The High Inca Trail

16 days
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Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Walking & Trekking
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Trek amidst Peru's Cordillera Vilcabamba, then join the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

This trek spends a few days deep in the bewildering majesty of the Cordillera Vilcabamba before joining the classic Inca Trail for the approach to Machu Picchu. This high route skirts many of the great peaks and passes close to Mt. Salcantay (6271m) and its creaking glaciers. The trek continues through remote villages and crosses the spectacular Inca Chiriasqa Pass. It finishes by exploring the Inca temples and fortresses of Cuzco and the Sacred Valley.


  • Remote full-service camping trek through the beautiful Vilcabamba Range
  • Walk on the classic Inca Trail and enjoy a guided tour of Machu Picchu
  • Spectacular views of Mt Salcantay (6271m) and its glaciers
  • Spend four nights in Cuzco, the old Inca capital
  • Explore the fortresses and markets of the Sacred Valley

Key information

  • 7 nights en suite hotels and 6 nights full-service camping
  • 7 days point-to-point walking with full porterage
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Altitude maximum 4960m, average 3550m
  • Travel by private minibus and by train
  • Inca Trail Permit required - early booking essential
  • 10kg personal weight limit on trek

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 8 lunches and 6 dinners
  • 7 nights en suite hotels and 6 nights full-service camping
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Full porterage throughout trek 
  • Exodus kitbag 
  • Inflatable sleeping mat while camping

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request) 
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Sleeping bag (hire locally from US$35)
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
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.



Approximately 6-8 hours' walking per day


High altitude; good paths with some steep ascents and lots of steps

Day by day breakdown
Day 58.0km/4.0miles
Day 617.0km/10.0miles
Day 712.0km/7.0miles
Day 87.0km/4.0miles
Day 910.0km/6.2miles
Day 1012.0km/7.5miles
Day 119.0km/5.6miles

At Exodus, we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

We operate a zero‐impact policy on the Inca Trail, removing all waste from campsites and separating it so that it can easily be recycled or composted. Using a toilet tent at our lunch stops and in camp removes the need to dig holes at campsites, and alleviates the waste problems caused by the fixed toilet blocks. Our camp staff are paid a fair wage and receive all accommodation, transport and food during the trek. They are also trained and encouraged to put environmental protection practices to use in their own communities. The porters we work with are not directly employed by our local partner but we work with the same communities each year; we supply uniforms, walking shoes and provide safe transport and community support for them. Our Trek Manager is a leading figure and consultant for the Porters' Federation, which campaigns for the fair treatment of porters in the region.

In Cuzco and Aguas Calientes there are opportunities to visit the markets and purchase local handicraft products or to sample Peruvian street food; try the Mercado San Pedro in Cuzco for local produce and the artisan market in Aguas Calientes for textiles. This helps to spread the income from tourism to the wider community. Although Machu Picchu is the highlight, Cuzco itself is awash with magnificent Spanish churches and Inca Museums ‐ your entrance fees to these historic and archaeological treasures (and the cost of your Inca Trail permit) contribute towards their preservation.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 


  • Day 1

    Depart London.

    The group flights from London leave this evening, flying via Sao Paolo and Lima and arriving in Cuzco the following morning.
    Standard Hotel

  • Day 2

    Arrive Cuzco (3400m); afternoon city tour.

    The trip starts in Cuzco (3400m) today. The group flights usually arrive late morning. The Inca capital - though small enough to be easily manageable - is among the most attractive cities in South America, with much of the centre comprising colonial-era buildings with Inca foundations, and it is full of interesting museums, churches and pre-Columbian sites. We will have a short walking tour of the city including a visit to the Qoricancha Sun Temple.

    It is recommended to take it easy upon arrival into Cuzco and to drink plenty of water to allow your body time to acclimatise to the altitude (3,400m).

    There will be a welcome briefing in the hotel lobby this evening.

    Accommodation: 3 nights - Hotel Koyllur / Warari (or similar)
    Standard Hotel

  • Day 3

    Full day walking tour of nearby ruins including Tambomachay and Sacsayhuaman.

    The hills above Cuzco city are dotted with some of the most interesting Inca ruins. We drive to the highest, Tambomachay, and return on foot to Cuzco via Puca Pucara, Qenco and Sacsayhuaman: an easy acclimatisation walk to get used to the altitude. An open-air picnic lunch is included during the hike near the spectacular ruins.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 4

    Free day in Cuzco.

    Free day in Cuzco to relax and further acclimatise before starting the tour. A range of optional activities and sightseeing excursions can be arranged, including visits to Inca and pre-Inca sites south of Cuzco, or walks in the hills surrounding the city but we recommend taking it relatively easy in preparation for the start of the trek tomorrow.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Drive to Mollepata; trek to camp at Marcocasa.

    A few hours drive via the interesting Inca remains of Tarawasi (optional) takes us high to the hill town of Mollepata (2980m). We start by walking from Mollepata to our campsite near Marcocasa (3515m) where we spend our first night under canvas. The total driving time is approx. 3 hours, and the walk will take around 3-4 hours of steady climbing along well-made tracks. From the campsite we have excellent views of the Apurimac Valley.
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Follow Inca canal to Soraypampa and climb up to base of Salcantay.

    Our trek today begins on the southwest facing slopes of the Andes where moderate precipitation generates coarse bushes and gnarly trees, and small parrots can be heard, if not seen. We climb gradually northwards, following an Inca canal, still in use today, towards the broad snowy peak of Humantay (5917m). We stop for lunch at the hamlet of Soraypampa (3910m), and continue our ascent towards the massive bulk of Salcantay (6271m) which soon dominates our view. We camp at around 4400m in the high grassy meadow of Ichu Pata, below the south face and glaciers of the impressive peak.
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Cross Inca Chiriasqa Pass and follow glaciated valley to Pampa Cahuana.

    The high point of the trek and this morning's goal is the Inca Chiriasqa pass at almost 5000m. Climbing more steeply now we walk close to the spectacular glaciers and ice walls of Nevado Salcantay. Passing through Pampa Japonesa, base camp for a Japanese mountaineering expedition, we finally top the pass and gain some excellent 360° panoramic views. Inca Chirisaqa means ‘the Inca fell ill from cold', and the exposed situation makes it easy to see why. Descending from the pass, we drop down into the upper reaches of a broad valley where Salcantay reappears in a new profile. After passing a huge ridge of terminal moraine, once the snout of the East Salcantay Glacier, the river suddenly becomes dead straight, canalised by the Incas centuries ago. We camp alongside the canal close to the hamlet of Pampa Cahuana (3870m).
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Follow river to camp at Huayllabamba.

    Setting off from camp this morning, we follow the canal, which soon drops into a steep-sided valley. The path follows the side of this valley all the way to Paucarcancha, an Inca watchtower which guarded the Pampa Cahuana valley. We have time to explore this small site before continuing to the village of Huayllabamba (3100m) where we camp for the night.
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Join Inca Trail and cross Dead Woman's Pass (4215m).

    Today we join the main Inca Trail, the iconic trek to Machu Picchu. From the village of Huayllabamba, a long and steady climb takes us first through an area of cloud forest to the meadows of Llulluchapampa, then over the Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman) Pass at 4,215m. After quite a long, steep descent we camp in the scenic Pacaymayo valley (3600m).
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    Over Runcuray Pass (3900m) to ruins of Sayajmarca and Phuyupatamarca.

    Another easier climb, past the small ruins of Runcuracay, takes us over the Runcuracay Pass (3900m), and from now on the Inca Trail becomes a clearly defined path made of flat boulders. We pass the ruins of Sayajmarca and suddenly enter cloud forest. At one point the trail passes through a short Inca tunnel before crossing onto the Amazon side of the continental divide. We normally camp on the ridge above the Inca site of Phuyupatamarca (3650m) to benefit from the views of sunset and sunrise, and to avoid the crowded Wiñay Wayna campsite.
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Down Inca steps to Wiñay Wayna and Machu Picchu via the Sun Gate.

    From the ridge, we embark on the infamous Inca steps: a two kilometre stone staircase taking us rapidly downhill amid a panorama of overwhelming immensity, with the peaks of the Vilcabamba range above, and the river thousands of metres below. After visiting the attractive ruins of Wiñay Wayna, we have an undulating walk through cloud forest high above the river to Inti Punku, the Sun Gate. From here we get our first full sight of Machu Picchu itself, with Huayna Picchu rising behind.

    Traditionally busy with groups of trekkers clamouring for photos, we plan our arrival at Inti Punku later in the day so we can enjoy unobstructed views of the magnificent ruins. Passing around the edge of the ruins, we exit the site and descend to Aguas Calientes for a well-earned rest, a shower and a comfortable bed for the night. Our trekking permits allow us one entry into the site, which we use for our tour tomorrow.

    There is usually time for an optional visit to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes, however, in recent years they have become over-crowded and the water quality can suffer as a result. 

    Accommodation: Hotel Inti Punku El Tambo (or similar)
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 12

    Guided tour of Machu Picchu; train to Sacred Valley.

    In order to beat the day-trippers arriving from Cuzco and reach the ruins as early as possible, a very early start is required to queue for Machu Picchu; only government-registered buses can make the 30-minute drive up the winding road to the site entrance and during high season (May-October) queues can be hours long. 

    Machu Picchu is one of the architectural and engineering marvels of the ancient world and what makes it all the more dramatic is its mountain backdrop of staggering immensity. The Spaniards never found it; the Incas left no records of it, and so Machu Picchu remained a great enigma, a city lost for centuries in the jungle until it was rediscovered in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham. 

    Having been trialled in 2017, new regulations for visiting Machu Picchu will be fully enforced for 2018; of the three possible visiting slots, Exodus will purchase the morning slot from 06:00 until 12:00 (unless unavailable), you will be limited to a maximum of four hours within the site and must be accompanied by a guide. There will also be three set routes to follow around Machu Picchu; Exodus selects the most comprehensive route. 

    We catch an afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo (1hr 30 mins) where we stay for the night.

    Accommodation: Tunupa Lodge (or similar)
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Explore Ollantaytambo and Pisac; return to Cuzco.

    A day exploring the Sacred Valley of the Incas, visiting the famous Inca fortress ruins of Ollantaytambo and Pisac which tower over the villages below them of the same name. We will also have time to look around Pisac Market, famous for its handicrafts, before returning by road to Cuzco.

    Accommodation: 2 nights - Hotel Koyllur / Warari (or similar)
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Free day Cuzco.

    Today has been left free to relax or explore Cuzco further. There are a number of optional excursions available which your tour leader can arrange for you. If you still have the energy you could chose to mountain bike in the Sacred Valley taking in a 30-35km ride through Moray, Maras and the small village of Pichingoto. Alternatively you could try your hand at paddle boarding on Lake Piuray near the town of Chinchero. Or, if feeling more subdued, take it easy and watch the world go by in Cuzco’s Plaza de Armas.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    Depart Cuzco.

    Those who are travelling on the group flights will be taken to Cuzco airport in time to catch your overnight international flight to London.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 16

    Arrive London.

    The group flights arrive in London this afternoon.

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.

Extend Your Trip

Amazon Rainforest extension (from Cuzco)

Code: XPC

Easily accessible via a short flight to Puerto Maldonado from Cuzco, the Amazon is the world's largest rainforest and home to an astonishing array of wildlife, as well as countless plant species. Spending three nights at a lodge in the incredibly rich Tambopata Reserve, we use motorised canoes to explore its lakes and rivers, and follow jungle trails to discover its dense forests. The detailed itinerary can be found here.

Please ask your sales consultant for more details.

Lake Titicaca extension

Code: XPT

Journey across the spectacular high altiplano to Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigable freshwater lake (3,800m). Explore its waters by boat and visit the descendants of the Uros Indians who live on floating reed islands, and are also known for producing fine textiles. Back on the mainland, we visit the pre‐ Incan site of Sillustani, comprised of burial towers with fantastic views over the region. The Titicaca Extension is only available after your main tour as we do not recommend arriving straight into Puno due to the altitude. The detailed itinerary can be found here

Essential Info



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.



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 Peru. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We 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.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up‐to‐date information.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 8 lunches and 6 dinners are included in the price of the tour.

Peruvian cuisine has developed a reputation for its flavours and originality and it’s well worth trying out a few of the local delicacies. Amongst these are ceviche (a spicy dish of seafood or fish marinated in lime juice), lomo saltado (a Peruvian take on a beef stir-fry) and various hearty soups such as the delicious quinoa soup. Other dishes include roasted cuy (guinea pig), alpaca steak, and to drink, the national beverage: Pisco Sour.

Drinking water is provided.  The tap water in Peru is not safe to drink; boiled and filtered drinking water is provided on the trek and elsewhere your leader will buy large water containers for you to refill your bottle from.

Hotel breakfasts are normally simple buffet-style affairs, usually including bread/toast and jam, cereal, sometimes eggs or a cooked dish, sometimes fruit, tea/coffee and fruit juice. Regrettably, we can not guarantee that wheat/gluten-free products will be available for breakfast in all locations - if you have an intolerance you may wish to bring your own breakfast food.

Where lunch and dinner is not included in Cuzco/Aguas Calientes we'll visit a variety of cafes and restaurants.

During the trek, hearty breakfasts are served and good quality cooked lunches and dinners are provided, and usually consist of soup or a starter, a main course with meat/fish and some form of carbohydrates, followed by a dessert. Some snacks between meals are also provided. Bed tea/coffee is brought to your tent each morning and juice or hot drinks are provided with all meals during the trek.


Peru's diverse geography results in a very varied climate between different regions.

Cuzco and the Andes have a temperate climate. December to March is the rainy season in Cuzco/the Andes and April to November is the dry season; characterised by clear skies and strong sunshine in the mornings, sometimes clouding over as the day progresses. Daytime temperatures are usually pleasant (approx. 20 degrees C on average) but night times only 5-10 degrees C, except for May, June, July and August when days are cooler and nights on trek are often below freezing, particularly at the highest camps where it may be around -10 degrees C. In the Andes, however, anything is possible at any time of year, including cloud, rain or even snow, and rapid and unexpected changes! 

Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu are in the cloud forest and as such attract large amounts of precipitation all year as clouds move up from the Amazon Basin. Rain here can be heavy, but is seldom prolonged. Cold fronts sometimes occur from July-August.

Peru is affected by the El Niño weather phenomenon whereby warming of Pacific Ocean surface water off South America drives a shift in the atmospheric circulation resulting in abnormally high levels of rainfall over parts of South America. These events occur at irregular intervals of two to seven years, and last nine months to two years. A strong El Niño event occurred in 2014-16.

Cuzco, Peru

Cuzco, Peru

Is this trip for you?

This trip is graded as Challenging (level 5) - please refer to our activity level guidelines. There are 7 days point-to-point walking with full porterage, reaching a maximum altitude of approx. 4960m, average 3550m. More strenuous and at higher altitude than the classic Inca Trail, sections of this trek take us over difficult terrain underfoot, particularly on the descent from the high pass, which has a lot of loose gravel. The walking days are generally not long but there are some steep climbs and descents. On the main Inca Trail the paths are well maintained, but there are a lot of irregular stone steps which can be tiring on the knees, so we recommend walking poles.

You may find our Fitness Training Guide a useful reference.

Some nights can be very cold (below freezing), and you should note that over the last few years there have been a few occasions where heavy snowfall has closed the Inca Chiriasqa Pass (day 7). If this happens the leader will take an amended route to join the Inca Trail. If the snow is very heavy the group may retreat to Mollepata and then join the Inca Trail at Km 82 (the start point of the normal Inca Trail). This is not a common occurrence but you should be aware that it does occasionally happen. It is most likely to occur in July and August although is very unpredictable.

As this trip spends considerable time at altitude, we ask you to refer to the altitude warning within the Trip Notes. We spend three days in Cuzco (3400m) acclimatising before starting the trek.

Protest action/strikes are not uncommon in Peru, and whilst these are generally peaceful, they can involve roadblocks and cause disruption to travel. Occasionally your leader may have to adapt your itinerary in response to this. 

Walking hours stated within the itinerary are given as approximates only. Timings stated include lunch and photo stops and will vary depending on the pace of your group.

Inca Trail Regulations

An Inca Trail permit is required for this trip. There are a number of important regulations regarding the Inca Trail that we would like to make you aware of:
1. Spaces on the Inca Trail are on a first come, first served basis and we urge you to book as early as possible.
2. If you cancel your booking more than 8 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. This is an amendment to our Booking Conditions. No transfers are possible within 8 weeks of departure.
3. Bookings can only be made if we are supplied with your full name, passport details, date of birth and nationality, exactly as per the passport you will be using to travel to Peru (this information is used to purchase your Inca Trail permit). If your passport details do not match those on your permit you will be refused entry to the Inca Trail by the local authorities.
4. 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.
5. Please be aware that these regulations may change at any time, and Exodus is not responsible for the decisions made by Peruvian authorities.
6. 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.

Please Note: Whilst your departure date may be 'Guaranteed', your Inca Trail permit itself will initially be '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, in the event that we are unable to get your permit we will contact you to discuss your options. *2018 Inca Trail permits are on sale now.*

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
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.


Hotels and Camping

The hotels normally used are indicated within the itinerary, however, accommodation may differ from those stated depending on your departure date. All of our hotels are small and locally-owned with en suite bathrooms and breakfast facilities. In Cuzco, all are located within walking distance of the central Plaza de Armas. Most hotels have a safety deposit box in the room but if not, there will be one at the reception.

Please note that central heating is very rare in Peru, even in good standard hotels. Most hotels provide plug-in heaters and spare blankets. Additionally whilst all of the hotels have a hot water supply, it can be temperamental when there is high demand.

A railway line runs straight through the centre of Aguas Calientes and whilst we try to allocate rooms away from it whenever possible, the trains might be heard from some rooms.

The trek is on a full-service camping basis with full porterage, meaning that our camp staff will erect and dismantle the tents for you, cook, and do all of the camp chores for you. You need only carry your daypack. There is a separate dining tent for meal times, as well as a toilet tent for use both in camp and during lunch stops. For the first part of the trek we stay in wild campsites, and on the Inca Trail, we stay in organised campsites jointly administered by the Regional Cultural Directorate and the National Parks Service. The tents have enough room inside for the kitbags. A bowl of warm water (to wash with) will be brought to your tent each morning and evening. 

Should you wish to extend your stay in Peru, Exodus can book extra nights accommodation in Cuzco for you either before or after the tour.

A limited number of single supplements (hotel and tent) are available on this trip; please request this at the time of booking. We recommend the early booking of single supplements.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
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.

Expert Blog Entries

Embracing a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge, but if you’re going to keep it up there’s got to be more to it than

  • Reviewed October 2017
    Julian Lewis

    High Inca Trail with Amazon Extension

    This was my second trip with Exodus, my first being to Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti, and it certainly didn't disappoint. The trip originally had 5 people on it, but due to last minute cancellations, presumably because of news of strike action in Peru, only 2 of us ended up travelling. Ultimately, we experienced hardly any disruption throughout the entire trip. As such, it made the trip much more bespoke. As the trip flew directly to Cusco, at 3400m, the first couple of days were designed to assist with acclimatizing and we soon got used to the altitude. There was plenty of free time to explore the city and take it easy. We also spent the first morning on an acclimatization hike exploring Tambomachay, Puca Pukara, Qenqo and Sachsayhuaman in the hills above Cusco. This hike was very gentle and downhill. On the first day of the hike, we set off early (0630 start) for Mollepata, stopping at Tarawasi to explore more ruins. As Mollepata is below 3000m, we immediately noticed the drop in altitude and this helped ease us into the hike gently. In addition to meeting our wonderful Quechua chef, Florentino, we were accompanied along this stretch of the hike by local horsemen (and a dog who we nicknamed Condor, who would provide no end of amusement along the way), who provided support for us. We found the first few days of the hike rather quiet, as this route is frequented by far fewer hikers than the main Inca Trail. The first day was a 4 hour hike with a gradual climb up to 3500m. The second day of the hike was quite tough as we had a 17km hike going from 3500m to 4400m. This involved a 0600 start, though was mostly on the level during the morning. The afternoon was shorter though quite a bit harder as it had several steep parts, as we ascended to the camp at Inchupata. An emergency horse was on hand along this stretch. The views of Salkantay were stunning, though the camp was quite cold at night. We even saw a couple of avalanches on Salkantay. On the third day of the hike, we climbed up to Incachiriaska pass, at 4950m, and were rewarded with stunning views in all directions. This was followed by a rapid descent to the Inca Canal to our camp site. Day four of the hike was quite leisurely and short as we descended to Huayllabamba. We said goodbye to the horsemen, and had several amusing attempts to part company with Condor, then met up with the porters who would carry our kit along the main Inca Trail. We also had an opportunity for a brief cold shower; our first proper wash since the hike began. Having ascended Incachiriaska pass earlier in the hike, the ascent to Dead Women's pass on day five of the hike was much more straightforward and we got to the top in far less time than we'd planned for. The descent down to Pacaymayo was quite steep, and we got a taste of the steps which would be a common feature of the latter part of the hike. As we'd joined the main Inca Trail, things became much busier at camp sites and on the trail. We timed our departures to avoid the early morning rushes, and soon found we had the trail mostly to ourselves. On day six of the hike, we climbed over a second pass and explored more Inca ruins at Runcurakay and Sayacmarca. We camped at Phuyupatamarca and marveled at the views of Machu Picchu mountain, far below us down the notorious Inca Steps. The next morning, we also had stunning views of the other side of Salkantay. On the last day of the hike, we descended to Winay Wayna, and then completed the trek to the sun gate and our first glimpse of Machu Picchu itself. After an hour or so snapping pictures of the classic views of the site, we took the bus down to Aguas Calientes and several much needed showers. The following day, we had a tour of Machu Picchu and then had a few hours spare to explore the site on our own. As it turned out, this was only sufficient time to visit the Inca Bridge and take more pictures close by the main site, though I certainly didn't feel I was missing out on any opportunity to ascend Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain. We descended back to Aguas Calientes mid afternoon to get the Expedition train to Ollantaytambo. This was an enjoyable and relaxing slow train ride with great views, and included free drinks and snacks in the ticket price. The next morning we explored the ruins in Ollantaytambo and headed on through the Sacred Valley to Pisac. We arrived back in Cusco by early afternoon, where we planned excursions for the following day. The main trip on offer was to Moray Maras and the Salt mines in the Sacred valley. I opted for this trip and found it very relaxing. While other excursions included a (long) day trip to Rainbow Mountain, Exodus don't actively endorse this due to mixed reviews, though (discrete) arrangements can be made if you want to try it. The last morning of the main trip involved transfers to the airport, either for homeward flights or transfers to Puerto Maldonado to the jungle. As I'd opted for the Amazon extension, the jungle beckoned. The flight was short though the change in climate was huge. After transferring to the river launch, and a two hour journey up river, I arrived at Cayman Lodge. As the only traveler on this part of the trip, I had another personalized trip, and guide to myself. The pace of the jungle was quite leisurely and involved afternoon and night walks around the perimeter of the lodge, a 10km trek to Sachavacayoc Lake (an oxbow lake) in the jungle where we spent a couple of hours canoeing around looking for anacondas, an early morning river trip to Colpa Chuncho clay lick to view macaws feeding, a night safari along the river looking for caimans and quite a few hours chilling in hammocks out of the sun. Soon though, this part of the trip came to an end and I transferred back to Puerto Maldonado for my flight home. As Peru were attempting to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, we also sampled the local excitement of the regions enthusiasm for football. This could only have been matched by a papal visit.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to pin down one single moment, though we had perfect weather (glorious sunshine and few clouds) every day of the trip so were rewarded with inspiring views every day. Among the highlights of the trip were seeing Salkantay from many angles, Incachiriaska pass, Dead Women's pass, the view from Phuyupatamarca down over Machu Picchu mountain, the classic views of Machu Picchu from the sun gate and gatehouse, the Sacred Valley, and travelling along the Tambopata river.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    William was very knowledgeable and keen to share his knowledge and experience of the Inca Trail. As the group size was small, we had a lot of attention though it never felt intrusive. Our chef, Florentino, the horsemen and the Quechua porters were great and always friendly. I even picked up several greetings in Quechua. My guide in the jungle was a freelance guide, called Empe. She was very knowledgeable and made the trip very enjoyable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Though we experienced perfect weather on our trip, which was almost unprecedented, you should plan for some rain along the way. I'd definitely recommend doing the jungle extension if your itinerary permits as it provides an additional and alternate view of the richness of Peru's geography. I almost wish Id opted for a pre-trip extension to Lake Titicaca, though that will have to be another trip. As the trek is at high altitude, travelers should come prepared with good sun screen and insect repellent, even on days when its not overly sunny. The Peruvian sun can be unforgiving. Pack economically. The bag weight limit on the Inca Trail is 10kg, so you carry the excess. Unless you prepare with extensive load bearing training, you should try to keep your day pack as light as possible as the altitude and sun soon consume your energy reserves. Though on Kili I'd regularly carry at least 2 litres of water, the frequency of campsites and top ups mean that you can carry a little less water, as long as you top up whenever you get the chance. As with any high altitude trekking, take things easy for the first few days to help acclimatize, stay hydrated and eat plenty. If you have any dietary requirements, such as low carb diets, then do review these carefully as several days of the hike are intensive and you will need as much energy as you can pack in. I found I needed extra carbs on several days though this was quickly burnt off. Security at camps during the first few days of the trek is fine, as you're almost the only people at the remote campsites, though as you reach the main trail the campsites get busier and you'll often find other trekkers walking through your camp. While this doesn't present any problem, vigilance should be exercised in accordance with common sense. Security in the jungle lodges was ok, though by the nature of its location you shouldn't have any major concerns. Though English, Spanish and Quechua were the main languages spoken on the trail, French was also seemingly quite widely spoken in the jungle. A warm sleeping bag will pay dividends especially at the higher campsites. A good pair of binoculars will come in handy in the jungle. On the night safaris, a good phone camera (e.g. OnePlus 5) proved better for impromptu close ups of insects than even a good bridge/SLR camera, so try both for best results.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Having climbed Kilimanjaro, I found this trek challenging but very achievable. While the hardest days of the trek are comparable to regular/early days on Kili, nothing is quite on the same scale as summit night, though ascending and descending the Inca steps should be approached carefully as some of the flights of steps are extensive and mishaps could be costly. There are a few stages where additional caution is advised, such as walking along narrow ledges alongside sheer drops, but the William was very clear with highlighting these stretches.
  • Reviewed October 2017
    Shannah Murland

    Machu Picchu combined with rugged peaks

    This tour spends a few days in the "big" mountains and then joins in to the Inca Trail, so you get a bit of everything. You also arrive at Machu Picchu in the afternoon, so you avoid all the groups who get there for sunrise. Instead, you have some time in the afternoon and then camp down by the river (instead of leaving right away like the other tours do), and then you go back up for the majority of the next day.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Camping up near the glacier on Mt. Salkantay.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    She had amazing knowledge of history and culture in the region.
  • Reviewed August 2017
    Helen Stockham

    The High Inca Trail - snowy peaks and a fascinating history

    Two weeks in the Andes with spectacular scenery and a rich cultural history.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It is hard to pick a favourite day or sight, as there was something special on each day. Personally I love snowy mountains so seeing Salcantay was special. Camping near the base of Salcantay was very memorable – a campsite in a spectacular setting, hearing and seeing avalanches, seeing the milky way and waking up with frost inside the tent!! On these first three to four days of the trek we had the trail pretty much to ourselves, and we were the only group at this particular campsite. I also particularly enjoyed reaching the end of the Inca Trail at the sun gate and seeing Machu Picchu for the first time. The setting, scale and craftsmanship is most impressive.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rolando was a fabulous guide with an encyclopaedic knowledge about pretty much everything! He is very passionate about his country, its history and culture. He imparted his knowledge with great enthusiasm, had a great sense of humour and was very encouraging if anyone was struggling e.g. on a steep section of the trail. He was also very organised, including arranging our departure times each day on the trail when we joined the main Inca Trail so we had the trail mostly to ourselves, with just a few porters. This meant we avoided the crowds and only saw other groups at lunch stops and the campsites. It was also a pleasure to spend time with assistant guide Javier on the trail.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You really can and do experience four seasons in one day on this trip so be prepared for temperatures ranging from what felt like plus 30 degrees down to about minus 10 degrees Centigrade. Take a full set of thermals, including thermal socks. If you take a metal water bottle this can be filled with hot water after dinner creating a hot water bottle for the coldest nights. It's best to take a proper cover, or if not use a hiking sock! Take a toilet roll and antibac hand gel. Not all toilets in Peru supply such items! On the free day in Cusco on return from the trail we booked a private guide and transfer for Rainbow Mountain which was spectacular. It was also possible to arrange to trip to Moray, Moras and the nearby Incan quarry in the Sacred Valley. Before you book the Lake Titicaca extension I would recommend checking with Exodus whether they have booked the tours to see the Uro Indians and Sillustani with a private guide. The four of us that did the extension were put with mixed tour groups for the morning and afternoon. This worked okay for the Uros Indians as the group was small and all English speaking. However for Sillustani there was one guide for two buses covering both English and Spanish speaking groups – basically the group was far too large meaning this afternoon was my least enjoyable of the full trip, the rest of which was very good.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The chefs, horsemen and porters were excellent. The chefs Billy and Juan impressed us all with the food they prepared on their camping stoves in the mountains. I am vegetarian and was expecting relatively simple, similar food each day – I was very surprised at how tasty the food they prepared for me was each day – it was delicious. I am still in awe at how they made a two tier sponge birthday cake, fully iced with three different flavours of piped icing on our last day of camping for one of our group!
  • Reviewed August 2017
    Jo Griffiths

    Salcantay Pass and the Inca Trail

    A fabulous 2 weeks trekking in the Andes. I’ve travelled with Exodus on a number of ‘challenging’ treks, and this one ranks highly both in outstanding landscapes, historical context and enjoyment. Conditions are challenging but this is a positive; it makes achieving the goal even more rewarding!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Machu Picchu was far more spectacular than I had imagined; the magnitude of Inca architecture, craftsmanship and culture was humbling. We didn’t see a soul for the first 3 days on the Salcantay Trek; only when you join the Inca Trail are you reminded that it is a very popular tourist destination. That said, our itinerary meant that we avoided crowds by leaving later than other groups in the morning. Plenty of snack stops and a pace appropriate to the altitude also helped!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rolando, the epitome of professionalism. A lovely man who imparted such wide and thought-provoking knowledge of the Incas, and with immense pride in his country and culture. Calm in the face of adversity and sensitive to the individual needs of group. A special mention also for Javier, our second in command. A joy to spend time with; he will make an outstanding group leader when his time comes. I especially enjoyed the encouraging and supportive relationship these two men demonstrated throughout the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip notes outline very clearly just how cold it can get at night, but still my gloves were not adequate for the morning we trekked Salcantay Pass; invest in proper kit! Do your research on places to eat for the first couple of nights in Cusco; especially if you are a solo traveller as group meals didn’t happen until we reached Machu Picchu town.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The support teams – the horsemen, porters and chefs, are outstanding. From the morning mugs of coca tea, to the quality of the food (afternoon tea a particular favourite of mine!), their encouragement and assistance during the trek and attention to detail, just make the trip extra special. You get what you pay for, and I certainly felt that we had the highest standard of care and service on the trek.
  • Reviewed July 2017
    Andrew Deeming

    Excellent Trek to one of the 7 wonders of the modern world!

    Truly an excellent 2 week holiday! 7 days spent in the Peruvian Andes- 4 days trekking around Salcantay, 3 on the Inca trail, ending at the Sun Gate and that picture postcard view of Machu Picchu. If you have entertained the idea of doing this holiday, or a shorter version of the trek, I'd just book it! You will certainly not be disappointed.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Difficult to choose just one but I would have to go with reaching the Sun Gate and getting the first view of Machu Picchu. It really is an eye opener and you definitely feel you have earned it after 7 days of quite challenging trekking through the Andes. As well as MP, the scenery in general, is truly magnificent. There are plenty of times when you'll want to stop and simply take in and admire your surroundings. If you are lucky and get clear skies during the evening, you should see the Milky Way.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bruce was excellent! Very professional, caring and made sure he understood the capabilities of the group. He has a passion to share his knowledge about his country and it's history and gave very detailed, interesting explanations when we stopped at archeological sites. He made every member of the group feel welcome and brought us all together as a 'family' for the two weeks we were together. A special mention needs to go to Cesar, our second guide. Knowledgeable and very likeable- along with Bruce he made sure all of our needs were catered for and that we all finished the trek in one piece. One final mention goes to the support team- cooks, wranglers and porters. These guys are like machines! While you're struggling up and down the trail, this team carries up to 25kg of equipment per person and make sure camp and lunch spots are set up well before you arrive. Truly awesome.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Train for this trek and be prepared for the change in altitude, it really does make a difference and you'll notice it when you reach the hotel in Cusco. As other reviewers have stated, pack for all seasons. At the highest camp (4,200m), you will be very cold and temperatures will fall below zero. The next day, you'll be in a valley and in temperatures above 20C. We were fortunate not to get any rainfall but it is still a possibility. Take a mixture of Peruvian Sols and US dollars, for use in Cusco.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Book it and enjoy it!
  • Reviewed June 2017
    Karen Stanley

    Magical Machu Picchu

    Amazing hiking over the Salcantay pass to the magical Machu Picchu.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The anticipation of each turn the closer we got to the sun gate, and then the first view of Machu Picchu was incredible

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Wilmer, our leader was very knowledgable and relaxed with the group - good fun

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take ear plugs! The frogs in camp 3 (might have been 4) are lovely but noisy, and you may get need them for the hotel in Machu Picchu town (depends what room you get) Also allocate at least 50soles per meal (includes one drink and tips) Food is amazing - there are great restaurants in Cusco, camp food - incredible Highly recommend green point in Cusco - it's vegan (I'm not) but they do a very reasonable set menu (4 courses) for 15soles and food is amazing (5min walk from hotel) - highly recommend

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Last thing - hotel in Cusco - if you lose your phone charger, check the bedside table drawers, mine was taken out of the wall and hidden away in drawer for no reason at all- eventually found after emptying all bags, and another guest over hearing complaint to reception (as same thing happened to her)
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Gillian Mcfall

    High Inca Trail

    Fantastic trip ... Challenging enough without killing you! It is your holiday after all!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Lying in the tent listening to the glacial avalanches on Salkantay was pretty awesome and of course getting that first sight of Machu Picchu.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rolando was great, so passionate about his Incan heritage and very knowledgable. He loves telling the story of the many sites you visit on this trek and really brings it alive. With regards the walking and the altitude, he was always looking out for everyone in the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It was colder than I expected in the evenings so if debating whether or not to take the 3 or 4 season sleeping bag or the down jacket - take the warm stuff!! The early start for Machu Picchu is definitely worth it - by 9am the place is packed!
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Laura Smith

    The High Inca Trail

    The High Inca Trail was more challenging than expected albeit very rewarding. Trip starts at high altitude and within a few days, there are a couple of long climbs that would not be a problem if it were not for the altitude. That said, I believe it was extremely beneficial doing The High Inca Trail (as opposed to just the Inca Trail) (which includes the Salkantay pass) as this most definitely prepares you for the part of the walk on the Inca Trail which climbs to 4,125 making this walk more enjoyable.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Stunning scenery and culture and experience overall in Peru! I thoroughly enjoyed the town of Cusco as well - very impressed! Amazing to actually visit Matchu Pitchu which I have wanted to do for years!

    What did you think of your group leader?


    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the high altitude which is upon you quickly due to Cusco sitting at 3,400. The 10kg weight limit when you start that actual Inca Trail is extremely strict so be prepared. Take light clothes and lots of layers. It does get very cold camping. I was very grateful for my down jacket in the evening.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The variety and quality of food prepared on the trek whilst camping was fantastic especially catering for those with dietary requirements.
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Catherine Smith

    High Inca Trail

    Epic in every sense of the word! We Trekked and camped in the most remote and awesome places, faced hot sun, sub zero nights, snow, wind, mist and rain! We star gazed, swam in a glacial lake, saw stunning sunsets and got up early to see the sunrise on Salcantay mountain. The many Inca sites and Machu Picchu were even better than we could have imagined!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting up to see the sunrise on Salcantay Mountain, the first glimpse of Machu Picchu at the sun gate, and returning very early the next day seeing it shrouded in mist only to see it clear to give magnificent views.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bobby was a great leader. He had great knowledge on both Peruvian culture and Inca history. On the last day in the Sacred Valley he went out of his way to arrange extra sight seeing visits.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't under estimate the huge variation of temperatures during the day! In the sun it can be really warm but in the evenings and night it gets extremely cold! You need a down jacket and warm sleeping bag and lots of extra layers.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was a fantastic trek. The camp food was excellent, the trekking on the Salcantay Trail was wonderfully remote and we hardly saw anyone, the Inca Trail was not too busy and Exodus uses quieter camp sites. Cusco is a fascinating city and this trip spends a couple of days before and after the trek in Cusco for acclimatision and relaxing!
  • Reviewed July 2016
    Kailey Michael

    High Inca trail as must do trip

    High Inca trail was brilliant. Fantastic trekking, amazing trails and beautiful scenery. If things couldn't get any better, to top it off we had a really fantastic leader in Tomas Llancay and also a brilliant second leader in Sebastian. I would highly recommend the high Inca trail as you get to see a small part of Peru that not many other do and we had the trails mostly to our selves.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspirational part of my trip was camping at the bottom of Salcantay and then the following morning trekking up the Inca Chiriasqa pass. Though to be fair the whole trip was brilliant.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tomas Llancay was one of the best leaders that I have had so far on all the trips I have done. We always knew what we were doing and had great advise on what we could do on our free days. Huge knowledge on Inca sites, flora and fauna. Its was also lovely to see the encouragement he gave to Sebastian (our second leader) which allowed Sebastain to talk to us about some off the site we visited on the trail, which Sebastian did very well. He also want out of his way to help my partner find a perfect location for him to propose to me, with out me finding out.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you have a lovely warm sleeping bag as I was very greatful I had mine as it can get very cold on some of the camp sites.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go book the High Inca trail if you like trekking and culture.

Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.


What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.


2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.


3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.


 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 


Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Inca Trail Permits: An Inca Trail permit is required to walk the Inca Trail. These are strictly limited and are highly sought after, therefore we strongly recommend booking at least 6-8 months in advance to avoid disappointment. 2018 Inca Trail permits are now on sale so don’t delay!

Inca Trail Permit Status: Whilst your departure date may be 'Guaranteed', your Inca Trail permit itself will initially be 'On Request'. Inca Trail permits are strictly limited and are only released one year at a time. We cannot reserve or pre-purchase them. 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, in the event that we are unable to get your permit, we will contact you to discuss your options.

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Machu Picchu, Peru

The Inca Trail

Follow in the footsteps of the Peruvian Incas as you trek the classic Inca Trail

Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures

Walking & Trekking
11 days Incl. Flights
From £1,969
Activity Rating - Moderate
4.7 / 5
Call us on 020 8772 3936