Just completed spectacular 11 day trip to Machu Picchu with my son including LIma, Cuzco and the Sacred Valley. All arrangements were made 6 months in advance with Adventures within Reach (AWR). I contacted AWR through their website and was connected to Barbara Collander, who emailed me all the information I needed. Barbara was extremely attentive to my needs, 2 days Lima (tour), 2 days Cuzco (tour), 1 day Sacred Valley (tour), 4 day hike on Inca trail ending at Machu Picchu + 1 day tour of ruins with climb to Huayna Picchu (highly recommended). All arrangements were made with Barbara to perfection, including transfers and tickets. I only needed to book the flights: JetBlue to/fro Lima and AeroPeru to/fro Cuzco (not recommended, use Avianca instead). Some essentials for trip: At least 2 cameras with extra battery packs, cool Indiana Jones hat with chin strap, Travel Insurance through Smartmouth, I used Trawick, $1M Hazardous Activity with $250 ded for $73pp. 3L Camelback for hike on Inca Trail, money belt to hold passports, Salomon Lightweight hiking boots with sports jel insert, Climacool hiking pants with zippered pockets, underarmor heat shirts, all weather socks (from Cosco), bug proof sleeping bag liner (they provide sleeping bags at $25pp), lightweight sweatshirt with hood and down jacket (both foldable). You should also bring plenty of ziplock bags to protect non-waterproof items (like toiler paper). The hike itself was subcontracted to Explorandes. We had an unbelievable guide, Manuel, plus 2 cooks and 15 porters. There were 7 people in our group. Poles, tents and air mattresses were included. The food and service on the trek was fantastic. Got a Hep A shot for trip and Diamox prescription for altitude (could have used cocoa tea in Peru instead but didn't take the chance). All in all, we were very lucky with the weather, cool summer mornings, hotter sun in the afternoon, a little cooler at night. Everything was blooming in Peru, with beautiful hummingbirds, butterflies and plenty of llamas along the way. I booked the low season (Sept - Dec) to avoid crowds on the trek. All our rain was overnight. Absolutely recommend this trip and itinerary for anyone who wants to see Peru on a fairly limited budget. Also, bring Peruvian soles (about $200 USD pp). They really come in handy.
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