Days
15
Price from
$3,840AUD

Start the good times rolling in Lima before taking to the Amazon for some jungly action. Travel on Cusco for a Pisco Sour before hitting the Inca trail for Machu Picchu. Score the adventure/ nature trifecta with a few nights at Lake Titicaca before heading back to Lima for your last fill of delicious treats. Peru = amazeballs.

Amazon animals to avoid: poison dart frogs, piranhas, anacondas, jaguars, vipers, caimans, tarantulas. We could go on but we’re starting to freak ourselves out. Quick, everybody think about sloths. Awwwww.


Start
Lima, Peru
Finish
Lima, Peru
Country
Peru
Code
GSAI
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
19 reviews
Ages
Min 18 , Max 39
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Plenty of free time in Lima means you can stuff your face with delish grub all day long. The foodie capital of Peru serves up some especially tasty ceviche. Nom nom nom

  • Roam the Amazon jungle at night while pretending you're David Attenborough. Float down the river, keeping an out for the glaring eyes of jaguars and caimans. Jungle laser beams!

  • Whether you trek the classic Inca Trail, the Quarry Trail or take the scenic train route, trust us, this is going to be one of the highlights of your awesome lives

  • Don't worry, we won't hog all of your time. You'll have plenty of opportunity to bounce around Cuzco, digging deep into the pockets of Incan history

  • The floating islands of Uros on Lake Titicaca seem like the sort of thing Pixar would come up with. Spend the night under the stars in a traditional island village

Is this trip right for you?

  • On this trip you’ll be camping along the Inca Trail and spending the night in a homestay on Lake Titicaca. Both have very basic, shared facilities (such as drop toilets and no showers). This is all part of the adventure of being among nature!

  • The Amazon Jungle can be very hot and humid. Light cotton clothing is the best way to tackle this. Also, don't forget tropical-strength insect repellent.

  • It’s important to wear sunscreen and other sun protection, and always drink plenty of water.

  • This trip involves a lot of hiking and walking, so requires a moderate level of fitness. There are a few different trail options to suit your interests and physical capabilities. Please bring durable footwear suitable to hiking. See the ‘What to Take’ section of the trip notes for more information.

  • Due to the high altitude of many of places we visit some people can suffer altitude sickness. Some people aren’t affected at all, but if you are, be sure to drink plenty of water and don’t push yourself too hard. If possible, arrive few days early to allow yourself time to acclimatise. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information about altitude sickness.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Welcome to Lima, Peru. At around 2 pm there will be a pre-departure meeting. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader. If you're going to be late, please inform the accommodation as soon as possible.
If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
After the meeting we'll head out on an orientation walk around Peru's capital. You'll be lead around locations such as Miraflores and head from Central Park (Parque Kennedy) to the entertainment complex of LarcoMar.
Afterwards, get to know your group with a few pisco sours and a plate of Lima's famous ceviche (raw fish marinated in lime juice, chilli, onions and tomato).

Notes: Due to the high altitude of many of places we visit some people can suffer altitude sickness, regardless of age, gender or fitness. Please see the 'Is This Trip Right For You?' and 'Fitness' sections in the trip notes for detailed information.
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Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lima - Leader Led orientation walk of Miraflores
Optional Activities
  • Lima - Archaeological Museum - PEN15
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Take a flight to Puerto Maldonado in the Amazon Jungle, where you'll be staying for two nights. Upon your arrival, the lodge staff will take you to their office in town. Here you can leave most of your luggage in safe storage and continue travelling with a small pack with just the necessary items for your next two nights in the jungle. You’ll then take a motorised canoe upriver to your jungle lodge in the Madre de Dios area. There will be time to unpack and unwind once you get there. The next two days are packed with activities. Your full day in the jungle includes a trek which lasts approximately half a day. At times the paths can get quite muddy and some people can find the trek a little exhausting. Along the way there will be regular stops, and you'll encounter magnificent fauna and flora in their natural habitat. You might spot everything from macaws and monkeys to peccaries, jabirus, otters and thousands of butterflies. The guides can also teach you about the medicinal properties and practical uses of the plants. For lunch you will return to the lodge.
For your night-time excursion, you will venture out in the dark in search of caimans on the Tambopata River. The naturalist guide will use a spotlight in order to locate them on the banks of the river, so you can observe them from a respectable distance.

Notes: We stay at two different lodges in the same area. The activities may vary slightly according to which lodge you are at. Depending on which lodge you are staying at, the included night excursion may be on the night of Day 1 or Day 2. As both of our lodges are in the same area of the jungle, you will see the same wildlife and your overall jungle experience will be the same in either lodge.
Accommodation
  • Jungle Lodge (2 nights)
Included Activities
  • Amazon Jungle - Activities at the lodge
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
Say farewell to the jungle today and fly to Cuzco, which takes just under an hour. Spend the next two days trying to acclimatise to the high altitude of this location (i.e. no strenuous activity). After dropping your luggage off and having some lunch, why not walk around downtown Cuzco, the local San Pedro market, the main square and past the 12 Angled Stone. In your free time, visit the alpaca farms in the Sacred Valley for knitted creations and the market town of Pisac for leather goods.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cuzco - Orientation Walk
Optional Activities
  • Cuzco - Cathedral Visit - PEN25
  • Cuzco - Full Boleto Turistico Pass, which gives you access to 16 archaeological sites in/around Cuzco (Transport & guides are not included) - PEN135
  • Cuzco - Coricancha Archeological Site, guided tour - PEN15
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is free to continue your exploration of Cuzco and its surrounding areas. Perhaps venture out to the great Inca sites of Sacsayhuaman, Quenca and Tambo Machay. Speak to your tour leader about optional activities that may be available. Later in the day, meet the rest of your fellow travellers who may be joining today. Use your evening to relax, grab some food and prepare for the trek if you're heading out tomorrow.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Depending on your pre-arranged travel arrangements, during the next four days you may: hike the Classic Inca Trail, hike the Inca Quarry Trail or stay in Cuzco for another two days before taking the train to Aguas Calientes. While away from Cuzco, 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 Cuzco you'll receive a small duffle bag to carry your clothes in for the next four days (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 Cuzco and only travel with the necessary items for the next few days.

Route 1 Classic Inca Trail:
Today travel by minivan to the 82 km marker and meet your crew of local porters, cook and guide. The first day includes uphill trekking to the campsite, which is at 3,100 metres above sea level. On the way you’ll see the ruins of Llactapata, which was burnt to the ground by the last Inca emperor to discourage Spanish pursuit down the trail. In the evening, set up camp while the cook makes dinner.

Notes: The Inca Trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people, but please come prepared, as the trail is 45 km long and often steep. Each day's journey generally consists of seven hours of walking (uphill and downhill), with stops for snacks and lunch. Trekking usually begins at 7 am (except on the fourth morning) and you reach the campsite around 5 pm. Accommodation on the trek is camping (three nights). Double tents (twin-share) and foam camping mats will be provided. The porters will set up the tents while the cook prepares meals.

Route 2 Quarry Trail:
Make an early start today and drive to Choquequilla, a small ceremonial place where Incas 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 3,700 meters 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 Incas.

Notes: The Quarry Trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people. The hike is 26 km long in total and its highest pass is at 4,450 meters above sea level. Throughout the trek, horses will carry your gear and camping equipment. The first two nights are spent camping and the third night you will stay at a simple hotel. Double tents (twin-share) and foam camping mats will be provided. The porters will set up the tents while the cook prepares meals.

Route 3 Train:
For those travellers disinterested in hiking the trail or who are unable to, spend two extra nights in Cuzco before travelling by bus to Ollantaytambo. From here take a train through the winding Urubamba Valley to the town of Aguas Calientes where you’ll spend a third night.


Notes: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Quarry Trail only.
Accommodation
  • Inca Trail Camping or Basic Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • 3 Night / 4 Day Inca Trail (or 2 Night / 3 Day Quarry Trail)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Route 1 Classic Inca Trail:
This is the most challenging day of the trek, as we 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 4,200 meters above sea level, providing amazing views of the valley below. The group will then descend to the campsite in the Pacaymayo Valley at 3,650 metres.

Route 2 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 4,370 meters 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 4,450 meters. From here, descend to the sacred site the Incas 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, perhaps your free day indulging your inner foodie in the eateries of Cuzco. Head to lunch at the arty Fallen Angel restaurant, and if you still have room for dessert, the ChocoMuseo offers tastings and chocolate-marking workshops. All optional activities are at your own cost.


Notes: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Quarry Trail only.
Accommodation
  • Inca Trail Camping or Basic Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Route 1 Classic Inca Trail:
Start the day with a climb through the Pacaymayo Valley to Runkuracay pass (3,980 metres). Enjoy views of the snow-capped mountain of Cordillera Vilcabamba before descending for around 2-3 hours to the ruins of Sayacmarca. Continue over the trail’s third pass to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca (3,850 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 Quarry Trail:
Today’s hike will all be downhill. The first stop is the incomplete Kachiqata quarry, where the Incas 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:
In the morning take the three-hour train to the town of Aguas Calientes, which is nestled in the hills at the foot of Machu Picchu. For those who want to, there’s time to visit Machu Picchu independently before the guided tour the next day. If you’d like to do this, please advise your group leader at the welcome meeting at the beginning of the trip. Otherwise, you might like to while away the afternoon in the natural hot springs of Aguas Calientes.

Notes: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Quarry Trail only.
Accommodation
  • Inca Trail Camping or Basic Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Route 1 Classic Inca Trail:
The day starts before dawn with breakfast at 4.30 am. Say farewell to the porters as they descend to the train station and begin hiking by 5.30 am. 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 Incas’ as the sun rises (and before it’s crawling with tourists).

Route 2 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 sunrise over the ancient city from the Sun Gate, before going on a guided walk around the ruins.

Route 3 Train:
In the morning at 5.30 am, take a bus up to Machu Picchu. The city was built around 1440 AD as a country retreat for Incan nobility, but there’s evidence that the land had been a sacred Incan 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 Cuzco.

For all trails - after taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it's time to return to Cuzco for a well deserved shower and a pisco sour. Your evening is then free for the last night of your adventure.

Notes: Due to Intrepid's internal safety policy, our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking trips to the mountaintop ruins of Wayna Picchu.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today enjoy free time to relax, shop for souvenirs or see more of Cuzco's sights. Perhaps head to a cafe on the Plaza de Armas, or if you're a thrill-seeker, try mountain biking in the hills surrounding Cuzco. In the evening, you might want to chew the fat with the group over dinner.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
In the morning travel by local bus for six hours through the Altiplano plateau to Puno. The town is known as the folklore capital of Peru and is famous for its traditional dances. If you're lucky, your visit might coincide with an evening parade, when the streets fill with costumed dancers and musicians. Once you're settled, head out in town and shake your tailfeather.
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Puno sits on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. Today you'll take a tour of the lake by slow motorboat, stopping off to visit the Uros floating islands. The Uros people built these islands to isolate themselves from rival tribes in ancient times. They're built completely from multiple layers of totora reeds, which grow in the shallows of the lake. In the evening, enjoy a homestay in a local community on Llachon. Your homestay is in a mud-brick house, with shared drop-toilets but no shower. It can get quite cold here. The homestay will provide plenty of blankets, but remember to pack thermals and plenty of layers. Help your host family with their daily activities or maybe play a game of soccer in the village.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Titicaca - Boat tour & Homestay
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Enjoy a home-cooked breakfast by your host family this morning, taking the time to explore the rest of the island afterwards. In the afternoon, take the boat back to Puno where the rest of your day is free to explore.

Puno is the hometown of Kusimayo, a terrific local organisation that works towards improving the living condition of children and adults affected by poverty and malnutrition in this part of the world you have now come to know so well. Take a look at this short video for more information on this wonderful project: https://vimeo.com/154422813
Kusimayo is supported by the Intrepid Foundation which means you can donate to this project and your donation will be match dollar for dollar by the Intrepid Group. Please donate through our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/kusimayo/
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Later today, take an included flight from Puno to Lima, which should take around one hour and forty minutes. This trip is a combination which means there may be some people in your group continuing onto La paz instead of Lima. If this is the case your leader will continue with them to La Paz and you will take an unescorted flight to Lima where our local representative will meet you. For the remainder of the today and the final day our local representative will be available for assistance if needed however they will not be staying at the Lima hotel.
The rest of your afternoon is free to see the last of the sights in the Peruvian capital, and perhaps head out for dinner with the group in the evening. This is a great chance to reflect on an epic trip!
Accommodation
  • Basic Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your 'Essential Peru' adventure ends today, as there are no more activities planned. You're free to leave the accommodation at any time.



Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

13 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners

Transport

Boat, Bus, Plane, Public bus, Riverboat, Taxi, Train

Accommodation

Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nights), Homestay (1 night), Hotel (8 nights), Jungle Lodge (2 nights)

Included Activities

  • Lima - Leader Led orientation walk of Miraflores
  • Amazon Jungle - Activities at the lodge
  • Cuzco - Orientation Walk
  • 3 Night / 4 Day Inca Trail (or 2 Night / 3 Day Quarry Trail)
  • Lake Titicaca - Boat tour & Homestay

Reviews

Our Essential Peru trips score an average of 4.63 out of 5 based on 19 reviews in the last year.

Essential Peru, November 2016

Silvia Nymand

Essential Peru, November 2016

Talia Hardaker

Dates & availability

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Important notes

Inca trail Permits:
Very Important - In order to obtain the necessary permit to trek the Inca Trail, we must be provided with accurate details of the passport to be used whilst travelling in Peru. If the name, passport number, nationality or date of birth shown on the permit are different from the passport, park authorities will refuse entry. If passport details have not been supplied, the permit cannot be issued. When we are unable to secure the "Classic Trail", our groups take the "Quarry Trek". This also applies during February each year, when the Classic Trail is closed for restoration.

Essential Trip Information

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