for your trip
All international flights into Peru route through Lima, with connections to most destinations throughout the country. Some flights out of North America and Europe arrive late in the evening after the last flight to Cusco has departed. In these cases, an overnight stay in Lima will be required before proceeding to Cusco. Your MLP travel specialist will be happy to assist you with making any necessary hotel arrangements.
Traveling to Cusco: There are four airline carriers that fly round-trip between Lima and Cusco: LATAM Airlines, Avianca Airlines, Star Peru, and Peruvian Airlines. All offer similar schedules and in-flight service, but we usually recommend either LATAM Airlines or Avianca as they tend to be the most helpful when unexpected flight cancellations or delays occur. Your MLP travel specialist can also assist you in selecting the best flight options for your trip.
We always encourage our guests to extend their trips with, at minimum, a couple of pre-adventure days in Cusco to provide time for altitude acclimatization while they explore the remarkable beauty of the city. Depending on availability, we would be happy to book accommodations for you at one of our signature hotels, El Mercado and El Retablo, that offer a combination of comfortable rooms, excellent service, and Peruvian charm. We also recommend that our guests plan an extra night at Machu Picchu for a more comprehensive exploration of the citadel.
MLP can also help you plan and book any additional accommodations or excursions that you might like to experience during your time in Peru. We offer a collection of trip extensions to some of Peru’s other notable destinations: Lima, Arequipa, Nazca, Lake Titicaca, the Amazon and of course, within Cusco and The Sacred Valley. Please alert your MLP travel specialist if you would like to build any additional experiences into your trip.
All guests are required to provide valid proof of travel insurance, including specific coverage for adventure travel activities in Peru. MLP can arrange appropriate coverage for medical expenses and medical emergency evacuation at a rate of $10/day. In the event that you are planning to spend any additional time in Peru, we can also assist you in extending this coverage to include travel beyond the dates of your MLP adventure.
On The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, guests hike 4-8 hours per day on six (6) consecutive days along rugged mountain trails and at various elevations (up to 15,000’/4,500m). Pre-trip preparation should include challenging cardiovascular exercise including regular hikes on varied terrain, and a healthy, balanced diet. Well-worn hiking boots and additional acclimatization nights in Cusco or the Sacred Valley before the trek are both highly recommended. Having said this, please be assured that all guests are encouraged to hike at their own pace and take breaks whenever needed to ensure a successful and enjoyable trek for all.
The Sacred Valley and Lares Adventure to Machu Picchu features a flexible itinerary chosen from a daily list of both active adventure and cultural immersion activities. While general good health and an active lifestyle (including regular walking and/or hiking excursions) will make your trip even better, Sacred Valley and Lares Adventure participants can be confident that there will always be an option to suit their individual interests and needs. Pre-trip fitness planning, well-worn hiking shoes, and extra acclimatization nights in Cusco before the trip are still highly recommended. Those interested in taking advantage of the more challenging day hike options should build a more intensive fitness regimen into their pre-trip preparations.
The weather in Cusco is defined by two seasons: green (rainy) and dry. Green season typically runs from November through March, with average temperatures of approximately 56°F (13.3°C). Occasional showers are expected throughout this period, with the heaviest rains occurring in January and February. Dry season is normally from April through October, during which time you can expect mostly sunny days followed by cooler nights and the possibility of morning frost. The average daytime temperature around this time is 49.5°F (9.7°C). July is regularly recorded as the coldest month of the year; in some locations night temperatures can drop as low as 32°F (0°C).
Note: Keep in mind that Cusco is located in a high-mountain environment where variable weather is expected. Rain can occur in the middle of July just as sun may appear in January, so it is always important to be prepared for mixed conditions.
Altitude sickness is most common at elevations above 6,500’/1,900m and results from the body adjusting to a decreased amount of oxygen. To combat this, MLP recommends spending two nights in Cusco prior to the start of your program. In addition, it is always important to drink plenty of water. Filtered and purified water is available at our lodges and carried by trek support at all times. In case of extreme altitude sickness, both oxygen and hyperbaric chambers are available as needed.
Once you have booked your MLP adventure, you will receive a packing list that outlines the items that you will need for the trip. We recommend packing your belongings in a mid-sized soft duffle bag for the duration of the program. You will only need a day-pack during the hikes and your duffel will meet you upon arrival at each lodge. Please be aware that the train to Machu Picchu imposes a baggage weight limit of 8kg/18lbs per person. MLP offers duffel bags on loan; please request one at the pre-trip briefing in Cusco if you think that your luggage will exceed this weight. Extra luggage can be stored safely at your hotel in Cusco.
Although most of Peru operates with an electrical current of 220V, our lodges are outfitted with 110V compatible outlets. However, it is still advisable to travel with a converter to ensure full compatibility throughout your time in Peru.
Second only to the Himalayas, the Andes rise to over 19,000’/5,800m. The rugged Andean landscape is comprised of dramatic mountain ranges separated by deep vertical canyons and green valleys. The eastern slopes of the Andes are veiled in cloud forests which receive plentiful rainfall as they drop into the Amazon Basin.
All of the trails are well-maintained and safe. Adventurers can expect to cross sections of original Inca Trails in addition to newer paths that may sometimes include steep, rocky, or even muddy terrain. Be prepared for varied ecosystems almost every day!
MLP uses private transportation for our programs. We have comfortable passenger vans staffed with professional drivers who are well acquainted with each route. Guests will be picked up and returned to their Cusco hotels at the beginning and end of their MLP adventure. On The Sacred Valley and Lares Adventure to Machu Picchu, the same vehicle will stay with each group throughout the journey.
The official currency of Peru is the “Nuevo Sol” (S/.), although US Dollars are also widely accepted. If you are carrying cash be sure to bring crisp, unsullied US bills since torn or defaced currency will not be accepted locally. ATM machines that dispense both US Dollars and Nuevos Soles are readily available in the city of Cusco. Credit cards are generally accepted only in the more upscale restaurants and shops in Cusco and the Sacred Valley. Note: VISA is most widely accepted, followed by MasterCard. American Express is accepted in very few places.
During your MLP trip, you will only need to carry a small amount of cash for souvenirs and minor personal expenses. We recommend taking Nuevos Soles in small denominations for purchases en route. Optional gratuities for trip leaders, assistant guides, and any other staff can be given in either currency. Additional expenses at the lodges (such as massage, laundry service, or alcoholic beverages) can be charged to your credit card or paid in cash on site (either Nuevos Soles or US Dollars).
Gratuities are included in the trip cost for all lodge and logistical personnel except for guides/assistant guides. We generally suggest a gratuity of $5-10/per day, per guide, but we leave this to your discretion.
Our lodges are located in remote high-mountain locations where a mobile signal can sometimes be difficult to obtain. However, all of our lodges have been set up with Wi-Fi and telephone connections to ensure that our guests can communicate with friends and family. Having said that, we highly recommend disconnecting from your daily routine for an even better opportunity to recharge during your time with us in the Peruvian highlands.
MLP follows a detailed protocol in case of medical emergency. Every MLP guide has completed a Wilderness First Aid certification and carries a comprehensive first aid kit, portable oxygen, portable hyperbaric chamber, and communication radio on the trail at all times. An MLP staff physician in Cusco is always available by telephone. Additional basic medical equipment is stored at each MLP lodge. Your pre-trip information packet will include an emergency contact number in the event that family or friends at home need to reach you.
We are sure you have already told friends and family about your trip. Please take a moment (or more!) and tell us about the highlights of your journey, about your companions and guides, and anything else that made your journey unique. Please share your photos with us too and remember to tag us with #experiencemlp.