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Raft, Hike and Cycle to Machu Picchu

Discover ancient trails, raging rivers, and vibrant landscapes on a thrilling journey through the heart of the Andes to Machu Picchu

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Trip Ref #10779

Raft, Hike and Cycle to Machu Picchu

Discover ancient trails, raging rivers, and vibrant landscapes on a thrilling journey through the heart of the Andes to Machu Picchu

DURATION
8 nights
LOCATION
Peru
ANNUAL LEAVE
5 days off work
SEASON
Mar-Nov
GROUP SIZE
Up to 14 people
MEETING POINT
Alejandro Velasco Astete Airport, Cusco
ACCOMMODATION

Hotel

OVERALL RATING

0.0

This trip is brand new
DIFFICULTY
Moderate

The elevation and long days can be tiring, so a moderate level of fitness and stamina is needed and confidence in water

Hike the Royal Inca Trail (km104) to Machu Picchu along ancient routes and enter through the Sungate.

Raft on Rio Vilcanota river, meandering through an epic canyon, thrilling rapids and views of surrounding peaks.

Cycle through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and Stand Up Paddle at Lake Huaypo surrounded by rolling hills and Andean vistas.

Hike Palccoyo Rainbow Mountain (4970m) and explore the high altitude rock forest with amazing views towards Ausangate and other mountains.

Day 1

Touch down in Cusco

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Welcome to the heart of adventure in Peru! Your journey begins the moment you step foot in Cusco airport. Look out for your driver holding a sign at the arrivals gate, ready to take you on a short but scenic journey to your hotel. At 4pm gather with your fellow travellers as your trip begins with a useful briefing by your guide. Get ready to head out to Cusco town for a first evening getting to know each other and anticipating the adventure ahead.

Day 2

Whitewater rafting on the Rio Vilcanota

Image from host Amazonas Explorer

Rafting

2hrs

Driving

4hrs

Today you'll be rafting down a beautiful section of the Urubamba River. This morning you'll drive about two hours to the starting point of the river, where your guides will inflate the rafts and then give a safety briefing and instruction in the art of white-water rafting. Feeling confident and prepared, you'll set off for approximately two hours of fun rafting, making the most of the gentle start to practice techniques. For lunch, you'll enjoy a picnic and as the day winds down, you'll head back to your hotel in the Sacred Valley near Pisac and you can explore this charming, sleepy village that boasts a most excellent artisan market.

Day 3

Biking in the Sacred Valley of the Incas

Image from host Amazonas Explorer

Cycling

4-5hrs · 30 kms · 50m up · 50m down

Saddle up for a cycling adventure from Pisac to Urubamba through the captivating Sacred Valley. Today you'll start with an exploration of the artisan stalls of Pisac, wandering through the village. You'll then head to Taray to begin your cycle following a beautiful flat dirt road alongside the River Urubamba. Travelling slowly is the perfect way to appreciate the beauty of this traditional agricultural area with vibrant fields of corn, kiwicha and quinoa that line your route. On the way, you'll stop to enjoy a picnic lunch on the river bank, before heading on to Urubamba for the night.

Day 4

Paddle across Lake Huaypo and hike to the Maras Saltpans

Image from host Amazonas Explorer

Stand Up Paddleboarding

2hrs

Hiking

1-2hrs · 5 km

Today, you head to stand up paddle board on the shores of Lake Huaypo. Once fully kitted up in wetsuits, booties and life jackets, your expert guide will give you a full instruction on these easy to use crafts before you head out through the reeds and onto the lake itself. Set amongst fields of corn with fantastic views across to the snow capped Vilcanota mountains, this is a relaxing rural setting and the perfect place to acclimatise and enjoy some fun on the water.

Lunch today is a delicious picnic buffet made with local products and freshly prepared natural drinks. There's time to relax in hammocks and enjoy the stunning views before saying farewell to Huaypo and taking a dirt road to the colonial village of Maras to begin hiking. Famous for its out-standing Spanish door arches and a vast church, Maras was also renowned for its spies due to the strategic location above the Sacred Valley.

Thousands of salt-pans cover the whole of the hill-side creating a stunning white landscape. They have been constantly worked since Inca times and were even mentioned in The Chronicles. Your vehicle will be waiting for you at the end to take you back to the hotel after a full day of fun, food and culture.

Day 5

Hike the Royal Inca Trail (km104) to Machu Picchu

Hiking

4-5hrs · 11km · 550m up · 250m down

You start the day with an early transfer to catch the train towards Machu Picchu. Jumping off at km104 you pass through the control point and begin your Inca Trail trek! First, you visit the recently restored ruins of Chachabamba before gradually ascending through tropical cloud forest up toward the base of Wiñay Wayna. Here you climb more steeply on old Inca stairways through these beautiful terraces, stopping to explore the various buildings and water features.

Here you'll enjoy a packed lunch, with a great view before continuing on the loveliest part of the whole Inca Trail. Lush vegetation flanks you on either side, the scent of wild orchids fills the air, and all around you, brightly coloured tropical songbirds fill your ears with song. Soon you will reach a final set of stairs to arrive at Inti Punku, the gateway of the Sun. As you step through the old stone gateway, Machu Picchu appears laid out before your eyes. After taking in this wonder of the world, you'll return to the lively town of Machu Picchu Pueblo and a well-deserved hotel and shower.

All you'll need to carry is your daypack, as your overnight luggage will be transferred to your hotel in Machu Picchu town to await your arrival.

Day 6

Explore the pinnacle of Inca engineering - Machu Picchu

Image from host Amazonas Explorer

Hiking

2.5hrs

Today you explore the pinnacle of Inca engineering - Machu Picchu. For years it was lost to the jungle. Perched high on an inaccessible hilltop protected by huge cliffs and the raging Urubamba river.

We enjoy an early morning entry to the ruins of Machu Picchu with spectacular panoramic views of the neighbouring mountains and valleys it's impossible not to feel a deep connection to the natural world. You wander along narrow stone pathways, passing by terraces that once sustained thriving agricultural practices. You'll have a fully guided tour of the of the fabled "Lost City of the Incas"

In the afternoon, board the train for a scenic ride along the Sacred Valley - you can sit back, relax, and take in the breathtaking landscapes that surround you.

Day 7

Hike the water temple of Tambo Machay and the site of Sacsayhuaman

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Hiking

2hrs · 6km · 500m down

Today you'll stretch your legs with a delightful hike in the hills above Cusco. Visit the impressive site of Sacsayhuaman, where huge stone ramparts surround a beautiful grass amphitheater. Next is the Inca water temple of Tambo Machay. With its intricately carved water channels this is thought to have been used both for ritual cleansing as well as the worship of water. From here you carry on down to Cusco, stopping at the Temple of the Moon. Back in Cusco, you'll have free time to explore the Inca ruins, bargain hunt in artisan markets or just relax on a terrace overlooking the Plaza de Armas - Cusco has it all.

Day 8

Hiking at Palcoyo Rainbow Mountain

GettyImages-1389850442

Hiking

2-3hrs · 4km · 150m up · 150m down

Driving

7hrs

This morning you'll drive for around 3.5 hours to reach magical coloured mountains. Head off on a hike deep in the heart of the Vilcanota Mountain range. On a clear day, you can see the snow-capped peaks of Ausangate, Mariposa, Nevado del Inca and the diversity of this mountainous region. At the highest point of the trail (4970m), there is an option to explore the Bosque de Rocas (Rock Forest) with its unique formations. Head back to Cusco for a final dinner to celebrate your trip to Peru and recap on the adventures over food with friends.

Note that while the ascent of this hike is a modest 150m, the trek reaches a maximum altitude of 4,970m. This is why you'll be attempting this trek only after spending several days at high altitude, ensuring proper acclimatisation.

Day 9

Farewell

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This morning, enjoy a final farewell breakfast before heading off to the airport in Cusco. It's been a blast, and you'll be leaving with many memories of a once in a life time adventure!

Included

Guides

Expert, English-speaking local guides

Accommodation

8 nights in hotels

Meals

All breakfasts, 6 lunches, 1 dinner

Transfers

To and from the airport and everything in-between

Equipment

All your biking, rafting and SUP equipment.

Permits

All permits and entry fees

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Tips for your guides

Some meals as described

Visas where required

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2 – Day 6

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 7

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 8

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 9

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

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Throughout your trip, you'll indulge in a variety of culinary experiences. Mornings begin with a buffet of granola, fresh fruit, eggs, toast, jams, and traditional delicacies and local flavors, accompanied by hot drinks and juice. For lunches, you'll enjoy different picnics, ranging from self-serve gourmet sandwich buffets on riverbanks to panoramic restaurant picnics overlooking Huaypo lake, featuring options like quiche, roast chicken in elderberry sauce, fresh salads, local potatoes, and drinks like Maracuya or Chicha Morada. For dinner, you’ll have the option to savour the rich and distinctive flavours of local Peruvian cuisine. This region is renowned for iconic dishes such as cuy (guinea pig), alpaca steaks, and pachamanca, a traditional Andean feast cooked with hot stones buried in the earth.

Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for - please just request on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?

Cusco

You'll stay at the Hotel Anahuarque in Cusco in twin rooms. Located in the heart of the city, just two blocks from the Plaza de Armas, on the beautiful San Agustín stone street. Anahuarque Hotel Boutique is a house with history, being part of what was the Royal Palace of Inca Tupac Yupanqui, called "Puca Marka", preserving its beauty, architecture and Inca-Colonial charm to this day.

Image from Booking.com
Pisac

You'll stay at Hotel Royal Inka, located just 35 minutes from the city of Cusco, in the majestic Sacred Valley of the Incas. Rooms are decorated with rustic-style furniture, and have a beautiful view of the mountains. The hotel is a 15-minute walk from the city centre, offers free Wi-Fi and free parking and serves a large buffet breakfast, consisting of fruit, cereal and hot dishes.

Image from hotel website
Urubamba

You'll stay at the Hotel Amaru Valle, in the town of Urubamba, Sacred Valley of the Incas. 4 blocks from the Plaza de Armas, in a quiet, safe area with easy access on foot. The hotel is characterised by its picturesque houses, arranged in a large garden. All rooms are decorated with wooden furniture and finishes, have natural lighting and ventilation. The windows and balconies have views of the gardens and access to the rooms is mostly from the outside.

Ollantaytambo

The Tunupa Lodge Hotel is located in Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It's beautiful gardens and Inca terraces overlook and incredible panoramic views of Nevado Apu la Veronica, the Ollantaytambo Archaeological Park. Don't forget to stop and say hello to the family of alpacas that live onsite.

Machu Picchu Town

Nestled in the beating heart of Machu Picchu town lies the Hatun Inti Classic Hotel. Its modern architectural design sets the stage for a laid-back place to rest, with spacious rooms and views of the vibrant streets of Aguas Calientes-Machu Picchu.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked for an extra charge. Please see Optional Extras for the price and request this at the time of booking as this is subject to availability.

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Cusco Airport

Arrive any time on Day 1

Ends

Cusco Airport

Catch any flight home on Day 9

Transfers

Catch any flight you like into Cusco Airport and your host will pick you up on arrival. The usual hotel check-in time is at 14:00 and a welcome meeting will be hosted in the early evening. It is also advisable to arrive the morning if you can in order to have extra time to acclimatise.

For departure on Day 9, your host will drop you off back at the airport at any time. If you are connecting with an international flight it's recommendable to arrive in Lima at least 3 hours before. If you are arriving or departing outside of these days your host can arrange private airport transfers for an extra cost. See Optional Extras for details.

Travel options

International flights into Cusco from Europe or the US generally involve one or two changes, often going via Lima. If you prefer to break up the journey, you could consider flying into Lima a day early, then booking an onward flight to Cusco the following day. Airport hotels are available in Lima or, if you have more time to spare, why not stay in the city's popular Miraflores district and use this as a base to explore the city? See Optional Extras below for prices for extra nights in Cusco or Lima, either before or after the tour.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • All SUP and cycling equipment
  • Wetsuits, lifejackets and helmets for rafting

What's available to hire?

  • Trekking poles

What do I need to bring?

  • Main luggage (a suitcase, backpack or duffel is fine)
  • Daypack (20-30 litres)
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Breathable wicking layers
  • Fleece jacket or down jacket
  • Light long walking trousers
  • An additional pair of trainers that can get wet (for use when rafting and SUP)
  • Hiking boots (worn-in)
  • Hiking socks
  • Thermals (merino best)
  • Warm hat
  • Gloves
  • Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear and socks
  • Swimwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Sleepwear
  • Sandals
  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Ear plugs
  • Insect repellent
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Quick drying travel towel
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Head torch or torch
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Energy bars and snacks - read our article on Best Hiking Snacks
*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Trekking Pole Hire

Payable Before Departure

Trekking Pole Hire

Pre/Post night at Anahuarque Hotel, Cusco (Double/Twin)

Payable Before Departure

Pre/Post night at Anahuarque Hotel, Cusco (Double/Twin)

Per Night

Pre/Post night at Anahuarque Hotel, Cusco (Single)

Payable Before Departure

Pre/Post night at Anahuarque Hotel, Cusco (Single)

Per Night

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Per Person

Extra transfer to/from Cusco Airport for 2 travellers

Payable Before Departure

Extra transfer to/from Cusco Airport for 2 travellers

Extra transfer to/from Cusco Airport for 4 travellers

Payable Before Departure

Extra transfer to/from Cusco Airport for 4 travellers

This trip is brand new

We’re still waiting to collect any reviews from other travellers on this trip. However, all our hosts go through an extensive vetting process to ensure that your adventure is awesome.

We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 187kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity, ensuring the protection of the reserve and its wildlife.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

A reasonable level of general fitness is essential as you'll be participating in a variety of outdoor activities throughout the itinerary, each lasting between 2 and 5 hours. This action-packed tour promises a daily dose of varied outdoor activities. You should be content with spending extended, active days surrounded by nature and prepared for whatever challenges the elements may present. No prior experience in SUP or rafting is required. The rafting adventure involves navigating through some class III & IV rapids, so rest assured, you'll be in the capable hands of a qualified expert river guide. You must be able to swim confidently to guarantee safety during water-based activities. The hike to Machu Picchu on Day 5 will be one of the highlights of the trip and one of the most active days. Comfort with hiking up to 11km and tackling some gradual ascents is essential. On Day 8, the hike at Palcoyo Mountain involves a modest ascent of 150m, reaching a maximum altitude of 4,970m. This trek is scheduled after spending several days at high altitudes for proper acclimatisation. The pace will be deliberately slow, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable experience. You should also feel at ease riding a bike for a couple of hours along flat ground. You need only carry a small day rucksack with any personal belongings, water, snacks, suncream etc.

Sure can! Over 70% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Clean drinking water will be regularly provided for you to fill up your water bottles. In an effort to eliminate plastic waste we recommend that you bring your own water bottle with you and regularly fill up. If you are concerned about the water quality, please feel free to bring additional water purification tablets.

The only 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. In the Andes, there are two distinct seasons – wet and dry. The dry season runs from May to October and you can expect clear skies, sunny days, with daytime temperatures of around 18 to 25 degrees Celsius. The nights tend to be colder, and temperatures can drop significantly, so it's advisable to bring layers. The wet season runs from November to April and the weather can be unpredictable. Daytime temperatures are relatively mild, and it tends to be cloudier, with a higher chance of rain. Rainfall is usually heaviest from December to March.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion but there is an expectation to tip for good service. We suggest the below as a guideline per person:

  • We recommend that your Guide is tipped personally and would suggest between 150 - 180 soles per person.

  • If each Driver/Porter were to receive 75 to 100 soles in total from the group, this would be considered a generous tip, and your team would be delighted!

Of course, you are free to tip more or less, and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality - a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

We recommend checking out the country specific information and also talking to a travel nurse.

When you trek in the mountains, there's always the risk of getting altitude sickness, regardless of how old, young, fit or unfit you are. Our guides are trained to identify the symptoms of altitude sickness so if any more serious symptoms are noted, there is a strict procedure regarding extra care or a rapid descent or evacuation if needed.

No. You'll need to have a larger bag suitable for all your belongings which will be transported for you, and then a small day sack to carry personal items during the day.

For current advice about travelling in Peru, have a read of the UK Foreign Office pages.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.

Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last-minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're always in good company on one of our adventures.

Our trips are typically made up of a mixture of solo travellers and small groups of 2 or 3 friends, with most in their 30s-50s.

Our sociable adventures are solo-friendly by design and naturally attract outdoorsy people with a shared mindset; a love for adventure, a desire to push themselves and meet awesome, like-minded people along the way.

It’s this camaraderie that has so often turned a great adventure into a life-changing one.

Don't just take our word for it:

  • 95% of people rate the group dynamics on our trips 5/5
  • 90% of people recommend joining a trip to make new friends
  • 75% of people have met people on our trips that they would now consider friends

See here for more info about the Much Better Adventures tribe.

Interested in a more exclusive experience? Opt for a 'Private Group' through the dates and prices tab to book this adventure for just you and your chosen companions.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

TRIP DEPARTURE DATES

October 2024

Saturday • 5th October 2024

to Sunday • 13th October 2024
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run
Only 2 spots left at 10% off

Saturday • 2nd November 2024

to Sunday • 10th November 2024
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run
Only 2 spots left at 10% off

Saturday • 15th March 2025

to Sunday • 23rd March 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 5th April 2025

to Sunday • 13th April 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 10th May 2025

to Sunday • 18th May 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 7th June 2025

to Sunday • 15th June 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 5th July 2025

to Sunday • 13th July 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 16th August 2025

to Sunday • 24th August 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 6th September 2025

to Sunday • 14th September 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 4th October 2025

to Sunday • 12th October 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 1st November 2025

to Sunday • 9th November 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Full Financial Protection

Your money is safe. Every booking is fully financially protected.

Full Financial Protection

You can choose to pay for this trip in as many installments as you like, with no interest or fees.

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