Salt Pans of Maras, Peru

Incas & Intrigue in Peru

9 days
from
£1,599
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Suitable for:
Age 30s and 40s
Activity level:
Moderate
Activity Rating - Moderate
Trip code: 
EPT
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Mixed-Activity
Group size:
6–16

You don’t really get more ‘bucket list’ than Machu Picchu. But there’s much more crammed into this impressive nine-day itinerary besides discovering lost ancient cities. In fact, we’re pretty confident we’ve checked off everything you could want from a whistle-stop tour of Peru. A deep dive into Peruvian food and drink. The exquisite Rainbow Mountain and the ethereal Salineras de Maras salt flats. And an insight into rural community life. Seven days of annual leave well spent. 

Highlights

  • Walk part of the Inca Trail and tour the indomitable Machu Picchu
  • Savour several food experiences, including pisco sour making, a chocolate workshop, market tastings and pachamanca
  • Get a feeling of utter elation as you reach the top of Rainbow Mountain

Key information

  • Eight nights in en suite hotels
  • Airport transfers 
  • Countries visited: Peru

What's included

  • All breakfasts, four lunches and one dinner
  • Transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • One Day Inca Trail

What's not included

  • Travel insurances
  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Tips for leaders and staff
  • International flights
Call for general departures:
0208 772 3837
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Sustainable Travel

Tourism can be a real help to local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchanges and a financial incentive to protect their natural environment. Ours is a 'total approach' to responsible tourism, covering everything from the way we plan and operate our trips to the practices of Exodus as a company. 

Learn more about what sustainable travel means to Exodus Edits here…

Itinerary

Cuzco
to
Cuzco
  • Day 1

    Get to know Cuzco on a walking tour

    You arrive smack-bang into the epicentre of archaeological America: Cuzco, the gateway to Machu Picchu. To get your bearings, there’s a walking tour to explore the cobblestone passages and see the collision of ancient-meets-modern life. Then you’ll return to the Xima Cuzco Hotel, opposite the handicraft market.

    Tonight, there’s a meeting, but definitely not your average workday kind. You’ll gather with your group for a briefing about the adventures ahead (and no, there’s no need for minute-taking).

  • Day 2

    Devour Peruvian cuisine at San Pedro market and take a cooking class

    It’s all about Peruvian food today, starting with a visit to the San Pedro market. It’s lively, vibrant place with rows and rows of stalls. You’ll chat with the locals, try some fruits, chuta bread, and perhaps even a serving of frog soup.

    In the afternoon you’ll learn about the different plants and herbs used in Peruvian cooking and more about traditional food and drink. Then feast on your self-prepared food.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

    Cycle the Sacred Valley

    You’ll leave the city clamour behind today, venturing north to the Sacred Valley - a corner of the Andes known for its remote villages, markets and Inca citadels. You’ll be cycling through this scenic wonderland today, first stopping at Moray. This archaeological site is characterised with deep amphitheatre-style terraces. It was once thought to be an Incan agricultural research centre, where crop experiments were carried out at different heights.

    Your cycle ride continues 6km to Salineras de Maras, a dreamlike site of thousands of salt pans created from a hot spring at the top of the valley.

    Tonight, you’ll stay at the 17th century San Agustin Monasterio La Recoleta.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 4

    Visit a rural community, then discover the ruins at Pisac

    There’s a visit to Agritourism association of Chichubamba today, a rural community. Here, you’ll work alongside the locals preparing pachamanca, a traditional dish that’s baked over hot stones and covered with stones and earth for an hour or two. While it’s cooking, you’ll visit some homes and see the local produce of pottery, chocolate and coffee. Then it’s back to uncover the pachamanca for lunch.

    In the afternoon, you’ll visit the Pisac Ruins, a sweeping (and lesser-explored) Inca fortress for a guided tour. You’ll then hike downhill for 90 minutes to Pisac Market in the bustling village.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 5

    Join the inimitable Inca Trail

    You’ll take the train to the village of Ollantaytambo today. You’ll descend a 2km Inca stone staircase, with mountains as a backdrop and the Urubamba River below. After a stop at the ruins of Wiñay Wayna, you’ll walk through cloud forest high above the river to Inti Punku, the Sun Gate. From here you’ll get your first full sight of Machu Picchu, with Huayna Picchu rising behind.

    Then you’ll descend to Aguas Calientes, a town below the ruins, for a well-earned rest. You’ll stay at Hatun Inti Classic for the next two nights.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 6

    Epic Day Klaxon: tour Machu Picchu

    To beat the day-trippers arriving from Cuzco, you’ll set off early for Machu Picchu.

    Hidden and forgotten until it was rediscovered in 1911, Machu Picchu is an archaeological masterpiece. Commanding a spectacular location, this ancient city is a sight that will be seared in your memory for life. New regulations mean that visitors have four hours on-site and follow a set route with a guide.

    The afternoon is yours. Later, you’ll take a Pisco Sour cocktail class in Aguas Calientes. Because frankly, you can’t return home from Peru without becoming an expert in this iconic drink. 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    A citadel and chocolate day

    You’ll make your way back to Cuzco today, by taking the train to Ollantaytambo and then the bus on to the city. You’ll have time for a breather before joining your group for an uphill walk to Sacsayhuaman Archaeological Park for a tour of this Inca fortress. Afterwards, you’ll walk to San Blas for a chocolate-making workshop. You’ll learn to make chocolate from the cacao bean and prepare chocolate-based drinks that the Mayas and Conquistadores enjoyed.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Climb the remarkable Rainbow Mountain

    Set an early alarm – you’ll be collected at 5.30 am to board a bus bound for Phulawasipata. It’s a three-hour journey with the last hour on a bumpy, unpaved road, taking you (literally) off the beaten track. From here, you'll trek up Vinicunca, or Rainbow Mountain as it's more famously known. This mountain has become an undisputed Instagram star thanks to its multicoloured mineral stripes, and its popularity has surged. To get the best views of the rainbow effect, you’ll have to hope the weather is kind.

    You'll hike for 90 minutes, starting at 4,600m and climbing to reach a lofty 5,000m.  Don't forget to stop to appreciate the views and the snow-capped peak of Ausangante in the distance, before returning downhill for another 90 minutes to the bus that'll drive you back to Cuzco (with a well-earned lunch stop en route).

    It's a long and physically demanding day at these heights, but you whould be well acclimatised at this stage in the trip.  For anyone unsure, there's an option to opt out and spend further time in Cuzco today instead.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 9

    Return to the airport

    A final breakfast, before you part with your group and return home.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Peru

Visas are not required by UK citizens, Western European nationals, Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans and most other nationalities. If you are in any doubt please contact the nearest Peruvian Embassy.

Vaccinations

Peru

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements.

Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

If you are travelling to the Tambopata reserve in the Amazon rainforest, the risk of malaria is slight, but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. We also strongly recommend that you obtain a Yellow Fever vaccination. Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in the Amazon region. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites: always apply insect repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers while in the rainforest to avoid being bitten.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, four lunches and one dinner included

Is this trip for you?

Although graded Moderate (level 3), the altitude can make physical activity feel more tiring than at sea level. The altitude on the Rainbow Mountain walk is significant and makes this one day a more strenuous grade than the rest of the itinerary.  However, as this walk is on the final day of the trip you will have had plenty of time to acclimatise and it shouldn’t be an issue for most. It is also possible to skip this activity and spend the day in Cuzco (there are plenty of things to do in and around the city to keep you occupied!)  if you prefer or are struggling with the altitude.

The walk on Rainbow Mountain starts at 4600m and climbs to a maximum of 5000m – please ensure your travel insurance covers you up to this altitude.

As this trip spends considerable time at altitude we ask you to refer to the Altitude Warning within the Trip Notes for more information and advice on how to limit the effects of altitude sickness.

Inca Trail Regulations

There are a number of important regulations regarding the Inca Trail that we would like to make you aware of:

  • Spaces on the Inca Trail are on a first-come, first-served basis, so late bookings can’t always be accommodated. We urge you to book as early as possible.
  • In an amendment to our usual Booking Conditions, if you cancel your booking more than eight weeks before departure and wish to transfer your deposit to another departure or another trip, the transfer fee is £150 as we will lose the permit we have purchased on your behalf. 
  • No transfers are possible within eight weeks of departure.
  • So that we can arrange your Inca Trail permit, we need your full name, passport details, date of birth and nationality, exactly as per the passport you will be using to travel to Peru.
  • Should the passport used to purchase your permit be lost, stolen or expire before your Inca Trail start date, you must purchase a new passport and notify Exodus immediately as we will need to apply to amend your Inca Trail permit. To do so, you must supply copies of both your old and new passports to Exodus in advance of travel and pay an administration fee of £25. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you make a copy of your passport at the time of booking and keep it somewhere safe.
  • Please be aware that these regulations may change at any time, and Exodus is not responsible for the decisions made by Peruvian authorities.
  • There is a possibility that the Peruvian authorities may increase the entrance fees to the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu and other major sights at any time. If they do so, we will inform you of this increase and the extra amount will need to be paid locally in cash in Peru
  • Inca Trail permits are 'On Request'. If travelling within the current year, we will try to purchase your permit immediately upon receiving your booking. If travelling next year, we will apply for your permit as soon as they are released for sale. In either case, if we are unable to get your permit, we will contact you to discuss your options. 

Notes about Machu Picchu

  • The tickets are valid only for one entry and re-entering isn’t possible
  • Once you have completed the chosen circuit with your guide, you cannot walk back to view anything already visited
  • Once you finish the circuit, you will have to leave the site. You can no longer explore the site further after the guided tour
  • The local authorities have restricted the temples which can visited at Machu Picchu depending on the time of the visit to the site.  On this itinerary, you will visit the Condor’s Temple, but not the Sun Dial Temple or the Sun Temple
  •  On our visits to allow you further time, you will explore the upper part of Machu Picchu (Sun Gate and Inca Bridge) before starting the guided tour

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
0208 772 3837
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels

San Agustin Monasterio La Recoleta

A former Catholic monastery built in the 17th century, this boutique hotel is located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Rooms are spacious yet cosy and well-equipped with TV and free Wi-Fi.

Xima Hotel

Xima Hotel is a short walk from Cuzco's main square and just in front of Cuzco's largest craft market. Rooms are modern with cable TV and free wired internet.  

Hatun Inti Classic

A well-located hotel for Machu Picchu, Hatun Inti Classic has traditional style accommodation and free Wi-Fi in public areas.

Call for general departures:
0208 772 3837
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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Dates & Prices

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Call us on 0208 772 3837