Mountain Excursion

Custom Inca Trail and Lake Sandoval

Cusco, Peru

Prices From: $1,889 per person

Explore the famous sites of Cusco including the Ollyantambo, Pisac Market and spend 5 days trekking the incredible Inca Trail to access Machu Picchu. Explore the Sacred Valley and chill out in the colonial town of Cusco. Continue your journey on to Puerto Maldonado. Although Peru is most famously known for the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, it also offers some of the best Amazon rainforest experiences in South America. The Peruvian Amazon has an incredible range of wildlife and the relatively close proximity to Cusco means that short excursions into the jungle can be added to more traditional trips to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Our custom itineraries provide you with the flexibility to book as much or as little as you want, while giving you the flexibility to choose your own hotels to match your preferences and budget.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Lima Arrival

Upon arrival in Lima you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.

Overnight: Ramada Airport Hotel

Day 2 - Lima - Cusco

Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel, Casa Andina Private Collection Cusco Enjoy the remainder of the day at your leisure. Cusco lies at an altitude of 3,400m (11,000 ft.), and the city is full of hills and stone steps, making even physically fit travelers gasp for their breath. It usually takes one or two days to get acclimatized; take it easy for the first few hours or even couple of days in Cusco.

Overnight: Casa Andina Private Collection Cusco(Breakfast Included)

Day 3 - Sacred Valley

The Sacred Valley Peru is understood to be the land that extends between the towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo. This past heart of the Inca Empire starts just 10 miles outside of Cusco, and trips here reward visitors with incomparable Inca ruins, stunning Andes Mountains vistas, charming towns, a good climate, and plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy the countryside. This full-day excursion includes a visit to the famous Pisac Market, Ollantaytambo fortress and surrounding ruins. Return to Cusco for overnight.

Overnight: Casa Andina Private Collection Cusco (Breakfast and Lunch Included)

Day 4 - Inca Trail: Chillca – Huayllabamba

This morning you will be picked up from your Cusco hotel. A spectacular drive through the Sacred Valley of the Incas takes us to Chillca, our trailhead. Crossing a footbridge, we take an undulating trek through a dry cactus zone beneath soaring views to the snows of Mt. Verónica, with the turbulent Urubamba river on our right. We pause on a bluff high above the Cusichaca valley for a view of the imposing sculpted terraces of Llaqtapata, a massive Inca farming complex. Then we turn south and follow this side valley upstream to the village of Huayllabamba, where we make camp.

Overnight: North Face Tent (All Meals Included)

Day 5 - Inca Trail: Huayllabamba – Pacaymayo

From Huayllabamba we begin a steeper ascent, climbing the Llullucha valley along a stream that rushes through enchanted native unca woodland. Crossing the rim of a small plateau, we abruptly find ourselves in the puna, the treeless grasslands of the high Andes. Here a stretch of open trail climbs beneath mighty crags to our first and highest pass, Warmiwañusca (4,200m/13,776ft). From Warmiwañusca we can look back to the spectacular snowpeaks and valleys of the Huayanay massif, and ahead to a distant view of tomorrow’s trail to the second pass. Descending a stepped stone trail we encounter our campsite in a clearing of the forested Pacamayo valley.

Overnight: North Face Tent (All Meals Included)

Day 6 - Inca Trail: Pacaymayo – Phuyupatamarca

We pick up an Inca stairway and ascend again past the small Inca site of Runkuracay. As we reach the second pass the landscape opens onto spectacular new views to the snowpeaks of the Pumasillo range. We descend again to the ruins of Sayacmarca (Inaccessible Town), an intricate labyrinth of houses, plazas and water channels, perched precariously on a rocky spur overlooking the Aobamba valley. The Inca trail, now a massive buttressed structure of granite paving stones, continues along the steep upper fringes of the cloud forest through a colorful riot of orchids, bromeliads, mosses and ferns. At the third pass we camp by pinnacles topped with Inca viewing platforms, overlooking the archaeological complex of Phuyupatamarca (Cloud-level Town).

Overnight: North Face Tent (All Meals Included)

Day 7 - Inca Trail: Phuyupatamarca – Machu Picchu

We explore the wondrous maze of Inca stone towers, fountains and stairways spilling down the mountainside at Phuyupatamarca then begin a long descent through ever-changing layers of cloud forest. An Inca stairway partly cut from living granite leads us finally to the site of Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young), the largest and most exquisite of the Inca Trail sites. In the afternoon we follow the last stretch of trail across a steep mountainside through a lush, humid cloud-forest of giant ferns and broad-leaf vegetation. Suddenly we cross the stone threshold of Intipunku (Sun Gate) and encounter an unforgettable sweep of natural beauty and human artistry –a backdrop of twisting gorge and forested peaks framing the magical city of Machu Picchu. After enjoying your first visit of Machu Picchu, spend the night in Aguas Calientes.

Overnight: Hotel El Mapi (All Meals Included)

Day 8 - Inca Trail: Machu Picchu – Cusco

We return to Machu Picchu by bus and spend the day in both guided and individual exploration, visiting the most fascinating features of this astounding and mysterious Inca settlement. Some will want to take the optional hike to the summit of Wayna Picchu for an amazing overview of the site, while others may want to investigate Machu Picchu’s multitude of hidden nooks and corners. After a full-on experience of this glorious monument to the Inca achievement, we return to Aguas Calientes and board the return train to Poroy and transfer to your hotel.

Overnight: Casa Andina Private Collection Cusco (Breakfast and Lunch Included)

Day 9 - Cusco - Puerto Maldonado

After breakfast, you will transfer to the airport for you flight to Puno. Flight Cusco /Puerto Maldonado (not included – first flight). Our staff welcome you at Puerto Maldonado airport and we drive through this bustling Upper Amazon Basin city to the Tambopata River boat dock. Here we board a powerful motorized dugout canoe and set off to the nearby confluence of the mighty Madre de Dios River, a headwaters tributary of the Amazon. Here we turn downstream for a 25-minute river trip to the trailhead landing at Lake Sandoval. Stopping as we go to spot birds and butterflies, we walk – or take a rickshaw ride – along the 3km/2 mile trail to the narrow boat channel through flooded palm forest that leads to the open waters of this peaceful lake. After lunch and a brief rest to avoid the early afternoon heat, we once again set off by boat or catamaran to explore the entire west end of the lake. Here, along the fringes of flooded palm forest we drift to the sounds of hundreds of Red-Bellied and Blue-and-yellow Macaws as they return to the palm forest for the night. Our viewpoint from the canoe often allows closer and more extended encounters with birds and mammals than on a typical forest trail hike, and we may witness intimate feeding and mating behavior. We return to the lodge around nightfall for dinner. After dinner we take to the boats once more, in search of black caimans, which today are extremely rare in the Amazon, but still common in this protected lake. They grow up to 4m in length, and compete with the Giant Otters for their share of the fishing. On clear nights we take our boat further out into the lake to get an unimpeded view of the vast southern sky, with its unfamiliar constellations and superb vistas of the Milky Way.

Overnight: Sandoval Lake Lodge (All Meals Included)

Day 10 - Lake Sandoval

A pre-dawn wake-up call will allow us to be on the lake for what is often a spectacular sunrise, and hopefully an encounter with the Giant Otters, which patrol the entire lake in a close-knit family pack, and are most active at this hour of the day. Most of the lake’s birdlife is extremely active now, too, and this outing should provide views of numerous species of fish-eating birds as they stalk and catch their prey, along with close-up views of the large, clumsy and primitive leaf-eating Hoatzins. After returning for a late breakfast we set off on a trail walk through the cool understory of the mighty primary rainforest that surrounds the lake. We will see the great Brazil-nut trees that are abundant here, and meet a local family – the only people permitted to live here permanently and harvest the natural bounty of Lake Sandoval. They will show us how they collect the nuts, remove their shells and market this important forest product. After dinner we will have another chance to spot caiman on the lake, or perhaps take a night trail walk in search of the numerous creatures, including frogs, toads, owls, nighthawks, spiders and night monkeys, that make the forest such a busy and different place during the night.

Overnight: Sandoval Lake Lodge (All Meals Included)

Day 11 - Puerto Maldonado - Lima

After a dawn breakfast we take a final, short paddle along the palm swamps of the west end of the lake in search of the resident Giant Otter family. From here, on clear mornings, we will see a glorious sunrise and its reflection in the open waters of the lake. Returning once more down the trail to the Madre de Dios River, we return to Puerto Maldonado to catch the flight to Cusco or Lima.

(Breakfast Included)

Accommodation Information

Ramada Airport Hotel

Experience the unexpected at the newly constructed Ramada Costa del Sol hotel located in the Lima International Airport. We are much more than just a place to stay before a flight. Enjoy a delicious meal in our restaurant featuring a variety of local and International cuisine. Our prime location within the terminal is ideal for both your travel plans and exploring Lima's area attractions.

Casa Andina Private Collection Cusco

A beautifully renovated 18th-century manor house, just 3 blocks from Cusco’s Plaza de Armas, replete with authentic colonial character. It offers the intimacy of a boutique hotel but the comforts and services of a much larger property. The hotel is distinguished by its 3 interior patios with wooden balconies. The principal patio, featuring a gurgling stone fountain, is one of Cusco’s emblematic colonial courtyards. In the hotel’s cozy lounge and reading room is a massive stone fireplace that’s always crackling, while the romantic gourmet restaurant invites guests to dine by candlelight in one of 4 connected salons richly decorated with 18th-century Cusco School paintings. Several rooms in the original structure of the hotel feature surviving colonial frescoes unearthed during renovation.

Hotel El Mapi

Smart and contemporary are the defining elements of this hotel, amidst the commercial village of Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes), from where you can admire and interact with the quaint folksy town and get a different perspective. The hotel is efficient, playful and people friendly; it welcomes a wide range of guests expecting an uncomplicated visit. Turn into an amiable and healthy environment after your enlightening visit to Peru’s most distinguished destination, the Machu Picchu Archaeological site.

Sandoval Lake Lodge

Located deep in Peru's Tambopata National Reserve, Sandoval Lake lodge overlooks sparkling, palm-rimmed Sandoval Lake, the most beautiful and wildlife-rich of all lakes in Tambopata-Madidi. This privileged location gives you exclusive access to the lake in the early morning and late afternoon, the choice hours for wildlife viewing and photography.

Location

Region: South America

Nearest Airport: LIM

Address:
Cusco
Peru

Amenities/Activities

Breakfast Breakfast

Day Tours Day Tours

Ecologically Responsible Ecologically Responsible

Hiking Trekking Hiking Trekking

Wildlife Wildlife

Archeology Indigenous Archeology Indigenous

GBC Staffpick GBC Staffpick

General Information

The price includes:

  • All meals as indicated in itinerary
  • All accommodations as indicated in itinerary
  • Experienced Bilingual Naturalist Guide
  • All tours and transfers as indicated in itinerary
  • For the Inca Trail: Transportation to and from the city of departure, a pre-departure information meeting and valuable Inca Trail map, overnight in new The North Face tents including comfortable sleeping pads, a duffle bag to store your luggage during the trek (please return upon your arrival in Cusco). Inca Trail and Machu Picchu entrance fee and train ticket back to Cusco (Vistadome), meals according to the itinerary and a final lunch in a restaurant before returning to Cusco, bottled water to refill your canteen.
  • Tambopata National Reserve entrance fee
  • All rainforest and lake excursions at Sandoval Lake Lodge

The price excludes:

  • International and domestic flights
  • Meals not indicated
  • For the Inca Trail: Meals in the cities, alcoholic beverages, extras, tips, taxes, laundry service, additional tours, insurance and airline tickets (where applicable), hiking boots, sleeping bags, sticks and other personal gear or items.
  • Items of a personal nature, including insurances
  • Visas, passports, vaccinations, medicines
  • Gifts & souvenirs
  • Any optional extra activities
  • Tips