• Peru: Colca Canyon and Machu Picchu

    Discover the wonders of the Peruvian highlands with the adventure company that knows best

    The highlands of Peru offer a bonanza of spectacular sights and unique cultures.

    best times to go: March - November

    departures: No group departures scheduled. Private departures are available on the dates of your choice, pending availablity. Call us for details.

    pricing: from $4,795 see detailed pricing

    Machu Picchu & the Andes

    Easy to Moderate
Also great as a private trip. Call for details

Discover the wonders of the Peruvian highlands with the adventure company that knows best

The highlands of Peru offer a bonanza of spectacular sights and unique cultures. On this action-packed adventure, the hits just keep on coming: majestic Colca Canyon, theworld’s second deepest chasm, where Andean condors soar 10,433 feet above the canyon floor; the “White City” of Arequipa, a UNESCO Human Heritage site known forits gleaming colonial buildings built of volcanic stone; the Sacred Valley of the Incas, dotted with fascinating ruins and remote villages where centuries-old traditions thrive; Cusco, a charming, bustling city that was the historic capital of the Inca Empire and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site; and of course, breathtaking Machu Picchu, whose mist-shrouded peaks and evocative temples are on everyone’s must-see list. MTS has been operating tours in Peru for decades, and we can guide you through the local culture and history as expertly as we can lead you along a scenic mountain trial. This varied itinerary includes four days of moderate hiking, three days of city tours, and three days of cultural explorations perfect for active travelers who want an authentic, immersive experience but prefer not to trek or camp.

 

Activities

Easy to moderate hiking

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Enjoy four days of moderate hiking, three days of city tours, and three days of cultural explorations on this rich and varied journey
  • Hike along spectacular Colca Canyon—the world’s second deepest canyon at 10,433 feet—as Andean condors soar below you!
  • Visit Arequipa, a UNESCO Human Heritage site known for its compelling mix of colonial and indigenous cultures, and Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, now UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Discover the traditional Andean way of life through scenic hikes and authentic encounters, guided by the Andean experts since 1969!
  • Explore the spellbinding ancient city of Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World!

Duration: 11 days Start Location: Lima End Location: Lima

Download Detailed Itinerary
BRIEF Itinerary
  • Hotel_schwarzhorn_ext
    Day 1 : Lima to Arequipa

    From the airport in Lima, we'll help you make your connecting flight to Arequipa.  Upon arrival, you will be transferred to the hotel. This afternoon, we'll enjoy a tour of Arequipa, the “White City,” named for its white volcanic rock (Sillar).  We'll visit Yanahuara, Carmen Alto (Chachani volcano view point), the Main Square, the Cathedral, La Compañia Church and  the Santa Catalina Convent--a small city within the city that's known for it's amazing colonial architecture, cloisters and patios. The complex built for the reclusion of nuns was only opened to the public for the first time about two decades ago.

  • Day 2 : Arequipa to Colca

    Morning departure to the Colca Valley, we leave Arequipa with a view of the Chachani Volcano (6075 m) one of the 3 most important volcanoes in Arequipa. The road winds slowly through Yura, a small settlement where quarries of volcanic rock are found. We reach a plateau and arrive to Pampa Cañahuas where we will have the opportunity to take some pictures of the Vicuñas if we are lucky, to see a small herd. From here you can appreciate the Misti Volcano from the north east. Then we continue our journey past the crossroads with view of active Sabancaya Volcano,where a famous ice-maiden, Juanita, was discovered a decade ago. We can appreciate some Andean birds. We arrive to Patapampa Pass (16,076'), from where you can take some pictures of the Chila Range; from there we descend to Chivay, short visit to the town before arriving at the hotel.

  • Hotellesaiglons_room
    Day 3 : Cruz del Condor - Coporaque

    Early in the morning, we'll depart for Cruz del Condor (Condor Cross), an observation point from where we can view the great birds of the Andes and take in impressive views of Colca Canyon, one of the deepest in the world at 9,800 feet! The best viewing occurs early in the morning as the birds leave their nests and take off to ride the thermal currents that flow up the canyon as the temperature changes. After our visit, we will visit the villages of Pinchollo, Maca, and Achoma on the way back to Yanque. After lunch, we will drive to Coporaque village to begin our hike. We'll traverse terraces and paths of from the pre-Inca cultures for about two hours until reaching the archaeological ruins of Uyo Uyo. We'll return to our hotel later this afternoon.

  • Day 4 : Colca - Canocota/Arequipa

    Driving 20 minutes up the Colca Valley from Chivay, we'll cross the Colca River and arrive at the small community of Canocota.  From here, we'll hike along the left flank of the Colca Valley, as the river deepens into a gorge with overhanging rocky hillsides, varied vegetation, and impressive views.  A three-hour hike along this route will bring us to the natural hotsprings of La Calera, where a vehicle will pick us up to return to Chivay, then Arequipa.

  • Day 5 : Arequipa/Cusco - Andenes Yucay

     

    This morning, we'll transfer to the airport for our flight to Cusco. Once in Cusco, we'll transfer to the Urubamba Valley, stopping en route at the majestic Sacsayhuamán fortress, with its perfectly fitted, mortarless stone blocks and walls, Kenko with its zigzag channels, and/or the ceremonial bath of Tambo Machay—the highest-altitude Inca site of the area at over 12,000 feet.
     
    We will continue to the village of Yucay (9,350'), where we can visit Inca Sayritupac Royal Palace in the main Plaza. From there, we will start hiking uphill on a path following an Inca water channel that crosses agricultural terraces covered with native crops, such as white corn, potatoes, beans, and fruit orchards.  Along the way, we'll learn to identify the native flora and fauna, pass through a colonial stone mill, and finally reach our highest point of the trail (10,430'). Here at our summit, we will find the Cave Paintings of San Juan, where red paintings of llamas and hunters were drawn by the ancient settlers very close to the pre-Inca cemetery (chullpas). We'll trek for about an hour. Returning by the same trail that will take us to the Plaza de Yucay, but if we head northwest, we will reach Urubamba village in 3km (1h 20m) along a walking path.
  • Day 6 : Full day Pumamarka hike and Ollantaytambo

    Leaving from the Sacred valley a road takes us up the Patacancha side Valley  (1 hour bus ride) until reaching the community of Pallata. 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.  A steep ascent to the roadhead will bring us to the small archaeological complex at Pumamarca (11,154ft), as small Inca settlement overlooking the Patacancha valley that managed the irrigation system of the Inca terracing below.

    After visiting this site we will begin hiking along through the terracing complex of Choquecancha, with great views of the surrounding landscape.  A three hour descent on a 6km Inca Trail that goes through these famed terraced areas will bring us to the outskirts of Ollantaytambo Village (9,350ft), where we will arrive for lunch. After lunch we will visit the Ollantaytambo ruins, one of the few Inca towns that have survived much as the Incas designed it 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 7 : Full day Chinchero/Maras/Moray

    Today, we’ll visit the market town of Chinchero (12,398'). En route, we’ll pass through beautiful farmland with a patchwork of fields and adobe houses with red-tiled roofs, with 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. We'll continue to Moray, a large experimental agricultural station, where the Incas dug concentric circular terraces. Although the ancient terraces are pre-Inca in origin, the Incas took them over, enlarged and refined them. Here we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch. This afternoon, we'll hike from Maras to the salt pans of Salinas, used for salt extraction since the time of the Incas. We'll end our walk back at our hotel in the Urubamba Valley.

  • Day 8 : To Machu Picchu

    Early this morning, we'll be picked up at the hotel and brought to the train station at Ollanta for a two-hour ride down the Urubamba Gorge. Along the way, we'll watch the landscape change from mountain vegetation to cloud forest, and before we know it, we'll arrive at the station of Machu Picchu village. A half-hour bus ride will bring us to the citadel for a private guided visit of the ruins, taking approximately three hours as our official guide walks us through the different sectors of the hill-top citadel. These ruins tell the story of the Inca Empire at its height, offering an astonishing look back in time.

  • Day 9 : Machu Picchu / Cusco

    Today, we'll take in a second visit to Machu Picchu, including Machu Picchu Mountain. In the afternoon, we will board our return train to Ollanta station, where we will be picked up by  for the 45-minute drive back to Cusco. 

  • Day 10 : Cusco

     

    As the historic capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th to 16th centuries, Cusco is a treasure trove of cobblestoned streets and famous ancient sites like the Temple of the Sun (Koricancha). When the Spanish conquistadors arrived, they recognized its significance as the heartbeat of the Andes and made it their colonial capital and missionary hub as well. With an incredible blend of Incan and Spanish colonial architectures, a walk through the streets of this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a walk through several important eras of Latin American history. 
     
    Today, we'll have a half-day to spend wandering Cusco. It is a great chance to get to know the city. The afternoon is at your leisure.
  • Day 11 : Cusco / Lima - Home

    At proper time you will be transferred to the airport.  Arrive in Lima and transfer to your hotel. Afternoon visit Colonial and Modern Lima, today's excursion offers the best combination of the different attractions in Lima and its three historical periods: pre-Hispanic, colonial and contemporary. In Lima, there were several different pre-Columbian cultures which are dated thousands of years back. Lima was part of the Inca Empire until the city was founded by the Francisco Pizarro on the 18th. of January, 1535. During our guided tour we learn more of its millenary history.  We visit the GOLD MUSEUM- One of the largest private collections of the world.  The Gold Museum displays many pieces of gold, silver and copper pre-Columbian. Created by innovative goldsmiths  from the cultures of Paracas, Chavin, Nazca, Moche, Wari to the Inca. At proper time  transfer to  the airport.

Download Detailed Itinerary

DATES: Best time to go: March - November Departures: No group departures scheduled. Private departures are available on the dates of your choice, pending availablity. Call us for details.

PRICING:

2014 PRICES

$4,795 (3 to 12 members)
$5,295 (2 members)
$1,300 Single Supplement

$750 flights within Cusco.  Prices subject to change.

  • Libertador

    Located in front of the Koricancha, or Sun Temple, in the cradle of the Inca Empire, Cusco's Hotel Libertador offers adventure just outside its doors. Stroll the city's narrow streets and visit Machu Picchu, the main square, the cathedral, or the artisan neighborhood of Saint Blas. Or simply steep in the hundreds of years of history while you enjoy the comfort and luxury of the hotel's many amenities.

  • 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—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.

  • Colca Lodge
    Colca
    At an altitude of 3250 metres above sea level and two-and-a-half hours travel from the city of Arequipa, Colca Lodge nestles on the banks of the River Colca. It is surrounded by hundreds of pre-Inca agricultural terraces, which have been declared a Peruvian cultural heritage, and is blessed with relaxing hot spring waters rich in lithium.This is a place with ancient energy, synchronized with nature and the starting point for exploring the valley and visiting the Colca Canyon, one of the world`s deepest ravines.
  • Palacio del Inka-Arequipa
    Arequipa

    The Hotel Palacio del Inka Arequipa, offers a distinguished and warm service, to tourists traveling the Arequipa-Cuzco circuit, as well as to business travelers.  In events, it has the capacity to serve up to 1000 persons, whether in its salons or in its gardens, which may be specially decorated and equipped for conferences and congresses.  Its facilities and location make it an ideal starting point for exploring the Colca Canyon, which is one of the deepest canyons in the world.

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.

  • Manuel Luna

    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.

photo credits: MTS Photo File

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Itinerary for Peru: Colca Canyon and Machu Picchu

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Activity Ratings

Easy

Many activities are optional and involve fairly easy travel. Trips may include short hikes of two to three hours or optional walks at low elevations. Includes less demanding sea kayaking and river rafting trips with Class I-II rapids.

Moderate

More active trips involving hiking over moderate terrain, usually - but not always - with vehicle support and at elevations less than 10,000 feet, or trips with long hiking days, multiple sea kayaking days, wilderness camping, or other invigorating activity. On many trips, you can elect to skip a day's activity, depending on logistics. Includes more demanding sea kayaking trips and river rafting trips with Class III rapids.

Strenuous

Hiking and trekking over steeper or more rugged terrain or where elevations may exceed 10,000 feet - often several days in a row. Includes more demanding sea kayaking trips (4-5 hours paddling a day) and river rafting trips with Class IV-V rapids.

Ultimate Challenge!

Our most demanding trips: trekking over steep, rugged terrain at high elevations (no vehicle support) or with substantial altitude gains and losses; trips to remote, extreme wilderness; mountaineering trips. Includes our most demanding sea kayaking (5-7 hours paddling a day) and river rafting trips with Class IV-V rapids.

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