The stunning Inca Trail through the Peruvian Andes to Machu Picchu is an exciting mixture of Peruvian culture and mountain adventure.
- Approach the historical Inca Trail via a mountaineers route; 16,000' Incachiriaska Pass at the foot of Nevado Salkantay en route to Machu Picchu.
- Explore the remnants of several ancient civilizations, from the Incan Empire to the Spanish Conquistadors.
- Hike through remote valleys and the diverse ecological landscapes of Peru's Andes.
- Watch the sunrise over Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Benefit from the leadership of an RMI Guide throughout the trip, gaining from their experience, communication, and care as you venture to high altitudes and see why RMI continues to set the standard in guiding excellence.
Our journey to Machu Picchu begins in the city of Cusco, the former capital of the Incan Empire. We explore the bustling city streets while we acclimatize and prepare for the mountains. In Cusco we visit the nearby Sacred Valley of the Incas, a fertile valley fed by numerous rivers descending from the surrounding hills. Cusco is our first glimpse into the mix of civilizations that have inhabited Peru over the centuries. In this colorful city of contrasts, colonial Spanish cathedrals sit near Incan ruins, and the Quechuan language can still be heard.
Our trek begins by accessing the Salkantay trail at Cruzpata. We circumnavigate Nevado Salkantay, one of the most astonishing glaciated peaks in Peru, before joining the Inca Trail for our remaining trek to Machu Picchu. Over the course of six days, we trek through the Andes, climbing from the arid western side of the mountains and crossing into the lush cloud forests of the eastern slopes en route to the stone citadel of Machu Picchu, an architectural work of art perched high in the forested mountains. Each evening, we set up camp in fields near local villages accessible only by trail.
We follow the Salkantay Trek, an incredibly scenic and less traveled route to Machu Picchu.
RMI's Machu Picchu Trek is a fascinating adventure into the heart of the Peruvian Andes. We have designed our trip to offer an experience that is the best visit to one of the world's great places: we visit Cusco, travel through beautiful mountainous landscapes, hike along the famous Inca Trail and spend time exploring Machu Picchu, all within an approachable time frame that gives you the full experience of the fabled Machu Picchu Trek. The trek is open to individuals in good physical condition.
THE RMI DIFFERENCE
Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. was established in 1969 and is one of America’s oldest and most-trusted guide services. We are the largest guide service on Mt. Rainier and Denali and leaders in guiding climbs and treks around the globe. Our years of leading mountain adventures give us the experience and knowledge to lead the best possible trips. We work hard to live up to our reputation as a leader. Our trip preparation before departure takes care of the details for you, from lodging to airport transfers schedules, so that you can focus on preparing for the adventure instead of the distraction that comes with coordinating logistics.
Our Machu Picchu treks are led by RMI's foremost U.S. guides, who bring years of climbing experience in Peru and on mountains all over the world, from the Andes to the Alaska Range to the Himalayas. As you reach higher elevations and test the limits of your experience, the value of an accomplished, highly trained RMI Guide, held to our standards, and who can effectively communicate with you and the local people, cannot be understated. Our professional guides make possible the experience of safely completing the adventure. We have a close relationship with our local outfitter in Peru, whose years of organizing Machu Picchu treks is evident in the outstanding local staff who accompany us. Our relationships there are the key to our trip's success.
Safety has always been RMI's top priority and we strive to create the safest mountain experience possible. RMI's experienced team of guides focus on leading a fun and successful climb without compromising safety. We apply the same standards of safety we bring to Alaska and the Himalayas to our Machu Picchu Treks. While the trek is a non-technical journey, we do reach high altitudes. Our guides are trained, experienced, and certified by rigorous American standards in wilderness and high altitude medicine, avalanche training, and Leave No Trace techniques. We have spent considerable time in the mountains and know how to do so safely and comfortably; we don't rush to the end of the trail, but instead focus on using techniques that allow us to adjust and even excel in the thin air. Comprehensive medical kits, rescue equipment, and radio and satellite communication equipment are carried with the team throughout the trek.
As you prepare for your upcoming adventure please feel free to contact our office and speak directly to one of our experienced guides regarding equipment, conditioning, the route, or any other questions you may have about our programs. We are available Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at (888) 89-CLIMB or [email protected].
RMI has partnered with Erin Rountree to provide comprehensive travel support. We have been working with Erin for many years. As an independent agent of the Travel Society, she has booked countless miles for adventure travelers across the globe and is extremely knowledgeable about the travel needs of our programs. Please call (208) 788-2870 or send email to [email protected].
Travel insurance is required for this trip. Your travel insurance policy should include trip cancellation, trip interruption, trip delay, baggage loss or delay, medical expenses, and evacuation.
Navigating through the different options for travel insurance can be confusing. To help make the process straightforward, we have partnered with Ripcord Insurance because their policies are specifically designed for adventure travel and offer coverage for remote areas, and for activities like mountaineering, climbing, skiing, and trekking, without any altitude restrictions.
When purchasing Travel Insurance, here are a few items to consider:
- Read the fine print. Travel Insurance will refund you when canceling for a covered reason for any non-refundable cancellation fees. However, there are exclusions, so make sure you understand the "covered reasons."
- Confirm that your activity is a covered “activity.” Not all travel insurance policies will offer coverage for activities such as mountaineering, climbing, skiing, or trekking adventures. Policies can also exclude coverage for activities due to the gear used (crampons, ice axe), for activities that go above certain elevations, or for activities in a particular region of the world. If there are exclusions, you may need to add an "Adventure" or "Sports" package to cover your activity.
- Verify that your state of residence is allowed with the policy that you are purchasing. Not all insurance companies offer policies in all 50 states.
Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance is travel insurance designed for adventurers, including the best evacuation and rescue services available.
Benefits are tailored for adventurers and include:
- Rescue and evacuation from the point of illness or emergency to your home hospital of choice.
- Trip cancellation/interruption, primary medical expense coverage, sporting goods, baggage loss, emergency dental, Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D), and more.
- Completely integrated one-stop program with a single contact for emergency services to travel assistance and insurance claims.
- 24/7 access to paramedics, nurses, and military veterans.
- Security extraction in case of unexpected dangerous and chaotic events.
- Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) options and pre-existing condition waiver within 14 days of your initial trip deposit.
Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance is powered by Redpoint Resolutions, a medical and travel security risk company. Their team is comprised of special operations veterans, paramedics, Stanford Medicine affiliated physicians, former intelligence officers, insurance actuaries, and global security experts with dozens of years of experience in theaters around the world. The Redpoint network covers the globe, making them uniquely equipped to provide elite rescue travel insurance – in every sense of the word. Whether it’s reimbursing you for a canceled trip, paying your travel medical bills, or evacuating you home in an emergency, Ripcord takes the worry out of your travel.
Travel Advisories / Warnings
Please confirm any current travel advisories/warnings as well as entry requirements with the U.S. Department of State.
Several U.S. airlines offer daily flights to Lima, Peru (LIM) with connections to Cusco (CUZ). Many flights arrive in Lima early enough to catch the Cusco connection. Trekkers not able to make the connection may require a short or overnight stay in Lima before flying to Cusco. Plan to arrive in Cusco on Day 2 prior to 3 p.m.
Flights departing Lima may be booked for any time in the evening on the final day of the program.
A valid passport is required when traveling to Peru. Your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond the expected return date. U.S. passport holders may stay up to 90 days without a visa.
We suggest making a copy of the first two pages of your passport and keeping them in a separate bag as a backup. A copy should also be left with your emergency contact.
Upon arrival at the Cusco airport please collect your baggage and proceed to the arrivals area. A private shuttle will take you to our hotel.
The provided ground transportation in Peru as stated in the itinerary is via private vehicle.
Immunizations & Travel Medicine
For the most current information on inoculation requirements and recommendations, please refer to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention.
Travelers may suffer from upset stomachs when in foreign countries. There are some basic rules, however, that can help keep you healthy.
- Hygiene - It is important that you wash your hands thoroughly before meals and after using the restroom. If water is not available for washing, we recommend using a hand sanitizer.
- Water - The number one rule is: don't drink the water, and that includes shower water and ice! Brush your teeth with purified water rather than tap water. You should check bottled water for a good seal and use a napkin to wipe excess moisture from drinking glasses. Take care with fruit juice, particularly if it has been diluted with water. Carefully clean the tops of bottled beverages before opening.
- Food - If it is cooked, boiled, or can be peeled, you can usually eat it. Salads and fruits should be washed with purified water or peeled where possible. Be wary of ice cream and shellfish. Always avoid any undercooked meat.
Excellent care for minor illnesses and injuries is readily available. In the event of more serious illnesses or injuries, we recommend transport to any of the Level 1 care centers in Lima.
Peru Country Facts
Peru, in western South America, extends for nearly 1,500 miles along the Pacific Ocean. Colombia and Ecuador are to the north, Brazil and Bolivia to the east, and Chile to the south. Peru is divided by the Andes Mountains into three sharply differentiated zones. To the west is the coastline, much of it arid, extending 50 to 100 miles inland. The mountain area, with peaks over 20,000 feet, lofty plateaus, and deep valleys, lies centrally. Beyond the mountains to the east is the heavily forested slope leading to the Amazonian plains.
Peru is an emerging, market-oriented economy characterized by a high level of foreign trade. Historically, the country's economic performance has been tied to exports. Its main exports include copper, gold, zinc, textiles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, machinery, services and fish meal. Currently, tourism in Peru makes up the nation's third largest industry, behind fishing and mining.
Peru is a multi-ethnic, multicultural country whose people, subsequently, identify their nationality by citizenship rather than ethnicity. The Peruvian census does not contain information about ethnicity so only rough estimates are available. Its population can be composed of Mestizos (European-Indigenous ancestry): 47%, Amerindians (Indigenous): 31%, European: 18.5%, Afro-Peruvians: 2%, Asians and others: 1%.
Lima is the capital and largest city of Peru and together with the seaport of Callao, forms a contiguous urban area known as the Lima Metropolitan Area. With a population approaching 9 million, Lima is the most populous metropolitan area of Peru.
Cusco (or Cuzco) was the site of the historic capital of the Inca Empire. Though home to less than half a million people, it is a major tourist destination, receiving approximately two million visitors each year. Cusco lies at 11,200 feet in elevation.
Peru was once part of the great Incan Empire and later the major vice-royalty of Spanish South America. It was conquered in 1531–1533 by Francisco Pizarro. On July 28, 1821, Peru proclaimed its independence. For a hundred years thereafter, revolutions were frequent. Political unrest, border conflicts and Maoist guerrilla group dominated Peru’s history through the middle of the 20th century, but the country now stands as a democratic republic with a multi-party system, headed by a president.
The weather in Lima, Cusco and while traveling to and from Machu Picchu can be very warm. We recommend bringing a pair of shorts and a T-shirt. For current weather conditions, check Weather Underground.
The two principal seasons in Peru are the rainy season and the dry season. The dry season typically runs between May and September and is the best time to travel to Machu Picchu.
Temperatures during the dry season run from around 50 F at night to the upper 80s F during the day. Given its exposed location, it can get quite hot in Machu Picchu.
The people of Peru are generally very warm and friendly to tourists. Although it is not expected that we dress formally, we should dress modestly. Casual and comfortable clothing is suggested along with comfortable shoes. Showing expensive cameras, watches, jewelry, etc. is considered unseemly and may attract unwanted attention.
When entering a shop or home, politely use a greeting such as buenos días (good day), buenas tardes (good afternoon), buenas noches (good night). Similarly, upon leaving, even if you've had only minimal contact, say adios (goodbye) or hasta luego (see you later). Peruvians usually shake hands upon parting as well.
On city streets, children selling small items and shining shoes can be quite persistent. Some ask directly for money. To keep from being hassled, a polite but firm "No, gracias" is generally sufficient.
It is expected that you engage in some degree of bargaining for market or street purchases. This is fun, and should be taken lightly.
Horsemen, Pack Horses & Porters
Horses are used along the trek for the first few days to assist in carrying loads. As horses are not allowed on the Inca Trail, we will receive porter support for the final section. Our hard-working porters are Quechuan, a people group indigenous to Peru. They will carry up tp 20 kg (which includes a 4 kg allowance of their own clothes & blankets).
Electricity in Peru is 220 Volts and 60 Hertz. Carry a universal convertor and plug adaptor travel kit.
Peru's official currency is the nuevos sol (S/), divided into 100 centavos. Check a financial newspaper or www.xe.com for the current exchange rate prior to departure.
We suggest bringing $400 - $500 total for personal spending money including restaurant meals, drinks, pocket money, and the Support Staff Tip Pool.
Cash machines are readily available in Lima and Cusco airports. Credit cards are accepted in most, but not all, areas.
Everyone has a preferred way to carry money. Some use money belts, others have hidden pockets. Whatever you do, be aware of pickpockets and thieves in any area which caters to tourists.
Everyone approaches tipping a little differently. Whether or not a person tips, and how much, is completely dependent upon the individual; here are some suggested tipping guidelines for your trip.
Local waiters, drivers, and other service personnel expect to be tipped. Ten to fifteen percent is standard. Some restaurants and hotels add a 10% service fee to bills in which case, no further tip is required.
Support Staff Tip Pool: We recommend that each climber contribute $200 to the Tip Pool. This is collected at the beginning of the trip and will cover group tips for all our support and mountain staff throughout the program.
Our guides work hard to ensure your well-being and success on the mountain. If you have a positive experience, gratuities are an excellent way to show your appreciation. Amounts are at your discretion and should be based on your level of enjoyment. Tips for excellent service normally average 10 – 15% of the cost of the program. If you would rather not bring the guide gratuity with you on the trip, you can send a check or call the RMI office to pay with a credit card upon your return.
Fodor's and other travel service websites are readily available and describe Peru travel and facts.
This trip is open to all individuals in excellent physical condition. There are no technical climbing prerequisites to join this program.
Get In The Best Shape Of Your Life And Then Go Climb A Mountain
Create A Fitness And Training Program
Physical Fitness Training
Mountaineering requires a high degree of physical stamina and mental toughness. Even for the healthiest and fittest individuals, climbing mountains qualifies as an extremely challenging endeavor.
- Start immediately. Start a rigorous fitness and training program now with the goal of arriving in top physical condition and confident in your skills.
- Be intentional. Focus on gaining the necessary strength, stamina and skills to meet the physical and technical demands of the climb.
- Be sport-specific. The best fitness and training program mimics the physical and technical demands of your climbing objective. The closer you get to your program date, the more your training should resemble the climbing.
For the Machu Picchu Trek, you are preparing for:
- Hiking/trekking with a 15-20 lb load
- A 6+ hour day
- Using core strength and flexibility to navigate uneven terrain
Nothing ensures a personally successful adventure like your level of fitness and training. Bottom line: Plan on being in the best shape of your life and ready for a very challenging adventure!
Please refer to our Resources for Mountaineering Fitness and Training for detailed fitness and training information.
The key to climbing high is proper acclimatization. Our program follows a calculated ascent profile which allows time for your body to adjust to the altitude.
Excellent physical conditioning significantly increases your ability to acclimatize as you ascend. Trekkers in excellent physical condition simply have more energy to commit to the acclimatization process throughout the days and nights of the ascent, allowing their bodies to adjust to the altitude more easily.
Finally, physical performance and acclimatization are also related to how well you have taken care of yourself throughout the hours, days and weeks prior. Arriving healthy and well-rested, maintaining proper hydration and caloric intake, and protecting against unnecessary heat loss (staying warm) are all key factors in an individual’s success on an adventure such as this.
What You’ll Need
A list of required personal equipment accompanies every RMI program, and the thought process behind each item is much greater than simply “preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.” The list for your program takes into account factors such as: seasonality, route conditions, weather, elevation and more. As such, this list is framed within the broadest of contexts and is dynamic by its very nature. Therefore, certain variables (additions and/or subtractions) are inherent within such an all-encompassing list. We make every effort to recommend only top of the line clothing and technical gear and it is never our intention for you to buy or rent unnecessary gear.
The Guide Pick is an example of the listed item, giving you an idea of the material and specifications of the item. This exact item does not need to be purchased or used; however, any item you choose must have similar characteristics and performance abilities to the Guide Pick.
RMI Guides concur on the potential necessity of every item, thus every item on the list is required at gear check. However, guides may also have suggestions derived from their experience, some of which will vary from a given list. The guides’ recommendation whether to bring along or leave behind certain item(s) comes during the gear check, when the team first meets. Occasionally this recommendation comes at the expense of having previously purchased an item. If a guide presents the option of leaving behind certain item(s) on the list of required equipment, it is for a reason. Their recommendation may be related to the weather, route conditions, freezing level, perceived strength of the party, or desired pack weight.
Ultimately, there will never be a consensus for a “perfect” equipment list for an ascent. It does not exist because of the multitude of variables faced by climbers throughout the climb. Please follow this equipment list closely so that you will arrive for the gear check with all the required items. Keep in mind the list is not black and white, fine tuning will occur once you meet with your guide. Have a great climb!
- Most of the required equipment is available for rent or purchase from our affiliate Whittaker Mountaineering. RMI climbers receive a 10% discount on new clothing and equipment items ordered from Whittaker Mountaineering when they use code RMI2023 at checkout. This offer excludes sale items, rentals, meal packages, and Feathered Friends.
Shop Your Equipment List // Rent new equipment for your climb
Pack & Travel
120+ liter bag(s) made of tough material with rugged zippers.
This 45-55 liter bag will be carried by the porters between camps and must fit into their large porter backpack. We recommend a water-resistant or waterproof bag.
Bring as needed. Make sure these are TSA-compliant.
You'll use this backpack to carry your personal gear needed on the trail (warm jacket, hard shells, water, camera, etc.) not including any of the gear that will be carried by our mountain staff (sleeping bag, extra clothes, etc). This can also be used as a carry-on and while traveling or sightseeing.
Protects your pack from rain while on the trail.
Sleeping Bag & Pad
We recommend a bag rated between 20° and 0° F. Allow ample room for movement. We recommend down over synthetic for its light weight, warmth, and packability. If you know you sleep cold, consider a 0° F bag.
Not required for this trip. One inflatable sleeping pad is provided for you.
We recommend lightweight, collapsible poles.
Wool or synthetic.
A Buff provides versitile head and neck protection. A neck gaiter is also acceptable.
Start with fresh batteries and bring extra set(s) of batteries appropriate to the duration of the trip.
Regular sunglasses will suffice on this program; glacier glasses are not required.
Each glove layer is worn separately as conditions change during the climb.
Light weight liner or softshell gloves. Lighter colors absorb less sunlight while still offering UV protection.
Wind- and water-resistant, insulated mountain gloves.
We recommend a minimum of five upper body layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Two of these should be insulating layers, one light, and one medium, that fit well together. Today there are many different layering systems to choose from, including fleece, softshell, down, and synthetic options.
Long-sleeve wool or synthetic top. Light weight, light-colored, hooded baselayers (sun hoodys) are highly recommended for sun protection.
One step up in warmth and bulk from a baselayer. A technical fleece makes an ideal light weight insulating layer.
A down, synthetic, or softshell hoody makes a great midlayer.
A hooded down or synthetic jacket.
An uninsulated, waterproof shell jacket with hood.
We recommend a moisture-wicking, active-wear bra.
We recommend a system of four layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Products which combine several layers into one garment, such as traditional ski pants, don’t work well as they don’t offer the versatility of a layering system.
Non-cotton briefs or boxers.
Synthetic or wool.
Noninsulated, waterproof shell pants must be able to fit comfortable over your baselayer bottoms and trekking pants. Full-length side zippers are required for facilitating quick clothing adjustments over boots.
A light weight, synthetic pair of pants is a good option for the approach trek when hiking at lower altitudes and in warm conditions. These pants have no insulation, are typically made of thin nylon, and commonly feature zippers to convert between pants and shorts.
A pair of light weight cotton or nylon pants, great for wearing around camp.
A pair of lightweight boots for approaches and hiking on rugged terrain. We recommend a waterproof, mid-top boot for better stability and ankle support.
Great for traveling and wearing around town or camp. A pair of tennis shoes or light hikers works well.
Large enough to fit over your trekking boots to guard against mud and snow.
Either wool or synthetic. Whatever sock combination you are accustomed to wearing during your training or previous adventures (whether single medium weight socks, a medium weight with a liner sock, two medium weight socks together, etc.), should work just fine for this climb.
First Aid & Medications
We recommend you speak with your physician about which medications you should have for high-altitude climbing. These medications are only used in emergency situations, and if someone is showing symptoms of HAPE or HACE, our standard protocol is for immediate descent. We do not take any of these medications prophylactically, and please talk with your guide before taking medications.
We require each climber to have the following medications:
Broad spectrum antibiotics for respiratory and gastrointestinal problems like Azithromycin (250mg tablets).
125mg tablets for the prevention or treatment of Acute Mountain Sickness. A normal prescription is 125mg tablets, twice a day. Recommend 15 - 20 tablets.
4mg tablets for the treatment of altitude illness. Recommend 12 tablets.
30mg slow-release tablets for the prevention or treatment of high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE). Recommend 8 - 10 tablets.
Our guides carry comprehensive medical kits, so keep yours small and light. We recommend a selection of adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, Moleskin and blister care, medical tape and/or duct tape, cough drops, basic painkillers, an antacid, an anti-diarrheal, and personal medications.
See the Food tab for suggestions and quantities.
One-liter water bottles with wide mouths made of co-polyester (BPA-free plastic).
Bring as needed.
We recommend lining your day pack and duffel bag with garbage bags to keep items completely dry. You can also use waterproof pack liners.
Include toilet paper, hand sanitizer, toothbrush and toothpaste, and wet wipes. Bring a quantity appropriate to the duration of your trip.
We recommend small tubes of SPF 30 or higher, which can be carried in pockets for easy access and to prevent freezing.
We recommend SPF 15 or higher.
Spare prescription glasses if you wear contact lenses/eyeglasses.
Practice using this before coming on the climb!
Daily wash water provided. Towel is used to dry face and hands.
Many smartphones have excellent cameras. Action cameras, small point-and-shoots, and compact dSLRs are lightweight and work well at altitude.
A small power bank, enough to charge a phone or e-reader several times.
For charging personal electronics while traveling internationally.
We recommend bringing a selection of comfortable clothing to wear while traveling as well as pre- and post-trip.
Valid for six months beyond your return date.
The first two pages of your passport.
Purchase travel insurance.
Purchase airplane tickets.
Reserve rental equipment.
Be in the best shape of your life!
RMI provides the following equipment for your program: sleeping tents, sleeping pads, dining tent, stoves, chef and group cooking equipment, fuel, tables, chairs, and private biological toilet at each camp.
Every guide on your climb will carry rescue equipment and a first aid kit. Each climb has two-way radios and a satellite phone for emergency contact.
On the Machu Picchu trek you will need mountain snacks for 6 days. All of your mountain snack items should weigh about 1 - 2 lb.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals on the mountain are included as indicated in our Trip Itinerary. With the exception of hotel breakfasts, most restaurant meals are on your own. You are responsible for your own bottled water and drinks.
MOUNTAIN LUNCHES AND SNACKS
Our lunches on the trail typically consist of vegetable creams, omelets, and deli items.
Mountain snacks are eaten during short breaks throughout the day. We continually snack to keep our energy levels up while we climb - lunch begins just after breakfast and ends just before dinner! Avoid packing any items that require preparation or hot water.
The importance of having foods that are genuinely enjoyed cannot be overstated. Eating properly is the key to maintaining strength while in the mountains. In order to combat the loss of appetite at altitude we aim to have a variety of foods that stimulate the whole palate, from sweet to sour to salty.
Recommended mountain snack items: candy bars, energy bars, GORP mixes, dry fruit, nuts, cookies, hard candies (Jolly Ranchers, toffees, Life Savers), gummy bears, sour candies (Sweet Tarts), and drink mixes (Gatorade/Kool-Aid).
We may have the opportunity to purchase additional food in Peru; we recommend you take what you need and only supplement with local food if necessary.
Scrambled eggs, oatmeal, or cereal can be expected for breakfasts along with hot drinks such as coffee, tea, cocoa, or cider.
Dinner normally begins with soup and ends with dessert, followed by a round of hot drinks. Healthy one-pot meals, incorporating fresh local food whenever practical, are served as the main course.
We require that all climbers and guides have received the primary COVID-19 vaccination series (1 or 2 doses depending on manufacturer) to join our programs. You will need to upload a copy of your COVID-19 Vaccination Card into your RMI Account before you can be confirmed on the program.
We also require climbers read, sign, and agree to RMI's COVID-19 Operating Procedures in order to participate in the program.
Deposit Payments: A non-refundable deposit payment of $1,500 per person secures your reservation.
- Deposit payments may be made via MasterCard, Visa, American Express*, e-check/ACH, or check from a U.S. bank.
Balance Payments: The balance payment is due 120 days before the start of your program.
- Balance payments may be made via MasterCard, Visa, American Express*, e-check/ACH, check from a U.S. bank or wire transfer.**
- **Wire transfers must cover all fees charged by your bank. The amount of the incoming wire to our bank must equal the balance payment amount.
- A payment reminder is emailed approximately three weeks before your payment due date. If your balance payment is not received 120 days before the start of your program, your reservation will be canceled, and all program fees forfeited.
- Payment in full is required when registering for a program within 120 days of the departure date.
*There is a 3% surcharge on all credit/debit card transactions. Credit/debit cards are not accepted for payments of $10,000 or more.
The $1,500 per person deposit is non-refundable and non-transferable.
- All cancellations require written notification. Once the RMI Office receives your written notification of cancellation, the following apply:
- If you cancel 120 or more days before the start of your program, the $1,500 per person deposit will not be refunded.
- If you cancel less than 120 days before the start of your program, no refunds will be issued.
Due to the time-sensitive nature of these programs, and the amount of preparation time required for this program, it is unlikely that a vacant space will be filled close to the departure date. For this reason, we will strictly adhere to our policy and cannot make exceptions for any reason.
We require that everyone purchase travel insurance. Please see our Travel Tab for details.
- RMI Leadership
- Hotel accommodations as indicated in the itinerary, based on double occupancy*
- All park entrance fees
- All group transportation in country as indicated in the itinerary
- All group cooking, trekking and camping equipment
- International airfare
- Travel insurance, medical evacuation insurance and security evacuation insurance
- Excess baggage fees and departure taxes
- RT-PCR or Antigen test required for return to United States
- Meals not included in the itinerary
- Bottled water and personal drinks
- Customary guide gratuities
- Support Staff Tip Pool (we suggest $200 per person)
- Additional room charges including laundry service and other personal expenses
- Hotel accommodations not indicated in the itinerary
- Any expenses from COVID-19 or COVID-19 testing that causes delays or quarantine requirements such as additional lodging, food, transfers, border issues, delayed test results, etc.
- Medical, hospitalization and evacuation costs (by any means)
* Accommodations are based on double occupancy. A Single Supplement Fee will be charged to those occupying single accommodations by choice or circumstance.
Please clearly understand that mountaineering is inherently a hazardous sport. Managing risk is RMI’s number one priority. Our guides manage significant hazards inherent in mountaineering such as avalanches, ice fall, rockfall, inclement weather, and high winds, but they cannot eliminate them.
You are choosing to engage in an activity in which participants have been injured and killed. While those accidents are indeed infrequent, they may occur at any time and be out of our control. We ask that participants acknowledge the risk and hazards of mountaineering, and make their own choices about whether or not to engage in this activity.
Mountaineering is both an individual challenge and a team endeavor. Each Participant is required to share in the responsibility of the safety and success of the team. For this reason, we ask that each Participant:
- Possess the necessary physical and mental fitness required for this program.
- Be responsible for knowing all pre-departure information.
- Provide a signed Physician’s Certificate stating that the Participant is medically qualified to join this program.
- Update the RMI Office if there are any changes to your health or medical information before departure.
- Be properly attired and equipped as outlined in the Equipment List.
- Act in a considerate manner toward all team members and show respect for local customs, values, and traditions in the areas we travel.
- Help minimize our impact on the environment and follow appropriate Leave No Trace practices.
- Describe yourself, honestly and accurately, in terms of fitness, health, skills, abilities, and your equipment to your guide staff.
- Communicate with your guide staff on the mountain if there are any changes in your medications or health.
- Adhere to the advice of your guide staff.
- Continue to self-assess throughout the program, measuring your fitness, health, skills, and abilities against the demands required of the program.
RMI reserves the right to dismiss the Participant from a program or to send the Participant to a lower altitude at any time if the RMI Guide Staff determines, in its sole discretion, that the Participant is not physically, technically, or psychologically prepared for, or capable of participating in the program, or for any other reason that may compromise the safety, health or well-being of the Participant or the entire group. If this decision is made, the Participant will not receive any refunds or credits and will be financially responsible for any additional costs associated with an early departure, including but not limited to, evacuation, transportation, hotel reservationss, meals, etc.
Zero Tolerance Harassment Policy
Rainier Mountaineering, Inc. (RMI) does not tolerate harassment or mistreatment of our participants or employees. Inappropriate conduct under this policy may include conduct that creates a disrespectful, intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for a participant or employee. Engaging in such conduct is a violation of this policy.
RMI may consider conduct to be in violation of the policy even if it falls short of unlawful harassment under applicable law. When determining whether conduct violates this policy, we will consider whether a reasonable person could conclude that the conduct created an intimidating, hostile, degrading, or demeaning environment.
Violation of this policy may result in removal from a program, as well as refusal to provide services indefinitely. We place the utmost value on the safety of our participants and employees. Please report any incidents to RMI management.
All participants must be 18 years old at the time of registration.
RMI’s program schedule and itineraries are subject to change or adjustment based on a number of factors. These include, but are not limited to, route conditions, weather, group strength, terrain, or other environmental factors, and many other factors. RMI has complete discretion to change plans to accommodate any of these or other factors, including but not limited to increases in program fees, changes to program schedule or itinerary, and changes to guides or staff, as necessary for the proper and safe conduct of the program. Once the program has started, the Lead Guide will decide on any changes to the itinerary, including ending the program early if the continuation of the program may compromise the safety, health, or well-being of the group.
We reserve the right to cancel any program due to inadequate signups, weather, route conditions, or for any other reason. In such a case, we will make every effort to reschedule the Participant on a different program date. If rescheduling is not possible, we will issue the Participant a refund for all program fees paid to RMI, less any non-refundable payments made on behalf of the Participant to secure any of the included land costs provided for this program, including but not limited to, hotel accommodations, transportation, transfers, tours, group equipment and food, permits, and local outfitter services, prior to the cancellation of the program. Additionally, RMI cannot be responsible for any non-refundable expenses the Participant incurred in preparation for the program (i.e., airline tickets, hotel reservations, rental cars, equipment purchases or rentals, etc.).
Once a program begins, there are no refunds or credits for weather-related cancellations or for a program that may end early due to weather, route conditions, or any other circumstances that may compromise the health, safety, or well-being of the group. Furthermore, if the Participant decides for any reason not to begin a program or to discontinue a program at any time, no refunds or credits will be issued. The Participant will be responsible for all additional costs associated with an early departure, including but not limited to evacuation, transportation, hotel reservations, meals, etc.
The Participant is responsible for any costs due to COVID-19, including but not limited to, any testing fees to enter another country, tests required to return to the US, and/or costs associated with medical care and/or quarantine such as hotel accommodations, meals, separate transportation, etc.
Land Costs are provided as a package, and refunds or credits will not be issued for any unused meals, accommodations, group transportation, or other unused costs. Accommodations are based on double occupancy. A Single Supplement Fee will be charged to those Participants occupying single accommodations either by choice or circumstance. If you are willing to share a room, we will make every effort to pair you with another same-gender team member. We will match willing same-gender team members based on the order of registration date. If we are unable to match you with another same-gender team member, a single supplement fee will be charged. The availability of single accommodations is limited in most of the hotels where we stay, and single accommodations are not available while in the mountains.
The Participant understands and agrees that RMI assumes no responsibility or liability in connection with any travel and hospitality services provided to the Participant by other companies in connection with the program, including but not limited to, the services provided by airlines, hotels, rental cars, and transportation companies and that RMI is not responsible for any act, error, omission, or any injury, loss, accident, delay, irregularity, or danger by a supplier of travel or hospitality services to the Participant in connection with the RMI program. The Participant will be responsible for all costs associated with any travel delays, missed connections, or missing baggage that requires additional arrangements (separate transportation, hotel accommodations, meals, etc.) to be made on your behalf for you or your baggage to rejoin the program.
What is a brief history of the Inca Roads and Machu Picchu?
The road system of the Inca stretched from present-day Quito, Ecuador all the way south to Santiago, Chile, covering more than 14,000 miles in western South America. The roads saw mostly foot-traffic as the Inca neither used horses nor wheels, although llamas were commonly used to transport goods.
Many of the roads crossed through Cusco, the capital of the Inca. Machu Picchu, described by the Quechuan word, Old Peak, is located on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley, 44 miles from Cusco.
The Incan city of Machu Picchu was established around 1450 and was likely home to some 800 to 1200 people at its peak. It was abandoned in advance of the Spanish invasion, a move that helped protect the city from a total razing.
Why did RMI Expeditions choose the Salkantay Trek?
RMI Expeditions chose the Salkantay Trek because it is off the beaten path, offers unbelievably spectacular mountain views, and provides a bit more of a challenge than the shorter, classic Inca Trail. We end our trip by joining the Inca Trail into Machu Picchu.
What is a day on the trek like?
A typical day on the trail begins around 7:00 a.m. when we meet for breakfast. We begin trekking shortly thereafter and walk for 6 - 8 hours. The trail is not a difficult hike but the altitude does make it a physical challenge. The Salkantay Pass, at over 15,000 feet above sea level, is recognized as the most difficult section in the 45-mile trail.
After reaching our camp for the day (normally by early afternoon) we have the afternoon to rest and relax, before meeting for dinner. There is plenty of down time - an important part of the acclimatization process - during the trek. Be sure to bring along a good book or a deck of cards!
How much weight am I carrying in my pack?
Backpacks on the trail should weigh approximately 15 to 20 lb. as we only carry the day's snacks, water, and a few extra layers in case of rain or cold temperatures. Porters assist us on the trek, carrying all of our sleeping gear, extra clothing, and equipment. Our porters are always available to help lighten your load if your backpack is proving a hindrance while on the trail.
What is the trekking pace like?
We travel at an appropriate speed to cover the distance we need for the day without going too quickly or too slowly. While the actual distances are relatively short, the altitudes to which we travel are high and the days of hiking are still challenging.
What is the food like on the mountain?
Please see our Food details for an example of meals while on the mountain.
Is the water okay to drink?
We do not recommend drinking tap water in Peru. Bottled water is readily available in Lima and Cusco. On the trek, we provide our teams with filtered, boiled water that is safe to drink. Personal water filters or water treatment tablets are not needed.
What are the camps like?
We take the necessary time to establish nice camps that are surprisingly comfortable considering that we are on a remote trek! We provide three-person tents for every two trekkers. The cooking is done in a separate kitchen tent and our dining tent, with tables and chairs, is a nice to place to hang out and escape from the sun in the afternoon before the team sits down together to dine around the table.
What are the toilets like?
We provide toilets at all our camps. Our toilets are small, biodegradable chemical toilets used exclusively by our group and enclosed in small tent to offer plenty of privacy. While on the trekking route, where no toilets exist, we use bio-bags to collect our solid waste. We recommend that you bring hand sanitizer for use after visiting the toilets.
How will I be able to stay connected with those at home?
We suggest bringing a smart phone or a WIFI-enabled device and using it where WIFI and internet services are available, as in Lima and Cusco. Along the trekking route, however, WIFI access is not available. Cell service is widely available across most of Peru, see below.
Should I bring a cell phone or a satellite phone?
Cell phone coverage does not exist on the majority of the trek, however, coverage is generally available in and around towns. If you’d like to make phone calls from along the trek, you will need a sat phone. Phone rental is available through Remote Satellite Systems International.
Check with your cell phone carrier to see if they offer international coverage in Peru and make sure you have the appropriate international plans and understand the associated rates.
RMI carries a satellite phone with the group through the entire trip for emergency use.
Do iPhones function well at high altitude?
Yes. However, the cold can impact the battery life making it necessary for it to be charged a few times on the trip.
Is a Kindle or Nook practical on this trip?
Yes, but if you wish to take it on the trek you will certainly need to recharge it once in a while using a personal solar charger. We recommend downloading all of your desired books before arriving in Peru.