If you've longed to hike the Inca Trail and experience Machu Picchu history firsthand but roughing it isn't your idea of a vacation, you'll appreciate our Inca Trail Mountain Lodges trip. This twelve-day Machu Picchu Peru excursion combines hiking the world's most famous path with relaxing interludes at small mountain lodges set in picturesque surroundings with panoramic views. Travelers in moderate condition will be comfortable on this Inca Trail tour. The itinerary includes time to explore Inca sights in Cusco Peru and the Sacred Valley, many opportunities to acclimatize to the high elevation and four days of Inca Trail hiking plus a day and a half of touring the secret city itself. Of all the Machu Picchu tours to choose from, this one can't be beat, on or off the trail.



After arriving in Lima Peru, you'll be transported from the airport to your hotel. If you have extra time to spend in the capital, optional Peru tours of the city, museums and other sights of interest may be arranged.


In the morning, you'll be taken to the airport for your flight to Cusco, center of the Inca Empire. Between the Cusco airport and your hotel, our guide will take you on a quick tour of the colonial Plaza de Armas. You'll be free the rest of the day to explore this fascinating city on your own and begin acclimatizing to the altitude of 10,856 feet. (B)


This morning you'll see more of Cusco on a guided walking tour of the city's top sights, visiting the colorful markets, the colonial cathedral and Koricancha, the impressive Temple of the Sun, before lunch. After a tasty meal of regional cuisine, you'll spend the afternoon touring prominent Inca sites in and around the city. You'll see the fortress of Sacsayhuman, famous for its mammoth proportions and stone terraces, Kenko's carved stone surfaces and subterranean alters, the Puka Pukara, a small fortress strategically placed to protect the royal capital from attack, and finally the water temple of Tambo Machay. In the late afternoon, you'll be returned to your hotel to relax or take in more of the sights of Cusco. (B)


Today you'll take a day-long guided excursion through the legendary Sacred Valley of the Incas. You'll glimpse Inca architectural practices, passing by terracing on the steep valley walls, visit the ruins of the temples at Pisac, affording panoramic views, and explore a famed Andean textile market, offering an opportunity to learn about the local culture and find unique souvenirs. After lunch, you'll stop in Ollantaytambo, a charming town at 9,185 feet with an imposing Inca fortress, before returning to Cusco. In the evening, you'll receive a briefing about your upcoming Machu Picchu trek. Spend another relaxing night at your hotel. (B)


After an early breakfast, you'll check out of the hotel and join your bilingual guide who will accompany you to Soraypampa where your next lodgings are located. The first part of the trip is by vehicle. You'll stop at the Inca ruins of Tarawasi near the town of Limatombo, have coffee in the mountain village of Mollepata and ascend a winding mountain road to Marcoccasa. At this juncture, you'll have the choice of continuing on by vehicle or hiking the rest of the way. The easy hike takes three to four hours and travels along the old scenic Camino Real (Royal Path), a good way to begin acclimatizing to the increasing elevation. Upon reaching the Salkantay Lodge and Adventure Resort, you'll be welcomed warmly. At 12,690 feet, this twelve-room mountain-view lodge is named for the highest mountain in the region, a sacred 20,600-ft Andean peak in Inca mythology. You'll spend the rest of the day relaxing to get accustomed to the elevation. Around the fireplace, you'll have a briefing about the upcoming trek followed by an aperitif and dinner. (B, L, D)


Your second day in Soraypampa provides additional time to adjust to the elevation while enjoying the great outdoors. Popular activities here include a half-day hike to a glacial lake, giving your lungs an introduction to high-mountain trekking and a soak in the outdoor Jacuzzi. (B, L, D)


Your four-day trek to Machu Picchu at last begins. Today's four to six hour hike starts early after a hearty breakfast, along the Rio Blanco Valley circling the Humantay peak. When you reach the highest point of today's trek, a 15,213 feet pass, you'll stop for breathtaking views of the snowcapped Vilcabamba Range and the south face of Mt. Salkantay where the Andean condor is a common sight. A hot lunch is provided en route. From the pass, you'll descend to your welcoming destination, the Wayra Lodge at Huayraccmachay, elevation 12,812 feet. In the Quechua language, "wayra" means the place where the wind lives. You'll enjoy dinner and overnight at the lodge. (B, L, D)


Today's schedule is a leisurely one. You'll have breakfast at Huayraccmachay before descending into forested terrain with the Salkantay River below to reach Collpa Lodge at Collpapampa. The six-room lodge is set on a 9,414 feet promontory that offers views of three rivers at their confluence. After getting settled, you'll enjoy a delicious lunch, either prepared in the lodge's kitchen or a traditional "Pachamanca," the indigenous underground stone cooking method. One of the lodge's much-appreciated-amenities for visitors on Peru tours is its outdoor Jacuzzi with mountain vistas. You'll have dinner and spend the night at the lodge. (B, L, D)


Today's four to six hour hike starts after breakfast. You will continue your descent into the Santa Teresa River Valley, known worldwide for its organic coffee, said by some to be the best in the world. You'll stop for a delicious hot picnic lunch on the shore before being taken by vehicle to the start of the "Llactapata Inca Trail." The afternoon trek consists of a thirty-minute climb to the night's lodgings. The Lacuma Lodge is located in an avocado orchard near the trail at an elevation of 7,003 feet in a picturesque farming area where passion fruit, coffee and avocados grow. Before dinner, there will be time to explore the nearby village of Lucmabamba where it may be possible to meet members of the community. (B, L, D)


You'll get an early start after breakfast on this last day of your Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu. The first two hours are an ascent to Llactapata pass, elevation 8,900 feet, where you'll get your first glimpse of Machu Picchu from the southwest, a perspective seen by few tourists. Along the way, you'll stop at the recently restored Llactapata ruins. With lunch at the observatory you'll get your next tantalizing view of Machu Picchu. The final two to three hour descent takes you through lush bamboo forests, orchards and plantations to the Aobamba River. Arrive at the hydroelectric train station where you’ll board the train for the short ride to Aguas Calientes. You'll spend the night at a local hotel in the town of Aguas Calientes, gateway to the Inca city of Machu Picchu. (B, L, D)


This magical day of Peru travel begins with an early breakfast at the hotel before the thirty-minute bus trip to begin your Machu Picchu tours. With an expert bilingual guide, you'll spend around four hours among the ruins, for an unforgettable day of fascinating sights and vistas. Afterwards, 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! returning to Aguas Calientes in the afternoon for a relaxing soak in the hot springs followed by dinner at one of the town's many dining establishments. Another relaxing night at your Aguas Calientes hotel. (B, L, D)


After breakfast, you will again enjoy one last morning to explore Machu Picchu with an expert bilingual guide. You will have the option to hike to the sacred peak of Machu Picchu Mountain or relax in your hotel before returning to Cusco. You'll travel by train back to Ollantaytambo in the early afternoon then travel by van to Cusco where you will spend the rest of the afternoon and a final night on your own in the Inca Empire. Overnight at a Cusco hotel. (B)


In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel and taken to the airport for your return flight to Lima and your connecting international flight which ends Southern Explorations' services. If you have more time to spend in Peru, trip extensions to other regions or extra days in Lima or Cusco may be arranged. (B)


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


Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall


*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches


Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall


*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches


Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall


*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches


Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall


*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches



Inca Trail Lodge to Lodge Hiking Tour

Per Person
Per Person
Per Person

$5600    Inca Trail Lodge to Lodge (2+ Travelers) High Season: Apr 01 – Oct 31 | Dec 15-31
$5355    Inca Trail Lodge to Lodge (2+ Travelers) Mid Season: Mar 01-31
$4855    Inca Trail Lodge to Lodge (2+ Travelers) Low Season: Nov 01- Dec 14

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

Single Supplement:
Low Season: $2,050
High Season: $2,200
A single supplement is the additional cost of a single traveler not sharing a room in double occupancy.

Included in tour cost
  • First aid and oxygen bottle
  • Porters
  • 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

Inca Trail Lodge to Lodge Hiking Tour

Trip Dates
Southern Explorations can arrange a private departure on any date that works with your schedule. Custom tours are also available. Contact us for details.

Aguas Calientes
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Salkantay Lodge & Adventure Resort
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.

One 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.