Follow in the footsteps of the Incas over 9 days as you hike this ancient trail and explore meticulously preserved ruins. Relax in mineral hot springs and learn traditional coffee roasting techniques with experts at an organic farm. Afterward, lose track of time exploring the narrow, winding streets of Cusco — the historic capital of the Incan Empire.

Highlights

  • Travel a lesser known route on the ancient Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
  • Bathe in the crystal clear hot springs of Cocalmayo
  • Visit the ruins of Huchuy Qosqo overlooking the Sacred Valley
  • Harvest, roast, and grind your own coffee deep in the cloud forest

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in the imperial city of Cusco Cusco
Day 2 Roam the streets of Cusco Cusco
Day 3 Inca Trail to Huchuy Qosqo  Ollantaytambo
Day 4 Ollantaytambo Village Ollantaytambo
Day 5 Crystalline hot springs and organic coffee farm Homestay 
Day 6 Inca Trail to Llactapata  Aguas Calientes
Day 7 Machu Picchu Ollantaytambo or Cusco
Day 8 Return to Cusco Cusco
Day 9 Departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in the Imperial City of Cusco

Take a walk around the central Plaza while you let yourself acclimatize
In the afternoon, take a walk around the central Plaza while you acclimatize

When you arrive, take a taxi from the airport to your lodging in Cusco. You will be 11,000 feet (3,000 m) above sea level, so take it easy today! Remember to drink lots of water and relax as you let your body get used to the altitude. 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. 

Day 2: Roam the Streets of Cusco

Cusco offers something for everyone- cultural and culinary experiences, a fun night life, or a quiet stroll through the center of town
Bustling Cusco offers something for everyone

Today is free for you to explore the city! Keep drinking water and taking rest breaks while you adjust to the higher elevation. Visit a museum or check out some of many local architectural ruins. Discover Peruvian cuisine through a chocolate making class — a fun way to learn something new. Cusco is very pedestrian-friendly — take a walk to one of the amazing restaurants and enjoy the buzzing nightlife. There's something for everyone!  

Day 3: Inca Trail to Huchuy Qosqo

Explore the Inca Trails above the archaeological site at Ullantaytampu
Explore the Inca Trails above the archaeological site at Ollantaytambo

In the morning, your guide will pick you up bright and early for a hike to the ruins of Huchuy Qosqo. This is a beautiful section of the Inca Trail that leads to ruins overlooking the Sacred Valley. It's filled with Inca stair sections, tight, twisting canyons, and a perfectly maintained Inca road. Amid the gorgeous views here, you'll catch your first glimpse of the spectacular Andes. The trail ends in the small town of Lamay in the Sacred Valley. A private car will be waiting to take you to the historic village of Ollantaytambo, where you will spend the night.

Day 4: Ollantaytambo Village 

Ullantaytampu has many well-preserved ruins- view Incan storehouses, quarries, buildings, and even the original street layouts
Ollantaytambo has many well-preserved Incan ruins

Once an Incan city, the modern-day small town of Ollantaytambo is surrounded by huge mountains on all sides. There are two sets of ruins: one which can be seen from your lodging in town, and another a short 10-minute walk away. Hike a couple of hours up to the Sun Gate to see views of the spectacular 19,000-foot-tall (5,900 m) Willka Weqe Mountain (Mt. Veronica) and its huge glaciers. There is plenty to see and do in this town, and the rest of the day is free for you to explore. 

Day 5: Crystalline Hot Springs and Organic Coffee Farm

Relax in the hot mineral waters of the crystalline hot springs as the cold mountain river rushes by below you
Relax in the hot mineral waters of the crystalline hot springs as the cold mountain river rushes below you 

Today, explore the varied and beautiful Andean terrain on a drive from a 15,000-foot-high (4,570 m) pass down into the cloud forest. Take a dip in the best hot springs Peru has to offer at Cocalmayo. Relax in crystal clear water in natural rock tubs, listen to the roaring river below you as it flows from the foot of Machu Picchu, and gaze at the mountains towering above.  

Afterward, take a trip to an organic coffee farm deep in the cloud forest. Local coffee specialists will help you harvest the ripe, red beans, show you the fermentation process, and help you roast your own coffee. To celebrate, grind and prepare your very own cup of Peruvian coffee! A local family will host you for the night. Sleep well — tomorrow the Inca Trail to Llactapata awaits.

Day 6: Inca Trail to Llactapata

Behind every corner and stone ruin is a breathtaking view of the Andes Mountains
Behind every corner and stone ruin lies a breathtaking view of the Andes Mountains

Enjoy a hearty breakfast with fresh coffee and local ingredients. Say goodbye to your host family and start your trek on the Inca Trail from their backyard. Together with your guide, head up the well-preserved Inca Trail to the ruins of Llactapata, which offer a rare view of Machu Picchu. Tomorrow almost 2,000 people will visit the historical site, but today you are alone and can view the site from the vantage point of the very Incas who built it!

After exploring the ruins, head 20 minutes down the trail and eat lunch at a small local lodge, which also overlooks Machu Picchu. After lunch, walk down to the hydroelectric plant that supplies electricity to all of Cusco. From there take a short train ride along the riverside to the foot of Machu Picchu. Spend the night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes.

Day 7: Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu was built around 1450 and remained known only to the local people for hundreds of years
Machu Picchu was built around 1450, and for hundreds of years was known only to the locals

Wake up early and hike to Machu Picchu to catch the sunrise and beat the crowds! Your guide will give you a fully guided two-hour tour of the Machu Picchu Sanctuary. Included with your Machu Picchu entrance ticket are a hike to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. After exploring the incredible ruins to your heart's content, take a comfortable train ride back to either Ollantaytambo or Cusco, depending on which you prefer. 

Day 8: Return to Cusco

Narrow streets in Cusco are a perfect place to spend an afternoon wandering around
The narrow streets of Cusco are a perfect place to spend an afternoon wandering around

Return to Cusco and make your way to your hotel. In the afternoon, explore the small winding streets of Cusco. If you choose, add on an optional stop at the salt mines and Moray ruins, where you'll learn about ancient Incan salt-harvesting methods.  

Day 9: Departure

Catch a flight to Lima, the capital city of Peru, for your connecting flight home. Or, stay and enjoy the local atmosphere!
Lively Lima, the capital city of Peru

Take a taxi to the airport for your flight to Lima, and connect to your flight home from there. Alternatively, extend your trip in Peru, either from Cusco or Lima. The options are endless! 

Map

Map of Inca Trail to Huchuy Qosqo & Llactapata with Machu Picchu - 9 Days
Map of Inca Trail to Huchuy Qosqo & Llactapata with Machu Picchu - 9 Days