After visiting the heart of the Inca Empire in Cusco and the Sacred Valley, we journey on foot to Machu Picchu as its ancient pilgrims once did, through the extraordinarily varied scenery of the Andes and high cloud forest.
Our first days will be spent enjoying the blend of Inca and colonial architecture which has formed the beautiful city of Cusco one sees today, with its fine restaurants and excellent hotels and stores. We then journey into the Sacred Valley of the Incas with its spectacular scenery, fascinating archaeological sites and traditional agricultural communities. The high point, of course, of this trip is the unique trek to Machu Picchu through one of the most biodiverse areas of Peru, visiting many archaeological sites along the way.
After arriving at the airport our guide will be waiting for you to transfer you to your hotel in Lima.
Transfer to airport in Lima and to Cusco hotel
Early in the morning we will bring you from the hotel to the airport for the 50-minute flight to Cusco. You will be picked-up from the airport and brought to your hotel. After a free morning to acclimatize, you will be picked-up for a tour of the city.
The city of Cusco and Saqsaywaman (half day)
We begin with a visit to the Cusc cathedral, which was built between 1560 and 1654 on the site of the palace of the Inca Wiracocha. From the cathedral we move on to Qoricancha, the Inca Temple of the Sun, where we will see some of the finest remaining examples of Inca stonemasonry. From the city we will go on to explore the Inca remains in the hills around Cusco. The Saqsaywaman Archaeological Park is home to the great fortress temple of Saqsaywaman itself, as well as the ritual baths of Tambomachay, the temple site of Qenqo and the fortified construction known as Puka Pukara. In the evening you will have the opportunity to enjoy Cusco’s fine Novo Andean cuisine – based on traditional local ingredients and international gourmet techniques – and a show featuring Andean music or dance.
The Sacred Valley of the Incas, (full day) Pisaq market
Today will be spent in the Urubamba Valley – also known as the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Apart from the valley’s breathtaking scenery – with fertile slopes surrounded by towering peaks – the main attractions include ancient ruins, colonial villages and traditional markets. The quiet village of Pisaq is home to a colourful market and high above the village stand the ruins of the Inca ceremonial and fortress site with the same name.
At the far end of the valley, Ollantaytambo is the only remaining example of Inca urban architecture, where descendants of the Incas still live beneath the imposing ruins of the temple built by their ancestors. We will spend the night in a valley hotel where typical colonial architecture and the quiet village atmosphere provides the perfect backdrop for all the comforts of the modern world.
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
A complete network of interconnecting roads linked Cusco to its provinces and other kingdoms and the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu was part of that system. Today it has become the most famous and popular trek in South America due to the variety of attractions it offers.
This spectacular trail runs from high mountains down to cloud forest, passing through a number of diverse ecological zones filled with an enormous variety of plants and birdlife. The route is also studded with archaeological sites which lead the visitor to the lost city of the Incas; Machupicchu.
Cusco / Chilca / Huayllabamba
Our transport will take us to the trail head at Chilca. From here the trail follows the left bank of the Urubamba River from where we will see beautiful views of snow-capped Veronica (5850 m). After lunch we will visit the ruins of Llactapata before continuing along the Huayllabamba valley and camping near the village with the same name.
Huayllabamba / Pacaymayo
From the village of Huayllabamba the trail climbs steadily through high Andean woodland to a plain called Llulluchapampa just before the first pass, from where there are excellent views of the Huayanay mountain chain. After another two hours of walking we will reach the pass of Warmiwañuska (4050m/13,280ft), before descending as far as the canyon of the Pacaymayo River, where we make our second camp.
Pacaymayo / Wiñay Wayna
The trail climbs to the second pass at Runcuracay from where we will be able to see the Vilcabamba and Urubamba mountain ranges. After a short rest we descend along a paved Inca road to the ruins of Runcuracay and Sayacmarca, which have been recently restored. Here we enter the cloud forest and in the afternoon the trail descends via a stone staircase past the ruins of Phuyupatamarca to Wiñay Wayna, where we camp for the night.
Bus to Cusco (Transfers are included)
We travel by bus to Cusco, visiting a number of interesting sights along the route, including the temple site of Raqchi and the charming village of Andahuaylillas with its church, which has been called the “Sistine Chapel of the Americas”. We arrive in Cusco’s fertile green valley in the late afternoon.
Book an extra one or two days in:
The Tambopata National Reserve
Spend more time in the Amazon forest! Our experienced naturalist guides are on hand to reveal to you the many wonders of the rainforest and to answer your many questions during forest walks and while travelling on rivers and lakes. In the evenings we hold brief conferences and presentations on different aspects of the fauna, flora and ecology of the tropical forest. And of course, you might choose to remain an extra day or two at our Eco Lodge in order to simply relax and enjoy its comforts and cuisine.
Why not choose to extend your stay in Peru and visit the shores and islands of Lake Titicaca?. Among the attractions of Lake Titicaca are the many archaeological sites in the area around the lake, and islands where life has gone on largely unchanged for centuries. The floating Uros reed islands were established by a pre Inca culture to isolate themselves from more dominant ethnic groups, while the picturesque islands of Taquile and Amantani are inhabited by descendants of the Incas who continue many of the customs of their forebears.
Trekking in the Andes
Our experienced staff has been outfitting and leading treks in the Andes for more than 34 years. Choose from one of our many programs and join us on a journey into Peru’s ancient past and living cultures travelling on foot as the people of the Andes have always done. Peru is a trekker’s paradise.
All necessary land transport.
All tours and transfers with English-speaking tour guide.
Entrance fees for all tours and excursions, parks and museums.
Accommodation at selected hotel with private bathroom (double room basis).
Single supplement includes: single room where available.
Meals according to itinerary.
Second day bus services to Machupicchu.
Second day entrance fee to Machupicchu.
Domestic flights unless you book directly.
Other Services Included in Trekking Services:
Private bus outbound and return.
Trekking services, including: camp cook, porters and camp assistant(s).
All group camping equipment, double tents and Thermarest, kitchen and/or dining tent, and toilet tent.
All our trash produced during the trek, returns to Cusco.
Airport taxes approximately $6 USD for each domestic flight and $28 USD for the international flight.
Tips to the staff.
Personal expenses: clothing and sleeping bag, laundry, telephone calls, etc.
Meals not included in the program.
To be in good health and shape to be part of this adventure.
Things to bring on the trip
Passport, (bring additional photocopies of your passport).
The city tour includes the enormous Inca temple complex of Sacsayhuaman, located at the top of the hill overlooking Cusco’s main square, as well as other archaeological sites in the hills around the city.
To speak with us via Skype, add the contact name andeanadventuresperu to your Skype account. You can contact us Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 13:00 and 15:00-19:00, and on Saturdays from 09:00 to 13:00 (except on public holidays) (Local Peruvian time, GMT -5).