Day 1 Lima Fly to Lima, capital city of Peru, located in Peru’s narrow coastal desert between the Pacific Ocean beaches and the towering Andes mountains. We meet you at Lima’s airport and transfer you to a comfortable hotel for overnight. Please refer to the table on page 2 listing our preferred hotels in each service category.
Day 2 Cuzco On the hour-long morning flight from Lima you first traverse the arid western slopes and the sparsely-populated highlands before enjoying views toward spectacular snow-capped Andean peaks and tiny villages in jewel-like green valleys beneath high, treeless moorlands. Watch for the classic geometric forms of Inca terracing as we descend into the Cuzco airport. The former capital of the Inca Empire now fills the head of a manicured valley at 10,857’ above sea level. We transfer you to your hotel, and brief you on the events of the following days. You have the remainder of the morning free. We suggest you take it very easy for a few hours, to help your body adjust to the altitude. You’ll have ample time later to explore Cuzco’s colorful streets and plazas. In the afternoon we tour the Inca and colonial monuments in the city, including the Cathedral, the Inca Temple of the Sun, and the impressive Plaza de Armas. We also visit the exquisite Inca shrines of Tambo Machay and Kenko in the hills above the city, and Saqsayhuaman, the enormous fortified temple with its massive ramparts of hewn stone, for a condor’s-eye view over the red tiled rooftops of Cuzco.
Day 3 Sacred Valley We enjoy a spectacular private tour of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, so named for the many Inca temples constructed there. We tour Pisaq ruins, on a ridge high above the town are the famed Pisaq terraces, some of the finest examples of the Incas’ genius for creating sacred space while transforming a steep mountainside into valuable, irrigated agricultural land. The ritual center on the ridge features an Intihuatana, (hitching post of the sun). In the afternoon we visit Ollantaytambo village and ruins where we gain an understanding of the essential features of the best-preserved example of classic imperial Inca town planning. In late afternoon check in to your Ollantaytambo hotel for overnight.
Day 4 Inca Trail Board an early morning train to arrive at the KM 104 trailhead of the famed one-day Inca Trail route. After crossing the river on a suspension bridge and clearing trailhead formalities, we enjoy a full-day, 6-mile hike along the Inca Trail, culminating in the thrill of reaching Inti Punku pass (8,880 ft), the Gate of the Sun, and gazing down at Machu Picchu from above. Stroll down into the Inca citadel, and continue via shuttle to the nearby service town of Aguas Calientes for overnight in hotel.
Day 5 Machu Picchu Because of the natural splendor of the jungle-clad mountains surrounding the ruins, and the artistry of the buildings perched on a ridge high above the Urubamba River, Machu Picchu is one of the archeological wonders of the world. Following your guided tour, you have time for photography and to explore the extensive site in more depth at your own pace. You may opt to explore nearby trails, such as the easy stroll to the Inca Bridge, the steep adventurous trail to the summit of Huayna Picchu, or to Machu Picchu Mountain. (Note: some optional hikes require prepayment of additional site fees. Rates and terms are subject to change; please ask for the current details). You may prefer to return to a favorite spot within the main city to sketch, to write in your journal, or simply to contemplate the beauty and the mysteries of this extraordinary site. Take the shuttle bus down to nearby Aguas Calientes in the afternoon for your return to Cuzco by train. Train station reception and transfer, overnight in your hotel.
Day 6 Lima Following your flight back to Lima, you have the balance of the day free to explore Lima on your own. At your request we may arrange optional visits to the National Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, the Gold Museum, Lima’s colonial heart or other notable points of interest. You’ll find many shops full of excellent folk art, jewelry, ceramics and clothing in Miraflores near your hotel. Lima also boasts excellent restaurants featuring world-class cuisine drawn from the best of coast, highlands and the tropical rain forests.
Day 7 Home We provide a private transfer to Lima airport for check-in to your onward flight.
- Meet and assist in Lima
- Private airport transfers
- Porterage of 2 pieces of luggage per person in Lima and Cuzco
- 6 nights hotel accommodations, tax and service included
- group tours of Cuzco and Machu Picchu with English-speaking guides
- Cuzco multi-site entrance ticket (BTG)
- 2-day Chachabamba / Historical Sanctuary of Machu Picchu Inca Trail Permit (SHMP)
- Qorikancha (Sun Temple) entrance ticket, Cuzco cathedral entrance ticket
- overnight Machu Picchu excursion includes station transfers, return transport with reserved seating, shuttle bus tickets Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu
- Daily breakfast (continental, American or buffet depending on level of program). On the Superior + package, 1 dinner is included at the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. In the Deluxe package, 1 lunch and 1 dinner are included at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge
- reconfirmation of onward airline reservations
- our field staff in Lima and Cuzco provide professional assistance with add-ons
- Lunches and dinners (budget an average of $15 for lunch and $20 for dinner, exclusive of bar tab).
- tips to guides and tour staff
- airport departure taxes
- entrance to sites and museums other than those specified
- flights Lima/Cuzco/Lima ($350 approximately)