Cusco & the Sacred Valley, then the classic Inca Trail
(Included meals as indicated in parentheses: B,L,D)
Arrive to Lima, former capital of the Spanish empire in the Americas, and transfer to your first class hotel in the Miraflores district, Lima’s main cultural and commercial district. This is a great area for strolling around and is home to many of Lima’s best restaurants.
If you are interested and time permits, private tours of Lima or visits to any of Lima’s museums can be arranged; we can also arrange culinary tours focusing on Peru’s increasingly renowned cuisine or art tours for those with special interests.
Fly over the Andes to Cusco, the ancient capital of the Incan Empire. When you land in Cusco you will be met at the airport by a local representative who will transport you to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, a long fertile river valley surrounded by snow capped peaks that lies between Cusco and Machu Picchu.
Your time here will help you acclimatize to the high altitude of the region before beginning your hike.
You will stop at the Chincheros archaeological site to visit the ruins, and will have a short weaving demonstration at a local cooperative known for their high-quality textiles. Peru is known for its intricate traditional weavings, many of which use symbols to tell stories or depictions of daily life. Afterward you will have lunch at a great small restaurant founded by a renowned local chef. Your private guide will be there to help you make the most of the entire experience.
Hotel Sol y Luna (B,L)
Today you have a full day of exploring more of the Sacred Valley, seeing less-visited sites that will deepen your understanding of the local culture.
First you will make a visit to the unique Incan site of Moray, and the nearby town and ancient salt pans of Maras. After your picnic lunch, you´ll visit Ollantaytambo, one of the few towns to survive in its current layout from Incan times.
Hotel Sol y Luna (B,L)
Today you start your hike along the Inca Trail toward Machu Picchu.
You will take a scenic train ride toward Machu Picchu, getting out at Kilometer 82 to trek for approximately 4 hours along a little-visited section of the trail, following the Urubamba River.
You will arrive to Chamana, in the Llactapata area, where you will make camp.
In the afternoon you will hike to some of the nearby Inca sites. Your guide will make sure that everyone is feeling well and is properly acclimatized, so that everyone can make the most of the experience.
(Hiking time: 4-5 hours; distance: about 5 miles).
Camp at Chamana (B,L,D)
This morning you will hike to Patallacta and continue up the Cusichaca Valley, passing local settlements along the way, and arrive to the small community of Huayllabamba. From here the trail ascends to a large pampa (grass field), where you will camp for the night.
(Hiking time: 6 hours; distance: about 5.5 miles)
Camp at Llulluchapampa (B,L,D)
Today you will ascend to the highest pass on the trek, Warmiwanusca (13,692 ft.), before descending to the Pacaymayo River and past the Runkuraqay ruins.
This day is filled with breathtaking views as you walk through the Andes, finally reaching Phuyupatamarca (which means “the town at the edge of the clouds” in Quechua), where you will make camp for the night.
(Hiking Time: 8 hours; distance: about 8.5 miles)
Camp at Phuyupatamarca (B,L,D)
You start your hike with views out toward the Vilcabamba region and its snowcapped peaks. As the trail winds downward you will enter into a cloud forest, arriving to the Inca site of Winay Wayna.
After about 2 more hours of hiking you will find yourself at Intipunku, the Gate of the Sun, where you have a magnificent view of Machu Picchu.
After descending to the ruins along the final stretch of the Inca Trail, you will catch a shuttle down to the town of Aguas Calientes for the night. Your hotel in Aguas Calientes is one of the most highly regarded in South America; dinner is included at the hotel.
Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel (B,L,D)
Today you make a return visit to Machu Picchu in the early morning to observe the ruins. This is a great way to experience the site when there are far fewer people around. If you take the earliest shuttle up to the site, you can be at Machu Picchu at dawn.
You’ll also have the chance to hike to the top of Huayna Picchu, the mountain that towers above Machu Picchu (about 2 hours roundtrip).
After visiting the ruins, you will make your way down to the train station for your afternoon train back to Cusco, where you’ll be dropped off at your hotel.
Today you’ll have a privately guided exploration of Cusco, visiting the historical highlights. Your excursion includes a visit to Sacsahuaman, the massive Incan fortress on the hills above the city, where you enjoy views out over Cusco and the entire surrounding area. You have the afternoon free to explore some more of the city on your own.
Cusco is another of the highlights of a trip to Peru, a fascinating city built on the foundations of the former Incan capital. You can observe massive Incan walls along many of the streets of the city. The city has a vibrant atmosphere and many excellent restaurants.
Palacio del Inka (B)
In the morning you will be picked up from your hotel and transferred to the airport for your flight to Lima. Upon arrival to Lima you will have assistance at the airport in making your connecting flight home.
If you have extra time before your international flight, we often arrange a driver for our travelers so they can go out to eat and see some of Lima before their flight.
Add extra days in Lima or Cusco: Both are worth exploring on your own, and we can arrange a variety of activities, including city tours, culinary excursions, visits to ruins and historical sites, and active options such as hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.
Take part in a Pachamanca, a traditional Andean cooking ceremony on the shores of Peru’s Lake Piuray.
Contact us to learn about more options for designing and customizing your trip.