- Trek to Machu Picchu and discover the mysteries of these magical ruins
- Stay in the comfortable lodgings of Mountain Lodges of Peru
- Visit Lake Humantay, Salkantay Glacier, Andean villages, and more
- Hike 5-10 miles per day following local, expert guides
Mountain Lodges of Peru and REI offer the very first trans-Andean lodge-to-lodge trek to Machu Picchu. Our trek takes us through nine biozones, altitude changes, and spectacular terrain. Along the way, we marvel at the exquisite beauty of Salkantay Peak, Salkantay Glacier, and Humantay Glacier Lake.
Along our trek we indulge in the comforts of enchanting mountain lodges, revitalizing salts and minerals of natural hot springs, innovative local cuisine, and the warmth of the Peruvian people. Following in the footsteps of the Incas inspires us as we experience the majesty of our surroundings.
REI Adventures shares non-exclusive departures with our travel partner, Mountain Lodges of Peru.
Traveling with kids under 18? Check out our Machu Picchu Family Adventure.
Want to make the most of your stay in Peru? Check out our trip extensions:Cordillera Blanca; Lima, Paracas & Nazca Lines; Lake Titicaca; Northern Peru; Peruvian Amazon – Sandoval Lake Lodge; Peruvian Amazon – Heath River Wildlife Center and Peruvian Amazon – Tahuayo Lodge.
REI Adventures requires passport numbers to confirm your reservation.
A pre-trek briefing will take place the night before Day 1 of your trek.
- Day 1 - Bienvenido to Peru. Begin with an acclimatization hike.
- Day 2 - Hike up to a glacier and take in the scenery of Lake Humantay.
- Day 3 - The most challenging part of the trek—Salkantay Pass.
- Day 4 - Mostly downhill hiking through an Andean cloud forest.
- Day 5 - Trek to a lodge built in the midst of coffee and banana trees.
- Day 6 - From the Llactapata ruins, get your first views of Machu Picchu.
- Day 7 - Spend the morning discovering the mysteries of Machu Picchu.
Trip Itinerary and Details
Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.
Day 1 - Bienvenido to Peru. Begin with an acclimatization hike.
After an early breakfast, guests will be picked up starting at 7:00 a.m. at their hotel in Cusco by a Mountain Lodges of Peru (MLP) guide and transferred to the Salkantay Lodge in Soraypampa. En route we will take a break to visit the impressive Inca ruins of Tarawasi near the town of Limatambo (approx. 1.5 hours from Cusco). After leaving Limatambo, we pass through the mountain village of Mollepata where we stop for a short break before ascending a winding mountain road to Marcoccasa.
Here, we will begin our trek to Soraypampa, on an old route called the "Camino Real" (Royal Path). This is a good opportunity for guests to acclimate, while enjoying a beautiful 6 hour trek. The Salkantay Lodge takes its name from the majestic peak at the head of the valley – Mt. Salkantay, is the 2nd most sacred peak in Inca mythology and at 20,600 ft (6,270 m), the highest in the region. After a warm welcome by MLP's friendly staff, guests will be shown to their rooms and have time to wash-up before tea and cookies. An evening briefing by the fireplace is followed by aperitifs and dinner. Lunch and dinner included.
Transfer by bus: 2hrs and 40 mins; Hiking: 6 hours (including picnic lunch on route). 8.5 miles.
Day 2 - Hike up to a glacier and take in the scenery of Lake Humantay.
Today we take an acclimatization hike on the slopes above the lodge to Lake Humantay, fed by the hanging glaciers of Mt. Humantay. The hike is optional, but the views are amazing, and those brave enough can even go for a dip. We return to the lodge for lunch, after which guests may choose to trade the glacial swim for a relaxing soak in the outdoor Jacuzzi. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure. We spend the night at the Salkantay Lodge with gourmet food and warm, comfortable beds. In the evening, the guide briefs us on gear and the itinerary for the following day. All meals are served at the Lodge. All meals included.
Hiking: 4 hours, 4 miles.
Day 3 - The most challenging part of the trek—Salkantay Pass.
This is the big day! After an early start, we hike up the Rio Blanco valley, circling Humantay Peak across from Salkantay Peak. The highest point on the trek is the Salkantay Pass at 4,638 m (15,213 ft). At the pass we stop to take in views of snowcapped peaks of the Vilcabamba Range in every direction, the glaciated south face of Salkantay towering above us. We will keep our eyes out for Andean condors, often visible in this area. From the pass we descend towards Wayra Lodge ("Wayra" means wind; so 'the place where the wind lives') our destination for the evening. A hot lunch is served en route; dinner and overnight at the Lodge. All meals included.
Hiking: 6 - 8 hours (including lunch), 8 miles.
Day 4 - Mostly downhill hiking through an Andean cloud forest.
We enjoy a leisurely breakfast at Wayra Lodge before we continue our descent along the left bank of the Salkantay River, through increasingly verdant scenery. We can feel the warm air rising from the jungle, accompanied by colorful butterflies and striking orchids. Upon arrival at Colpa Lodge we are greeted with a Pachamanca meal, a traditional festive Peruvian meal cooked by layering meat and vegetables with hot stones. Everything is then covered with hot stones, plantain leaves, high Andean grass and local herbs and the contents are baked in an underground oven. Colpa Lodge is located on an open plateau at the confluence of three rivers. The outdoor Jacuzzi has panoramic views of lush green mountains. We spend the afternoon relaxing or exploring the nearby orchid trail. Dinner and overnight at the lodge. All meals included.
Hiking: 3 - 4 hours; 6 miles.
Day 5 - Trek to a lodge built in the midst of coffee and banana trees.
Today we hike along the Santa Teresa river valley, through more populated rural areas. We pass through banana, granadilla, and avocado orchards and coffee plantations which are thought to be one of the best organic coffees in the world. A hot picnic lunch is served by the river. After lunch we hike another hour before a private vehicle meets us for a short drive to the beginning of the "Llactapata Inca Trail". From the head of the newly restored Inca Trail we easily make our way to Lucma Lodge, set in an avocado orchard. On the way we visit an organic coffee plantation where we join the owner on a short tour of the farm and learn how coffee is grown, harvested, dried and processed. Dinner and overnight at the lodge. All meals included.
Hiking: 5 - 6 hours (including lunch); 10 miles. Bus transfer: 45 minutes.
Day 6 - From the Llactapata ruins, get your first views of Machu Picchu.
After a hearty breakfast, we tackle the last day of our trek. We head uphill for 2-3 hours towards Llactapata Pass (2,736 m/8,974ft), where we come upon a distant but spectacular view of Machu Picchu Sanctuary from the southeast, a view few travelers ever get a chance to admire. We take a short break to explore the Llactapata Ruins, which have recently been restored. Lunch is served in a scenic viewpoint, looking out to Machu Picchu. We then begin our final descent to the Aobamba River through lush bamboo forests, orchards and coffee plantations. Aguas Calientes, the town of Machu Picchu, is a short, scenic train ride away. Upon arrival, we check into our lovely hotel for celebration dinner with our guide and one last briefing! All meals included.
Hiking: 5 - 6 hours; 7 miles. Train: 1 hour.
Day 7 - Spend the morning discovering the mysteries of Machu Picchu.
Following a very early buffet breakfast at the hotel, we make our way to the bus station for the ride up to Machu Picchu Sanctuary (30 min). Our trip leader will give the group an introductory two-hour guided tour of the ruins, after which we have the option of climbing the trail up Huayna Picchu, a steep and vertically challenging hike that takes about two hours. The climb rewards you with great views of Machu Picchu. Afterwards, we meet up with our guide again and return by bus to Aguas Calientes for a late lunch and to catch our train. The train ride from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo takes about one and a half hours, and then a private vehicle will drive us back to Cusco (an additional hour and a half). Upon arrival in Cusco (approximately 7 or 8 p.m.) guests are dropped off at the hotel of their choice. Accommodations in Cusco are not included—flights out of Cusco cannot be scheduled until Day 8. Breakfast and lunch included, dinner on your own.
Want more time at Machu Picchu? We can easily add a package for an extra day which will include dinner and one night hotel on Day 7, breakfast, roundtrip bus to the sanctuary, one day entrance to Machu Picchu, lunch and your late return to Cusco on Day 8. Please call or e-mail us for additional details and prices.
Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule above, the itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control, including weather and terrain conditions.
Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.
All services and transportation from pick up at your hotel in Cusco on Day 1 to drop off to your hotel in Cusco on Day 7; lodging; all meals except for breakfast on Day 1 and dinner on Day 7; the services of a bilingual guide; transportation of personal belongings on the trek by packhorse/mules and/or porters; guided visit of Machu Picchu Sanctuary (includes entrance, transportation to and from the site and Huayna Picchu Permits); gratuities for service staff (MLP lodge staff, mule drivers and route chefs), excluding guides and Wi-Fi access at all lodges.
Air transportation to/from Cusco; hotels in Cusco; guide gratuities; Salkantay Park entrance fee ($60); excess baggage charges; alcoholic beverages; airport taxes and items of a personal nature such as laundry fees, optional activities, immunizations or insurance of any kind (emergency medical and evacuation insurance is mandatory for this trip and can be purchased through REI Adventures).
A non-refundable deposit of $500 is required at time of booking to secure space. Full payment is required 90 days before departure date.
|Cancellation Fees||per person|
|61 or more days||US $500 fee|
|60-31 days prior||50% of trip cost|
|30 days or less||100% of rate|
Additional permits are 100% nonrefundable once requested and any additional services carry a 20% cancel penalty from sign-up and are nonrefundable 60 days prior to departure.
|Transfer Fees||per person|
|61 or more days||US $250 fee|
|60-31 days prior||25% of trip cost|
|30 days or less||50% of rate|
This trip is rated as Vigorous . Trip members need to be strong, experienced hikers in good physical condition. Most days are spent at moderately high altitude (9,000-15,000’) and the trek includes a number of steep ascents and descents and exposed terrain. To maximize your enjoyment of the trip and to avoid sore muscles, we strongly encourage participants to begin a conditioning regimen at least three months prior to departure consisting of hiking, walking/running or cycling. If you live in an area conducive to hiking, try to get out on those hills if possible and work some elevation gain and loss into your regimen. The better shape you are in, the more you’ll enjoy all that this unforgettable adventure has to offer.
All four mountain lodges have been designed and built in accordance with traditional building techniques, Inca architectural & mythological concepts, and respect for the surrounding environment. The Salkantay Lodge has 12 private double, twin or triple rooms with private bathroom facilities; while the other lodges (Wayra, Colpa, Lucma) have 6 private double, twin or triple rooms, all with private facilities. Salkantay, Wayra, and Colpa lodges have an outdoor Jacuzzi. Every lodge guarantees an ample supply of hot water for showers; there are no bathtubs in any of the lodges. Saunas are also available at all lodges at no additional cost. Room heating ensures the temperature remains a comfortable 68° F.
The mountain lodges on this trip require that all participants have medical ($50,000) and emergency evacuation ($500,000) insurance valid in Peru. Short-term travel insurance (including evacuation) is available through REI Adventures and other travel insurance providers.
If you are traveling alone and specifically request single accommodations, you will be asked to pay the full single supplement cost. If you wish to share accommodations, we will assign you a roommate if one is available. You will be asked to pay a reduced single fee which is 25% of the trip cost at time of sign-up. Should a roommate be available, the fee will be refunded. Please be advised that there are a limited number of single rooms available on most departures.
This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and pre-departure information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).
We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.
Machu Picchu: 7-Day Lodge Trek Gear List
The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. This gear list has been created to help you in choosing your equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary as this will help you and the field staff.
Average daytime temperatures in and around Cusco generally range from 55° - 75° F with Andean evenings cooling down into the 40s and 50s. Much of the itinerary takes place in the mountains where weather can change very quickly. During the months of May-October, days are typically clear and pleasant, with afternoon clouds occasionally building and leading to small amounts of precipitation. While rainfall is more common during the months of December-April, all-day rain is unlikely.
- Valid passport
- Airline itinerary and confirmation
- Duffel bag or soft-sided suitcase (no wheels on the trek)
- Daypack to carry your camera, water bottles, extra clothing, sunscreen, etc.
- Luggage tags and luggage locks
- Passport pouch or money belt
- Bring a few lightweight, easily washable items for travel and evening wear
- Midweight fleece or wool sweater
- Lightweight thermal underwear top and bottom, synthetic or wool
- Hiking pants
- Hiking shorts
- Long-sleeve shirts
- Hiking socks
- Liner socks
- Casual socks
- Sun hat
- Wool or fleece hat
- Wool or fleece gloves
- Waterproof gloves or shells
- Bathing suit (for the hot tub)
- Rain jacket or durable poncho, lightweight and breathable
- Rain or wind pants
- Insulated parka/ski jacket, down or synthetic
- Sturdy hiking boots, waterproof, lightweight, broken in, aggressive tread
- Comfortable shoes for travel and evening wear
- Water bottle(s) or hydration system
- Watch with alarm or travel clock
- Sunglasses and retainer strap
- Sun block and lip balm
- Toiletry kit
- Baby wipes
- Hand sanitizer gel
- Small first-aid kit
- Insect repellent
- Trekking poles
- Headlamp or flashlight
- Camera, memory cards, spare batteries & charger
- Electrical converter and adapter plug
- Reading and writing materials
- Ear plugs
- Favorite energy snacks or drinks
- Daypack rain cover or plastic bags to line the inside of your daypack
- Low gaiters
- Duffel to leave behind in Cusco for excess baggage
- Lightweight, small binoculars
- Laundry detergent for hand washing /universal sink stopper
- Slippers for evenings at lodge
Things to Consider
- Please remember to always pack essential items such as your passport, money, eyewear, a change of clothing, hiking boots and medications in your carry-on baggage, in case your luggage is delayed.
- Peru Rail (who operates the train to/from Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu) imposes a baggage weight limit, allowing each passenger one duffel bag weighing up to 22 pounds and one daypack weighing up to 11 pounds. An excess baggage surcharge of roughly $1 per pound will be levied against passengers who exceed the aforementioned weight limits. Since you will be returning to Cusco after the trek, all of your extra gear and clothing not required for trekking can be stored either in your hotel or at our travel partner's office (please plan to pack a smaller bag for this purpose if you anticipate leaving some gear in Cusco).
- Cotton is wonderful in warm weather. However, once it becomes wet, it will drain your body heat. Bring wool or synthetics such as Capilene, MTS and Thermax.
- Always test your layers before a trip. Your outer layer should fit easily over the inside ones without binding and bunching up.
- Make sure boots are broken-in. Bring moleskin for foot treatment. Thin liner socks worn under regular hiking socks may minimize the risk of blisters. The liner sock should be synthetic, not cotton. Test your sock combination before you go on the trip.
- Stuff sacks are great for sorting gear. Use different sizes/colors to differentiate contents.
- Plastic bags are great for keeping clothing and gear dry. Use Ziploc bags to keep wet clothes separate from dry clothes.
- If you wear prescription glasses, use a safety cord and bring an extra pair if possible. Contact lens wearers should also bring an extra set, or bring eyeglasses for a backup.
- To conserve energy, the lodges where we stay during our trek shut off their electricity after 11 p.m. each evening. As per the above Gear List, although there are small night lights, we recommend that all trip participants bring a flashlight or headlamp for reading or walking around during the night.
Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.