Discover the very best of Peru on our unique, comprehensive, and immersive journey in the Sacred Valley of the Incas
One of our most popular trips, this is a great way to discover the highlights of Peru! You'll begin by strolling the back streets of Cusco, former capital of the Inca Empire and a showcase of Inca and Spanish colonial influence. Then you'll move on to explore the Sacred Valley and stunning highland ruins where the Incas flourished, culminating in the grand finale, a magical one-day hike along the last stretch of the traditional Inca Trail to the sprawling storybook ruins of Machu Picchu! A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Machu Picchu is one of the most inspiring sites in the world. And there's nothing quite like that first view of the citadel as you pass through the Intipunku (Gate of the Sun). It is truly breathtaking, and reason enough to visit this amazing and welcoming country.
Easy touring, easy to moderate day hikes (and 1 optional moderate to strenuous hike) at medium elevation (max. 12,398')
- See the best of Peru on this unique and comprehensive itinerary with the Andean adventure experts since 1971
- Explore the timeless city of Cusco, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its spectacular Inca ruins
- Enjoy scenic day hikes to ancient fortresses and out-of-the-way villages, and relax at night in the finest hotel accommodations
- Take a one-day hike along the classic Inca trail to Machu Picchu, and spend two nights and one full day exploring this iconic site—more than with any other company
- Perfect if you’re limited in time or prefer not to trek or camp
Duration: 8 days Start Location: Lima End Location: LimaDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive in Lima – connect with flight to Cusco
Arrive in Lima by 5:00 a.m. You will be met by a Mountain Travel Sobek representative who will assist you with your connecting flight to Cusco. Upon arrival in Cusco, your trip leader will meet you in the baggage claim area at the airport. Transfer to the five-star Hotel Monasterio, located one block from the main square.
Afternoon guided tour of the city, with an introduction to the illustrious history of the Inca civilization. Charming red-roofed Cusco is the ancient capital of the vast Inca Empire. The Spanish conquistadores destroyed significant portions of the Inca civilization while leaving their mark on Cusco. Ornate cathedrals, adobe walls, carved balconies, hidden courtyards, and cobblestone streets add to the historic richness of the ancient Inca city. Choose from many fine restaurants for dinner, then stroll around the central square where colorful Quechuan handicrafts are offered for sale.
Day 2 : Cusco – Pisac – Urubamba Valley
Morning visit to nearby Inca ruins, including Kenko, with its zigzag channels, the ceremonial bath of Tambo Machay, and majestic Sacsayhuamán fortress, most impressive of them all with its perfectly fitted, mortarless stone blocks and zigzag walls. (Tambo Machay is the highest, at an elevation of 12,267'.) We’ll have lunch in the town of Pisac, where we visit its colorful market, then hike to the Inca ruins at Pisac, the largest fortress-city complex of the Incas and one of the largest of ancient America. Pisac is at the same elevation as Cusco and is located high up on a ridge overlooking the valley. Its ruins extend from a fortress to a temple complex where we can see some of the finest Inca stonework in existence. Terraces extend up from the river perhaps 2,000 feet and we’ll descend through a network of stairs, walkways, tunnels, and temples and on down to the valley floor at 9,500'. Continue by vehicle to our overnight accommodation at Casa Andina Private Collection, a charming hotel where we can spend the remainder of the day. (Approx hiking time: 2-3 hours)
Day 3 : The Sacred Valley: Chinchero, Maras, and Moray
Today we take a scenic drive from the valley up onto a highland plateau to visit the market town of Chinchero (12,398'). En route we’ll pass through farmland areas with a patchwork of pretty fields and adobe houses with red-tiled roofs, and enjoy views of snowcapped mountains in the distance. Chinchero is famous for a massive Inca wall located in its town square, with ten of the largest trapezoidal niches known among Inca monuments. Continue across the plateau to the impressive earthworks at Moray, a large experimental agricultural station where the Incas dug concentric circular terraces. The ancient terraces are pre-Inca in origin, but the Incas took them over and enlarged and refined them. After a picnic lunch in Maras (11,086'), we’ll hike a very scenic route downhill to the salt pans of Salinas, fed by a salt spring that is fed into terraced evaporative pools as a way of harvesting salt. This was a strategic trading area in Inca times. Continue hiking down to the Sacred Valley and arrive at the Urubamba River where we’ll be picked up and taken to our hotel. (Approx. hiking time: 2-3 hours)
Day 4 : Huiloc and Ollantaytambo
A narrow dirt road takes us high into the Andes through the villages of Huilloc. Here you can observe the native Quechua way of life where crops are sown and textiles woven with simple hand tools that have been in use for centuries. Our hike begins near Huilloc, from where we descend to the small archaeological complex at Pumamarca. The origin and purpose of this site remains a mystery, but was thought to be a control point for water distribution and for the population. Continuing along the original Inca path, we observe agricultural terraces and views of the valley below. After walking approximately 3 hours we reach the town of Ollantaytambo, where we'll visit the Ollantaytambo ruins, one of the few Inca sites that have survived just as the Incas designed them several hundred years ago. Here we can see Inca canchas, enclosures of multi-family living quarters that share just one exit to the street, ingenious stonework, cobbled streets, and an extensive communal water system that survives to this day.
Day 5 : Machu Picchu
We’ll catch the train at the station in Ollantaytambo and follow the ever-narrowing gorge of the Urubamba River until we reach Kilometer 104 (7,183'). Here we’ll leave the train for a half-day hike to Machu Picchu* (picnic lunch en route). As we approach the Machu Picchu Sanctuary, the valley turns into a canyon and the vegetation changes to that of a cloud forest. After a brief visit to the ruins at Chachabamba, we’ll hike steadily uphill to the jungle-bound ruins of Winaywayna (“forever young”), discovered in 1941. From here the Inca Trail cuts across the ridge above Machu Picchu to reach Intipunku (8,954'), the “Gate of the Sun,” the original entrance to Machu Picchu. We’ll pause here for a moment to absorb its awesome fairytale setting, then follow the trail downhill into the lost citadel located high above the Urubamba River. At the end of the day, we descend to our hotel, located in a quiet and beautiful spot on the Urubamba a short walk away from the hustle and bustle of the nearby town. (Approx. hiking time: 4-6)
* Those who don’t feel like hiking can continue on the train to Aguas Calientes, just below Machu Picchu, from where we can take a short bus ride to the ruins. We’ll have a short orientation tour of the ruins, and then you’re free to explore the sanctuary on your own for the remainder of the afternoon. We’ll rejoin the hikers at the Sanctuary, and descend to our hotel together.
Day 6 : Machu Picchu
We’ll awake early to catch the bus up to the ruins so we can experience the morning light over Machu Picchu and explore the ruins in depth before the train arrives with day visitors. We’ll have a thorough walking tour of Machu Picchu, visiting the various main structures and learning about their importance in the lives of the Incas including a hike to Machu Picchu Mountain. After lunch at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Hotel, the afternoon is free to explore some more on your own. You can also return to the hotel via bus and stroll in its lovely gardens containing more than 372 species of orchids, native palms, ferns, begonias, fruit trees and medicinal plants. Festive farewell dinner.
Day 7 : Machu Picchu – return to Cusco
The morning is free to relax at the hotel, return to Machu Picchu, or take short hikes in the immediate vicinity. After lunch at Sumac Hotel, we’ll catch the train to Cusco (about a four?hour ride). Transfer to the Hotel Monasterio. Evening free.
Day 8 : Fly home
Transfer to the airport and fly to Lima. Upon arrival, you’ll be transferred to the Casa Andina Private Collection, where dayrooms will be held for your convenience (most U.S.-bound flights depart in the evening). Afternoon tour of Lima, including a visit to the Gold Museum with its numerous gold artifacts ranging from earplugs to dazzling jewelry. Evening transfer to the airport and depart on homeward-bound flight.
DATES: Best time to go: March - December Departures: Oct 11 - 18, 2014 Nov 8 - 15, 2014 Dec 20 - 27, 2014 *Holiday Dec 27, 2014 - Jan 3, 2015 *Holiday Mar 28, 2015 - Apr 4, 2015 Apr 18 - 25, 2015 Jun 18 - 25, 2015 Inti Raymi Festival Jun 23 - 30, 2015 Inti Raymi Festival Jul 11 - 18, 2015 Aug 8 - 15, 2015 Sep 5 - 12, 2015 Oct 10 - 17, 2015 Nov 7 - 14, 2015 Nov 21 - 28, 2015 Dec 19 - 26, 2015 May 16 - 23, 2018
$4,295 (6-16 members)
$4,495 (6-16 members)
Built as a monastery in 1592, Hotel Monasterio retains the charm and ambience that has existed for centuries whilst boasting a reputation as one of the world's finest hotels. The ideal base from which to discover the delights of Cusco and the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, Hotel Monasterio offers fine service in beautifully impeccable surroundings.
Casa Andina Private Collection—Urubamba
The Sacred Valley’s most complete hotel: a mountain chalet-styled retreat with panoramic Andes views from every room and every angle. On more than 8 beautifully-landscaped acres, it contains an extraordinary, full-service “Sacred Spa”, a domed Planetarium & Observatory for stargazing in the massive Southern Hemisphere sky, and gourmet restaurant and bar.
The 85 inviting, spacious rooms overlook the property’s extensive gardens and feature either private balconies or sunny sitting areas. Equidistant between Urubamba and Ollantaytambo, in the Sacred Valley, the hotel is perfectly positioned for easy access to the valley’s abundant attractions and incomparable Inca ruins, including world-renowned Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
A luxury boutique hotel just steps from the train, but a secluded natural paradise. Located in the small town of Aguas Calientes on the banks of the Urubamba River, the Pueblo Hotel was rated by Travel + Leisure readers as a top 500 hotel of the world in 2006. Rustic elegance distinguishes the private bungalows, each with its own fireplace, and the lush gardens are home to orchids, exotic birds and other flora and fauna.
Casa Andina Private Collection—Miraflores
The Casa Andina Private Collection—Miraflores hotel is the top of its class in every aspect. Once the Miraflores César's, Lima’s fondly remembered, original five-star hotel, this modern icon was dramatically transformed in 2008 into the capital’s newest luxury hotel. Its quintessential Limeño flavor reverberates in the exquisite art collection of contemporary local artists and prized colonial-era antiques, in both public spaces and accommodations.
The 17-story hotel, with views over Miraflores and the Pacific coast, offers 148 sophisticated, contemporary luxury rooms and suites, with soundproofing and LCD flatscreen TVs in every room. First-class amenities include a heated, covered pool and breezy terrace, gymnasium with the latest exercise equipment, prestigious Joop salon & massage room, business center, and 5 multimedia-equipped corporate event & meeting rooms.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
Manolo Lazo is one of Peru’s most experienced adventure travel guides, with more than 15 years of experience leading treks and whitewater rafting trips. A resident of Cusco, Manolo is well versed in the rich history of the Andes as well as the classic trekking routes that follow the ancient Inca trade paths. His knowledge of the country, its people, and traditions add immensely to your appreciation of the trip. Manolo is fluent in English as well as Spanish, and conversant in Quechua—the historic language of the Incas, and he has a gift for instilling confidence in every trekker.
Manuel started out as a field assistant with Mountain Travel Sobek more than 20 years ago, and is now considered one of the finest trek and tour leaders in Peru. Manuel graduated with a degree in agriculture and raises white corn on a farm in a valley near Cusco.