project says, “If your Inca Trail trip costs less than $300, you can be fairly sure that the porters will be not be well cared for”. (see http://www.peruweb.org/porters).

We also respect the maximum weight of 25kg that porters carry and we prefer to take one extra porter instead of having them carrying the maximum weight or even more.

We also try to minimise environmental impacts: we carry out our rubbish, use biodegradable products when doing our dishes and tidy our campsites before everyone leaves.
 TIPPING ADVICE FOR TREKS
On most of your treks you will either have porters and muleteers as well as cooks and guides. For all, the tip is very important. Even if you are from a non-tipping “nation” you might consider tipping as it makes all the difference to people that don’t receive a lot of money for what they do. You might like to have a look at the Inka Porter Project website www.peruweb.org/porters which provides interesting information about trekking guidelines, treatment of porters and muleteers. For muleteers or porters try to ensure that your pooled tips add up to at least 10 soles a day per muleteer or porter. Give the tip to the porters/muleteers individually, thus avoiding the problem of the guide or cook taking charge of the envelope and taking a cut for themselves. Tips for the guide and cook should be treated separately. For the cook – the same as the porters– or a little bit more if he whipped up some culinary delights! Of course, we are not advocating tipping for bad service – but if you are happy with your tour, please show your appreciation!

In addition to tipping your porter/muleteer consider the following:
 Offer porters coca leaves and tea
 Spending time with your porter
 Take photos of them (with their permission of course)
 Try picking up a load!

Be flexible in your expectations
Approach your travels with an open mind and you won’t be disappointed. Sometimes plans change and an chance for more in-depth learning or a unique cultural experience presents itself. Adapt yourself to the situation rather than trying to change the situation to you.
 CULTURAL TOURS
Without a doubt, Peru is a rich and fascinating country – and DOS MANOS offers a range of extra special cultural tours that help you to understand the customs of Peru better.

Señor de Qolloritty (The Lord of Qolloritty)
Every year, days before the celebration of Corpus Christi, every small village or clan sends a delegation with colorful dancers and "pauluchas" to the Chapel of the Senor of Qoylloriti. This Chapel is situated spectacularly at the base of the Sinakara mountain, some hours walk above the village of Mawayany.

With our 3 day/ 2 night Cultural tour you will take part of the pilgrimage to the Chapel of Senor of Qolloritty with thousands of Andean pilgrims. With spectacular snowcapped peaks all around, the views are amazing, and the experience of being part of this emotive Andean tradition is truly unforgettable. Departs: 10th June 2006 (Click on this link for more information).

Virgen of Candelaria
Puno, 12,770 feet above sea level (3,870 meters), is famous as the jumping off point for excursions to Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. However, Puno is also famous as hosting one of the biggest Catholic feasts in Peru, the "Candelaria.” During 16 days, from the 2nd to the 18th of February, Catholic devotion and the carnival spirit mix in the streets, with thousands of dancers and musicians moving around the city in an endless parade.

A highlight is on the first Sunday of February, when a big competition takes place in the city’s stadium. Up to 70 groups of dancers from different towns and communities come to Puno to compete in an incredible contest of typical dances. The average group size is 100 people (with dancers and musicians) and they perform choreographed dances wearing typical costumes. They compete in honor of the "Virgen de la Candelaria" and for the pride of their town or community.

We offer three different programs to visit the Festival of the Virgen of Candelaria, departing on either the 3rd or 4th February 2006. (Click on this link for more information).

Virgen del Carmen
Paucartambo is most famous for one huge festival: Virgen of Carmen, which takes place over four days, with the principal days from July 15th to 17th. On those days, the town is inundated by thousands of Peruvian pilgrims who come from all parts of the country. The festival itself consists of lots of traditional and significant dances by people in awesome costumes. On the central day, (July 16th) the figure of the Virgen Carmen is carried around the town in a spectacular procession.

About 40km north of Paucartambo is a site called Tres Cruces (3 crosses), which is situated on the very edge of the Andes mountains at an altitude of 3900m (13,000ft). At Tres Cruces, there is a very steep drop of thousands of feet into the Amazon basin, which means the view is incredible. Tres Cruces is most famous for the sunrise in the months of June and July because special climatic conditions mean that there are optical illusions. Our 2 day/ one night tour visits both the Festival of the Virgen of Carmen and Tres Cruces.

Departure: 15th July 2006.

We offer a range of other exciting cultural tours (click on the links to read more information) Inti Raymi, Qeswechaka Inca Bridge, Chiraje and the Four Lakes, Easter Week in Ayacucho, and Easter in Cusco.
 TREKKING STAFF
 

In each Dos Manos newsletter we want to introduce you to some of the trekking staff who work for Dos Manos – in this edition of the newsletter we World like you to introduce you to Saul, who is a guide, and Claudio, who is a cook.

Dos Manos Guide Profile
Name: Saul Palma.
Place of birth: Ollantaytambo.
Age: 24.
Profession: Guide.

1. I enjoy being a guide because:
Of everything! Because of the intercultural exchange! I like to tell people about the Andean Culture, the history and the Incas - culture. I love the landscapes and the nature.

2. My most memorable moment:
Getting to know someone who’s a real good friend right now.

3. Worst moment:
Finding out that some agencies do not pay their porters and guides.

4. My favourite part of the Inca Trail is:
The third day! I love this day most because of the diversity in landscape, vegetation and climate.

5. My favourite alternative trek is:
The Salkantay trek. This trek is a little longer and has more variety in flora and fauna. There also are thermal baths on this route.

6. My recommendations to the clients:
 Prepare yourselves on the Inca Trail!
 If you have some medical problems, consult a doctor before walking the Inca Trail. Don’t just try; make sure you can do it!
 Protect the trail and its nature! Don’t pollute!
 Behave in a friendly and respectful way towards the porters!
 Porters work hard; take that into consideration when tipping!

Dos Manos Cook Profile
Name: Claudio Quespi Huaman
Place of birth: Calca
Age: 20

1. I like being a cook on the Inca Trail because:
The Inca Trail is really beautiful! I like to talk to the tourists and the contact with the guides. I like everything about my job!

2. My favourite part of the Inca Trail is:
The 1st day. I like this day most because on this day we won’t have to walk up so much. The first part of the 3rth day, going downhill is also good.

3. My most memorable moment:
It always is when we arrive at Dead Woman’s Pass on the second day. The view from there is amazing!

4. What can tourists do for the porters and cook:
 Enjoy the Inca Trail!
 Take pictures and send them to us!
 Tip us (ha-ha)

5. To me it is important to:
 Be hygienic, because tourists shouldn’t get ill during the trail.
 Have good equipment like tents, and mattresses.

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