Peru: The Inca Trail
FOLLOW ONE OF THE WORLD'S MOST FAMOUS TREKS
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Difficulty is measured on many factors such as distance, ascent/descent, terrain, weather and more. There's no magic formula, but from our experience we use yellow for easy, orange for medium and red for hard. Challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.
This delightful walking holiday takes you on an in-depth exploration of Peru’s most famous sights, as well as some of its very best hidden trails, and includes South America’s most famous multi-day trail – the Inca Trail – voted one of the top five treks in the world.
Your journey will take you from the thriving capital of Lima, to the impressive Colca Canyon with its majestic Condors, then on to the shining waters of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, before taking you across the altiplano to the charming cobbled streets, Inca ruins and colourful craft markets of Cusco. (In 2017 this journey across the altiplano will be by bus, not rail as in previous years)
Our trek along the Inca Trail begins, following the footsteps of ancient Inca civilisations, to the Sun Gate, and the entrance to the truly amazing “Lost City of the Incas” – Machu Picchu. This is the perfect finale to a fantastic holiday.
- Trek Peru’s iconic Inca Trail with a fully supported trekking team
- Celebrate your achievement at the Sun Gate as you reach Machu Picchu
- Discover Colca Canyon and the Sacred Valley
- Sail over Lake Titicaca to the reed island of Uros
- Extend your holiday with a stay at our Amazon jungle lodge
- 9 nights’ accommodation in en-suite rooms, 3 nights in twin-bedded tents
- Full Board
- A full programme of guided walks, led by an experienced local guide
- Sightseeing, entrance fees, travel by air-conditioned coach and train
- Internal flights
- Inca Trail permits
Stay in a mix of 3 and 4-star hotels chosen for their location, comfort and character. On the trek you will be with a fully supported trekking team, with porters carrying your luggage. Accommodation on the trek will be twin-bedded tents, and includes a separate group dining tent and toilet tent too.
|In Lima (1 night) stay at the 4-star Hotel Boulevard in the modern Miraflores area of the city. The hotel offers a warm welcome, comfort and good service. It has a swimming pool and fitness centre.|
|Moving on to the white-walled colonial city of Arequipa (1 night), our accommodation is at the Hotel Maison D'Elise. The 43 comfortable rooms offer air-conditioning, TV, safe and mini bar.|
|In the Colca Canyon, we stay at the relaxing haven of the Colca Lodge (2 nights). Unwind in the private thermal springs and take in your natural surroundings and stunning panoramic views. There's also an eco-spa where you can indulge in a massage, Jacuzzi and sauna.|
|To the shores of Lake Titicaca and Puno, where we stay at the Casa Andina (2 nights). Rooms open to balconies with lake or garden views and feature television, wireless internet and safe. The restaurant serves delicious local specialties and dishes made from local lake fish.|
|In Cusco stay at the 3-star Eco Inn (3 nights), with a range of modern facilities located just a few blocks from the main square near the Quori Cancha temple. We spend 2 nights here to start with, then return to Cusco after our travels, for a further night.|
Inca Trail trek (3 nights)
|Whilst walking, all you need to carry is a daypack - all camping equipment is carried by our support team of traditional porters. All camp chores are done for us and delicious food is served by a cook and his helpers. We implement a ‘porter protection policy’ that ensures all porters are well treated, paid, fed and looked after.
|At Machu Picchu we stay at the Inti Inn (1 night), a basic but comfortable guest house in Machu Picchu Town, formerly known as Aguas Calientes, in the valley below the ruins.|
On occasion we may need to change the accommodation listed above. If this happens, your replacement accommodation will be of the equivalent standard or higher. In the rare instance this is not possible, we will contact you in advance.
Walks of 2-8 miles (3-13km) during the main itinerary. On the Inca Trail section walks are 4-8.5 miles (6-13.5km) with ascents of up to 4,100ft (1,250m), at altitudes of up to 13,775ft (4,200m).
The Inca trail is a serious undertaking with very steep, high and remote passes. This once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to Machu Picchu is a strenuous high altitude hike through the Andes. This breath-taking trek has it all, from exposed high altitude passes to humid high jungle, rare wildlife and impressive Inca ruins.
Of the forty-five kilometres of the trek, about fifteen kilometres are flat. The overall elevation gain on the trek is over 7,400ft with a loss of elevation of 8,300ft. The major 6,000ft of ascent is made on days 9 and 10 and whilst on a good, steady trail, the high altitude (up to 13,750ft) makes the ascent very demanding and a good level of stamina is required. The final descent is on a thousand Inca steps. On this holiday we'll walk a total of 22 miles (35km) of this amazing trek.
Trekking is taken at a leisurely pace with stops at many superb viewing places and time to fully explore the fantastic sites en-route.
Day 1: arrival in Lima (1 night).
Day 2: fly to the attractive colonial city of Arequipa (1 night). Admire views of the spectacular volcanoes that surround the city. An afternoon’s walking tour explores the charming Santa Catalina Monastery, and visits the “Ice Maiden” – Juanita.
Day 3: driving out of Arequipa we enjoy spectacular views of the mountains surrounding the city before climbing high into the Andes and descending into the Colca canyon (2 nights).
Day 4: an early morning drive to Cruz del Condor, in search of one of the world's largest birds. Afterwards we take a walk along the canyon rim or to nearby ruins, experiencing local culture and admiring the local weavings as we wander through the villages.
Day 5: to Puno (2 nights) and the shores of Lake Titicaca. En route we enjoy a walk to the fascinating pre-Inca burial chambers at Silustani. Our drive takes us through the high Andes, passing stunning lakes, herds of the wild vicuña, accompanied by far-reaching vistas.
Day 6: a boat trip across Titicaca’s sapphire waters to the famous floating reed islands of Uros and Taquile, for a walk traversing the island.
Day 7: today we board the bus from Puno to Cusco (1 night). Cutting across the Peruvian Altiplano, through high plains, rich with llama herds, and passing time-forgotten mountain villages. We'll make several stops along the way including the Pukara museum, Abra La Raya, Raqchi, Andahuaylillas and a buffet lunch. On arrival at the ancient Inca city of Cusco, we transfer to our hotel, before stretching our legs with an exploration of the city’s spectacular Plaza de Armas.
Day 8: an early departure today, visiting the impressive ruined fortress of Ollantaytambo en-route. We meet our team of porters and cooks for lunch and start the trek along the banks of the Urubamba river, ideal for acclimatisation purposes. We camp the night at Llactapata (2,650m) beside some spectacular ruins.
Day 9: we trek up the Cusichaca valley to the small hamlet of Huayllabamba, the last inhabited place on the trail. The path continues on and up past humming birds and stunted cloud forest to our camp at Llulluchupampa (3.870m), a beautiful grassy area with outstanding views down the valley.
Day 10: To Phuyupatamarca. This is possibly the hardest day of the trek, to the top of Huarmiwanusca (Dead Woman’s Pass), at 4.200m this is the highest point of the trail. Descend into the Pacasmayo valley and then ascend again passing the first of many Inca ruins including Runkuracay and Sayacmarca, with plenty of time for an in depth tour and explanation before a gentle climb to camp at Phuyupatamarca ruins (3.650m).
Day 11: Machu Picchu: A final day’s hiking leads down into the Cloud forest on an Inca stairway to Winay Wayna (2,600m), another interesting ruin full of orchids and swallows. From here we trek to Inti Punku, the Gateway of the Sun, for our first glimpse of Machu Picchu.
Today is where we join our fellow travellers from the Peru – Land of the Incas holiday. Those who wish will walk this last day with us, others will meet us at the Sun Gate for our celebrations.
Day 12: An extensive tour of the ruins introduces us to its fascinating history. There’s the chance to climb Huayna Picchu for superb vistas, before returning to Cusco (1 night) for our final evening.
Day 13: Fly to Lima and return flight to the UK.
Day 14:Arrive UK.
Extend your stay at our Amazon jungle lodge
Extend your stay in Peru. Spend 3 days/2 nights at our Jungle Lodge in the heart of Tambopata National Reserve.
The Tambopata National Reserve and the adjacent Bahuaje-Sonene National Park, are home to over 20,000 plant species, over 900 species of birds, 91 mammals, 1,230 butterflies, 127 amphibians and reptiles, and much more. A visit to our well-appointed jungle lodge is one of the best ways to see rainforest wildlife that is available in a short stay. Six species of monkeys live in the surrounding forest, a family of Giant Otters are regularly seen fishing in a nearby oxbow lake, a large flooded palm grove harbours hundreds of Red-Bellied Macaws, and at nightfall Black Caimans, the rarest of the crocodilians, head out into the lake to fish.
Day 13: To the jungle lodge: transfer to Cusco airport for a short but spectacular flight from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado deep in the Amazon rainforest, where you will be met by your expert resident guide and taken to the docks to board a motorised dugout canoe for the trip to your jungle lodge. You will be able to leave any excess luggage at their offices in Puerto Maldonado. On arrival at the lodge you can choose from a number of activities, from jungle hikes to canoe trips or simply take a siesta and enjoy the sounds of the jungle from your hammock. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.)
Day 14: there are a variety of options to choose from; the jungle is alive early in the morning so if you can get out pre-dawn and explore, it is your best chance to see wildlife. There is plenty of time to have a siesta to avoid the hottest part of the day, before a canoe trip on a lake, or explore more trails and catch a beautiful sunset over the Amazon basin. The evening can be free to relax or head out on foot in search of nocturnal mammals, or by canoe in the hope of glimpsing the rare black caimans that inhabit the nearby waterways. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.)
Day 15: Fly to Puerto Maldonado, then onward to Lima, then home: after a dawn breakfast we return to Puerto Maldonado to catch the flight to Lima and onto your International connection. (Breakfast included.)
A full passport valid for the duration of the stay is required to enter Peru.
No visa is required by British citizens with full right of residence in the UK. Other nationals should check with their nearest Peruvian embassy for details of entry requirements.
Visitors are issued with a tourist card on arrival. Keep this safely as you will need to present it on your departure.
Before booking, you should check with your doctor to see if any health precautions are needed. The following websites provide a wealth of information on travelling and health: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk www.traveldoctor.co.uk
Vaccines: Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Typhoid & Tetanus vaccinations are recommended. Malaria, Rabies and Yellow Fever are sometimes recommended too. Altitude sickness is also a risk, our itinerary is planned to help reduce this.
Travelling in Peru does not carry major health risks, provided simple precautions are followed.
The tour has been devised to ensure that acclimatisation to altitude takes place gradually, so that by the time you go on your hikes in the Cusco region you should be well acclimatised. In order to reduce any possible altitude sickness you need to drink at least 2 litres of water per day.
Water coolers are provided at the hotels. Our local agent in Peru supports www.travelersagainstplastic.org where use of single water bottles is discouraged. You are encouraged to bring your own steri-pen/purification tablets/refillable filter-bottles to avoid plastic rubbish.
Peru has very distinct climate zones between the coastal plain, the highlands and the Amazon basin. The holiday departures are planned for when the weather is generally at its best in the mountains, generally from March/April to October when the days are usually dry, clear and warm, with perhaps the occasional cloudy and rainy day. Temperatures drop considerably in the evenings and at night due to the altitude, so taking layered clothing is essential. During this season Lima and the coastal plain, where we spend a short amount of time, is often enveloped in a fine mist.
The unit of currency in Peru is the Nuevo Sol (S/). US Dollars are the easiest currency to change and usually offer the best rate. Please ensure that you have access to emergency funds, a credit card being the most convenient.
Credit cards are widely accepted in hotels and stores, but usually a charge will be added. Often the most convenient and economical way to obtain money is to use a credit or debit card to withdraw cash from an ATM machine. Visa cards are the most widely accepted by ATM’s. Traveller’s cheques are not advised.
On this expedition we will be experiencing all extremes of Peruvian climate, from freezing Altiplano to extremely hot sunshine. During the day hopefully it will be generally sunny enough for shorts and T-shirts, though having a fleece and rain gear handy is advisable. It will get cold especially in the evenings (as low as -5°C whilst camping) so bring a warm fleece jacket, a good waterproof and some warm clothes including thermal underwear, gloves, scarf and woolly hat as well as one set of smarter clothes for Cusco. Good quality Alpaca jumpers are available in Cusco. A good quality sleeping bag is essential for your enjoyment of this trip. If you use trekking poles, they must have the rubber tips on whilst on the Inca Trail. Porters will carry all the heavy camping gear, but you will need a small rucksack to carry your personal gear during the day.
Camping info/Trekking info
Whilst on trek, you will be staying in camps (see accommodation tab), but more information here. One toilet tent is provided at lunches and at the campsites per group. The toilet blocks at Camp 2, and Lunch 3 are also in a good state, but not recommended elsewhere.
Camp 2 is located at 3800m above sea-level, and it can get to around -2/3 degs in October, so you may want to take a down jacket for those chilly nights.
There will be plenty of water provided on the trek to keep you hydrated. It is provided at all meals and at some breaks. The local guide monitors your water intake and makes sure your bottle is empty before refilling. Water is boiled or filtered as available by the cook.
The local guide will explain the 3 bags system a)day pack, to carry your water bottle, sun block, waterproofs. b) Green duffle bag (6kg) with overnight clothes - this is carried by the porter and is provided by our local agent. Items to go in here, change of shirt, trousers, jumper, warm jackets, underwear, essential toiletries. Sleeping bags can travel separately in a plastic bag provided by the guide. c) Large luggage suitcases and spare clothes can stay in the Cusco hotel luggage storage.
Please ensure you advise at time of booking of any specific dietary requirements. Once on the trip it may be difficult to cater for dietary needs that haven't been advised ahead of time.
Tips are included on this holiday.
For flights information please see the Dates and Prices tab
Efrain has been working as a professional guide in Peru for the last 12 years. He is a local Peruvian leader and has led all our holidays since we first introduced Peru to our Worldwide Journeys.
He has travelled all over Peru leading treks and exploring. Efrain’s boundless energy and enthusiasm have always been much appreciated by our groups. He is married with three children, and between work and family commitments, he still found the time to train and compete in the London Marathon in 2012, dressed as a chaski runner. In 2014 he was named the ‘World’s Best Guide’ by Wanderlust magazine.
In any other free time he has, Efrain also volunteers with the charity Chicuchaswasi, which looks after girls in extreme poverty and he is a member of the board.
Efrain’s passion for Peru is infectious and his efforts will ensure you a fabulous holiday.
Here is an example of what our guests say about him:
“Very knowledgeable, passionate about his country”
Read more reviews from feefo
Dates & Prices
We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.
Prices are per person
- Single room: £440 (singles are not guaranteed on the 3 nights on the Inca Trail trek)
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person