Sacred Land of the Incas
The wonders of Peru and Bolivia await as you walk beneath the Amazon Jungle's lush canopy, trek the llama-filled plains of the Sacred Valley and stroll the cobblestone streets of Cusco on this 15-day journey from Lima to La Paz. Search for monkeys and medicinal plants in the Amazon, tackle the ancient road to Machu Picchu, experience a homestay in a traditional community on the shore of serene Lake Titicaca and finish in La Paz, where indigenous communities continue to form much of the city’s cultural fabric. With the option to see Machu Picchu by trek or by train, plus the expert knowledge of local leaders at all stages of your adventure, the Sacred Land of the Incas will no doubt leave you breathless – in more ways than one.
Finish: La Paz
Ages: 15 - 99
Theme: Explorer, Walking & Trekking
Accommodation: Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nights), Homestay (1 night), Hotel (8 nights), Jungle Lodge (2 nights)
Destination: La Paz
Bienvenidos! Your journey into the Sacred Land of the Inca begins today. With indigenous cultures dating back millennia, Peru is an indomitable land of Amazonian rainforests teeming with wildlife and soaring mountains harbouring secret cities. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm at your hotel in Lima, where you'll meet your tour leader and travel group. Please have your insurance and other details on hand to pass on. It's very important you attend this meeting, so please organise a flight that will get you to Lima on time. After the formalities are out of the way, dive in to life in Lima. Jump on public transport and head downtown for a guided walking tour of the city's historical centre and take in the ornate spectacle of the colonial mansions, palaces and churches that line the streets. Following the tour, you have the rest of the afternoon and evening to do as you please. You might want to visit the Museum of the Inquisition, where you can learn more about the brutal reality of Spanish colonialism in Peru to get some context for your trip. Or take a lighter approach and maybe do some wandering until night falls, then embark on an optional Lima Bites and Sights Tour. This guided exploration of the bohemian Barranco district will see you sampling the best local street food and Pisco cocktails. Ask your leader about the full range of optional activities available in Lima.
Rise and shine for your journey into the wilds of the Peruvian Amazon. Take an early morning transfer to Lima airport, then board a three-hour flight to the frontier town of Puerto Maldonado. Upon your arrival, lodge staff will take you to their office in town. Pack a small duffle bag with clothing and other items needed for two days in the jungle, stow the rest of your luggage and then travel by private vehicle to the water. Here, board a motorised canoe and cruise deep into the jungle. The journey to your eco-lodge in the Madre de Dios region will take around three hours, and you'll be given a packed lunch on the way. Arrive and settle in to your thatched-roof lodge before a short orientation walk of the immediate area and a briefing. Spend the evening getting aquainted with the sights and smells of the jungle and fall asleep to the sounds of nature.
Get ready for an unforgettable day exploring the depths of the jungle! Set out on a half-day trek guided by local experts on the area's flora and fauna. Learn from your guides about the medicinal and practical uses for some of the plants that grow here, which indigenous people have been studying and using for thousands of years. On your walk, keep an eye out for rainbow coloured macaws and butterflies, and listen for the barking call of the peccaries and chattering of monkeys that call the jungle home. This part of the Amazon is also known to house capybaras, giant otters and jabirus, so keep your eyes peeled for these exotic creatures. Return to the lodge for lunch and some free time to relax. Once the sun goes down, venture out on a night walk in search of some of the jungle's nocturnal inhabitants.
Leave behind the natural wonders of the Amazon for the man-made wonders of Cusco today. Return to Puerto Maldonado to collect your luggage, then take a short 35-minute flight to the lofty city. If Lima is Peru's head, then Cusco is definitely the country's heart. Once you've spent some time acclimatising to the altitude of 3450 metres, head out on an orientation walk with your leader. See wonders of the ancient, colonial and contemporary variety on this stroll, including the Plaza de Armas (Main Square), the San Pedro Market, the 12 Angled Stone, Regocijo Square and San Blas Square. This tour will also include the most significant temple in the ancient Inca empire – Qoricancha. Despite being covered with a Baroque facade in the 17th century by the Spanish, the original Inca masonry has been uncovered in some areas. Wrap up your tour at the ChocoMuseo where you can sample hot chocolate made from local beans. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy as you wish. Maybe head out for dinner with your fellow travellers – your leader can recommend some good places to grab a meal. If you're feeling adventurous, why not try one of the many establishments serving up cuy, which you might know by the English name of guinea pig. Or perhaps head to Cafe Daria, a central pizzeria which also provides vocational training for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Hop on a private bus in the morning and travel through the lush terraces of the Sacred Valley to Ollantaytambo, one of the few places where the Inca defeated the Spanish. On the way, stop at a village and enjoy lunch and conversation in a community that still practices many Inca traditions. Why not head to the archaeological park that lies to the left side of the main square? If you're feeling energetic you can climb to the top of the squared terraces and gaze down over the valley. Just remember, if you have chosen to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu you will begin your trek tomorrow, so don't push yourself. Tonight, perhaps enjoy a quinoa and alpaca stew at one of the many local restaurants.
Depending on the travel arrangements you made before the trip, during the next four days you’ll be doing one of the following: hiking the Classic Inca Trail, hiking the Inca Quarry Trail or staying in Cusco for another two days before taking the train to Aguas Calientes. While away from Cusco, the bulk of your luggage will be stored at your hotel. If you’re hiking the Inca Trail or the Inca Quarry Trail, the evening before you leave Cusco you'll receive a small duffle bag to carry your clothes in during the trek (5 kg maximum). Your team of porters will carry these bags for you, together with the food and equipment for the trail. Please note that you won't have access to these items until the end of each day, as the porters will always be ahead of the group. If you’re travelling to Aguas Calientes by train, you'll be able to leave most of your luggage at the hotel in Cusco and only travel with the necessary items during the excursion by train. Route 1 Classic Inca Trail: Today travel by minivan to the 82 kilometre marker and meet your crew of local porters, cook and guide. The first day includes uphill trekking to the campsite, which is at 3100 metres above sea level. On the way you’ll see the Inca sites of Ollantaytambo, Huillca Raccay and Llactapata, as well as incredible views of snow-capped Veronica Peak. In the evening, unwind at the campsite with a nourishing meal. Route 2 Inca Quarry Trail: Make an early start today and drive to Choquequilla, a small ceremonial place where Inca worshipped the moon. Drive to the starting point of the trek, Rafq'a, and meet the horsemen who join us on the hike. After an hour’s walk, reach the small community of Socma. Carry on to the Perolniyoc cascade lookout, an opportunity to stop for photos and a food break. Continue to the campsite, which is 3700 metres above sea level. You should reach the campsite around lunchtime. After lunch, set off to explore the Q'orimarca archaeological site, which once served as a checkpoint to the Inca. Route 3 Train: After spending the night in the Ollantaytambo, leave around 9.30 am and take a short drive to the town of Pisac. Pisac is well known for its market. Here you’ll have the opportunity to shop for souvenirs and perhaps try some local empanadas. Arrive back into Cusco in the afternoon, where your leader will take you to San Pedro Market in order to buy some things for a picnic tomorrow.
Route 1 Classic Inca Trail: This is the most challenging day of the trek as you ascend a long steep path (approximately five hours) to reach the highest point of the trail. Colloquially known as 'Dead Woman's Pass', Warmiwanusca sits at a height of 4200 metres above sea level, providing amazing views of the valley below. The group will then descend to the campsite in the Pacaymayo Valley at 3650 metres. Route 2 Inca Quarry Trail: This is the most challenging and rewarding day of the hike. A three-hour walk takes us to the top of the first pass of Puccaqasa (approximately 4370 metres high). After enjoying picturesque views of the valley, it’s a short walk before stopping for lunch. Afterwards, make the two-hour hike to Kuychicassa, the highest pass of the trek at 4450 metres. From here, descend to the sacred site the Inca called Intipunku (Sun Gate), with views of the Nevado Veronica mountain. Head to the campsite, only a stone’s throw away at Choquetacarpo. Route 3 Train: Today, take a taxi to Tambomachay, an archaeological site just outside of Cusco. From here you’ll take a short downhill walk (between one and three hours) back to Cusco. On the way, stop to admire some of the archaeological sites, including Puka Pukara, Qinqu Quenqo and Saksaywaman. Arrive back in Cusco in the afternoon and enjoy some free time to go shopping, or perhaps visit Merida, Mendivil and Olave art galleries and workshops. Your tour leader will be able to give you some suggestions or point you in the right direction.
Route 1 Classic Inca Trail: Start the day with a climb through the Pacaymayo Valley to Runkuracay pass (3980 metres). Enjoy views of the snow-capped mountain of Cordillera Vilcabamba before descending for around two to three hours to the ruins of Sayacmarca. Continue over the trail’s third pass to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca (3850 metres), also known as 'Town Above the Clouds'. Start the two-hour descent down the Inca steps to the final night's campsite by the Winay Wayna archaeological site. Route 2 Inca Quarry Trail: Today’s hike will all be downhill. The first stop is the incomplete Kachiqata quarry, where the Inca were intercepted by the Spanish. Around midday, come to the end of the trek. Explore the cobbled streets of Ollantaytambo before taking the short train journey to Aguas Calientes. This is where you’ll meet up with the travellers in your group who didn't hike. Visiting the natural hot springs in town is a soothing way to spend the late afternoon. Spend the night in a comfortable hotel before tomorrow’s visit to Machu Picchu. Route 3 Train: After a drive to Ollantaytambo (about one-and-a-half hours), catch a train through the winding Urubamba Valley to Aguas Calientes (another one-and-a-half hours). The city is nestled in the cloud forest at the foot of Machu Picchu. For those who want a sneak peak, there is time to visit Machu Picchu independently before a guided tour tomorrow. Otherwise, you can while away the afternoon in the natural hot springs at Aguas Calientes.
Route 1 Inca Trail: This is the final and most spectacular leg of the trek to Machu Picchu. The day starts before dawn with breakfast at 4 am. Say farewell to the porters as they descend to the train station and then begin hiking by 4.30 am. Once the final checkpoint opens at 5 am, begin the final leg of the trek. The walk to Intipunku (the Sun Gate) takes around two-and-a-half hours. Weather permitting, enjoy unforgettable views over the ‘Lost City of the Inca’ as you enter Machu Picchu through the Sungate. Route 2 Inca Quarry Trail: Depending on weather conditions, take a bus at 5.30 am this morning along the winding road to Machu Picchu. The journey takes around 30 minutes. At Machu Picchu, join up with the travellers in your group who hiked the Classic Inca Trail. If skies are clear, enjoy a spectacular views over the ancient city from Intipunku (the Sun Gate), before going on a guided walk around the ruins. Route 3 Train: Take an early bus up to Machu Picchu at 5.30 am. The city was built around AD1440 as a country retreat for Inca nobility, but there’s evidence that the land had been a sacred Inca site for much longer. Take a guided tour around the ruins of temples, palaces and living quarters, and enjoy free time afterwards to wander around on your own before the group returns to Cusco. For all trails: After taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it's time to return to Cusco for a well-deserved shower and a Pisco sour. Your evening is then free for the last night of your adventure.
Enjoy free time to relax, shop and explore more of Cusco's sights. Perhaps rest your weary legs at a cafe on Plaza de Armas or head to the San Pedro Market where you can find vegetables, meats, local cheeses, chocolates, herbal medicines and many local handicrafts. It’s a great place to purchase some souvenirs or pick up ingredients for a picnic lunch. The market is also a place where many locals (and daring travellers) go to eat ‘mystery soups’. Some may be just chicken; however, the most popular among the locals usually contain frog or offal. For those who can't get enough active adventure, why not try mountain biking in the hills that surround Cusco? If you've fallen in love with the Peru's national beverage, the Pisco sour, consider joining an Urban Adventure where you will learn to craft your own, a souvenir you can impress people with for years to come. Find out more at urbanadventures.com/cusco-tour-cusco-pisco-making, or ask your leader for details.
Bid farewell to Cusco and travel by public transport through the dramatic scenery of the high altiplano to Puno. Located on the shores of vast and serene Lake Titicaca. At an altitude of 3800 metres, Lake Titicaca is the world's highest navigable lake. Along the way there will be stops to drop off and pick up passengers, which may affect travel times slightly, but the journey should take around six hours. The long drive is worth it for the first glimpse of immense Lake Titicaca, whose seemingly endless waters stretch into the horizon. Puno is a melting pot of indigenous Aymara and Quechuan culture and traditional Andean customs, and it wears its traditions on its sleeve. If you're lucky, your trip will coincide with one of the many cultural festivals here. Perhaps ask your leader where you can get the best grilled trout tonight, a local specialty.
Embark on a tour of the lake by slow motor boat, stopping at the floating Uros Islands. Built by the Uros people to protect themselves from encroaching Inca forces hundreds of years ago, the islands are constructed from many layers of totora reeds that grow in the shallows of the lake. Feel the bizarre sponginess of the island underfoot and learn a little about the history of the communities that called them home. Then, get a closer look at contemporary life on the shores of the lake with a homestay in a local community. Help your host family with their daily activities, try out a few words in Quechua (most importantly 'solpayki' or thank you!) and perhaps join a local soccer game and make some friends on the makeshift pitch.
This morning after breakfast you'll board the motor boat again and cruise to Taquile Island (approximately 1 hour), which is known for the intricate, hand-knitted textiles the locals produce. Here, knitting is strictly a male domain, and women do the spinning. It's a great place to pick up some high quality, locally knitted goods. An approximately one-hour uphill trek brings you to the main area of the island, where you can shop for handicrafts and observe the symbolic clothing items worn by the local folk. After the visit, descend about 500 steps to the boat. Return to Puno, a journey that will take around three hours. Once back in Puno, perhaps gather a crew and find a local watering hole to enjoy a drink or two. By now you've probably had your fair share of Pisco sours, so maybe try a chilcano. While it also features a Pisco base, the cocktail is completed with ginger beer instead of egg whites.
Trade the still waters and quiet villages of Lake Titicaca for the bustling highland city of La Paz. Travel by comfortable local bus to Desaguadero and cross the border into Bolivia. At the border you will say goodbye to your Peruvian leader and a Bolivian leader will take over for the last portion of your tour. After border formalities at the Peruvian migration office, cross the bridge to Bolivia, submit your passport at the Bolivian migration office, then board the bus again. Continue to La Paz, stopping en route for another document check. The journey to La Paz takes about 5 hours (don't forget that Bolivia's timezone is 1–2 hours ahead of Peru). Discover the colonial architecture and browse the markets on a walking tour, taking in the vibrant expressions of indigenous culture. According to a 2012 census, just over 40 percent of Bolivia's adult population are of indigenous origin, but discrimination stymied overt expressions of indigenous heritage until very recently. Aymara women wearing the traditional, distinctive bowler hat and long, layered skirts, for example, were banned from many public buildings until 2006. Over the last decade, grassroots activism and a shifting political landscape has created space for various indigenous cultures to live openly. After the walking tour, why not head to the Witches' Market in search of folkloric remedies, potions and totems – it's a great place to pick up a last-minute souvenir.
Your trip comes to an end today after breakfast; there are no activities planned for the day. You are free to leave at any time after check-out. As there isn't a huge amount of time included in Bolivia on this itinerary, you may want to extend your stay by a few days. Speak to your travel agent or Intrepid representative at the time of booking and we can organise additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you do choose to stay on, consider visiting the Salt Flats in Uyuni – a true natural spectacle. Our Bolivian Salt Flats short break leaves from La Paz and lasts for three days, making it the perfect addition to your journey. Enter code GGAU on our website to view the full itinerary.
- Lake Titicaca - Boat tour & Homestay
Hotel La Castellana
Grimaldo del Solar 222
Phone: +511 4443530
Altus Hotel (formerly Hotel Osira)
20 de Octubre Avenue, on the corner of Nicolás Aosta 1494
The physical rating on this trip is based on you selecting to trek either the Inca Trail or Quarry Trail. Should you wish to take the train option instead of trekking, you can consider the physical level a 2-3.
On Day 2 of the Inca Trail or Quarry Trail you will be walking uphill from 3000 to 4500 metres above sea level before descending steeply through big steps and difficult terrain. While this demanding walk is the main challenge our passengers face on this trip, it's also one of the highlights and worth every minute of it. You can find out more about the trekking options here:
We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the months before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Doing mountain walks or climbing long staircases with a pack is good preparation. Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trekking to its fullest. More information can be found here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/trekking-training-guide-tips/
INCA TRAIL PERMITS
Inca Trail permits are sold on request basis only. Once deposit is paid and passport details provided, Intrepid will endeavour to secure a permit for you.
If Inca Trail permits are unavailable by the time you book, you can opt to hike the Inca Quarry Trail instead.
The Inca Trail closes in February to allow cleaning and restoration works. If the trek portion of your trip starts in February you will be automatically booked to hike the Inca Quarry Trail.
Should you choose not to hike at all, please let us know in writing at the time of booking so alternative arrangements can be made. Without this prior warning, local fees may apply.
On June 30th Peruvian authorities released a new list of regulations for visiting Machu Picchu, which came into effect from July 1st. The main points impacting our visits are:
1. There is now a time limit to visit the citadel. Morning visitors must exit the site by 12 pm and afternoon visitors by 4.30 pm
2. Visitors must complete a designated circuit, in one direction only. Exiting and re-entering the site is not permitted and, upon completion, visitor must exit the site. There is no allowance for personal exploration of the site any longer.
Overall we support these changes as they help preserve this invaluable archaeological site. While this somehow restricts the amount of time we are now allowed to spend in Machu Picchu, we’ll do all possible to maximise your time there and make sure you have the best possible experience.
All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
LIMA AIRPORT WARNING For safety reasons, we strongly recommend that during transfers in Lima all of your luggage, including hand luggage and valuables, is stored out of sight in the rear boot of the vehicle.
HIKING IN PERU In accordance with local laws governing tourism in Peru, trekking groups of up to and including 8 trekkers must be led by one local guide. The evacuation of an injured traveller in normal conditions may take more than 8 hours. For your own safety, it's crucial that you adhere to the local guide's safety instructions, particularly in regard to how to prevent trekkers getting separated or lost. Your leader will also conduct a safety discussion before our trekking activities
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY: While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
MONEY WITHDRAWAL: In order to avoid fraud and theft, it is advisable that you withdraw money from ATMs located inside banks or guarded shops during business hours only.
SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.
LIFE JACKETS: While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.
FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
WhatsApp is a popular way to communicate in Latin America. We recommended downloading WhatsApp prior to departure to communicate with by text with your leader and group members during the tour. Once downloaded, please validate your phone number before leaving home as you will not be able to do this once you arrive, unless you have international roaming enabled. Connections for making phone calls through WhatsApp are not reliable, so please do not use this app to make calls to our emergency phone line.
If you receive an immigration card upon entry, please ensure you keep this safe as it may be requested at point of exit. For further information regarding country entry and exit fees, please refer to the 'Money Matters' section of this document.
Citizens of Australia, USA, Great Britain, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and South Africa do not currently require a visa for Peru. For all other nationalities please reconfirm your visa or entry requirements with the Peruvian consulate in your home country.
Nationals from the United States and South Africa need a visa to enter Bolivia and you we highly recommend you obtain this visa in advance from your nearest Bolivian consulate or Embassy. Not obtaining the visa in advance is likely to cause long delays at the border. This visa has a validity of 30 days from first day of entry.
In order to apply for this visa, you will need to provide the following documentation:
A. Original passport valid for a minimum of 6 months.
B. One passport photo (color, 5cm x 5cm / 2" x 2")
C. Evidence of a hotel reservation in Spanish (Intrepid can provide this upon request)
D. A copy of the voucher and trip notes that you receive after purchasing this trip.
E. Proof of economic solvency (credit card, cash, or a current bank statement)
F. International Vaccination Certificate for yellow fever
This Visa can be obtained in Peru (Lima or Cusco) and is usually processed within the day, providing all paper work as mentioned above is in order and payment has been made. We only recommend this option if you simply don't have enough time to get the visa prior to leaving home.
For more information please visit the following website:
At the time of writing, Australian, Belgians, British, Canadians, Dutch, Germans and New Zealanders do not currently require a visa for Bolivia. For all other nationalities please reconfirm your visa or entry requirements with the Bolivian consulate in your home country or check via the below website:
Why we love it
Marvel at the mother of all Inca cities, magical Machu Picchu, during a guided tour of the site. You can either get there the (very) old-fashioned way via the Inca Trail, or take a train if trekking’s not your thing
If you choose to trek the Inca Trail to ‘the City in the Clouds’, expect to be dazzled by ruins perched seamlessly in cloud forest, challenging mountain passes with snow-capped Andean views
Experience the untouched, evergreen splendour of the Amazon Jungle. Explore rainforest trails with a local guide, looking out for monkeys, parrots, and medicinal plants, then fall asleep in a lodge lit by candles and kerosene lamps
Take a guided stroll through Cusco, where Inca temples and Spanish cathedrals alike line the cobblestone streets
Visit the floating reed islands of Uros, a marvel of concept, construction and history that must be seen to be believed
Sleep in a mud-brick hut on the shore of vast, ancient Lake Titicaca during a homestay in a traditional Andean community
Finish up in eclectic, hectic La Paz, where indigenous Aymara or Quechua traditions have recently begun to flourish again after years of suppression
Is this trip right for you
This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information on this.
If you tackle the Inca Trail the hiking can be strenuous, and this trip is therefore recommended for those with a moderate level of fitness. However, you have the option of staying in Cusco for a few days and meeting trekkers at Machu Picchu if you do not wish to hike the Inca Trail. Please note that even aside from the trek to Machu Picchu, this tour is fairly active.
Be sure to wear sturdy footwear that's suitable for hiking. See the ‘What to Take’ section of the trip notes for more information.
Those who walk the Inca Trail will be camping with basic facilities. It's not exactly the Hilton, but the rewards of the trek make it worth it!
The Amazon Jungle can be very hot and humid, so it's important to drink plenty of water and wear light cotton clothing. Be sure to bring tropical-strength insect repellant.
All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!
Before your trip:
Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatizing to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor.
During your trip.
While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly.
Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience:
A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home. It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.
There have been reports of transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in this region and we advise all travellers to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Given possible transmission of the disease to unborn babies, and taking a very cautious approach, we recommend all women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to consult with their doctors before booking their trip.
Some regions of Central & South America can experience outbreaks of dengue fever.There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn. If you have a fever or feel unwell, please let your leader know right away. Protect yourself against mosquito-borne illnesses such as malaria by taking measures to avoid insect bites.
Food and dietary requirements
While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in this region. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat dinner together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
Please let us know your diet requirements before your trip starts.
Generally speaking, in bigger cities/towns vegetarians can expect a reasonable range of vegetarian venues and/or vegetarian options within tourist restaurant menus. However, vegetarianism is not the norm in this part of the world so options can be limited when eating at homestays, small local restaurants, street stalls, markets, etc.
More restrictive diet requirements (vegans, coeliac, gluten intolerance, fructose intolerance, lactose intolerance etc.) can also be accommodated along this trip but you should expect a lesser variety than what you can expect at home. We recommend that, if possible, to bring your own supply of snacks with you.
For those on strict Kosher or Halal diets we understand your dietary requirements are important, however, sometimes due to cultural and language differences these are not always easy to convey when you are travelling. Your guide will do their best to assist you in translating your needs when eating out, but please be aware that these diets are almost unheard of in much of the continent and the best they may be able to accommodate is no pork and shellfish. If this will be a concern for you you may need to consider opting for vegetarian or vegan meals for the included meals in your itinerary. We recommend researching kosher or halal options in your destination country prior to travel to see if you are able to buy snacks once there, otherwise consider bringing some from home.
When it comes to money matters on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like drinks, shopping, optional activities, tipping and laundry. It’s always better to bring a little more than you think you’ll need. Also make sure you’ve read your trip details thoroughly so you know what’s included in the trip price and what isn’t. This should make budgeting a little easier. You’ll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that’s this document).
The recommended amounts are listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however the local currency is needed in the countries you are visiting.
We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to the equivalent of an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved.
MEALS NOT INCLUDED:
For this trip we recommend between USD 25 to 50 per day. How do we work this out?
Breakfast - If breakfast is not included, you can expect to pay between USD5 to USD10 at a local café.
Lunch - If you are happy with a quick snack on the go, you may get away with as little as USD5 to USD10 for a set menu at a local eatery or a sandwich and a drink at a café. On the other hand, a lunch meal at a more tourist restaurant can cost between USD10 to USD15.
Dinner - At dinner time, your leader will normally recommend restaurants where you can safely try the local specialties of the region. Expect meals to cost between USD12 to USD25 for a main.
These are indicative prices only. If you are in a tight budget, are happy to eat just local food and are not afraid of an upset tummy every now and then, you can eat cheaper than this. If you want to try just the finest food at the finest restaurants, then you can expect meals to cost as much as in western countries.
CREDIT CARDS & ATMs:
ATMs are widely available in major towns and cities across Latin America. Credit cards are generally available in tourist shops and restaurants. Visa and Mastercard are generally preferred over American Express, Diners, etc. Smaller venues take cash only.
Check with your bank before departure that your card is accepted in the countries you are travelling to and what their fees and charges are. Also ensure your bank is aware of your travel plans as - suspecting fraud - they may cancel your cards after the first few international transactions. Be aware that your withdrawing limit may vary from country to country (regardless of your withdrawing limit in your home country) and it can be as low as the equivalent to USD100 per day. If bringing over cash, please note USD100 bills with serial number CB or BE and any other USD bills that are old, torn, written or stamped on will not be accepted by local banks.
In most countries you must pay an airport departure tax. Nowadays, these departure taxes are added into the cost of your airline tickets and paid for at the time of purchase.
Unless mentioned below, no airport departure tax has to be paid during this trip.
Gratuities aren’t compulsory on your trip, but they can make a big difference to locals employed in the tourism industry. We suggest carrying small notes of local currency around as you go. It’ll make tipping easier. The recommended tipping amounts are listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers.
Usually around USD5 – USD10 a day to cover tips is fine, but your leader might raise the idea of a group tip kitty. Each traveller contributes an equal amount to the pool, and your leader can pay the tips as you go.
SOUTH AMERICA - General Tipping Guide:
To give you a bit of guidance, we’ve put together the following tipping notes. These are just suggestions, based on feedback from past travellers and our staff on the ground.
- Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest USD1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.
- Local guides: There might be times during the trip where you’ll have a specialist local guide alongside your trip leader. We suggest tipping these guides about USD2 – USD3 per day.
- Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We suggest USD1-USD2 per day for drivers.
- Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline USD2-USD4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
PERU TREKKING - General Tipping Guide:
We recommend you carry the below suggested amounts with you during the trek and that you carry small bills as this makes splitting the tip an easier process. The last day of the trek the tipping will be broken down into envelopes – one per porter, assistant guides and guide.
Inca Trail: we suggest a total tipping amount of PEN120 to PEN180 per person (approximately USD 37 to USD 55). This is generally the tipping breakdown:
Porters, cook and assistants PEN 80 to PEN 120
Assistant guide: PEN 12 to PEN 20
Guide: PEN 27 to PEN 40
Quarry Trail: the suggested total tipping amount per person is PEN 120 to PEN 135 (approximately USD 37 to USD 42). This is generally the tipping breakdown:
Porters, cook and assistants PEN 90
Assistant guide: PEN 9 to PEN 15
Guide: PEN 20 to PEN 30
What to take
Most travellers prefer to take a small to medium wheeled suitcase, which is a great size for the packing capacity in our private vehicles. Whatever you take, be mindful that you will need to be able to carry your own luggage, handle it at airports, take in/out of accommodation and perhaps even walk short distances. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible. You'll also need a day pack/bag for activities and day trips. In terms of weight, airlines generally allow a maximum of 20kg for check in luggage. Other than the items and clothing you always need on a trip, below we have listed packing suggestions specific for this trip:
ESSENTIAL: - Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through cities as well as bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings - Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses
RECOMMENDED: - Soft and/or hard copies of all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the hard copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a copy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary - Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5 litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments - Electrical adapter plug (view www.kropla.com) - Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes and bandaids. - Insect repellent - Watch/Alarm clock or phone that can be used for both OPTIONAL: - Ear plugs to guard against a potential snoring room-mate - Phrase book VALUABLES: Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. LAUNDRY Laundry is available at many hotels and towns during this trip, although you might need to wait for a two-night stop in order to make sure you get it back in time. While laundry at hotels is usually charged by the item, laundromats usually charge by the kilo, which is generally inexpensive (about USD 2 per kilo)
AMAZON SPECIFIC PACKING LIST: In addition to the packing list above we recommend bringing the following items if visiting the Amazon Jungle. Tight-weave, light coloured, long cotton pants Long sleeved, tight-weave, light coloured cotton shirts Comfortable shoes or sandles for wearing on boardwalks or around the lodge Knee high rubber boots are provided for the duration of your stay, we recommend wearing these for the jungle walks. Please bring Thick/long socks to wear with the rubber boots Rain Jacket or poncho Tropical strength Insect repellent Small denomination bills for beverages Small day pack to for day excursions Good binoculars (optional) Head torch or flash light (smart phone torch sufficient) Luggage is hand-carried at various stages in the trip for long distance. We strongly recommend you limit your weight to 15 kilos (32 pounds per piece).
PERU TREKKING Tents and sleeping mats are provided for the duration of your Peru trek. At the pre-trek briefing you will be given a small duffle bag to pack your clothes for the trek, please note there is a 5kg limit, this includes your sleeping bag. In addition to the general packing list above, please ensure you bring these items if you are trekking in Peru. Passport: You MUST take your passport, a photocopy is not sufficient. It's important the passport matches the details your provided us when booking this trip (Keep it in a plastic bag in case of rain) Sleeping bag: You will need a good warm sleeping bag for the trek. Sleeping bags can be hired for US20-25, please let your Tour Leader know at the trek briefing. A four season (or -10) bag is recommended especially for the winter months. At other times you will probably be fine in a 3 season (or -5) bag although this depends on how much you feel the cold and is given as a guideline only. Silk sleeping bag liner: Especially recommended if you plan to hire a sleeping bag but can also give your own bag added warmth. Pillow Pillows are not provided on the trek and it's your personal preference if you wish to bring one along. If you decide to bring a pillow then we do suggest packing a travel friendly option, something that can be easily packed into your small duffle bag. Trek Poles: Trek poles are not requires, it's a personal preference. We recommend hiring these at the pre-trek briefing for approximately US$8 per pole as it will save you carting them around for the remainder of your travels. Day Pack: A day bag that has easy access to water bottles (external side pockets) or a day pack with a built in hydration bladder. This bag only needs to be large enough to hold the few things you need during the day (hat, water, camera, snacks, rain jacket etc) Water bottle: You should be carrying at least 2 litres of water daily, while trekking. Depending on whether you have a hydration bladder in your bag or not we recommend bringing two (1 litre) bottles that can be refilled on the trail with boiled water, which will be supplied daily. Waterproof, well worn-in walking boots: Good quality, comfortable footwear is essential. Whatever you wear on your feet the most important thing is comfort. It is vital to ensure your boots are well worn in and lightweight. Ankle support and waterproofing is recommended but if you already have something comfortable with good grip on rocks then don’t go rushing out to buy new boots – you are better off with your well-worn in pair! Walking clothing in layers: (E.g. zip off trousers, fleece, T-shirts). It’s a personal choice as to how many items you bring however please remember there’s a 5kg limit. We recommend the following; • 2 Pairs of long Walking Trousers (Zip off are a very hand choice but not a necessity) • 2 T-shirts • 1 Pair of shorts • Rain Jacket or Poncho (Poncho can be purchased locally for a $2-3) • 4-5 Pairs of Thick socks Warm clothing for night time: Fleece, long pants, woollen hat, gloves. Thermal underwear: Thermal wear is highly recommended, being light, warm and will keep you warm at night. Sunscreen, sunglasses and sunhat Personal medication and basic first aid kit: Band-Aids, Imodium, Panadol, rehydration sachets. Camera and spare batteries, memory cards or film: Please note: there are no electrical outlets on the trek so make sure you fully charge and or have spare batteries. Snacks: Chocolates, chips, biscuits, energy bars. Snacks are provided during the trek but you may like to bring one or two extras just in case. If you have a dietary requirement then be recommend bringing some suitable snacks from home. We will accommodate you for Breakfast, lunch and dinner however for snacks it’s recommended to bring some just to be safe. Head torch or Standard Torch (flash-light) (Very Important) and spare batteries. Tropical strength insect repellent. Antiseptic hand gel. Flip-flops / thongs / jandals: If you wish to have a shower on the third night and to wear around camp after a long day of trekking. Ear Plugs: In case your tent ‘roomie’ is a snorer. Plastic bags: To keep your belongings and clothes dry (wrap everything in plastic bags). Toilet paper: Most important! Also small plastic bags or zip lock bags for rubbish which can then be thrown in the main rubbish bag provided by the porters. Please don’t dispose of your toilet paper on the ground! Wet wipes and or Face wipes: These are an essential and will come in handy after a long day of trekking and no showers. Small towel and basic personal toiletries: On the third night of both the Inca Trail and the Inca Quarry there is an opportunity to have a shower so bring travel size shampoo and shower gel if you would like.
A couple of rules
Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden.
Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.
The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips.
By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund.
If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
GENERAL ISSUES ON YOUR TRIP
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below:
Intrepid's Local Office: +51 996055559
Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel.
Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting:
The Intrepid Group operations in Peru are now certified by Rainforest Alliance, following an assessment in which we successfully achieved a 100% score for all critical criteria. Rainforest Alliance is an international non-profit organization that works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods: http://www.rainforest-alliance.org.
Due to limited time and energy supply in some places, please be prepared for some cold showers.
LAKE TITICACA HOMESTAYS
As a responsible travel company, we believe in facilitating positive and meaningful exchanges between our travellers and locals at the places we visit. Homestays are a great vehicle for us to facilitate this!
What will you do during a homestay? Well…it’s hard to tell. As you know a day in a family’s life varies from day to day. We don’t want this experience to feel forced (on you or on them) so we ask families to simply carry on with their lives and that, if there is anything that you may be interested in being part of, they ask you to join in. As such you may be invited to help cook dinner, or to go to the local market for groceries, or to join a soccer game with the kids! While your leader will give you some tools to interact with your family (such as some simple words/phrases in Quechua and/or Spanish) big smiles and lots of sign language can go a long way!
That said, it’s also important that you understand that you are not obliged to participate in these activities. We believe that the more you put in the more you get out of an experience, but we also understand that you may just want to chill out, grab a book or your camera and go for a wander – and that is fine too.
Ultimately, we believe that by simply being there, observing family and friends dynamics is a step forward towards understanding the local way of life.
In terms of facilities, the rooms are clean and comfortable (or as comfortable as they get in this part of the world!) however quite basic. Plenty of blankets are provided. Ask for more if you are cold. Layering up with thin thermals and a fleece material will help during very cold nights too.
Lastly, be aware that some homestays in Lake Titicaca have shared drop toilets and no showers. So mind your step!
A single supplement is available on this trip. On the following nights the single supplement is not available:
- Days 2-3 Amazon Jungle
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.
A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
DEMONSTRATIONS & STRIKES:
Demonstrations and protests, often in response to local labour or social issues, occur regularly in Peru. National strikes can be called at short notice and can cause disruption to road networks leading to inevitable itinerary changes. We will do everything possible for these changes to be at little or no extra cost; however in such circumstances we find that travellers may need to use their contingency funds to cover the costs of itinerary changes.
HEAVY RAIN ON THE INCA TRAIL
If it rains heavily for a number of consecutive days, the terrain at the third campsite (Wiñaywayna) can become unstable, increasing the danger of landslides and making it unsafe to camp. This occurs mostly during the wet season (December to March) although it can also happen at any time of the year. Your trekking guide may assess that it's safer to spend the third night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu), or if available, to camp at Puente Ruinas campsite. You may need to use your contingency funds to cover any additional costs. An letter can be provided for lodging a travel insurance claim for these costs.
Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nts),Homestay (1 nt),Hotel (8 nts),Jungle Lodge (2 nts)
More from Peru
15 Days from$3,170
FINISH: La Paz