Peru Highlights Active: Hike & Bike Peru’s Top Spots

An active exploration of the country’s most famous highlights

Itinerary at a Glance

  • Lima, 1 night – World class cuisine, superb museums
  • Sacred Valley, 3 nights – Explore Andean life and ancient Incan ruins on foot and by bike
  • Machu Picchu, 1 night – Spectacular day hikes to and around this stunning icon
  • Cusco, 2 nights – Walk the streets of the former Incan capital
  • Top quality boutique hotels, truly outstanding local English speaking private guides
  • All of our itineraries can be customized to your interests, dates and budget!

Day by Day Itinerary

(Included meals as indicated in parentheses: B,L,D)

Day 1


Miraflores District

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.

Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores
(upgrades available to Hotel B, Miraflores Park Hotel, and others)

Day 2

Fly to Cusco / Sacred Valley of the Incas / Pisac Ruins

Sol y Luna hotel

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 snowcapped peaks that lies between Cusco and Machu Picchu.

You’ll have the chance to visit remarkable Incan sites and small towns at Pisac, and will be able to do some hiking down from the ruins. Afterward you will stop for a 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)

Day 3

Sacred Valley (Pumamarca / Ollantaytambo)

Terraces at Ollantaytambo

Today you will hike to the Pumamarca Ruins, a less-visited Incan site that has managed to stay off the typical tourist route.

You will enter an area still steeped in Andean tradition; it’s a great place to explore on foot and appreciate the Andes and the way of life of the people who have lived here for thousands of years.

You will also visit the ruins and town of Ollantaytambo, one of the only towns that has maintained the same layout since Incan times.

Hotel Sol y Luna (B,L)

Day 4

Mountain Biking in the Sacred Valley

Sacred Valley mountain biking

Today you will continue your trip with one of the best one-day mountain biking trips you could find anywhere. Non-technical and almost all downhill, you start near the town of Chincheros and descend past the unique Incan site of Moray and the village of Maras, and finally past the ancient salt pans below Maras, to the valley floor. A first class picnic lunch is included.

Not just for serious mountain-bikers, this is an accessible but still excellent mountain biking experience, visiting some off-the-beaten-path locations.

Alternate activity: you also have the option of a white water rafting trip on the Urubamba River (class III intermediate rapids), through the heart of the Sacred Valley.

Hotel Sol y Luna (B,L)

Day 5

Inca Trail Express to Machu Picchu

Inca Trail

Today you will start your 2 day/1 night trip to Machu Picchu. In the morning you will catch the train toward Machu Picchu, but will disembark at Kilometer 104, where you start your 5-6 hour hike to Machu Picchu along the last part of the Inca Trail (6-7 miles in total).

You hike upward at a gentle grade for a couple hours, passing the large Incan site of Winay Wayna. After about 2 more hours of hiking along the classic Inca Trail, 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)

Day 6

Machu Picchu / Cusco

Machu Picchu

Today you will return to Machu Picchu with your guide in the early morning, which 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 up to the top of Huayna Picchu, the mountain that towers above Machu Picchu (about 2 hours roundtrip).

After visiting the ruins, you will head to the train station for your afternoon train back to Cusco, where you’ll be dropped off at your hotel.

Palacio del Inka (B)
(upgrade to Palacio Nazarenas is available)

Day 7

Cusco / Sacsahuaman


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)

Day 8

Fly Home

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 more of Lima before their flight.


Some Popular Ways to Customize This Itinerary:

  • Take part in a Pachamanca, a traditional Andean cooking ceremony on the shores of Lake Piuray.

  • Add a few nights in the Peruvian Amazon or Lake Titicaca, both easily accessible from Cusco.

  • 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.

  • More time on the Inca Trail: See our Inca Trail to Machu Picchu itinerary for information about hiking the whole trail over several days.

  • Contact us to learn about more options for designing and customizing your trip.