Highlights of Peru Overview:
Peru is one of the most fascinating countries in South America. Our complete tour of the main attractions of Peru includes the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, one of the most famous treks in the world. Join us on this nine-day tour to discover for yourself the very best of Peru. We will visit Lima, the nation’s capital, the ancient Inca and colonial city of Cusco. We will also be visiting the Machu Picchu, the most iconic archaeological site in South America. In the Sacred Valley of the Incas we will visit the typical Andean village of Pisac. It is famous for colourful handcraft market and spectacularly located Inca ruins. We will also be visiting Inca sites at Chincheros and Ollantaytambo.
At the end of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, from the Sun Gate high above the ruins we will get our first view of this city which the Incas left intact when they abandoned it sometime in the 16th century. This is the perfect vacation for those seeking to follow in the footsteps of the Incas.
DeparturePick up from your Hotel
Departure Time3:30 AM.
Return TimeApproximately 6:00 PM.
Dress CodeWarm clothes, including jacket, fleeces, gloves, scarf and beanie/touk
IncludedAccommodationEntrancesFirst aid kit and emergency oxigenMealsPick up from your HotelProfessional GuideTransportation
Not IncludedWalking Stick
Day 1: Arrival in Lima
We will pick you up from the airport and transfer you to the hotel. Francisco Pizarro found Lima in 1535. Lima possesses many fine colonial buildings and some of the best museums in South America. It includes the Gold Museum, the Larco Herrera Museum (containing the largest collection in Peru of pre-Hispanic pottery, as well as ancient objects made from precious metals) and the Amano Pre-Columbian Textile Museum. Peru’s capital has much to offer and many of the sights, including the city’s two main squares (the Plaza de Armas and Plaza San Martin), are within easy walking distance. The Cathedral and the Presidential palace are right next to the Plaza, where the changing of the guard can be seen every day at noon.
Day 2: Cusco
We will transfer you from your hotel to Lima airport for your flight to Cusco. We suggest taking an early flight, so you can see as much as possible during your first day in Cusco!
Once you have had time to freshen up, your guide will meet you for a three hour City Tour of Cusco. The best introduction possible to the archaeological capital of the Americas. This is a relaxed walking tour, suitable for all levels of fitness and designed not to be too demanding on this, your first day at altitude.
We will be picking you up from your hotel. The location of your hotel may mean that the order in which you visit the attractions will vary. In the picturesque historic center, the main sights we will visit are the Temple of the Sun, or Coricancha, and Cusco’s cathedral. The Coricancha (“Golden Enclosure”) was the most important religious building in the empire of the Incas. The Spaniards built their first church in Cusco, Santo Domingo, over the Inca temple, the fine stonework of which can still be seen within the main structure of the church. From here we will continue to the cathedral, in the city’s central square, the foundation stone of which was laid in 1560. This marvel of Spanish religious architecture contains around 300 paintings of the so-called “Cusco School”.
While tailoring your highlights of Peru itinerary to your personal interests, we can offer you guided excursions to the following attractions:
Day 3: Sacred Valley – Full Day
The Sacred Valley of the Incas is one of the most popular tours in the vicinity of Cusco. Located less than an hour from the city, the Urubamba river valley is home to many Inca archaeological sites. It also offers fine scenery and traditional Andean culture. The valley was extremely important during Inca times, when it functioned as an agricultural, spiritual and political center. During this full day tour, we will visit the handcraft market and spectacular hilltop ruins of Pisac, the small town of Urubamba, and the Inca village of Ollantaytambo, with its imposing Inca temple complex.
On the way to the Sacred Valley, it is also possible to stop and visit the ruins of the great fortified temple complex built by the Incas on the hill overlooking the northern side of Cusco’s main square. Most blocks that was used to build Sacsayhuaman weigh up to one hundred tons each.
Day 4: Cusco/Chincheros/ Maras-Moray/Urubamba
Today we will leave the city of Cusco and head out into the mountains for some gentle hiking on the plains above the Sacred Valley of the Incas, visiting the pre-Inca salt pans of Maras, the Inca concentric agricultural terraces of Moray, and the charming traditional Andean village of Chinchero, which has a beautiful church, interesting Inca ruins and a lively Indian market on Sundays.
We will lunch with a local family at the Chichubamba tourism project. The community here has taken this initiative to facilitate the cultural exchange between them and travellers. Here it is possible to share in local farming activities or simply observe the way of life of this Andean community.
Deluxe: Sol and Luna.
El Huacatay: This small restaurant in Urubamba created by Pio and Iris has become well-known. It is known for one of the most creative kitchens in the region.
Day 5 : Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (Day 1)
During the Inca Trail trek we will cross spectacular high passes and visit a fascinating series of Inca period archaeological sites en route to Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu is known throughout the world as “the Lost City of the Incas”. An expert local guide will lead the group, and cooks and porters will take care of the detailed logistics. They will carry all camping equipment, leaving you to carry just a small daypack with your personal gear.
The trek begins after an enjoyable bus journey through the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The first day’s hike is a relatively easy 4½ hour (13 kilometers / 8 miles) walk. This will prepare you for the high pass at Warmiwañuska (4,200 meters / 13,775 feet). We will reach before lunchtime.
Day 6: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (Day 2)
During Day 2 you will cover approximately nine kilometers (5.6 miles) in around 5 to 7 hours. After crossing another high pass it will be all downhill as the trail winds its way along Inca stone steps to our next campsite.
Day 7: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (Day 3)
On Day 3 we will pass the ruins of Runkurakay, Sayacmarca and Phuyupatamarca. Walking approximately 15 kilometers (9 miles) in around seven hours. On the final morning of the trek, after spending the night near the beautiful Inca ruins of Wiñay Wayna, we will start the day early for the walk to Machu Picchu. We will be looking forward to a spectacular sunrise over the Inca city. Seen beautifully from the Sun Gate high above the ruins. After we arrive at Machu Picchu there will be plenty of time to enjoy a guided tour of the site and also to explore the city independently.
The lost city of Machu Picchu was originally a fully self-sufficient settlement. An extensive agricultural terrace surrounds this place. Natural springs provided a year-round water supply. Located high above the fast flowing Urubamba River, cloud often shrouds the ruins of palaces, ceremonial baths, temples, storage facilities and around 150 homes, all of which are in a remarkable state of preservation.
Day 8: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (Day 4)
The ruins were only discovered by the outside world in 1911. American explorer Hiram Bingham came across them while looking for another “lost city”, Vilcabamba, the final refuge of the Incas. Huayna Picchu, the mountain that rises up behind the city, forms a spectacular backdrop to Machu Picchu. After spending most of the day at the ruins you will have the chance to soak your tired muscles in the natural hot springs in the small town of Aguas Calientes, or wander through the local markets before boarding the train for the return trip to Cusco.
INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU:
Limits on the capacity of the Inca Trail mean that only 500 people a day are permitted to hike the trail. In order to guarantee your place on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you must provide us with a scanned copy of your passport. Additionally, a non-refundable deposit would be needed. Only when we receive the ticket we will confirm your booking. If your passport number changes before you start the tour, you must relay this information to us or risk losing your booking. You must take your original passport with you on the trail.
Day 9: Departure to Lima
After breakfast you will have time for any last minute souvenir shopping or a stroll around Cusco’s picturesque, narrow streets. We will be picking you up from your hotel and will be transferring you to the airport. Our representative will be around to assist you with check-in procedure for your flight to Lima.
Please note: If you have an international connection, make sure you allow enough time between your flight timings.
This itinerary of highlights of Peru is referential, we can modify it as per your needs. We can also extend this itinerary if you may need any extra time due to your flight arrival or departure. You may also choose to extend your Peruvian vacation by visiting Bolivia, Ecuador or the Amazon rainforest. Please contact us directly for more information, or ask to see one of our sample itineraries.
- Pre trek briefing.
- Pick-up from your hotel in the morning of the trek.
- Transport from Cusco to the trailhead in a private vehicle.
- Entry fee to Machu Picchu. (Huayna Picchu $15 extra) and Salkantay trek.
- English/Quechua/Spanish speaking professional guide. (you will have an assistant guide for groups over 6 people)
- Tents – 2 people in a 4 person tent which allows for greater comfort, and also storage of backpacks.
- Basic foam mattress.
- Toilet tent.
- Toilet paper, pack-in &pack out.
- Bio-degradable personal hand soaps.
- Horses. (for equipment and personal items) including horsemen. They carry camping equipment, food and kitchen utensils. We provide duffel bags at your briefing for your personal items. (up to 7 kg/15lbs per person)
- 1 emergency horse which can be ridden if you are feeling ill or if are a little slower.
- Tents for our staff to sleep in.
- First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle.
- Bus up and down from Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu.
- Train or equivalent luggage from Hydroelectric station to Aguas Calientes.
- Train ticket (Expedition service) from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo.
- Private transport from Ollantaytambo to Cusco.
- 1-night accommodation in Aguas Calientes in a basic hotel.
- Cook and Cooking equipment. (Assistants are provided for larger groups)
- Meals (optional vegetarian food). Our professional cooks prepare meals that incorporate elements of the western diet and also traditional Peruvian delicacies. (Please communicate with your guide/cook during the trek if you have a preference for certain types of dishes) Salads, if served, are washed in boiled water.
- Dining tent with camp tables and chairs & Kitchen tent for the cook to prepare meals.
- Celebratory dinner in Aguas Calientes.
- Lunch on the last day is included.
- One textile snack bag per person, to avoid the usage of plastic bags that contaminate our environment.
- Others: hot water every morning and evening for washing purposes / boiled water to fill in your water bottle every morning and night, and at lunchtime, if requested with enough time ahead.
- Dinner on the last night.
- Huayna Picchu entrance fee: if you would like to climb this mountain an additional fee of US $16 per personal applies Breakfast on the first morning.
- Entrance to the thermal springs.
- Sleeping bags – If you haven’t got a sleeping bag or you don’t want the hassle of bringing one all the way to Peru with you, then we have sleeping bags for hire.
- Tipping is completely optional. We take excellent care of our staff.
- A light day pack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek – prepare for a vast range of changes in temperature.
- Sandals or plastic slip on thongs are also good to give your feet a chance to breathe in the evenings if you wish to carry them.
- Warm clothes, including jacket, fleeces, gloves, scarf and beanie/touk. Thermal clothing is also recommended, especially for sleeping.
- Sleeping bag (we can hire these to you)
- Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain, and cold.
- After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body.
- Insect repellent – minimum recommended 20% DEET – although no malaria risk has been reported.
- Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, etc.
- Non-disposable canteen (Nalgene type) and water for the first morning.
- Your own medical kit with any special medications that you might require, paracetamol, second skin for blisters etc
- Small towel.
- Swimsuit (if you wish to go to the hot springs.
- Cash in soles and/or US$.
- Original passport.
- Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho. (plastic ponchos can be purchased in Cusco)
- Strong footwear, waterproof trekking boots recommended.
- Flashlight/headlamp and batteries.
- Camera and batteries. (batteries consume more quickly under cold conditions)
- Water container and water for the first morning. Important notice: plastic water bottles are no longer allowed into Machu Picchu. Plastic water containers (ie. Nalgene) or metal ones are recommended.
- Optionally: water- sterilizing tablets in case you pick up water from streams or rivers along the route. Otherwise, we provide filtered boiled water, which is safe to drink and has not reported any health problem so far.
- Original International Student Identity Card. (in case you have applied for a student discount.
- Optional: walking sticks or poles. (rubber covers required in order not to damage archaeological sites)