Topographical Maps for treks in Peru?
Has anyone come across topographical charts for either of the following treks in Peru?
- The (Mt.) Ausangate (Auzungate) Circuit?
- Choquequirao – Mt. Salkantay – Inca Trail – Machu Picchu?
Were you able to obtain them in advance of travel?
I’ve read that these can be purchased from South American Explorers, in Cusco, and from the Lima headquarters of the Peruvian Military (IGN maps).
I’d like to obtain these ahead of time though and, searching online, have had difficulty finding anything more recent than 1994.
In addition, the IGN charts (by Peru’s Instituto geografico nacional) pale in readability to charts by similar organisations in other countries.
Those stockists you mention are certainly recommended in the latest Rough Guide to Peru, so that’s always the best place to start, if you haven’t consulted it already!
It’s definitely worthwhile searching Stanfords.co.uk for larger-scale topographic maps: one title that might fit the bill & appears to be in stock currently is ‘Inca Trail – Machu Picchu’ by Lima 2000 Editorial, scale 1:50,000. I can’t be certain, but its publication date seems to be 2001, although judging by the publisher’s name, one would at least hope it’s more up-to-date than the 1994 map you mention.
Do any Peru experts out there have other suggestions?
Thanks for the suggestion. Yes, I had found the map you mention, and it does look pretty good for the Inca Trail, unfortunately it cuts out the trail past Mt. Salkantay and out to Choquequirao, which I’d like to find on the same chart.
Stanfords does carry the IGN maps, I’ve discovered, but at $45+ each… it doesn’t seem worth it.
Omnimaps.com carries them for $28.00 apiece, but these are the 1991/1994 edition.
SAE have replied to say they can sell them for $20.00USD. Shipping would be the only issue.
If anyone else can suggest anything better, that would be great!
Updates: a word of warning on the IGN maps & South American Explorers (Cusco clubhouse).
a) IGN sheet 27Q (“Machu Picchu “) shows Choquequirao only approximately, with no trail.
The Santa Theresa Trek and the route south of Salkantay *towards* the Classic Inca Trail are visible, but the Inca Trail is off the chart (!). Sheet 27R is needed for that portion of the trek. SAE and a competitor’s guidebook did not advise of this.
b) The Ocongate sheet (for Mt Ausangate treks) is very detailed… perhaps too much so. Hundreds of features are named, to the extent that trails and key features are obscured by names of peaks and villages. It may, however, be the only map available for the area;
c) these maps are based on aerial photos taken in 1963 and the very early nineties, and were compiled in the late 90′s. They haven’t been field tested. The paper needs lamination or some other form of waterproofing. They are the only maps for most areas, but commercial topo maps for the Inca trail seem to be much better quality.
d) South American Explorers in Cuzco have been cheery in emails, but very slow and of little help when it comes down to it. This was unexpected as various authors and guidebooks mention receiving quality information from them.
When I requested maps for Choquequirao to Machu Picchu, for a route using the Inca Trail, I was provided with 27Q only – after a month of back and forth about which maps were needed, payment, and the logistics of shipping. They appear not to normally sell anything by mail. Certainly, these cannot be ordered on their site at present.
The member portion of their website is very sparse on content (good only for paying to join and for the one or two booklets they have for online sale). There is no additional content whatever available to paying members, beyond what they already make available to the general public. The member to member postings board has not worked. It appears postings are moderated… but if that is the case… no one has checked that inbox since January 24th or 25th.
Trip reviews are not available online, and requests for them have been met with ‘I don’t think we have any reviews for them’… Hmm. Thousands of reviews… but none for a company who specialise in routes few companies offer? Past issues of their newsletter – which they say they are adding – are not available.
Service by email has been very slow. First enquiry placed 23 Jan, email was not replied to. A follow-up email was replied to quickly, saying the first had accidentally been marked complete (okay, that happens), however my 4th email (2nd after this) was also left for several days.
Requests for info on suppliers and trips have been fruitless. Order placed in the mail 23 Feb, a few days after payment was received, and one month after initial query. As above, no mention was made that this 2nd map, 27R is needed for the trip I described to them.
Perhaps assistance in person at the clubhouse is better, but for anyone considering a membership, I would avoid buying it until after seeing the place and having spoken with them face to face.