Classic Inca Trail

Embark on the age-old adventure of the Inca Trail trek, the most famous of hiking tours in Peru. This Peru tour provides the adventurous traveler with an invigorating high-mountain hiking experience. If you seek to explore the culture, history, and natural majesty of the Peruvian Andes, this trip is for you. From the bustling markets of Cusco, to the mysteriously preserved ruins of Machu Picchu, to lush green cloud forests, and glacier covered peaks, this ten-day Inca Trail tour promises the ... READ MORE >>

Itinerary
Day 1 LIMA
Day 2 LIMA - CUSCO
Day 3 CUSCO
Day 4 CUSCO - SACRED VALLEY
Day 5 SACRED VALLEY – HUAYLLABAMBA Camp
Day 6 HUAYLLABAMBA – PACAYMAYO Camp
Day 7 PACAYMAYO – PHUYUPATAMARCA Camp
Day 8 PHUYUPATAMARCA - MACHU PICCHU
Day 9 MACHU PICCHU - CHINCHERO TEXTILE MARKET - CUSCO
Day 10 CUSCO - LIMA - RETURN HOME
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Itinerary
Day 1 LIMA

Arrive in the capital and transfer to your Lima hotel. If you arrive with time to spare, we can arrange city tours, museum visits, or sightseeing excursions of interest to you.

Day 2 LIMA - CUSCO

Your Peru tour kicks off with a morning flight to the colonial showpiece, Cusco, at the center of the Inca Empire. You'll be picked up at the airport by Southern Explorations' guides and taken on a quick tour of the beautiful Plaza de Armas on the way to your hotel. (B)

Day 3 CUSCO

Start the morning with a guided walking tour of Cusco, including the markets, the colonial cathedral, and Koricancha, the impressive Temple of the Sun. After a lunch break, you'll spend the afternoon in and around Cusco exploring the temples and visiting several prominent Inca sights. These Peru tour highlights include the stone fortress of Sacsayhuamán; Kenko, with its carved stone surfaces and subterranean altars; the small fortress of Puka Pukara and the Tambo Machay water temple. In the evening, you'll be briefed about the upcoming Inca Trail hike. (B)

Day 4 CUSCO - SACRED VALLEY

Today your Peru ecotour continues as you explore the legendary Sacred Valley of the Incas. Inca terracing climbs the steep valley walls along the way to the temple ruins of Pisac, offering panoramic views with jagged granite mountains in the distance. Before lunch, you'll have an opportunity to explore Pisac, the site of one of the Andes' best textile markets. After lunch, you'll travel on to Ollantaytambo (9,185 ft), a tiny village with an imposing Inca fortress. It is here where you will spend the night in one of the town's charming hotels. (B)

Day 5 SACRED VALLEY – HUAYLLABAMBA Camp

You wake up early this morning for the bus ride to (Km 82), where your Inca Trail trek begins. After meeting our porters you cross the Urubamba River by bridge. Continuing along the winding path between the sloping banks of the river, you have a stunning view of the Vilcanota mountain range and Mt. Veronica (18,745 feet). The route travels through the narrow Cusichaca valley, with slopes that show the clear imprint of an ancient culture and its agriculture practices. Later, you’ll arrive at the small indigenous community of Huayllabamba (9,843 ft.), to camp for the night. (B,L,D)
 
Hiking Details: 7.46 miles; approximately 5-6 hours hiking
Altitude min/max: from 8,438 ft. to 9,843 ft. (camping at 9,843 ft.)

Day 6 HUAYLLABAMBA – PACAYMAYO Camp

Along the trail, through the narrow hanging valley, you begin to see a cloud forest where the Quenua tree grows, a rarity of the Andes. From here, your Inca Trail trek ascends steeply to large pampas and continues to Dead Woman’s Pass, the highest pass on the Inca Trail at 13,796 ft. After a short break, you’ll begin the descent to where you will camp overnight at Pacaymayo (11,788 ft.). (B,L,D)
 
Hiking Details: 6.84 miles; approximately 6-7 hours hiking
Altitude min/max: from 9,843 ft. to 13,796 ft. (camping at 11,788 ft.)

Day 7 PACAYMAYO – PHUYUPATAMARCA Camp

Today’s Peru tours take you through most of the archaeological ruins seen along the Inca Trail. The first is Runkuracay. At this small resting place, you’ll visit the ruins before reaching a second pass and then gradually climbing towards the second highest pass on the trek (12,960 ft.). Here you’ll have a spectacular view of the Cordillera of Vilcanota. After a break, you’ll descend towards the Inca village of Sayacmarca (11,850 ft.). Along the way, you observe a marvel of Inca engineering, and then come upon the beautiful ruins of Phuyupatamarca (11,975 ft.) where you’ll camp for the night. (B,L,D)
 
Hiking Details: 6.21 miles; approximately 6 hours hiking
Altitude min/max: from 11,788 ft. to 12,960 ft. (camping at 11,975 ft.)

Day 8 PHUYUPATAMARCA - MACHU PICCHU

Today’s Peru trekking begins by passing the Phuyupatamarca ruins and then follows the flagstone trail that winds sharply down into the cloud forest leading to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna (8,855 feet). Wiñay Wayna is located along the same watercourse as Phuyupatamarca and contains well-restored Inca ruins. After two more hours of trekking the Inca Trail, you pass through a cloud forest and then arrive at your long-awaited destination, Machu Picchu (7,970 feet), entering through Intipunku, the Sun Gate. After a brief tour, you travel to the nearby town of Aguas Calientes (6,690 ft.) to spend the night at a relaxing hotel. (B,L)
 
Hiking Details: 6.20 miles; approximately 6 hours hiking
Altitude max/min: from 11,975 ft. to 7,970 ft. Machu Picchu

Day 9 MACHU PICCHU - CHINCHERO TEXTILE MARKET - CUSCO

The morning is dedicated to exploring extraordinary Machu Picchu. You have various opportunities for your own exploration, including a climb to the sacred peak of Huayna Picchu or a walk through the lush cloud forest to the Temple of the Moon. For those looking for the picture perfect view of the ruins, getting up early is essential as sunrise is not to be missed! The afternoon train takes you back to Ollantaytambo, where you will meet your driver and travel to the Chinchero Market. This traditional weaving community is known for is impressive textile works and artisan products. Here the local artisans will give you an introduction to their handy work including their processes for shearing, dyeing, spooling, and weaving from alpaca. Take advantage of last minute shopping before you are transferred to your Cusco hotel. (B)

Huayna Picchu
Hiking Details: 1.25 miles; approximately 2-3 hours hiking, the trail is narrow and very steep
Altitude min/max: from 7,970 ft to 8,835 ft.

Day 10 CUSCO - LIMA - RETURN HOME

This morning you'll be transferred to the airport for the return flight to Lima and your connecting international flight, marking the end of your Southern Exploration services. If your schedule allows, trip extensions to other regions or extra days in Lima or Cusco may be arranged. (B)

Weather

When to Visit
  • jan
  • feb
  • mar
  • apr
  • may
  • jun
  • jul
  • aug
  • sep
  • oct
  • nov
  • dec

Peru is a diverse country. With beaches, mountains, rainforest and desert, there is no off-season. But it does pay to know a bit about where you're going, and what you'll need on your Peru tour:

The Andes - Though officially part of the dry season, April and May are considered the Andean spring, while June through October marks the Andean summer. Mid-day temperatures range from 70 to 80 F in the sun. Nighttime temperatures in Cusco range in the 40s F and can dip into the 30s F. Weather is usually clear in the morning with clouds accumulating in the afternoon. Rain can happen in any season, so quality rain gear is essential.

The Amazon - A rainforest environment, the Peruvian Amazon has varied weather conditions and frequent unpredictable rain showers. It is generally hot and humid during the day with more comfortable temperatures through the night. Daytime high temperatures average between 82° and 93° F, and the average nighttime low is between 62° and 73°. Nevertheless, in some areas cold fronts can sweep into the Amazon and push daytime high temperatures down to 50° F and nighttime lows to 43° F. Any time of year, one should always be prepared for cooler temperatures and rain showers. Around 80% of the annual average 79 inches of rainfall occurs during the rainy season (December through March) when heavy rain may continue for hours or days.

Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
 

LIMA

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN68-790.0
FEB69-800.0
MAR69-800.0
APR67-760.0
MAY63-720.0
JUN61-690.1
JUL60-670.2
AUG60-660.1
SEP60-670.1
OCT60-690.1
NOV62-720.0
DEC64-760.0

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
 

CUSCO

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN44-656.3
FEB44-655.2
MAR43-664.3
APR41-671.8
MAY39-670.3
JUN33-660.1
JUL32-660.2
AUG35-670.3
SEP39-680.9
OCT42-691.9
NOV43-693.1
DEC44-694.7

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches

PUNO

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN38-625.2
FEB38-624.3
MAR38-623.8
APR33-621.5
MAY25-620.4
JUN19-610.1
JUL18-610.1
AUG22-630.2
SEP29-640.8
OCT33-651.5
NOV35-662.0
DEC37-643.6

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
 

PUERTO MALDONADO

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN71-8813.6
FEB70-8712.8
MAR70-8811.9
APR69-876.1
MAY66-864.2
JUN63-842.3
JUL62-852.2
AUG64-882.5
SEP66-903.9
OCT69-906.5
NOV70-899.3
DEC70-8812.1

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches


 

Maps

Classic Inca Trail

Pricing
$2,995


Domestic Airfare:
$375 (Lima/Cusco/Lima) – Subject to change

Single Supplement: $660
A single supplement is the additional cost of a single traveler not sharing a room in double occupancy.

Included in tour cost
  • Air mattresses
  • Camping accommodations
  • First aid and oxygen bottle
  • Kitchen and dining tent
  • Porters
  • Private transportation
  • Satellite phone communication
  • Three-man tents
  • All airport/hotel transfers
  • All hotel accommodations
  • All listed activities
  • English-speaking certified guides
  • Entrance fees for all scheduled tours, national parks & archaeological sites
  • Meals as indicated
  • Southern Explorations pre-departure services
Excluded from tour cost
  • Domestic airfare within South America
  • International airfare to and from Central & South America
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Medical & travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Hiking boots and other necessary sports gear
  • Sleeping bags

Classic Inca Trail

Trip Dates
Can’t find a date that works for you in the list below? Southern Explorations can arrange a private departure on any date that works with your schedule. Custom tours are also available. Contact us for details.
Friday, September 27, 2019 to Sunday, October 6, 2019
Contact Us
Friday, November 1, 2019 to Sunday, November 10, 2019
6 Spaces Left
Friday, December 13, 2019 to Sunday, December 22, 2019
Available
Friday, January 17, 2020 to Sunday, January 26, 2020
Available
Friday, February 14, 2020 to Sunday, February 23, 2020
Available
Friday, March 13, 2020 to Sunday, March 22, 2020
Available
Friday, April 10, 2020 to Sunday, April 19, 2020
Available
Friday, May 22, 2020 to Sunday, May 31, 2020
Available
Friday, June 12, 2020 to Sunday, June 21, 2020
Available
Friday, July 3, 2020 to Sunday, July 12, 2020
Available
Friday, August 7, 2020 to Sunday, August 16, 2020
Available
Friday, September 4, 2020 to Sunday, September 13, 2020
Available
Friday, October 9, 2020 to Sunday, October 18, 2020
Available
Friday, November 6, 2020 to Sunday, November 15, 2020
Available
Friday, December 25, 2020 to Sunday, January 3, 2021
Available
Aguas Calientes
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Cusco
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Lima
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Sacred Valley
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.

One Day

Multi-Day

machu picchu toursI can't recommend Southern Explorations highly enough, from the great hotels to a totally awesome guide, Jose, who took care of us from the minute we stepped off the plane in Cusco to the time we flew back to Lima. Jose's knowledge of Cusco, the Incas, the sites we visited, history, plants and wildlife was boundless. Also, if you prefer to get off the beaten path and don't like big groups, Southern Explorations is without any shadow of a doubt the way to go ... we were easily the smallest group on the Inca Trail and thankful for it! The timing on the trail was also excellent, we avoided other groups to such an extent that we felt like we had the trail to ourselves 90% of the time. We were taken care of from start to finish and I'd certainly recommend and use Southern Explorations again for future adventures of this kind.   -Julia Relf, California (Inca Trail)


machu picchu tourTHANK YOU for a phenomenal trip! Krissy and I had an amazing time, both in the Amazon, as well as Cusco, Inca Trail. We could not have asked for a better experience. Everything went smoothly, and was extremely organized. We had a fantastic guide for Cusco and Inca Trail - Fernando Silva. THE BEST. We'd recommend you use him as much as you can! So THANK YOU, THANK YOU for making it all happen for us! We will definitely recommend you guys to our friends/family and anyone who asks. We're now thinking about Ecuador and Galapagos possibly for next year! Cannot wait. Cheers! - Nicole Cassani, California (Inca Trail & Amazon)

machu picchu toursThis was an amazing experience and our guide, Jose, made a significant impact on the quality of our trip. Jose was an exceptional guide who was attentive to all people in the group. He was extremely detail-oriented, knowledgeable, caring, thoughtful and went out of his way to ensure all needs were met. Jose went beyond what we expected. - Shelly Zavala, California (Inca Trail)


hiking inca trailI wanted to let you know how much Joe and I enjoyed our Machu Picchu adventure. From the minute we arrived in Lima to the minute we left, the capable crew at Southern Explorations took great care of us. In particular, our guide, Washington, was truly amazing. He was knowledgeable, helpful, and just plain fun to spend time with. But more than that, Washington seemed to generally care about the porters and people we came across on the trail. He was just wonderful! And another person in need of some kudos was our cook, Walter. Each meal was worthy of a nice restaurant--and this while camping in the middle of the Andes. Every meal was a delight. All in all, the trip was really fantastic. Thank you for providing us with a trip that we will always treasure! - Joe and Katherine Houlehan, Kansas (Inca Trail)


machu picchu hikingWe LOVED this trip. We went to Panama last year and SE exceeded all of our expectations. You did it again this year with our trip to Peru. We loved every minute of it. Every single detail was thought out and executed in a professional manner. We would plan another trip with SE in a second. Thank you for all your hard work. We feel grateful to have found such a wonderful and reliable travel company! - Elissa Bowes, New Jersey (Inca Trail & Amazon)


 

machu picchu hiking tourWe can't say enough wonderful things about our guide. He is absolutely amazing and so incredibly knowledgeable. We truly appreciated his ability to explain cultural and historic facts and the pride he has in being Peruvian. I would highly recommend him to my friends. Hacienda Concepcion and Casa Andina (the private collection) far exceeded our expectations. They were lovely! Every meal, whether it be in the jungle or on the trail or in Cusco was OUTSTANDING!!! The jungle excursions were okay, we were hoping to have a bit more exploration activities but the canopy tour was awesome! The trek and the festival were great!!! This was the trip of a lifetime! Both my husband and I were blown away with your organization and quality of everything. Jonathan Borgida put together an outstanding itinerary for us. We are so grateful! - Anne Darga (Inca Trail & Amazon)


I thought this was a great trip! It exceeded my expectations. Machu Picchu was just as amazing in person as I thought it would be. I am so happy we decided to hike the short Inca trail. Although it was a difficult and tiring hike at times it was an amazing experience. The whole trip went very smoothly from the time of booking to the time we got on the plane home. It was nice not having to worry about anything and letting Southern Explorations and their guides handle everything and take care of us. I am definitely planning on looking into taking another trip with Southern Explorations in the future. - Kara Trias, New York (Inca Trail)


Our guide was excellent - his knowledge and sharing of ancient traditions was wonderful. Excellent company- very good value for money- highly recommended. - Philip Jensen (Custom Short Inca Trail)

 
I would like to tell you that we had absolutely a wonderful and flawless trip in Peru from the beginning to the very end. Our guide, in particular, did a superb job in guiding us. He has a professional pride as a guide and his enthusiasm in informing us of the Incan culture came through very strongly. He was very pleasant. - Kazumi Hatasa, Japan (Inca Trail)
The best part of traveling with Southern Explorations was that I always had confidence that if something went wrong, we would be taken care of, and that was an enormous weight off my shoulders. Excellent and helpful service with beautiful hotels and better food than I could ever have dreamed of. - Arbrenne Kelly (Inca Trail & Amazon)

Overall this was a great trip, something I have come to expect from Southern Explorations. Everything from the initial planning to the final execution was arranged with care, professionalism, and much sensitivity to our needs. SE is composed by hard-working idealistic people who put much effort in creating itineraries that combine visits to natural wonders, colonial cities, and archaeological sites. I should add something that cannot be expressed by one’s satisfaction with hotels and transportation and that is the possibility of growth young people can gain in such a trip. I saw how much confidence my youngest son, Alexander, had gained through this trip. And Adrian’s charango (along with the coca leaves we purchased on Chema’s advice) provided much opportunity for us to get to know the other workers better and some of the local residents. Thanks for all for their hard work. - Gregory Jusdanis (Inca Trail)


Southern Explorations really knows what they are doing. They provide a top notch guest experience overall and I would highly recommend them and also consider taking another trip with them.   -Wanda Vermeer (Inca Trail)


The alternative Inca trail was mystical. No roads, no carts, no tourists, no planes overflying, no electric lines.....just remarkably capable, friendly, solicitous and knowledgeable people helping us to enjoy ourselves. This is the first vacation I took where I was not eager to return home. We were enthralled. - Daniel Ehrgood, Pennsyvania (Inca Trail)

It was a real treat to have a guide and driver devoted solely to us. We went at our pace and were able to have much interaction with the guide. Peru is a terrific destination. - Dave Stevenson (Inca Trail)


I cannot say enough about our guide Washington. He was personable and attentive as well as professional and knowledgeable. As a tour manager and tour guide myself for the past 28 years, I can fully appreciate the outstanding job Washington did in sharing his knowledge and passion for his culture and his country with the group. He truly made the trip. - Niki Sepsas, Alabama (Inca Trail)

Peru - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I choose an itinerary?
A: We offer a wide variety of itineraries suitable for all ages, fitness levels and personal interests. Figuring out the total number of days you are available to travel is a good starting point and your Adventure Travel Coordinator can guide you through the options.
Q: Can I make changes or additions to these tours?
A: Yes! We are happy to modify any tour to meet your needs and also add pre and post-excursion extensions. If you sign up for a group departure we cannot change the group portion, but we can add extensions before and after.
Q: When is the best time to go to Peru?
A: Many travelers like to visit Peru between the months of April and October, when the chances of rain are much lower. Avoid the height of summer (June through August) and the Christmas holiday season for smaller crowds and the best selection of accommodations.
Q: What is the weather like in Peru?
A: The most traveled section of Peru, where Cusco and Machu Picchu are located, has a dry season (April – October) and a rainy season (November – March) with daytime temperatures in the 60s and 70s and lows in the 40s. Rainfall and temperatures vary in other regions depending on season and elevation. Please see the weather tab on your specific trip for more details.
Q: What is a typical day like in Peru? 
A: A typical day in Peru will vary from tour to tour, but generally you can expect to start your excursions right after breakfast with a full day of scheduled activities or sightseeing. Contact your Adventure Travel Coordinator to discuss the specifics of your tour.
Q: How physically fit do I need to be to enjoy a trip to Peru? 
A: Our trips vary in level of activity, so the requirements differ based on itinerary. It’s important to keep in mind that much of Peru is at or above 8000’ above sea level which can add some difficulty to the activities. Please check our physical ratings for each itinerary to see what may be required of you when assessing your ability to enjoy a trip. If you have any specific questions, please contact your Adventure Travel Coordinator. We have personal experience with these activities and can help you decide whether a trip is right for you.
Q: How much time do we need to visit Peru?
A: We offer trips as short as 5 days, but recommend 7 days to adequately explore the Andean highlands (Cusco, Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu). If you wish to visit more than one region, we recommend travelling for at least 12 days.
Q: How far in advance should I book?
A: Peru is a popular destination and space at the most desirable hotels fills up quickly. As a rule, the further in advance you can plan, the more options you will have. We recommend planning at least six to nine months in advance throughout the year, and a year ahead of time for anything over the Christmas holiday season.
Q: What are your booking and cancellation policies?
A: Click here to see our booking and cancellation policies.
Q: Do you use certified guides?
A: Our guides have been carefully selected for their knowledge, professionalism, experience and ability to effectively manage groups with finesse. We hire only guides who are native to the destination and are licensed and/or certified in accordance with the government regulations of their country. All are fluent in Spanish and English, and some also speak indigenous languages. Most have advanced degrees in tourism, biology, native culture or other related field. All guides are experienced in the outdoors and trained in basic first aid.
Q: What kind of accommodations can I expect?
A: We primarily work with 3 and 4-star hotels that meets our standards. We also work with several amazing 5-star properties. All of our hotels are clean, comfortable, well-located, offer en suite bathrooms and have been personally vetted by a Southern Explorations’ staff member.
Q: Do tours include airfare?
A: We will confirm all airfare within South America and this price will be listed separately from our base tour costs. You are responsible for booking international flights to/from Peru.
Q: How many people are on your tours?
A: We operate our scheduled group trips with a minimum of two and a maximum of eight guests, except on the Inca Trail trips, which have a maximum of 12 guests. This policy minimizes our environmental impact, allows us to travel to areas less visited, and makes the sightseeing experience more personal. It allows our guides sufficient time to attend to the individual needs of each visitor. Traveling in small groups also increases the likelihood of encountering wildlife in some areas, such as the Amazon. Some all-inclusive lodges and cruises offer excursions with their in-house guides and groups for those days may exceed eight travelers.
Q: Will I get more information on packing, vaccines, currency, electricity, etc.?
A: After booking you will receive a link to our online trip portal which includes all of the need-to-know information that is specific to your itinerary.  This includes packing lists, restaurant recommendations, tipping guides, FAQs, vaccine recommendations and currency information. Your Adventure Travel Coordinator will also be a great resource for any other information you may need.