The Salkantay Trek Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
Destinations:
Peru
Programmes:
Walking & Trekking
Trip Code:
TPS
Activity Rating - Challenging
Challenging

You have a good level of fitness and are looking for a physically challenging holiday.  Previous experience is essential for activity based trips.

16 Days Flight Inclusive
14 Days Land only
Min age: 16

Trip Overview

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. Salkantay (6271m) and its creaking glaciers. The trek continues through remote villages and crosses the spectacular Inca Chiriasqa Pass, and finishes by exploring the Inca temples and fortresses of Cuzco and the Sacred Valley.

At a Glance

  • 7 nights en suite hotels and 6 nights full-service camping
  • 7 days point-to-point walking with full porterage
  • 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

Trip Highlights

  • 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 Salkantay (6271m) and its glaciers
  • Spend four nights in Cuzco, the old Inca capital
  • Explore the fortresses and markets of the Sacred Valley

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.

List of Regulations for visiting Machu Picchu:

The main points impacting your visit are the following:

  1. The tickets are valid only for one entry which means that you cannot leave the site and re-enter.
  2. Once you have done the chosen circuit with your guide, you cannot walk back to view anything already visited and once you finish the circuit, you will have to leave the site. You can no longer explore the site further after the guided tour.
  3. The two visit times for visiting the site, either 6am-12pm or 12-16.30pm.
  4. The local authorities have restricted the temples which can visited at Machu Picchu depending on the time of the visit to the site.

These regulations will affect how long you are able to spend at Machu Picchu and which temples you can visit.  In the past, after the guided tour passengers could stay longer to explore the site, this is not possible anymore. The alternative that we are implementing on our visits to allow you further time, is to explore the upper part of Machu Picchu (Sun Gate and Inca Bridge) before starting the guided tour.  The guided tour will be about 2 hrs in duration, and unfortunately at the end of it, you will need to exit the site. You will be able to visit the Condor’s Temple, but not the Sun Dial Temple or the Sun Temple on this itinerary.

 Schedule of visit to Machu Picchu on this itinerary:

  • Early bus to Machu Picchu and explore upper part with the tour leader
  • Between 9-10am start the guided tour
  • Between 11.30am-12.30pm passengers leave Machu Picchu

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.

Group

On this trip we have a local tour leader, and for the trek we may also have an assistant guide, depending on group size. While trekking, we have a cook and assistant cook for the duration, mule/horse wranglers for the first half (to Huayllabamba) and human porters for the Inca Trail itself.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
4
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

TPS Trip Map

Land Only

Start City:
Cuzco
End City:
Cuzco

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
London
End City:
London

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start 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.

    Hotel Koyllur / Warari (or similar)

  • Day 2

    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.

    Hotel Koyllur /  Warari (or similar)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
    Distance covered: 6.5 km / 4 miles
    Activity (hours):
    5-6 (inclusive of the time for visiting the sites)
  • Day 3

    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.

    Hotel Koyllur /  Warari (or similar)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Drive to Marcocasa; trek to camp at Soraypampa.

    A few hours drive via the interesting Inca remains of Tarawasi (optional) takes us high to the hill town of Mollepata (2980m) where we make a brief stop, before continuing on to Marcocsa (3515m), where we will start our trek. We trek from here to our campsite near of Soraypampa (3910m) where we spend our first night under canvas. The total driving time is approx. 4 hours, and the walk will take around 5-6 hours of uphill and steady climbing along well-made tracks.

    Full-service Camping

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 11 km / 6.8 miles
    Activity (hours):
    5-6
  • Day 5

    Optional walk to Humantay Lagoon and climb up to base of Salkantay.

    Start your day with an optional 3 hour (return) walk to Humantay Lagoon to see the magnificent water mirror in the middle of the Andes. Return for an early lunch at the campsite of Soraypampa (3910m), and then continue our ascent towards the massive bulk of Salkantay (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
    Distance covered: 7 km / 4.3 miles
    Activity (hours):
    4-5
  • Day 6

    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
    Distance covered: 12 km / 7 miles
    Activity (hours):
    6-7
  • Day 7

    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
    Distance covered: 7 km / 4 miles
    Activity (hours):
    5-6
  • Day 8

    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
    Distance covered: 10 km / 6.2 miles
    Activity (hours):
    6.5-7.5
  • Day 9

    Over Runcuray Pass (3800m) to ruins of Sayajmarca and Phuyupatamarca.

    We start today with an easier climb, past the small ruins of Runcuracay, which takes us over the Runcuracay Pass (3800m), 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
    Distance covered: 12 km / 7.5 miles
    Activity (hours):
    5-6
  • Day 10

    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. 

    Hotel Inti Punku El Tambo (or similar)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
    Distance covered: 9 km / 5.6 miles
    Activity (hours):
    6-7
  • Day 11

    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. 

    New regulations for visiting Machu Picchu are now fully enforced; 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.

    Tunupa Lodge (or similar)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 12

    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.

    Hotel Koyllur / Warari (or similar)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 13

    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 then down to Sacred Valley through ancient communities, farming fields and amazing Andean landscape. 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.

    Hotel Koyllur / Warari (or similar)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 14

    End Cuzco.

    For land only travellers, the trip ends in Cuzco after breakfast today. Those who are travelling on the group flights will be taken to Cuzco airport for your overnight international flight to London.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
Altitude charts

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders. Please note that different GPS measuring devices can give differing results dependent on the barometric pressures at the time. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter.

Extend Your Trip

Amazon Rainforest extension (from Cuzco)

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.

Price from: £449 (compulsory supplement of £80 for single travellers)

Lake Titicaca extension

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

Please ask your sales consultant for more details. 

Price from: £209 (compulsory supplement of £48 for single travellers)

Accommodation

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.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single 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 single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £310.00

Food & Transport

Eating & 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.

Transportation

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

Airport transfers are by private car or mini-bus. All main road journeys are by private mini-bus or coach with heating/air-conditioning.

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

On Day 11 (for the guided tour of Machu Picchu) we take the public bus for the short journey between Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu - this is the only transport option available on this route as private vehicles are not permitted. Queues can be very long first thing in the morning, especially during the peak summer months.

This point to point trekking holiday requires customers to walk between each overnight stay under their own steam. Other forms of transport may be available along the route (horses, jeeps etc) but Exodus is not able to take responsibility for the safety or the cost of any transport that customers choose to take even if provided with the assistance of our leader or staff.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

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.

Weather Charts

Cuzco, Peru

Cuzco, Peru

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 16 days

The group flight from London is an overnight flight departing the day before Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of Avianca (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Internal flights during the trip are normally with Lan Peru.

Travelling land only: 14 days starting and ending in Cuzco

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Cuzco in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Collecting baggage in Lima

If you are flying via Lima, you will need to collect your baggage in Lima, even if your bag has been checked all the way through to Cuzco (and even if you are told in London that you do not need to pick it up). After collecting the bag, you are required to clear customs, and you should then drop it off at the bag drop for the onward flight. If you do not pick up your bag, there is a chance it may not reach Cuzco for the start of the trek. This is a requirement of Lima airport and also applies to your return flight.

As advice about luggage allowances for both hand and hold luggage is subject to change, we suggest you check the airline's website for the latest information prior to your departure. The usual, standard check-in baggage weight allowance is 20kg.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Free Transfers

Exodus 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 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 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. 

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

The cost of a taxi is likely to be about US$10 should you decide to make your way independently.

Location start:
Cuzco
Location end:
Cuzco

What to Take

Essential Equipment

3 or 4-season sleeping bag (4-season essential for May-August departures)

Warm jacket
Several layers of clothing to cope with varying temperatures during the trek
Leather or lightweight walking boots
Warm hat and gloves
Waterproof jacket and over trousers
Sunglasses
2 x 1-litre water bottles (ideally metal or reusable Nalgene due to trail restrictions)
Daypack (between 25 and 35 litres should be sufficient for trekking days)
A lightweight quick-drying towel
Insect repellent
Small trek towel

Exodus provides (in Cuzco) a sleeping mat for the duration of the trek. The mat is full length and approximately 4cm thick when inflated.

A sleeping bag is not included but is required for the trek - these can be hired locally through your leader in Cuzco from US$35 (PEN112).

Inca Trail Baggage & Weight Restriction

Whilst any type of normal luggage or suitcase can be used for this holiday, a soft kitbag or duffel bag (measuring approximately 70cms x 30cms) will need to be used for the trek portion (since porters cannot carry hard suitcases or bags with wheels etc.). 

If you book this trip, we provide an Exodus kitbag to pack your luggage in whilst on trek. Once you have booked you will be sent instructions on how to claim your free bag (they will not be sent out automatically). There are also details on how to claim for another item from the Exodus shop should you already have one of these. If you book via an agent, it is at the agent’s discretion and you should speak directly to them to arrange delivery. Please note that if you book less than three weeks before the departure date we cannot guarantee that your kitbag will arrive before your trip starts, so if this is the case please contact us on [email protected] to let us know. For full T&Cs see www.exodus.co.uk/kitbags.

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, whilst the kitbag will be 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).

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 porters work laws.

Porterage for up to 10kg of personal gear is allowed on the Inca Trail section of this trek. This is inclusive of your sleeping bag, which usually weights approx. 1.8kg. Your sleeping mat, however, does not count towards your personal weight limit. If your packed duffel bag exceeds the allowed weight, you will have to transfer excess items from your duffel bag to your daypack.

On days 5-7 of the trip (before the official start of the Inca Trail) we use mules, and the 10kg restriction is not enforced. When we arrive in Huayllabamba on day 7 the group have to weigh their gear, and excess (which can include dirty clothes, books etc.) can be sent out with the horsemen to Cuzco. This excess luggage will then be reunited with the group back in Cuzco.

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 alternatively, you can give items directly to your porters on the last night of the trek.

Environmental Considerations

We believe in reducing our negative environmental impacts wherever possible, this goes for when you need to spend a penny in the great outdoors! If no facilities are available there may come a time when you need to go to the loo behind a tree/bush/rock. To avoid leaving toilet paper behind we recommend taking biodegradable dog poo/sandwich bags with you. Once you have done your business you can pop the used toilet roll in here and take it off the mountain or trail at the end of the day and dispose of it when there are appropriate facilities 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 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!

Optional Equipment

We strongly recommend taking trekking poles for the Inca Trail, as the number of steps can be hard on the knees, but please note that due to recent environmental legislation poles must have a plastic tip or protector fitted on the end. Walking poles with rubber tips can be hired through your leader in Cuzco from US$14 (PEN45) per pole. Please note that walking poles are not permitted inside the ruins of Machu Picchu without a medical certificate detailing their necessity.

We also recommend: A small sewing kit (with safety pins), wet wipes, cold water detergent or laundry soap (biodegradable), a personal music player/ books / pack of cards, swimwear for hot springs. We strongly recommend storing electronics (cameras etc) in a sealed waterproof bag to prevent damage during rain.

Internal Flights Weight Limit

The weight limit for internal flights in this destination is generally 20kg.

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.

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).

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

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.

There are no facilities to recharge batteries from days 4-10 so we recommend taking either plenty of spare batteries or a solar charger whilst on the trek. 

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.

ATM Availability

ATMs are available in the larger cities and towns and are particularly recommended since they often allow you to withdraw either Dollars or 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 will work in the local ATMs. There are several 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. You should check with your card provider to ensure your card can be used in Peru. We do not recommend taking travellers cheques as these are becoming increasingly difficult to exchange.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

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 will 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 US$15-20 per meal not included 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 US$1-2 each.

You may want to hire equipment for your trek in Cuzco - please see the Packing Section for prices.

Please note that 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 will be payable locally.

Peruvian Passport or Identity Card Holders

Please note that the cost of Exodus holidays in Peru is based on the assumption that you do not hold a Peruvian passport or resident's card. If you are officially resident in Peru or are a Peruvian passport holder, you will be liable to an additional 18% tax on the majority of services, and this extra sum will be 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 that we can advise you of the total cost of these taxes.

Optional Excursions

Your tour leader will be able to tell you about the full range of optional excursions available throughout your holiday however the most popular ones are as follows:

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 PEN70 (approx. US$21).

South Valley tour (full day – 7 hours): From US$66 per person (based on 4 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.

Cuzco: Stand Up Paddle (half day – 4 hours): From US$55 per person. Minimum of 2 participants. Fruit, water and hot drinks included.

Cuzco: Zip-Line (full day – 8-9 hours): From US $66 per person. Includes Transport security equipment, specialized guide, box Lunch.

Cuzco: Via Ferrata (full day – 8-9 hours): From US$66 per person. Includes Transport, security equipment, specialized guide, box Lunch.

Cuzco: Via Ferrata + Zip line( full day – 8-9 hours): From US$100 per person. Includes Transport, security equipment, specialized guide, box Lunch.

Mountain Biking Excursion in the Sacred Valley (full day – 7 hours): From US$172 per person (based on 2 participants). Includes private transfer, security equipment, specialized guide, box lunch.

Classic Rainbow Mountain (Full day – 8  hours): From US$ 94 per person (based on 4 participants). This famous trek takes you up to 5200 m. Rainbow mountain is one of the most impressive geologic features in Cusco region. The mountain is striped with colours ranging from turquoise to lavender to maroon and gold. Price includes transportation, guide, entrance fee and box lunch.

White Water Rafting (full day – 8 hours): From US$130 per person (minimum of 2 participants). Drive to the Chiquicahuana area of the Southern Valley to start rafting in Vilcanota river. Spend 2-3 hours rafting and experiencing rapids level III and III+. Finish your adventure with a picnic lunch before heading back to Cusco. Activity available from April-December.

Prices of excursions vary depending on the number of people taking part. The prices given within these Trip Notes are based on 4 participants and are intended as a guideline only. Actual prices will be more for smaller group sizes and less for larger group sizes. All tours use private transport and there will be an English-speaking guide. Please note that cash is the preferred method of payment for any of the optional activities. 

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.

Tipping

Exodus encourages customers to tip local support staff if they would like to. In Peru, it has become customary for local staff to receive tips and these tips can be an important source of extra income for hard-working crew. While whether and how much to tip should be a personal decision, customers often ask us for a suggestion of appropriate amounts for different individuals. Together with our local partner we have prepared some guidelines which we hope will be useful. Your leader will provide additional information.  Please note that PEN is the preferred currency for tips.

Tipping Kitty: On this trip we recommend running a tipping kitty. 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 (i.e. drivers, local guides, hotel staff). The tipping kitty excludes tips for Inca Trail (or Moonstone) trekking crew and the Tour Leader. The contribution per person per day we suggest is US$5 (PEN 15).

Tour Leader: Leaders are fairly paid for their role but are of course 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, and if you are happy with the leader’s work, we recommend somewhere between PEN140 and PEN240 per person, but customers are encouraged to contribute what they feel happy giving - either less or more than the amount suggested above. Those on the Moonstone Trek may prefer to give towards the lower end as the Tour Leader does not accompany you on the Moonstone Trek. 

Tipping of your trekking crew

The trekking crew is made up of guides, cooks, kitchen staff, and porters (or horsemen on the Moonstone Trek). Tips are best arranged on a group basis, and a volunteer from the group should gather the money and split the total collected into smaller amounts for each person. This is normally done on the last night of the trek. Your leader will be happy to assist as needed. 

The recommended contribution per group member is PEN300-400 (or PEN 340-440 pp for small groups of 6 or less). 

Responsible Tourism

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.

Café Manos Unidas is the first vocational training site for young adults with special needs. Students are trained across all aspects of hospitality and the food is prepared by the students on site. It's a great way to interact with locals, while also giving those who would normally be isolated from society the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. Exodus support this cafe, and you will have the opportunity to visit it in Cuzco if you wish. 

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… 

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.