(Included meals are 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 ideally located in the Miraflores district, Lima’s main cultural and commercial district. This is the best area of town 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.)
Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores
Fly over the Andes to Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire. You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel upon arrival. Cusco is a fascinating city, with many colonial buildings constructed on top of the remains of Incan palaces. You’ll have a privately guided tour of this remarkable city, including a visit to Sacsahuaman, the massive Incan fortress on the hills above the city, where you enjoy views of the surrounding area. Enjoy dinner out at one of Cusco’s excellent restaurants.
Quinua Hotel (B) (upgrade to Monasterio Hotel available)
Today you have a privately guided visit to experience the Sacred Valley of the Incas, a long fertile river valley surrounded by snow capped peaks that lies between Cusco and Machu Picchu. A visit here is a great way to see some traditional ways of life in the area. Visit the ruins and market of Pisac and the ruins of Ollantaytambo, some of the most spectacular outside Machu Picchu. You spend the night in a charming small hotel in the Valley, from which you can catch the train en route to Machu Picchu the following morning.
Hotel Sol y Luna (B,L)
After breakfast you will be picked up from your hotel to start your voyage into the Vilcabamba mountain range. As Cusco disappears behind you, the landscape will continue to change as you pass through small towns dotting the roadside on your way to Soraypampa. You will make a visit to the little known Inca ruin of Tarawasi before switching to a dirt road leading to the first lodge. You will have the opportunity to hike the last few miles to the lodge (about 4 hours) or continue in vehicle right up to the door.
Soraypampa (B,”box lunch, D; elevation 12,500 ft.)
You have the day free at your leisure as you acclimatize to the altitude. One good option is a half day hike up to a small glacial lake, which serves as a good initiation into hiking at this altitude. For the brave there is the option of taking a dip in these chilly waters. There is also the option of the jacuzzi back at the lodge, with the peaks of Humantay and Salkantay in the background.
After an early breakfast you will start hiking up the Rio Blanco valley towards Mt. Salkantay. In a few hours time the trail starts up a series of switchbacks offering great views down the valley to the lodge you left behind. You will soon find yourself passing the highest point of the trek, just over 15,000 feet, with the south face of Salkantay towering over you. You then start down to the second lodge, Wayra, passing by an ancient Inca road and rural settlements.
Today you will start trekking down the valley, following the flow of the Salkantay River. Leaving the rocky and shrub filled highlands, the vegetation will grow increasingly dense as you drop in elevation into this beautiful cloud forest. Colpa Lodge is situated on a bluff overlooking the confluence of three rivers and has excellent views of the surrounding mountains.
Colpa Lodge (B,L,D)
In the morning you will start with a short climb up the hill opposite Colpa Lodge before heading down the Santa Teresa River Valley. You will pass by coffee plantations and passion fruit trees, following the river. The trail ends at a dirt road from where you will be transferred by private vehicle to the Llactapata Inca Trail, finishing with a 30 minute hike up to Lucma Lodge.
Lucma Lodge (B,L,D)
From the lodge you ascend along the ridgeline towards the Llactapata pass. After tackling the final summit of your trek, you then begin your descent to Machu Picchu. This trail offers some spectacular views of Machu Picchu from vantage points seldom seen by tourists. You pass by Llactapata Ruins, and then cross the Aobamba River and make your way to the train station. From here you will board the train to Aguas Calientes and transfer to your hotel for the night.
Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel (B,L,D)
Today you will make a guided visit to Machu Picchu with the guide and group from your trek. After visiting the ruins you will make your way down to the train station for your afternoon train back to Cusco and be dropped off at your hotel.
Quinua Hotel (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.