Current as of: April 25, 2024 - 03:34


Peru Explorer Trip Notes

  • Ways to Travel: Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
  • Destination: Peru
  • Programmes: Culture
  • Activity Level:

    2 out of 7 - Leisurely / Moderate

  • 21 Days: Flight Inclusive
  • 20 Days: Land Only
  • Ages: 16+
  • Trip Code: APX
  • Carbon Footprint: 51kg CO2e

Trip Overview

Enjoy an in-depth exploration of the highlights of southern Peru

This trip is the perfect introduction to one of the most diverse countries in South America. Our journey contrasts the incomparable scenery of the Andes with the lush vegetation of the Amazon Rainforest and the barren coastal desert, as we discover ancient cities, buildings and fortresses of colossal size in settings of amazing beauty. For walking enthusiasts, there is the option to trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (at no extra cost), and for wildlife lovers, the Ballestas Islands and the rainforest are sure to impress.

Peru Explorer

Join us to celebrate Exodus’ 50th anniversary! The departure starting in Lima on 30 June 2024 features extra inclusions to mark the occasion: a Nazca Lines overflight, a local birthday celebration and a special edition Exodus kitbag.

At a Glance

  • 17 nights in hotels and two nights in a jungle lodge
  • Group normally 5 to 16, plus leader. Minimum age: 16
  • Spends time at altitude
  • Travel by internal flight, train, boat and private bus
  • Inca Trail option (no extra cost): Please request on booking. Three nights of full-service camping replaces three nights in hotels. Additional meals included during trek


  • Discover the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu and the colonial cities of Cuzco and Arequipa
  • Have the option to walk the classic Inca Trail at no extra cost
  • Spend two nights deep in the Amazon
  • Visit the traditional island communities of Lake Titicaca
  • See beautiful Arequipa plus Colca Canyon and its condors

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is graded Activity Level 2 (Leisurely/Moderate) – for more on our trip gradings, visit our Activity Level Guidelines page. However, the altitude can make physical activity feel more tiring than at sea level. 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. Although we do not linger there, the maximum altitude visited on this trip is at the Patapampa Pass (16,110ft/4,910m). Please ensure your travel insurance covers you up to this altitude.

Please note, it is essential you read the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu regulations in the Important Information section of the Trip Notes before you book this trip.

The size of Peru means this trip involves some long drives and early starts. The longest drive is about 10 hours. However, the private buses used are comfortable and the scenery is outstanding. There are also several stops to break up the journey.

Although the rainforest lodges we use are clean and comfortable, they are remote and facilities are limited. In particular, electricity is usually only provided in the main buildings.

Many of the Inca sites (including Machu Picchu) are built on hillsides and sightseeing often involves walking up and down steep streets or on uneven steps or terraces. As such, you should have a good level of mobility and a reasonable level of fitness.

Strikes are not uncommon in Peru and, while these are generally peaceful protests, they can result in roadblocks and disruption to travel. In this event, your leader amends your itinerary if necessary to minimise the impact.

Inca Trail trek option

There is the option to trek the four-day classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in place of four days of this itinerary if you wish. You must select/request the Inca Trail trek option at the time of booking to do this.

There are extremely stringent booking procedures in place for the Inca Trail. A trekking permit is required and there is a daily cap on the number of these available. Inca Trail permits sell out very quickly, especially for peak-season treks (May to August). If you wish to do the trek, we recommend booking at least six to eight months in advance to avoid disappointment. We also need your full passport details (required to purchase your Inca Trail permit) or we can’t process your booking.

Please note, the trek itself is graded as Activity Level 3 (Moderate). There are four days of walking with full porterage at a maximum altitude of 13,830ft (4,215m) and an average of 10,000ft (3,050m). Though not without its difficulties (in particular the ascent and descent of the first pass, known as Dead Woman’s Pass!) this trek is certainly possible for anyone in a good state of health and fitness. However, we would not recommend to anyone who is totally unused to walking. If you are not a regular walker, you should put in physical preparation before departure. It is also not particularly suitable for those with bad knees due to the number of steep and uneven steps, particularly on the third and fourth days of the trek.


For the Inca Trail, the main group leader stays with the group and an additional leader accompanies the trekkers.

Adult min age: 16

Min group size: 4

Max group size: 16


Peru Explorer

Land Only

  • Start City: Lima
  • End City: Lima

Flight Inclusive

  • Start City: London
  • End City: London

Land Only Itinerary

Day 1
Start Lima

Welcome to Lima, the busy capital of Peru. There’s plenty of adventure on your trip, but today’s all about settling into the hotel. You are met at the airport and transferred to our hotel in the Miraflores district. There is a notice board in the hotel reception with details of where and when the group welcome briefing will be held.

Accommodation: Hotel El Tambo 1 (or similar)

Day 2
Free morning; afternoon city tour

This morning has been left free; in the afternoon, we have a tour of Lima. We visit Miraflores, the modern residential district, and then explore the historic downtown area. We discover the Plaza de Armas, Basilica Cathedral and Government Palace (also known as House of Pizarro) as we take a short walk around the colonial centre. We also visit the incredible Church of San Francisco, which houses one of the oldest libraries in the Americas and sits on top of a labyrinthine network of catacombs complete with the bones of Lima’s wealthy 18th– and 19th-century residents. This evening, perhaps visit the bohemian district of Barranco for local food and pisco sours, the national cocktail of Peru.

Accommodation: Hotel El Tambo 1 (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3
Drive to Paracas, visiting Pachacamac and Pucusana

We drive south from Lima today, visiting Pachacamac Fortress, the largest coastal Inca city at the time of the conquest. We stop for a late lunch of fresh seafood at the attractive fishing village of Pucusana. A stroll around the village, where the day’s catch is displayed at the market, and a boat ride around the bay (subject to weather conditions) offer great insight into a contemporary Peruvian coastal town. We then continue southwards to the town of Paracas, where we spend the night.

Accommodation: Hotel Gran Palma (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4
Sail to Ballestas Islands; continue to Nazca via Ica

A short drive from our hotel takes us to the port, where we board our launch to visit the Ballestas Islands, a national park containing the highest concentration of marine birds in the world. There are also sea lions and numerous bird species on the islands and we also see the Paracas Candelabra, a curious pre-Inca design on the cliff face, only recognisable from the sea. We drive to Nazca in the afternoon and visit viewing platforms close to the Nazca Lines. These are one of the world’s great archaeological mysteries: enormous figures and patterns etched in the desert sand, best seen from the elevated position of the viewing platforms. There should also be time for optional visits to the nearby Antonini Archaeological Museum, a pre-Inca cemetery, or the Nazca Aqueduct, which gives an insight into the Nazca civilisation’s ingenious subterranean irrigation system.

Accommodation: Hotel Alegria (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 5
Drive along the coast then turn inland to Arequipa

We have a long drive south through the coastal desert, with great views of dunes and the Pacific Ocean, before heading inland into the mountains on the road to Arequipa. Our drive is approximately 12 hours, including time for lunch and stops to stretch our legs.

Accommodation: Su Majestad (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6
Arequipa city tour, including Santa Catalina Convent

Arequipa is a beautiful colonial city in a fertile oasis, with many historic buildings characterised by their use of white volcanic stone from the nearby Misti, whose dramatic cone dominates the town. In the morning, we visit the cathedral, the Jesuit church of La Compañia and the huge, serene convent of Santa Catalina, which retains typical features from the 16th and 17th centuries and is a peaceful refuge for the nuns who still live here today.

Accommodation: Su Majestad (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 7
Drive to Colca Canyon

A spectacular drive takes us to the Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world. On the way, we pass volcanoes and almost certainly see vicuñas in the highlands before we cross the Patapampa Pass (16,110ft/4,910m), which marks the descent into the canyon itself. As we take the winding road to the town of Chivay, the sight of the green, fertile terraces of the canyon is a real contrast to the barren yet beautiful landscapes we have travelled through for most of the day. This is the first day where we may feel the effects of altitude – although we do not linger at the top of the pass, we spend the night at around 11,810ft (3,600m) and so it is a good idea to take it easy on arrival.

Accommodation: Hotel Pozo del Cielo, Chivay (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 8
To Colca Canyon; explore and search for condors

We have a full day exploring the Colca Canyon, starting with a visit to the Cruz del Condor, the best place to see mighty Andean condors as they glide on the morning thermals. We also see the ancient tombs that line the cliffs on one side of the canyon and stop in the villages along the way, which house several interesting colonial churches. Depending on time, we may take a short walk along farm tracks to learn more about the agriculture on which the whole region is dependent. After a long day of exploration, an optional visit to the hot springs near Chivay this evening is a wonderful way to relax.

Accommodation: Hotel Pozo del Cielo, Chivay (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 9
Drive via Sillustani to Puno, by Lake Titicaca

Today, we drive through the mountains to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca. En route, we can see vicuñas before making a short visit to the unique burial towers (chullpas) of Sillustani. The altitude here (12,470ft/3,800m) makes physical effort very tiring, and the evenings are very cold, so taking time to rest is highly recommended.

Accommodation: Casona Plaza Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 10
Full-day Lake Titicaca tour (Uros and Taquile islands)

We spend a full day on Lake Titicaca today visiting the floating islands of Uros and Taquile. First, we take a boat to Uros, where the people have been living on reed rafts for centuries. Although many have now moved to the mainland, there are still a couple of thousand who remain on the islands anchored close to Puno. A reasonable amount of their income is now provided by strictly regulated tourism, but they also fish the lake and barter with mainland communities to obtain essential daily items. Our cruise continues as we visit picturesque Taquile Island, home to a community known for their male-only weavers and traditional lifestyle. Our walk to the village affords us panoramic views of the lake, and it is often possible to see the snow-capped peaks of the Cordillera Real in the distance

Accommodation: Casona Plaza Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 11
Drive across the altiplano to Cuzco

We take a bus ride across the altiplano, the high plains separating the Andes from the jungles. Although it is quite a long drive (approximately 10 hours), it is often spectacular. There are scheduled stops at interesting sites to break up the day and appreciate the immensity of the Andean landscapes. These include La Raya Pass (14,150ft/4,313m), the watershed and geographical dividing line between the altiplano and the Vilcanota Valley where Raqchi Inca temple is located. We arrive in Cuzco (11,155ft/3,400m) in the evening.

Accommodation: Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 12
Morning stand-up paddleboarding; afternoon cooking class

This morning, we travel to nearby Piuray Lagoon, where we spend the morning paddleboarding while surrounded by a stunning scenery of mountains and terraced fields.

In the afternoon, we enjoy a cooking class, learning all about different plants and herbs used in Peruvian cooking and how to prepare traditional food and drink. After our lesson, we have time to enjoy the well-deserved dinner we’ve prepared ourselves.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar)

Inca Trail option: Start Inca Trail trek from Km82; walk along Vilcanota River; climb to Huayllabamba

Those who have opted for the Inca Trail option split from the main group today and begin the Inca Trail.

Early this morning, we transfer (1hr 30min) from Cuzco into the Sacred Valley. Reaching the town of Ollantaytambo, we drive for one hour along the final stretch of road to the start of the Inca Trail at Piscacucho, recognized among adventurers as Km82. After greeting our trekking crew, we show our passports at the checkpoint and begin the fabled Inca Trail trek. Our route today runs alongside the Vilcanota River, beneath the snow-capped peak of Nevado Veronica, passing through cactus gardens and settlements, until we reach the terraced Inca ruins of Llactapata, where we continue up the Cusichaca Valley to camp near the village of Huayllabamba (9,186ft/2,800m).

 Inca Trail option
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Huayllabamba Camp (full-service camping)
Distance covered: 7mi (11km)
Activity (hours): 6-7

Day 13
Free day in Cuzco for optional activities

Today has been left free for exploring Cuzco, one of the most beautiful cities in South America. The Plaza de Armas is a fantastic spot for people-watching. The Mercado San Pedro is the place to try local produce and there are many handicraft markets to shop for souvenirs such as alpaca jumpers and scarves.

If you fancy something more active, there is an array of other optional activities available from Cuzco including mountain biking or a combination of via ferrata and zip-lining in the Sacred Valley.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar)

Inca Trail option: Summit Dead Woman's Pass; descend to Pacaymayu

The morning begins, as all do on our Inca Trail trek, with a hot drink delivered to your tent. Today’s journey is both challenging and rewarding, marking the most demanding and best-known stretch of the trail. A slow and steady climb takes us through a cloud forest to the meadows of Llulluchapampa, then we summit Dead Woman’s (Warmihuañusca) Pass, the highest point on the trek at 13,829ft (4,215m). After a well-deserved round of high fives and photos at the summit, we begin our steep descent on original Inca steps to reach our campsite in the scenic valley of the Pacaymayu River (11,811ft/3,600m). Warm up in the dining tent with a hot, fresh meal followed by a well-deserved sleep under the Andean night sky.

Inca Trail option
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Pacaymayu Camp (full-service camping)
Distance covered: 6mi (10km)
Activity (hours): 6‐7

Day 14
Visit Pisac market and Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley

This morning, we head out of Cuzco to the colourful handicraft market at Pisac, at the entrance to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. After free time to browse the stalls, we take a walking tour of the huge Inca ruins above the village. We enjoy a traditional pachamanca lunch today, whereby the food is wrapped and buried in the earth along with hot stones, which cook it slowly. After lunch, we drive down the valley to Ollantaytambo, where we visit the immense Inca fortress and explore the unique village whose streets still follow the pre-conquest grid plan.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Tunupa Lodge (or similar)

Inca Trail option: Over Runquracay Pass to the ruins of Sayacmarca and Phuyupatamarca

After a hearty breakfast, we start the day with a climb, which takes us past the ruins of Runquracay and over the Runquracay Pass (12,894ft/3,930m), our second and final pass. From here, the Inca Trail becomes a clearly defined rolling path of flat boulders, providing access to sites only available to those on foot. One of the standout archeological sites we visit is Sayacmarca (11,893/3,625m), perched high above the green cloud forest. From here, we enjoy views of Salkantay mountain as we hike to our spectacular campsite on the ridge above the Inca site of Phuyupatamarca (12,073ft/3,680m), where we can enjoy the sunset and sunrise.

Inca Trail option
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Phuyupatamarca Camp (full-service camping)
Distance covered: 8mi (12km)
Activity (hours): 5-6

Day 15
Free morning in Ollantaytambo and then travel to Aguas Calientes

We have a free morning to explore Ollantaytambo and then make the scenic train journey through the Urubamba River Valley to Aguas Calientes (approximately 1hr 30min), arriving in the afternoon. The rest of the day has been left free to explore at your own leisure. Aguas Calientes is a bustling town with a large handicraft market (although prices here are at a premium in comparison to Pisac or Cuzco markets).

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Terraza de Luna (or similar)

Inca Trail option: Walk down Inca steps to Wiñay Wayna and Machu Picchu via the Sun Gate

From Phuyupatamarca, we take the famous Inca steps: a 1.2mi (2km) stone staircase that rapidly descends into an immense panorama, with the peaks of the Vilcabamba range above and the Vilcanota River far below.

Reaching Wiñay Wayna, we have plenty of time to explore these beautiful ruins and eat lunch before continuing along a relatively flat section of the trail (by Inca standards, through cloud forest and wild orchids to finally reach Inti Punku (the Sun Gate).

From here, we get our first full sight of Machu Picchu, with the Huayna Picchu mountain rising behind… congratulations, you made it!

Inti Punku is traditionally busy with photo-taking trekkers in the morning, so our late afternoon arrival affords us unobstructed views of the magnificent ruins. We also get a chance to snap some classic photos of Machu Picchu before we take the 30-minute bus down to the town of Aguas Calientes for a shower and comfortable bed for the night.

Inca Trail option
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Terraza de Luna (or similar)
Distance covered: 5.5mi (9km)
Activity (hours): 6-7

Day 16
Guided tour of Machu Picchu; return to Cuzco by train and road

Well-rested and refreshed, we return to Machu Picchu this morning for our guided tour. Machu Picchu is an architectural and engineering marvel, the staggering mountain backdrop making it even more dramatic. The Spaniards never found it, the Incas left no records of it, and so Machu Picchu remained an enigma, a city lost for centuries in the jungle until it was rediscovered in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham. Your guided tour highlights the history, culture, architecture and mysteries that Machu Picchu still holds today.

This afternoon, we catch the train back to Ollantaytambo (1hr 30min) and continue by private bus to Cuzco (1hr 30min).

Accommodation: Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 17
Tour of Cuzco and Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman

We have a full-day tour combining the highlights in and around the city. Outside the town are Inca ruins, notably the fortress of Sacsayhuaman where the Inca armies made their last stand against the Conquistadores. In the centre, we visit the Plaza de Armas, and many examples of the famous Inca stonework like those of the Qoricancha Sun Temple in the Santo Domingo church and monastery.

Accommodation: Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 18
Fly to Puerto Maldonado; travel by boat into rainforest; afternoon jungle walk

We leave Cuzco early today as we take a short flight to the small rainforest town of Puerto Maldonado (due to poor flight availability, this flight will connect through Lima and be considerably longer on some departures). On arrival, we transfer to the dock for a boat trip to our lodge in the Tambopata Reserve – this journey takes between 1hr 30min and three hours depending on which lodge we stay in. On the way, we may see caimans, river turtles and waterfowl. After time to settle in, we take a short walk along the forest trails near the lodge to look for nocturnal animals.

Accommodation: Cayman Lodge Amazonia (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 19
Jungle exploration by boat and on foot

Activities today vary according to the lodge used but generally include a mixture of walks along forest trails, time spent in canoes to explore rainforest lakes, and the opportunity to go high into the canopy for a completely different view of the forest. The resident guides are normally around in the evening to answer questions and from some lodges (not all) there is the option to take a canoe onto the river in search of caiman by torchlight.

Accommodation: Cayman Lodge Amazonia (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 20
Fly to Lima; end Lima

We return to Puerto Maldonado after breakfast today and board our flight back to Lima. If booking an onwards flight from Lima today, please ensure it does not depart before 7pm. You can also speak to your sales representative about extending your stay in Lima.

Meals included: Breakfast

Altitude warning

This trip includes one or more nights over 11,480ft (3,500m) above sea level, where there is a genuine risk of being affected by acute mountain sickness (AMS). If left untreated, AMS can be life-threatening. We expect most clients to experience some mild symptoms of altitude sickness, such as headaches, shortness of breath while walking or sleeplessness. Our leaders are trained to identify symptoms of severe AMS and if a client requires extra care, arrangements such as rapid descent, will be made immediately.

On some days, this trip climbs faster than commonly published ascent-rate recommendations. Based upon an assessment by our external safety and medical advisors and our risk-assessment process, we consider the ascent rate acceptable due to the additional safety measures in place for our customers. All our trips operating at high altitude meet our internal altitude-safety standards, which minimise the risk of serious incidents occurring while travelling at altitude.

Several medical conditions or medications can reduce your body’s ability to acclimatise. This may affect your performance and make you more susceptible to AMS. If you are worried about any pre-existing conditions, such as heart conditions, or your overall physical ability, you must seek medical advice prior to booking. The drug Diamox (also known as acetazolamide and normally only available on prescription) has been shown to aid acclimatisation in some individuals, and therefore may reduce the risk of AMS. Clients considering using Diamox should speak to their doctor about the drug, its side-effects and a prescription. While we endeavour to assist all our clients in achieving their goals, there may be times when your leader decides to delay or stop your ascent based on your overall condition or the onset of AMS.

If you are not taking out Exodus Travel Insurance, make sure your policy covers you up to the maximum altitude on this trip (if trekking in the Himalaya your policy should also cover the use of a helicopter for emergency medical evacuation).


Hotels and jungle lodge (plus camping on Inca Trail option)

Peru Explorer

This itinerary has a diverse blend of three-star hotels, each reflecting the three different regions this trip takes in. Those who select the Inca Trail option will be treated to our fully supported camp services with cooks, guides and porters. The normal accommodations used on this trip can be found on the day-to-day itinerary; however, below are some of the notable places we stay.

Arequipa: Su Majestad Hotel (nights 5-6)

Peru Explorer

This boutique hotel is in a beautiful mansion from 1801, its construction based on the white ashlar and volcanic stone with which the old colonial buildings were built. Pots of geraniums and other plants adorn the passages and patios highlighting the architectural beauty and unique charm of the hotel.

Optional Inca Trail: Full-service camping (nights 12-14)

Inca Trail, Titicaca & Nazca

Those who choose to take our classic four-day Inca Trail trek sleep among Andean peaks and wake to mountain views. It’ll be the adventure of a lifetime for some, but not one without comforts. We sleep and dine in good-quality four-season tents. We also have a toilet tent set up both in camp and during lunch stops. We stay in official campsites where additional bathroom facilities are available.

Amazon: Cayman Lodge Amazonia (nights 18-19)

Inca Trail & the Amazon Rainforest

Cayman Lodge Amazonia, near the Tambopata National Reserve, offers simple all-inclusive comfort in an Amazon jungle setting. The wooden lodges are built with the type of thatched roofs typically seen in the surrounding jungle communities. The rooms are simple, and all have private bathrooms with running water at room temperature. Electricity is available in the main lodge during mealtimes, while in the bedrooms, lighting is provided by lanterns or candles. There is also a restaurant serving delicious local cuisine, a bar for refreshing drinks, and guided excursions to explore the rich biodiversity of the surrounding rainforest.

Worth knowing

  • Single rooms can be booked for an optional single supplement, subject to availability at the time of booking (excludes two nights in the Amazon lodge). If you are taking the Inca Trail option, this supplement covers the cost of a single tent for the duration of the trek.

Single supplement from £ 645

Food & Drink

All breakfasts, six lunches and four dinners are included. For those doing the Inca Trail trek option, all meals, some snacks, and drinks/water are included during the trek.

Drinking water is included throughout as the tap water in Peru is not safe to drink; boiled and filtered drinking water is provided on the trek and elsewhere your leader buys large water containers from which you can refill your bottle.

Hotel breakfasts are normally simple buffets, usually including bread/toast and jam, cereal, sometimes eggs or cooked dishes, sometimes fruit, tea/coffee and fruit juice. Regrettably, we cannot guarantee that wheat-/gluten-free products are available for breakfast in all locations – if you have an intolerance you may wish to bring your own breakfast food.

We also try a traditional pachamanca, a meal cooked on hot coals in the ground.

Where lunch and dinner are not included, we visit a variety of cafes and restaurants. For some of the days with long drives, we may take some packed lunches to eat at a scenic spot along the way.

Peruvian cuisine is loved for its flavours and originality; it’s well worth digging into the local delicacies. Among these are ceviche (seafood or fish marinated in lime juice), lomo saltado (a Peruvian take on a beef stir-fry), and various hearty soups including the delicious quinoa soup. Other dishes include roasted cuy (guinea pig) and alpaca steak. To drink, there’s pisco sour, the national beverage.


A variety of transport is used during this tour and vehicle types may vary depending on group size: travel is by train, boat, bus and three internal flights.

Airport transfers are by private car or minibus. All main road journeys are by private minibus or coach, which have heating/air-conditioning and may or may not have a toilet. On Day 5, we have a full-day drive from Nazca to Arequipa, which is approximately 12 hours, including time for lunch and comfort stops.

We travel by train (with Peru Rail) between Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes (the town below Machu Picchu) in expedition class. Seating is four seats to a table, carriages have panoramic windows and there is air conditioning/heating.

The boat on Lake Titicaca is private to our group and there is a guide from one of the Lake Titicaca island communities. The boat is enclosed as it can get cold at this altitude but there are large windows on all sides and an outside deck to the rear. Life jackets are provided. In the Amazon, we may share boats with other lodge guests.

Inca Trail option: This point-to-point trekking trip requires you to walk between each overnight stay under your own steam.

Weather & Seasonality

The diverse geography of Peru results in a very varied climate between different regions. The coastal desert, including Lima, is generally dry but cloudy through most of the year. The exception is January to March when the skies are clear and the temperatures rise.

In Cuzco and the Andes, April to November is the dry season; during these months the sky is generally bright and clear with strong sunshine in the mornings, sometimes clouding over as the day progresses. In the Andes, however, anything is possible at any time of year, including cloud rolling up from the Amazon basin, rain or even snow, and rapid and unexpected changes! During the dry season, temperatures at night can dip to around the freezing mark (and sometimes below) particularly around Lake Titicaca.

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.

While the Amazon Rainforest is generally warm and humid, it can be subject to drops in temperature caused by cold fronts pushing in from the south – this can occur at any time of year but happens most often in June and July. This can drop temperatures considerably and we recommend you take some warm clothing with you to the lodge in case of sudden weather changes.

Joining Instructions

Key information

Start hotel: Hotel El Tambo Uno, Avenida la Paz 1276, Miraflores 15074, Lima
Phone: +51 1 2194080
Recommended arrival time: You can arrive at any time today. There will be a welcome briefing in the evening, but if you miss it the leader will update you separately
Airport: Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM)

Getting to the start hotel

The start hotel is approximately 45 minutes’ drive from the airport. Exodus provides free arrival transfers to the start hotel from the airport for all customers.  If you would like further information on joining this trip, please speak to your sales representative.

Catching your return flight

Exodus provides free departure transfers for all customers to Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM) from the end hotel.

Please note, unless specified otherwise, the transfers will be to the start (or pre-tour) hotel and from the end (or post-tour) hotel and will be on the date on which the tour starts/ends; transfers to other hotels in the same city and/or on different dates may attract an extra charge. Transfers should be booked with your sales representative at least two weeks before the tour starts.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start: Lima
Location end: Lima

What To Take

Essential Equipment

  • Water bottle
  • Backpack or other smaller holdall – you will be asked to pack a smaller overnight bag for the trips to the jungle and Machu Picchu while your main luggage is kept in a secure location
  • Good sturdy shoes or walking boots
  • Layers of warm clothing
  • Warm fleece jacket
  • Gloves
  • Hats (for sun protection and also for warmth)
  • Waterproofs
  • Sunglasses
  • High SPF sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Good-strength torch (flashlight) with spare batteries (enough for one night’s short walk). There is only limited electricity at the lodge

On arrival at Puerto Maldonado, a small bag (which can take 17lb/8kg) is provided, in which you must pack only what you need to take into the jungle. A full list of suggested items will be given to you before or on arrival. The rest of your luggage is stored until your return. We strongly recommend storing electronics (cameras etc) in a sealed waterproof bag to prevent damage during transport on the rivers/lakes and during rain.

Inca Trail option

In addition to the standard packing list, we recommend you take the following if you are taking the Inca Trail trek option:

For a full Inca Trail kit list please see:

  • A three- or four-season sleeping bag
  • Comfortable, waterproof walking boots
  • Waterproof jacket and overtrousers (overpants)
  • Two water bottles (ideally metal or reusable Nalgene due to trail restrictions)
  • Backpack (between 25 litres and 35 litres should be sufficient for trekking days)
  • Several layers of clothing to cope with varying temperatures during the trek
  • A lightweight quick-drying towel

In Cuzco, Exodus provides a sleeping mat for the duration of the trek. The mat is full length and approximately 1.5in (4cm) thick when inflated. A sleeping bag is not included but is required for the trek. We recommend you hire this locally – from 64 soles (US$17.20) – through your leader in Cuzco to save carrying it for the duration of the trip.

Inca Trail baggage 

While any type of normal luggage or suitcase can be used for this trip, a soft kitbag (measuring approximately 27in x 12in/70cm x 30cm) will be needed for the trek portion (since porters cannot carry hard suitcases or bags with wheels).

If you book the Inca Trail option, we provide an Exodus kitbag to pack your luggage in while on trek. Once you have booked, you will be sent instructions on how to claim your free bag (they are not sent automatically). There are also details on how to claim for another item from the Exodus shop should you already have one of these. Please note, if you book less than three weeks before the departure date, we cannot guarantee your kitbag will arrive before your trip starts. If this is the case, please contact us on (or if you’re based in the US or Canada). See for full T&Cs.

As the kitbags do not have wheels, you may prefer to pack it inside your own wheelie case for ease of travelling to and moving through the airport. Your suitcase can then be left in Cuzco with anything not needed for the trek, while the kitbag is carried by your porter on trek. If, however, you can’t fit the Exodus kitbag in your main luggage (or do not receive one in time) then our local partners will provide a soft duffel bag in Cuzco (this should be returned to your leader after the trek).

Inca Trail weight restriction

There are strict regulations regarding luggage on the Inca Trail. These regulations are strictly enforced and were created to reduce environmental damage to the Inca Trail and to comply with porter work laws.

Porterage for up to 15lb (7kg) of personal gear is allowed on the Inca Trail trek. This is inclusive of your sleeping bag, which usually weighs approximately 4lb (1.8kg). Your sleeping mat, however, does not count towards your personal weight limit. If your packed kitbag exceeds the allowed weight, you must transfer excess items from your kitbag to your daypack.

Donations for porters 

The porters we work with are mostly from rural farming communities. If you have any old walking gear you no longer need, or any unwanted warm children’s clothing, these would be much appreciated by the porters and their families. Please leave any donations with your leader in Cuzco or you can give items directly to your porters on the last night of the trek.

Environmental considerations

We believe in reducing our negative environmental impact wherever possible, even when nature calls. If no facilities are available, you may need to go behind a tree, bush or rock. To avoid leaving toilet paper behind, we recommend taking biodegradable bags with you. Once you have done your business, put the used paper in the bag and dispose when appropriate facilities are available.

Water included

Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn’t yet widely available; they often end up in landfill or get burned. Both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. For your trip, we provide an alternative to single-use plastic bottles to reduce the plastic used. This means that safe drinking water will be available throughout; all you need to do is bring a bottle to refill along the way. Please add this to your packing list.

Optional Equipment

Trekking poles for the Inca Trail option and other walks (please note, they must be fitted with plastic or rubber tips if used on the Inca Trail due to environmental legislation). Walking poles with rubber tips can be hired through your leader in Cuzco from 26 soles (US$7) per pole. Walking poles are not permitted inside Machu Picchu without a medical certificate detailing their necessity.

  • Swimwear (for hot springs)
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Wet wipes
  • Small sewing kit with safety pins
  • Cold-water detergent or laundry soap (biodegradable)
  • Standard or inflatable neck pillow/personal music player/books etc for the long drives

Practical Information



Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally do not need a visa to enter Peru. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

If you are travelling via the USA and are eligible to transit under the Visa Waiver Program, you are required to register in advance for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). There is a US$21 charge, which is only payable online. Please see our website for further information.

Please note, not all nationalities have the same eligibility for travel to or transit via the USA, and you may not be covered by the visa waiver program. Regulations stipulate that any person who has travelled to Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen since March 2011, or have dual nationalities of these countries, may no longer qualify. In addition, if you have travelled to Cuba since 12 January 2021 you will not be eligible for the visa waiver program and should instead apply for a visa.

If you are in doubt of your eligibility, please check the visa requirements with your local US embassy.

Vaccinations and Health


There are no required vaccinations. However, recommended vaccinations include tetanus, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rabies, typhoid, tuberculosis and yellow fever. Additionally, Zika fever, a mosquito‐borne viral disease, is a known risk in Peru. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, so you should take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Please check all vaccination recommendations with your doctor or travel clinic.

Amazon: 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 doctor or travel clinic for further advice. We also strongly recommend that you obtain a yellow fever vaccination. Additionally, dengue fever and 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 take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Local Time

Peru's time zone: America/Lima (UTC -05:00)


Peru’s electricity: Plug types A (two flat pins), B (three pins: two flat, one round) and C (two round pins) – 220V, 60Hz.

There are no charging facilities on the Inca Trail, so we recommend you take spare batteries or a solar charger with you. In Amazon lodges, there is no mains electricity; a generator provides power for a few hours a day only in the main lodge/dining area, while lanterns, torches or candles are provided in the bedrooms.

Peru Explorer


Peru's currency: Peruvian nuevo sol (PEN)

ATM Availability

ATMs are available in the larger cities and towns and are particularly recommended since they often allow you to withdraw either US dollars or Peruvian soles and exchange rates are generally good. Most international credit and debit cards are accepted, but you should inform your bank you are travelling to Peru and check if your card works in the local ATMs. There are some ATMs in Aguas Calientes, but they do sometimes run out of cash so it is a good idea to take your spending money for Machu Picchu with you on the trek itself. Credit card acceptance is increasing, but generally they can be used only at the large (and more expensive) restaurants and shops. Check with your card provider to ensure your card can be used in Peru.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Most major currencies including British pounds, euros and US dollars can easily be changed into local currency (sol) at money exchanges in Peru, although US dollars usually attract the best exchange rates. Torn, damaged or marked foreign bills are often refused in Peru.

We recommend either taking cash with you to change into sol locally or using local ATMs to withdraw money in Peru as you go, so you are not left with excess at the end of your trip. It is a good idea to change a small amount into sol at the counters in the baggage hall upon arrival. Change is often in short supply, so ask for small denomination banknotes and try to break up any large notes at the earliest opportunity.

It is possible to obtain Peruvian sol before you travel but exchange rates can be lower than exchanging money locally in Peru. Some larger establishments and hotels accept US dollars, but the vast majority of places only accept sol.

Food, drinks and similar incidentals can vary in price enormously in Peru and are relatively expensive compared to other developing nations. Allow about 55-75 soles (US$15-US$20) per meal to eat at tourist-class restaurants. Cheaper food is abundant at small local cafes, although sanitary conditions at these places cannot be guaranteed. Bottled water and soft drinks are readily available for around 4-8 soles (US$1‐US$2) each.

Peruvian airport taxes are included in the price of your flight ticket, so there is no need to pay these locally.

Please note, there is a possibility the Peruvian Ministry of Tourism may increase entrance fees to archaeological sites at any time. If this happens, we will inform you of the increase and the additional amount is payable locally.

Peruvian passport or identity card holders
The cost of Exodus trips in Peru is based on the assumption you do not hold a Peruvian passport or residents card. If you are officially resident in Peru or a Peruvian passport holder, you will be liable to an additional 18 percent tax on most services. This extra sum is payable locally to our local partner. Other nationalities are exempt from this tax. Please notify us at the time of booking if you are legally resident in Peru or hold a Peruvian passport so we can advise you of the total cost of these taxes.

Optional excursions

Your tour leader can tell you about the full range of optional excursions available throughout your trip; however, we have listed the most popular below.

Prices of excursions vary depending on the number of people taking part. The prices given within these Trip Notes are based on four participants and are intended as a guideline only. All tours use private transport and there will be an English-speaking guide. Please note, cash is the preferred method of payment for any of the optional activities. 

A Partial Tourist Ticket (BTG) is required for entrance to the sites in and around Cuzco and the Sacred Valley – this is not included in the excursion prices below but can be purchased locally from 70 soles (approximately US$21).

For some activities, a minimum number of participants may be required. Some activities may not always be possible due to weather, seasonality, national holidays, or unforeseen circumstances.

  • Nazca: Nazca Lines scenic flight (approximate 35-minute flight):From US$100 (plus 25 soles airport tax). Please note, there can be up to four hours of waiting to board your scenic flight. Please also note that anyone over 198lb (90kg) might be charged for a second seat due to weight restrictions and regulations. Peruvian sol is the preferred currency for this payment.
  • Cuzco: Sacred Valley tour (eight hours): From US$58 per person (based on four participants), excludes BTG. Drive to the Sacred Valley, stopping at El Mirador viewpoint en route. Visit Pisac Market and fortress and Ollantaytambo; return to Cuzco.
  • Cuzco: South Valley tour (seven hours): From US$63 per person (based on four participants), excludes BTG. Visit the little-known valley to the south of Cuzco, including the terraces at Tipon, the pre-Inca ruins of Pikillaqta and the Sistine Chapel of the Americas in Andahuaylillas (entrance included); return to Cuzco.
  • Zip-line (eight to nine hours):From US$60 per person. Includes transport, security equipment, specialised guide, box lunch.
  • Via ferrata (eight to nine hours):From US$60 per person. Includes transport, security equipment, specialised guide, box lunch.
  • Via ferrata and zip line (eight to nine hours):From US$100 per person. Includes transport, security equipment, specialised guide, box lunch.
  • Mountain biking in the Sacred Valley (seven hours): From US$130 per person (based on two participants). Includes private transfer, security equipment, specialised guide, box lunch.
  • White-water rafting (eight hours):From US$140 per person (minimum of two participants). Drive to the Chiquicahuana area of the Southern Valley to start rafting in Vilcanota River. Spend two to three hours rafting and experiencing level III and III+ rapids. Finish your adventure with a picnic lunch before heading back to Cuzco. Activity available from April to December.


It has become customary in Peru for local staff to receive tips, which can be an important source of extra income for hard-working crew. Whether to tip and how much to tip should be a personal decision; however, we have included some guidelines below. Please note that Peruvian sol is the preferred currency for tips.

Tipping kitty: We recommend running a tipping kitty on this trip. A tipping kitty means we tip as a group, and individuals don’t need to worry about giving out small tips to various people who have helped during the trip (ie drivers, local guides, boatmen, hotel staff). The contribution per person per day we suggest is 15 soles (US$5).

Tour leader: Leaders are fairly paid for their role but are always grateful for recognition of their skills and hard work. Tips for your leader should be based on their performance and engagement with the group. If you’re happy with the leader’s work, we recommend somewhere around 15 soles (US$5) per person per day, but customers are encouraged to contribute what they feel happy giving – either less or more than the amount suggested above.

Trek option: On the final trek morning, trekkers distribute pooled funds among guide(s), kitchen crew and porters. Your leader will suggest how this should be divided. Porters (or horse wranglers) also appreciate receiving donations of old clothes that are in good condition, including children’s clothes.

  • Inca Trail trek: In addition to the group tipping kitty, you should budget an additional 160-210 soles (US$50-US$65) for tips for your trekking crew. Approximately 200-300 soles of the group trekking kitty would be an appropriate amount for your trek leader.

People, Places & Planet

We work hard to create trips that improve life for the people and places we visit and look after the planet we explore. Find out more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here, and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:


How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • The use of a local guide means our customers are well informed about local traditions and cultural-social sensitivities.
  • This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally owned hotels and restaurants, the emphasis on eating locally produced food, and by supporting other local enterprises.
  • The Inca Trail porters we work with are not directly employed by our local partner, but we work with the same communities each year. They are fairly paid and we also 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.
  • We’re passionate about the welfare of our Inca Trail porters. Alongside setting the golden standard for fair treatment, we’ve taken the next step with our pioneering Porter Project. In Peru, despite trekking the Inca Trail numerous times, most porters never have the opportunity to visit Machu Picchu. We’ve taken the initiative to fix this and in 2018 started a project to ensure each of our porters has the opportunity to experience an important part of their own cultural heritage. We can now proudly say more than 164 porters have been involved this project, and our mini-documentary Carried Away about our porters has helped raise awareness of the awesome job these porters do.
  • Funded by the Community Kickstart Project, our operator is working with Medlife to deliver emergency food parcels to the households of porters and other staff members who have continuously worked hard to guide our clients along the Inca Trail.


How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • By travelling in a small group, led by a local guide, we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment.
  • When visiting Machu Picchu, the costs of permits and for our guided tour go towards the upkeep and maintenance of the site.
  • We adhere to all Machu Picchu regulations. There are limited permits to reduce overcrowding and damage due to footfall, but our guides and porters are still very mindful of how we treat the environment. We have a strict ‘leave no trace’ policy, meaning we have respect for wildlife and the landscape, separate rubbish and take all waste back to a proper disposal place.
  • We work with our partners on the ground to proactively eliminate or reduce waste, for example eliminating all single-use plastic water bottles and instead providing refills for reusable bottles. Our local operator provides water boxes instead of water bottles to provide water to the passengers. The boxes are taken back to the office in Cuzco for proper recycling.
  • We operate a zero-impact policy on the Inca Trail removing all waste from campsites and separating it so it can be easily recycled or composted. This ensures no rubbish or plastic is left behind in the places we visit.
  • Our local operator has been certified and verified by Rainforest Alliance since 2015.
  • Our Animal Welfare Policy ensures all our trips adhere to ABTA’s industry-leading animal welfare guidelines to ensure the best possible practices with regards to working animals and wildlife viewing.


How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • Through our Planet Promise, we have pledged to halve the carbon footprint of our trips by 2030 and made rewilding and carbon compensation commitments for every customer who travels.
  • Accommodation and restaurants in the itinerary use locally sourced food which has not been transported long distances.
  • Vegetarian options are available at majority of accommodation and restaurants.

Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish behind in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, we’d ask you to consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Please bring your own reusable water bottle on this trip; filtered water will be provided where tap water is not drinkable.

Important Information

Water safety

This trip includes time by a lake, river or sea, where there may be opportunities to swim. You should always seek local advice before deciding whether to swim. Open-water or wild swim spots should be treated with extreme caution. Information on how to keep yourself safe while swimming is shown here.

Inca Trail regulations

There are several important Inca Trail regulations 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 eight weeks before departure and wish to transfer your deposit to another departure or another trip the transfer fee is approximately £150 (US$210 / CA$252 / AU$308 / €191) as we will lose the permit we have purchased on your behalf. This is an amendment to our Booking Conditions. No transfers are possible within eight 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 (US$35 / CA$42 / AU$52 / €32). For this reason, we strongly recommend that you make a copy of your passport at the time of booking and keep it somewhere safe.
  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 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: While your departure date may be ‘Guaranteed’, your Inca Trail permit itself will initially be ‘On Request’. If you’re travelling within the current year, we 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. If we are unable to get your permit, we will contact you to discuss your options.

Machu Picchu regulations

  1. Tickets are valid for one entry
  2. We spend approximately three hours at Machu Picchu and our guided tour lasts about two hours
  3. Upon finishing our one-way Machu Picchu guided tour, we must exit the site

Please note, we visit Machu Picchu in the morning or afternoon to avoid the peak entry time (10am to midday).

Important Information

Your safe participation 

When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary. 

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity. 

By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred. 

How to Book

  1. Check availability: Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.
  2. Secure your place: You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.
  3. Complete your booking and payment

When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.

After booking

You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.

Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.

Trip Note validity

These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.


Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.