- Explore Lima's ancestral & colonial highlights
- Stroll the ancient Inca capital of Cusco
- Discover the Sacred Valley sites of Pisac, Ollantaytambo & Moray
- Trek along the Lares & Short Inca Trails to Machu Picchu
|Day 1||Arrive in Lima||Lima|
|Day 2||Lima Guided City Tour||Lima|
|Day 3||Fly to Cusco||Cusco|
|Day 4||Pisac, Ollantaytambo & Chinchero Tour||Cusco|
|Day 5||Moray Terraces & Maras Salt Mines Tour||Cusco|
|Day 6||Lares Trek to Sondor||Sondor|
|Day 7||Lares Trek to Pucara||Pucara|
|Day 8||Short Inca Trail Trek to Aguas Calientes||Aguas Calientes/ Machu Picchu|
|Day 9||Explore Machu Picchu||Cusco|
|Day 10||Transfer to Cusco Airport, Fly to Lima & Departure|
Day 1: Arrive in Lima
¡Bienvenidos! Welcome to Lima, Peru's largest city, central metropolitan hub, and home to one-third of the country's population. Upon arrival, you'll be met by your driver and transferred to your hotel in the Miraflores/San Isidro district.
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 perfect to discover on foot. After settling in, head downtown to mingle with locals, stretch your legs, and grab a bite to eat in one of the many award-winning restaurants.
Day 2: Lima Guided City TourGet ready to explore Lima and all it has to offer today, with a guided tour of the city's ancestral, colonial, and contemporary influences.
Start with a panoramic view of the Pucllana Pyramid, a magnificent ceremonial and archeological center built in the 4th-century BCE and considered a sacred village by the Inca. Next, you'll head to the city's historic center to see its many colonial monuments and grand buildings such as the Paseo de la República, San Martín Square, the Government Palace, the Archbishop’s Palace, the Cathedral Basilica, and the City Council Palace.
After a visit to the Museo del Banco Central De Reserva to admire a glittering collection of gold, ceramics, and textiles from different pre-Columbian cultures, continue to the monumental San Francisco Convent to view the largest collection of religious art in America and descend underground to explore the catacumbas (catacombs).
Day 3: Fly to Cusco
Today starts with a transfer to the airport, where you'll catch a short domestic 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 in the same location. After arriving and checking into your hotel, head out to discover the city.
At 11,000 feet (3,000 m) above sea level, it takes time to adjust to the altitude—so take it easy and remember to drink lots of water. Since Cusco was designed as a city for walking, start your exploration of the narrow stone alleyways on foot. Make sure to take a walk through the plaza—if the weather is beautiful, it's the perfect place to sit on a balcony and have a cup of coca tea while adjusting to the elevation.
Day 4: Pisac, Ollantaytambo & Chinchero Tour
This morning, you will depart from your hotel in Cusco to start your exploration of the Sacred Valley. Your first stop is Pisac, one of the most important archaeological sites in the region. Explore the ancient Inca burial grounds, irrigation systems, and astronomy centers at Pisac Citadel, then descend to the valley floor to visit the town of the same name. Here you can browse its bustling textile market and shop for gifts and souvenirs.
Stop for lunch in Urubamba, where you'll enjoy traditional Peruvian Andean cuisine in a beautiful setting overlooking the Urubamba River.
In the afternoon, you'll continue to the ancient Incan settlement of Ollantaytambo, one of the few remaining places in the Sacred Valley that retains its original Inca grid plan. Walk streets lined with canals, view ancient houses still in use today, and climb the agricultural terraces, from where you can enjoy an Inca’s-eye-view of the valley. At the latter, you will be able to spy some of the quarries from where the stone for Ollantaytambo was sourced.
After a stop at Chinchero, where you can explore more ruins and a small but charming Andean town, it's time to make your way back to Cusco for the evening.
Day 5: Moray Terraces & Maras Salt Mines Tour
Head back into the Sacred Valley this morning, stopping first in Moray. Here you can marvel at the incredible series of stone terraced amphitheaters carved deep into the earth in the shape of a bowl. The exact reason for their construction is unknown; however, historians believe they were built to experiment with crop production in different micro-climates.
When you are done exploring Moray, head about two miles away to the salt mines of Maras. This village is known as a former salt-producing center and is thought to date back to pre-Inca times. There are over 3,000 salt pools here, spectacularly carved into the steep mountainside over a millennium ago.
In the afternoon, you'll return to Cusco and have the rest of the day to relax or discover more of the city.
Day 6: Lares Trek to SondorThe trekking portion of your adventure starts today, with a morning transfer to the village of Lares. Here you can visit the local hot springs to relax and enjoy lunch before setting out on your hike towards the first campsite in Sondor. Along the way, you'll stop at the village of Calca to browse the local market and get to know the locals.
The three-hour trek is a gradual, uphill climb which is perfect training for tomorrow's more strenuous excursion. Upon arrival at your campsite, a homecooked meal and comfortable tents await, as you settle into your first evening sleeping under the stars.
Day 7: Lares Trek to Pucara
Wake to the sounds of nature and enjoy a hearty breakfast this morning. Then it's time to set off towards the highest point of your trek, the pass of Sacsayllame (Hucahuasi) at 1,4435 feet (4400 m). The two-hour hike consists of a steep, uphill climb, but you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views of soaring mountains and a patchwork of agricultural lands below.
After reaching the summit, begin your four-hour descent and pass a beautiful lagoon before stopping for lunch next to the river. Afterward, you'll continue to descend through a typical Peruvian forest of queuñas (polylepis) trees, before reaching tonight's campsite at Pucara, where a well-earned meal and early night awaits.
Day 8: Short Inca Trail Trek to Aguas Calientes
Today's adventure starts with an early morning transfer to Ollantaytambo village. From here, you'll hop on the scenic tourist train and enjoy the scenery as the train ascends into the cloud forest on the approach to Machu Picchu. At Km 104, you'll disembark and start your seven-hour trek along the iconic Short Inca Trail.
The trail then becomes gentler and continues through the semi-tropical cloud forest to Intipunku (Sun Gate), where you'll enjoy your first panoramic views of Machu Picchu. Descend half an hour to the citadel for a short break and an opportunity for photos.
After passing through the Sun Gate, take the bus down to Aguas Calientes and check into a hotel to rest and relax in anticipation of your visit to Machu Picchu tomorrow.
Day 9: Explore Machu Picchu
A spectacular stone city surrounded by steep, lush mountains, Machu Picchu needs no introduction. Today you'll discover the grand main citadel, find hidden nooks and crannies, and experience breathtaking views from this mysterious wonder of the 15th-century Inca Empire. Located at 7,970 ft (2,430 m), the ancient citadel is a masterpiece of engineering that served as a sanctuary and retreat for Emperor Pachacutec and his royal court. Machu Picchu, which means "Old Mountain," is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
Today you'll visit at sunrise and be rewarded with a guided tour before the crowds arrive. After the tour, you will have plenty of time to explore the citadel on your own, then take the bus back to Aguas Calientes and grab lunch in the picturesque town center. Then connect to your train to Ollantaytambo and your connecting transfer back to your hotel in Cusco.
Day 10: Transfer to Cusco Airport, Fly to Lima & Departure
It's time to say your goodbyes to Peru this morning, as you transfer to Cusco Airport to catch a flight back to Lima and connect with your international departure. ¡Hasta luego!
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