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Julia’s House Trek to Machu Picchu

8th Oct 2021 - 18th Oct 2021

11 days/Peru /Challenging

Overview

Voted one of the top 25 treks in the world, this challenging expedition will take 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. After two-days of acclimatising and sightseeing, we will begin our hike to 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, or be one of the few to hike Mount Machu Picchu for a vantage point like no other. 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.

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, a Different Travel UK tour manager and a representative from Julia’s House. 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. May is often argued as one of the best times to visit Machu Picchu as it is dry and warm and the tourist season hasn’t quite kicked off yet. You are likely to experience average day time temperatures of around 21°C and night time average lows around -10°C during the trek.

Experienced chefs will be on-hand to make amazing, hearty meals in the middle of the mountains. 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. Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions.

You will spend the first three nights in hotels on a twin-share basis (one night in Lima and two nights in a historical colonial hotel in Cusco). 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 two further nights at a hotel in Cusco. Tents, sleeping mats and sleeping bags are provided for camping.

The hotels have en-suite facilities with flushing toilets and hot 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 but other washing facilities are limited so you are recommended to bring a small pack of baby wipes and hand sanitiser for your general hygiene throughout the day (e.g. to clean your hands after toilet visits and/or before lunch). There may be the opportunity to visit the 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.

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!

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. Julia’s House will offer free training walks in the Purbecks so you can meet your fellow trekkers and test your fitness levels.

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). Approximately 3,000m and above is considered high altitude. Upon arriving in Cusco, it quickly becomes evident to anyone un-acclimatised 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 two days in Cusco are acclimatisation days which will give your body a chance to adjust. These days are important to help you cope with the altitude demands during the trek.

Your guides are very experienced in spotting the signs of altitude sickness but it is important that you also do your own research into the effects so you can be aware of how your body is adjusting. General information about altitude can be found on NHS page or the Travel Doctor website.

We require a medical form to be completed by everyone upon registering, and any pre-existing conditions, medications used and other medical issues must be specified. All your medical details are treated in the strictest confidence.

The information will be securely screened by a qualified medical professional, and details provided to your tour manager and local guides so our staff are adequately informed and prepared to support you during the trip. By completing this booking form you are giving consent for us to contact you confidentially with any follow up questions regarding your health.

If you declare any medical conditions you may be asked to provide more information, or we may request to contact your GP. We must be informed if any conditions or medication change, or if new conditions develop. If necessary confirmation of fitness to travel from your GP or specialist may be required.

In the event that your medical issues represent a concern for your safety and wellbeing, or the safety and wellbeing of others in the group, you may be recommended not to take part. If this happens your deposit will be refunded. Please note that we will never unreasonably deny participation on a trip nor contravene the Equality Act 2010.

Essentials

E-tickets + pre-departure info
Passport & copy
Insurance policy details
Pen for immigration forms
Cash (£) + Credit/ATM card(s)
LED head torch + spare batteries
Adaptor (multi prong option)
Sunglasses (preferably polarized)
Portable battery pack / power bank
Mobile phone + charger
Camera + spare batteries

Clothing & Footwear

Hiking boots*
Casual shoes for sightseeing
Trainers for use around camp (optional)
Flip flops (e.g. for use at hot springs)
Trek socks (e.g. Bridgedale or Smartwool)
Underwear
Trek trousers
Thermal base layer trousers & top
Non-cotton t-shirt
Non-cotton long sleeved layer (e.g. shirt)
Warm fleece
Warm jacket (e.g. down or Primaloft)
Waterproof jacket + trousers
Light poncho (can be bought locally)
Warm hat and a sun hat
Buff or bandana
Warm gloves or mittens and liner gloves
Swimwear
Casual clothes for travel/free days

Hygiene

Shampoo + conditioner*
Toothbrush + toothpaste*
Antiperspirant/deodorant*
Shower gel/ shave kit / loofah*
Wet wipes*
Toilet paper* x2 rolls
Sun cream (SPF 30+)*
Hand sanitizer
Non cotton travel towel
Feminine hygiene products*
Nappy sacks* (for used toilet paper)

First Aid Kit

Prescription medicine
50% DEET insect repellent
Ibuprofen and Paracetamol
Plasters/blister plasters
Imodium (Loperamide)
Rehydration (e.g. Dioralyte)
Muscle rub (tiger balm/Deep Heat)
Anti-histamine tablets/cream
Antiseptic cream (e.g. Savlon)
Indigestion remedy (e.g. Gaviscon)
Lip balm with SPF protection
Scissors/tweezers
Zinc oxide tape (optional)
Spare glasses/contact lenses

Optional

Video Camera + charger
iPod/MP3 player
Walking pole(s) with rubber tips
Luggage organisers/packing cubes
Books/playing cards

Luggage

Suitcase/luggage for plane
Kit bag (carried by mules on trek)
Daypack (25-35 litres)
2 x combination padlocks
Dry bags (optional)

Eating and Drinking

Energy snacks
2-litre hydration system (e.g. CamelBak) +
1-litre water bottle (e.g. Sigg or Nalgene) OR
3×1-litre bottles (e.g. Sigg or Nalgene)
Water purification (e.g. Biox Aqua)
Electrolyte tablets (e.g. NUUN)

Sleeping

Ear plugs (essential)
Sleeping bag liner
Pyjamas (use your thermals on trek)
A sleeping bag and mat is provided but you can bring your own if preferred.

Please note: This list is not exhaustive and does not account for your personal taste or preference. It should be used as a guideline only. If you have any questions or queries regarding this list which are not answered in the sections above please contact info@different-travel.com.

*Please ensure you pack your boots in your hand baggage in the unlikely event your luggage is delayed or goes missing.

*Please consider eco-friendly or biodegradable options. Consider shopping at Little Footprint Gifts.

Itinerary

Day 1 (Friday 8 October 2021):

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 (Saturday 9 October 2021):

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, dinner

Day 3 (Sunday 10 October 2021):

Cusco
After breakfast we start our important acclimatisation trek from Cusco up to the ancient ruins of Tambomachay. We continue past more ancient Inca sites as we walk downhill to Sacsayhuaman, offering amazing views over Cusco, before returning to the city for an overnight stay.
Trekking: Approx. 10km / 5 hours
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4 (Monday 11 October 2021):

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 set up 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, dinner

Day 5 (Tuesday 12 October 2021):

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, dinner

Day 6 (Wednesday 13 October 2021):

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. 15km / 7 hours
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7 (Thursday 14 October 2021):

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. 12km / 6 hours
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8 (Friday 15 October 2021):

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. If you fancy it, prepare to climb Mount Machu Picchu* (3,082m). You’ll be rewarded with an unbelievable high-rise view of the lost city below. Alternatively, you can continue onto the Sun Gate for the picture postcard classic view of Machu Picchu. This afternoon we take the expedition train to Ollantaytambo, followed by a short transfer back to Cusco where we check into our hotel for the next two nights.
Trekking: Approx. 4km / 3-4 hours (650m ascent)
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

*NB: Additional cost applies for Mount Machu Picchu – approx. £25 payable before departure.

Day 9 (Saturday 16 October 2021):

Cusco
Enjoy a final free day in Cusco at your leisure. Gather for a celebratory farewell dinner this evening.
Meals: Breakfast and dinner

Day 10-11 (Sunday 17 – Monday 18 October 2021):

Cusco – Lima – London
Today we fly from Cusco to Lima before taking an indirect overnight flight back to London, landing on Tuesday 18th May.
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

If you would like to take part and support Julia’s House, there are three ways you can get involved:

1. Pay £495 and raise £3,900 sponsorship

2. Pay £495 and a balance of £650 towards the cost of your trip. Raise £3,250 sponsorship

3. Pay £495 and a balance of £1,950. Aim to raise a minimum of £1,000 sponsorship

Deposit

A deposit of £495 is required to secure your place on the challenge. This can be paid in two instalments of £247.50.

Balance and fundraising

Your remaining balance and 80% of your minimum fundraising is due by 12th February 2021.

What's included

  • Return flights from London
  • Domestic flights from Lima to Cusco
  • Airport taxes and charges
  • Local transfers and transport in Peru
  • Accommodation in 3* hotels (5 nights), high quality tents on the trek (3 nights) and guesthouse in Aguas Calientes (1 night)
  • All meals except lunch on Day 9
  • Local English-speaking guides, porters and full support crew on the trek
  • Trekking permits and entrance fees to Machu Picchu
  • UK Different Travel tour manager and Julia’s House representative.
  • Fundraising support, ideas and tips
  • Free training weekends in Dorset

What's not included

  • Personal expenses (e.g. drinks, souvenirs, etc.)
  • Lunch on day 9
  • Vaccinations
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips for local guides and support crew (approx. £25-£30)
  • Trek kit and equipment
  • Option to climb Mt Machu Picchu (3,082m) approx. £25
  • 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.

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