11 days from £2310pp plus international flights.
On this trip you are immersed in Inca history in a very special way, trekking in Inca footsteps, experiencing Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail and some of the fascinating ancient sites within the Sacred Valley. You will come to understand how these iconic locations sat within the context of the empire and how the Inca shaped the Peruvian Andean way of life as it is today, as you learn about Inca history and about traditions which have long died out and those which survive to this day.
All this is set against a truly spectacular natural backdrop, the mountains and cloud forests of the region. You’ll hike the Inca Trail, accompanied on this challenging journey by guides, cooks and porters who will see to all your needs as you stay at well-established campsites, sleeping in sturdy tents and cosily ensconced in special sleeping bags.
In addition to the great adventure that is the Inca Trail, and the spine-tingling excitement of arriving at Machu Picchu, you’ll have a guided tour of some of the key highlights of Cusco and the archaeological sites outside the city. Based in a boutique hotel in the artistic San Blas district you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the city’s museums and shops. And you’ll visit the colourful market at Pisac and explore the town of Ollantaytambo, spending a night in a charming historic hotel at the Ollantaytambo railway station.
If you fancy making a longer trip of it and seeing another aspect of Peru, you could opt to add an extension to Lake Titicaca or the Amazonian rainforest – or both!
You’ll be met on arrival at Lima and transferred to the Wyndham Costa Del Sol Lima Airport hotel. You’ll have time to relax and perhaps take advantage of the spa, fitness centre or indoor pool before settling down for the night.
After breakfast you'll make the short walk back to the airport for the flight to Cusco. Our local representative will meet you in Cusco and transfer you to the Casa San Blas hotel. This boutique hotel is in the bohemian San Blas district, close to the Plaza de Armas and, once you’ve settled in, you’ll be free to explore the city as you wish as you start to acclimatise to the altitude. Breakfast
After breakfast, your guide will arrive to take you on a tour of some of the most significant sites in and around Cusco. These include the magnificent cathedral, 15th century Korikancha – the Inca ‘Golden Enclosure’ which was once covered in gold – the temple and ruins at Qenko, the red fort ruins at Pucapucara and the Inca temple complex of Sacsayhuaman. Breakfast
After breakfast, you will be collected and driven to the Sacred Valley, where your home for the next two nights is El Albergue in Ollantaytambo. The rest of the day is yours to explore Ollantaytambo at will as you continue to acclimatise to altitude. Breakfast
You’re unlikely to return to your hotel empty-handed today, as you will be taken to the market at Pisac. As well as providing fantastic people-watching and photographic opportunities as colourfully-dressed locals go about their daily business, you will find plenty to tempt you amongst the textiles, jewellery and other arts and crafts on offer. You’ll be driven back to Ollantaytambo after lunch, when you’ll be free to explore the town, which is still laid out as the Inca designed it. Don’t miss the incredible Inca stonework at the impressive ruins. Breakfast, lunch
Today your Inca Trail adventure begins! You’ll be collected after breakfast and driven to Piscacucho, the official starting point for the Trail. Here you’ll meet the guides, cooks and porters who will accompany you on your trek. You’ll hike for 5-6 hours, stopping for lunch on the way. You’ll arrive at the Wayllabamba campsite in time to settle into your tent, take advantage of the hot water available for washing and enjoy the dinner your cooks prepare. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
After a cosy night in your tent and an early, fortifying breakfast you will embark on a challenging 6-7-hour hike that starts with the steep climb to the 4200m Warmiwañusca Pass. This is the highest point on the trail and it’s followed by the descent to the campsite at Pacamayo, where you’ll have lunch and dinner.
Although, at 8-9 hours, this is your longest day of hiking, it is less challenging and with more varied scenery, with archaeological sites along the route. A fairly gentle hike takes you to the pass at Runquracay (3,900m) before you descend to Chaquicocha and stop for lunch. After lunch you trek up to the Phuyupatamarca pass (3,700m), then you have the thrill of walking into cloud forest, with an abundance of birdlife and flora. Tonight, you’ll have dinner and camp at the archaeological site at Wiñayhuayna (2,700m). Breakfast, lunch, dinner
This is what you’ve been working towards – a walk through the rain forest leads to the final climb that takes you to the Sun Gate, Intipunku, the entrance to Machu Picchu. Savour that wonderful first view of the citadel before descending to the iconic site for a 2-hour guided tour. You will then have time to explore Machu Picchu on your own before taking the bus to Aguas Calientes where you will lunch at the Café Inkaterra in the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. After that you can relax and enjoy the Andean scenery on the train ride back to Cusco, before spending the night at the Casa San Blas. Breakfast, lunch
Today you are free to do as you wish! You might choose to recharge your batteries at the hotel, relaxing with a drink on the top floor terrace as you enjoy the city views, or perhaps rewarding yourself after your time on the Trail with a hot stone massage or a reflexology treatment. If you’re feeling more energetic, there are plenty of museums, shops, galleries and restaurants to explore before your final night at Casa San Blas. Breakfast
After breakfast it’s time to say goodbye to Cusco as you’ll taken to the airport for your flight to Lima, where you’ll connect with your onward flight. Alternatively, if you’ve opted for the Amazonian rainforest or Lake Titicaca extension you will then follow the relevant itinerary. Breakfast
Guide price from (pp sharing): £2310 (ex. international flights)
Price notes: 2019 Guide price from (pp sharing): £2310 (ex. international flights)
Meet & greet at Lima airport, airport transfers in Cusco, 10 nights twin share accommodation (7 in hotels and 3 camping on the Inca Trail), meals as shown, private guided tours of Cusco, Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu; entrance fees on tours, including Inca Trail and entrance fee to Machu Picchu; Train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo; One porter per person and one guide per group on Inca Trail; camping equipment on Inca Trail including Eureka mountain tent (shared for 2 people), sleeping bag with -9 °C rating.
International flights and taxes, domestic flights within Peru (we would normally book these for you and add this to the package), visas (not currently required by British passport holders), meals not shown as included, drinks, tips, items of a personal nature.
To get to Peru you need to fly into Lima. From here a domestic flight takes you to Cusco. From Europe Iberia Airlines or KLM are most frequently used for this route. There is no direct flight from the UK to Lima. A return flight will cost from about £900.
Departure dates: The 5-day Inca trail priced here is a set departure group trip (Tuesdays from mid-March to late December). Private departures are also available (any day) - please ask for prices.
A pretty 17th century San Blas townhouse with cosy bedrooms, lovely rooftop terrace and bags of local character
Welcoming small hotel at Ollantaytambo station with pretty gardens and en-suite rooms, perfect for exploring the Sacred Valley.
Wyndham Costa del Sol Lima Airport is a modern hotel located within walking distance of Lima's international airport, offering good accommodation and facilities.
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Flight time: Both KLM and Iberia have flights to Lima via Europe, leaving the UK early in the morning to arrive in Lima in the evening. The flight time is about 14 hours. It is also possible to fly to Lima via America.
Language: Spanish and Quechua are the official languages.
Visas: Not required for British travellers (up to 90 days). EC nationals can ask us for further advice.
Health: There are no compulsory vaccinations, except yellow fever if visiting the rainforest. Malaria prophylactics are also recommended in the rainforest.