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To most visitors, travel to Machu Picchu means one activity, hiking the Inca Trail. This nine-day collection of Peru tours makes the adventure even more vigorous by adding whitewater rafting, zip-lining and mountain biking through this legendary landscape. You’ll spend time in famed Cusco, steeped in both colonial and Incan history that is reflected in its fascinating architecture. In addition to spending time in craft markets, you’ll explore the sights of the Sacred Valley by raft, mountain bike and on foot as well as make two excursions to the magnificent ruins of Machu Picchu. This is a Machu Picchu adventure like no other.

 

Itinerary
Day 1 ARRIVE LIMA

On your arrival in Lima, you will be met by our representative who will accompany you to your hotel. If you arrive early, we can arrange optional Lima tours and trips to nearby sites to fill your time. Ramada Hotel Upgrade - $60 per person. Since many international flights arrive here late in the evening, we highly recommend a hotel upgrade to the Ramada, a comfortable four-star hotel located within the Lima international airport. This upgrade is well worth the cost because it will save you up to two hours of transfer time between the city and the airport.

DAY 2 LIMA - CUSCO

In the morning you will be taken from your hotel to the airport for a morning flight to Cusco (10,856 ft.), center of the Inca Empire. After checking in at your hotel, today’s Peru travel begins with a guided walking tour through the colorful markets of Cusco, making stops at the colonial cathedral and the impressive Incan Temple of the Sun (Koricancha) followed by a lunch of regional cuisine. You will spend the afternoon in the Inca heartland in the vicinity of Cusco. Among the important sites you’ll visit are Cusco's temples; Sacsayhuaman, a fortress with megalithic stone terraces; the stone Kenko containing subterranean altars; Puka Pukara, a small fortress that once protected the royal capitol; and the royal baths of Tambo Machay. You'll be returned to your hotel for the first of three free evenings in colonial Cusco. (B)

DAY 3 WHITEWATER RAFTING

After an early breakfast, your guide will get you to the put-in spot for today’s Peru rafting adventure about an hour away. Following a safety briefing, the trip begins with a stretch of small rapids and calmer waters to practice the basics of river-running technique, passing spectacular Inca ruins and terraces. Along the way, the guide will explain the remarkable history of these Inca architectural feats. While enjoying the canyon and scenic views, you pass under an ancient Inca bridge. The rapids continue to increase in difficulty and size, eventually progressing to Class IV. Before taking on the challenge of the final and largest rapid, you will disembark to scout this one with your guides. Once a safe line has been chosen, you will return to your rafts to run this adrenaline-filled finale to your Peru river rafting journey. After lunch, the next stop is Ollantaytambo (9,185 ft.), a small town with a famous Incan archeological site before returning to your Cusco hotel. (B,L)

DAY 4 HIKE TO HUCHUY CUSCO

After breakfast, you will be transferred by private van to the start of today’s Peru trek that includes an old Inca road and impressive views, as well as an opportunity to learn about local farming techniques and explore some rarely visited Inca ruins. The route travels high above Cusco and the outlying town of Cora, ending at an elevation of 13,780 feet, where Lake Qoricocha is located. The slowly contouring trail climbs to an elevation of 14,107 feet where some ancient Inca platforms in the hillside are believed to mark the boundary and entrance to the Huchuy Cusco Inca Estate. The rest of the day’s terrain is flat or downhill, passing herds of llamas and alpacas. The hike travels through the rustic village of Pucamarca, past an Inca bridge in a narrow canyon and offers spectacular views of the Incas’ Sacred Valley. You will arrive at a particularly scenic spot to enjoy a picnic lunch or snack. Continuing on, the contour on the high ridge brings you to the entrance gates of Huchuy Cusco and the extensive ruins themselves. Little is known about this mysterious site which translates to “little Cusco” in the Quechua language of the Incas and may have been the country retreat of one of the first Incas. Its three-story storage houses, trapezoid-niched walls, large main square, ten-ft terraced walls and hidden location above the Sacred Valley make these ruins a real pleasure to explore. Afterwards you will hike the rest of the way down to where the van will be waiting to return you to Cusco for a relaxing dinner and evening on your own before turning in at your hotel. (B,L) HIKE DETAILS: Approx - 8.2 miles | 6+ Hours Altitude: from 11,385 ft to 14,110 ft.

DAY 5 VIA FERRATA – ZIP LINNING

This morning you will be picked up at your hotel for the start of today’s Peru tours, making stops in the Sacred Valley to capture some magnificent photos. In about two hours, you will rendezvous with your local expert guides for the unique experience ahead, surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery with extraordinary views of the Sacred Valley below, lasting a good part of the day. The Via Ferrata is a system of cables and steel ladders drilled into the mountain that gives visitors without climbing experience the thrill of ascending a 984-ft rock face protected by a waist and chest harness with double-carabineer system for maximum safety. Within the Via Ferrata are several zip lines consisting of six connected cables ranging in length from 300 feet to 1,650 feet, totaling 6,560 feet. After completing this exciting day’s activities, you will be taken to the hotel in the town of Ollantaytambo, where you will spend the night. (B,L)

DAY 6 MOUNTAIN BIKING IN THE SACRED VALLEY

An early morning drive gets you to the start of today’s Peru mountain bike tour to the indigenous communities of Chequereq, Cruz Pata, the ruins of Moray, the town of Maras and the salt mines of Pichingoto. Your journey ends back in Ollantaytambo for lunch and another overnight stay in your comfortable hotel. (B,L)

DAY 7 OLLANTAYTAMBO – TRAIN TO MACHU PICCHU

On today's Inca adventure, you will at last reach the long-anticipated destination of Machu Picchu, symbol of the Inca Empire. To get there, you'll walk from the hotel to the train station for the picturesque train ride along the Urubamba River into a cloud forest before arriving in Aguas Calientes, the nearest town to Machu Picchu. You'll go by bus the rest of the way, reaching an elevation of 7,875 feet and spend the day exploring the ruins. Afterwards you will return to Aguas Calientes in time for a soothing soak in the town's famed hot springs before enjoying a leisurely dinner on your own. Overnight at a nearby hotel in Aguas Calientes.

(B) OPTION: INCA TRAIL HIKE KM 104 UPGRADE – $150 Per Person (If permits available) For active travelers who can’t imagine seeing Machu Picchu without hiking the Inca Trail to get there: You depart on the 8 AM train from Ollantaytambo, arriving two hours later at station KM 104. After registering at the checkpoint, you’ll hike first to WnaWayna. During this three-hour Inca Trail hiking segment you will see ruins, waterfalls and many varieties of flora and fauna as well as spend one to two hours exploring the beautiful WnaWayna ruins. From here it is another two hour walk to reach Machu Picchu. You will arrive at the ruins in the late afternoon when there are few visitors. After a brief Machu Picchu tour, you will be transferred to Aguas Calientes by bus and spend the night in a charming hotel. Your evening is unscheduled to allow you time to explore the town and soak in its famed hot springs. (B,L)

DAY 8 DAY HIKE - MACHU PICCHU MOUNTAIN - CHINCHERO MARKET - RETURN CUSCO

Rising early to escape the crowds, you return to the royal citadel, starting with what is for most travelers the highlight of their Peru tours, sunrise at Machu Picchu. From here, you'll continue along the Inca Trail on a three to four hour round-trip hike, ascending another 2,000 feet to the summit of Machu Picchu Mountain for a breathtaking view of the complex and surrounding area that most travelers never get to experience. You'll go by bus to Aguas Calientes and take the early afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo where a private van will be waiting for the trip to the colorful market in the village of Chinchero. Here you'll visit a community of textile artists who craft original organic pieces according to the techniques of their ancestors, to learn how the wool and alpaca are shorn, spun, dyed and woven into the high-quality creations for which this region is famous. Chinchero is the perfect place to find uniquely Andean souvenirs of one’s Peru tours. You'll be transported back to Cusco for a final relaxing evening and overnight at your hotel. (B) Hike Details: Approx - 5.8 miles | 3-4 Hours Altitude: from 7,875 ft to 10,055 ft.

Day 9 CUSCO - LIMA - RETURN HOME

Southern Explorations drivers take you to the airport in the morning for the return flight to Lima and your connecting international flight, marking the end of Southern Explorations services. Trip extensions to other regions or extra days in Lima or Cusco can also 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

Active Machu Picchu Video

Active Machu Picchu

Pricing
2-3 Travelers
$3,395
4 or more
$2,995

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

Single Supplement: $830
A single supplement is the additional cost of a single traveler not sharing a room in double occupancy.
 

Included in tour cost
  • Kitchen and dining tent
  • Mountain biking gear
  • Private transportation
  • Rafting equipment
  • Zip lining equipment
  • 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

Active Machu Picchu

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.
Thursday, November 8, 2018 to Friday, November 16, 2018
Available
Thursday, December 13, 2018 to Friday, December 21, 2018
Available
Thursday, April 4, 2019 to Friday, April 12, 2019
Available
Thursday, May 9, 2019 to Friday, May 17, 2019
Available
Thursday, June 6, 2019 to Friday, June 14, 2019
Available
Thursday, June 27, 2019 to Friday, July 5, 2019
6 Spaces Left
Thursday, July 25, 2019 to Friday, August 2, 2019
4 Spaces Left
Thursday, August 15, 2019 to Friday, August 23, 2019
Available
Thursday, October 3, 2019 to Friday, October 11, 2019
Available
Thursday, November 7, 2019 to Friday, November 15, 2019
Available
Thursday, December 12, 2019 to Friday, December 20, 2019
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 toursWe just returned from our Galapagos/Machu Picchu trip and I wanted to send you a note to thank you for planning such a phenomenal trip for us! Juan, our guide, and Boris, our driver, were FANTASTIC! The bus we traveled on was much larger than we anticipated and a great way to travel around!  We cannot say enough nice things about Juan and Boris! They were flexible with our schedule, providing extra time to us when we wanted it at the market in Pisac, able to provide other options for us when a planned activity had to be cancelled due to a mudslide, and even stopped on the side of the road for us to grab some cuy (guinea pig being roasted on a stick in this tiny town we were passing through). There is so much more I could say. Trip of a lifetime! I will definitely recommend you to everyone! - Debbie Cohen (Ocean Spray & Machu Picchu)

machu picchu tourIt was GREAT traveling to Peru with Southern Explorations. All the arrangements were done very well, and tour guides have a tremendous knowledge of their culture. They had a willingness to share and really good attitudes. My special THANKS to Patricia, who was our tour guide for Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu. She is one of the amazing people I met there. Her enthusiasm and knowledge is great. THANK YOU for such wonderful service, Southern Explorations. - Vandana Bajikar (Machu Picchu)

machu picchu toursSouthern Explorations was very organized and planned an excellent and memorable trip for my family. Thanks for everything. We have already recommended you to our friends! - Jodi Sandler (Machu Picchu)

 

machu picchu tourOur Cusco/Machu Picchu experience was nothing short of FABULOUS. We loved the streets and markets in Cusco, visiting the cathedrals and archeological sites, and our visits in the Sacred Valley before arriving at Machu Picchu. Waiting for the sunrise on our second day at Machu Picchu was one of those priceless moments I shared with my two daughters. Our guide Patricia was knowledgeable and wonderful and a real pleasure to have with us. We were well taken care of from arrival to departure by Southern Explorations, and I have only good things to say about how great this trip was. - Jean Smith, Virginia (Machu Picchu & Galapagos Island Cruise)
 

I just wanted to say thank you for all the coordination and help you and all at Southern Explorations staff did for our trip to Peru. Everything went as planned, all of the accommodations were excellent,  clean comfortable and safe. The two young ladies that picked us up at the airport and took us back to the air port in Lima were so very helpful and nice. Our driver in Cusco, Boris did a great job helping and keeping us safe, great driver. I want to say a very special thank you to our guide Milagros. She is very special, extremely knowledgeable, attentive to the smallest detail, and just the best guide that we have ever had. Thank You for a great trip and memories that will last a lifetime! - David L. Byer (Experience Machu Picchu)


The Experience Machu Picchu journey was a once in a lifetime FAMILY trip!  It well exceeded our expectations.  It had just the right balance of organized excursions versus free time to explore on our own.  The guides were not only informative, but made the journey more enjoyable by their attitude and approach.  I can't say enough good things about Southern Explorations and this experience. - Pete & Jen Castello (Experience Machu Picchu)


 

I just wanted to say thank you for all the coordination and help you and all at Southern Explorations staff did for our trip to Peru. Everything went as planned, all of the accommodations were excellent,  clean comfortable and safe. The two young ladies that picked us up at the airport and took us back to the air port in Lima were so very helpful and nice. Our driver in Cusco, Boris did a great job helping and keeping us safe, great driver. I want to say a very special thank you to our guide Milagros. She is very special, extremely knowledgeable, attentive to the smallest detail, and just the best guide that we have ever had. Thank You for a great trip and memories that will last a lifetime! - David L. Byer (Experience Machu Picchu)


Our guide was great. Made our trip easy and enjoyable. He kept us on schedule without being pushy. He let us have space to spend time together without being absent. He delivered a wealth of great information in an interesting way. He's an all-star all around.  He did a good job allowing us to have more time at the more interesting places and moving us quickly through the interesting but not super interesting places. The accommodations were great. The hotels in Cusco and Ollantytambo were delightful, tasteful, comfortable centrally located and had great service. The hotel in Aguas Caliente was hip and stylish. Great food. The quality and abundance of the food allowed us to see more and do more. The sites were all super interesting. - Ky Calder (Inti Raymi Festival & Machu Picchu)

Antonio was EXCELLENT! Milagros was also very good and attentive. Southern Expeditions is a first-class outfit, perfect for those seeking varied levels of adventure, good value, efficiency and very good accommodations. Elliott Mercer (Custom Machu Picchu with Short Inca Trail Hike)

Our guide was absolutely excellent. Very patient and extremely knowledgeable. Accommodations were adequate. Staff in the hotels in Sacred Valley, Cusco and Lima were very nice. Glenn Braunstein (Custom Machu Picchu with Short Inca Trail Hike)

 

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.