A stunning tour which includes the best of the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. See the most important Inca ruins in this activity-filled itinerary. This is the best way to experience the Cusco Region in our opinion!

Highlights

  • Sacsayhuaman
  • Ollantaytambo Ruins
  • Short Inca Trail & Machu Picchu
  • Maras Moray Mountain Biking
  • Free Day in Cusco

Overview map

Brief itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Lima Lima
Day 2 Arrival in Cusco, Exploring the City Cusco
Day 3 Cusco - Sacsayhuaman - Ollantaytambo Ollantaytambo
Day 4 Ollantaytambo Ruins & Yucay Day Hike Ollantaytambo
Day 5 Ollantaytambo Km 104 - Short Inca Trail Aguas Calientes
Day 6 Machu Picchu Excursion Ollantaytambo
Day 7 Maras Moray & Chinchero - Mountain Biking Cusco
Day 8 Cusco (Free day to explore) Cusco
Day 9 Departure  

Detailed itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Lima

Lima's seaside 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 evening, head 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 a nightcap at an open-air cafe or restaurant in the diverse Miraflores neighborhood. 

Day 2: Arrival in Cusco, Exploring the City 

Cusco's Plaza de Armas after dusk

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: Cusco - Sacsayhuaman - Ollantaytambo

Sacsayhuaman
Sacsayhuaman ruins, just outside of Cusco

We start by collecting you from the airport or your hotel and driving straight to the impressive archaeological site of Sacsayhuaman, which translates as the 'sacred falcon' and was thought to guard the city of Cusco.

Walking around the site to understand the importance of it to Cusco & its people, we will take our time before moving on for a great picnic. This will feature local food native to the area, which is organic and unique, and not available in other parts of Peru. A really delicious lunch option.

In the afternoon we'll arrive into Ollantaytambo, a beautiful town in the heart of the Valley, with plenty of time to relax and enjoy your surroundings before the next few days.

Day 4: Ollantaytambo Ruins & Yucay Day Hike

After an early breakfast, we will walk around the Inca Fortress and ceremonial site of Ollantaytambo, marveling at these extraordinarily well-preserved ruins. Set around a tranquil plaza, renowned for its peaceful charm. The little-altered layout of the town offers an unprecedented peek into the way of life of its past peoples, the Incas. Even the street names are the original one from ancient times.

Late morning we drive to the temple of Sayri Tupac. At one time in history, Yucay was the resting place for the royal Inca family. The trail follows a wide channel stream coming from the snowcapped mountain of San Juan. Immersed in nature, with the sound of running water and the views of the valley from the top of the terraces will be one of the highlights of our journey. After about 2 hours the trail finishes at the other plaza of Yucay. This is where our private transportation will be waiting for us to drive us back to our hotel.

Day 5: Ollantaytambo Km 104 - Short Inca Trail

We take the train to Km 104 where the Inca Trail begins. The valley turns into a canyon and the scenery begins to alter 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, manageable but no ‘walk in the park’.

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 fabulous sense of peace far from the crowds, this will be the perfect spot to enjoy our 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 real 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 great 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 6: Machu Picchu Excursion

After lunch, we catch the bus up to Machu Picchu. It is a 25-minute bus ride to the sanctuary (2400 m). As other people begin leaving we will embark on our exploration of Machu Picchu 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 curious corners within the enigmatic Citadel of Machu Picchu. 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 take the 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. Please confirm that you want to make this climb at the time of making your booking with us. There are only 2 entrance times: 7 or 10 in the morning. The trail consists of many steep narrow steps (not recommended for people who suffer vertigo), the height of the mountain is 2700m (8858 ft) and the climb is 300m (984 ft).

Day 7: Maras Moray & Chinchero - Mountain Biking

This full day experience begins at Cruz Pata, a community located on the lagoon of Piuray that belongs to the town of Chinchero. We will start pedaling along an old dirt road (trail) that will help us get used to the bikes. We will go to the archaeological site of Moray, a former agricultural laboratory used to experiment with different varieties of native potatoes.

The road linking Maras and Moray is a "single track" which is excellent for cross-country biking, with ups and downs that make for an exciting experience. We will be able to see unique views of the Vilcanota Mountain Range like the Chicon, the Pumahuanca, and the Wakay Willca Mountains.

The Maras village is an agricultural town whose inhabitants are mainly engaged in the extraction of salt. After a rest and a picnic lunch in the nearby town of Maras, we will continue our cycling experience along the paths leading down to the salt mines. It is up to the passengers and their experience level to decide whether we descend to Pichingoto in the Sacred Valley.

Includes: Briefing. Kona Lanai/Fire Mountain bikes, prowell helmets, gloves; bilingual guide specialized in mountain biking and first aid kit. Snacks

Duration: 5-6 hours
Location: Pampa de Anta and Maras, Cruz Pata, Moray, Salineras de Maras
Level: Basic and Medium Experience
Best Season: Dry season: from April to November
Rainy season: From December to March

Day 8: Cusco (Free day to explore)

On your last day, you can explore the city of Cusco and enjoy all it has to offer, like San Pedro market, the Plaza de Armas, San Blas and much more.

Day 9: Transfer to Airport for departure

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