This trip offers a fascinating combination of the region’s archaeological and cultural treasures. Retrace the steps of the Inca on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. One of the world’s best-known hikes, it will reward those willing to break a sweat with stunning views of ruins and cloud forests. Or, if hiking isn’t your thing, opt to skip the trail and get extra time in Cusco. You’ll also get to see local weavers and potters first hand practicing their craft as well as many Incan ruins in Sacred Valley.
Arrive in Lima at any time. There are no planned activities so check into our hotel and enjoy the city. We will have a group meeting in the evening around 6:00 p.m. There will be a note at the front desk to let you know the precise time of the meeting. The note will also tell you what time to meet in the lobby in the morning, if you arrive too late for the meeting. If you miss this meeting, please don’t worry, your tour leader will go over everything with you in the morning.
Known as the “City of Kings,” Peru’s capital city, Lima, was founded by Francisco Pizarro on the Day of the Three Kings (Epiphany) in 1535. The Plaza de Armas is the heart of old Lima, and it is here you find the Cathedral, Government Palace, and Archbishop’s Palace. The Cathedral dates back to the 1700’s and houses the remains of the conquistador Pizarro. Walk the streets surrounding the Jirón de la Unión for great examples of Spanish-colonial architecture and to get a taste for life in a large South American city.
There are many fine museums in and around the city, including the Museo Rafael Larco Herrera, which houses an equally impressive collection of pottery, jewelry, mummies, and textiles from the Paracas and Nazca cultures. The more affluent coastal districts of Miraflores, Barranco, and San Isidro offer good nightlife and cafés, all within walking distance. Limeños (Lima’s residents) are friendly, and the city is filled with excellent restaurants. Seafood lovers, in particular, should be sure to try a ceviche, for which Lima is well known.
If you have the time, we recommend coming into Lima a day or 2 early to explore this interesting city.
This morning, we transfer to the airport for the flight to Cusco, where we will spend the rest of the day relaxing and exploring this fascinating city, and – most importantly – getting used to the altitude. Please take it easy on your first day as strenuous activity can exacerbate symptoms of altitude sickness. You will be returning to Cusco for a full free day later on in the trip, which will give you more time to explore.
Cusco is the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city. One could easily spend a week just in and around the area. Inca-built stone walls line most of the central streets and you don’t have to go far to see other major Inca ruins. It is a city steeped in history, tradition, and legend.
Tonight, trekkers will pack items for the Inca Trail or Lares Treks, respectively. If you are hiking, your main piece of luggage will be put in storage at the hotel in Cusco. If you are not hiking either trail, you will have extra free time to explore Cusco.
For those hiking, to make your trek more enjoyable, we have porters who will carry all of the tents, food, etc. You are also allowed to give the porters 6 kg of personal belongings per hiker. That means that including your sleeping bag, toiletries, clothing, etc., you are allowed a total weight of 6 kg for the hike, which will be carried in a duffle bag provided by our local office. Any additional weight must then be carried by you in your day pack. Please note: the remainder of your luggage will be stored for you at one of our hotels in Cusco. It is advised that you bring anything of value (e.g., money, passport, credit cards, camera, etc.) with you on the trek. Make sure you bring rain gear!
Cusco’s numerous colonial churches are one of the city’s most common sights. The Cathedral was started in 1559 and took 100 years to build and is one of the city’s greatest repositories of colonial art. Immediately in front of the entrance is a vault containing the remains of the famous Inca historian, Garcilaso de la Vega. Also worth visiting are the churches of La Compañía, La Merced, and San Francisco.
While most ruins are just outside of the city, the main ruin within is that of the Coricancha, once the Inca Empire’s richest temple. Today, the ruin forms the base of the colonial church of Santo Domingo. During Inca times this temple was literally covered with gold, but within months of the arrival of the first conquistadors this incredible wealth had all been melted down. It is left to the individual imagination to envision the magnificence of the original structure.
There are several good museums in Cusco, including the Archaeological Museum, which also houses a small art museum, the Regional History Museum, and the Religious Art Museum.
Our best advice for exploring Cusco is to wear a comfortable pair of shoes, arm yourself with a city map, and set off to explore!
Approximate travel time: 1.5 hrs by plane
Enjoy a full-day guided tour of the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
We begin with a visit to the Ccaccaccollo community center, which G Adventures travelers’ donations helped create in 2005, thereby enabling local women to sell traditional textiles to travelers. See local weaving and dyeing techniques used to create garments and souvenirs, and learn of the impact the Planeterra weaving co-operative has had on the community and those who visit it. This includes the purchase of alpacas to provide a steady supply of wool, looms, and sewing machines as well as several training courses on production, sales, and small business management. Consider picking up some handmade souvenirs and textiles directly from the women who made them. Please note: many of the men that work on trekking support team come from this village.
We then visit the rural village of Cuyo Chico, where a group of families joined together to create a small business based on their traditional adobe ceramic crafts. Using clay from their surroundings, they mold bowls, plates, and all manner of decorations. Learn about the ceramics process as well as the traditional adobe brick-making that forms the basis of houses throughout the valley, all while taking in a spectacular view of the Pisac Ruins. After the demonstration, peruse the items for sale directly from the artisans in their shop.
We then contribute to sustainable tourism in Huchuy Qosqo, a small village of 65 families in the Sacred Valley, by eating at the Parwa Community Restaurant. Learn how the resident-run restaurant was kickstarted by G Adventures and the Multilateral Investment Fund to become a successful farm-to-table program that boosts the local economy and several spin-off micro-enterprises. Proceeds of this meal go directly back to the remote community.
Continue on to the town of Ollantaytambo. Get your blood flowing on a steep (optional 1.5 hour) hike up to the Pinkuylluna Incan storehouses. Perched on the hill, these ruins provide excellent views of the Sacred Valley and the Ollantaytambo ruins below. Learn how the area, overlooking the Urubamba River Valley, was an important stronghold during warfare between the Spanish and Incas.
While in Ollantaytambo you will have some free time.
We recommend exploring the terraced ruins right in the heart of Ollantaytambo city. Learn about the principles of Incan architecture and get a first taste of climbing around a massive ruins site.
Approximate travel time: 3 hrs by private vehicle
This morning, the group will split into three groups: Inca Trail trekkers, Lares trekkers, and non-hikers.
Inca Trail Trek
The 3.5-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is physically challenging but worthwhile, and the excursion is within the ability of most reasonably fit. It is a 40-km (25-mi) hike, with three high passes to be crossed, one of which reaches an elevation of 4,200 m (13,776 ft). The trail is often steep, and it may rain even during the dry season. The temperatures at night may fall below zero, so it is important to come prepared.
Depart Ollantaytambo for “Km 82,” where we begin our walk in the footsteps of the Incas. Our local crew of porters, cook, and guide look after us well for the duration of the hike. Porters carry the majority of the gear for the hike, so those passengers doing the hike only carry a small daypack with water, rain gear, snacks, a camera, etc. As you walk the trail that linked this ancient empire, admire breathtaking views at every step as we move from high plateau areas to dense cloud forest. Depending on the season, you may see a great variety of flora, including miniature and large orchids and fiery rhododendron bushes.
Today the trekking is fairly easy and serves as good training for the next few days. Pass rambling rivers and through a small village, and enjoy scenic mountain views: it’s just a taste of what’s to come.
Start point Km 82 to Wayllambama
Approximate distance: 11 km/6.8 mi
Approximate hiking time: 5-6 hrs
Those booking after Inca Trail permits sell out who wish to hike will be hiking the Lares Trek instead. Equally as difficult as the Inca Trail, the Lares allows you to hike on a more off-the-beaten-track route that winds through remote Andean villages. The hike is 2.5 days long. You will have similar camping and porter services as the Inca Trail hikers.
On day one, we have an early morning start and will take a van (3 hrs.) to the town of Lares, where the hike will start with a leisurely pace through the valley of Cuncani. Hike 4 km (2.5 mi) to Chancachaca, where we stop for lunch. Altitude here is around 3,480 m (11,417 ft). After lunch, we continue to Cuncani, where we camp for the night at 3872 m (12,703 ft). The camp isa International Development Bank, International Monetary Fund, and Planeterra supported project.
Lares town to Cuncani
Approximate distance: 9 km (5.59 mi)
Approximate hiking time: 4.5 hrs
Anyone electing not to hike and stay in Cusco instead will have 2 extra days to explore Cusco instead of hiking. When the trekkers leave this morning, travelers staying in Cusco will be accompanied by the Cusco tour leader on an extended Sacred Valley tour.
Drive a little more than an hour to get to the Moray archaeological site. Tour these unique Inca ruins, consisting of circular terraces and a sophisticated irrigation system located at 3,500 m (11,483 ft). Learn about the history and study of this fascinating site – speculation has it that it was an Inca agriculture experiment station.
After Moray, we visit the impressive Maras Salt Mines. See thousands of individual ancient salt pools spilling over a hillside. We will learn about the different varieties of salt and try the renowned pink salt, famous worldwide.
Then, set out on a scenic drive above the Sacred Valley of the Incas, stop along the way to lookout over small farms carved into the hills and small villages dotted along the landscape. Enjoy a picnic lunch at picturesque Piuray Lagoon, opt to relax, explore the lagoon by kayak, or stand-up paddleboard.
Afterwards, we travel another 1.5 hrs to Cusco for another 2 nights in this wonderful city.
The price for the trekking and non-trekking option is the same. Non-trekkers only receive breakfasts and one lunch, whereas trekkers will receive all meals while trekking.
Inca Trail Trek
We start early to trek over progressively more spectacular and steeper terrain on our way to Warmiwañusca (or Dead Woman’s Pass), the highest point of the trek at 4,198 m (13,769 ft). Be prepared to face strong Andean weather (blazing sun or cold winds) around the pass. Take the hike slow and drink lots of water along the way – amazing views are waiting as a reward. Finally, we enjoy ample time to rest and relax after reaching the camp. Most campers arrive around early afternoon.
Wayllabamba to Paqaymayo
Approximate distance: 12 km (7.5 mi)
Approximate hiking time: 6-7 hrs
Today, we hike from the foothills of Sicllaccasa Mountain 12.2 km (7.6 mi) to its high pass at 4,750 m (15,583 ft), providing scenic views of lagoons and the snow-capped Chicon Mountain. After reaching the highest point, we celebrate by making an offering of coca leaves to the Andean gods. Following a short descent, we hike another 2.2 km (1.3 mi) to Quenca Pata for lunch and to take in the amazing view. We close out the day by hiking downhill another 2.6 km (1.6 mi) to our second campsite near a stream. We will spend the night at an elevation of around 4,114 m (13,497 ft).
Cuncani to Kuyoc
Approximate distance: 17 km (10.5 mi)
Approximate hiking time: 9 hrs
Enjoy a free day exploring Cusco. Some suggestions for what you can do with your time:
Cusco Tourist Ticket
130 PEN per person
This ticket allows admission to 16 sights around the City of Cusco, including many popular museums and cathedrals. The ticket also provides entrance to Sacsayhuaman Archaeological Park and sights in the South Valley of Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Your tour leader or the hotel can help arrange for a taxi to take to the these sites.
10 PEN per person
Get ready to explore the artifacts from the Inca Empire, including mummies, jewelry, skulls, and ceramics at this museum of archaeology.
Whitewater Rafting Urubamba
165 PEN per person
Rise for an early morning pick up and drive to Chuquicahuana for a safety briefing. Enjoy a full day of rafting on the Upper Vilcanota River (about 2.5 hrs on the water). Be thrilled by fast rapids that are a constant Class III and IV for around 11 km (9 mi), and don’t forget to take in the gorgeous scenery. Rehash all the excitement afterward over a riverside picnic lunch.
Inca Trail Trek
Today, we cross two more passes and more ruins along the way. The first pass is at 3,998 m (13,113 ft) where, on a clear day, you can catch a glimpse of the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcabamba. You’ll hike through a cloud forest on the gentle climb to the second pass of the day, where you walk through original Incan constructions. The highest point of this pass is 3,700 m (12,136 ft). On a clear day, enjoy the views of the Urubamba Valley. At 3650 m (11,972 ft), you’ll reach the ruins of Phuyupatamarca, the “Town Above the Clouds.” We either camp here or 1.5 hours further along, near the Wiñay Wayna (“Forever Young”) ruins.
Paqaymayo to Wiñaywayna
Approximate distance: 16 km (10 mi)
Approximate hiking time: 9 hrs
This morning, we follow the trail, passing by typical Andean flora and fauna, llamas, and alpacas. We descend through the valley of Pumahuanca, meet friendly local Quechua people, and explore some Inca storehouses along the way. This trek will take 3-4 hrs to reach the town of Pumahuanca, where we enjoy lunch before hopping in a van to Ollantaytambo. We continue by train to Aguas Calientes.
Kuyoc to Punta Carretera
Approximate distance: 10.5 km (6.5 mi)
Approximate hiking time: 3.5 hrs
Today, we travel by private vehicle 2 hours to Ollantaytambo, where we meet up with the Lares trekkers and catch the scenic train to Aguas Calientes, where we will spend the night.
Inca Trail Trek
The final day of the hike starts pre-dawn to reach the Sun Gate before sunrise. We wake up around 03:30 and walk to the checkpoint. We will catch the first views of the breathtaking ruins of Machu Picchu on a clear day. We hike down to Machu Picchu, where we join the rest of the group for a guided tour of the site and some free time to explore.
Wiñaywayna to Intipunku (Sun Gate)
Approximate distance: 4 km (2.5 mi)
Approximate hiking time: 1.5 hrs
Lares Trek and Non-hikers
We wake up early to experience dawn at Machu Picchu, where you will join the Inca Trail trekkers on a guided tour of the ruins. You will also have some free time to explore the ruins on your own.
Machu Picchu is both the best and the least known of the Inca ruins. It is not mentioned in any of the chronicles of the Spanish conquistadors, and archaeologists today can do no more than speculate on its function. The local Quechua farmers in the area knew of Machu Picchu for centuries, but it was not until an 11-year-old boy led the American historian Hiram Bingham (who was in search of Vilcabamba) to the site on July 24, 1911, that the rest of the world became aware of its existence. At that time, the site was covered in thick vegetation, and Bingham and his team returned in 1912 and 1915 to clear the growth. Over the years, much work has been done on excavating and studying the site. Despite these efforts, many unanswered questions remain.
Follow the local guide to Machu Picchu to learn about its history at a leisurely pace. Gain local insight into the Inti Mach’ay cave, Inti Watana, the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Water, the Temple of the Condor, and the Room of the Three Windows. Take time to sit and feel the energy of this 15th-century site, now both a UNESCO World Heritage site and voted one of the new Seven Wonders of the World (in a worldwide Internet poll).
Use any leftover energy from your Machu Picchu hike to visit the Inca Bridge site nearby, thought by some to be a secret back entrance to Machu Picchu. Trek up to the bridge that’s cleaving to a 579 m (1,900 ft) cliff and soak in amazing views of cloud forest along the way.
Please note about Huayna Picchu: Although this hike may be promoted by others, we cannot verify that this hike meets G Adventures minimum safety standards. We do not include the Huayna Picchu hike in any of our itineraries, and our tour leaders and support staff are prohibited from providing advice or assistance with booking this activity.
After exploring Machu Picchu the group will travel back to Cusco.
Approximate travel time: 1.5 hrs by train; 2 hrs by private vehicle
Today we fly to Lima, where you might opt to take the opportunity for a final night out for dinner or Pisco Sours.
Approximate travel time: 1.5 hrs by plane
Today, you may depart Lima at any time.
Want more adventure? Book two or more GEEO trips in the same year and receive a discount! GEEO will give you 10% off of the lesser value program(s) (up to 3 programs).
If you don’t see a program that interests you that pairs with this trip but still would like to extend your time abroad, let us know. We will work with you to find a non-teacher trip from our tour operator’s much larger catalog. Even better, if you are an educator, we can still offer you a discounted price on the trip you choose!
Visit our recommended reading page to see the list of books GEEO recommends reading before your program (this is not required reading). We also have lesson plans and Pinterest boards that may be useful for you as you learn about your destination and prepare to bring lessons back to your classroom.
It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions page before signing up for this program.
All cancellations must be submitted to GEEO in written form by emailing your request for cancellation to [email protected] If you do not receive a confirmation that we have received your written cancellation request, please call us at 1-877-600-0105. Verbal cancellation requests will not be honored.
This program is run differently than our typical programs. Instead of one tour leader throughout, there are different support staff in the different locations. The first G Adventures staff member will lead your introduction meeting in Lima and take you to the airport the next morning. The second support staff member will handle all activities in Cusco and the Sacred Valley. There will be separate specialist guides for the trekkers. At all times on the ground there will be someone leading the group.
The required fitness level required for the trip varies greatly. All travelers will have to contend with the high altitude of the Andes. This trip includes light walking and hiking, but if you choose not to do one of the treks, this trip is suitable for most fitness levels.
GEEO has had many participants complete the treks of varying ages and fitness levels. This includes people ranging from a woman who was 4-months pregnant, a man who had double hip replacement surgery, and a 58-year old woman (who said it was more painful than child birth). In the end, you have to decide whether hiking is right for you. It is a challenge for anyone, even the fit. If you decide to hike either trail, be prepared for long days of hiking up and down rough hewn stairs. Do everything you can before the trip to prepare your body.
Half of the people that travel with GEEO are traveling by themselves, so please don’t worry if you have no one who can join you on your trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy, in other words, two people to a room. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. GEEO can find you a roommate of the same gender. Most of our trips have a “My Own Room” option, also known as a “Single Supplement,” which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself. If you want to room alone, please email [email protected] To see the price for the “My Own Room” option, please click here where you can look up your trip in the extra services spreadsheet.
Please note that if you have booked the “My Own Room” option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops, with the following exceptions: Nights 4-6 – Inca Trail, Nights 4-5 – Lares Trek.
Our groups meet at the hotel we use for the first night of the trip. Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned for that day other than your welcome meeting in the evening, so you can arrive at any time. Similarly, the last day is a departure day during which no activities have been planned.
A G Adventures Representative will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. A welcome note will be left for you in the hotel so you have all the necessary information regarding the meeting time and your transfer times back to the airport the next day. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.
Jorge Chavez International Airport in Callao Lima is approximately a 45-minute drive from the Miraflores District, where our joining hotel is located. The easiest way to get there is via taxi. Immediately after the customs and immigration area, as you head to the exits, you will find an official taxi stand. You can pay for the car at set (approximately $27 USD) rates and won’t need to worry about sorting out a ride outside the airport facilities, where the situation tends to get more chaotic, with many drivers vying for few clients. There are exchange facilities in the Arrivals area open 24 hours. Excess luggage can be stored free of charge at the joining hotel during your tour, if desired.
Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local office in Lima. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
G Adventures Office Lima, Peru.
During office hours (Weekdays, 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Local Time): +51 1 241 1650 or 01 241 1650 (from mobile within Peru) or 241 1650 (from payphone within Peru)
After hours Emergency number: +51 99 758 2712,
If you are unable for any reason to contact their local office in Lima or Cusco,
they have a toll-free line within North America (or our regular direct line), which will connect you directly with their Toronto office. In the event that you cannot get through, you can reach a member of their Operations department at the mobile number below.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Outside North America: +1 416 260 0999
Please read this article on GEEO’s blog for our staff’s suggestions on the best gear to pack for your upcoming travels. You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them up and down stairs, on and off transportation, and to hotels. As a rule we try not to have to walk more than 15-20 minutes with your bags, which is why we recommend keeping the weight of your bags between 22-30 lb. Most travelers carry a backpack or rolling bag of small to medium size. No XXL bags please! A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person plus a daypack per person.
There may be a weight restriction for the internal flight on this program. Additional bags or excess weight charges may apply. These charges are the responsibility of the passengers.
All other camping equipment is provided for the Inca Trail excursion. Porters carry the camping gear, food, and a portion of your personal belongings. All you will need to carry is a day-pack, containing waterproof jacket, warm fleece or down top, camera, water bottle, snacks, sunscreen, and hat during the hike.
Laundry facilities are sometimes offered by the hotels.
All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport. Please see our general FAQ for information on obtaining a passport. As with all of our trips, we try to provide the most accurate information we can, but governments sometimes change visa rules. It is your responsibility to double check the information we provide below by searching here.
Americans do not need to purchase a visa for travel to Peru. Non-American participants should check with their government to find out if they need a visa.
As currency exchange rates fluctuate we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com. ATMs are also widely available that distribute the local currency – this is what we recommend as your primary source of cash while traveling. Please make sure you bring at least $200 USD in cash as emergency money just in case you have trouble with the ATMs or lose your bank card. Major credit cards are accepted in most shops but they may charge a 2-4% transaction fee. Visa and MasterCard are useful for cash advances in an emergency situation. Please note that, if carrying U.S. Dollars, they should be in excellent condition (i.e., not torn, wrinkled, or marked on in any way) and printed recently.
It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected – though not compulsory – component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels.
If you hiked the Inca or Lares Trails and you felt your trekking guide and support team did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, but, as a guideline, we suggest each hiker contributes the following to a collective pool: $40 per person for the Inca Trail Trek and $35 per person for the Lares Trek. Also, very important, please bring small bills for these tips and on the hike in general. Sometimes the porters want to be paid individually rather than by a collective pool so smaller bills will make that a lot easier. $1 USD bills will work instead of Sols, if need be. You will probably buy some water and snacks while on the hike, and the small bills will come in handy for that as well.
When you part company with the individual tour leaders and local guides, you should tip them, if you think they did an outstanding job. The amount is entirely a personal preference, but as a guideline $2-3 USD per person, per day can be used.
We legally cannot give you any medical advice. It is very important to consult your doctor or a travel clinic about which vaccinations you will need for your trip. GEEO recommends contacting Passport Health (http://www.passporthealthusa.com/) which has travel clinics throughout the United States. Please take this seriously!
We often find the best prices for purchasing flights is 60 days before departure, but of course this varies greatly from route to route and year to year. You must wait until this trip is confirmed with the minimum number of required participants before you book your flights. Typically, we reach the minimum number needed at least 90 days before departure. GEEO and G Adventures bear no responsibility for any flights purchased before the trip is confirmed. You can find out whether this trip has been confirmed here.
Your trip begins and ends in Lima. Please double check our itinerary for the date by which you must arrive in Lima. You can arrive at any time of the day you choose. You can depart any time on the final day of the trip.
There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. two to three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your device.
Peru uses 2- and 3-pronged power plugs similar to those in the United States, as well as a European-style two-prong plug. Peru’s voltage is mostly 220V, with a few homes with 110V on the European-style outlets. U.S. outlets are 120V. Most new devices (phones and laptops) can handle the different voltage rates, but some devices only work on the U.S. standard of 120V. Check your device to see what voltage range it handles. Most transformer blocks will have an “Input” line that defines its voltage capacity. For example, “Input: 100-240V” means that it will work on voltages from 100V to 240V. If your transformer can’t handle the different voltage, you’ll need to purchase a voltage converter. You can find world regional voltage converters power packs at various vendors.
Before you decide on traveling with GEEO, it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. Remember, our programs are quite adventurous.
Hopefully this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!
While it is our intention to adhere to the routes described on our website, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable, to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The information on our website is a general guide to the tour and region, and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
“Most banks were very strict about the condition of the money we wanted to exchange. They wanted money without lines, cracks, tears, even bends in the middle. I would stress that each bill will be inspected and that they will reject money with tears, lines, and/or marks. “
“It might ice-rain-snow on the Lares Trek. Don’t worry about packing snacks, use your 3 kilos for extra socks and gloves!”
“Be prepared to buy loads of bottled water. The other option is bringing a water bottle with a filter. CamelBak makes an excellent one for under $100. “
“The Larco Museum in Lima is a great way to start off your trip if you arrive early. It will provide context for what you learn about on the rest of the trip.”
“The Inca Trail hike will be cold at night. Fill a water bottle with hot water to keep in your sleeping bag.”
“Walking sticks are almost mandatory – I never hiked before, so I was not prepared. I bought the infamous wooden stick in town but really wish I rented the metal ones at the beginning!”
“Do the stairmaster regularly at your local gym if you are going to do the hike.”
“I think that the Lares trekking was very, very strenuous “
At the time of the year we run the Peru program, Lima is typically a bit rainy with a mild temperature.
The Andes, where you will spend most of your trip, tend to be cold and dry, but it does sometimes rain in the area. You should pack different layers of clothes so you can adjust throughout the day. Make sure you have plenty of warm clothing, as it gets really cold on the Inca Trail at night. Because we are at high altitude, the sun can be quite strong so sun block and a hat are essential.
The food on the trail is carried on by our porters and cooked by our amazing chefs. Most people in the group thought it was the best food they ate on their entire trip to Peru.
As far as toilets go, they are disbursed throughout the Trail and most of the places we stop to eat and all of our campsites have them. Most of them are squat toilets and sometimes the bathrooms aren’t in the best of shape. There are no showers until we reach the third camp.
The tents for this trip are provided by G Adventures. They are carried, set up, and taken down by our team of porters, so you will not have to stress about them. The tents give plenty of room for two people.
While on the trail all you will need to carry with you is your water bottle, sunscreen, camera, and a few layers of clothes, allowing you to adjust to the temperature throughout the day. The porters will carry the rest of the things you need. There is a weight limit of 6 kg for the porters. By the time they get a sleeping bag and the mat, there isn’t much room left. It wasn’t a problem for anyone, but it is good to be aware of the limit.
It gets cold at night. The sleeping bags that G Adventures rents are very warm and cleaned after every trip. We recommend bringing long john tops and bottoms, warm socks, and a warm fleece jacket to wear around the camp at night.
You should bring the things mentioned in the packing list above. We found the headlamp to be really useful. You can bring your groundpad and sleeping bag, if you wish, just make sure the sleeping bag you bring is a winter or fall bag, not a summer bag. Of course, you can rent the groundpad and sleeping bag from G Adventures, which is what most of the participants do. (Most people who bring their own sleeping bags regret not renting the G Adventures sleeping bag, because typically people own lighter bags, which aren’t warm enough for the trail at night.)
Hiking boots are great, but running shoes work pretty well too.
Our porters boil water at all meals and will fill up your water bottles with clean, sanitized water.
Hiking on the trail requires a permit, which is included in the cost of your trip, and G Adventures will take care of the permits. They often sell out and we can only reserve them for you when we have your name, passport number, and deposit. If you want to hike, but the permits have sold out, you have the option to go on the amazing Lares Trek as an alternative. The Lares Trek is a day shorter than the Inca Trail Trek, has fewer Inca ruins, and you do not hike directly into Machu Picchu like the Inca Trail Trek. By and large, however, people tend to love the Lares Trek because it is a lot less touristy, you meet lots of locals, and the hike is just as scenic as the Inca Trail Trek, if not more so.
If you have hiking poles, bring them, but they must have rubber covers on the bottom as the Peruvian Government does not allow metal tips on the Trail. One teacher on the trip bought a pair of walking poles at Walmart for $18 and said they were “the best purchase of my life.” You can also purchase simple wooden walking sticks at the trail entrance for next to nothing. Most of our participants end up purchasing one walking stick each.
Most of the people in our groups have some altitude sickness, but it rarely ruins anybody’s trip. You will fly from Lima to Cusco at an altitude of 3,310 m (10,800 ft), which is a pretty big jump for your body to make. You should consider buying coca leaves or drinking coca tea, which are pretty easy to find in Cusco. These will help your body to adjust to the altitude and ease altitude sickness symptoms. On the Inca Trail, they will make it much easier climbing the steep mountains. That said, we had several individuals in our group whose doctor recommended, for one reason or another, that they NOT use coca leaves. Most folks found coca very useful – and a neat part of the Peruvian experience. We recommend you ask your doctor about coca.
Another way to avoid altitude sickness is to take it easy. We will have our first day in Cusco free for you to explore. Make sure you don’t push yourself! Within 3 or 4 days, your body will acclimatize.
All of our hotels have Western sit-down toilets. When we are away from our hotel, you may need to use a squat toilet. These amount to a hole in the ground that you squat over. Again, this is part of the experience and something that you can get used to pretty quickly. You’ll probably use a squat toilet several times on your trip. Also of note, many of the toilets you use won’t have septic systems that allow for flushing toilet paper. If there is a little trashcan next to your toilet, please put your used toilet paper in there. Also, it is a good idea to always carry around a roll of toilet paper for use when we are away from our hotels. You can buy the toilet paper in Peru and should keep some handy throughout your trip.
A past GEEO traveler wrote:
“The Lares Trek is a moderate hike but will be challenging for the average day-hiker. Although the hike is only 20 miles, spread out over 3 days, the majority of it is uphill. The combination of altitude, incline, and trail conditions make this Trek feel substantially longer. Trail conditions vary from small dirt footpaths and dirt roads, to rock covered trails and streambeds. Waterproof hiking boots are recommended. I recommend mid-height boots for stability. The downhill portions of the trek are covered with loose stones that make it very easy to roll an ankle.
It also very important to bring the right clothing on this Trek. The weather changes frequently, and you need to be prepared. Layers are your best option.
In terms of packing for the trip, be prepared to pack light. You will get roughly 20 liters of space on the donkey – think a small backpack. The rest you must carry on your back. I do not recommend taking anything more than a daypack with the essentials. You will regret taking any additional weight. All you really need is an extra shirt, an extra pair of socks, a headlamp, rain gear, and water and snacks. Anything else is extra weight. The gear that G Adventures provides is excellent. There is no reason to bring your own sleeping bag. Also, do your knees a favor and rent two walking poles.
I highly recommend completing this trek. It is a wonderful experience. However, I also highly recommend training for this hike. Hike some small mountains locally, or walk beforehand. If you’re not ready to walk 10 miles straight at sea level with a 10-15 pound backpack on, this hike might be more than you can handle.”
Please keep in mind this trip offers some free time to pursue activities that interest you. Make sure you look over all of the optional activities and note these additional costs when deciding whether you can afford this program. The prices below are in U.S. Dollars and are rough estimates so you can budget your trip.
See our price in the top right corner
Roughly $600-$1,100 USD
If you require assistance in booking your international airfare, we would be happy to help you.
Please note: it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have emergency medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing cancellation insurance as well.
We recommend $20-$30 USD for your G Adventures tour leaders. Budget another $50 USD to tip guides and drivers for other activities.
Make sure you budget for these types of expenses
Check with your doctor to see what you will need and what is covered by your insurance.
U.S. citizens are not required to obtain a visa to travel to Peru, if it is less than 90 days in length.
Variable; at your personal discretion.
$100 USD (Suggested donation)
This is only for non-educator guests traveling with an educator on a GEEO trip. Educators and retired educators should not make this donation.
Please contact [email protected] to book any of the following activities. These must be booked in advance of your departure.
Channel your inner chef with a Peruvian cooking class. Take a trip to the market with your teacher and learn about regional flavours as you pick out the freshest ingredients. Head back to the kitchen for a hands-on lesson and learn to prepare local Peruvian specialties.
Get a taste of Peruvian cuisine, visit local markets, sample exotic fruit, select fresh ingredients, and try your hand at preparing unique Peruvian dishes influenced by China, Italy, West Africa, and Japan. This activity is supported by the G Values Fund – a funding initiative that provides low-interest loans to CEOs who wish to start businesses that enhance the experience of our travellers. Best Bite Peru is run by former CEO Ruben Diaz. Contact Ruben (Best Bite Peru) at +51972584092 for further information.
Lookout over these colourful Andean mountains striped with maroon, turquoise, lavender, and gold. The sediment, elevation, and proximity to the ocean create a landscape that has to be seen to be believed. Get started early to drive to the starting point of this challenging, yet rewarding full-day hike. Reaching 5,029m (16,500 ft) this is no walk in the park, but these unique mountains do not disappoint.
Most optional activities are booked and paid for locally in the local currency. You do not have to decide in advance for which activities you would like to sign up. The prices listed are based on the latest information we have received from our participants and G Adventures. They are not guaranteed to be accurate. Please use them as a rough guide for budgeting your trip.
You should be able to book all of these optional activities at our group hotel in Quito when you arrive.
These tours can be booked locally when you arrive in Lima:
Lima City Tour, tour of colonial and contemporary Lima: $39 per person; minimum 2 people; 3 hrs.
Pachacamac, the Lost Inca Citadel of Lima: $50 per person; minimum 2 people; 3 hrs.
Larco Museum, which contains the best gold and silver collection: $51 per person; minimum 2 people; 3 hrs.
Culinary Tour, includes a visit to a local market, learning how to make ceviche and Pisco Sours:$72; 3 hrs.
Ballestas Islands with Huacachina, including wildlife and history, lunch in a winery, and visit to the Huacachina Oasis: $220+ per person; minimum 2 people; full day
Nasca Lines Flight (starts and ends in Lima): $300; full day
Lima at Night, including Magic Circuit of Water visit, a walk through the center, and dinner: $75 per person; minimum 2 people; 3 hrs.
Boleto Turistico (tourist ticket): $25 (half ticket) or $46 (full ticket)
City tour: $15-$20
Horseback ride around ruins: $40 (with guide) or $15 (without guide)
Whitewater rafting: $55
Mountain biking: $55
Inka Museum: $3.50 entrance
Action Valley (bungee, etc.): $80+