Hiker's Journey to Machu Picchu

Spectacular Hikes and Lodges

Trip Level

This trip is rated Level 3, Moderate. Cultural explorations and day hikes are the focus of the trip, with hotel and lodge accommodations throughout. Much of the trip takes place at higher altitudes, ranging from 11,200 feet in Cusco to 13,779 feet in the Andean village of Patacancha, where we enjoy a traditional feast. Overland travel is by van. There are five days with moderately paced hikes of about 2-4 hours each, sometimes over hilly terrain with ascending and descending staircases. There are two days to explore the Machu Picchu ruins on foot. For maximum enjoyment of the trip (and the wonderful scenery, food, and history that are a part of it), you must be in fit shape and ready to walk. We strongly urge you to train for the trip with regular hiking.

Weather

Being so close to the equator, Peru has only two climate seasons: a dry season from April to October, and a wet season from December to March. For hiking in the mountains, the April to October season is ideal; the countryside is green and lush, the skies are often blue and sunny, and the mountain vistas are at their clearest and most magnificent.

Altitude is the main factor controlling the climate. In the mountains, you’ll encounter sunny days with daytime temperatures ranging between 65F and 70F degrees, dropping to the 40s and lower at night. The sun is very strong at high altitude and it can often be warm enough to hike in shorts and a t-shirt. However, it can also get extremely cold; if you’re familiar with mountain weather, you know how suddenly it can get cold even in the daytime if the sun slips behind a cloud. Nighttime temperatures can drop to below freezing. Rain should not be a problem on our hikes, but always keep in mind that mountain weather is unpredictable and sudden storms can occur, especially on high mountain passes. The best preparation for the changeable climate of the high Andes is to dress in layers.

Lima lies in a coastal desert where rainfall is rare and temperatures are usually warm (70s and 80s). Days are overcast most of the year due to the Humboldt current that comes up from Antarctica and meets the warm, tropical El Nino current from the north to create the garua, or coastal fog/mist.

The climate in the Amazon Basin is generally warm and humid throughout the year but can also be unexpectedly cool (usually 60s) due to the breezes that blow down from the Andes.

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.