Trip Overview

Join this breathtaking Peru lodge-to-lodge trekking tour to the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu! Hiking the quieter Salkantay Route (versus the busier Inca Trail), walk in the footsteps of Incan villagers to ancient ruins, home to master stone cutters, chieftains, and the Incan emperor himself while staying in the comfort of charming Peruvian mountain lodges.

You’ll earn your kudos on this challenging trekking trip in Peru all the way from Cuzco to Machu Picchu! You’ll hike four to nine hours a day supported by your fellow Adventure Women, catching exhilarating views of Peruvian Andes mountain peaks by day and sharing your high-altitude triumphs at night in the comfort of comfortable Peruvian mountain lodges nestled under star-filled skies. Peru’s Andes evoke a sense of wonder and spiritual connection in all who experience them. One can easily imagine how this location once attracted the attention of the Incan Empire’s king.

From Cuzco, you begin your Peruvian trekking trip by entering the Sacred Valley with its wealth of Incan ruins to reach your starting point on the Camino Real, eventually passing below the sacred Mount Salkantay. On an acclimatization hike to the turquoise Lake Humantay, prepare for the demands of the climb ahead, because trekking the Rio Blanco Valley and the switchbacks of the Siete Culebras (Seven Snakes) will test your limits as a hiker. With groans and cheers, arrive at Salkantay Pass (15,213 feet) then descend into a cloud forest where the sudden sight of butterflies, orchids, mosses, and other plant life along the Salkantay River are quite uplifting. Stop here for a traditional hot Peruvian pachamanca meal followed by time to unwind and soothe sore muscles in an outdoor Jacuzzi surrounded by towering mountain peaks. A day’s hike among orchards and coffee plantations in Santa Teresa River Valley ends sweetly in the evening as you explore a 12-acre cloud forest paradise.

Continue your Peru trekking adventure on your way to Machu Picchu, “the Lost City of the Incas” with an optional hike or a trip to local hot springs to ease your (possibly) sore feet. Both choices will inspire you for that final push to the palace! You reach your goal, the Incan palace of Machu Picchu, as the morning sun lights your way into the city. Imagine life within the vibrant Incan society as you walk among the ruins of the perfectly constructed plazas and chambers, climb the perfectly-carved stone stairways, and visit the royal Inca residences of the Watchtower and the Temple of the Sun. You’ll have a chance to climb the iconic Huayna Picchu as well. Take plenty of photos with your fellow adventurers to celebrate this incredible moment!

Returning to Cuzco, you’ll get a chance to meet female master weavers and Peruvian artisans in their workshop and explore the city’s ancient beauty. In the evening, to top off your Peru trip, you’ll join your fellow trekkers for a jubilant farewell dinner celebrating your incredible journey together and the friendships that bloomed along the way.

On this hiking trek for women to Machu Picchu via the Salkantay Route, walk in the footsteps of an ancient Incan civilization – and push your fitness to a new level – on an unforgettable trekking journey to one of the world’s true wonders!

Main Attractions

  • Take the route less traveled all the way from Cuzco to Machu Picchu on an active trekking challenge
  • Explore some of Peru’s natural treasures from the Sacred Vally to Mount Salkantay to Huayna Picchu on foot
  • Stay in delightful Peru lodges at night enjoying the best of Peruvian cuisine and comfort after challenging days of hiking
  • Discover Cuzco’s colorful displays of textiles and Peruvian culture

What You'll See and Do

  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • Cultural Exploration
  • Handicrafts
  • Historical Sites
  • Local Delicacies
  • Natural History
  • Sightseeing
  • Spa Element
  • Trekking
  • Women-To-Women Exchanges

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Cuzco
Meet your group at the Cuzco airport at 3:00pm. You will be transferred to your beautiful hotel in the Sacred Valley. Enjoy a welcome dinner with your group.

If you’d like to come to Cuzco early, AdventureWomen would be happy to help you make hotel arrangements.

Enjoy dinner as a group this evening, where you’ll get to know your guide and fellow travelers.

Overnight: Hacienda Urubamba

Day 2

Take a two-hour descending hike towards Pisac town, a beautiful place where Incan and colonial influences have balanced to create the unique local lifestyle. Explore this quaint town, famous for its artisan markets boasting jewelry, textiles, and crafts.

After your hike, Wayra Ranch allows you to enter the world of the Peruvian Paso Horse, a breed considered to be the smoothest ride on earth. Fine specimens of this national breed, obedient to their horsemen’s reins, will demonstrate the elegance of their lilting and gentle gait to the rhythm of the Marinera, an emblematic Peruvian dance. Sample Peruvian creole food for lunch.

Take the afternoon to enjoy the activities that your beautiful lodge offers. Relax at your hotel this evening and repack for the trek.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Hacienda Urubamba

Day 3

Urubamba to the Salkantay Route
Depart for the mountains this morning. The first stop will be the Inca ruins of Tarawasi near the town of Limatambo. Spend some time there before heading to the mountain village of Mollepata for a delicious lunch.

After a short drive on a winding mountain road, you’ll arrive at Marcoccasa. Here you will begin your hike to Soraypampa along a picturesque path called the “Camino Real” (Royal Path), which is also a good opportunity to acclimatize to the higher altitude. As you round the final turn of the Camino Real, the Salkantay Lodge will come into view.

Standing like a sentry behind the lodge is the glacier peak of Mt. Salkantay, among the most sacred in Inca mythology and the highest in the region at 20,600 ft.

Settle in your room and relax for a few minutes before meeting your guide in the lounge for refreshments and a briefing of tomorrow’s activities.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Trekking: 3.5 Hours, 2 miles, 1,689′ elevation gain, 0′ elevation loss

Overnight: Soray Lodge

Day 4

Salkantay Route
This morning, go on an acclimatization hike to Lake Humantay. Begin by hiking up the slopes that border the plateau behind the Salkantay Lodge. An hour and a half later, after making your way over the final hill, you will be stunned to see the turquoise water of the lake, made even more spectacular by the sight of the Humantay glacier looming behind it.

Here you will have a chance to relax, enjoy a snack, meditate in the tranquility of this magical spot, or admire a traditional offering to Mother Earth, getting an up-close view of the majestic glacier.

Enjoy lunch back at the lodge.

Spend the afternoon at leisure. Soak in the outdoor jacuzzi, enjoy a massage, or just relax!
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Trekking: 4.5 Hours, 4 miles, 1,155′ elevation gain, 1,155′ elevation loss

Overnight: Soray Lodge

Day 5

Salkantay Route
Today is the longest and most strenuous day, but arguably the most magical day of the trek. After an early start, hike up the Rio Blanco valley, circling Humantay Peak. As you gradually make your way up these mountain trails, you will encounter expansive plateaus dotted with boulders of varying sizes, the remnants of a valley that was once bisected by a fast-flowing river. The final and most challenging part of your ascent is conquering the mountain switchbacks that take you to the Salkantay Pass, the highest point on the trek at 15,213 feet. Celebrate your accomplishment with your group of amazing women at the top! What follows is a dramatic descent through fields of giant boulders, often shrouded in fog.

Enjoy a hot picnic lunch before continuing your descent through rolling hills and marsh-like plateaus.

Arrive at the Wayra Lodge this afternoon. Enjoy a spectacular view of the other side of Mount Humantay, reminding you of how far you’ve come!
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Trekking: 7 Hours, 8 miles, 2,522′ elevation gain, 2,401′ elevation loss

Overnight: Wayra Lodge

Day 6

Salkantay Route
After a leisurely breakfast at the Wayra Lodge, continue the descent along the banks of the Salkantay River through increasingly verdant scenery. The warm air begins to rise from the edge of the jungle, accompanied by colorful butterflies and striking orchids. Today you will see more of the local people as the trail takes you past their simple homes and makeshift fences.

Arrive at Colpa Lodge for a special lunch. Your Pachamanca lunch is a traditional Peruvian meal cooked in the earth by hot stones that create a natural underground oven.

Relax this afternoon. Lounge in the sun or unwind in the outdoor jacuzzi while you take in the panoramic views of the green mountains surrounding you.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Trekking: 4 hours, 6 miles, 0′ elevation gain, 3,398 elevation loss

Overnight: Colpa Lodge

Day 7

Salkantay Route
Today you will hike in the Santa Teresa River valley where you will hop over small streams fed by waterfalls descending from the glaciers and cross through fruit orchards. After breaking for a hot picnic lunch by the river, you will walk for an hour where you will meet a vehicle for a short drive to the beginning of the Llactapata Inca Trail, which leads you to your lodge.

Visit a local organic coffee plantation. You will begin to notice a shift in the climate – the hot air and increased humidity signal that you are getting close to the edge of the Amazon.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Trekking: 5.5 hours, 10 miles, 387′ elevation gain, 2,798′ elevation loss

Overnight: Lucma Lodge

Day 8

Salkantay Route to Machu Picchu
For those who have the energy, depart early this morning for an optional hike. During a two to three hour climb up a path mostly comprised of original Inca steps, you will get a sense of what hiking through the rainforest would be like. A lush treeline creates green canopies overhead and the constant sound of rushing water suggests that the river is still nearby. Your first milestone today will be the top of the peak, the last one before you reach the Aobamaba River valley that connects you to Machu Picchu. When you arrive at the ruins of Llactapata at the Llactapata Pass (8,974 feet), you will be delighted to see a distant southeast view of the “back” of the Machu Picchu ruins, a sight few travelers ever get a chance to admire. At this point you will also take a short break to explore Llactapata, and then have lunch a bit farther down the trail in a meadow with panoramic views. The final descent toward the roaring Aobamba River takes you through lush bamboo forests, as well as more fruit orchards and coffee plantations.

If your knees need a break, you can hike 30-45 minutes down to a vehicle and drive one hour to the Santa Teresa hot springs. Enjoy a picnic lunch at the springs and some relaxation time.

Take a one-hour train ride to Aguas Calientes at the base of Machu Picchu.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Trekking: 6 hours, 7 miles, 1,971′ elevation gain, 3,165′ elevation loss

Overnight: Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

Day 9

Machu Picchu
Begin your journey to Machu Picchu with a short uphill bus ride. As you enter the “Sanctuary” (as locals refer to it), the morning sun rises over the iconic Sun Gate and washes the structures and terraces with resplendent light.

Prepare to be awed by the imposing and skillful architecture of the Watchtower, the Temple of the Sun, and the royal Inca residences, among many others. Take a moment to quietly sit and listen to the wind or to meditate and absorb the mystical energy that envelops you. Your imagination will soar as you contemplate the history of Machu Picchu and its mysterious origins.

You have the option to hike Huayna Picchu, the iconic towering mountain often seen in photographs, for dramatic views.

If you’ve had enough steep trails for one trip, hike up the more moderate trail to the Sun Gate for a different view!

Enjoy lunch at Sanctuary Lodge by the entrance. In the afternoon when the crowds dissipate, explore on your own.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Trekking: 4 hours

Overnight: Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

Day 10

Machu Picchu to Cuzco
Take the train this morning from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo. Drive back to Cuzco.

Visit a weaving project led by a master weaver. Textile production has profound historic and cultural significance in the Andes, and this project is part of a highly-successful initiative to rescue and revive this way of life. Women are the owners and drivers of this activity, and you will see how their gregarious processes of spinning, gathering and use of natural dyes, setting up of looms, and the creation of designs, are fundamental to the family and social bonds of these highland communities.

Explore Cuzco on your own this afternoon.

Have a farewell dinner with your new AdventureWomen friends. Reminisce over all of the memories you have made and celebrate the end of an incredible trip!
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Palacio del Inca

Day 11

Cuzco and Depart
Explore Cuzco on your own this morning. Pick up some last minute souvenirs, or just walk around this unique town.

Enjoy one last lunch as a group at a local restaurant.

Transfer to the airport mid-afternoon for your flights home.

Please note: AdventureWomen will attempt to adhere to the itinerary as much as possible. However, certain conditions (political, climatic, environmental, and cultural) may necessitate changes in the itinerary. AdventureWomen reserves the right to alter any itinerary at any time, if necessary. We will attempt to notify participants of changes as far in advance as possible. Costs incurred by such changes will be the responsibility of the participants. 

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

Traveling to Peru

Arrival/Departure Information

Arrive: Arrive at the Cuzco Airport (CUZ) on November 5, 2020 in time for a 3:00pm transfer. Flights from Lima are frequently delayed, so if you are flying from Lima on the 7th, we recommend a morning flight.

Depart: Depart Cuzco, Peru (CUZ) on November 15, 2020 after 4:00pm.

We are happy to help you make your flight and travel arrangements. Please contact us at:

(800) 804-8686 or (617) 544-9393

If you’d like to do anything prior to or following the AdventureWomen trip, we’d be delighted to help you arrange any trip extensions you’re interested in.

Note: The recent trend in travel is for travelers to finalize their plans much closer to departure time than was customary in the past. While we try to be as flexible as possible booking last-minute registrants, we must release hotel rooms two to three months prior to departure! Please keep this in mind when making your travel plans.

Passports and Visas

Citizens of the United States must have a passport valid for six months beyond your travel dates and a minimum of two blank facing pages. If you do not have a passport, please apply now!

Activity Level

We rate this trip as Challenging. Our Challenging adventures get your heart rate pumping, these are demanding yet deeply rewarding and designed for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts. You should be in excellent
physical condition, and be able to hike up to 10 miles, in steeper, more rugged terrain.

You should come with a flexible, adventurous, and enthusiastic spirit, and a wonderful sense of humor that adventure travel requires.

General Preparation Guidelines

Training for your trek requires both physical and mental preparation. You do not need technical climbing skills, but do not underestimate the demands of the climb. You WILL need to be fit. Endurance, good cardiovascular health, and a healthy desire to finish the trek are important.

We suggest that you begin focused training at 60-90 days before your departure, more rigorous training at 15-60 days, and then taper off in the final two weeks. You should consult your physician if you are significantly altering your physical routine for training.

We have a partnership with FitForTrips, a company that will design an individualized fitness plan for you with this itinerary in mind. Best of all, AdventureWomen guests get a 25% discount with the code FITWOMEN. Learn more here.

Health Considerations

Make an appointment with a travel clinic. There are no immunization requirements for travel to Peru, however your local travel clinic may have recommendations for you based on your age, health, and past vaccination history. You may want to ask your doctor about Diamox, which can help with the altitude.

For more health information, go to and navigate to the page about Peru.

Altitude Symptoms

At high altitude, it is typical for trekkers to feel some physical effects such as loss of appetite, fatigue, or headache. Symptoms become more severe if you experience acute altitude sickness. Symptoms of acute altitude sickness can include troubled breathing while resting, severe coughing, confusion, impairment of motor skills, and irrational behavior.

Notify your guide immediately if you believe you are experiencing any of these symptoms. As a highly trained professional, your guide makes your safety his/her top priority.


The currency of Peru is the Nuevo Sol. US dollars are accepted in some places in Peru. Credit cards are generally accepted in larger cities. ATMs will be available in larger cities as well.

Suggested Gratuities:

  • Guides: $5-10 per day (we will let you know how many guides closer to departure)

How to Register

Call the AdventureWomen office at (800) 804-8686 to determine space availability and register for this trip. We can complete your registration, including taking your credit card deposit over the phone.

If you prefer, you can register online by clicking “Sign Up for this Trip” on the trip page.

Please be sure to read the AdventureWomen policies before registering!

Forms and Final Payment

Once you book, you will need to fill out and return to AdventureWomen:

  • Information Form
  • Booking Conditions Form
  • Supplemental Trekking Release
  • Copy of Flight Information
  • Copy of Issuing Page of Passport (photo page)

Final payment is due to AdventureWomen in a cash form (check, money order, or wire transfer) on or before August 7, 2020. A maximum of $1,500 per person can be put on a credit card, which includes
your deposit.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

What's Included


  • Hotel accommodations based on double occupancy
  • Meals as listed in the itinerary
  • All ground transportation
  • Fully-guided sightseeing as indicated in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees
  • English-speaking guides throughout the trip
  • Drinking water
  • Gratuities for baggage handlers, drivers, and hotel/lodge staff
  • One AdventureWomen Ambassador

Not Included

  • International airfare to and from Peru
  • Domestic airfare
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Optional activities as listed in the itinerary
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Fees for passports, visas, or immunizations
  • Cost of hospitalization or evacuation
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Gratuities for guides

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686


Hacienda Urubamba
Hacienda Urubamba is a contemporary hacienda- style hotel in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Immersed in the countryside in a gorgeous area, Hacienda Urubamba spans approximately 100 acres surrounded by imposing green mountains. All of the rooms feature breathtaking views of the valley, immersing you in open space, serenity, and relaxing solitude.

Mountain Lodges (Soray, Wayra, Colpa, and Lucma)
At the end of each day, in these intimate 6-room lodges, you will enjoy hot showers, fine gourmet meals, select wines, goose-down bedding, massages, outdoor jacuzzis, and highly personalized service from local staff. Each room is warmly presented with down comforters and amenities. The eco-minded architecture effortlessly mixes traditional heritage with contemporary design. Indulge in inventive menus, which provide a refreshing take on the region’s most iconic dishes. All offerings are locally sourced – from organic coffee blends to healthy snacks.

Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
Located in the heart of Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary, Inkaterra’s boutique Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel is an Andean Garden of Eden—one of the world’s most appealing boutique hotels. A fusion of calmness, comfort, Andean style and architecture, its natural beauty spreads over 12 acres of low-rise cottages, plantations, and wild forest interspersed by stone pathways. Waterfalls and streams gently cascade through acres of orchids. Hummingbirds frolic in a private cloud-forest paradise, while you experience an authentic barefoot luxury hotel at the foot of Machu Picchu, within an idyllic enclave of whitewashed casitas.

Palacio del Inka
A storied mansion dating back nearly five centuries, Palacio del Inka stands in the historic center of Cuzco. Directly across from the Koricancha, it is a five-minute walk from the main square and less than a mile from an array of museums, markets, and restaurants.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

What to Bring

Peru has only two seasons: a dry season from April to October, and a wet season from December to March. The weather in the mountains can change quickly and you should be prepared for four seasons in one day. You should carry winter clothing and rain gear at all times. Expect temperatures ranging from 14° to 23°F at night and up to 68°F during the day.

Baggage Note: You must bring a soft-sided duffel bag for this trip. No hard-frames or wheeled suitcases are permitted. For the trek, your luggage should weigh no more than 22lbs.

Clothing and Gear

  • Soft-sided duffel bag
  • Daypack and rain cover
  • Medium-weight, waterproof hiking boots (make sure they are broken in!)
  • 4-5 pairs wool hiking socks
  • 5-7 pairs underwear
  • 1-2 lightweight long underwear tops
  • 1-2 lightweight long underwear bottoms
  • 2-3 short sleeve shirts (quick dry recommended)
  • 1-2 long sleeve shirts (quick dry recommended)
  • 1-2 pairs of pants
  • 1-2 pairs of shorts
  • 1-2 sets of casual clothes for evenings
  • 1 bathing suit
  • 1 medium weight fleece sweater/jacket for cool evenings
  • 1 heavy jacket (down or synthetic)
  • 1 pair gaiters
  • Waterproof jacket (Gore-Tex recommended)
  • Waterproof pants (Gore-Tex recommended)
  • Warm hat, gloves
  • Hat for sun protection
  • Comfortable shoes and/or sandals
  • Sleepwear
  • Telescopic trekking poles
  • Large refillable water bottle or water bladder system

AdventureWomen Essentials

  • Travel documents (passport, airline tickets, money)
  • 2-3 spare passport photos (in case of lost passport)
  • Write down/print out travel insurance number
  • Locks for your suitcase/duffel bag
  • Travel alarm clock with spare batteries
  • Headlamp or small flashlight with spare batteries
  • Binoculars (8x40/42 models are excellent choices; center focus models are easiest)
  • Digital camera, memory cards, battery charger
  • Power adapters/power bank
  • Sunglasses, case, and strap
  • Spare glasses, contact lenses, cleaner, saline, etc.
  • Money belt or neck pouch
  • Sunscreen and lip balm with SPF
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Hand wipes/hand sanitizer
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Soap, shampoo, and conditioner
  • Small packet of tissues
  • Tampons and panty liners (avoid plastic applicators)
  • Earplugs: we recommend silicone earplugs
  • Assortment of stuff sacks and bags (please consider bring reusable or silicone bags to reduce the use of disposable plastics)
  • 1-2 bandanas/Buff
  • Reading material/journal and pens

Personal First Aid Kit

  • Prescription medicine you usually take
  • Personal epi pen (if you need one, don’t forget to pack it!)
  • Bandages, Gauze, Ace bandage, blister prevention
  • Antiseptic wipes/spray
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Cotton-tipped applicators
  • Oral rehydration tablets/packets
  • Antidiarrheal medication
  • Mild laxative
  • Antacid
  • Cold remedies
  • Ibuprofen/acetaminophen
  • Eye drops
  • Tweezers, scissors (travel size), safety pins

If you prefer to buy a complete kit, we recommend the Smart Travel first aid kit.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686