Salt Pans of Maras, Peru

Incas & Intrigue in Peru Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
Destinations:
Peru
Programmes:
Exodus Edits
Trip Code:
EPT
Activity Rating - Moderate
Moderate

You are moderately fit and possess a spirit of adventure. Some previous experience is required for most activity based trips.

9 Days Land only

Trip Overview

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

At a Glance

  • Eight nights in en suite hotels
  • Airport transfers 

Trip Highlights

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

Is This Trip for You?

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

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

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

Inca Trail Regulations

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

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

Notes about Machu Picchu

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

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

Min group size:
6
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Cuzco
End City:
Cuzco

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Get to know Cuzco on a walking tour

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

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

  • Day 2

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

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

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

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 3

    Cycle the Sacred Valley

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

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

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

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
  • Day 4

    Visit a rural community, then discover the ruins at Pisac

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

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

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
  • Day 5

    Join the inimitable Inca Trail

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

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

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
  • Day 6

    Epic Day Klaxon: tour Machu Picchu

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

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

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

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 7

    A citadel and chocolate day

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

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Climb the remarkable Rainbow Mountain

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

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

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

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
  • Day 9

    Return to the airport

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

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Hotels

San Agustin Monasterio La Recoleta

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

Xima Hotel

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

Hatun Inti Classic

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

Where a solo room is available, paying for a solo room only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for solo occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a solo room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a solo room.

Solo supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts, four lunches and one dinner included

Joining Instructions

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.

Transfers Details

Exodus Edits offers FREE airport arrival and departure transfers on any flight for this trip, for both Land Only and Flight Inclusive clients. Unless specified otherwise, the transfer will be to the Exodus Edits 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 may be shared with other Exodus Edits customers on the same flight, or on a flight with similar arrival times. All those taking advantage of the free airport transfers must provide full flight details for both arrival and departure in advance. 

We know that the unexpected can happen. Your plane may get delayed, or things just don’t go to plan. If you miss your tour departure, check with the hotel to see if your tour leader has left you a message with details of how to catch up with your group. If not, call our emergency number (you will find it on the final joining instructions) and our team will help you. Don’t forget that you are responsible for any extra travelling expenses incurred if you miss your tour departure.

Flights

Remember, flights aren’t automatically included in your trip. If you’d like the Exodus Edits team to help you find some good options, give us a call on +44 020 8772 3837.

Location start:
Cuzco
Location end:
Cuzco

What to Take

Essential Equipment

  • Daypack
  • Small overnight bag for Machu Pichu (your main luggage will be kept securely in Cuzco)
  • Sturdy shoes or walking boots
  • Warm jacket
  • Layers of warm clothing
  • Hats for warmth and sun protection
  • Waterproofs

Water Included

Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn’t yet widely available; they often end up in landfill sites or get burnt, 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 in order to reduce the amount of plastic used. This means that safe drinking water will be available throughout so all you need to do is bring a bottle to re-fill along the way. Please add this to your packing list!

Practical Information

Passport

Peru

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry into Peru. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Peru

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

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

If you are travelling via the USA and are eligible to transit under the Visa Waiver Programme (most British and western European citizens with a machine readable passport are), you are now required to register in advance for an Electronic Travel Authority (ESTA). There is a US$14 charge for the ESTA, which is only payable online with a credit card. Please see our website www.exodus.co.uk/usvisa for further information. All other nonresidents passing through the US must get a visa in advance. Check with your local embassy or consulate for more details on how to obtain a visa.

Vaccination

Peru

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements.

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

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

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

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

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

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. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Altitude warning

This trip includes one or more nights over 3500m 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 and 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 is acceptable due to the additional safety measures that are in place for our customers. All our trips operating at high altitude meet our internal altitude safety standards that minimise the risk of serious incidents occurring whilst travelling at altitude.

A number of 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. Please note that 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 that 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).

Exodus Edits

Local Time

Peru's Timezone:
America/Lima -05 (GMT -05:00)

Electricity

Peru's Electricity:

220 Volts/60hz. Most sockets will take both European round pin plugs and flat U.S. plugs. On camping treks, spare batteries or a solar charger may come in handy. If staying in an Amazon lodge there is no mains electricity; a generator will provide power for a few hours a day only in the main lodge/dining area, whilst lanterns, torches or candles will be provided in the bedrooms.

Money

Peru's Currency

The national currency of Peru is the Peruvian Nuevo Sol (PEN), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (August 2019) of approximately 4.08 to the GBP, 3.38 to the USD, 2.55 to the CAD, 3.79 to the EUR, 2.29 to the AUD and 2.18 to the NZD.

Most major currencies including Sterling, Euros and US Dollars can easily be changed into local currency (Sol) at all bureau de change in Peru, although US Dollars usually attract the best exchange rates. Torn, damaged or marked foreign bills are often refused in Peru.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

  • To cover any additional costs, including meals not included in the itinerary, we recommend a spending budget of £150-£200, not including alcoholic drinks.
  • Food, drinks and similar incidentals can vary in price enormously in Peru and are relatively expensive compared to other developing nations. Allow about US$15‐20 per meal not included to eat at good 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 US$1‐2 each.
  • Tipping is customary in Peru.  Although entirely at your discretion, it is usually expected. To recognise the help of drivers, local guides, hotel staff and others, a group tipping kitty (managed by the tour leader) shared with your group can work well. The contribution per person per day we suggest is US$5 (PEN 15).
  • Our local staff are paid well and fairly for their work with Exodus. If you wish to tip your group leader in appreciation of their help and friendliness, we recommend somewhere around US$5 (PEN 15) per person per day, but customers are encouraged to contribute what they feel happy giving – either less or more than the amount suggested above.
  • Please note that PEN is the preferred currency for tips.
VIew over Machu Picchu

Responsible Tourism

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

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

Live Adventure, Give Adventure.

Each time you book an adventure with Edits, we’ll contribute £15 to the Inspiration Project. That’s enough money to fund a day trip for a local child. Since 2017, our guides have been taking disadvantaged children to see their country’s famous sights and you’ll help us do this more in 2020.

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake 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.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances 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.

On all trips

In 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 you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 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.

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; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, 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.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

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. Book with confidence: 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 monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.