Peru Explorer

20 days
$5,599 USD
incl. taxes
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Trip code: 
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
Group size:

An in-depth exploration of the highlights of southern Peru

This trip is the perfect introduction to the highlights of one of the most diverse countries in South America. Our journey contrasts the incomparable scenery of the Andes with the lush vegetation of the Amazon Rainforest and the barren coastal desert, as we discover ancient cities, buildings and fortresses of colossal size in settings of amazing beauty. For walking enthusiasts, there is the option to trek the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (at no extra cost), and for wildlife lovers, the Ballestas Islands and the rainforest are sure to impress.


  • Discover the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu and the colonial cities of Cuzco and Arequipa
  • Have the option to walk the classic Inca Trail, at no extra cost – must be requested at time of booking
  • Spend two nights deep in the Amazon
  • Visit Lake Titicaca's traditional island communities
  • See beautiful Arequipa plus Colca Canyon and its condors

Key information

  • 17 nights hotels and 2 nights jungle lodge, all with en suite facilities
  • Group normally 5 to 16, plus leader. Min. age 16 yrs
  • Spends time at altitude
  • Travel by internal flight, train, boat and private bus
  • Inca Trail option: no extra cost - please request on booking. 3 nights full-service camping replaces 3 nights hotels. Additional meals included during trek
  • Countries visited: Peru

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 3 dinners included. Additional meals on Inca Trail option.
  • All accommodation 
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival & departure transfers
  • Inca Trail permit (if Inca Trail option selected at time of booking)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for private group trips:
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

People, Places & Planet

We work hard to create trips which improve life for the people and places we visit and look after the planet we explore. Find out more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here, and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:


How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • The use of a local guide means our customers will be well informed about local traditions, and cultural and social sensitivities.
  • This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally-owned hotels and restaurants, the emphasis on eating locally produced food and support of other local enterprise.
  • The free day in Cuzco is a good chance to visit Café Manos Unidas, the first vocational training site for young adults with disabilities in Cusco, creating employment opportunities for youth in their own community. In 2018, Exodus funded £5,000 where during the first three months of operation has directly benefitted 15 youths as well as 52 other community members indirectly.
  • For the Inca Trail option: The porters we work with are not directly employed by our local partner, but we work with the same communities each year; they are fairly paid and we also supply uniforms, walking shoes and provide safe transport and community support for them. Our trek manager is a leading figure and consultant for the Porters' Federation, which campaigns for the fair treatment of porters in the region.
  • For the Inca Trail option: We’re passionate about the welfare of our punctilious porters. Alongside setting the golden standard for fair treatment, we've taken the next step with our pioneering Porter Project. In Peru, despite trekking the Inca Trail numerous times, most porters never have the opportunity to visit the stunning ancient ruins of Machu Picchu. We’ve taken the initiative to fix this and in 2018 started a project to ensure each of our porters has the opportunity to experience an important part of their own cultural heritage. We can now proudly say that over 164 porters have been involved this project, and our mini-documentary ‘Carried Away’ about our porters, has helped raise awareness of the awesome job these porters do.
  • Funded by the Community Kickstart Project, our operator is working with Medlife to deliver emergency food parcels to the households of porters and other staff members who have continuously worked hard to guide our clients along the iconic Inca Trail.



How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • By travelling in a small group, led by a local guide, we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment.
  • When visiting Machu Picchu, the costs of permits and for our guided tour will go towards to the upkeep and maintenance of this architectural site.
  • We adhere to all Machu Picchu regulations. There are limited permits in order to reduce overcrowding and damage due to footfall, but our guides and porters are still very mindful of how we treat the environment. We work with a strict ‘leave no trace’ policy, meaning we have respect for wildlife and the landscape, separate rubbish and take all waste back to a proper disposal place.
  • We work with our partners on the ground to proactively eliminate or reduce waste, for example eliminating all single-use plastic water bottles and instead providing refills for re-usable bottles. Our local operator provides water boxes instead of water bottles in order to provide water to the passengers. The boxes are taken back to the office in Cusco for proper recycling.
  • For the Inca Trail option: We operate a zero-impact policy on the Inca Trail removing all waste from campsites and separating it so that it can be easily recycled or composted. This ensures no rubbish or plastic is left behind in the places we visit.
  • Our local operator has been certified and verified by Rainforest Alliance since 2015.
  • Our Animal Welfare Policy ensures all our trips adhere to ABTA’s industry-leading animal welfare guidelines to ensure the best possible practices with regards to working animals and wildlife viewing.


How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • Through our Planet Promise, we have pledged to halve the carbon footprint of our trips by 2030 and made rewilding and carbon compensation commitments for every customer who travels.
  • Accommodation and restaurants in the itinerary use locally sourced food which has not been transported long distances.
  • Vegetarian options are available at majority of accommodation and restaurants.

Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish behind in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, we’d ask you to consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Please bring your own re-usable water bottle on this trip; filtered water will be provided where tap water is not drinkable.


  • Day 1

    Start Lima.

    The trip starts in Lima today. Those on the group flights from London will arrive this evening.

    Hotel El Tambo 1 (or similar)

  • Day 2

    Free morning; afternoon city tour.

    This morning has been left free, and in the afternoon, we have a tour of colonial and modern Lima. We visit the modern residential district of Lima (Miraflores) and then explore the historic downtown area. We will discover the Plaza de Armas, Basilica Cathedral and Government Palace (also known as ‘House of Pizarro’) as we take a short walk around the colonial centre. We also visit the incredible Church of San Francisco, which houses one of the oldest libraries in the Americas and sits on top of a labyrinthine network of catacombs complete with the bones of Lima's wealthy eighteenth and nineteenth-century residents. This evening perhaps take a visit to the bohemian district of Barranco for some local food and a taste of the famous Pisco Sour, Peru’s national cocktail.

    Hotel El Tambo 1 (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Drive to Paracas, visiting Pachacamac and Pucusana.

    We drive south from Lima today, visiting Pachacamac Fortress, the Incas' largest coastal city at the time of the conquest. We stop for a late lunch of fresh seafood at the attractive fishing village of Pucusana. A stroll around the village where the day's catch is displayed at the market and a boat ride around the bay (subject to weather conditions) offer great insight into a contemporary Peruvian coastal town. We continue southwards to the town of Paracas where we spend the night.

    Hotel Gran Palma (or similar) 

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 4

    Sail to Ballestas Islands; continue to Nazca via Ica.

    A short drive from our hotel takes us to the port where we board our launch to visit the world famous Ballestas Islands, a national park which contains the highest concentration of marine birds in the world. There are sea lions and numerous species of birds on the islands themselves and we will also see the Paracas Candelabra, a curious pre-Inca design on the cliff-face, only recognisable from the sea. We drive on to Nazca in the afternoon and visit the viewing platforms close to the famous Nazca Lines. These are one of the world's great archaeological mysteries, consisting of enormous figures and patterns etched in the desert sand, best seen from the elevated position of the viewing platforms. There should also be time for optional visits to the nearby Antonini archaeological museum, a pre-Inca cemetery, or the Nazca Aqueduct, which gives an insight into the Nazca civilisation's ingenious subterranean irrigation system.

    Hotel Alegria (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Drive along coast then turn inland to Arequipa (2350m).

    Today we have a long drive (approx. 10 hrs) south through the coastal desert, with great views of the dunes and the Pacific Ocean, before heading inland into the mountains on the road to Arequipa.

    Selina Hotel (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 6

    Arequipa city tour, including Santa Catalina Convent.

    Arequipa is a beautiful colonial city set in a fertile oasis, with many historic buildings characterised by their use of white volcanic stone from the nearby Misti, whose dramatic cone dominates the town. In the morning we visit the Cathedral, the Jesuit church of La Compañia and the huge, serene convent of Santa Catalina, which retains typical features from the 16th and 17th centuries and is a peaceful refuge for the nuns who still live here today.

    Selina Hotel (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Drive to Colca Canyon.

    A spectacular drive takes us to the Colca Canyon, one of the world's deepest canyons. On the way we pass volcanoes and will almost certainly see vicuñas in the highlands before we cross the Patapampa Pass (4910m) which marks the descent into the canyon itself. As we take the winding road to the town of Chivay, the sight of the green and fertile terraces of the canyon is a real contrast to the barren yet beautiful landscapes we have travelled through for most of the day. This is the first day where we may feel the effects of altitude – although we do not linger at the top of the pass, we spend the night at around 3600m and so it is a good idea to take it easy on arrival.

    Hotel Pozo del Cielo, Chivay (or similar) 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    To Colca Canyon; explore and search for condors.

    Today we have a full day exploring the Colca Canyon, starting with a visit to the Cruz del Condor, the best place to see the mighty Andean condors as they glide on the morning thermals. We also see ancient tombs which line the cliffs on one side of the canyon and make stops in the villages along the way which house several interesting colonial churches. Depending on time, we may take a short walk along farm tracks to learn more about the agriculture on which the whole region is dependent. After a long day of exploration, an optional visit to the hot springs near Chivay this evening is a wonderful way to relax.

    Hotel Pozo del Cielo, Chivay (or similar) 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Drive via Sillustani to Puno (3800m), by Lake Titicaca.

    Today, we drive through the mountains to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca. En route we have opportunities to see vicuñas before making a short visit to the unique burial towers (chullpas) of Sillustani. The altitude here (3800m) makes physical effort very tiring, and the evenings are very cold, so taking time to rest is highly recommended.

    Casona Plaza Hotel (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Morning explore lake shore; afternoon sail to floating reed islands

    We have a full day on and around Lake Titicaca today. In the morning we will visit a local market in Acora district where the local people still use a barter system to trade with those living in other areas of the high plateau. Later in the morning we will take a short walk designed to highlight the culture of the indigenous groups who inhabit the small villages alongside the lake.  In the afternoon we will visit the descendants of the Uros People who live on islands of floating reeds; fishing and weaving remain key elements of their daily life and save for a few modest concessions to the modern world, they still live as their ancestors would have done centuries ago. These days, however, tourism has had a significant economic impact on their lives.

    Casona Plaza Hotel (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 11

    Drive across the altiplano to Cuzco (3400m).

    Today we take a bus ride across the altiplano, the high plains separating the Andes from the jungles. Although it is quite a long drive (approx. 10hrs), it is often spectacular. There are scheduled stops to visit some of the most interesting sites to help break up the day and appreciate the immensity of the Andean landscapes. These include La Raya Pass (4313m), the watershed and geographical dividing line between the altiplano and the Vilcanota Valley where Raqchi Inca temple is located. We arrive in Cuzco (3400m) in the evening.

    Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 12

    Morning Stand-up Paddle boarding; afternoon cooking class

    This morning we will travel to nearby Piuray Lagoon where will spend the morning paddle-boarding surrounded by stunning scenery of mountains and terraced fields.

    In the afternoon we’ll enjoy a cooking class, learning all about different plants and herbs used in Peruvian cooking and how to prepare traditional food and drink. After our lesson we’ll have time to enjoy a well-deserved dinner we’ve prepared ourselves!

    Meals Included - breakfast, dinner
    Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar)

    Inca Trail option: start trek and walk to Huayllabamba.

    Those clients who have opted for the Inca Trail Option will split from the main group today and begin the Inca Trail.

    The Classic Inca Trail is a tangential branch part of a 45,000km road network linking the whole empire to Cuzco. It was built in the 15th Century to reach Machu Picchu but was abandoned soon after the Spanish conquest. American adventurer, Hiram Bingham travelled along the trail when he came across Machu Picchu in 1911. The trail opened to the public in 1970. On all departures, when Inca Trail permits have sold out, the classic Inca Trail can be substituted with the remote and beautiful Moonstone Trek – please ask for details.

    We leave Cuzco early and drive for roughly two hours to Ollantaytambo, our last chance to buy any items needed for the trek. From here we veer off the road and follow a track beside the river (45 minutes) to the start of the Inca Trail at Piscacucho, commonly known as Km82. After greeting our trekking crew, we show our passports at the checkpoint and begin the Inca Trail trek. The trail runs alongside the Vilcanota River beneath the impressive snowcapped Nevado Veronica, passing through cactus gardens and fields of corn until we reach the enormous Inca ruins of Llactapata, where we continue up a side valley to camp near the hamlet of Huayllabamba.

    Inca Trail option: Meals included - breakfast, lunch, dinner
    Full-service camping, Huayllabamba Camp
    Distance covered: 11 km/7 miles
    Activity (hours): 6-7

  • Day 13

    Free day in Cuzco for optional activities

    Today has been left free for exploring Cuzco, one of South America's most beautiful cities. The Plaza de Armas is a fantastic spot for people-watching. The Mercado San Pedro is the place to try some local produce and there are many handicraft markets to shop for souvenirs such as alpaca jumpers and scarves.

    If you fancy something more active, then there is an array of other optional activities available from Cuzco including mountain biking or a combination of via ferrata and zip-lining in the Sacred Valley.

    Meals Included - breakfast
    Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar)

    Inca Trail option: Cross Dead Woman's Pass (4215m), then descend to Pacaymayu

    This is the longest and most strenuous day of the trek. A long climb takes us first through an area of cloud forest to the meadows of Llulluchapampa, then over the Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman's) Pass – at 4215m the highest point on the trek. After quite a long, steep descent we camp in the scenic valley of the Pacamayo River (3600m).

    Inca Trail Option: meals includedbreakfast, lunch, dinner
    Full-service camping, Pacamayo Camp
    Distance covered: 10 km
    Activity (hours): 6‐7hrs walking

  • Day 14

    Visit Pisac market and Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley.

    This morning, we head out of Cuzco to the colourful handicraft market at Pisac, at the entrance to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. After some free time to browse the stalls, we take a walking tour of the huge Inca ruins above the village. We enjoy a traditional 'pachamanca' lunch today, whereby the food is wrapped up and buried in the earth along with hot stones which cook it slowly. After lunch, we drive down the valley to Ollantaytambo where we visit the immense Inca fortress and explore the unique village whose streets still follow the pre-conquest grid plan.

    Meals Included - breakfast, lunch
    Tunupa Lodge (or similar)

    Inca Trail Option: Over Runquracay Pass (3800m) to ruins of Sayajmarca and Phuyupatamarca

    We start the day with an easier climb which takes us past the ruins of Runquracay and over the Runquracay Pass (3930m). From now on the Inca Trail becomes a clearly defined path made of flat boulders. As we leave behind the ruins of Sayajmarca, we suddenly enter rainforest; at one point the trail passes through an Inca tunnel. We spend the night at a spectacular campsite on the ridge above the Inca site of Phuyupatamarca (3680m) to benefit from the views of sunset and sunrise.

    Inca Trail Option: meals included – breakfast, lunch, dinner
    Full-service camping, Phuyupatamarca Camp
    Distance covered: 12 km / 7.5 miles
    Activity (hours): 5-6hrs walking

  • Day 15

    Free morning in Ollantaytambo and then travel to Aguas Calientes

    We have a free morning to explore Ollantaytambo and then make the scenic train journey through the Urubamba River Valley to Aguas Calientes (approx. 1 hour 30 minutes), arriving in the afternoon. The rest of the day has been left free to explore at your own leisure. Aguas Calientes is a bustling town with a large handicraft market (although prices here are at a premium in comparison to Pisac or Cuzco markets).

    There are some nearby hot springs, however they are often ove-rcrowded, and the water quality suffers as a result, therefore we don't recommend visiting them.

    Meals Included - breakfast
    Hotel Inti Punku El Tambo (or similar)

    Inca Trail option: Walk via Wiñay Wayna to Machu Picchu

    From the ridge, we embark on the infamous Inca steps: a two-kilometre stone staircase taking us rapidly downhill amid a panorama of overwhelming immensity, with the peaks of the Vilcabamba range above, and the river thousands of metres below. After visiting the attractive ruins of Wiñay Wayna, we have an undulating walk through cloud forest high above the river to Inti Punku, the Sun Gate. From here we get our first full sight of Machu Picchu itself, with Huayna Picchu rising behind.

    Traditionally busy with groups of trekkers clamouring for photos, we plan our arrival at Inti Punku later in the day so we can enjoy unobstructed views of the magnificent ruins. Passing around the edge of the ruins, we exit the site and descend to Aguas Calientes for a well-earned rest, a shower and a comfortable bed for the night. Our trekking permits allow us one entry into the site, which we use for our tour tomorrow, but anyone wishing to visit the citadel on both days can purchase an additional entry ticket today – your tour leader will assist with this.

    There is usually time for an optional visit to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes, however, in recent years they have become over-crowded, and the water quality can suffer as a result. 

    Inca Trail Option: Meals included breakfast, lunch
    Hotel Inti Punku El Tambo (or similar)
    Distance covered: 9 km / 5.5 miles
    Activity (hours): 6-7hrs walking

  • Day 16

    Morning guided tour of Machu Picchu; afternoon return to Cuzco.

    In order to beat the day-trippers arriving from Cuzco and reach the ruins as early as possible, a very early start is required to queue for Machu Picchu; only government-registered buses can make the 30-minute drive up the winding road to the site entrance and during high season (May-October) queues can be hours long. 

    Machu Picchu is one of the architectural and engineering marvels of the ancient world and what makes it all the more dramatic is its mountain backdrop of staggering immensity. The Spaniards never found it; the Incas left no records of it, and so Machu Picchu remained a great enigma, a city lost for centuries in the jungle until it was rediscovered in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham. 

    New regulations for visiting Machu Picchu are now fully enforced; of the three possible visiting slots, Exodus will purchase the morning slot from 06:00 until 12:00 (unless unavailable), you will be limited to a maximum of four hours within the site and must be accompanied by a guide. There will also be three set routes to follow around Machu Picchu; Exodus selects the most comprehensive route. Please note that exploring the ruins involves a reasonable amount of walking, including up and down steep and uneven stone steps. 

    We catch an afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo (1hr 30 mins) and continue by private bus to Cuzco (2hrs 30 mins).

    Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 17

    Tour of Cuzco and Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman.

    We have a full-day tour combining the highlights in and around the city. Outside the town are Inca ruins, notably the fortress of Sacsayhuaman where the Inca armies made their last stand against the Conquistadores. In the centre, we visit the Plaza de Armas, and many examples of the famous Inca stonework like those of the Qoricancha Sun Temple located in the Santo Domingo church and Monastery.

    Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 18

    Fly to Puerto Maldonado; travel by boat into rainforest; afternoon jungle walk.

    We leave Cuzco early today as we take a short flight to Puerto Maldonado (please note that due to poor flight availability, on some departures this flight will connect through Lima and be considerably longer), a small town in the rainforest. On arrival, we transfer to the dock for a boat trip to our lodge in the Tambopata Reserve – this journey takes between 1½ and 3 hours depending on which lodge we stay in. On the way, we may see caimans, river turtles and waterfowl. After some time to settle in, we will take a short walk along the forest trails near the lodge to look for nocturnal animals.

    Cayman Lodge Amazonia (or similar) 

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 19

    Jungle exploration by boat and on foot.

    Activities today will vary according to the lodge used but will generally include a mixture of walks along the forest trails, time spent in canoes to explore rainforest lakes, and the opportunity to go high into the canopy for a completely different view of the forest. The resident guides are normally around in the evening to answer questions, and from some lodges (not all) there is the option to take a canoe out onto the river in search of caiman by torchlight.

    Cayman Lodge Amazonia (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 20

    Fly to Lima; end Lima.

    We return to Puerto Maldonado after breakfast today and board our flight back to Lima. Those who have booked a flight inclusive package through Exodus depart Lima this evening and arrive in to London the following afternoon. For land only clients, the tour ends at Lima airport. If booking an onwards flight from Lima today, please ensure that it does not depart before 20:00hrs.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info



Visas are not required by UK citizens, Western European nationals, Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans and most other nationalities. If you are in any doubt please contact the nearest Peruvian Embassy.



There are no mandatory vaccination requirements.

Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

If you are travelling to the Tambopata reserve in the Amazon rainforest, the risk of malaria is slight, but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. We also strongly recommend that you obtain a Yellow Fever vaccination. Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in the Amazon region. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites: always apply insect repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers while in the rainforest to avoid being bitten.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 4 dinners are included in the price of the tour. For those doing the Inca Trail (or Moonstone) trek option, all meals, some snacks, and drinks/water are included during the trek. 

Drinking water is included throughout the holiday as the tap water in Peru is not safe to drink; boiled and filtered drinking water is provided on the trek and elsewhere your leader will buy large water containers for you to refill your bottle from. 

Hotel breakfasts are normally simple buffet-style affairs, usually including bread/toast and jam, cereal, sometimes eggs or cooked dishes, sometimes fruit, tea/coffee and fruit juice. Regrettably, we cannot guarantee that wheat/gluten-free products will be available for breakfast in all locations - if you have an intolerance you may wish to bring your own breakfast food.

Dinner in Nazca is a traditional 'pachamanca' dinner, cooked on hot coals in the ground. Where lunch and dinner is not included we'll visit a variety of cafes and restaurants. For some of the days with long drives, we may take some packed lunches to eat at a scenic spot along the way.

Peruvian cuisine has developed a reputation for its flavours and originality and it’s well worth trying out a few of the local delicacies. Amongst these are ceviche (a spicy dish of seafood or fish marinated in lime juice), lomo saltado (a Peruvian take on a beef stir-fry) and various hearty soups such as the delicious quinoa soup. Other dishes include roasted cuy (guinea pig), Alpaca steak, and to drink, the national beverage: Pisco Sour.


Peru's diverse geography results in a very varied climate. The coastal desert including Lima, is generally dry but cloudy through most of the year. The exception is January to March when the skies are clear and the temperatures rise.

In Cuzco and the Andes, April to November is the dry season; during these months the sky is generally bright and clear with strong sunshine in the mornings, sometimes clouding over as the day progresses. In the Andes, however, anything is possible at any time of year, including cloud rolling up from the Amazon basin, rain or even snow, and rapid and unexpected changes! During the dry season temperatures at night can dip to around the freezing mark (and sometimes below!), particularly around Lake Titicaca. The chart shown only shows average temperatures, daytime and night-time extremes in the Andes, particularly in the dry season can be very different from these.

Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu are in the Cloud Forest and as such attract large amounts of precipitation all year as clouds move up from the Amazon basin. Rain here can be heavy but is seldom prolonged.

Whilst the Amazon Rainforest is generally warm and humid, it can be subject to drops in temperature caused by cold fronts pushing in from the south - this can occur at any time of year but happens most often in June and July. This can send temperatures dropping into single figures, and we recommend that you take some warm clothing with you to the lodge in case of sudden changes in the weather.


Is this trip for you?

You should be aware that the size of Peru means that this trip involves some long drives and early starts. The longest drive is about 10 hours. The private buses used are comfortable and the scenery is outstanding. There will be several stops along the way to help break up the journey.

Although the rainforest lodges we use are clean and comfortable, they are remote and facilities are limited. In particular, you should note that electricity is usually only provided in the main buildings, not in the bedrooms.

Many of the Inca sites (including Machu Picchu) are built on hillsides and sightseeing often involves walking up and down steep streets or on uneven steps or terraces. As such, you should have a good level of mobility and a reasonable level of fitness.

Although graded Leisurely/Moderate (level 2), the altitude can make physical activity feel more tiring than at sea level. As this trip spends considerable time at altitude we ask you to refer to the Altitude Warning within the Trip Notes for more information and advice on how to limit the effects of altitude sickness. Although we do not linger there, the maximum altitude visited on this trip is 4,910m (Patapampa Pass) which we drive over near Chivay, Colca Canyon – please ensure your travel insurance covers you up to this altitude. 

Strikes are not uncommon in Peru and whilst these are generally peaceful protests, they can result in roadblocks and disruption to travel. In this event, your leader will amend your itinerary if necessary to minimise the impact.

There is the option to trek the four-day classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in place of four days of this itinerary if you wish. You must select/request the ‘Inca Trail trek option’ at the time of booking in order to do this.

There are extremely stringent booking procedures in place for the Inca Trail. A trekking permit is required and there is a daily cap on the number of these available. Inca Trail permits sell out very quickly, especially for peak season treks (May to August). If you wish to do the trek, we therefore recommend booking at least 6-8 months in advance to avoid disappointment. We will also need your full passport details (required to purchase your Inca Trail permit) or we will be unable to process your booking.

Should you wish to trek but find that Inca Trail permits have already sold out, we can also offer an alternative trek (not requiring a permit) in its place – the Moonstone Trek. Please enquire for details.

No matter which option you decide on, this trip spends considerable time at altitude. Although we have taken care to design the itinerary to allow for gradual acclimatisation, you should be aware of this. The journey from Puno/Lake Titicaca to Cuzco (day 11) takes us across the high altiplano and over La Raya Pass (4313m). We also travel over Patapampa Pass (4850m) en route to Chivay near Colca Canyon - the highest point on the tour. 

The Inca Trail trek option
Please note that the trek itself is graded as Moderate (level 3). There are 4 days walking with full porterage, at a maximum altitude of 4215m, average 3050m. Though not without its difficulties (in particular the ascent and descent of the first pass, known as Dead Woman's Pass!) this trek is certainly possible for anyone in a good state of health and fitness, but we would not recommend it as a beginner's trek to anyone who is totally unused to walking. If you are not a regular walker you should put in some physical preparation before departure. It is also not particularly suitable for those with bad knees due to the number of steep and uneven steps, particularly on the third and fourth days of the trek.

Inca Trail Regulations
There are a number of important regulations regarding the Inca Trail that we would like to make you aware of:
1. Spaces on the Inca Trail are on a first come, first served basis and we urge you to book as early as possible.
2. If you cancel your booking more than 8 weeks before departure and wish to transfer your deposit to another departure or another trip the transfer fee is £150 as we will lose the permit we have purchased. This is an amendment to our Booking Conditions. No transfers are possible within 8 weeks of departure.
3. Bookings can only be made if we are supplied with your full name, passport details, date of birth and nationality, exactly as per the passport you will be using to travel to Peru (this information is used to purchase your Inca Trail permit). If your passport details do not match those on your permit you will be refused entry to the Inca Trail by the local authorities.
4. Should the passport used to purchase your permit be lost, stolen or expire before your Inca Trail start date, you must purchase a new passport and notify Exodus immediately as we will need to apply to amend your Inca Trail permit. To do so, you must supply copies of both your old and new passports to Exodus in advance of travel and pay an administration fee of £25. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you make a copy of your passport at the time of booking and keep it somewhere safe.
5. Please be aware that these regulations may change at any time, and Exodus is not responsible for the decisions made by Peruvian authorities.
6. There is a possibility that the Peruvian authorities may increase the entrance fees to the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu and other major sights at any time. If they do so, we will inform you of this increase and the extra amount will need to be paid locally in cash in Peru.

Please Note: Whilst your departure date may be 'Guaranteed', your Inca Trail permit itself will initially be 'On Request'. If travelling within the current year we will try to purchase your permit immediately upon receiving your booking. If travelling next year, we will apply for your permit as soon as they are released for sale. In either case, in the event that we are unable to get your permit, we will contact you to discuss your options.

List of Regulations for visiting Machu Picchu:

The main points impacting your visit are the following:

  1. The tickets are valid only for one entry which means that you cannot leave the site and re-enter.
  2. Once you have done the chosen circuit with your guide, you cannot walk back to view anything already visited and once you finish the circuit, you will have to leave the site. You can no longer explore the site further after the guided tour.
  3. The two visit times for visiting the site, either 6am-12pm or 12-16.30pm.
  4. The local authorities have restricted the temples which can visited at Machu Picchu depending on the time of the visit to the site.

These regulations will affect how long you are able to spend at Machu Picchu and which temples you can visit.  In the past, after the guided tour passengers could stay longer to explore the site, this is not possible anymore. The alternative that we are implementing on our visits to allow you further time, is to explore the upper part of Machu Picchu (Sun Gate and Inca Bridge) before starting the guided tour.  The guided tour will be about 2 hrs in duration, and unfortunately at the end of it, you will need to exit the site. You will be able to visit the Condor’s Temple, but not the Sun Dial Temple or the Sun Temple on this itinerary.

 Schedule of visit to Machu Picchu on this itinerary:

  • Early bus to Machu Picchu and explore upper part with the tour leader
  • Between 9-10am start the guided tour
  • Between 11.30am-12.30pm passengers leave Machu Picchu


Please see our COVID Travel Guide for Peru for more information on current guidelines for travel in Peru.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for private group trips:
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Hotels & Jungle Lodge (plus camping on Inca Trail option)

We spend 17 nights in hotels and 2 nights in a jungle lodge all with en-suite facilities. For the optional Inca Trail trek, 3 nights full-service camping replace 3 hotel nights.

The hotels normally used are indicated within the itinerary, however, accommodation may differ from those stated depending on your departure date. All of our hotels are clean and comfortable, and we stay in central locations wherever possible in the towns and cities. Most hotels have a safety deposit box in the room but if not, there will be one at reception.

Please note that central heating is very rare in Peru, even in good standard hotels. Most hotels provide plug-in heaters and spare blankets. Additionally, whilst all of the hotels have a hot water supply, it can be temperamental when there is high demand.

A railway line runs straight through the centre of Aguas Calientes and whilst we try to allocate rooms away from it whenever possible, some rooms might hear the trains.

In the rainforest, we use several lodges in the Tambopata Reserve. All offer a similar standard of accommodation and rainforest experience, and each has a network of walking trails through the forest. The lodges are usually located between 1½ and 3½ hours by boat from Puerto Maldonado, and each has a main building surrounded by lodge/bungalow accommodation. The rooms are usually based on two people sharing, and all have private bathrooms with a shower, as well as individual mosquito nets over the beds and, in some cases, mosquito screens on the windows. There is generally no electricity in the bedrooms, and lighting is provided by lanterns or candles. The main buildings each have a dining room and bar, as well as a small library of books relating to the rainforest and its flora and fauna. These are usually the only areas of the lodge with an electrical supply (not 24 hours).

For those who select the Inca Trail Trek option: during the trek we spend three nights full-service camping, meaning that our camp staff will erect and dismantle the tents, cook, and do all camp chores for you. You need only carry your daypack. There will also be dining and toilet tents and bowls of warm water are provided both morning and evening for washing with.

We recommend the early booking of single supplements and of pre/post-tour accommodation. Single rooms can be booked for an optional single supplement, subject to availability at the time of booking (excludes two nights in the Amazon lodge). If you are taking the Inca Trail option, this supplement covers the cost of a single tent for the duration of the trek.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for private group trips:
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for private group trips:
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed September 2019
    Vince McClave

    Fantastic three weeks exploring Peru

    The trip starts with exploring the capital city Lima, then follows the coast seeing flocks of the sea birds and sea lions on the way before turning inland into the Andes, the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu and a brief visit to 'the jungle'. You see magnificent landscapes along the way from the desert-like coastal plains to the fabulous snow-capped Andean mountain tops with an active volcano on the horizon. You visit manu Inca and pre-Inca settlements during the course of the three weeks. After the effort and camping along the Inca Trail there's just enough time to visit the jungle for more wild-life viewing. This excursion has the lot!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    In terms of physical effort, going over Dead Woman's Pass on the Inca Trail. However, seeing the condors gliding in and around the canyons and cliffs and viewing the Lines of Nazca from above were also pretty inspirational moments. The Inca sites were all phenomenal in terms of size and construction.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Group Leader Luis Gonzales was brilliant. Knowledgeable, attentive, always careful as to our health, particularly when we were at altitude and very keen to show us everything Peru offers, Luis was always professional and had a great sense of humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for all weathers. We had heat and humidity in the jungle and rain, wind, sleet, mist, cold as well as sun and heat in the Andes. Invest in a good poncho - the plastic ones for sale locally are not up to the job.
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Steve Deutsch

    A fantastic journey around Southern Peru

    An amazing trip full of insight and excitement. 3 weeks seeing the Coast, the Desert, the mountains and the jungle. Lots of early starts but worth it to cram in as much as possible. So many highlights including the Ballestas Islands, the Nazca lines, Arequipa, Colca Canyon and its condors, Cusco, Ollantaytambo, local festivals, the Moonstone Trek, Machu Picchu, the jungle...

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Following the Moonstone Trek, high in the mountains, for 4 days and 3 nights, camping in the wilderness and waking up to snow one morning, meeting virtually no-one, supported by a great team. Visiting Machu Picchu which really is as amazing as the pictures suggest. Going to the Amazon jungle, which was fantastic, such a change from the rest of the trip, with lots of wildlife to see.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bruce was fantastic. Friendly, committed, cheerful, and informative he kept us to time and schedule and was great company too, even giving up part of his day off to take us to another site.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just be aware that although the trip is rated leisurely / moderate there are lots of early starts and lots of travel on the coach, with limited downtime, particularly until Cusco. But its a great trip and there's so much to see.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go, its such an interesting country.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Stephen Trowell

    One of the two best trips of my life

    Overall this was the trip of a lifetime. Spending three weeks in Peru was worth every minute, from the Anthropological and Archaeological museum in Lima, through the Ballestos islands, flying over the Nazca lines, the Altiplano with volcanoes and the most gorgeous flamingos, Colca Canyon and the condors, Cusco, Ollantaytambo, The Sacred Valley, the Maras saltworks and Moray Inca agricultural research station (if that is what it was) and Machu Picchu. The Peruvian people, their food, their cities. The Andes. The geology, the wildlife. It truly was a cornucopia of delights. We were very lucky with the weather, which was well nigh perfect. The trip was very well planned and allowed plenty of time for acclimatisation, so that by the time we arrived at Cusco, we were quite at home with the altitude. We had chosen not to do one of the hikes to or near Machu Picchu and instead spent an extra three days in Cusco. We were largely left on our own but Exodus and our tour guide had arranged and advised us on the activities we wanted to do. It worked out very well and we didn't exhaust all the extra museums, art galleries, restaurants nor do all the day trips etc. that were available. We were very happy with our choice and we had a lot to discuss with our more active tour companions when they returned to Cusco.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably standing at 5,000m, with a 300 degree panorama round the rainbow hills at Hanchipacha. This wasn't part of the official itinerary and we did it on one of our free days (we did not do the Inca Trail). We lucked out with the weather and the resulting photo now dominates a complete wall in our house. Honourable mentions to: The condors which came out for us at Colca Canyon. They were breathtaking. Seeing a very large anaconda in Amazonia.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Reni was excellent. The depth of his experience was telling. He worked really hard to look after everyone and make sure we stayed safe and got the very best experiences possible. 10/10

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The only negative was some of the bus driving. We had a long trip one day and we had a second, younger, bus driver who was doing insane things at night, on a winding road with oncoming fuel tankers. It was very scary and dangerous and our tour guide spoke to the driver in Spanish. Things improved but it should not have got to this point.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The local guides were great. Another of the positives for us was our fellow travellers. Two from the UK, two from Canada and two from Australia. They were interesting, diverse people with a big range of ages and experiences.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    David Whittle

    Peru Holiday

    A superb holiday from start to finish, taking in many different facets of Peru as a country. From Pacific coast to historical sites, magnificent mountains, glorious wildlife and fascinating jungle. This trip had it all. Add in the variety of different modes of transport and there is something to appeal to anyone.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The completion of the Inca trail trek, despite the dreadful weather, was a moment of true inspiration. Firstly for having completed the physically demanding trek and secondly for the panoramic view of the historic site of Macchupiccu, and realising the scale of it all.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was excellent, dealing with every situation in a cool, efficient manner. His personality was very endearing and his knowledge of the various different places was inspirational. His frankness about the problems facing Peru as a country was refreshing to hear.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do not be fooled by the Exodus rating of the trip. It is harder than they would have you believe. In fact probably one of the most physically challenging things I have ever undertaken. Despite significant preparation there is no way, living in Britain, can you prepare for the altitude effect which affected the majority of our group to some degree.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The standard of the hotels used, whilst on the whole was good, there was some variation which at times was slightly disappointing.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Mira Dumancic

    Excellent trip, do it!

    Fantastic trip! Great itinerary, great leader and wonderful country. Everything was beyond expectations. A busy and well organised adventure that highlighted the diversity of Peru.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Many wonderful moments. Flying over the Nasca lines was a highlight, having studied pre-Hispanic South American history decades ago and finally seeing them. The condors at Colca Canyon were amazing. On of our free days, we visited Rainbow Mountains; a surreal landscape that was breathtaking.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent leader. Knowledgable, passionate, very calm and relaxed. Very hard working and kept everything running smoothly, organising many activities for the diverse group. Amazing organisational skills. I've done a number of small group tours (Intrepid, Geckos) and Reynaldi is one the best tour leaders I've known. Outstanding.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Plenty of sunscreen. If hiking, take good equipment, although some can be hired before trekking. Take layers of clothing, as weather ranges from very cold to very hot.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you wish to visit museums on the itinerary, check that they are open on the day that you visit. I was looking forward to visiting the Ica Museum, but it was closed on the day we were there. Unfortunately, that wasn't mentioned in the trip notes. I think it would be good if Exodus mentions museum closures in the trip notes.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Clive and Jean Parsons

    A Great Adventure

    As described, the itinerary encompasses a tremendous range of activities, venues and experiences which provided insights into the country's culture, history and heritage. We met many interesting people along the way and had great fun with fellow travellers and guides. As usual with Exodus trips there were many early mornings and some long journeys, but these are necessary for the trip to achieve the stated aims! Hotels were comfortable and all had suitable amenities. Food - and drink - was plentiful and tasty and generally good quality. The route was well planned and enabled us to fully acclimatise before attempting the focal activity for us - the Inca Trail. It also put the trail and Machu Picchu into a broader context so that we appreciated it all even more. Support on the Inca Trail, from our guide and 'porters' was exceptional. We had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed (almost) every minute.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking the trail, arriving at and visiting Machu Picchu was the real culmination as that was our main objective, but was heightened as a result of what we had experienced on the trip beforehand. There was magnificent scenery in many places, but especially at sunset and sunrise on the trail. Condors soaring overhead in Colca Canyon were also awe inspiring.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Mike was exceptional. His knowledge enthusiasm and passion for his country and its cultural heritage added a whole extra and very special dimension to the trip. He ensured that everything was very well organized and he managed individual needs particularly well - especially on the Inca Trail. He also ensured that we got full benefit from other local guides and anyone else supporting the trip, such as porters and drivers. There was a real feeling of one team dedicated to helping us to get the most from the trip. He also engendered a real sense of 'family' for us trippers. All this with a 'wicked' sense of humour!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Money - we didn't have any need for US dollars. Credit cards were usable in most restaurants. Credit and debit cards gave a far better exchange rate than cash in the UK - especially if you have a fee free card. Climate / Weather - didn't really get a feel for the temperature range from the trip notes and most towns got colder earlier than anticipated. Inca Trail - the packing list for the trail possibly over complicated requirements. Also trip notes were not clear that you need stuff for six days allowing for the night in Ollantaytambo before (as well as the night in Aguas Calientes after) - but you can leave things in the lodge at Ollantaytambo and pick up on return. It is worth doing aerobic activity beforehand as the altitude on day 2 had experienced walkers puffing!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Other companies often have a different schedule for the 4 day Inca Trail. The Exodus model suited us perfectly and we often had the trail seemingly to ourselves. If you are thinking about doing it - just go for it!
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Anthony Child

    A wonderful way to see Peru's highlights

    We went on this trip in July which is the Peruvian winter. This tour lasts for around 3 weeks and for the majority is packed with a full itinerary. You start at Lima, known locally as 'Donkey Belly' because it is always cloudy due to the local topography and weather systems. To be honest Lima is OK but a typical capital city with usual buildings of interest and you really don't need to spend much time there. We did however get our first sample of the local Peruvian alcoholic drink - Pisco Sour. A brandy based drink made from the skin of grapes. It is one of Peru's best kept secrets. You must try it! Hotel clean and functional. From Lima we were driven in a coach that had more room than needed for our party of 14 which would see us all the way through to Cuzco. We needed space as the trips can be long and some folks felt a bit nauseous. The two drivers were lovely chaps and couldn't do enough for us. Exodus always provide large boxes of water for each leg of the journey and is always needed. From Lima you then head off down the coast on day 3 to visit Pachacamac Fortress an Inca coastal settlement. . Interesting enough and a good place to take photos of the settlement which is dry and dusty. This a good taste of the first of many Inca sites throughout the trip. Afterwards on to the coastal resort of Pucusana where we had lunch and a boat trip around the bay photographing the numerous pelicans. The food at the restaurants here and throughout the trip was of a high standard and most enjoyable. The hotel here was pretty basic and the rooms small. The following day we headed for another harbour for a high speed boat ride to the Ballestas Islands, which we understand has more sea birds per square metre than anywhere else in the world. If you have a telephoto lens then take it as the variety of birds is fantastic, including penguins. You can't get too close due to the rough sea and rocks but this excursion is truly spectacular. Can imagine folks could feel a bit nauseous if the sea is too rough, so keep looking at the horizon. Later we visit the Nazca lines from watch towers which is really needed to gauge the perspective of these unusual markings. The next day is pretty arduous as we travel inland across dry and sometimes windy uneven roads to Arequipa. A number of our party felt or were ill due to travel sickness on this 10 hour drive. We have a few short stops along the way which are greatly needed. The following day we discover this old city and are rewarded with some great photos of the surrounding dormant volcanoes and one live one. The city is very interesting and gives visitors a much better insight in to local Peruvian life and culture. The trip to the convent is very interesting. The hotel was very quaint but lovely with a huge atrium. The city square is well worth a visit for supplies and at night is pretty lively. On day 7 we visit the Colca Canyon, a spectacular drive along the edge of the valley. The famous Condors are the treat at the end! We leave fairly early after breakfast and are lucky as the thermals are starting just as we arrived. We saw these wonderful graceful birds in all their glory soaring time and time again. Use that telephoto if you have it. They are not the only birds as we also saw lots of other smaller varieties including the South American Large Hummingbird. This spectacular place was surreal, although if the weather is against you (as it was the day after) the Condors won't come out to play. The drive here to Chivay climbs high through the mountains and very bendy but had spectacular views. The hotel at Chivay was more basic but reasonable enough. Wifi here was poor and can be patchy at many of the hotels. Exploring the town here and the local market is relaxing way to spend the evening. Our guide as always will recommend places to eat. We didn't sample the hot springs but many of our party did and thoroughly enjoyed it. We had been put off by previous reports of lack of cleanliness but our group didn't notice anything untoward. The additional local tour guides that are picked up at each stage along the way add immensely to the enjoyment with them imparting their specialist insight to the region we visit. We rated all of them, all of whom had an excellent command of English. The next part of the trip was to travel to Puno on the edge of Lake Titicaca. We are climbing it seems all the time but stop regularly at view points and to see the wild Vicuna and Alpacas roaming the high plains. Puno is a thriving bustling City we plenty of sights and local amenities. The hotel and food here was very good with the central plaza a very popular place to spend some time. The next day we visit the Lake and board a boat that takes us to the Reed People who literally spend their lives floating on the lake on the reeds. Full of local tradition and colour you will be invited to spend some time with these people with ample photography opportunities. You finish off by taking a trip around the reed village in their own boats which would look more at home on a pleasure park, but great fun nonetheless. As you travel higher some travellers may start to feel the effects of altitude. We did take the recommended medication for this part of the journey and all the way through to Machu Picchu. We felt more fatigued than normal, so a more relaxed pace and plenty of fluids is the best solution. Another long coach journey but with more stops and less bendy all the way to the Inca capital of Cusco. We spend more time at Cusco than anywhere else but the hotel is ok but fairly basic. Maybe Exodus should look at an upgrade. My friend didn't do the Inca Trail and spent even more time there. If you are on the ground floor then there seems to be a lot of noise from staff and guests. Cusco however is a lovely City full of history and tradition. As always the central plaza is the main focus of the locals and truly worth an evening visit. The restaurants were also very good and you can try local dishes such as Alpaca or Guinea Pig. We visited the spectacular Sacred Valley and the fortress at Ollantaytambo, and a vibrant local market was well worth a visit . Take care not to take photos of the locals unless they are happy for you to do so. Many will ask for a Soles or two. The next part if the trip is the Inca Trail. Everyone will have wonderful memories of this but here is what we experienced. You start off early to get on the trial so the weather is chilly. You climb for most of the first 2 days then descend for the rest. We travelled in winter and at night it does get very cold and you are under canvas. We chose to take our own sleeping bags but I the ones you can get from Exodus are perfectly good with a warm liner. Unfortunately it did also rain for a couple of the days, which can drench you all the way through. Fortunately we had decent quality ponchos bought in the UK (you need them). The paths can get slippery so robust good quality hiking boots or shoes are a must. Walking Poles, I would thoroughly recommend for steadiness on uneven parts. The tents are waterproof enough although the ends did get wet and although the ground for the most part only had a slight incline you did slip down the tent during the night. Wear dry clothes at night (I wore thermals) especially if your day clothes are damp. You climb as high as 16,000 ft across Dead Woman's Pass (another group photo). The walk is a reasonable pace but due to the altitude a slow pace is best and the guides will keep this steady pace. The Porters and they were probably 25 of them just for our group, did an absolutely fabulous job, packing and unpacking each day, cooking really amazing food and just about seeing to everything. All the water is boiled and therefore clean, make sure you drink plenty. We took small bottles of concentrated juice from home as this helped mask the taste of boiled water. Just remember, you will get wet, you will get cold, you will get hot, so you need to pack for everything but the Porters will only carry 7kg of your kit. The rest is up to you and your day bag, so only take stuff absolutely necessary. All of your other luggage and suitcase will be waiting for you at hotel at the end of the trek. You get an enormous sense of achievement doing this walk but you will get out of breath especially on the way up. Along the way you visit some amazing Inca sites and you have regular stops for rest and refreshments. Exodus plan this very carefully. Although the trail is only about 26 miles, don't forget it's up and down all the time. The travel toilets are as you would expect basic, and only at camp. There are some loos along the way but not many. A trip to the bushes maybe called for but you must take you own paper and you cannot leave it in the bushes. Doggy poo bags probably good to take along. The night before the final day you stay very high up overlooking the mountains that lead to Machu Picchu. We had a lot of mist and cloud but when it cleared the spectacular scenery is breathtaking. On the final morning you say goodbye to the Porters who earn every Soles you tip them. They carry around 25kg each on their back and speed past you as they go the next site, sometimes wearing just sandals in the rain. As you cross the Sun Gate Machu Picchu comes into view in the distance. Nothing prepares you for this awe inspiring site. Forget the photos you've seen, this leaves you speechless. The group gather together for the usual group photo then proceed downhill to this famous Inca phenomenon. You spend quite a bit of time at the site taking photos but don't go in to the main part which is the plan for the next day. As you leave the site weary, smelly but elated you go on a switch back coach ride to Machu Picchu town. After being fairly remote walking in the mountains you are faced with a loud and huge swarm of day trippers. You have to queue for the bus which took us about 20 minutes. The hotel in Machu Picchu was fairly good although some in our group complained they had no hot water, which after 4 days under canvas would have been an extreme disappointment. The following day our Exodus guide Renaldi (Renny) took us on amazing historic guide of the Machi Picchu site. You just can't get enough photos of such an extraordinary and magical place. Nothing really prepares you for what you see. In a way everything is sort of an anti-climax after Machu Picchu but you still wonder at the marvelous scenery of this geographically varied country. The train back to Ollantaytambo through the deep valley was an excellent way to leave Machu Picchu. We then catch a minibus back to Cusco, a bit crampt as all the seats were taken up by the group. The next few days we 'come down' with a few more days in Cusco and visiting other Inca sites. The final part of the tour is a short flight from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado in the Amazon. You stay in lodges built on stilts and sleep under mosquito nets with no hot water (cold shower), but of course you expect this. After the dryness of the west coast and the elevation of the trek, the Amazon seems to be out of place in Peru. Whilst there we enjoyed the high speed river journeys, the late night Cayman spotting, the night trek in search of wild like and the boat trip on the lake catching Piranhas. Great sunsets along the river and the trek to the lake was very enjoyable. Saw some monkeys and plenty of birds but I guess we were hoping to see more wildlife. Just a final point of caution. On our flight back we landed in Cusco to pick up more passengers for onward to Lima. However at Cusco, the airline company Avianca in their wisdom, decide that the air conditions (too hot) would affect lift off and they offloaded some of the suitcases, some of which were from our party. It took some nearly 2 weeks to be reunited with their baggage with Avianca hopelessly not interested. It didn't detract however from a wonderful and memorable holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Lots, but of course the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu itself. The Inca sites generally were breathtaking. Loved the boat trip to the Ballestas Islands. Colca Canyon and the Condors. The Reed People and the trip into the Amazon.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Renaldi (Renny) was a fantastic group leader, caring, considerate and compassionate. Everything worked like clockwork, with him on the phone at every point to ensure we would be met without hold-up. His knowledge was phenomenal especially concerning the Incas, Cusco and Machu Picchu. He had such a vast knowledge about everything Peru. He is a credit to his industry.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Weather: be prepared for everything from wet to hot to cold. Take layers for the trek that can be taken off. Wear good rainproof hiking shoes or boots. You need to grip. I slipped over a number of times on the descent even with good boots. Take a quality poncho. Walking poles a must. Take a good quality waterproof jacket to suit the season. It gets very cold at night on the hike. Cameras and phones can't be charged for 4 days on the hike, so take a spare battery or large battery charger. Caution, all batteries must be carried in hand luggage including from phones and cameras otherwise Avianca may offload your luggage. Headtorch a must for hike and Amazon Altitude sickness tablets Refillable water bottle Hat and sun screen - due to altitude very easy to get sun burn (I did) Sunglasses

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The group we had ranged from 50-over 70 years of age. If you are reasonably fit with no health problems you can do the trek. You will get out of breath on the way up, but so did everybody. The Amazon part of the journey didn't add that much to the trip. Maybe suggest going deeper in to the amazon where we may see more wildlife.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Rob and Fiona Batten

    A wonderful Peruvian adventure

    Make no mistake, this is not a holiday as such but a full-on early morning to evening priceless adventure and experience. If you are doing the Inca trail you will probably find yourselves with only a couple of half days spare. Not one moment of this will you ever regret - we can honestly say that it was of the best experiences in 40 plus years of travel. Every day was well organised and went as smoothly as any holiday as diverse as this one could do. The hotels were of a good standard, particularly for a third World country. As far as the Inca trail is concerned, we are in our mid sixties, reasonably fit and had no real problems completing it. The porters are just incredible and ran past us as we laboured up and down hills! The food on the trek was amazingly good and we all ate well.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to list!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was Renaldi Chacca. After all our years of travelling we can honestly say that Rennie, as we called him, was the best we have ever known. This was a sentiment shared by everyone else in our group. His depth of knowledge about the history, culture, politics and all things Peruvian was truly amazing. He was by turns kind, sympathetic, humorous, efficient but firm when the situation required it. We felt that we were saying goodbye to a friend at the end of the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    In July it snowed on the Inca Trail so go prepared for all conditions.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Jane Barber

    Peru Explorer -

    A very special and well coordinated trip, crammed full with different places and experiences - from amazing and varied scenery, plants and wildlife to interesting Inca and pre-Inca history, plus the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Our hard-working porters who amazed us everyday by setting off after us on the trail, carrying their enormous packs and by the time we finally arrived, not only clapped us in, but had warm drinks and tasty meals ready, and our tents all set up! In terms of what we experienced - amazing condors soaring on the thermals in Colca Canyon; the huge numbers of breeding Peruvian boobies and pelicans on and around the Ballestas Islands (not to forget the penguins); tarantulas and ghost spiders in the jungle, and brightly coloured humming birds in so many places - and finally the brilliant clear night sky in Nazca!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Renaldi (Reny) was informative and helpful throughout and mindful of group members' different needs, particularly on e.g. long travel days where travel sickness affected some of the group. He gave us interesting insights to Peruvian life and culture and brought alive what we were seeing day to day in the countryside, villages and towns, as well as describing the challenges of a society in transition from a largely rural way of life to an urban one. He worked well with local guides, and all the guides we had were personable and well informed and made the places come alive.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It's not really a holiday more an experience! Read the trip notes carefully - this holiday calls for stamina and resilience because of the early starts, long road journeys and the altitude changes. Once at altitude pace yourself - it's surprising how quickly you get out of breath! The Inca Trail length is moderate but the altitude make it tougher, plus Peru weather is more variable than it used to be. For example, although dry season, we had two days of rain on the Inca Trail. So go prepared for all seasons and seek your guide's advice on what's expected for the days you're walking.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Generally having a briefing each evening for the following day, (along with a quick note of the start time for the day after that) worked well. The exception was arriving in Cuzco after a long day on the coach, complicated by the need to decant into a minibus to negotiate the narrow streets. It then came as a big surprise to find that we would in effect have to pack for the Inca Trail by breakfast time next morning. This generated more questions from the group than all the other briefings combined, before we got to a clear understanding about the logistics i.e. that we would need to pack an overnight bag for the hotel in Ollantaytambo as well as stuff for the trail, and have both of these on the bus for the day in the Sacred Valley. Ideally the trip notes would contain a clear bullet point summary to read in advance, or a handout given earlier on the trip, to make it clear that we leave the main luggage a day earlier than everyone anticipated.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Suzanne Anderson

    Peru explorer - see everything!

    This trip was fabulous, there was just so much to see and do it really was amazing how much we crammed in. If you want a trip that shows you all of Peru then this is the one for you as you truly explore all of it. Its a long trip and i absolutely loved it!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me the most inspirational part was walking the Inca Trail and arriving into Macchu Picchu. The hiking really felt like I was in deepest darkest Peru, I kept thinking I would bump into Paddington Bear around the next corner. There's loads to see along the trail and I never got bored, I even enjoyed the steps!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ollie was superb, very knowledgeable and constantly organising the next part of the trip, when people on the trip were suffering from altitude sickness he was so kind and caring and really supported those that suffered, he really earned his tip! Ollie totally knew his stuff and was happy to answer any questions or help any time at all. He was also very patient and level headed when he needed to be. A superb leader, i'd like to nominate him for an award!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This trip is full on and if you are planning to do the Inca Trail do not under estimate the difficulty of the hiking. Whilst this is perfectly doable even if you have some difficulties physically you really do need to train properly in order to get the most out of the walk for you and your fellow members of the group. I strongly recommend that you follow the training plan on the exodus website and work to the level 4 plan not level 3. Its the altitude that makes it harder. Make sure you take enough clothes to keep you warm on this trip as i was cold for most of it (particularly at night) :(

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I loved this trip, I've wanted to go for 8 years so to finally get to visit and see everything I wanted to was amazing. Macchu Picchu is so special and quite amazing to see, if its on your bucket list don't hesitate.

Dates & Prices

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Inca Trail Permit Status: Whilst your departure date may be 'Guaranteed', your Inca Trail permit itself will initially be 'On Request'. Inca Trail permits are strictly limited and are only released one year at a time. We cannot reserve or pre-purchase them. If travelling within the current year we will try to purchase your permit immediately upon receiving your booking. If travelling next year, we will apply for your permit as soon as they are released for sale. In either case, in the event that we are unable to get your permit, we will contact you to discuss your options.

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