An active tour of the important mountain ranges around the Cusco Region: the Urubamba & Vilcanota. This is the perfect 8-day itinerary for those who enjoy adventure and want to have an authentic Andean experience in the mountains.

Highlights

  • Free day in Cusco exploring the markets & back streets of Cusco
  • Full day exploring Pisac with an overnight in Ollantaytambo
  • Start at Ollantaytambo KM 104 for the Short Inca Trail
  • Machu Picchu guided tour & free time to explore the citadel
  • Rock climbing in Pitumarca for all abilities
  • Day hike to Mount Vinicunca (Rainbow Mountain)

Overview

This tour includes a journey through the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, a two-day trek and mountain climbing. You'll start in Lima and Cusco by exploring these two historic cities, then journey into the Sacred Valley for the two-day Inca Trail.

This trek culminates in the visit to Machu Picchu, the jewel in the crown of the Andes Mountain Range. Then onto Pitumarca for rock climbing in this beautiful valley, followed by a stunning day hike to Mount Vinicunca (Rainbow Mountain).

Overview map

Brief itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Lima Lima 
Day 2 Arrival in Cusco (Free day & acclimatization) Cusco
Day 3 Full Day in Pisac, Overnight in Ollantaytambo Ollantaytambo
Day 4 Ollantaytambo Km 104 & Short Inca Trail Aguas Calientes
Day 5 Machu Picchu Excursion Ollantaytambo
Day 6 Rock Climbing - South Cusco (Pitumarca Valley) Chacco Huayllasca
Day 7 Rainbow Mountain (Mount Vinicunca) - Vilcanota Cordillera Cusco
Day 8 Departure  

Detailed itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Lima

A lighthouse in Lima's Miraflores district

¡Bienvenidos! Welcome to Lima, Peru's largest city and central metropolitan hub, and home to one-third of the country's population. Located at the site of a pre-Columbian indigenous Ychsma settlement, which was conquered by the Inca empire in the 15th century and later by the Spanish conquistadores, Lima has a fascinating history and a diverse mix of cultures. Amerindian, European, Afro-Peruvian, and Asian—especially Chinese and Japanese—influences make Lima a dynamic and exciting city to explore. 

Lima's breezy location on the Pacific Ocean and mild desert climate make it the perfect city for exploring on foot. Head downtown to mingle with locals, stretch your legs, and grab a bite to eat in one of the many award-winning restaurants. 

Suggested activities include: 

  • Explore the historic center of Lima, a UNESCO World Heritage Site packed with fascinating Spanish architecture. Start with a scenic tour of the colonial downtown, which emanates from the main square. Stroll over to the 16th-century Cathedral, which took 80 years to construct and was built in the grandiose style of the Spanish Empire. 

  • Visit the Casa Aliaga, a colonial mansion granted by chief conquistador Francisco Pizarro to Jerónimo de Aliaga, one of his captains, in 1535. This is the only house from that era that still belongs to the same family. 

  • Stroll around the Pueblo Libre district to the privately owned Larco Museum of pre-Columbian art, housed in a beautifully restored viceregal mansion built over a 7th-century pre-Columbian pyramid. The museum boasts a vast pre-Colonial collection of gold and silver artifacts, as well as pieces of erotic art.

  • In the eveninghead to the eclectic "Love Park" in the upscale coastal district of Miraflores, where you can admire a huge kissing statue and beautiful mosaic walls.  The park is built on the cliffs of Chorrillos and is a perfect place to enjoy a spectacular sunset over the Pacific. 

  • Enjoy dinner and a nightcap at an open-air cafe or restaurant in the diverse Miraflores neighborhood.

Day 2: Arrival in Cusco (Free day & acclimatization)

Cusco
Explore the city of Cusco

Head to the Lima airport for your transfer flight to Cusco. This ancient city is the former capital of the Inca empire, which reigned from the 13th to 16th centuries after conquering the Killke settlement on the same location.    

Remember: you will be 11,000 feet (3,000 m) above sea level, so take it easy and remember to drink lots of water. Since Cusco was designed by the Incas as a city for walking, start your exploration of the narrow stone alleyways on foot. Take a walk through the plaza — if the weather is beautiful, it's a perfect place to sit on a balcony and have a cup of coca tea while adjusting to the elevation. 

Suggested activities include: 

  • Visit the Coricancha, also known as "The Temple of the Sun."  The temple was built by the Incan Emperor Pachacutec (1438 - 1572), and after the arrival of the Spaniards became the basis for the construction of the Santo Domingo Convent.

  • See the Cathedral, the most imposing monument in the central Plaza de Armas and a repository for Cusco's colonial art. Its construction lasted for almost 100 years, beginning in 1560 and ending in 1654. 

  • Walk to Sacsayhuamán and next-door Quenqo, both archaeological complexes used mostly for religious and agricultural rituals, located 2.5 miles (4 km) from the city of Cusco. Built by the Killke people, Sacsayhuamán is a marvel of ancient architecture, a monolithic fortress built from giant blocks of stone, the origins and assembly of which remain a mystery. 

  • Discover the elaborate Puca Pucara ruins—an architectural complex of alleged military use with multiple plazas, baths, aqueducts, walls, and towers. It is believed that the entourage of the Incan emperor used it while he stayed at Tambomachay, the elaborate estate and baths nearby. 

  • Explore San Blas, an old bohemian quarter famous for its picturesque white walls, blue doors, and creative artisan community. 

  • Experience the legendary Mercado Central de San Pedro, a large and diverse market famous for its mouth-watering fruit juices, home-style meals, medicinal herb stalls, and rows of various meats, breads, vegetables, and other necessities. 

  • Eat lunch at a local Peruvian restaurant and sample local flavors and cooking techniques—crackling pork, pickled vegetables, seasonal flavors, bread baked in earthen ovens, roasted vegetables, and sweet donuts make for a delicious and filling meal. 

Day 3: Full Day in Pisac, Overnight in Ollantaytambo

We'll leave Cusco around 8:30 am and arrive at the village of Pisac, known for its traditional market and archaeological complex built into the mountainside. Its views, balconies, tunnels, crop terraces and irrigation canals are some of the finest.

After exploring and trekking around the ancient town of Pisac, we will spend some time walking around its unique and artisanal market, where we can appreciate or buy the different crafts that are handmade in this town. Then we drive to Ollantaytambo town to spend the night there.

Day 4: Ollantaytambo Km 104 & Short Inca Trail

We will take the train to Km 104, where the Inca Trail starts. The valley turns into a canyon and the scenery begins to change as the cloud forests appear on our approach to the Machu Picchu Sanctuary. We will disembark the train at Km 104 and start the hike along a challenging uphill path. This trek is short but hard, so expect a bit of a challenge.

This ancient Inca Trail takes us uphill all the way to the magnificent archeological complex of Wiñay Wayna, from where there are many steep steps to climb to reach the archaeological site. With a great sense of peace far from the crowds, this will be the perfect spot to enjoy a delicious boxed lunch, with superb views of the massive green mountains and native orchids.

The trail becomes gentler from here and continues all the way to the Sun Gate, where we arrive at Machu Picchu through its original entrance. It is from here that we will have our first glimpse of Machu Picchu. We then cross the site to take the bus down to Aguas Calientes town, where will check into our lodge to rest and relax in anticipation of a full day visit tomorrow. Tonight we have dinner at the Indio Feliz restaurant, a really unique and fantastic restaurant.    

Maximum altitude: 2732 m / 8964 ft                     
Minimum altitude: 2088 m / 6850 ft
Distance traveled: 10.79 km / 6.67 ml (to Inti Punku)  
Approximate walking time: 7 hours

Day 5: Machu Picchu Excursion

Today, after lunch, we will catch the bus up to Machu Picchu. It is a 25-minute bus ride to the sanctuary (2400 m). As other people begin leaving Machu Picchu, we'll start exploring the ruins and visit some of the most important places in the archeological site. Our guide will lead us in our exploration and discovery of the many corners of this enigmatic citadel.

The guided tour will have an average duration of 2 hours. There will be plenty of time for pictures, after which we take the bus down to Aguas Calientes to catch our train back to Ollantaytambo where our private transportation will be waiting for us to drive us back to Cusco.

If you feel like an uphill challenge, you have the option to climb the infamous mountain of Huayna Picchu. It is important to know that to climb this mountain, you need to buy a separate ticket in advance.

Day 6: Rock Climbing - South Cusco (Pitumarca Valley)

Rock climbing here, in one of Cusco's southernmost valleys, is a great experience due to the unique and beautiful landscape. It's a special place because you can do this in the Andes at 4,000 m altitude. The climbing is designed to be fun and to improve your level and ability. It includes a pre-experience briefing and all the necessary climbing equipment (helmet, harnesses, ropes, billets, etc). 

There are a couple of options here for accommodation. We can camp in a small community Chacco Huayllasca. Located at the bottom of the rocks we climb, which is very picturesque, that also be quite cold, but we have the best equipment to combat the elements.

The other option is an overnight stay on a small dairy farm (Tambo Queque Norte) where you can experience a nice warm bed, dinner and farm life.

Day 7: Rainbow Mountain (Mount Vinicunca) - Vilcanota Cordillera

Leaving around 7:30 a.m, we begin our final journey to Rainbow Mountain. The hike starts from Hanchipata-Quesuno at 3,700 m elevation above sea level. From here, it´s a three hour, uphill hike to reach the famous pass Rainbow Mountain.

Once we arrive at the top of Rainbow Mountain, there is enough time to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding landscapes. It is also possible to view Ausangate Glacier Peak from this point. Then we begin the descent back to our transport to drive back to Cusco City.

Day 8: Transfer to Airport for departure

On your final day, we'll transfer you the airport for your departure. Until next time!