SALKANTAY TREK 5D/4N

SALKANTAY TREK 5D/4N

INTRODUCTION

The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is an excellent alternative to the Incan trail. On this trek you will hug the base of the sacred Salkantay mountain, standing high above the surrounding mountains at a stunning 6271m/ 20,574ft. You will pass through traditional Andean communities and Inca ruins before arriving in Aguas Caliente, the town that sits below the legendary Machu Picchu.

TOUR TYPE
Hiking, Nature and Archaeological Sites

DIFICULTY
Challenging

DISTANCE
72 km / 45 miles

CONSIDERATIONS
A spectacular but challenging alternative to the famous Inca Trail.

ELEVATION
2040m- 4600m / 6692ft- 15,090ft

DURATION
5 days / 4 nights

 

FOR YOUR TRIP

TOUR OVERVIEW

  • Day 1: Salkantay Trek: Cusco – Salkantaypampa
  • Day 2: Salkantay Trek: Salkantaypampa – Qollpapampa
  • Day 3: Salkantay Trek: Qollapapampa – Lucmabamba
  • Day 4: Salkantay Trek: Lucmabamba – Aguas Calientes
  • Day 5: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
Day 1

Cusco - Mollepata - Soraypampa - salkantaypampa

We will depart early from Cusco at 5am to begin our picturesque, four-hour ride to the trailhead at Soraypampa. Along the way, we will pass through the town of Limatambo, an important access point for Cusco city during the Inca Empire. We will pass the archaeological site of Tarawasi before making an ascent up a bumpy road along the shore of the Apurimac River. We will continue to the town of Mollepata and through the small communities of Cruzpata before coming to our starting point of Challachancha at 3100m/ 10,168ft. There, you will meet your team: the chefs and porters that will accompany you on this experience. We will eat a quick breakfast before setting off on our hike towards Salkantay Mountain. First, we will make a gentle ascent to the flat marshland of Soraypampa a to eat lunch. With replenished energy, we will ascend up a mountainside for approximately 2 hours to arrive at our first campsite, Salkantaypampa which sits next to the impressive Salkantay glacier, at 4200m/ 13,776ft. Be prepared for a cold night. Facts and Figures: Walking Time: approximately 7 hours, Walking Distance: 12 km/ 7.45mi, Elevation Gain: 750m /2460ft, Starting Point: Challachancha, 3100m/10,168ft, Ending Point: Salkantaypampa Campsite: 4000m / 13,123ft
Day 2

Soraypampa - Qollpapampa

Day 2 will be the most challenging day, but you will be well rewarded with picturesque nature, wildlife, Inca ruins, and hot springs! We’ll depart early to make a 1-hour ascent to Salkantay Pass, the highest pass of the trek at 4600 m/ 15,090 ft. This beautiful lookout offers stunning views of glaciers and snow-capped peaks and serves a natural habitat for chinchillas and condors. From the pass, we will hike down 2-3 hours to Huaracmachay for lunch. As we walk, you will notice that the landscape changes dramatically from high mountain terrain to cloud forest. We will pass the remnants of an Inca trail that stretches about 6 meters wide. After lunch, we will press onwards another 2-3 hours to arrive at our final destination, Qollapapama by late afternoon. This beautiful spot boasts natural hot springs, the perfect remedy for a long day of hiking. Facts and Figures: Walking Time: approximately 5 hours, Walking Distance:, Elevation Gain: 750m /2460ft, Starting Point: Salkantaypampa: 4000m / 13,123ft, Qollpapampa Campsite: 2890m/ 9479 ft
Day 3

Qollapapampa To Lucmabamba

Leaving Qollpapampa we will ascend slightly before making a relaxed descent for the rest of the day. Having left the dry, high sierra climate behind, we will enjoy lush flora, waterfalls, fruit and coffee plantations, parrots, and even spectacled bears if we’re lucky. We will walk alongside the Santa Teresa river, passing the Coripacchi waterfalls, the settlement of Wiñaypoko, and the small town of La Playa. After La Playa, we will continue another 30 minutes to our campsite at Lucmabamba where we can relax and enjoy a hot cup of tea before bed. Facts and Figures: Walking Time: approximately 6 hours, Walking Distance: 10km/ 6.2mi, Starting Point: Qollpapampa Campsite: 2890m/ 9479ft, Lucmabamba Campsite: 2400m/7874ft
Day 4

Lucmabamba - Aguas Calientes

After breakfast, we make a 2.5-hour ascent to El Mirador or Abra Q'elloqasa, a high lookout that provides an exceptional view of the renowned Machu Picchu. From El Mirador, we’ll continue upwards to the lost city of Llactapata at 2850m/ 9350ft, just recently re-discovered by archaeologists in 2003. This archeological complex offers impressive views of both Machu Picchu and Salkantay Mountain. There, we will share our final lunch together before making our final two-hour descent for the Aobamba River. Once down in the valley, we will make our way to the hydroelectric plant of Machu Picchu, where we will board a train and enjoy a scenic, 45-minute ride to Aguas Calientes. Upon arrival in Aguas Calientes, you will have the opportunity to choose a restaurant among many options. (Dinner is not included) We will then check in to our three star accommodation for the evening, in preparation of a big following day. Facts and Figures: Walking Time: approximately 6.5 hours, Walking Distance: 18km/ 11.2mi, Elevation Gain: 450m/ 1475ft, Starting Point: Lucmabamba, 2400m/7874ft, Aguas Calientes: 2040m/ 6692ft.
Day 5

Aguas Calientes Machu Picchu - Cusco

After a warm breakfast at our hotel, we will board an early bus to Machu Picchu. Upon arrival, you will receive a 2-hour guided tour of all of the most significant sites while learning about Incan history and culture. Afterward, you will have some free time to explore a part of Machu Picchu on your own before returning to Aguas Calientes as a group by bus. In Aguas Calientes, you will have a large selection of restaurants to choose from for lunch. We’ll then board an afternoon train to return to Cusco. Our drivers will meet us at the train station with Mercedes Benz Sprinter vans to drive you back to your Cusco accommodation.

INCLUSIONS

01 BRIEFING

You will receive a briefing at your hotel the evening before the start of the program. For programs that start on Monday, group briefings are on Saturday, two days ahead of the program. Please consider our tour briefing in your travel plans and plan accordingly.

briefing

02 PROFESSIONAL TOUR GUIDES

All of our guides have studied English and Tourism and are backed by years of guiding experience, proper licensing and degrees, and their own life experiences here in Cusco. They all have grown up in the region and each share a true passion for teaching others about their heritage. They are fun yet professional and will ensure you are safe and happy throughout your trip with us.

Tour-Guides

03 CHEFFS

Our highly trained chefs cook delectable, nutrient-rich meals that honor your food restrictions and preferences while surprising you with International and Peruvian flavors. Prepare for a superb culinary experience to accompany this unforgettable expedition. Food is normally served family-style, three times a day, in addition to a pre-dinner happy hour of tea and snacks. You will also be provided a snack each morning to enjoy along the hike. Please make sure to remind your guide of any food restrictions before beginning your program. The only meals that are not included in the expedition costs are those that are indulged in Aguas Calientes.

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04 TRANSPORTATION

All transportation during your trek is included, starting with a 4am pick up from your hotel that will take you approximately 2 hours to the trailhead. The two-way train ticket to Aguas Calientes, the town below Machu Picchu, is also included. We provide you with an Expedition Class ticket for the train, but we are happy to upgrade you to the Vistadome train car for an additional $75 per person. Also included in your trek is a round-trip bus ticket for transport between Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu. After you depart from Aguas Calientes via train, our Mercedes Benz Sprinter vans will pick you up and bring you back to your Cusco accommodations.

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05 TENTS &  EQUIPMENT

We consistently maintain and renew our 3-season tents to ensure peak performance in the field. To ensure maximum comfort and safe backpack storage, we provide you with a four-person, Eureka Timberline tent to sleep you and one other hiker. We can upgrade single hikers who prefer more privacy to a Eureka Timberline 2XT tent, designed for two persons. You will have a spacious wind and waterproof dining tent to comfortably enjoy meals in the company of your hiking group. For luxury groups, we provide guests with plush mattresses, down pillows, and extra blankets for ultimate comfort on the trail.

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06 WRANGLERS AND HORSES 

We include a team of wranglers and horses to carry all equipment and materials necessary for the trek and your personal duffel bag. Therefore, you will only have access to your duffel in the evening time, upon arrival to the designated campsite. To care for our team and limit the risk of injury, we limit duffel-bag weights to 7kg or 15.4lbs, which should include your sleeping bag and air mattress.

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07 WATER

We provide clean water at all meals and carry enough for you to consistently refill your water bottle. We recommend that you bring a water bottle or camelback that has a capacity of at least 3 liters

water

08 ENTRANCE TICKETS & PERMITS

Southern Peruvian Explorers is one of the few tour operators authorized to operate on the Inca Jungle and  Machu Picchu. Upon receiving your information and deposit, we will purchase your permits, depending upon the availability of the Inca Trail. These permits are registered in your name with a specific date and cannot be modified after confirmation. This permit includes your entrance to Machu Picchu. The Santa Teresa hot springs cost of entry is also included in your expedition cost.

Entrance-tickets-Machu-Picchu

09 HOTEL

While traveling to Machu Picchu we will spend three nights camping under the stars surrounded by nature, followed by a final night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes, the town below Machu Picchu. Included is a two-star hotel, typically at Inti Wiracocha Inn, depending on availability.  If you would like an upgrade, let us know and we can ensure you stay in your desired hotel. The hotel we book for you will be listed on your invoice.

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10 FIRST AID & RADIO COMMUNICATION 

All of our guides are annually trained in First Aid and CPR, following international standards. Your guide will always have a first-aid kit on hand for basic medical issues, such as traveler’s diarrhea, cuts, and scrapes. Each guide will also carry an emergency oxygen canister to use in the case of altitude sickness. If needed, we can evacuate you from the trail safely and quickly to ensure you direct medical assistance at a nearby clinic. All guides are equipped with a satellite phone that can be used from anywhere on the mountain, in case of an emergency. For an extra cost, guests can also use the satellite phone for personal calls.

Guides-Fisrt-Aid

11 RETURN BY TRAIN TO CUSCO 

During your trek, all transportation is included. This includes a pick up from your hotel to the trail head to begin your hike. The train to and from Aguas Calientes, the town located below Machu Picchu, is also included. Our train tickets are expedition class, but upon request can be upgraded to the Vistadome train car for $75 extra per person. Also part of your transportation is a round-trip bus ticket between Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu. After you take the train back from Aguas Calientes, our private bus will bring you back to where it all began, Cusco.

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12 DUFFLE BAG 

At the briefing, we will give you a personal duffel bag to pack all of your personal belongings. This duffel will be carried by our team of porters, and thus should not exceed more than 7kgs /15.4 lbs, including your Southern Peruvian Explorers sleeping bag and air mattress. You will not have access to your duffel bag during the day, so all personal items needed for hiking (e.g. water bottle, camera, extra layers, sunglasses, sunscreen) should be packed in a personal day pack.

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13 EXTRAS

We try to go above and beyond in providing you with a memorable experience, we will give you a cotton Southern Peruvian Explorers t-shirt to remember your epic experience.

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED?

Huayna Picchu is the mountain that juts up, next to Machu Picchu. For a $75 charge, you can take the 45 minute hike to the top after your tour of Machu Picchu. If you are interested in hiking Huayna Picchu, we will need to make a reservation at least one month in advance, due to popularity. Please understand that weather is out of our control.

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NOT INCLUDED

TOUR INFO

BRIEFING

You will receive a briefing at your hotel the evening before the start of the program. For programs that start on Monday, group briefings are on Saturday, two days ahead of the program. Please consider our tour briefing in your travel plans and plan accordingly.

We will give you a duffel bag to use for your expedition at the briefing. This duffel will be used to carry all of your personal belongings and will be carried by our team of porters. In consideration of our porters’ health and safety, we kindly ask that your bag not exceed 7kg/ 15.4lbs, including your Southern Peruvian Explorers sleeping bag and mattress. You will not have access to your duffel bag during the day, therefore, we strongly suggest that you pack all of your personal items (e.g. water bottle, camera, extra layers, sunglasses, sunscreen) in a personal day pack that you will carry throughout the hike.

PICKUP

We will pick you up from your hotel in our Mercedes Benz at the time communicated during your briefing. That being said, there are parts of the historic center that are difficult, if not impossible to navigate by car. We will let you know in advance if we cannot pick you up from your accommodation, in which case, we will arrange another meeting point. We are happy to provide a list of hotel recommendations per request.

RETURNING TO CUSCO

Transportation from Machu Picchu back to Cusco is included in your tour. Here is what to expect day of:

  • Buses run between Machu Picchu and Aguas Calientes all day and are first come, first serve. Leaving Machu Picchu, we will take a 25-minute bus ride down the mountain to the village of Aguas Calientes.
  • After lunch, we will board an afternoon train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo or Poroy. The train rides are 2 hours and 3.5 hours respectively. Your tour guide will give you your train tickets and departure time. Please make sure to be at the train station 30 minutes in advance of departure.
  • Upon arrival to the destination train station, your drivers will be awaiting you with a Southern Peru Explorers sign. We will chauffeur you to your Cusco accommodation.

MACHU PICCHU ENTRANCE TIMES

Machu Picchu offers two time windows for visitation each day: the morning and afternoon. Your ticket will only be valid for morning visitation, which is a 4-hour time window. When your time window is over, the park rangers will ask all visitors to leave.

If you have purchased a ticket to hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, your time window will be extended for an additional 2.5 hours. You will be asked to leave the park before 2:30pm.

Those interested in spending the entire day at Machu Picchu have the opportunity to add the afternoon window to your ticket for an additional $50 per person.

HUAYNA PICCHU/MACHU PICCHU MOUNTAIN

Huayna Picchu is the famous mountain you see in the foreground of touristic photos of Machu Picchu. For a $75 charge, you can climb the 45-minute trail to the top after your tour of Machu Picchu. If you are interested in pursuing Huayna Picchu during your visit, we will need to reserve your ticket at least one month in advance. These tickets are also sold in time sessions, giving all visitors a set START time. The first session is from 7-8AM and the second session is from 10-11AM. Generally, we book the second session so that you can enjoy a tour of Machu Picchu with your guide beforehand. The Huayna Picchu hike is done on your own, but your guide will be present to show you where to begin.

Machu Picchu Mountain is a longer and less popular hike that involves a 1.5-hour ascent to the top and a 1.5-hour descent to the bottom. Again, there are two time frames– 7-8AM and 9-10AM. We normally purchase the second time window. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, 4-Day and 7-Day Inca Trail Hikers can NOT do the Machu Picchu Mountain hike and also enjoy a tour of the ruins.

HEALTH CONCERNS

All of our guides are trained in CPR and First Aid. Although they are not medical professionals, we encourage you to share all of your health concerns with your guide before departing for your expedition.

We strongly suggest that you consult with a medical professional to determine your fitness level before traveling and/or participating in our expeditions. Before departing from your home country, you should also seek professional medical advice regarding vaccinations and any medical precautions you should take. Ultimately you are responsible for determining which, if any, of our tours are suitable for you. Southern Peru Explorers will not offer you medical advice. It is your responsibility to weigh the risks and understand the requirements of each tour we offer, based on your personal circumstances, limitations, medical history and fitness level.

If you suffer from extreme altitude sickness or any other illness that prevents you from hiking, and you still wish to visit Machu Picchu, we will coordinate for you a visit to the ruins by train. This accommodation is considered a new trip and may inquire extra fees, but we will try to use as many of the pre-purchased logistics from the original trip as we can. If while hiking you experience sickness that hinders you from moving forward, a Southern Peru Explorers porter will accompany you to the nearest road and wait with you until a Southern Peru Explorers car comes to take you to the closest health clinic.

GROUP TOURS

We are proud to say that our tours are comprised of people from all walks of life with varying levels of fitness and ages. When you sign up for a tour with Southern Peru Explorers, you must understand that some of your fellow hikers will be slower or faster than you are. Our guides will account for this by making their way through the group to spend time with everyone. Though your group might request a modification to the tour, your guide will make the ultimate decision to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip for everyone.

STRIKES

Strikes are a common occurrence in Perú and have the potential to cause disruptions or modifications to our tours. Often times, roads are blocked and trains are stopped during strikes, making it impossible to depart from Cusco. We will do everything possible to continue operating our tours during a strike, even leaving the night before your start date if need be. Still, sometimes we will have no other option but to cancel your tour under these circumstances. The decisions we make are guided by our commitment to your safety. If we decide to cancel your tour, we will communicate our decisions with you, as far in advance as possible.

LOST ITEMS

We kindly ask you to be extra mindful with all your belongings throughout your time with us. Remember to always remove your items from vans, tents, restaurants and lodges and do not leave your belongings unattended. You have ultimate responsibility for all of your belongings.

TIPS

On the final day of your trek, there is a tipping custom. All hikers will put their tips together to give to the guide and the chef. The chef is responsible for distributing the money equally among all of the cooks and porters. We advise that you tip between $____ and $_____, according to the level of service you believe you have received.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

You can never predict what will happen in the future. Don’t let sickness or bad weather be the cause for losing your entire trip. Insurance is a way to protect the investment you have made on this trip, and it comes at a relatively inexpensive cost. We strongly suggest that you consider travel insurance before coming to Peru.

WEATHER

Generally speaking, the dry season runs from April to September, and the rainy season is from November to February. March and October are typically transitionary months, with both rain and intense sun. That being said, the climate patterns here in Peru have been changing drastically in the past few years. Prepare for both sun and rain by packing a brimmed hat, sunscreen and a waterproof layer. The temperatures here in Cusco remain relatively consistent all year, with cold mornings and evenings. Pack a fleece and down layer to keep warm at night and for the start of our hike each morning. By mid-morning, when the sun is bright, you will most likely want short sleeves for hiking. We recommend that you pack layers, both in your duffel and your day bag so that you will always have options.

ALTITUDE

Cusco sits at 3399m/ 11,152ft above sea level and the majority of our treks are located at similar, if not, higher altitudes. Because of this, some guests experience symptoms of altitude sickness as their body adjusts to the change in altitude. A general, but not an exhaustive list of symptoms include headaches, exhaustion, shortness of breath, rapid pulse, dizziness, nausea and/or vomiting.

To help acclimatize to the altitude here in the Andes, we recommend that you get sufficient sleep, drink plenty of water, eat easily-digestible foods, drink coca tea with a little bit of sugar added, and take it easy on physical activity for the first few days. You can also ask your Doctor about the following medications to help with altitude acclimatization: Diamox, Sorochi, and Grovol. All of these medications can be found in Peruvian drugstores.

Our guides have experience with altitude sickness and will be present to assist with any discomfort you may experience while on the trail. Still, we recommend that you consult with your doctor before trekking at high altitudes or using any medications.

GETTING TO CUSCO

Most visitors will arrive in Cusco by plane at the domestic, Alejandro Velasco Astete airport. If you are coming from abroad via Lima, it is essential that you claim your bags in Lima and re-check them for your flight to Cusco. There are five airlines that operate between Lima and Cusco: LATAM, Avianca, Star Peru, Peruvian, and Sky. Despite the price differences, we recommend LATAM and Aviana, as they tend to be more reliable and accommodating when there are flight cancellations and delays.

MAP AND ALTITUD

The majority of the altitude points on the Inca Trail are lower than the altitude of Cusco (3400m/ 11,155ft,) making Cusco the perfect place to acclimatize for several days before your trek.

The Classic Inca Trail begins at a place called Kilometer 82, at 2,600/ 8520ft. From Km 82, the trail gently descends for the morning, before making an afternoon ascent to Yuncachimpa, at 3,152m/ 10,341ft.

The second day of the Inca Trail is the most challenging, as the trail climbs to over 4,200m/ 13,780ft to summit the Dead Woman Pass. At this point, you will most likely feel the effects of the altitude as there will be less oxygen in the air. From the pass, the trail will descend for several hours to the camp of Caquiccocha, at 3,600m/ 11,811ft.

From Chaquiccocha, the trail will gently descend to the Sun Gate, onwards to Machu Picchu at

2,400m/ 7874ft.

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PRICE : 2019-2020

Group Services:

You will be joining a group of trekkers who come from all over the world, providing you a great opportunity to make new friends and have fun. Our Group Services have set dates and require at least 4 persons to open the group. Groups with four or more persons will pay the set expedition price. In the case that a group does not have four or more persons, the price will be divided among participants.

Private Services:

We also offer exclusive tours, arranged just for you and your party. You choose the departure date, group size and the duration of the trek. Our Private Services accommodate your physical pace and your food preferences. Private Services means enjoying quieter campsites and meeting fewer travelers along the route. All private groups include additional services, such as extra porters/wranglers to carry your personal belongings, and extra blankets and pillows for ultimate comfort.

 

 GROUP SERVICE – PRICE PER PERSON
2 3 4 5+
USD

985

USD

935

USD

890

USD

850

PRIVATE SERVICE – PRICE PER PERSON
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9+
USD

1250

USD

1220

USD

1180

USD

1100

USD

1050

USD

990

USD

980

USD

930

 

Why Choose Southern Peru Explorers?

Our Approach

Often times, tour agencies here in Cusco only serve as intermediaries who connect visitors with a third party tour company. At Southern Peru Explorers, we are proud to say that we operate all of our own treks, enabling us to uphold the highest tour standards, minimize miscommunications, and give you the personalized service that you deserve.

Our Values

We are also proud to say that we value and treat all of our staff, paying our porters, chefs, wranglers, and guides, on average 20% higher than other tour companies. We supply our staff with all the necessary supplies for treks, such as ample food, sleeping bags, clothing, boots, and back support. And, we also guarantee our staff a minimum number of treks per month, and a stable income throughout the year, helping to relieve some of the uncertainties that can arise when working with other tour agencies during low season.

Our Guides

Southern Peru Explorers has great guides! We recruit some of the best guides in the region, all backed by years of experience, proper licensing, updated certifications, and excellent client reviews. We have guides that specialize in bird watching, spiritualism, flora & fauna, archaeology, history, architecture, and anthropology. These same guides also run our traditional treks, giving you a rich overlay of thematic expertise in addition to the general explanations you will receive. All of our guides are fluent in English and Spanish, and we can provide guides that speak French, German, Italian, Chinese and Japanese upon request. Most importantly, all of our guides are trained in Advanced First Aid & Rescue to ensure your utmost safety on the trails. We also limit our groups to 12 people to ensure that you’ll receive personal attention and not feel lost among the crowd.

Our State-of-the-Art Equipment

Southern Peru Explorers uses top-of-the-line equipment from brand names such as North Face, Doite, and Eureka. We frequently test, maintain and renew our equipment to ensure your comfort and safety, no matter the weather conditions.

Our Food Quality and Safety

On our treks, we provide you with snacks and tea in addition to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We are attentive to your dietary restrictions and preferences and we’re happy to accommodate a vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, Atkins diet, etc. at no additional cost. We do not pack processed and packaged junk foods, but instead prepare dishes with quality, natural ingredients from the area. All of our chefs are trained in HACCP hygiene practices and cook with purified water to keep you safe and healthy throughout your trek.

Our Commitment to the Environment

Southern Peru Explorers adheres to a strict, leave-no-trace policy. We use biodegradable soaps, dishwashing liquids, and garbage bags. We pack out every single thing that we carry in and we participate in trail-cleaning initiatives year-round.

We’re Legit

Southern Peru Explorers operates lawfully. Many tour operators do not declare all of their sales or alter their earnings to avoid paying certain taxes. Here at Southern Peru Explorers, we pay an 18% sales tax, a consumption tax, and a 30% income tax.

Our Reviews

Southern Peru Explorers has satisfied customers. On our Trip Advisor page, you can read many testimonials and reviews from content customers with wonderful memories. We have been operating since 2013, proving our consistency and reliability in the services we provide.

Our prices reflect the integrity of our services. By supporting responsible tour companies like us, you are promoting the preservation of the land and helping rather than hurting local communities.

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AVAILABILITY

ALL YEAR

AVAILABILITY

To hike the Inca Trail, you must have a permit, which we will obtain for you. The first step to booking your trek is to make sure government permits are still available for your desired start date.

The Availability Calendar below is an interactive tool provided by the Peruvian Government for all tour operators who are authorized to operate on the Inca Trail. The maximum number of Inca Trail permits per day is 500. The support staff is included within these five hundred, meaning that approximately 200 permits are allocated for tourists and the remaining 300 are for cooks, porters, and guides.

This Availability Calendar is updated in real time. Availability information here corresponds to the Classic Four Day Trek. You just need a permit for your start date. If permits for your desired date are Sold Out, we recommend that you make a reservation for the following year, or that you consider an alternative trek to get to Machu Picchu, such as the Short Inca Trail or Salkantay Trek.

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is closed for maintenance during February each year and is reopened to the public on March 1.

In selecting your permits, here are some things you should take into account:

  • All Inca Trail operators and agencies share this same calendar, updated in real time by the Peruvian Ministry of Culture.
  • The number of availabilities can change rapidly. Agencies usually reserve 30 spaces. Do not be surprised if available spaces become sold out quickly.
  • The availabilities shown are for the Short Inca Trail 2 Day Trek, The Classic Inca Trail 4 Day Trek, and the Inca Trail 5 Day Trek.
  • Availability is exclusively administered by the Peruvian Ministry of Culture.

The Inca Trail is closed for maintenance for the entire month of February and reopens to the public on March 1.

OUR BROCHURE

SALKANTAY TREK 5D/4N

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OUR VIDEO

OUR GALLERY

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS.

WHAT TREKS ARE AVAILABLE IN PERU?

The notorious Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is just one of the many breath-taking treks available here in Peru. While the Inca Trail is subject to various restrictions and limited access, there are alternative treks, such as the Salkantay Trek and the Lares Trek, that are easier to arrange and are just as rewarding.

HOW DO I BOOK A TREK WITH SOUTHERN PERUVIAN EXPLORERS?

We seek to make booking with Southern Peruvian Expeditions a piece of cake. Send us an email via our contact form on our website including all of the details of your party on one form. We will be in touch with you shortly regarding a 50% deposit we ask per person, which can be made separately or together. Once we receive your deposit and details, we will reserve your permits, and then send you a confirmation email regarding your trip with an attached invoice.

HOW DO I GET A PERMIT FOR THE INCA TRAIL?

Only authorized Inca Trail tour operators like Southern Peruvian Explorers can secure permits from the Peruvian Ministry of Culture. Once we reserve your permit, your name and start date cannot be altered under any circumstance; we will only be able to change your passport number.

To change your passport number, the Ministry of Culture requires a copy of your new passport and old passport. If you do not have your old passport, a government-issued ID with the same name will be accepted.

HOW DO I GET TO CUSCO?

Most visitors arrive in Cusco by plane. The Cusco airport is a domestic travel airport only, so if you are coming directly from abroad via Lima, it is imperative that you claim your bags in Lima and re-check them for Cusco. Five airlines fly roundtrip between Lima and Cusco: LATAM, Avianca, Star Peru, Peruvian, and Sky. We recommend LATAM and Aviana, as they tend to be the most reliable and accommodating when there are flight cancellations and delays.

WHERE SHOULD I STAY IN CUSCO?

Cusco is full of beautiful and unique hotels, hostels and AirBNBs. The choice is truly yours. That being said, there are parts of the historic center that are difficult, if not impossible to navigate by car. We will let you know in advance if we cannot pick you up from your accommodation, in which case, we will arrange another meeting point. We are also happy to provide a list of hotel recommendations per request.

WHAT IS ALTITUDE SICKNESS? HOW CAN I PREVENT IT?

Cusco sits at 3399m/ 11,152ft above sea level and the majority of our treks are located at similar, if not, higher altitudes. Because of this, some guests experience symptoms of altitude sickness as their body adjusts to the change in altitude. A general, but not an exhaustive list of symptoms include headaches, exhaustion, shortness of breath, rapid pulse, dizziness, nausea and/or vomiting.

To help acclimatize to the altitude here in the Andes, we recommend that you get sufficient sleep, drink plenty of water, eat easily-digestible foods, drink coca tea with a little bit of sugar added, and take it easy on physical activity for the first few days. You can also ask your Doctor about the following medications to help with altitude acclimatization: Diamox, Sorochi, and Grovol. All of these medications can be found in Peruvian drugstores.

CAN I STAY IN THE SACRED VALLEY?

If you would prefer to stay in the Sacred Valley, we recommend that you stay in Ollantaytambo, a beautiful town that is located on the way to the Inca Trail. We will pick you up in Ollantaytambo, about an hour and a half after collecting our guests in Cusco. Nonetheless, it is imperative that you attend the pre-expedition briefing that we give in Cusco. If you are considering staying in the Sacred Valley before your trek, please contact us to arrange an expedition briefing time that suits your plans.

CAN I SPEND AN EXTRA NIGHT IN AGUAS CALIENTES?

Yes, please let us know one month in advance so that we can purchase your train ticket for the following day. The return train ticket is included in the expedition cost, however, you are responsible for all additional costs incurred, such as food and lodging.

WHAT TYPE OF ELECTRICAL OUTLETS ARE USED IN PERU?

Most hotels and homes in Peru have electrical outlets that are suitable for the standard US outlet and the South American outlet.

DURING THE TREK

HOW CHALLENGING IS THE TREK?

Most of the treks in Cusco are considered to be moderately difficult. While being relatively fit can help you get the most out of your experience and complete your trek comfortably, we believe the largest factor to consider is the altitude. The majority of our treks are above 3000m/ 10,000ft sea level We strongly recommend that you acclimatize in Cusco for at least two days before departing on your trek. If you want to train for your trek, we suggest that you do stair exercises and use the treadmill on the steep incline.

DO I NEED HIKING BOOTS?

The Inca Trail involves climbing down ancient Inca-made steps that vary in height. To give extra support to your ankles, we suggest that you pack light hiking boots that cover and protect the ankles.

SHOULD I USE WALKING STICKS?

Like sturdy hiking boots, the use of walking sticks will lessen the impact on your knees and feet as we walk down many many Incan stairs. Walking sticks will also come in handy during our steep ascents! If you choose to bring walking sticks, make sure that the sticks have rubber tips on the ends. If not, the park ranger will not permit you to use them. You can purchase rubber tips here in Cusco, in case you forget yours at home!

WHAT IS THE WEIGHT LIMIT FOR LUGGAGE ON TREKS?

At the briefing, we will give you a personal duffel bag to pack all of your personal belongings. This duffel will be carried by our team of porters, and thus should not exceed more than 7kgs /15.4 lbs, including your Southern Peruvian Explorers sleeping bag and air mattress. You will not have access to your duffel bag during the day, so all personal items needed for hiking (e.g. water bottle, camera, extra layers, sunglasses, sunscreen) should be packed in a personal day pack.

WHERE DO I STORE MY LUGGAGE?

All luggage that is not necessary for the trek should stay in Cusco. The majority of hotels and hostels here in Cusco will store your luggage at no extra cost to the guest. We are also willing to store your luggage at our Southern Peruvian Explorers headquarters, located at Calle Garcilaso 265.

WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT AS FAR AS WEATHER?

Generally speaking, the dry season runs from April to September, and the rainy season is from November to February. March and October are typically transitionary months, with both rain and intense sun. That being said, the climate patterns here in Peru have been changing drastically in the past few years. Prepare for both sun and rain by packing a brimmed hat, sunscreen and a waterproof layer. The temperatures here in Cusco remain relatively consistent all year, with cold mornings and evenings. Pack a fleece and down layer to keep warm at night and for the start of our hike each morning. By mid-morning, when the sun is bright, you will most likely want short sleeves for hiking. We recommend that you pack layers, both in your duffel and your day bag so that you will always have options.

IS IT CUSTOM TO TIP GUIDES AND PORTERS? IF SO, HOW MUCH IS RECOMMENDED?

On the final day of your trek, there is a tipping custom. All hikers will put their tips together to give to the guide and to the chef. The chef is responsible for distributing the money equally among all of the cooks and porters. We advise that you tip between $30 and $75, according to the level of service you believe you have received.

TERMS & CONDITIONS

Booking Procedures

Once Southern Peru Explorers has received your deposit and you have received a written, confirmed reservation from us, you automatically enter into a booking contract with Southern Peru Explorers. Please read the terms and conditions below so that you are informed about the state of your booking.

Payment / Deposit

When you place a reservation with us, we require a deposit per person to hold your space. This deposit is non-refundable in the event of a guest cancellation. The remaining balance for your expedition must be paid before a given date, communicated to you by our booking agents.

Cancellation by Southern Peru Explorers

We, Southern Peru Explorers, maintain the right to cancel any trip for the following reasons:

If guest payment is not received before the deadline given by the booking agent. In this case, your deposit is non-refundable.

The inability to operate a tour due to extenuating circumstances, including but not limited to extreme weather, technical issues, overbooking, the closing of accommodations, protests, government or tourism bodies’ decisions.

When these situations occur, Southern Peru Explorers will try its best to maintain the original travel plans. If carrying out the original travel plans is not possible, we may alter the amount of time spent in a destination or omit a part of the travel package to keep you safe.

In these circumstances, no refunds will be given for visa costs, medical costs, airplane tickets, etc. However, Southern Peru Explorers will propose alternatives to the original travel arrangements, with all additional costs being paid for by guests.

Alterations by the Client

If you need to change your original travel plans with us, the price for the alteration will depend on the scope of the alternation you request. If you request a minor change that does not greatly affect the travel itinerary, we will not charge you an additional fee. For large requests that require significant communication, new or additional tickets or entrance fees, or cancelations, we will charge you with an additional fee. If you request a change after the start date of your tour, we will do our best to grant these changes, however, we cannot guarantee that your request/s will be granted.

Cancellation by the Client

If you choose to cancel your tour, you must submit your cancelation in writing to Southern Peru Explorers via email. Unfortunately, your deposit will not be refunded. Additionally, we are not liable to return any money that has already been spent on accommodations for your trek, such as food, lodging, or tours, nor are we responsible for any cancellation fees incurred.

Cancellation by Client for Private Services

If you have booked a private tour with Southern Peru Explorers, we must receive a cancellation in writing from you at least 60 days in advance of your departure date to receive a 50% refund. If you inform us of your cancellation 30-59 days before your departure date, you will receive a 20% refund. If you inform us of your cancellation within 30 days of your departure date, you will not be eligible for a refund.

Acceptance of Risk

At Southern Peru Explorers, we strive to put you in authentic environments, to show you the true landscape of Peru. Therefore, there is an innate element of risk in our itineraries. In booking a tour with Southern Peru Explorers, you, as our client, accept the risk of possible physical or emotional injury, paralysis, death, or damage to your property. You are responsible for knowing your own physical and emotional health and your limits. Ultimately, you must assess your ability to take on the risks inherent to our expeditions, before booking a tour with us. Southern Peru Explorers is absolved of all responsibility or costs associated with injuries or accidents that affect client health during their trip.

Authority During the Tour

Throughout the duration of your tour, your Southern Peru Explorers guide will have the final say on all issues that could endanger the health or safety of any or all members of the tour group.

Furthermore, we expect that you adhere to all laws, drug regulations, and customs of Peru. Clients who refuse to comply with the following guidelines, and/or who pose a threat to themselves or others, will be rightfully removed from their tour by a tour guide without the possibility of a refund.

Travel Documents

You are responsible for securing proper identification before your departure to Peru. You must have a legal passport with more than 6-month validity and an authorized visa to travel in Peru. While Southern Peru Explorers may make suggestions regarding visas, vaccinations, packing requirements, etc., these suggestions are given in good faith and are not ultimately our responsibility.

Extenuating Circumstances and Third Party Operators

Southern Peru Explorers is not responsible for damages or losses associated with extenuating or unforeseeable circumstances that are outside of our control. While Southern Peru Explorers works hard to minimize risk, we are not responsible for matters which can include but are not limited to, visa refusal, closed borders, political issues (strikes, war, government mandates, etc.), extreme weather, delayed flights, or mechanical failures. As a result of these unforeseeable circumstances, you will assume all extra costs required to rebook, avoid, or ensure your safety.

While Southern Peru Explorers operates the majority of the services included in our tours ourselves, we book flight tickets, accommodations, and certain experiences with other operators. Southern Peru Explorers vets these companies to maintain our high standards, but these companies are independent of our organization and we cannot accept responsibility for any negligence on behalf of third-party operators. Furthermore, Southern Peru Explorers cannot be held liable for any damages/losses of property or injuries/ death to clients due to airline companies, transportation companies, accommodations, or any other third party that we work with. Additionally, any cancelations, delays, inconveniences, physical and/or emotional distress due to these outside companies are not our responsibility. In the event of cancelation by a third party organization of a service sold to our company, we will refund the money paid by the participant for that service, but accept no liability beyond this. While traveling with the airline booked, conditions and rules of this airline apply, and Southern Peru Explorers is not responsible for any money lost or additional consequences as a result of delays, cancelations, missed connections, etc.

Claims and Complaints

Any complaints regarding our company and/or your tour must first be addressed with your tour guide or representative of Southern Peru Explorers to allow ample time to try to fix the issue/s. If the issue/s have not been addressed, you are responsible for submitting a complaint in writing to

Southern Peru Explorers within seven days of the final day of your tour. Complaints will be exclusively addressed in Cusco, Peru under the jurisdiction of Peruvian Law.

Damage claims against Southern Peru Explorers are limited to the value of the item and are not to exceed the price of the tour booked. However, Southern Peru Explorers does not accept liability for any accidental or inadvertent losses.

While Southern Peru Explorers takes responsibility for the representatives we recruit, however, we do not take responsibility for third party employees or travel agents.

Your booking and payment for reservations on any Southern Peru Explorers tour or excursion include your implied consent to all of the above Terms & Conditions, creating a binding agreement between Southern Peru Explorers and you.

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