Luxury Lodge to Lodge Trek to Machu Picchu
A wonderful exploration of Inca culture with, as its centrepiece, a trek from luxury lodge to luxury lodge ending at the fabled ‘lost city’ of Machu Picchu.
Luxury Lodge to Lodge trek to Machu Picchu
15 days from £5,025
Six days of trekking in the Peruvian Andes give an unforgettable perspective on the Inca sanctuary of Machu Picchu. You will see the ruins with new eyes after traversing mountain passes over 4,600m high, cloud forests and deep valleys. You’ll have full support each day and at night you stay in luxury lodges. Before setting foot on the trail, you’ll have five days in the Sacred Valley and Cusco acclimatise you for the adventure ahead.
Arriving from Lima, the journey starts in Urubamba, some 500m lower than Cusco and very convenient for the archaeological sites you will explore before heading up to the city. Take in some of Cusco’s sights and sounds before heading out to the wilds.
Now the adventure begins as this award-winning trek takes you through nine eco-zones in six days between ascending and descending between 2,000m and 4,600m. You’ll walk through the Andes, trek over Salkantay Pass, descend through cloud forests to fruit orchards and coffee plantations and end at the incomparable Machu Picchu. Throughout the week you’ll enjoy dramatic changes of scenery and climate and stay in comfortable lodges in remote locations. You can even relax in a Jacuzzi at the end of the day!
This is a trek with a maximum group size of 12 people, though you could well find yourself on a private trek if no-one else opts to depart on the day you’ve chosen. It is led by an experienced mountain guide. Your luggage is transported from lodge to lodge by mules, so all you have to carry is a small daypack.
All the meals are prepared for you by the lodge staff and all lodges have good heating and plenty of hot water.
Luxury Lodge to Lodge trek to Machu Picchu Highlights
Stunning Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley
Time to explore Cusco
Trek across stunning mountain passes
See the azure glacial lake of Humantay
Guided tour of the world-famous sanctuary of Machu Picchu
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Why not extend this trip to include the rainforest, Lake Titicaca, or other areas of Peru before or after this itinerary. Or combine with other South American destinations such as Galapagos.
DAY 1: ARRIVE LIMA
Fly to Lima today, where you'll be met and transferred to the Wyndham Costa Del Sol Lima Airport hotel, which makes a convenient overnight stop. As well as comfortable accommodation, the hotel offers a restaurant, bar, indoor swimming pool, fitness centre and spa. Relax after your flight and enjoy a good night's sleep.
DAY 2: FLY TO CUSCO AND THE SACRED VALLEY
This morning you'll return to the airport for your flight to Cusco. You'll be met at Cusco by our local representative and transferred to the Sol y Luna, a beautiful hotel and spa just outside the town of Urubamba in the Sacred Valley. Being at a lower altitude than Cusco, acclimatisation is more effective here. Breakfast
DAY 3: PISAC AND OLLANTAYTAMBO
From your base at Sol y Luna, you will be taken to the fascinating market at Pisac where you will be tempted by colourful alpaca textiles, replicas of Inca artefacts, necklaces, paintings and other crafts. Then its onwards to the archaeological site above the town, with its extensive area of agricultural terraces. After lunch you will visit Ollantaytambo, striking in two regards: for its old town, a living example of Inca urban planning, and for the breath-taking ruins on a promontory, which has a ceremonial complex, baths and unbelievable stonework. Return to Sol y Luna in the evening. Breakfast, Lunch
DAY 4: MORAY AND MARAS
Be prepared to see yet more wonders today. Moray is a series of concentric terraces in a depression on the plateau, which some scholars believe was an agricultural research centre for the Incas. Not far from here, descending a steep hillside, are the saltpans near the village of Maras, an impressive confusion of white ponds overlooking the Urubamba valley. From here you will head to Cusco and your hotel in the city, the Ramada by Wyndham Costa del Sol Cusco. You have one of the Colonial Rooms in the historic section of the building, which is a short distance from the Plaza de Armas. Breakfast, Lunch
DAY 5: IN CUSCO
Today you have a half day walking tour in Cusco. You’ll take in Coricancha. In Inca times it was one of the most important buildings in the city, a centre of worship to the Sun God and bedecked with gold. The conquistadores helped themselves to the gold and converted it into a convent. Then you’ll visit the wonderful Cusco Cathedral, built between 1560 and 1664. The tour ends with a visit to San Pedro market, a pantry of thousands of products from different areas of the region. Finally, you’ll return to your hotel. Your afternoon is free for you to explore Cusco further at your own pace. Overnight at Colonial Rooms at Costa del Sol Ramada Cusco. Breakfast
DAY 6: IN CUSCO
Today you have a further full day to explore Cusco on your own. Seek out historical sites that you did not see yesterday, visit craft shops and make the most of the city’s huge range of cafés, restaurants and bars. Head up to the San Blas area of the town. It’s a good leg stretch and will prepare you for the start of your trek tomorrow. There will be an evening briefing about the trek at a nearby hotel. Overnight at Colonial Rooms at Costa del Sol Ramada Cusco. Breakfast
DAY 7: CUSCO TO SORAYPAMPA, FIRST DAY OF THE TREK
After an early breakfast you will be collected from the hotel. You join the rest of the group you will be with for the next 8 days (min 2, max 12 people) and you're driven to the mountain village of Mollepata. On the way there is a stop at the Quillarumiyoc archaeological site. After lunch at El Pedregal in Mollepata, our vehicle takes you on the scenic road to Challacancha, from where you continue on foot for three hours on the Camino Real (Royal Road) to the Salkantay Lodge at Soraypampa (2,690m). Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
DAY 8: HUMANTAY LAKE
This morning you can trek to Humantay Lake (4,200m), one-and-a-half hours uphill above Salkantay Lodge. The glistening turquoise waters, overshadowed by the Humantay glacier, are truly magical. Take a breather for a while, have a snack and honour Pachamama (Mother Earth). Then descend to the Lodge for lunch and enjoy a well-earned rest in the afternoon. The trek lasts about four hours. Instead of hiking to the lake you can take a combination horse-riding/trekking excursion in the hills around the lodge - 5 hours in total; at extra cost. And if you are feeling fit, go for a two-hour horse ride in the afternoon; at extra cost. (The horse riding is not really for beginners.) Overnight at Salkantay Lodge. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Note, on Days 7 and 8 the hikes to Soraypampa and Humantay Lake are optional. You can go by vehicle to the Lodge and/or do an alternative activity on the morning of Day 8. The hikes are, however, recommended as acclimatisation for Day 9’s 7-hour challenge.
DAY 9: SALKANTAY PASS TO WAYRACCMACHAY
You should now be ready for today’s 7-hour trek over the Salkantay Pass (4,636m) to the Wayra Lodge (3,906m). You will need an early start, circling around Humantay peak across plateaux of large boulders and then tackle the switchbacks that lead up to the pass. Once over the pass, descend through rock formations to the place where you will have a restorative, hot picnic lunch. After this welcome break, you carry on across rolling hills and a marshy plain to the Lodge. Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner.
DAY 10: THROUGH CLOUD FOREST TO COLPA LODGE
It’s a relief to know that today’s hike is a gentler, 3-4-hour descent into the warm cloud forest, with its butterflies and orchids. You reach Colpa Lodge (2,870m) for a traditional lunch and in the afternoon you can soak in the outdoor hot tub or simply laze in the sun. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
DAY 11: THE SANTA TERESA VALLEY TO LUCMA LODGE
Today’s trek is 5-and-a-half hours and will take you to the Lucma Lodge at 2,135m, where you will notice the temperature and humidity increasing. The trail follows the valley of the Santa Teresa River and, after a picnic on the river bank and a brief road transfer, you will visit an organic coffee farm on the way to the lodge. If you prefer not to trek, a mountain bike route can be arranged instead (at extra cost). Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner.
DAY 12: LLACTAPATA PASS TO AGUAS CALIENTES
After breakfast you will climb through the cloud forest for 2-3 hours on an Inca stairway to the Llactapata Pass (2,736m), which gives a superlative view of Machu Picchu. At the pass is an Inca “tambo” (way station) and a lookout point where you will have lunch. And now for the last part of the trek, down to the Aobamba River through bamboo forests, fruit orchards and coffee plantations and on, finally, to the Hidroeléctrica railway station and the one-hour train ride to Aguas Calientes where tired limbs can rest at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner.
DAY 13: MACHU PICCHU
After an early breakfast you'll take the bus up to Machu Picchu where your guide will give you a 2-hour walking tour of the citadel, telling you about its history and the intricacies of Inca engineering. Afterwards you will be able to explore the site quietly on your own, or, if tickets are available, climb Huayna Picchu peak that overlooks the sanctuary. In the afternoon you'll return to Aguas Calientes where you can stroll around town before dinner back at your hotel. Breakfast, dinner
DAY 14: MACHU PICCHU TO CUSCO
This morning you can enjoy the grounds and activities at the hotel or return to Machu Picchu for further private time at this magnificent archaeological site (remember to keep yesterday’s entry ticket to gain entry today). In the afternoon you will take the train to Ollantaytambo. From here it's a 1-2-hour drive back to Cusco, arriving around 7-8pm. Here you'll say goodbye to the friends you've made over the last week, and you'll be dropped off back at Costa del Sol Ramada Cusco. Breakfast
DAY 15: CUSCO TO LIMA, FLIGHT HOME
You will be taken to Cusco airport today for the flight back to Lima where you’ll connect with your flight home. Breakfast
Guide price from (pp sharing): 2024 prices from £5,025
Includes: 14 nights accommodation in the properties mentioned; private transfers; private sightseeing tours with an English-speaking guide in Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu; entrance fees in Cusco and Machu Picchu; return train ticket to Machu Picchu; fully supported lodge to lodge shared trekking itinerary from day 7 to 12; meals as indicated in the itinerary.
Excludes: International and domestic flight (we would normally book these for you and add this to the package); visas (not currently required by British passport holders); insurance; Huayna Picchu entrance; meals not mentioned as included; drinks; tips; personal expenses such as laundry.
Departure dates: This is a tailor-made holiday that can begin on the day of your choice
The climate in the Andes varies according to the altitude. In general though, the rainy season is from December to March, but it varies in intensity from area to area and from year to year. For most people the best time to come to the Andes is between June and September. Days are mostly dry and sunny, but it can be cold at night. April and May, after the rains, and October and November are also good months to visit the Andes. Being at high altitude you will need to pack for variable weather at any time of year.
Note that June is the busiest months for festivals in Cusco, including the Inca festival of Inti Raymi, so there will be high tourist occupancy then.
Our lodge treks can be taken from March to December.
On the Pacific coast of Peru, the climate is sub-tropical and dry. Temperatures are warmest in the summer from December to March, when they can reach up to 30°c. The winter lasts from June to September, when temperatures can drop to 15°c and days are usually misty (locally called garúa) and damp. You are more likely to experience some rain in these months.
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