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Combine Peru's stunning highlights with trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Journey to the mysterious Nazca Lines, to the 'White City' of Arequipa, see the impressive Colca Canyon and spend a night on Taquile Island before reaching the former Inca capital of Cusco.
Explore Tour Leader
3 nights simple camping
12 nights comfortable hotel
1 nights simple hotel
1 nights premium hotel
1 nights simple village house
Moderate and Challenging
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive in Lima, Peru's capital, that was founded in 1535 AD by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro. It was built on the Pacific coast, by the Rimac River and close to the natural harbour of Callao, on land that had already been inhabited for thousands of years. Today Lima is a modern city, but there are obvious reminders of its ancient and colonial past. The city is also gaining a reputation as a culinary centre; try some ceviche (fish marinated in citrus) or sip on a Pisco sour.
For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 2pm for the welcome meeting and to take us on a guided tour of the city. We will pass through the historical centre, seeing some of the city's best surviving examples of colonial architecture and strolling through Plaza San Martin. Time permitting there might be the opportunity to enter the fascinating Catacombs of the Convent of San Francisco. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Jorge Chavez International Airport (LIM), which is 45 minutes to one hours' drive (traffic dependant).
Please note that if you wish to join the city tour today, you must arrive at the hotel by 1.30pm. If you are booking your own flights, we recommend giving yourself at least one hour to clear the airport and from the airport to the hotel is around 30 minutes to one hours' drive, so therefore the latest your flight can arrive is 11.30am. Should you miss the meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
Mariel Hotel (or similar)
Heading south on the Panamerican Highway we stop at the ancient religious centre of Pachacamac, whose many pre-Inca and Incan adobe walls and temples have miraculously stood for hundreds of years, preserved by the desert climate. We continue on to Paracas and its national park where we can observe some extraordinary lunar landscapes and have the chance to see varied birdlife.
El Mirador Hotel (or similar)
There is the possibility this morning to take an optional excursion to the Ballestas Islands to see a large colony of sea lions, seabirds and even penguins. We then continue south pausing at the huge sand dunes outside the town at Huacachina Oasis. Then we drive to the mysterious Nazca Lines. Some specialists have speculated that they represent the world's largest astrological calendar. Huge birds, spiders, whales, other creatures and geometrical figures are represented in outline. Here we'll climb the nearby viewing platform for views out over the lines etched into the desert. There are limited accommodation options in Nazca, tonight we stay in a simple hotel with en-suite rooms and a small swimming pool. Today's total driving time is approximately four hours.
Oro Viejo Hotel (or similar)
A full day's drive takes us through desert scenery. Following the coastal route through the desert we pass the settlement of Puerto Chala. In Inca times relays of chasquis (runners) transported fresh fish 250km to Cusco in the mountains in just one day from nearby. Depending on timing we will visit Quebrada de la Vaca Inca ruins en route, these remains are thought to be part of an original Inca Trail to Cusco, and include ancient llama corrals and grain stores. Today's total driving time is approximately 10 hours, and we'll break this journey with plenty of stops and a packed lunch.
As we leave the coastal plain behind, our road climbs steadily through the Andean mountains to reach the beautiful city of Arequipa.
Casona Plaza Colonial (or similar)
This morning we explore this beautiful city, situated at 2,380 metres and surrounded by snowcapped mountains including the perfect conical peak of El Misti (5,822m). The city itself was founded by the Spanish in 1540, on the site of an old Inca settlement, and today is famed for its colonial architecture, including what is arguably one of the finest arcaded city squares anywhere in the Americas. Our morning walking tour includes Santa Catalina Convent, a miniature walled town which once housed 450 nuns and serving ladies in total seclusion for nearly four centuries.
The afternoon is free to further explore this fascinating city, starting in the Plaza de Armas you could visit the twin-towered cathedral or the archaeology museum and wander through the colonial districts.
Heading north from Arequipa we enter the world of the Altiplano (high plain). We drive behind the volcanoes that ring Arequipa and on to Chivay, passing herds of Llama and Alpaca - if lucky we may spot the elusive Vicuña. Today we briefly reach the highest point of our trip at 4,800 metres before descending towards the Colca Canyon.
The afternoon is free to perhaps bathe in the hot springs (optional) or take a walk in the Colca valley. The walk begins from Canocota, following the Colca River through the mini canyon, passing by cactus and flowered bushes. There are also hot springs in La Calera where the walk ends.
Today's optional moderate eight kilometre walk is expected to take around three hours.
Casa Andina Standard Colca - Chivay (or similar)
A spectacular river gorge, the Colca Canyon measures twice the depth of the more famous Grand Canyon and at one time it was believed to be the deepest gorge on earth (until it was eclipsed by the deeper Cotahuasi Canyon). Largely unknown to the outside world until the latter years of the 20th century, today it affords us an opportunity to discover a world of Andean villages and Inca terraces that make up one of the most outstanding natural settings in the Americas. This is the world of the Altiplano, where the Rio Colca meanders through a landscape of towering volcanic peaks that offer a stunning backdrop to a land inhabited by Cabana and Collagua Indians.
Today we experience this spectacular natural wonder on foot. Beginning from the town of Coporaque we walk along terraces above the river before climbing to the Pre Inca runis of Uyo Uyo. We can step back in time exploring the ruins of this village dating to 1200. Descend we walk past colcas (mud and stone caves used for storing harvested crops) and cross the orange Sifon Bridge to reach the town of Yanque from where we drive back to the hotel.
Today's moderate eight kilometre walk is expected to take around four hours with 160 metres of ascent and descent.
From Chivay we make an early start to the mirador Cruz del Condor, overlooking the magnificent Colca Canyon, in the hope of spotting the rare Andean Condor. Seeing these magnificent birds in flight is a highlight of any trip.
Please note that the next three days are subject to change, following some protests in the Puno and Lake Titicaca region in early 2023. It may be necessary to reroute the itinerary to avoid Lake Titicaca, which will give you more time to spend in the beautiful Sacred Valley. We are taking this each departure at a time, please speak to our sales team for the latest update. If everything runs as normal, the itinerary will be as follows:
Driving east, via the Patapampa pass we head towards the beautiful landscapes that surround the unique waters of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the word (3,856m) and the legendary birthplace of the Inca civilisation. Our destination is the town of Puno, a centre of Incan folklore nestling in a bay at the northwestern tip of the lake and the perfect base from which to explore something of the cultural and historical significance of the lake itself. Today's total driving time is approximately six-and-a-half hours.
Qelqatani Hotel (or similar)
The Uros people dwell on the lake itself, on floating islands of totora, a reedlike papyrus that grows in the shallows and is used in the construction of houses and boats. We continue by motorboat to Taquile Island which has preserved much of its Inca and pre-Inca heritage and the islanders still speak the language of the Inca-Quechua.
In the late afternoon we walk to the top of this terraced island to watch the sun set. This evening we stay in a local village house on the island with dorm rooms and shared facilities.
Today's easy one kilometre walk is expected to take around one hour with 200 metres of ascent.
Taquile Village House (or similar)
Simple Village House
This morning we walk across the island for the views. On Taquile Island the local people still preserve a rich tradition of music and dance. This is the ideal opportunity to buy locally produced knitted goods - produced by the men of the island. In the afternoon we walk back to the harbour to return to Puno by boat.
Today's easy five kilometre walk is expected to take around two and half hours.
Today we follow the legendary route taken by the first Inca ruler - Manco Capac - on his way to Cusco. Driving up to the northern limit of the Altiplano on a public bus, we cross La Raya pass (4335m) and make a stop at the Inca temple of Raqchi, before descending towards Cusco. The bus is an extremely comfortable coach with good quality seats and stops en route. When we arrive in Cusco, we'll switch this for a private vehicle and continue on to Ollanta in the Sacred Valley. The mountain scenery is desolate but magnificent and we may spot flocks of llamas and alpacas grazing on the windswept pastures. Today's total driving time is approximately seven hours.
Hotel Tikawasi Valley (or similar)
Today is left free to explore the Sacred Valley and there are plenty of things to do. There is the opportunity to go whitewater rafting on the Urubamba River (grade 2-3, seasonal) - no previous experience is necessary and all safety equipment is provided. You can also choose to visit the market at Pisac and its incredible Inca ruins spread out amphitheatre fashion far above the town.
Today the group will split for the next four days, depending on which trek you have chosen.
This morning we drive to Ollantaytambo, an original Inca town. Here we have a short walking tour to stretch our legs, visiting a traditional house and our first view of Inca terracing. We continue by bus for another hour to reach KM82, the starting point for the classic Inca Trail. The trail was first explored by Hiram Bingham in 1911 and opened for walkers in 1970. The famous ruins of Machu Picchu are not the only historical remains within the area: many other interesting sites are hidden in places which can only be reached on foot, and have scarcely been explored.
We meet our porters and support staff, beginning our trek after lunch. The route crosses the Urubamba river, following a wide dirt trail alongside the riverbank. The undulating path takes us into the Sacred Valley of the Incas to Llaqtapata (2,700m). Here we camp opposite the ruins of Llaqtapata a spectacular spot with amazing night skies. There are no permanent facilities here, the camp crew will set up a toilet tent for the group to use.
Today's moderate eight kilometre walk is expected to take around two-and-a-half hours with an ascent of 100 metres.
This morning we drive to Rafq'a, the starting point for the Quarry Trek and where we meet our porters and support staff. After walking for an hour, we will reach the small remote community of Socma, from where we take a trail to the viewpoint of the Perolniyoc waterfall. The path continues towards the camp, located at 3750 meters above sea level. We'll arrive in time for lunch and the afternoon is free to rest and explore the archaeological site of Q'orimarca, which once served as a control point for the Incas.
Today's moderate nine kilometre walk is expected to take around five hours with an ascent of 800 metres.
Campsite (or similar)
After a hearty breakfast we cross the river to visit the Llaqtapata Inca ruins before continuing with the trek. Today we follow the course of the Kusichaca river past small communities, crossing it to reach Wayllabamba, a quiet village of Inca origins and the last settlement on the route. After lunch we gradually ascend through the start of the cloud forest to Llulluchapampa (3,800m) which affords stunning views of the snowy peaks of Veronica (5,750m). Here we set up camp for the night; there is a well maintained facilities block with flushing toilets and sinks at this site.
Today's moderate 10 kilometre walk is expected to take around six hours with 1,080 metres ascent.
This is the most challenging and rewarding day of the hike. After three hours of trekking, we will reach the top of the first pass of Puccaqasa (4,370m), with spectacular view of snowy mountains on one side, and the Sacred Valley on the other, some of the best views in the Andes! From here we descend for half an hour to the lunch spot. In the afternoon, we'll arrive to Kuychicasa, the highest pass of the trek (4,450m). Continuing, we will visit the sacred site that the Incas called Intipunku or "Puerta del Sol" (Gate of the Sun), where we can see the Veronica Mountain and the Sacred Valley of the Incas in all its splendor. Tonight's campsite is Choquetacarpo camp (3,600m).
Today's challenging 15 kilometre walk is expected to take around nine hours with an ascent of 700 metres.
Today is an earlier start as we trek over the Warmiwanusca (Dead Woman's) Pass to 4,200 metres. The two hour ascent is one of the more challenging sections of the trek, we take is slow and steady with many stops to admire the view and sunrise. After a rest and photo opportunity we descend along a stepped path to the valley of the Pacamayo river with its tropical vegetation. Here we break for brunch before beginning the ascent (mainly on steps) to the second pass of the day. We visit the ruins of Runkuraqay and then it's the final ascent to cross the Runkuraqay Pass (3,950m).
After the pass it was a long gradual descent passing into the start of the main cloud forest to reach the bottom of the valley. The Sayacmarca ruins are visible on a rocky outcrop, they command an imposing view and have only one means of access, a narrow granite stairway. We cross the valley to reach the Sayacmarca campsite for a late lunch. From here the trail goes through cloud forest with vines, exotic flowers (among them orchids) and luxuriant trees, with views (if we are lucky) of the snowcapped peaks of Salkantay. We walk through an Inca tunnel and along a ridge above the Urubamba River to our campsite above the Phuyupatamarca ruins (3,579m). The campsite has amazing panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and down the valley towards Machu Picchu mountain. There is a toilet block but it's not kept in the best condition so the camp crew will set up a toilet tent for the group to use.
Today's challenging 15 kilometre walk is expected to take around eight hours with 1,000 metres ascent and 630 metres descent.
Today's walk is mainly downhill, our first stop will be Cachicata, the Inca quarry, where it is told that the Incas were intercepted by the Spanish conquerors and was subsequently never finished. Here we can observe the Inca stone works before continuing our descent for three hours to reach Ollantaytambo. Ollantaytambo, is an original Inca town, we'll have lunch here and take a short walking tour to visiting a traditional house and viewing the of Inca terracing. The rest of the day is for relaxing ahead of an early start tomorrow, we stay in a hotel here tonight.
There is an optional excursion this afternoon to visit a traditional Peruvian farm, learning about artisanal distillation methods and coffee production and enjoying a delicious Pachamanca lunch (stew baked underground).
Today's moderate five kilometre walk is expected to take around four hours with an descent of 1,500 metres.
Campsite or Hotel (or similar)
Today is our final day walking along the Inca Trail. We say thanks and goodbye to our porters and begin our trek into Machu Picchu. We pass the Puyupatamarca ruins and spend the majority of the morning going down following stone paths and stairways, 80% of which are original Inca architecture. Coming out of the cloud forest we are greeted by the spectacular views down the valley, walking through the impressive Inca terraces at Intipata we reach our lunch stop at Winay-Wayna (2,591m). Those who wish can visit the ruins here, this Inca site is built into the steep hillside and like Machu Picchu, was abandoned for unknown reasons.
Winding our way along the edge of the mountain we follow a wide path adorned with wild flowers and orchids to we take the final steps up to reach Inti Punku - the Gate of the Sun. Passing through there is a sudden and fantastic view of the Lost City itself, Machu Picchu, set in a grandiose landscape that amazes all spectators. We walk down through the site and then take the public bus down the mountainside to our hotel in the town of Aquas Calientes situated on the valley floor below Machu Picchu.
Today's moderate 14 kilometre walk is expected to take around six hours with 1,000 metres descent.
This morning is our final day trekking and we join the Inca Trail. We drive to Ollantaytambo train station and board the train towards km 104, where we begin our trek crossing the River Vilcanota, following the Inca Trail through woodland ascending to the magnificent ruins of Wiñay Wayna (2,591m) where you will be reunited with the group. From Wiñay Wayna the route is the same as above, trekking through the Sun Gate into Machu Picchu.
Today's moderate 12 kilometre walk is expected to take around six hours with an ascent and descent of 500 metres.
We'll enjoy a celebratory group dinner in Aquas Calientes tonight.
El Mapi Hotel (or similar)
Our final morning is spent at Machu Picchu, probably the most astounding feat of engineering in all of ancient America. Temples, stairways, palaces and gabled stone dwellings are scattered everywhere, testifying to the energy and ingenuity of the builders. We have a guided tour with our Leader then before taking the bus back down to Aquas Calientes.
It is also possible to climb the steep peaks of either Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu Mountain to look down on the citadel. Machu Picchu Mountain is a 700m climb from the top of the citadel. There are cobbled stairs all the way up with a few eye-opening drops in some parts, and the round-trip takes about tow and half to three hours. Huayna Picchu Mountain is only 350m, half the size of Machu Picchu Mountain, but much steeper. There are many more sheer drops, and it is definitely not suitable for someone with a fear of heights. For those who fancy doing the one hour climb, you'll be rewarded with world-beating views of Machu Picchu, and the feeling that you're standing on a precipice at the top of the world.
These climbs must be pre-paid at time of booking. If you change your passport between your time of booking and prior to travel please take your original passport with you. Those doing one of the optional climbs will take the first bus back up the Machu Picchu to begin the climb at 7am after which you will meet up with the rest of the group to take the guided tour.
In the afternoon we get the train to Ollantaytambo, located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and then return to the historic town of Cusco by bus. Depending on the time of the train, you may have a free afternoon in Aquas Calientes, where there are many restaurants and cafes and a large covered market.
Yawar Inka Hotel (or similar)
This morning we take an immersive walking tour through the captivating city of Cusco, kicking things off in the colossal archeological site of Sacsayhuaman, a stone fortress still at the core of Cusco's traditions. Winding our way along an old Incan trail, we head down to the colonial neighborhood of San Cristobal, where the plaza will surprise us with sweeping view over the cities roof tops. Navigating the narrow streets of the old city we reach the aqueduct of Sapantiana, a hidden engineering marvel only known by locals. This aqueduct directs us to arty San Blas, where coffee shops converge with traditional artisan's workshops, we explore the cobbled calles, venturing inside the studios to marvel at the local craftsmanship.
Entering the main Plaza de Armas of Cusco, the focal point of the city, we are welcomed by the baristas of Three Monkeys Coffee who serve us up the finest Peruvian beans. Revived, we continue walking, gazing upon the Qoricancha complex, once the Inca's most sacred site dedicated to the Sun God. Our final destination is Mercado de Wanchaq, a truly local affair jammed with rows of colourful stalls and filled with the aromas of seasonal fruit. Slurping freshly pressed juice we witness the sellers hawking their wares before returning to the hotel. The walking tour is approximately four kilometres, expected to take around four-to-five hours.
The afternoon is at leisure to rest and acclimatise, you may want to visit one of Cusco's museums.
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Cusco.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Cusco at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ), which is around 15 minutes' drive.
Depending on the schedule of your flights, you may have some additional time to visit a museum or do some souvenir shopping in the winding streets and alleys of the city.
If you are travelling onto the Amazon, you will be transferred to Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport this morning for your flight to Puerto Maldonado.
Total distance : 69.5 kilometres
There is a rainy season from Dec - Mar however on the coast it rarely rains. Jun-Oct is damp and misty, but temperatures never drop below 10°C. At high altitudes although there are sunny days temperatures can drop dramatically, and conditions can change suddenly.
2 Pin Flat
Paracas - Trip to Ballestas Islands by launch US$ 38 Chivay - Hot springs US$ 5 Nazca - Antonini archaeological museum entrance fee US$ 8 (US$ 38 for guided tour [includes entrance fee] min 2 pax); Chauchilla pre-Inca cemetery US$ 40 (includes guide, transport and entrance fee) min 2 pax; Nazca aqueduct US$ 37 (includes guide, transport and entrance fee) min 2 pax; Nazca Planetarium US$9 Cusco - Pisac market and ruins US$ 48 (min 4 persons) Sacred Valley - Maras and Moray tour US$ 54 (based on 4 persons); Visit Misminay Village US$ 78 (based on 4 people). Machu Picchu - Huayna Picchu Mountain £69; Machu Picchu Mountain £69 Subject to availability - these must be pre-paid at time of booking and is non-refundable. If you change your passport between your time of booking and prior to travel please take your original passport with you to avoid being fined Aguas Calientes - Hot springs US$ 6 Lima - City tour US$ 36 (based on a minimum of 4 pers) ; Larco Herrera museum guided US$ 35, unguided US$ 18.00 Half day Urban cooking classes Sky Kitchen class US$97 pp; (based on a minimum of 2 pers) Pachacamac site US$45 (based on 4) Mainly cash is accepted
For your trek: In the highlands conditions can be dry and sunny during the day but bring warm clothing such as a warm fleece, thermal underwear, warm hat and gloves. These will be needed when the temperatures drop, especially at night when temperatures can drop dramatically. Lightweight waterproofs are also essential. You may also wish to bring your swimsuit. Thermals: Useful for walking when cold, around camp and much more practical (and warmer) to sleep in than pyjamas. Trainers or Trekking sandals: Useful around camp, in towns and when travelling. Waterproof sandals are ideal for rafting. Socks: Use good quality socks that you are used to walking in, plus liner socks if you are used to these. Waterproofs: Breathable waterproofs not only protect against rain and wind, but also stop you from overheating. Thick jumper/fleece jacket: A thick jumper or fleece jacket is necessary as nights can be very cold at altitude, especially in their winter months (June to September). Make sure that your waterproof jacket is loose enough to wear over your sweater or fleece. T-shirts: We recommend t-shirts made from wicking materials as these keep you drier and warmer. Shorts: Shorts can be comfortable to walk in but carry long trousers with you in case of strong sun or you feel cold. Remember we shall be passing through the occasional remote village and short shorts (especially on women) can give offence to the local inhabitants. Gloves and Hat: Essential around camp in the morning, and in the evening, at higher altitudes.
We recommend you bring well broken in and comfortable walking boots with ankle support. We do not recommend borrowing or renting boots. It is a good idea to carry your boots in your hand luggage on international flights or wear them - should your luggage be delayed, your boots are the one thing which will be irreplaceable. If you are rafting bring shoes that you don't mind getting wet.
For your trek bring one main piece of baggage and a daypack. Main luggage: Your main bag should be lockable as this will be left in storage in Cusco whilst on the trek. Trek Kit Bag (provided): Before leaving Cusco there is time to re-organise your luggage. Your trek luggage, including sleeping bag, should be packed into the kit bag to be carried by the porters. The weight limit for this is 7kg but you will probably find that you do not need this much. Advice on how to pack will be given at the trek briefing. Small Rucksack/Daypack: During the course of a trekking day, you do not have access to the luggage, which is being carried for you by the porters. In any mountain region the weather can change rapidly and you must be equipped for this eventuality. Your daypack should be large enough to carry your day things including: waterproofs, sweater, long trousers (if walking in shorts), warm hat and gloves, sun hat, suncream, water bottle, tissues and your packed lunch. Camera equipment can be heavy so think carefully when deciding what to take. A rucksack with 20 or 25 litres capacity is usually sufficient.
For your trek: Remember to bring: torch, water bottle, insect repellent, suncream (at least factor 30), lip salve, good quality sunglasses and sunhat. Please note Drones are prohibited in most tourist areas in Peru. You may also wish to bring binoculars and your own sleeping bag. Sleeping Bag: This may be down or synthetic, but should be 4-season. A cotton liner helps to keep your bag clean. You do not need a foam mat as thermarests are provided. It is possible to hire an appropriate down sleeping bag for the trek locally (US$ 40). Personal Equipment On Trek Trekking poles: Trekking poles are recommended. Please note metal tipped trekking poles are NOT permitted so please ensure they have rubber/plastic tips Water Bottle: Water along the trail must never be considered as drinkable. The camp staff provide purified water each day with which to fill your bottle or camelback. Your bottle should hold at least two litre and be resuable as disposable plastic bottles are not allowed on the trail. Metal bottles can also double up as hot water bottles when hot water is available. Torch/Batteries/Bulb: A small torch is essential for finding things in your tent, visiting the 'toilet' in the night etc. Often a head torch is the most practical option as it allows you to have both hands free. Remember to bring spare batteries. Toiletries: Only bring essential toiletries such as toothbrush/paste, soap, toilet roll, face cloth and a trek/quick dry towel. Personal First Aid Kit: On each trek a first aid kit is carried but you should have your own blister kit, supply of plasters, pain relief etc. for you own use. Cloth bags: Single use plastic bags are not allowed on the trail. The following equipment list is provided by Explore for the trek: 2-person tents Dining tent Thermarest sleeping mat Stools and table Toilet tent Equipment Hire and Trek Training Days - Trek Hire UK hire out a wide range of kit including quality sleeping bags, down jackets and walking poles http://www.trekhireuk.com. They also run regular trek training and preparation days from their base in the Surrey Hills, ideal for getting an indication of your overall fitness level and also covering advice on kit and altitude.
Bus, Boat, Train
We avoid the crowds on our three night trek, and camp away from the main campsites. Two-man tents are provided with plenty of room for two people and bags. There is also a dining tent and a toilet tent. The trek is fully supported by our team of porters who set up and take down the tents, and prepare our meals. They also carry water and all bags except daysacks, under strict guidelines. A single tent is available on request prior to departure costing £60, please discuss with your sales consultant (limited availability). Llactapata camp - We camp opposite the ruins in a field to ourselves, there are no permanent facilities. Llulluchapampa camp - High camping ground with views down the valley. Here there is a well-maintained facilities block with sinks and with 3 toilets squat flush style for women and 3 for men. Phuyupatamarca camp - Campsite above the clouds, with the best views of the trail, some tent pitches are on an incline. There is a toilet block but it's not kept in the best condition. During this trip we spend one night in a homestay on the island of Taquile, on Lake Titicaca and we are able to experience life on the island. Rooms are simple but comfortable, and there are several toilets for communal use. It's a very serene, quiet place. Due to the limited accommodation options in Nazca, we stay in a simple hotel with en-suite rooms and a small swimming pool. The decor is somewhat dated.
Can you drink the water?
The water quality is poor and therefore it is recommended to avoid drinking tap water during your trip.
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Peru: Visas are not required for UK, New Zealand, Australian, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult the relevant consulate. USA: If your flights pass through the USA, even if only in transit, you will require either a visa or an ESTA (an e-visa). Please read on for more information. Citizens of the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and passport holders from several EU countries can apply for an ESTA under certain conditions. This applies if you enter the country by sea or by air, and this must be done online via https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov, no later than 72 hours prior to travel. Travellers who have not registered before their trip are likely be refused boarding. You must have a biometric passport to apply for an ESTA. UK passports which are biometric feature a small gold symbol (camera) at the bottom of the front cover. If you have visited Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen since 2011 or are dual nationals of these countries, you cannot travel with an ESTA and instead you will need to apply for a visa from the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. If you are unable to provide a valid visa before boarding flights to the US, or entering via another method, you may not be permitted to travel. You should also be aware that if you have travelled to or have been in Cuba since the 12th of January 2021, you will not be eligible for an ESTA visa waiver and will need to apply for a US visa. You should consult the US State Department website to determine which you will need. Your ESTA application will ask for Point of Contact information. Please note that if you're only transiting through the USA then this is not required. If you're visiting or staying in the USA on an Explore trip, then our USA contact information will be listed on your final documentation which you will receive approximately 3-4 weeks before departure. Entry requirements for the USA can change regularly, therefore, please ensure you have the most up to date information before you travel by checking the US embassy website. Visa applications - http://london.usembassy.gov/niv/apply.html Canada: An electronic travel authorisation (ETA) is required by British citizens transiting via Canada. For more information see the official Canadian government website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta.asp Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
This trip goes to an altitude where there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), a common and usually harmless condition caused by reduced air pressure and a lower concentration of oxygen. Whilst the itinerary has been specifically designed to allow your body to acclimatise gradually, the speed of onset and severity - as well as the height at which AMS develops can vary greatly between individuals; being physically fit affords no special protection. If symptoms occur while on your trip you must let your Explore Leader know immediately. For further advice when travelling at altitude we recommend visiting the medical advice website of "Medex" and downloading their information booklet: http://medex.org.uk/medex_book/english_version.php Travellers with heart or lung conditions, anaemia, asthma, high blood pressure, or taking the contraceptive pill must seek the advice of their GP and specifically mention the maximum altitude the trip reaches (please refer to Tour Essentials box on front page of your Trip Notes). Please take the trip notes to your medical appointment so that your doctor has the full details of your trip. You must have adequate travel insurance for your trip. Please ensure that your insurance policy covers you to the maximum altitude indicated above. If you have Explore insurance you will be covered to this altitude.
Additional notes for trips that include the Inca Trail 1. In order to regulate the number of people walking on the Inca Trail it is necessary to buy an Inca Trail Pass specific to the days that you wish to travel. There are 200 passes per day for tourists, the remainder are for guides and porters. 2. If you are travelling on an Explore trip, Explore buy the necessary permit on your behalf. This is non-refundable and can't be refunded or transferred after you have confirmed your booking. 3. Passes sell out quickly, so we would urge that you book your tour well ahead of your intended travel date. New Inca Passes are released in early October of each year, so ideally we would recommend that you book your trip at least 6 months ahead and by December for the following year where possible. 4. Please note that due to the way the passes are distributed in October although a tour departure may be 'Guaranteed' we are unable to guarantee individual Inca Trail passes until we have confirmation that the passes have been purchased. On booking we will be able to tell you the date that your pass should be confirmed, and will contact you immediately in the (unusual) event that it is not. Because of this we would recommend that you either book your flights through Explore or ensure that your tickets are flexible / refundable. 5. In order to buy your pass we will need to take an additional £125 per person non refundable deposit and require your: name as per passport, passport number, date of birth and nationality. If you change passport before travelling it will be necessary to provide a copy of both passports in advance of travelling and to carry a copy of your previous passport with you. 6. The Peruvian authorities may change the regulations for the Inca Trail Pass at any time. In the event of this we will inform you as soon as possible.
Additional notes for trips that include the Inca Trail
1. In order to regulate the number of people walking on the Inca Trail it is necessary to buy an Inca Trail Pass specific to the days that you wish to travel. There are 200 passes per day for tourists, the remainder are for guides and porters.
2. If you are travelling on an Explore trip, Explore buy the necessary permit on your behalf. This is non-refundable and can't be refunded or transferred after you have confirmed your booking.
3. Passes sell out quickly, so we would urge that you book your tour well ahead of your intended travel date. New Inca Passes are released in early October of each year, so ideally we would recommend that you book your trip at least 6 months ahead and by December for the following year where possible.
4. Please note that due to the way the passes are distributed in October although a tour departure may be 'Guaranteed' we are unable to guarantee individual Inca Trail passes until we have confirmation that the passes have been purchased. On booking we will be able to tell you the date that your pass should be confirmed, and will contact you immediately in the (unusual) event that it is not. Because of this we would recommend that you either book your flights through Explore or ensure that your tickets are flexible / refundable.
5. In order to buy your pass we will need to take an additional £125 per person non refundable deposit and require your: name as per passport, passport number, date of birth and nationality. If you change passport before travelling it will be necessary to provide a copy of both passports in advance of travelling and to carry a copy of your previous passport with you.
6. The Peruvian authorities may change the regulations for the Inca Trail Pass at any time. In the event of this we will inform you as soon as possible.
An ability to swim is essential for your safe enjoyment of the water based activities on this trip. If you wish to participate in these activities then we insist that you are able to swim.
Nothing compulsory, we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, polio and hepatitis A. Please consult your travel clinic for the latest advice on Malaria, Dengue and Zika Virus. Please take preventative measures to avoid mosquito bites - these include mosquito repellent as well as long trousers and long sleeve shirts to cover up when necessary. Please note many countries in Central America, South America and the Caribbean require a yellow fever vaccination certificates if travelling from infected areas. A detailed list of these countries can be found on the NaTHNaC website - http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries. Also on the NaTHNaC site there is a list of Countries (and specific areas within a country) which are at risk of infection and a vaccination is therefore recommended. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.
Read the blog by Customer Support Manager Becky Powney to find out.
In order to regulate the number of people walking on the Inca Trail it is necessary to buy an Inca Trail trekking permit, these are included in our trips but can sell out quickly for certain months.
With Inca Permits limited to 200 trekkers per day and popular dates selling out months in advance we now have an alternative trek that can be substituted into our Inca Trail trips (PE, PM, FPT). When the permits have sold out on a given departure date, the Quarry trail can be booked instead. We are offering a three-day trek along the Quarry route combined with the one-day Inca Trail from KM104, giving you the opportunity to still trek through the Sun Gate down to Machu Picchu. The quarry trek follows a quieter and less trodden path, taking in spectacular views across the Andes Mountains, Inca ruins and isolated communities. Talk to one of our adventure consultants about requesting this.