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Dragonfly Cancer Trust Machu Picchu Trek

13th Jun 2025 - 23rd Jun 2025

11 days/Peru /Challenging


Supporters from Dragonfly Cancer Trust will spend two days helping a local community before taking on one of the top 25 treks in the world. This challenging expedition will see you give back to the community you are visiting before taking you over the spectacular Andean peaks, through epic Peruvian landscapes and misty cloud forest.

We will start our adventure in the colonial town of Cusco with an acclimatisation trek to the Inca ruins of Tambomachay. Our time at the community project will help us further acclimatise before we begin our hike towards Machu Picchu along the Salkantay trail.

The route follows an ancient and remote Inca footpath, where snow-capped mountains collide with lush tropical rain forests. The paths are filled with wild strawberries, colourful butterflies and other exotic flora and fauna. Off the beaten path, this trek is one of the most interesting and challenging ways to experience the land of the ancient Incas. One of the highlights will be catching our first glimpse of Machu Picchu across the valley!

We will spend our last night at the spa town of Aguas Calientes and in the morning we will take a short transfer to the ancient site where you can enjoy a guided tour, unlocking the mysteries of this glorious ancient city. After returning to Cusco we will have our final celebratory meal and more time to enjoy the sights of this stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site, before returning home via Lima.

This is a challenging trip as you will be trekking over varying terrain, exposed to high altitudes (up to 4,630m) and sleeping in campsites with basic facilities. You should be prepared for all weather conditions and variable temperatures. Each day’s trek is between 5-8 hours and there are some big hills to climb! This is an endurance challenge so you are strongly advised to build up a good level of fitness – the fitter you are the more you will enjoy the challenge.

You will be accompanied throughout the trek by English-speaking local guides who have an excellent knowledge of the local culture and hiking in the region. The guides are first aid trained and will support you throughout your journey. You will also be supported by a team of professional cooks and muleteers from local communities and a Different Travel UK tour manager. You will be in very safe hands!

The steep terrain and high altitude will make the going tough at times, but anyone with good fitness and the right attitude will love it. The first day is generally flat with a gradual incline as you gain altitude, there may also be some small streams to cross. The second day will be tough with a steep zigzagging ascent on rocky ground to the high pass, followed by an undulating descent through the rainforest where the terrain may be muddy and slippery. The next two days of trekking are undulating and will be a mixture of jungle and alpine trails, which can be muddy underfoot. There are a number of hills to climb, including a steep climb through the coffee plantations on the final day. You must ensure your training includes plenty of hills!

The only one thing you can say about the weather in Peru is that it is difficult to accurately predict. You can have beautifully clear hot days in the middle of the wet season and hail storms in the dry season – it’s one of the beauties of Peru.

In the Andes, there are two main seasons – wet and dry. The wet season runs from November to April and the dry season from May to October. June is one of the drier months and you are likely to experience average day time temperatures of around 20°C and night time average lows around -10°C during the trek.

Chefs will be on-hand to make hearty meals during the trek. Breakfast is eaten as a group in the mess tent (hot drinks, bread, butter and jam, pancakes, scrambled eggs or oatmeal etc.) and the cooks will prepare delicious traditional Andean food for lunch and dinner. This will include dishes such as soup, chicken, beef or lamb, fish with potatoes, quinoa, rice or pasta. Snacks include fruit, chocolate, sandwiches, hot drinks and popcorn. You will eat at local restaurants and/or your hotel while in the Cusco and Sacred Valley area before and after the trek. Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions.

You will spend the first three nights in hotels in Lima (1 night) and Cusco (2 nights), on a twin-share basis. During the trek you will spend three nights camping in three-man tents (two people per tent) and on the last night of the trek, you’ll stay one night at a guesthouse in Aguas Calientes for a good night’s sleep before heading up to Machu Picchu the following day. After the trek you will spend one further night at the hotel in Cusco. Tents are provided for camping but you should bring your own sleeping bag and mat.

The minimum age is 18 (or 16-17 if accompanied by a parent/guardian). There is no upper age limit.

An ideal candidate is someone who is open minded, positive, flexible and enjoys the challenges of the great outdoors. Adventure travel involves elements of the unexpected so do not expect the standards to be the same as you are used to at home. Remote areas are sometimes unpredictable (be it because of group pace, weather conditions etc.) and itineraries may be altered to allow for this. You must also be willing to train hard for this challenge!

The hotels and the guesthouse have en-suite facilities with flushing toilets and showers. During the trek you will be provided with a bowl of hot water and soap each morning to freshen up for the day ahead so you are recommended to bring a small pack of baby wipes and hand sanitiser for your general hygiene. There may be the opportunity to visit some hot springs during the trek and at Aguas Calientes, so bring a non-cotton trek towel e.g. large travel towel and some basic bio-degradable toiletries should you wish to take this opportunity.

Toilet facilities at camp will either be a hole dug into the ground within a privacy tent, or a basic pit latrine toilet block. Toilet paper is not provided so you will need to bring your own. If you use the toilet during the day whilst on the trail, you must carry out any toilet paper you use in a sanitary/nappy sack, to dispose of properly at camp. You must NEVER leave toilet paper, fruit peel, nut shells or other litter on the trail.

If you do not already regularly exercise you should aim to start training (including plenty of hills) as early as possible. The best training is hill walking, which will prepare you for the type of terrain you will experience trekking to Machu Picchu. Other activities which can complement hill walking include running, cycling, gym workouts, boot camps etc.

Building up your core and leg muscle strength is important so exercises such as squats, lunges, push-ups, planks and crunches will really enhance your training. These exercises can be done at home – no gym needed. You can download a number of free apps, which will help you train and track your progress, e.g. MapMyWalk, C25K (couch to 5k run), MyFitnessPal (for a variety of sports).

You must take your training seriously and arrive as fit as you can be, so you get the most out of this challenge.

This trek is graded ‘challenging’ as you will be trekking over varying terrain, exposed to high altitudes (up to 4,630m) and sleeping in campsites with basic facilities. You should be prepared for all weather conditions and variable temperatures. Each day’s trek is between 5-8 hours and there are some big hills to climb! This is an endurance challenge so you are strongly advised to build up a good level of fitness – the fitter you are the more you will enjoy the challenge.

The maximum altitude on this trek is 4,630m (Abra Salkantay high pass); however your exposure to high altitude will start from your arrival in Cusco (3,400m), and continue on your sightseeing day in the Sacred Valley. Altitudes of approximately 3,000m and above are considered high altitude. Upon arriving in Cusco, it quickly becomes evident to un-acclimatised people that they are at a higher altitude than they are used to, as simple activities such as walking upstairs feels more laboured than expected. The first three days in Peru while in Cusco and at the community project are partly intended as acclimatisation days to give your body a chance to adjust to the altitude before commencing the trek.

The Inca Trail has all the fame, but we have chosen the Salkantay trek as it’s a more scenic and less crowded trek. It passes through more breath-taking and varied landscapes, past Inca Ruins and still ends at Machu Picchu and you’ll have more time and energy to explore Machu Picchu itself.
Filled with challenging passes and high altitudes, it’s not for the faint-hearted. However, if you’re up for the challenge, we promise you’ll be really glad you did the Salkantay Trek, over the busy and over-crowded Inca Trail.

It was fabulous, if I had to do it again I would. Every day was memorable, there was always something wonderful to see.Previous Participant


Dragonfly Cancer Trust Machu Picchu Trek Itinerary

Day 1 (Saturday 13 June 2025):

London – Lima
Depart London on an indirect flight to Lima. On arrival in Lima transfer to a hotel for an overnight stay and our first meal together.
Meals: Dinner

Day 2 (Sunday 14 June 2025):

Lima – Cusco
It’s an early start this morning for our short flight to Cusco (3,400m). After arriving we transfer to our colonial hotel which features a beautiful central courtyard and cosy rooms. After lunch we will take a gentle acclimatisation walk in the San Blas neighbourhood, the city’s most picturesque district and originally the dwelling of Inca nobles.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 3 – 4 (Monday 15 – Tuesday 16 June 2025):

Sacred Valley
We will transfer into the Sacred Valley and meet our hosts for the next two days. We will be staying in homestays while we work on the project and become further acclimatised to the altitudes. This is your chance to immerse yourself in local culture, interact with villagers and learn all about their way of life while offering some hands-on help.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 5 (Wednesday 17 June 2025):

Cusco – Soraypampa
Today the trek to Machu Picchu begins! We transfer from Cusco early this morning and take a scenic drive along the winding mountain road to Challacancha (3,867m), stopping for a brief visit to Tarawasi Archaeological site. We’ll enjoy lunch in Challacancha while our pack horses are loaded and prepared. We’ll start our trek to camp via Humantay Lake (3,869m), a brilliantly turquoise alpine lagoon hidden high in the mountains. We’ll continue to Soraypampa (3,850m) where we’ll setup camp with the magnificent Salkantay Mountain (6,271m) as our backdrop – the second most sacred peak in Inca mythology.
Trekking: Approx. 14km / 7 hours.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 6 (Thursday 18 June 2025):

Soraypampa – Andenes
Today the landscape changes drastically from dry and arid, to snowy peaks, before descending into the tropical zone. After breakfast we leave our camp and start the toughest section of the trek! The mountain switchbacks lead us up to the pass and our highest point, Abra Salkantay (4,630m). We celebrate our achievements and admire the spectacular views of the mountains and imposing snowy peaks of Mt. Salkantay (6,271m) before descending through cloud forest, rain forest and jungle to our camp in Andenes (2,920m).
Trekking: Approx. 18km / 8 hours.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 7 (Friday 19 June 2025):

Andenes – Lucmabamba
Today we hike through lush rain forest along the Santa Teresa River Valley. We’ll pass bamboo groves, waterfalls, coffee plantations and banana, granadilla and avocado orchards. After stopping for lunch, we trek to reach the start of the ‘Llactapata Inca Trail’ and our last campsite at Lucmabamba (2,135m). As the area is known for producing some of the best coffee in the world, we’ll have a local coffee demonstration and tasting!
Trekking: Approx. 19km / 7 hours.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 8 (Saturday 20 June 2025):

Lucmabamba – Llactapata – Aguas Calientes
After an early breakfast, we hike for around three hours to reach Llactapata (2,700m). You’ll have plenty of time to take in the panoramic views as you catch your first glimpse of Machu Picchu from across the valley! On the way we pass coffee plantations, beautiful landscapes and diverse flora and fauna. We descend through bamboo forest to Hidroelectrica train station and stop for lunch, before continuing along the riverside railway track to Aguas Calientes (2,040m). On arrival, we’ll check into our hotel and meet for dinner.
Trekking: Approx. 15km / 6 hours.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 9 (Sunday 21 June 2025):

Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
At dawn, we begin our journey to Machu Picchu! We start with a short and rollicking uphill bus ride – prepare to be awed by this incredible ancient citadel! You can start the day with a guided tour before free time to explore the site on your own.
This afternoon we take the train to Poroy, followed by a short transfer back to Cusco where we check into our hotel before a final celebratory dinner.
Trekking: Approx. 4km / 3-4 hours (650m ascent).
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 10 (Monday 22 June 2025): Cusco – Lima

Cusco – Lima – London
Today we fly from Cusco to Lima before taking an indirect overnight flight back to London, landing on Tuesday, 23 June 2025.
Meals: Breakfast

NB: The day-to-day program is subject to flight schedules, weather, general conditions and the progress of the group. While we do not anticipate any changes to the itinerary, we cannot be held responsible for changes made due to unexpected circumstances. Ultimately, the safety and health of the group takes priority in all circumstances.

Costs & How to pay

Registration fee: £550

and then either…

Sponsorship: Fundraise £4,995 for Dragonfly Cancer Trust


Flexi: Pay £1,650 trip costs and fundraise £3,345


This option is for those who wish to raise sponsorship to cover both the costs of the trip (accommodation, food, guides etc.) and a donation Dragonfly Cancer Trust. There is a minimum sponsorship amount for each trip that you are required to raise in order to participate.

  • A non-refundable registration fee of £550 is payable at the time of booking. This is payable in instalments
  • You must then fundraise a minimum of £3,996 (80%) to be paid to the charity by 21 March 2025.
  • The remaining 20% (£999) must be paid by 13 June 2025.


This option is for those who choose to pay some of the trip costs (accommodation, food, guides etc.) themselves while still raising some funds for the charity.

  • A non-refundable registration fee of £550 is payable at the time of booking. This is payable in instalments.
  • You are then asked to pay at least £1,650 towards your trip costs to Different Travel by no later than 4 April 2025.
  • This may be paid in three instalments of £550 due by Summer 2024, Autumn 2024 and Winter 2024. Please contact to arrange this.
  • You must also fundraise a minimum of £3,345 for Dragonfly Cancer Trust.
  • 80% of the minimum sponsorship must be paid to the charity by 21 March 2025.
  • The remaining 20% must be paid by departure

What's included

  • Return flights from London to Cusco
  • Airport taxes and charges
  • All transfers and transport in Peru
  • Accommodation in 3* hotels (4 nights), tents on the trek (3 nights), homestay at project (1 night) and guesthouse in Aguas Calientes (1 night)
  • All meals as specified
  • Local English-speaking guides, porters and full support crew on the trek
  • Trekking permits
  • Entrance fees to Machu Picchu
  • UK Different Travel tour manager

What's not included

  • Personal expenses (e.g. drinks, souvenirs, etc.)
  • Vaccinations
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips for local guides and support crew (approx. £55-£65)
  • Trek kit and equipment
  • Peru visa (not currently required for British citizens)

Got a Question?

If you’ve a question about this challenge that you can’t find the answer to within the given information then complete this quick form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.