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Expedition FAQs and booking

by Nature Andes

Travel FAQs | Reservation FAQs | Trip Review FAQs | Terms and conditions | Booking | Expedition form


This page has some specifics for volunteer expeditions, but it is also informative of overall trip preparations and you can book other trips from here.

Travel FAQs

What is the outcome of our volunteer work?
After a couple of months after the expedition we publish a multilanguage report with results from all the data that have been collected during the expedition. To have an idea of the scientific content that is produced, please check the publications page or open a sample report.

How do I know what each expedition is like?
For volunteer expeditions please visit the page https://natureandes.com/expedition.html and look at a sample report. The typical day is for all to be out until 4 pm, go back to camp, shower and dinner, and then the different groups that surveyed different trays meet to show their findings, discuss, tabulate and map the data, plus show and examine photographs.

Who goes on the volunteer expeditions?
People from all ages and backgrounds. Those that want a purpose for their trips, those that want to get involved with a group, with activities that make sense. We usually have a good percentage of young students that want to participate in a true research. In fact on occasions we have arrangements with universities for internships.

How long have you been in business?
Nature Andes is a travel company that branched from an NGO, ‘Projeto Puma’ that has been active since 1993. It did not offer volunteer expeditions from the start, rather it begun by doing basic wildlife research and latter incorporate expeditions to expand its research, conservation and environmental education scope.

Are you picking me up at the airport?
We'll be welcoming the participants at the Cusco airport. If you wish, however we can arrange the transfer from the Lima airport to a hotel of your choice, in case your flight connection from Lima to Cusco is not right away. But the cost of the service is not included in our travel package. Another option is that you contact the shuttle service yourself, we recommend the Peruvian Shuttle.

What kinds of trips are offered?
We have research expeditions lasting 7 days, and also several other standard and backpacking tours.

What is your maximum group size?
We keep our groups small — usually 20 participants or fewer. Our group size is typically around 12 participants, but it varies by trip.

What if I'm traveling alone?
Most of our participants come alone, sometime in groups, and some are very young boys and girls. You can trust that your safety is our main concern.

Will I be comfortable during the expedition?
We have hot shower and we strive to have a good menu. If you have any special need please report so we can try to arrange. Be prepared to have long walks in uneven terrain, but other than that you’ll be at home. Follow the instructions below to avoid altitude sickness and bring what is required and you'll be fine.

What about altitude sickness?
An important part of your comfort depends on the precautions you take yourself. Altitude sickness take effect due to the rarefaction of oxygen in the mountains. Not everyone suffers, and the symptoms range from mild nausea (more common) to awful terrible sensations. About 25% of people who climb more than 2,000 meters suffer from altitude sickness; and affects approximately 50% of those who reach between 2,500 to 3,000 meters (the city of Cusco is at 3,400 meters). And it affects 70% of those who reach more than 4,500 meters above sea level. It is advisable to spend a couple of days in Cusco before leaving for the expedition. While in the expedition we will be at a moderate height, between one thousand and three thousand meters, not so bad. Other trails can take you from four thousand to five thousand meters. In this case it is best to participate in the expedition before. The same applies to the Inka Trail (the most difficult), but if you join in the expedition before that, you will be prepared for it. It's no use to just drink tea or chew coca leaves. An important and underemphasized part that affects altitude sickness is food, which needs to be light, especially during the first days of arrival. Digestion consumes a lot of oxygen, especially fats and animal protein, accounting for 10% of our daily energy expenditure (Mol. Metabolism, 2016). Do not consume alcohol, drink lots of water and avoid cigarettes. There is a specific medicine that may help, the Sorojchi tablets, based on acetylsalicylic acid, and very popular in Peru.

Are children accepted?
We accept children over 12 years old accompanied by at least one of its parents, that are willing and are able to take the long walks required to fully enjoy the trip.

Who are your guides?
The founder of Projeto Puma and Nature Andes, Dr. Marcelo Mazzolli, always organizes expeditions in all its details himself, and he is present to lecture the procedures from the start. He is a Ph.D in Ecology, has organized many of such trips for both organizations, and has advised abroad as main scientist for expeditions in several other countries. He usually has a research assistant-group manager along to help him out.

What do I need to bring?
Most organizations give you a huge list of stuff to bring. The most important stuff to bring is a good hiking shoes, one that has been tested and softened prior to the expedition; otherwise you may end up with blisters. This will make you suffer, as we’ll walk a great deal. And if you plan to extend your stay to visit Inka ruins or join other treks, you’ll have to walk more. You’ll also need a sleeping bag and mat to keep you warm and cozy during your sleep. The rest of the stuff you may decide to either bring with you or purchase in Cusco. For instance, spare shoe/sandals to use in the camp, and warm clothes. We’ll be high in the mountains, and it will be particularly cold in June-July. Consider a thin blanket like those provided during flights, else you can find any amount and variety of woollen ponchos and caps in the local markets. A small flashlight will do wonders, as you may need to wander around camp at night for unknown reasons, or look at ‘lost’ things inside your tent . And of course, a large backpack to carry your things and a small bag or backpack and a single hard plastic container to carry your sandwich without crushing it while you are in the field for several hours during the day.Always take with you a bottle of water or canteen during walks.

What about medical situations?
We bring a medical kit with all the basic stuff, gauze, bandages, painkillers, antiseptics and even antibiotics. But it is good if you have your own small kit. For serious mishaps we have mapped the nearby health facilities and hospitals and the service they provide. The ‘Regional Hospital of Cusco’, for instance, have modern facilities and equipment, such as X Rays, tomography and magnetic resonance, and even neonatal incubators for premature babies, a service we hope you’ll not require. Having said that, we highlight that is extremely rare that your medical emergency goes beyond a scratch. In only one instance we had an emergency, a 70 year old that fell down and seriously broke her wrist. In less than 2 hours she had screws in her wrists to hold the fracture in place. If you have any medical or psychological conditions, it's very important that you let us know well before departure so that we can work with you to try to minimize it as much as possible.

There are no mandatory vaccines for entry into Peru, but as we’ll be at the border or at the Amazonian region (from below 2.300 meters), the Ministry of Health recommends vaccinations against yellow fever. The vaccination against yellow fever must be administered at least 10 days before the date of travel to be effective. You may also want to consider vaccination against chicken pox, and hepatitis A and B.

Internet connections and supply voltage
We’ll not have Internet connection in our base camp, although signal can be acquired while in transit. The supply voltage in Peru is 220 volts at 60 hertz. Before you plug in any device, make sure it can handle it. A great way to kill a 110-volt device is to fry it at 220 volts.

What's the food like?
Food is aplenty and available all the time. The founder of the company is a great cook according to himself, and he is absolutely insane about having good stuff. Participants have always appreciated our meals. There will be plenty of fruits, tea, coffe and sandwiches outside the main meals.

What are my responsibilities/obligations as a trip member?
You should follow the instructions of the scientist and the group manager. You should mainly follow the procedures to collect data on wildlife, participate in the meetings and discuss your findings with everybody else, and make all the effort to follow the safety recommendations that will be discussed with you. Camaraderie is also a big part of an expedition. Your fellow travelers are also looking for a great experience: people who enjoy being active and exploring the outdoors. We expect that participants maintain a positive attitude as much as possible. We ask that everyone respect each other throughout the trip. Often, trip participants become lifelong friends.

Travel Insurance
There is a Forbes article on travel insurance that gives you some advice on which company you should look for. We recommend you to take a look at the available options for this or any other foreign trip.

Where will we meet up?

We will pick you up at the Cusco airport and drive you to the hotel. We determine a fixed location for departure, the very central Quera Calle Hostel, located two blocks away from Cusco Plaza Mayor and Catedral. Any changes in plans will be informed as we keep in contact during everybody's arrival.

Where are we heading to?

From Cusco we head east towards the southern tip of Manu National Park, a boundary zone between the high Puna and the Amazonian valley of Manu (Kosñipata valley). The nearest towns are Paucartambo and Challabamba.The estimated time of this trip is 2 to 3h drive.

route Cusco to Challabamba


Reservation FAQs

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How do I sign up for a trip?
It requires that you email us the form with your personal data and expedition dates you chose. Our group sizes are small thus places are limited.
A deposit of 50% of the total value is required following up your first contact. We ask not to purchase airline tickets until your trip has been confirmed.

When are payments due?
Full payment should be done at least two month prior to departure, but discounts are obtained if you settle it earlier.

What forms of payment do you accept?
All prices quoted are in US dollars and subject to change. Payments can be by bank transfer or credit card (online).

Do you offer any discounts for repeat travelers?
Participants are entitled to a discount to be applied towards their next expedition. Travel with us within the following year and save up to $100.

Do I need a visa or passport?
The entry into Peru for Citizens of most American and Western European countries does not require a tourist visa. But a valid passport is required for those regions. Citizens of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Venezuela and Chile may enter with their valid national identification document.

What if I need to cancel my trip?
You can cancel with no fees up to 2 months prior to departure dates, except those of bank charges for transfer, if any. Beyond that a fee of 50% will be charged for cancelations up to one month prior to departure, and 100% will be charged if you cancel the trip within less than one month from departure. To protect your investment, we recommend that you purchase trip cancellation insurance. Travel insurance helps protect against last-minute cancellation, trip interruption and to cover medical treatment or emergency medical evacuation during your trip. We strongly recommend you purchase travel insurance in advance of your trip.

What if my trip doesn't have enough participants?
Each trip requires a minimum number of participants. If we sign up enough participants to run an expedition, the trip is confirmed, and we'll alert travelers so they can purchase their airfare. Many of our departures confirm with as few as four trip participants. In any case, if a trip doesn't have enough participants, you have the options to choose to either transfer to another departure date or trip, have your deposit refunded or you may want to add a supplemental fee to run the trip with fewer participants.

Is airfare included in the trip price?
Our prices are land costs only; airfare is additional.

Can you help me book my airline tickets?
We can do that for you if you like.


Trip ratings/comments/reviews  FAQs

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Who can submit a trip rating, comment or review?
Anyone who has participated in one of our expeditions or want to provide a reference to who we are or what we do is encouraged to submit an online trip comment.

Do they all get published?
There is no moderation for what is published, but those containing offensive or inappropriate material, pricing or vendor references or are irrelevant to the trip will be deleted.


Terms and conditions

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We strive to make our expedition an experience of a lifetime. Before completing the ‘Expedition form’, please read this information carefully. It is an effort to convey to everyone in a clear, understandable and honest way the terms and conditions under which we operate: what you can expect from us, what we can expect from you, what your rights are, and what our rights are. Before joining you should fully understand the nature of the services and facilities we provide, as well as the research we conduct. To do this you should read the information below in conjunction with any other material pertaining to the expedition you want to join. When joining by signing the form it is implied and accepted that you have read and understood all our terms and conditions below and agree to abide by them, and that therefore a legally binding contract has been made. If at any time you have any questions at all, please just ask before forwarding the form.

Our mission and our pledge to you and the environment
Although these days the terms ' volunteer expeditions' or 'citizen Science' are much used and abused, and often is only a make believe business, we at NATURE ANDES are committed to running real wildlife conservation and research expeditions. Our projects are not tours, photographic safaris or excursions but genuine research expeditions. NATURE ANDES promotes sustainable conservation and preservation of wildlife by forging alliances between scientists and the public. We always work in close conjunction with local people and scientists and make sure that the fruits of our expedition work benefit our local helpers, their society and the environment they live in. Adventure, remote locations, different cultures and people are part and parcel of our expeditions, but also the knowledge that you will have played an active role in conserving part of our planet's biosphere. We exist for those who, through their hands-on work, want to make a difference to the survival of the particular species or habitat under investigation, and to the world at large. We invite everyone to come and join us out in the field, at the forefront of conservation, to work, learn, experience and take responsible guardianship of our biosphere. To achieve this NATURE ANDES will only collaborate with reputable scientists, research institutions and educational establishments and service providers. And we publish results and recommendations based on collaborative work together with those who helped gather data and draw conclusions.

Expedition philosophy and risk management
Expeditions are organized to be held in distant and challenging places, in remote regions of developing countries. The unexpected is often the norm and it is important to realise that the most carefully laid plans can go wrong. Internal flights can be delayed or cancelled, the behaviour and movements of wildlife may be hard to predict, and the weather and research work may cause you some discomfort. It is therefore essential that those who join our expeditions do so with a positive frame of mind and a sense of humour. Unlike many holiday services calling themselves ‘expeditions’, true expedition work is by its very nature unpredictable. For this reason our published itineraries, the research work and the wildlife we are likely to encounter should be seen as statements of intent, rather than contractual obligations, although lukily all our expeditions have developed as planned. Nonetheless a variety of factors including (but not limited to) transport difficulties, strikes, sickness, local regulations, weather conditions, natural disasters, wildlife behaviour and movements, and other force may cause us to alter the stated programme. Participants will be consulted to make any changes necessary. We will endeavour to keep changes to a minimum, but if they are necessary they will always be made with the expedition aim, as well as the enjoyment and welfare of the expedition group in mind. We cannot be held responsible for the results of any changes or delays if caused by any of the above factors, nor by any losses of your property. Having said that, we would like to stress that the problems outlined are unlikely events, even in remote areas. In fact, all our expeditions so far were successful, none had problems with delays and such or with participants loosing any of their property. Our aim is to offer enjoyable and challenging expeditions whilst making the welfare and comfort of expedition participants our highest priority. Achieving the expedition's research aims is one of our highest priorities, but no expedition can be considered successful unless it is also conducted responsibly, safely and harmoniously, and with regard for the environment. We aim to assist participants to realise their individual ambitions within the limits of these conditions and acceptable risk. Safety of participants and protection of the environment is essential. Achieving the research aims is desirable. By forwarding the ‘Expedition form’ you agree to participate in the expedition's activities with that in mind. NATURE ANDES cannot be liable for any discomfort, injury, illness or even death sustained during the expedition, nor for any losses or damage to your property.

Joining an expedition
Complete the ‘Expedition form’ and send it to us followed by a 50% deposit. After receipt of your application, we will send you a confirmation message. We will send you a final invoice for your expedition contribution as soon as we have the minimum number of participants, which are four or five. This should be paid no later than two weeks after receipt. If you join an expedition within eight weeks of its departure, you should send the full expedition contribution with your form. If the balance is not paid by the due date, we reserve the right to cancel your place on the expedition and apply cancellation charges, unless a payment delay has been agreed upon.

Withdrawing from an expedition
If you want to cancel your participation in an expedition, you must do so in writing. Your cancellation will take effect from the date we receive your message. If you cancel 8 weeks or more before the start of the expedition as a whole, we shall give you a full refund less any bank transfer charges. If you cancel in less than 8 weeks before it starts, we shall give you a 50% refund. If you cancel within less than 8 weeks we shall not give you a refund. Any charges we retain are used to cover advance payments and purchases we have made either at NATURE ANDES home base or in the host country. If you withdraw, we advise you to check your insurance policy as you may be entitled to a refund.

Cancellation of an expedition
In the unlikely event that an expedition has to be cancelled for whatever reason by NATURE ANDES you will be notified immediately and all monies paid will be refunded. However, if our cancellation is due to force majeure, any reasonable expenses we have incurred will be deducted from your refund. We do not accept liability for any loss arising from cancellations including non-refundable or penalty-carrying airline tickets, special clothing and equipment, visa, passport and vaccination fees, or other expedition-related expenses. Please note that it is your responsibility to protect yourself against airline and travel agency cancellation to and from the meeting location by taking out adequate travel insurance.

Inclusions and exclusions
NATURE ANDES will provide all the arrangements and services as detailed below from and to the meeting location in the host country. The published expedition contribution does not include travel to and away from the meeting location. It is the responsibility of each participant to make their own way to the meeting location in time for the advertised meeting date and time. We insist on punctuality and cannot accept liability for any loss arising from failure to arrive at the assembly point on time. The published expedition fee includes all travel from and to the meeting location, including· all accommodation and base camp facilities · all meals and provisions · access to specialist research equipment · all research permit and access fees · the services of local researchers and helpers. The published expedition fee does not include visa and vaccination costs · personal travel insurance · additional (alcoholic) drinks and telephone calls · airport taxes payable in host countries · private trips and excursions · anything else not specifically included.

Insufficient numbers and small groups
Before you make any further contribution beyond the initial deposit, NATURE ANDES will make sure the group is large enough so that it can cover all expeditions costs. Considering the costs to run the expedition, it will require that at least 4-5 people have joined the trip at least eight weeks prior to the expedition.

Experience and fitness required
Our expeditions are for everyone and there are no need for special skills (biological or otherwise). If you have health issues, please contact us to find out whether this an be circumvented. Some degree of fitness is required, but if you are healthy and enjoy the outdoors, your fitness level should be sufficient. It is the responsibility of each participant to have his or her physical condition checked by a medical and dental professional prior to departure. If the health of a participant is at risk, he/she will be sent to a local hospital or health facility, but if life is at risk, than it may be necessary immediate evacuation and repatriation, and NATURE ANDES will be entitled to recover any costs incurred.

It is entirely the responsibility of each participant to ensure that they have taken adequate medical and dental precautions for the expedition they intend to join. In particular you must comply with all advice from the relevant authorities regarding vaccinations, inoculations and other medical and dental precautions. If you have an existing or previous illness/disability, which could affect your mental or physical condition during the expedition you must consult your doctor about your suitability to join the expedition. You must also inform NATURE ANDES of any such pre-existing health condition.

Paperwork and tickets
You are reminded that it is entirely your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of all the necessary documents for the expedition, including (but not limited to) valid visas, valid vaccination certificates, travel tickets to take you to the assembly point on time, a passport with at least six months validity beyond the date of your return travel (as some countries now insist on this). If you need to renew your passport and your vaccinations before embarking on the expedition, you should allow plenty of time to do so. In some cases we must notify the authorities of the host country of the whole expedition team's passport and vaccination details. Discrepancies may result in delays to the team and fines to the individuals involved. In such cases we reserve the right to recover costs from the individuals involved.

Expedition conduct and observing the law
We’ll do our outmost to ensure that any problems are solved to the benefit of the whole expedition, its members and research aims. By sending the ‘Expedition form’ you accept NATURE ANDES authority to make decisions affecting the safeness and well being of the group, and/or individual expedition participants. It also obliges you to comply with the instructions and with the laws and regulations of the host country. If you disregard these instructions and laws (in particular unlawful possession of drugs or firearms), and proceed with a non-complying behaviour, you may be punished by not being allowed to participate in some of the activities or even be removed from the expedition. It may be required that an individual leave the expedition or be confined to base camp if that individual put his own health and safety at risk, or jeopardises the safety, enjoyment or welfare of the expedition participants, or jeopardises the expedition's research aims and objectives, or puts the welfare of wildlife or habitats at risk. In such circumstances NATURE ANDES cannot be held liable, nor is the individual involved entitled to a refund.

It is compulsory that you are in possession of a suitable travel insurance policy, which covers you fully for the expedition activities, and provides cover for emergency medical repatriation. You should pay special attention to the fact that your policy covers you for adventurous activities and/or light manual work.

Expedition equipment
All communal and group equipment such as research tools, GPSs, tents, cooking equipment, an expedition medical kit etc. will be provided by NATURE ANDES. You will receive full training for any specialised research equipment you are likely to use. You will need to bring your own clothing and personal equipment. Although very unlikely to happen, damage or loss to any equipment belonging to NATURE ANDES caused by carelessness, negligence or improper use will be charged appropriately and reasonably to the person responsible for the loss or damage. Depending on the circumstances it may be possible to recover this loss from the travel insurance.

Expedition scientist
At least one scientist who is an expert in the expedition's research topic will accompany each expedition. Any complaints and problems should be addressed to him or to his representatives. If the issue is not solved within Base Camp, please inform headquarters at info@natureandes.com.

Our costs are based on people sharing rooms where there is fixed accommodation, although in the case of the expedition we provide one tent to each participant. Please notify us of your requirements when applying to join.

Unused services
If you fail to arrive at the meeting location in time, you still can meet the group at Base Camp, only you'll have to find transportation on your own and at our own cost. But if you quit for missing the departure of the group, no refund or compensation will be given for any unused accommodation, travel or any other service.

It is our sincere hope that the expedition will live up to your expectations. Remember that our expeditions are real scientific research expeditions, not tours. NATURE ANDES makes every effort to describe accurately field conditions in its publications and verbally, but field work in remote and challenging places is a delicate business, and prone to last-minute changes. We accept this as part of what makes joining NATURE ANDES’ expeditions a unique experience. However, if you have cause for complaint during the expedition you must bring it to our attention and we’ll do our best to rectify the situation. We cannot take action and try to make your experience more enjoyable if you take no action during the expedition, and revealing your discomfort only upon your return. However, if a problem is brought to our attention in the field, but remains unsolved, you should send a message of complaint within 28 days of your return. We cannot accept any liability in relation to any complaint if you fail to notify us strictly in accordance with the provisions above.

Legal status
By joining an expedition you are entering into a legally binding contract with NATURE ANDES, a company registered as Nature Andes-Perú EIRL, under number 14261895, in the Superintendencia Nacional de los Registros Públicos (SUNARP) in Lima, Peru. . Because our expeditions involve scientific research in remote and challenging places, NATURE ANDES reserves the right to refuse an application for any reason we consider appropriate and proper.

NATURE ANDES takes overall responsibility for the organisation, logistical and research arrangements of your expedition, as well as providing overall leadership. Our expeditions take groups to remote and potentially dangerous places. Please be aware that you are acknowledging your personal responsibility for your own welfare at all times by signing the ‘Expedition form’. Jurisdiction and the law
The terms and conditions of all agreements and contracts made with NATURE ANDES can be changed, within reason, at any time, due to conditions over which we have no control.
Those that have already joined the expedition will be informed of such changes. When making your application to join an expedition you confirm that you have read and understood all the terms and conditions above and agree to abide by them.



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Send us the completed expedition form (below) in the email info@natureandes.com and we'll contact you to arrange the payment method, or book right now with online payment.


Expedition form

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Download and fill in the "Expedition form" and send to info@natureandes.com. Please send also a digital passport-like photograph, which we may need for site access and research permits and applications etc., and to make it easy for our staff to readily recognize you on arrival.

Link to download Expedition Form


Contact !

Email: info@natureandes.com

WhatsApp message: Let's do it!

Facebook: @marcelomazzolli / @projetopuma

Cusco / Lima-Peru



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