Enjoy the thrill and challenge of a six-day inn-to-inn trek in the Andes, following the Salkantay route, culminating at iconic Machu Picchu. Care is taken for full acclimatization as well as comfort in intimate mountain lodges.

Starting at: $5,995 Register Interest or Call 833-254-6678
 Machu Picchu and the Urubamba River  Andean woman walking near Chinchero. Credit: Christopher Newman  The capital of Cusco  The impressive stone walls of Sacsayhuaman  Terraced landscape of Písac in the Sacred Valley  Crossing a river on the Salkantay route  The Salkantay route   Hikers along the Salkantay route  Looking out on Humantay Lake  Crossing Salkantay Pass  At the highest point of Salkantay Pass  Night sky over Machu Picchu  Huayra Lodge  Relaxing at the lodge after a day of hiking  Panorama of Machu Picchu  The iconic Machu Picchu  Machu Picchu  Exploring the renowned stone work of Machu Picchu   An amazing view of Machu Picchu

Inn to Inn Hiking to Machu Picchu

12 days from $5,995

Enjoy the thrill and challenge of a six-day inn-to-inn trek in the Andes, following the Salkantay route, culminating at iconic Machu Picchu. Care is taken for full acclimatization as well as comfort in intimate mountain lodges.

or Call 833-254-6678

Accommodations

* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.

Palacio del Inka

Cusco, Peru

Set in a restored palace with elements dating from the 15th century, this hotel is situated near the remains of the Koricancha temple. The elegant rooms feature locally inspired artwork as well as flat-screen TVs and balconies or terraces.

Number of nights: 2

Peruvian-style Mountain Lodges

Andes Mountains, Peru

These beautifully appointed mountain lodges have been designed with traditional Incan building techniques and blend perfectly with the surrounding environment. You will enjoy hot showers, gourmet meals, and personalized service from the local staff after your day’s trek.

Number of nights: 5

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

Machu Picchu Pueblo (formerly Aguas Calientes), Peru

This Andean village-style hotel, situated amid a cloud forest, features 12 acres of gardens laced with lush plantings, stone paths, and small water features. Amenities include cozy casitas, a refined restaurant with views of the Urubamba River, and posh spa with a plunge pool fed by spring water. Amenities of this 83-room hotel include a restaurant, café, and bar; spa; gift shop; Internet access; and laundry and dry cleaning services. Individually decorated guest rooms feature wood furniture designed and handmade by local artisans, as well as private bath with hair dryer, air conditioning, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 2

Tambo del Inka

Urubamba, Peru

Overlooking the Urubamba River, this elegant hotel is situated near the lively Plaza de Armas. Rooms offer balconies and the lobby features a stone fireplace and bar to relax after your day.

Number of nights: 1

Activity Level

Activity Level 4:  Active


Expectations: This trip is part of the Smithsonian Active Journeys collection. These trips feature a daily schedule of physical activities—such as walking, hiking, kayaking, rafting, or bicycling—in addition to activities designed to offer cultural or historical context. Each trip entails a different level of physical expectations. As some trips are more difficult than others, please review the following activity level description—and feel free to contact an Active Journeys Specialist to discuss the trip at more length—to ensure this Active Journey is right for you.

For this trip, daily hikes of 4 to 14 miles (from two to eight hours a day) are taken at an active pace over varied terrain that ranges from well groomed trails to rocky, steep trails with significant gain or loss. Sturdy hiking boots, hiking poles for steep ascents and descents, and day packs for daily necessities are a must. Altitudes range from 6,000 to 15,340 feet. No vehicle support is possible while on the trek.

Each day features a cultural site or activity associated with the walk, such as an archaeological site, culinary highlight, pisco tasting, or meeting with a weaver or other local people. Travelers have some leisure time in the evenings. 

During vehicle transfers, transport is by 15-passenger van. The maximum driving time is two hours. Accommodations feature intimate mountain lodges with dedicated chef and outdoor hot tubs as well as luxury boutique hotels. While on the trek all guest luggage is carried by horses.

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit, expect a vigorous pace, are comfortable participating in up to eight hours of hiking per day, and enjoy a physical challenge.

Reading List

Highly Recommended

Lost City of the Incas (Phoenix Press)
By: Hiram Bingham
A special illustrated edition of Hiram Bingham's classic work captures all the magnificence and mystery of the amazing archeological sites he uncovered. Early in the 20th century, Bingham ventured into the wild and then unknown country of the Eastern Peruvian Andes--and in 1911 came upon the fabulous Inca city that made him famous: Machu Picchu. In the space of one short season he went on to discover two more lost cities, including Vitcos, where the last Incan Emperor was assassinated.
Stone Offerings: Machu Picchu's Terraces of Enlightenment
By: Mike Torrey
Over 100 stunning color photographs of Machu Picchu taken at both the June and December solstices by architectural photographer Mike Torrey. With hardly any visitors evident, these photographs appraise the artistry of the man-made celebrating the natural, as well as the mystery of how, why, when this magical place was constructed. Includes a photographic map of site plus points of interest descriptions, and a complete index of photographs. Marie Arana's passionate introduction appears in both English and Spanish and illuminates the inspirational essence of this wonder-of-the-world. Author's Note describes how photographer created images without showing all the visitors.
Insight Guides Peru
By: Insight Guides
Inca ruins, Amazon jungle, and fascinating tribal customs make Peru a top destination for travelers interested in landscape and culture, as well adventure sports enthusiasts. This new edition of Insight Guide Peru is a comprehensive, full-color travel guide packed with inspiration and information. From national parks and natural wonders to unique cultural experiences, the Best of Peru has it covered. Lively features on Peru’s history and culture provide an in-depth introduction to what makes the country unique, while stunning photography captures its people, landscape and wildlife.Detailed full-color maps help you get around, while the travel tips section is packed with useful information on transportation, climate, festivals, and outdoor activities, and provides answers to such questions as when to go, where to stay and what to budget for your trip
Inca Trail - Cusco - Machu Picchu - Sacred Valley Map (English and Spanish Edition)
By: Lima 2000
This fact-filled map features a road map (1:300,000) on one side and topographic detail of the Inca Trail (1:50,000) on the other. It's helpful for those making the trek from kilometer 88 to the site and for those exploring by bus or train. Insets include: Trail elevation Aguas Calientes The Inca Trail Machu Picchu Borders feature small color photographs and travel information.

Maps & Guidebooks

Laminated Peru Map by Borch (English, Spanish, French, Italian and German Edition)
By: Borch
Folded road and travel map in color. Scale 1:1,750,000. Distinguishes raods ranging from fexpressways to country lanes/paths. Legend includes international airports, airfields, mountain passes, Indian reservations, sights, museums, monuments, churches, monasteries, archaeological sites, caves, beaches, surfing sites, viewpoints, waterfalls, lodges, hospitals, golf courses, gas stations, national parks, nature reserves, markets, hotels. Includes inset map of Peru Amazonico (1:2,500,000), Gran Lima (1:150,000), Central Lima (1:18,000), Gran Cusco (1:50,000), Central Cusco (1:12,000), Arequipa (1:17,000), Ayacucho (1:20,000), Trujillo (1:20,000), Chan Chan (1:40,000), Sacsayhuaman (1:10,000) and Machu Picchu (1:44,000). Climate charts show the average daily temperatures, humidity, hours of sunshine and precipitation for each month.
The Inca Trail, Cusco & Machu Picchu: Includes Santa Teresa Trek, Choquequirao Trek, Lares Trail, Ausangate Circuit & Lima City Guide (Trailblazer)
By: Alexander Stewart, Henry Stedman
Lost to the jungle for centuries, Machu Picchu was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham 100 years ago. It's now probably the most famous sight in South America – and justifiably so. Perched high above the river on a knife-edge ridge, the ruins are truly spectacular. The best way to reach them is on foot, following parts of the original paved Inca Trail over passes of 4200m (13,500ft).This all-in-one guide includes hiking options from two days to three weeks with 60 detailed hiking maps showing walking times, camping places and all points of interest. Routes covered include the Inca Trail, Choquequirao, Santa Teresa and two new routes for this edition: the Lares Trail and Ausangate Circuit. Includes an introductory colour section and Machu Picchu section in colour.Practical information – planning your trek and getting to PeruLima and Cusco – street plans, what to see, where to stayThe Imperial Landscape – a reading of Inca history in the Sacred Valley, by explorer and historian, Hugh Thomson, author of The White Rock – An Exploration of the Inca Heartland. Two new routes for this edition: the Lares Trail and Ausangate Circuit.60 trail maps,10 town plans, 15 site plans
Archaeological Map of Machu Picchu by Wright Water Engineers
By: Wright Water Engineers
Full detail archaeological map of Machu Picchu. With inset map of the summit of Huayna Picchu. Legend includes shrines, temples, subterranean caves, archaeological points of interest, tourist routes, principal Inca routes, corral, structural walls, rock outcrops, stairs, fountains, mortars, conjunto numbers, room numbers, roofless areas, peripheral areas, agricultural areas, garden areas, Inca canal. Main points of interest are highlighted with photo/info on reverse side.

History, Culture & Exploration

Peru: The Cookbook
By: Gastón Acurio
The definitive Peruvian cookbook, featuring 500 traditional home cooking recipes from the country’s most acclaimed and popular chef, Gastón Acurio.One of the world’s most innovative and flavorful cuisines, Peruvian food has been consistently heralded by chefs and media around the world as the "next big thing." Peruvian restaurants are opening across the United States, with 20 in San Francisco alone, including Limon and La Mar.Acurio guides cooks through the full range of Peru’s vibrant cuisine from popular classics like quinoa and ceviche, and lomo saltado to lesser known dishes like amaranth and aji amarillo. For the first time, audiences will be able to bring the flavors of one of the world’s most popular culinary destinations into their own kitchen.
The Conquest of the Incas
By: John Hemming
“Distinguished by an extraordinary empathy, a feeling of one’s way into the minds of the sixteenth-century Spaniards and Indians . . . Provocative.” — New York Times“An extraordinary book. Combining rigorous historical research and profound analysis with stylistic elegance, this work allows the reader to appreciate the tragic and fabulous history of the Incan empire in all its richness and diversity. It reads like the most skillful novel.” — Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the Nobel Prize in literatureIn 1532, the magnificent Inca empire was the last great civilization still isolated from the rest of humankind. The Conquest of the Incas is the definitive history of this civilization’s overthrow, from the invasion by Pizarro’s small gang of conquistadors and the Incas’ valiant attempts to expel the invaders to the destruction of the Inca realm, the oppression of its people, and the modern discoveries of Machu Picchu and the lost city of Vilcabamba. This authoritative, wide-ranging account, grounded in meticulous research and firsthand knowledge and told from the viewpoints of both protagonists, “keeps all the complex issues to the fore . . . the deeper wonder of the conquest and the deeper horror of its results” (Washington Post). “The bible for historians and archaeologists studying the final days of the Inca. For the past thirty years, The Conquest of the Incas has remained the most influential book for Inca scholars. There is no other book which is even in the same class.” — Brian S. Bauer, professor, University of Illinois at Chicago, leading archaeologist of the Inca
Lima: A Cultural History (Cityscapes)
By: James Higgins
Formerly the viceregal capital of Spain's vast South American empire, Lima is today a sprawling metropolis struggling to cope with a population of eight million. Located on the coast between the Andean foothills and the Pacific Ocean, it is many cities in one, with an indigenous past, an old colonial heart, and turn-of-the-century quarters modeled on Paris. Leafy suburbs like San Isidro and tranquil seaside communities such as Barranco contrast with ever-expanding shantytowns. Lima has always dominated national life, as the center of political and economic power. Long a stronghold of the European elite, the city is now home to millions of Peruvians from the Andean region as well as the descendants of African slaves and migrants from Europe, China and Japan. As a popular saying puts it, the whole of Peru is now in Lima. James Higgins explores the city's history and evolving identity as reflected in its architecture, literature, painting and music. Tracing its trajectory from colonial enclave to modern metropolis, he reveals how the capital now embodies the diversity and dynamism of Peru itself. -- CITY OF HISTORY: ceremonial sites and museums of pre-Hispanic antiquities; colonial churches and mansions; the Museum of the Inquisition; monuments to the heroes of Independence. -- CITY OF CULTURE: pre-Columbian textiles, pottery and goldwork; Baroque architecture and art; writers such as Mario Vargas Llosa and Alfredo Bryce Echenique; painters and sculptors; a vibrant popular culture. -- CITY OF MULTICULTURAL EXCHANGE: the indigenous legacy; the imposition of Spanish culture; African slaves; European and Asian immigrants; mass migration from the provinces.
The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire
By: Ramiro Matos Mendieta, Jose Barreiro, David Penney, John Oschendorf
This compelling collection of essays explores the Qhapaq nan (or Great Inca Road), an extensive network of trails reaching modern-day Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. These roads and the accompanying agricultural terraces and structures that have survived for more than six centuries are a testament to the advanced engineering and construction skills of the Inca people. The Qhapaq nan also spurred an important process of ecological and community integration across the Andean region. This book, the companion volume to a National Museum of the American Indian exhibition of the same name, features essays on six main themes: the ancestors of the Inca, Cusco as the center of the empire, road engineering, road transportation and integration, the road in the Colonial era, and the road today. Beautifully designed and featuring more than 225 full-color illustrations, The Great Inka Road is a fascinating look at this enduring symbol of the Andean peoples' strength and adaptability.
Lines in the Water: Nature and Culture at Lake Titicaca
By: Ben Orlove
This beautifully written book weaves reflections on anthropological fieldwork together with evocative meditations on a spectacular landscape as it takes us to the remote indigenous villages on the shore of Lake Titicaca, high in the Peruvian Andes. Ben Orlove brings alive the fishermen, reed cutters, boat builders, and families of this isolated region, and describes the role that Lake Titicaca has played in their culture. He describes the landscapes and rhythms of life in the Andean highlands as he considers the intrusions of modern technology and economic demands in the region. Lines in the Water tells a local version of events that are taking place around the world, but with an unusual outcome: people here have found ways to maintain their cultural autonomy and to protect their fragile mountain environment.The Peruvian highlanders have confronted the pressures of modern culture with remarkable vitality. They use improved boats and gear and sell fish to new markets but have fiercely opposed efforts to strip them of their indigenous traditions. They have retained their customary practice of limiting the amount of fishing and have continued to pass cultural knowledge from one generation to the next--practices that have prevented the ecological crises that have followed commercialization of small-scale fisheries around the world. This book--at once a memoir and an ethnography--is a personal and compelling account of a research experience as well as an elegantly written treatise on themes of global importance. Above all, Orlove reminds us that human relations with the environment, though constantly changing, can be sustainable.

Archaeology, Art & Architecture

Machu Picchu: Unveiling the Mystery of the Incas
By: Richard L. Burger, Lucy C. Salazar
Situated high in the Peruvian Andes, the fifteenth-century Inca palace complex at Machu Picchu is one of the most spectacular archaeological sites in the world. In this beautifully illustrated book, leading American and Peruvian scholars provide an unprecedented overview of the site, its place within the Inca empire, the mysteries surrounding its establishment and abandonment, and the discoveries made there since the excavations by archaeologist Hiram Bingham III in the early twentieth century.Drawing upon the most recent scientific findings, the authors vividly describe the royal estate in the cloud forest where the Inca emperor and his guests went to escape the pressures of the capital. In addition to Bingham’s exciting account of his first expedition in 1911, the book includes new and archival photographs of the site as well as color illustrations and explanations of some 120 gold, silver, ceramic, bone, and textile works recovered at Machu Picchu.
Art of the Andes: From Chavín to Inca (World of Art)
By: Rebecca R. Stone
“Fills a void in the genre. . . . Excellent descriptions and interpretations.” ―Latin American Antiquity This wide-ranging survey has established itself as the best singlevolume introduction to Andean art and architecture, and is an essential guide to pre-Columbian Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia for the general reader, student, traveler, and artist alike. Describing the strikingly varied artistic achievements of the Chavín, Paracas, Moche, Nasca, Chimu, and Inca cultures, among others, Rebecca Stone has rewritten and expanded the text throughout, touching on many of the recent discoveries and advances in the field. Throughout this fully revised third edition, Stone demonstrates how the Andean peoples adapted and refined their aesthetic response to a formidable and demanding environment and explored the interface between the terrestrial and the otherworldly according to the value they placed on shamanic religious experience. 203 illustrations, 90 in color

Travel, Biography & Memoir

Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time
By: Mark Adams
THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!What happens when an unadventurous adventure writer tries to re-create the original expedition to Machu Picchu?In 1911, Hiram Bingham III climbed into the Andes Mountains of Peru and “discovered” Machu Picchu. While history has recast Bingham as a villain who stole both priceless artifacts and credit for finding the great archeological site, Mark Adams set out to retrace the explorer’s perilous path in search of the truth—except he’d written about adventure far more than he’d actually lived it. In fact, he’d never even slept in a tent.Turn Right at Machu Picchu is Adams’ fascinating and funny account of his journey through some of the world’s most majestic, historic, and remote landscapes guided only by a hard-as-nails Australian survivalist and one nagging question: Just what was Machu Picchu?
Cloud Forest: A Chronicle of the South American Wilderness
By: Peter Matthiessen
A classic work of nature and humanity, by renowned writer Peter Matthiessen (1927-2014), author of the National Book Award-winning The Snow Leopard and the new novel In Paradise Peter Matthiessen crisscrossed 20,000 miles of the South American wilderness, from the Amazon rain forests to Machu Picchu, high in the Andes, down to Tierra del Fuego and back. He followed the trails of old explorers, encountered river bandits, wild tribesmen, and the evidence of ancient ruins, and discovered fossils in the depths of the Peruvian jungle. Filled with observations and descriptions of the people and the fading wildlife of this vast world to the south, The Cloud Forest is his incisive, wry report of his expedition into some of the last and most exotic wild terrains in the world.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Literature

The Heights of Macchu Picchu
By: Pablo Neruda
"The most important poet of the twentieth century--in any language."--Gabriel Garcia Marquez"'The Heights of Macchu Picchu' is a poem of ascension. . . . In its final passages, Neruda's poetry jumps from a personal hope to a global one; from a poetry dealing with the poet's heart to a poetry centered on humanity's struggles."--BBC"The Heights of Machu Picchu" has been called Pablo Neruda's greatest contribution to poetry--a search for the "indestructible, imperishable life" in all things. Inspired by his journey to the ancient ruins, Neruda calls the lost Incan civilization to "rise up and be born," and also empowers the people of his time. This new translation by poet Tomás Q. Morín includes an introduction by Morín and Neruda's Spanish original.I stare at the clothes and hands,the carvings of water in a sonorous hollow,the wall rubbed smooth by the touch of a facethat with my eyes gazed at the earthly lights,that with my hands oiled the vanishedplanks: because everything, clothes, skin, dishes,words, wine, breads,went away, fell to the earth.Pablo Neruda (1904-73), one of the world's most beloved poets, was also a diplomat and member of the Chilean Senate. In 1970 he was appointed as Chile's ambassador to France; in 1971 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.Tomás Q. Morín is a poet and translator.
The Bridge of San Luis Rey (Perennial Classics)
By: Thornton Wilder
This beautiful new edition of Thornton Wilder's classic novel features previously unpublished notes and other illuminating documentary material as well as an updated afterword by his nephew, Tappan Wilder, and a foreword by Russell Banks."On Friday noon, July the twentieth, 1714, the finest bridge in all Peru broke and precipitated five travelers into the gulf below." With this celebrated sentence, one of the towering achievements in American fiction, and a novel read throughout the world, begins.By fate or chance, a monk has witnessed the collapse. Brother Juniper, moved by the tragedy, embarks on a quest to prove a higher order is at work in the deaths of those who perished. His search leads readers on a timeless investigation into the nature of love and the meaning of the human condition.

Natural History & Field Guides

Travellers' Wildlife Guides Peru
By: David L. Pearson, Les Beletsky
From the world-famous Machu Picchu Incan ruins high in the Andes Mountains, to Lake Titicaca in southern Peru, to the Iquitos area of Amazonian northeastern Peru, travellers want to experience tropical forests and other stunning habitats and catch glimpses of exotic wildlife. In this book is all the information you need to find, identify, and learn about Peru's magnificent animal and plant life.
Photographic Guide To Birds of Peru (A Photographic Guide to)
By: Clive Byers
A handy, pocket sized identification guide to Peru's birds featuring excellent color photographs and brief accounts for 252 different species. Each species account contains information useful to identifying each bird. A must have item for any bird watcher planning a visit to Peru. Over 250 color photos.
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Smithsonian Journeys includes an on-tour Provided Insurance Plan through Travel Guard with the price of your tour. This travel insurance plan includes On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only, not including U.S. Territories). Travel must be more than 100 miles from the Insured’s primary residence.

In addition, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment from unforeseen events, such as missed flight connections, lost luggage, and cancelled plans. There are many plans you can consider. For your convenience, you may visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1.800.208.6142 to learn more.

Terms and conditions

Our Mission

Smithsonian Journeys engage travelers in the mission of the Smithsonian – “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests’ lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world. Your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian’s 19 museums, National Zoo, and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.

What Is Included in the Tour Cost

  • Expertise of select speakers, Adventure Guide, and local guides throughout the tour as described in each itinerary
  • All gratuities for all tour staff
  • On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents Only)
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list
  • All on-tour transportation, unless otherwise noted
  • All accommodations for the duration of the tour
  • Meals, as noted in the itinerary (B-breakfast; L-lunch; D-dinner; R-reception)
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in each itinerary

What Is Not Included in the Tour Cost

  • International and in-country airfare and departure taxes
  • Passport and all visa fees and photos; immunization(s) and medication(s); and any other travel documentation fees as required
  • Optional travel insurance, including cancellation/delay/lost baggage insurance
  • Personal items, unless otherwise stated, such as wine, liquors, a-la-carte orders
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operator in making any individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour
  • Communication charges (e.g. phone, internet, etc.)
  • Other items noted as optional or not specifically mentioned as included

Payments

A deposit of $500 per person for a land tour reservation, unless otherwise noted, is required to reserve a space on a tour.  All payments must be made by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express) to the tour operator.  Deposits are applied to final payment of the tour price. Final payment is due 95 days prior to departure, unless otherwise noted.  Balance is due upon invoicing.  If full payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place cannot be guaranteed on the tour.

Late Registration

Any registration received within 95 days of departure is considered “on-request” and is subject to specific confirmation. Some tours are more restrictive. Payment in full must be made immediately by credit card before confirmation is possible.

Once confirmed, cancellation penalties apply as set forth below. If confirmation is not possible, all payments made will be refunded in full by the tour operator. Late registration confirmation procedures apply to any participant who is transferred from the wait list to the tour within the designated late registration period for that tour.

A Note About Costs

All prices are based on two persons sharing accommodations. All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars. Tour costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, currency values, and on the basis of a presumptive minimum number of participants. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change.   Due to fluctuations in oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee (e.g. internal flights, cruises, etc.).  Details and costs will be advised at the time of final invoicing.

Wait List

If the tour of your choice is fully subscribed, you may choose to be placed on a waitlist by contacting a Reservation Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time), or SJReservations@si.edu. Individuals on the wait list will be contacted if space becomes available and can inquire about tour status by contacting a Reservation Specialist. If you choose to withdraw from a wait list, please notify us.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Following enrollment, a participant’s withdrawal from the tour for any reason, including, but not limited to, illness, injury, family engagements, work-related issues, or geopolitical concerns, etc., will be deemed a cancellation. Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.

Per person cancellation fees are based on the date of written notice. Tour operator will refund on the following basis:

  • Cancellations within 7 days of booking:  Full Refund (unless it is within final payment date, 95 days before departure)
  • Cancellations after 7 days of booking:  Full Deposit Retained
  • Cancellations made within final payment date, 95 days before departure:  No Refund
  • Cancellation by Smithsonian Journeys:  Full Refund or Credit

This policy also applies to pre and post tour extensions. If we cancel a Tour, we will not be responsible for any additional expenses incurred by participant in his/her preparation for the Tour (e.g. nonrefundable airline tickets, visa fees, if applicable, clothing, equipment and medical expenses, etc.).

Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance.

If you have scheduled your own airfare and it is delayed or if for any reason you are prevented from joining the tour on the scheduled departure date and time, or if you choose to leave the tour early, we cannot provide a full or partial refund or credit toward a future tour.

Smithsonian Journeys reserves the right to cancel any tour due to low enrollment and when a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning is issued for the destination.

Air Service/Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour

International and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time. If you make your own airline reservations, we recommend that you do not purchase nonrefundable tickets or tickets with high penalties for changes. 

We urge you to check airline cancellation penalties before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased independently in conjunction with a tour.

Travel Insurance

Basic medical and evacuation travel protection is purchased on your behalf (Tour cancellation is not included in this plan). Optional Tour-cancellation protection is available at an additional cost and is strongly recommended. For more information about and to enroll in the option available through Travel Guard, visit the “Travel Insurance” section of our website at www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys.

Travel Documents

Participants are responsible for obtaining any documents required for their participation in the tour such as a valid passport, all visas, vaccination certificates, and any other documents. If your tour requires a visa or other entry documents, the tour operator will send you the appropriate information after you make a reservation.  Failure to obtain documents does not negate the terms and conditions, and any extra costs incurred for rerouting or delay due to travel without the necessary documents will be the participant’s responsibility. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact your embassy or consulate to ensure you obtain the proper documentation.

For all international departures, a passport valid for at least six months after the completion of your tour, and with at least six blank visa pages, is required for U.S. citizens on all tours. For more information on how or where to apply, please visit Travel.State.Gov/ApplyEarly or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778/1-888-874-7793 (TTY/TTD).

For more information about traveling to destinations abroad, we recommend the “Learn about your destination” section on the U.S. Department of State travel website www.travel.state.gov.  For medical information, we recommend contacting the Centers for Disease Control at (877) FYI-TRIP or www.cdc.gov/travel

Physical and Medical Considerations

Smithsonian Journeys strives to offer programs that optimize our travelers' time and enjoyment, and we want participants to be aware of the physical requirements involved. By registering for a Smithsonian Journeys tour, the participant certifies that he/she is physically fit and does not have a condition that would limit mobility or trip participation. Participant further certifies that he/she does not have any mental, physical, or other condition or disability that would create a hazard for him/herself or other participants. For Tours that take place at higher elevations (above 5,000 feet), participant certifies that he/she does not suffer from a respiratory, cardiac or circulatory disorder. Participant must notify tour operator of any medical issues well before departure. We reserve the right in our sole discretion to accept, decline to accept, or remove any participant on a Tour at any time during the Tour. In the event of removal from a Tour, refunds are not given. Hospital facilities or appropriate medical facilities or doctors are often unavailable and evacuation can be prolonged, difficult, and expensive. We assume no liability regarding provision of medical care. Participants will receive appropriate health information and provide the tour operator with his/her medical history and any dietary restrictions as requested on the Personal Information Form. On certain designated Tours, a Physician Certificate must be signed by the participant’s physician and returned to us within 30 days after the participant receives it.

Each tour carries an activity rating from Level 1- Level 5. For the most satisfying experience (and in fairness to your fellow travelers), please carefully review the itinerary and physical requirements for your specific trip. If you have questions about the physical demands of your itinerary, call us at 833-254-6678.

Please be aware that healthcare standards, facilities, and services abroad may be different or even inadequate for treating certain health conditions.  It is essential that you inform tour operator in writing of any existing condition for which you may require medical attention or accommodation during the tour. We will make reasonable efforts to accommodate the needs of our participants; however, services of a personal nature cannot be expected or guaranteed. By forwarding the deposit for pre-registration or registration in full, you affirm that you do not have any physical or other limitations that would create a hazard for yourself or other participants or would require adjustments to the tour for other participants.

Itinerary or Program Modifications

Smithsonian Journeys strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, at our sole discretion, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute elements of the tour.  These elements include, but are not limited to:  hotels, staff, speakers, and services for any stated in the itinerary. We will not be responsible for providing any reimbursement for delays in the Tour due to bad weather, trail conditions, river levels, road conditions, transportation delays, or government intervention.

Every effort will be made to carry out the tour as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary has been sent to you. Please note that weather and other conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule on cruise tours. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule. Smithsonian Journeys and the tour operator reserve the right to substitute motorcoach transportation using hotels, inns or lodges for cruise accommodations if necessary due to weather, water conditions or levels, other events of force majeure, mechanical, or other conditions beyond their control.

Hotel Accommodations

Smithsonian Journeys chooses hotels based on a combination of location, service, atmosphere, and price. On adventure tours and tours in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used.  Tour prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bath.

Singles and Roommates

Accommodations (hotels, lodges, tents, etc.) are always reserved for single participants, however, the number available on a tour may be limited. Therefore, we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will most likely apply for a single room.  If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room/cabin, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender to share with you. If a roommate cannot be found, a single supplement will be charged. Please note that the single rooms in many foreign hotels may be smaller than those to which you are accustomed.

Children

All tours except family journeys are designed for adults. Some may be suitable for children 16 and older. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, moreover, a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18.

Special Travel Arrangements

Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel either before or after the tour. Our tour operator will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability. Your pre-tour bulletins will further explain all options.

Dispute Resolution

If a complaint arises, the participant should first inform a member of the on-tour staff, so that the staff can attempt to rectify the matter. If the issue remains unresolved, the individual should submit the complaint in writing to Smithsonian Journeys within 30 days of the completion of the tour.

Photography and Video

Participants on tour may be photographed or recorded (audio and video) for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution and Smithsonian authorized third parties.  This content may be used in marketing publications and posted on websites to promote Smithsonian Journeys without compensation to the participant. Participants who prefer that their name, voice and/or image not be used must notify us in writing prior to the beginning of the tour.

Smoking Policy 

For the comfort of all participants, we ask that there be no smoking during all group activities, including excursions and meals. On certain cruises, there is no smoking aboard the ship. Your pre-tour bulletins will provide further information.

Responsibility Statement

Smithsonian Journeys tours are organized and administered by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of designated tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer travelers a wide array of educational travel opportunities. The tour operator acts only as an agent for the respective suppliers by making arrangements for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator shall be held liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of these suppliers. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, and safety of our travelers.

The Smithsonian Institution and its designated tour operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the tour, to decline to accept any person as a participant in a tour, or to require any participant to withdraw from the tour at any time (including, but not limited for inappropriate, or offensive behavior) when such action is determined by tour staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the tour group or the individual participant.

Dates, schedules, tour details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication on the website, in the brochure or catalog, are subject to change and revision.

Responsibilities of Participants

Participant is responsible for understanding the conditions as described in the Tour Itinerary and selecting a Tour in consultation with us that is appropriate to his/her interests and abilities. In addition, the participant should prepare for the Tour by reading the Tour Itinerary and supplemental Tour information in the pre-Tour materials and bringing the appropriate clothing and equipment as advised in those materials. The participant should also consult his or her physician to determine his/her suitability for the Tour and to discuss any over the counter or prescription medicines he/she should consider taking in the case of Tours which travel to higher altitudes. Screening for fitness (for Tours rated “Level 4 or Level 5”) is made during the confirmation of booking. In addition, we strongly urge all participants to review any State Department warnings, alerts, advisories, and destination specific information at www.travel.state.gov as well as specific health information for their destination at www.cdc.gov.