Jon's Recent Trip to Peru on the Inca Trail Lodge to Lodge


Inca Trail Lodge to Lodge View through Incan Ruins

Inca Trail Lodge to Lodge Hiking Tour

Find hospitality off the beaten path with this one-of-a-kind excursion from Southern Explorations. Combine an exclusive look at five distinct, remote ecosystems at high elevation in the Andes Mountains of Peru, paired with the comfort of intimate mountain lodges on this lodge-to-lodge trip along the Incan Trail.
There’s no need to rough it to see the breathtaking beauty and remote wilderness of the Incan domain. Spend your energy trekking through the high Andes on the way to Machu Picchu, knowing you’ll have comfort to sink into at the end of each day.
The Inca Trail Lodge to Lodge Hiking Tour is the perfect combination of challenging hikes through high elevation splendor with the promise of elegant accommodations to rest each night.
Start in Lima with a stroll through Peru’s capital before hopping a flight to Cusco, the center of the Incan Empire, where you’ll spend some time acclimatizing to the high altitude. On the third day, you’ll start off with an easy three-hour hike to Salkantay Lodge, the first of several lodges you’ll stay in along the Camino Real (Royal Path). All along the way, you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the surrounding countryside from several passes and viewpoints you’ve reached on your own two feet.
Throughout your trek, you’ll catch glimpses of glacier fed lakes and the ice that feeds them. Traverse boulder-strewn valleys and high mountain passes that top out at more than 15,000 feet. Hike down into the misty cloud forests along the Salkantay River, replete with blooming orchids and fluttering butterflies. Greet the Andean people as you follow the path along their fences and through their small villages. Step into the humid heat emanating from the Amazon Jungle and sip some of the best organic coffee in the world on the finca where it’s grown. Finally, you’ll arrive at the sanctuary that is Machu Picchu, with its ancient, lasting architecture and commanding views of the Urubama River Valley.
Each evening on your lodge-to-lodge hiking your, you’ll end the day with warm prepared meals, massages, and nice long soaks in hot tubs under the star-studded night sky, making both the days and the nights ones to savor in your memories for years to come.

For help planning your very own lodge-to-lodge hike contact Jonathan at or 206.784.8111.

Interested in learning more? Southern Explorations’ Jonathan Borgida recently did the Lodge-to-Lodge Tour and answered some questions for us about the trip.

  • Tell us a little about returning to international travel after so many months of staying home.
It was phenomenal to be traveling again—joyful, inspiring, incredibly moving to immerse myself in a country and culture that I’ve been connected with for so many years. It was familiar, but at the same time felt new to me—both the place and the experience of being somewhere different (than my house!). I was also thrilled to spend time with fellow travelers who were experiencing many of the same feelings.
  • You’ve spent a lot of time travelling to South America, how are things different?
I took my last trip with my family to Peru pre-pandemic. What’s different now is that Peru and other countries are doing an incredible job making sure their residents and guests are safe, yet have the same opportunity to authentically experience all the destinations these countries have to offer. Locals and tourists receive temperature checks, wear masks, and practice an appropriate amount of social distancing in more crowded areas, like on trains or in markets.
  • There are a lot of new requirements for international travel, and they seem to be changing often, was it difficult to navigate these restrictions?
If I may say so myself, Southern Explorations has the best guides, operators, and friends in the business. It wasn’t difficult to navigate the restrictions because our US team ensured I had the proper documentation and knew what to expect before my departure, and our team in Peru helped ensure I had everything I needed to travel safety, meet all of my requirements while in country, and everything the United States required of me before I traveled home. I got to experience firsthand what our passengers do – I’ll go ahead and give us a five-star rating.
  • Did it feel like travel is returning to normal in Peru? Were local shops, restaurants, activities operating at 100%? Did you feel COVID-safe?
Peru is doing a great job both enforcing rules, like masking, that keep people safe, and keeping businesses open. I felt safe at all times – both in crowded areas like the narrow streets of Cusco and on trains, and in remote places like on the Inca trail.
  • I know you’ve done a lot of hiking in Peru, including the Classic Inca Trail, how does this lodge to lodge compare to these other hiking options?
I’ve done a lot of hiking on the Inca Trail and the Sacred Valley and I’ll say first and foremost that you can’t go wrong no matter which route or journey you choose. It’s incredible.
The lodge to lodge experience for me was truly a trip of a lifetime. I’d call it “the Trail less-traveled”, because there were fewer people doing that stretch of the Trail—both because the lodges accommodate very small numbers of people at a time, and because the long hikes from lodge to lodge are challenging. It was amazing to be surrounded by nothing but nature, and not much else, for days at a time—and to enjoy luxurious, yet traditional accommodations and meals. I highly recommend the lodge-to-lodge experience.
  • Tell us about the lodges, they look fantastic. What kind of amenities did you appreciate after a long day on the trail?
I’d describe the lodges as the perfect combination of traditional Peruvian architecture, design, food, and culture with comfort and luxury. They are small, with 6 comfortable and spacious rooms that accommodate a total of 12 guests at a time with hot showers. They are decorated with traditional Peruvian textiles and art, and what’s amazing is everything – the building materials, furniture, linens, everything – is brought in by horse. It’s truly incredible and there is nothing better than a hot tub to alleviate the sore muscles.
The food is traditional, Peruvian food which is a favorite of mine. Lots of Quinoa, potatoes, and incredible four course light dinners. We even experienced a traditional pachamanca a meal cooked that is entirely underground with hot rocks. A spiritual leader blessed the food and conducted a traditional ceremony.
  • How difficult was the hiking? You have two school-age kids, would you bring them along?
I’d say the hikes were both challenging and rewarding. The hikes were at very high altitude – for example, one day’s trek included hiking over a 15,600 pass. They were challenging, there were few people on the Trail, and the scenery was absolutely breathtaking.
I have school-age kids—they’re 11 and 13 and spend a lot of time outdoors, including hiking. I wouldn’t recommend they, or any child under 16, participate in this trip. I think many could technically do it, but it would involve some considerable challenges, and in the case of my children, a lot of complaining.
  • For a first-time visitor to Peru, will this trip be a good introduction? If someone wants to hike the lodge to lodge and spend a few more days in-country, what’s your top recommendation?
Absolutely! This trip gives a first-time traveler an opportunity to experience Peru’s natural beauty, and outstanding views of Machu Picchu as well as other Inca sites; small-traditional villages and markets, and Peru’s fantastic cuisine. The Lodge to Lodge trip is ten days and if you have extra time then I would highly recommend spending them in the Sacred Valley.