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Gary Vaughan

Oct 30, 2016
I'm going on the classic inca trail 4 day hike in July and while I was told NOT to bring my Phantom because it's too much of a hassle, the Mavic is probably perfect. The problem is trying to find people who have brought the Mavic into Peru via Lima. I've read different accounts that were all "I've heard", but nothing concrete from someone who has done it. My tour operator has said it's too much of a hassle, but even for just a few flights, I'm thinking it would be awesome to bring it with me. Anyone have experience or know anyone who has brought it in recently? Mic Bergsma brought one in recently and posted a video and will do a blog about it, but I thought I would ask the group here.

Gday mate, I brought my Mavic across the border into Peru from Bolivia. Walked across the border with no issues. Everything I've heard in terms of issues occur at airports, but I haven't had much experience on that thus far. I'm currently in Cusco.
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I actually just got back. I flew in Cusco (it's on my youtube channel Gary Vaughan). I brought my spark - not mavic. The guy at customs at the airport looked at it and said "toy". They didn't charge me the import tax. So I was fine with it.

Now I couldn't take it with me on the Inca trail. The tour group said the entire trail is considered a "historic ruin" so I wouldn't be able to fly anywhere.

Meanwhile - my flight in Cusco was in a no fly zone as well. I just didn't know it until later.
Hi Gary,

I watched your youtube videos and read your posts.. I'm going to Peru next month to hike the Inca Trail and spend a few days in the Sacred Valley. Is it worth taking my Mavic Pro to get video in Lima and potentially Cusco as you did?
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Never took an airplane flight with my mavic...but I have been to Peru for a couple weeks helping a Orthopedic Dr. by installing wiring in a "new" clinic in the town of Coya in the Sacred Valley....which is above Machu Pichu..and...
All I can say is that the air is thin way up there ( so don't go running up hills) and might use up batteries faster and the flying characteristics of your drone might be effected.
I would love to live there....never hot or humid and never even frosts.
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@Okie Cowboy - check with your tour guides about the Inca Trail. My tour operator said that since the entire trail is a historic site, they didn't want me bringing mine. I was disappointed at first, but after packing my bags and having my other cameras along with extra clothes, etc, I'm glad I didn't bring it. I had the Spark which is significantly lighter than the Mavic Pro and I can tell you that had I added the weight of the Spark and batteries to my pack, I might have regretted it. The actual trail is gorgeous and SO much fun that you'll have a great time with or without it. I would bring it with you to Peru, but not on the Inca hike. I was able to fly it in Cusco and Lima. I wish I felt more comfortable as I would have flown it more places in Cusco, but not being fluent in Spanish, I was slightly scared because I didn't want to get thrown in jail before the hike.

Make sure you declare it when you get to the airport on your customs form. Hopefully you have someone who speaks spanish with you or download google translate. The guard looked at the Spark and said "toy" so he let me through without any issues, but the mavic pro is a serious drone now. They charge a 20% import tax at customs, but you get that back when you exit the country so make sure to show up at the airport early on your return flight. The country as a whole is VERY drone friendly and people LOVE watching you and asking questions. Nobody gives you a hassle whatsoever. Just remember - DO NOT fly over historic sites at all. Don't even come close because they are serious about that restriction.

Machu Picchu is a no fly though and you'll find when you're there - it's not even possible to launch anywhere because there are guards literally at every turn. The trail is set up similarly but there are places where you could definitely fly.

You're going to have such a good time. Sorry I didn't do a full trip video yet - I've gotten lazy. If you have any questions, let me know.

1 trek tip - pack layers. Night 1 is okay - Night 2 is absolutely freezing and night 3 you're packed in like sardines at the campsite, but the entire trip is so much fun. If you're training for it - just do the stairmaster at the gym. I did 200 flights every day for the entire month before the trip and I was flying past everyone on the uphill - downhills I was held up though.

Again - you're going to have a ton of fun - take the drone for everything outside of MP.....oh.. and 1 side excursion that I wish I would have taken while in Cusco - go to Rainbow Mountain. I was told by my guide it's drone friendly and he said the pictures don't do it justice. I wish we had done that instead of touring Cusco for 2 days ....we should have taken 1 of the days for Rainbow Mountain.

Let me know if you have any questions. I'll see if I can post a few more videos so you can see more of what it's like. The youtube videos I watched before I went fell very short of the actual experience.
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