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  • Dates
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This Peru tour offers an invigorating high-mountain hiking opportunity, trekking the Inca Trail to the legendary hidden city of Machu Picchu and visiting legendary Lake Titicaca. Our Peru travel begins with a visit to Cusco and the Sacred Valley followed by the most famous of Peru hiking tours, the Inca Trail. Then, travel to 12,500 feet above sea level to explore the highest navigable lake in the world, Lake Titicaca, one of the Peruvian Andes' most impressive natural wonders. Explore these fascinating sites with the help of experienced guides who share their vast knowledge of the Andes.

 

Itinerary
Day 1 LIMA

The excitement of our Peru tour begins as we pick you up at Lima International Airport and help with hotel check-in on arrival in the capital city. Southern Explorations can arrange city tours, museum visits or sightseeing excursions matching your interests if you arrive early.

Day 2 LIMA - CUSCO

Your day begins with a morning flight to Cusco, center of the Inca Empire. Southern Explorations' Peru tour guides pick you up at the airport for a quick tour of the beautiful Plaza de Armas. From there, you will be taken to your hotel for a free day to relax and acclimatize to the altitude (10,856 ft). (B)

Day 3 CUSCO

The morning begins with a guided walking tour of Cusco markets, the colonial cathedral, and Koricancha, the famed Temple of the Sun. After lunch, your Peru tour continues, visiting temples and other Inca sights, including the fortress of Sacsayhuamán with its grand stone terraces; the carved stone surfaces and subterranean altars of Kenko; the small fortress of Puka Pukara, protector of the royal capital, and the water temple of Tambo Machay. An evening orientation session prepares you for the upcoming trek. (B)

Day 4 CUSCO - SACRED VALLEY

Embark upon a day-long guided excursion as our Peru tour takes us to the snowcapped mountains to the timeless Sacred Valley. Along the way, you'll observe Inca terracing that climbs the steep valley walls, the ruined temples of Pisac and panoramic views of jagged granite mountains. Get acquainted with the local culture of Pisac, home to one of the best textile markets in the Andes. After lunch, you'll travel on to Ollantaytambo (9,185 ft), a small town with an impressive Inca fortress. Overnight at an Ollantaytambo hotel. (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 ARTISAN MARKET - CUSCO

Dedicate your morning to exploring extraordinary Machu Picchu by waking up early to catch sunrise over the ruins. The remainder of the day holds various opportunities for your own exploration, including a climb to the sacred peak of Huayna Picchu, up to the Sun Gate, or through the lush cloud forest to the Temple of the Moon. The afternoon train takes you back to Ollantaytambo, where you are transferred to the vibrant Chinchero Market. Here local artisans will give you an introduction to their textile creations, known to be among the best in Peru. Take advantage of this last-minute shopping opportunity before returning to your Cusco hotel for the evening. (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 - LAKE TITICACA

Embark by bus over the altiplano (high plains). Here our Peru tour consists of a full day of high altitude views as we reach the community of Puno, along the shores of Lake Titicaca. Transfer to your hotel. (B) Travel Cusco - Puno, via bus at no extra charge. Upgrade: +$150- Flight to Lake Titicaca (Cusco - Juliaca) 

Day 11 LAKE TITICACA

In the morning, take a short drive to Puno harbor to travel by boat to the famed floating Uros islands for a quick visit. Continue the journey by boat to tranquil Taquile Island, where a community of male weavers and spinners lives and works in a Mediterranean-like setting. In the late afternoon, return to Puno for shopping and sightseeing. Puno is a great place to buy alpaca wear, so don't hesitate to pick up some souvenirs from your Peru tour. (B, L) Lake Titicaca, the cradle of Inca civilization, is the largest fresh water lake on the South American continent, extending from southeastern Peru to western Bolivia. The lake is 122 miles long with an average width of 35 miles, so large that it has waves. At so high an altitude and the lake's frigid waters do not invite swimming. Fed by the Andes, this remnant of an ancient inland sea is appreciated by photographers but not swimmers. Bring your camera to photograph this gorgeous natural wonder from your Peru tour, but leave your swim trunks behind.

Day 12 LAKE TITICACA - LIMA - RETURN HOME

Your morning is free to enjoy breakfast at the hotel before an excursion to the outskirts of Puno. Here our historical Peru tour takes us to see the ruins of some pre-Inca funerary towers called chullpas. The finest are located at Sillustani on a peninsula in Lake Umayo. The warrior Colla tribe buried their elite in these giant cylindrical tombs, some as tall as 40 ft. Many archeologists and historians consider the Collas' exquisite stonemasonry more complex and superior even to Inca engineering. After exploring the area, you'll travel from Puno back to Lima, arriving in the late afternoon to make your connecting international flight which marks the end of Southern Explorations services. (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

Inca Trail & Lake Titicaca

Pricing
Per Person
$3,635


Upgrade: +$150- Flight to Lake Titicaca (Cusco - Juliaca)

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

Single Supplement: $855
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
  • 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

Inca Trail & Lake Titicaca

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, November 2, 2018 to Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Available
Friday, December 14, 2018 to Tuesday, December 25, 2018
Available
Friday, January 18, 2019 to Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Available
Friday, March 15, 2019 to Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Available
Friday, April 5, 2019 to Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Available
Friday, April 26, 2019 to Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Available
Friday, May 24, 2019 to Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Available
Friday, June 21, 2019 to Tuesday, July 2, 2019
Available
Friday, July 12, 2019 to Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Available
Friday, August 9, 2019 to Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Available
Friday, August 30, 2019 to Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Available
Friday, September 27, 2019 to Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Available
Friday, November 1, 2019 to Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Available
Friday, December 13, 2019 to Tuesday, December 24, 2019
Available
Aguas Calientes
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Lake Titicaca
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.

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)

Inca Trail - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I choose an itinerary?
A: Peru offers several beautiful regions in addition to the Inca Trail. If you have time to explore areas like the Amazon or Lake Titicaca before or after your trek, contact your Adventure Travel Coordinator to discuss which areas best meet your interests. 
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 hike the Inca Trail?
A: Many travelers like to hike the Inca Trail between the months of April and October, when the chances of rain are much lower. The trail is closed each year for the month of February to prevent erosion during high rains and also perform maintenance. 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 on the Inca Trail?
A: You can expect variable mountain weather on the Inca Trail during the dry season (April-October) with daytime temperatures in the 60s and nighttime lows in the 30s and possibly below freezing. The wet season (November – March) is slightly warmer and you can expect some rain most days. 
Q: What is a typical day like on the Inca Trail?
A: Each morning begins with hot tea and warm water to freshen up before breakfast. We hit the trail early so we can take in the scenic vistas and explore the numerous Incan ruins along the way. We will enjoy a picnic lunch on the trail and at the end of the day we arrive at camp, which will already be set-up for us by the porters. We can kick our feet up and relax before a delicious camp meal.
Q: Will I need to carry my own camping gear on the Inca Trail?
A: You will only need to carry a small day pack for extra clothing layers, water, a snack, a camera, and any personal items you need on the trail. Everything else will be stored in dry bags provided to you and carried to the next camp location by your porters. 
Q: How physically fit do I need to be to enjoy a trip on the Inca Trail?
A: We rate the Inca Trail as most difficult due to the long hiking days, high elevation and travel over steep, rocky terrain. Experience with backcountry travel is not necessary, but a moderate level of fitness is expected to complete the trek.
Q: How much time do I need to visit the Inca Trail?
A: The Inca Trail takes four-days to complete, but the whole trip, beginning with arrival in Lima, is a 10-day adventure. We budget several days in Cusco to properly acclimatize to the altitude before hiking, and also to explore Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. For those with limited time, we can offer an Inca Trail trip in just eight-days.
Q: How far in advance should I book?
A: The Inca Trail is heavily regulated by Peru’s Ministry of Culture and only 500 people are allowed to begin the trail each day, including the guides, porters and support staff. This means that Inca Trail permits sell out very quickly each year and you should plan on booking an Inca Trail trip at least six months before your expected travel dates, although nine months is better. 
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: In the cities and towns we work with three and four-star hotels that have been personally vetted by Southern Explorations’ staff. All of our hotels are clean, comfortable, well-located, offer en suite bathrooms. We also offer several five-star hotel upgrades. On the trail, you’ll have three-person North Face tents for two travelers, along with air mattresses and a separate dining tent. We have sleeping bags available to rent if you choose not to bring your own.
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 Inca Trail trips with a minimum of two and 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.
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.