June 9 - June 25, 2023
Journey with the Apus
Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and Apu Ausangate
Land Cost $4,770
Dear Spritual Traveler,
Welcome to Journey with the Apus (Mountain Spirits)- the 2023 Peru Pilgrimage produced by Shaman's Journey. This will be a spiritual exploration of the land, mountains, and culture of the Earthkeepers of the high Andes. We will connect with the energy, the spirits of the mountains, and the lineages of the Q'ero Paqos, their ancient wisdom teachings, and the sacred ceremonies and Karpay transmissions. We will travel in the spirit of Munay - universal love, and Ayni - sacred reciprocity and right relationship. The trip has been carefully planned for you to have an exceptional experience. We will have Peruvian Q’ero Paqos as our group's personal guides, with translators who speak fluent English and Spanish. We will engage in genuine intercultural experiences, ceremonies and practices, receive traditional blessings, sit in teaching circles at off the beaten path sacred sites to learn integrated practices that you can then weave into your life, celebrate the Solstice in a special ceremony on Apu Ausangate, and connect with the land, the people, and the medicine teachings of the rich Peruvian culture.
This will be the journey of a lifetime, and we invite you to join us!
We are not a commercial tour company motivated by profit. The land costs we offer are an outstanding value. Please review the detailed information below and email us if you have any questions. To apply, please go to Application Peru 2023
A $770 deposit is due with your application. (If you are not approved your deposit will be refunded!)
We look forward to traveling with you!
In love and service
Orit Heartlight, Group Leader
Experience a video of our 2013 Peru pilgrimage.
Included in the land cost fee:
All lodging accommodations based on double occupancy.
Breakfasts at all hotels.
Most lunches and dinners.
All transportations by private minibus, and by train.
Entrance fees to sites as outlined in itinerary, including Machu Picchu or Huayna Picchu.
Tours, teachings, and personal attention from qualified multilingual staff.
Ceremonies with our private Q’ero Paqos at sacred sites as outlined in itinerary.
Not included in the land cost fee:
International airfare to and from Cusco, Peru. Traveler must arrive at airport in Cusco, Peru by a designated time on June 10, 2023. Arrival flight number and time must be confirmed with us by the traveler prior to departure.
Five meals as specified in the detailed trip description. (Average cost of dinner in Peru is $10 - $15)
Bottled drinking water during visits to some cities.
Special transfers for early or late arrivals and early or late departures.
Gratuities for private driver, hotels staff, guides, and others.
Additional hotel nights made necessary by airline schedule changes or other factors.
Health or Traveler’s insurance.
Additional travel pre or post trip.
Other non-included items: souvenir shopping, personal phone calls, laundry, items of personal nature.
Registration and Payment Schedule:
Land Cost is $4,770 and is based on a minimum of eight travelers committing to the trip by February 22, 2023.
(We are open to up to 12 travelers).
Paying the non-refundable deposit is required with your application. (If your application is not approved, or if the trip is canceled, your deposit will be refunded)
Deposit: $770 due with your application by February 22, 2023
Second Payment: $2,000 due by March 21, 2023
Third Payment: $2,000 is due by April 20, 2023
Payments can be made in three ways:
1) Via Zelle to: (818) 203-0922
2) Via Venmo to: @Orit-Bornstein (Please add 3% to cover fees, or absorb applicable fees on your end)
3) By mailing a check to: Orit Bornstein, 30346 Goodspring Dr. Agoura Hills, CA 91301.
Late registrations may be accepted at the discretion of Shaman's Journey and are subject to availability of space, accommodations and tour tickets. (Tickets to Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu may not be available for those who register late.
Apus Journey: June 9 - June 25, 2023
Essential Trip Information
Please do not purchase airfare until the minimum number of travelers has been met. If you do, it is at your own risk. We will announce when the minimum has been met.
We may be able to research airfare for those flying from LAX, so check with us before booking your flights.
The Application Form and deposit ($770) are due by February 15, 2023. After the organizers approve your application, you will need to sign the Agreement and Release Form, and return it to Shaman's Journey with a scan (not a photocopy) of your passport's pages where your personal data is (Photo and information). The Traveler Information Form with your airline flight information are due as soon as possible after purchasing your airfare.
A valid passport is required for entry into Peru. A ninety day visa is automatically given to US citizens upon entry. You should also carry a second form of photo ID, such as your driver's license, and have a photocopy of the personal data page of your passport. If you lose your passport, this is the easiest way to prove your identity. We suggest keeping one photocopy of your passport tucked in each piece of luggage.
Please check your passport expiration date right now and apply for renewal immediately if it expires before or within six months of your travel. (Before December 10th, 2023). Some international airlines will not permit boarding with a passport that expires within six months of travel. Before you send in the renewal application with your current passport, SCAN it (don't just copy it) and save that digital file!
If you are traveling with a passport from a country other than the US, please call the Peruvian Consulate nearest to you and find out if there are any visa requirements. The Los Angeles telephone number is (213) 252-5910. You can also check the requirements for each country by logging on to Peru Embassy.
Responsibility for Health and Safety
You are responsible for your own health and safety at all times while on the pilgrimage. In the event of any medical or health problem, Shaman's Journey will do their best to help you obtain qualified medical care. Shaman's Journey is not responsible for any costs incurred, and does not cover the cost of any medical care or treatment. You are responsible for your own medical care and insurance.
Sometimes weather, illness, lost luggage or travel-related issues force travelers to change their plans, delay flights, or seek medical treatment in foreign countries. Travel insurance reimburses you for these and other kinds of loss. Purchasing travel insurance to cover medical expenses, emergency assistance, baggage claim and trip cancellation or delay is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED for this trip. There are many types available online. If you book your flights with an agent, they may offer you a discount on travel insurance.
Check with your existing health plan to determine whether they cover your medical care in foreign countries. If not, please add this to your travel insurance coverage. You may also want to check with your credit card company, which may already include some sort of luggage or trip cancellation insurance.
Please have the information for your travel insurance with you for the trip, including phone numbers to call the insurance company.
Budgeting for your Trip
Airfare: Your largest expense other than the land cost will be your airfare. You are responsible for making your reservations and paying your airfare. We recommend LATAM airlines for first time travelers to Peru. If you budget $1500 for airfare you should be covered. Airfares tend to fluctuate in relationship to time and other factors that may not be apparent. Please do not purchase airfare until the minimum number of travelers has been met. If you do, it is at your own risk.
Meals: You are responsible for paying for five meals when you will have free time to explore and choose where to eat and who to eat with. All breakfasts, and most lunches and dinners are included in the land cost. We will have our own health and environmentally conscious chef who uses organic ingredients making our lunches and dinners throughout the trip. When we dine in restaurants together, we will choose good and safe ones. When you choose a place to eat, keep in mind that prices at restaurants are generally lower than in the US, and you could also save by shopping at local markets. However, please note the precautions about Water and Food below. We suggest you budget $100 for meals not included and for bottled water and beverages.
Gratuities: We will encourage the group to convene at the end of the journey to collect a tip for the guides and driver, which is customary for good service. A typical tip is $10 per day per individual. We suggest you budget $150 for gratuities, which would include $1 per day for your hotel maid (If the retreat center offers maid services).
Travel Insurance: Prices vary depending on type of coverage, your age, etc. We suggest you budget $150 to $200.
Souvenirs and Craft Purchases: This is completely up to each traveler. There are many beautiful woven textile and handcrafts everywhere in Peru and you will certainly be tempted to bring some home.
Private Healing Sessions: Another item to consider would be the cost of a private healing session with our Q'ero maestros. If you choose to receive one, the cost is usually $40 - $50 (U.S. dollars) or 150 S/- 190 S/ (Peruvian Soles) , and well worth the energetic healing you will receive.
Money in Peru is in Nuevo Soles. The symbol is S/. The current exchange rate is around 3.80 S/ per dollar. Prior to departure, we'll make suggestions for how, when and where to exchange dollars. We don’t recommend carrying large amounts of cash around.
Most ATM cards work at cash machines in the Sacred Valley and Cusco, and it’s a handy way to manage cash. The exchange rate for cash at ATM’s is usually a little better than the exchange rate for traveler's checks. To be on the safe side, check with your bank to see if they have ATM affiliates in Cusco, and be sure to let them know you will be traveling in Peru, so they don’t put a lock on your account when the first transaction comes through.
The next safest way to get cash is at one of the many “Cambio” offices that are in most towns. (Cambio means change in Spanish). Avoid street moneychangers. Visa credit cards are generally accepted in Peru. Note: “damaged” US dollars (imperfect) are not accepted in Peru. Do not bring dollars in 1, 5, or 10 denominations. Bring only new or "perfect" 20, 50, and 100 dollar bills if you bring paper money at all.
Handling money in a third world country is not quite the same as in the USA. Use precautions as you would traveling anywhere. It's acceptable in Peru to haggle over prices, especially with street sellers who generally inflate their prices for tourists. Street vendors may not have change and expect you to pay in exact currency, so carry a variety.
Cell Phone and Internet
If you bring and use your cell phone in Peru, you might get hit with enormous ‘roaming charges’ unless you set up an international fixed price plan before you travel. Also be sure to turn off "data roaming" while you are there. Most hotels and restaurants have Wi-Fi in the lobby so you can connect to the internet. Consider unplugging from the digital world during your pilgrimage in Peru.
To register, please fill out the Registration Form.
To email it, scan and email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and Zelle the deposit of $770 to (818) 203-0922
To mail, print it and send with a check for $770 to Orit Bornstein ~ 30346 Goodspring Dr. ~ Agoura Hills, CA 91301
Planning for your Peru Pilgrimage
Medicines and Remedies
If you take prescription medications, be sure to bring what you need. Containers must be clearly labeled to avoid problems at Customs. A compact personal first aid kit is advisable. Personal remedies might include headache, stomach ache, cold symptoms, or dehydration. We recommend packets of vitamin C or other brand of electrolyte supplement which can be added to bottled water. They are good for staying hydrated, especially at high altitude. Since we will be walking moderately during some of the days, consider bringing band aids or moleskin. Remember, you are fully responsible for your own health.
Water and Food
Most illnesses while traveling are caused by contaminated water or food. It doesn't take much contamination to make you sick, and some diseases can be severe enough to ruin your trip. Please be careful. Drink only safe water. We recommend that you drink two full liters of water per day. Drinking alcohol can dehydrate you fast, we recommend to avoid it.
1. In hotels, use bottled or purified water for drinking and brushing your teeth. (And keep your mouth closed in the shower :-)) Bottled water is readily available where we will be traveling.
In our retreat center we will have unlimited access to filtered/purified water. During some parts of our pilgrimage each of us will need to purchase bottled water for ourselves.
2. Do not use ice cubes unless you know them to be made with purified water. Freezing does not get rid of contaminants.
3. Do not drink from streams.
4. When eating in restaurants, beware of uncooked food. We suggest you don't buy food from sidewalk vendors. Avoid raw food, especially fresh salads and fruits with no peel, as they are frequently washed with tap water and contain sulfites to preserve color and freshness. If your Spanish is good, you can ask at the restaurant what kind of water they use to wash the produce. None of these precautions apply when Julian, our great chef prepares our food, which will be all but 5 meals, and most breakfasts.
If you are a vegetarian, you will have plenty of choices: potatoes, quinoa, rice, eggs, cheese, cooked vegetables, and enormous avocados... Breakfasts in some hotels are buffet style, so you may choose what you like. Fruits that have a peel are typically safe (bananas, melons, avocados, oranges). We recommend that you avoid berries, grapes, etc. Most lunches and dinners are included in the cost, and we will enjoy them together. Again, we recommend avoiding street vendors! Consider bringing pre-packed foods, trail mixes, energy bars, etc., if you are particular about your diet. In the itinerary, you can see the meals that are not included in the land cost. In Aguas Calientes we will have dinner together at our favorite restaurant, but you will pay for what you eat. (Of course you are free to choose another restaurant, but we highly recommend the one we picked).
Prepare Your Body
Strengthen your body for daily hikes and walking activities at high altitude. There are a lot of steps at some of the sites! Most healthy folks are able to enjoy this trip with ease. We will pace ourselves for the whole group. When we explore Apu Ausangate, there will be a horses for those who have challenges.
The Sacred Valley portion of the tour will vary from 8,000 to 12,000 feet altitude. The mountain portion of the tour will be at approximately 12,500 - 14,000 feet.
Altitude sickness can occur at heights of 8,000 feet above sea level. It is difficult to know beforehand if you are susceptible to altitude sickness. During our trip, we will reach this height - and above. Your trip has been planned for your comfort and gradual exposure to high altitude. We will land at Cusco at 11,000 ft. altitude, but will transport quickly to Urabamba in the Sacred Valley at 9,400 ft. where we will stay at a retreat center . During the first 10 days of our pilgrimage we will travel to different locations in the Sacred Valley all of which are between 9,200 ft. to about 12,000 ft. elevation. Machu Picchu is actually the lowest part of the trip at 7,972 ft. The final part of the trip will be Apu Ausangate where we will be at elevations around 12,500 ft. for a few days, climbing to maybe 14,000 one of the days there. Pisaq is at 9,740 feet altitude.
Breathlessness may occur at these altitudes, but it’s hard to predict if, and to what extent, altitude sickness will affect you as an individual. If you follow our suggestions, you should do well. Oxygen is available at most hotels and we will make sure it is available at the mountain. People with heart disease and/or anemia may have more difficulty and must seek professional medical advice before committing to the trip.
Peru is a Spanish speaking country. Few Peruvians speak English. We recommend that you practice some Spanish before you travel, so that you can engage with locals. The Quechua language is spoken by the indigenous Q’ero peoples, but it is not necessary that you learn it.
What To Bring – What to Pack
The following suggestions are general and will be supplemented by updates as we get closer to the travel date.
Weather in the Sacred Valley during the month of June is cool, characterized by daily high temperatures around 65°F, with cold nights at around 32°F . June is autumn in Peru, and is generally the driest month of the year at the heels of the rainy season. Occasional rain may be encountered during the trip, but not very likely. The nice thing about going in the fall, is that everything is still fairly green, since the rainy season is from November to March/April.
Weather at Ausangate mountain is colder than the Sacred Valley and is unpredictable - it can vary from clear to stormy. Average temperature is around 60°F during the day, and around 30°F at night.
Wearing layers is the best way to dress. It gets cold at night, and can get warm during the day. Three layers are recommended:
Warm base layer: Leggings or tights; light weight body hugging shirt. Choose light weight moisture-wicking fabrics over cotton. (Smart wool is recommended)
Insulation layer: Pants or skirt; shirt or top, light weight insulating jacket. (Fleece or thicker smart wool)
Shell (outer) layer: Water-resistant breathable shell, jacket or warm mid-weight coat.
REI's website has good suggestions for how to dress for travel, or you can go to one of their stores and ask for one of their trained advisors to guide you. We did the later before traveling to the high mountains in Peru, and it was very valuable.
Suggestions for What to Bring:
People tend to bring things “just in case” - and never use them. So think carefully about each item you bring.
Sturdy walking shoes or lightweight hiking boots for day hikes (Tevas OK if it is your preference)
Comfortable lounging shoes or sneakers for hotel or village markets
Good walking / hiking socks (+ extra pair in case they get wet)
Layered clothing assortment for day hiking, picnics, evening lounging and markets
Jeans or comfortable pants. You should only need 2-3 pants total
Yoga pants or tights for layering legs
Sweater or fleece type jacket
Lightweight rain slicker or rain poncho
Warm jacket for early morning and night time that can be worn over fleece
Swimsuit if you wish to enjoy the Hot Springs
Sunscreen!! — sunlight is much brighter at high altitudes
Sunglasses (and extra pair) and sunhat with wide brim all around
Day backpack that can hold jacket, snacks, two water bottles, sunhat, sunscreen, camera etc. as well as your Mesa. Your daypack will be your constant companion so bring a really good one
Waist pack or money belt for cash and passport is handy
Items of a personal nature & toiletries
Medicines and remedies
Headache medicine like Advil or Tylenol if you use them (again, beware of dehydration)
Electrolyte supplements; vitamins and other supplements that you use
Snack foods like protein bars, trail mix, jerky, etc. – per your diet and preferences
Kleenex and wet wipes. Be prepared to carry out from each site what you bring in, so bring bags. Instead of zip lock bags though, consider bringing biodegradable "plastic" bags, or those bags that you can find in parks for picking up dog-poop. These bags break down faster. However, they still break down into tiny particles of plastic, which is toxic to our Pachamama, so we recommend bags that are made form plant material, which you may be able to find in health food stores. (We will bring a bunch if we can find them)
Knife and spoon for fruit, picnic, etc – be sure to put knife in suitcase before you fly (those bamboo sets are light weight and convenient)
High quality small flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries
Digital camera, memory cards and extra batteries. Memory cards are very expensive in Peru. (These days the cameras in cell phones are so good, that you may want to stick with that option)
Converter plug or 220 Volt Converter for South America to charge your electronic devices.
Your Mesa if you have one. A sacred item if you are not a Mesa Carrier.
Luggage and Packing:
The key to packing for a trip to Peru is to pack for a variety of conditions while keeping the weight to a minimum. It is burdensome to haul heavy baggage, even though we will be lodging in only three locations. We recommend that your daypack or fanny pack be your airplane carry-on. Everything else should fit inside your main, checked suitcase. Remember to leave some space in your main bag (or bring an empty duffel bag) for souvenir purchases.
Remember, you’ll need to be able to maneuver your own luggage at the airport; to and from your rooms, the buses, etc. People tend to over-pack and bring things they do not use, making this task difficult.
To be in Ayni, please tip or gift those who help you.
We will schedule one or two zoom meetings sometime in April and/or May to offer suggestions from our past experiences, and for all of us to "meet" each other. In the meeting we will share tips about dealing with high altitudes, items we recommend to bring, etc.