Experience the highlights of Peru with a custom itinerary enabling you to see as much as you can during your stay, while enjoying the best accommodations that Peru has to offer. Your adventure begins with a visit to the colonial city of Cusco before departing into the Andes to experience the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu. Experience the natural beauty of the Amazon Rainforest, enjoying the benefits of one of the most fully-realized, luxurious jungle lodges in the world.
Today, you will be picked up at the airport and transferred to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)
Cusco is a beautiful city with well preserved colonial architecture, evidence of a rich and complex history. The city itself represents the center of indigenous Quechua culture in the Andes, and by merely walking the streets one sees the layers of history. Spanish colonial buildings erected directly atop Inca walls line the square, while the modern tourist nightlife flourishes in their midst. The city is surrounded by a number of ruins, the most impressive being Sacsayhuaman, the site of the 1536 battle in which dozens of Pizarro's men charged uphill to battle the forces of the Inca. Nowadays, Cusco is known for its indigenous population--often seen on the streets in traditional clothing--and its substantial tourist-fueled night life.
The city of Cusco itself, represents the center of indigenous Quechua culture in the Andes, and by merely walking the streets, you will be able to see the layers of history. Spanish colonial buildings erected directly atop Inca walls line the square, while the modern tourist nightlife flourishes in their midst. Nowadays, Cusco is known for its indigenous population--often seen on the streets in the traditional clothing.
Your excursion will then take you out of Cusco, to visit the main Inca ruins in the Cusco valley. This will include stops at Tambo Machay, Puca Pucara, Kenko, Sacsayhuaman and some lesser known ruins as well. These impressive sites serve as a great introduction to Inca history, and by walking around them, you will continue to acclimate to the high altitude of Peru. After your tour, you will be transferred back to your hotel with the remainder of your day to enjoy at leisure. (This service is on a private basis.)
This morning, you will be picked up from your hotel to embark on a full-day private excursion that includes visits to the famous Pisac Market and Ollantaytambo fortress. Along the way, you will stop for lunch at a restaurant that serves some of the most delicious local cuisines.
The Sacred Valley of 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 fascinating Inca ruins, picturesque Andes Mountains views, charming towns, a pleasant climate and plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy the countryside. When your exploration is complete, you will be transferred to your hotel with the rest of the evening at your leisure. (This service is on a private basis.)
The Sacred Valley can be found tucked in between the impressive Andes of Peru. This developing area, once strictly colonial towns and secluded villages, is now recognized as a destination in it's own right. Here, you can explore the aromas and flavors of the local markets, discover the rich history of various archaeological sites and get to know the friendly local people. Steering away from the more modern major cities, the Sacred Valley offers a close community setting, for the perfect nature retreat and cultural experience.
This morning, you will be picked up from your hotel in Cusco, to embark on the unforgettable Inca Trail Trek! A spectacular drive through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, will take you to Chillca, the trailhead (2,670 m / 8,760 ft). Crossing a footbridge, you will embark on an undulating trek through a dry cactus zone, beneath soaring views of the snows of Mt. Verónica, with the turbulent Urubamba river on your right. You can pause on a bluff, high above the Cusichaca valley, for a view of the imposing sculpted terraces of Llaqtapata, a massive Inca farming complex. You will then turn south and follow this side valley upstream to the village of Huayllabamba, where you will set up camp (3,000 m / 9,842 ft) for the evening.
Distance: 16 km
Duration: 7 hours
Max Altitude Point: 3,000 m
From Huayllabamba today, you will 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, you will abruptly find yourself in the puna, the treeless grasslands of the high Andes. Here, a stretch of open trail climbs beneath mighty crags, to your first and highest pass, Warmiwañusca (4,200m/13,776ft). From Warmiwañusca, you can look back to the spectacular snow peaks 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, you will encounter your campsite (3,627m / 11,899 ft) in a clearing of the forested Pacamayo valley.
Distance: 7 km
Duration: 7 hours
Max Altitude Point: 4,200 m
Picking up camp this morning, you will head along an Inca stairway and ascend again past the small Inca site of Runkuracay . As you reach the second pass (3,900 m /12,800 ft), the landscape opens onto spectacular new views of the snow peaks of the Pumasillo range. You will 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, you will camp by pinnacles topped with Inca viewing platforms, overlooking the archaeological complex of Phuyupatamarca (Cloud-level Town) (3,600 m / 11,810 ft).
Distance: 11 km
Duration: 7 hours
Max Altitude Point: 3,900 m
Today, you will explore the wondrous maze of Inca stone towers, fountains and stairways, spilling down the mountainside at Phuyupatamarca. You will then proceed to begin a long descent through ever-changing layers of cloud forest. An Inca stairway, partly cut from living granite, leads you at last to the site of Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young) (2,650 m / 8695 ft), the largest and most exquisite of the Inca Trail sites. In the afternoon, you will follow the last stretch of trail across a steep mountainside and through a lush, humid cloud-forest of giant ferns and broad-leaf vegetation. Suddenly, you will cross the stone threshold of Intipunku (Sun Gate) and encounter an unforgettable sweep of natural beauty and human artistry –a backdrop of twisting gorges and forested peaks framing the magical city of Machu Picchu (2,430 m / 7,972 ft). Every step of your excursion will be worth it, when you are rewarded with this!
After enjoying your first visit to the ruins, continue on to Machu Picchu Pueblo. You deserve the warm and comfortable night's rest in a hotel!
Distance: 11 km
Duration: 5 hours
Max Altitude Point: 3,600 m
Believed to be built as a "royal estate" for the Inca emperor Pachacuti, Machu Picchu is an astounding and perennially mysterious climax to one of the world's most famous journeys: the Inca Trail. Perched high above a sinuous bend in the Urubamba River, Machu Picchu has lured explorers, poets and pilgrims to its mist-wreathed ridgetop ever since its discovery by the American explorer Hiram Bingham in July, 1911.
Scholars still argue about the meaning of Machu Picchu: why it was built and what purpose it served, who lived there and when they departed. Most agree that its main intent was spiritual and ceremonial. But clearly its creator, Pachacuti, intended the journey to his sacred city to be a powerful experience in its own right, a pilgrimage whose effort is stunningly rewarded time and again as one follows its winding way among peaks, forests, deep gorges and fairytale ruins. Perhaps if one is to experience the spirit that inspired the builders of Machu Picchu, one truly must walk the length of Pachacuti's white granite highway -- today's Inca Trail.
You will be returned to Machu Picchu by shuttle today, for both guided and individual exploration. You will have the chance to visit the most fascinating features of this astounding and mysterious Inca settlement. Some, may want to take the optional hike to the summit of Huayna Picchu, for a breathtaking bird's eye view of the ruins, while others may want to continue investigating Machu Picchu’s multitude of hidden nooks and corners. Please note that permits are required to climb Huayna Picchu. They are not included with your trip at this time, but may be added for an additional cost.
After an overwhelming and fulfilling adventure of this glorious monument to the Inca achievement, you will return to Machu Picchu Pueblo, where you will board the Vistadome train to Cusco. Upon arrival at the Poroy station, which is located just outside of Cusco, you will be greeted by a driver and transferred to your accommodations within the city.
Today, you will be picked up at your hotel in Cusco and transferred to the airport. (This service is on a private basis.)
Welcome to Puerto Maldonado! Upon arrival at the airport, you will be greeted by a local representative and can enjoy a visit to the Inkaterra Butterfly House, conveniently located near the airport. From there, it will only be about a 15 minute journey to reach the boarding wharf, where your enchanting experience of the Amazon Rainforest kicks off. You will take a 45 minute boat ride along the Madre de Dios River, arriving at the Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica Lodge. Let the adventure begin!
After a short briefing, you will have time to settle into your beautiful room and enjoy a delicious lunch in the dining room. Take a siesta, share a refreshing tea time and get ready for the afternoon excursion. After meeting with your professional guide, choose from the 14 different excursions available at the lodge. On your first day, we recommend a guided walk along the Trail system, into the natural area, where you will discover the Amazon Basin. This trail offers an excellent introduction to the forest environment, winding past impressive trees such as the Shihuahuaco, and the strangely beautiful strangler fig, offering excellent opportunities for bird watching and observing exotic insects.
On the first night, we also recommend the Twilight River excursion — a guided afternoon boat ride on the Madre de Dios river. Witness the transformation from a diurnal, to a nocturnal world. Animals and birds of the daytime give way to species specially adapted to the night. As you enjoy their paradise, you will learn about their habits, while you search for nightjars, owls, capybaras and up to three different caiman species. Enjoy dinner served in the main dining room this evening from 7:30 - 9:30 PM. After dinner, you may retire early to your own room, or share your experience in the rainforest with other guests and interpreters, as you listen to the intriguing sounds of the jungle at night! (This service is on a group basis.)
Wake up late or rise early this morning, the choice is yours. Breakfast begins at 5:30 AM, for those who want to avoid the heat, and enjoy nature at its fullest. The full buffet breakfast is served until 9:30 AM though, for those looking to sleep in and ease into the day. During the morning, you may head out on the Lake Sandoval excursion into the Tambopata National Reserve. Glide along the waters in a wooden canoe, across a beautiful, mirror-like oxbow lake, that is home to the endangered giant river otter, as well as red howler monkeys, red-bellied macaws, anacondas, side-neck turtles and black caimans. After plenty of morning adventure to get you excited about the day, you will return to the Lodge for lunch.
On a full and satisfied stomach, consider embarking on the remarkable Inkaterra Canopy Walkway. Ascending the first tower, 29 meters above the forest ground, you begin your encounter with the treetop realm. For more than a quarter of a mile, you will literally walk through the rainforest canopy on a suspension bridge network, linking eight observation platforms. During this 1.5 hour expedition, be on the lookout for colorful toucans, woodpeckers, trogons, monkeys, and sloths. If you wish, you may extend your excursion and watch the sunset from one of the towers. Once you return to the lodge, enjoy the daily nature presentation in the Eco Center and the Happy Hour. Dinner starts at 7:30 PM. (This service is on a group basis.)
Enjoy a trip to Gamitana Creek today, located 25 minutes by boat from the lodge. For 1.5 hours, you will have the opportunity to explore the rainforest along the banks, before reaching the Sanipanga landing point. This winding, dark-water creek, is home to many piranhas, caimans, turtles and birds, so you can enjoy plenty of action on the way. You will then navigate your way back downstream, observing the abundant flora and fauna as you pass by the beautiful views. You will return to Gamitana Farm for a short guided tour to see how the local farmers grow fruits and vegetables. Head back to the lodge for lunch this afternoon.
Once you have finished lunch, you can enjoy the Hacienda Concepcion excursion, with over 200 different plant species, and learn about the uses and benefits of local flora. This is followed by a 30 minute canoe trip to look for turtles, sun grebes, nightjars and exotic herons. Afterwards, you will return to Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica. This evening, you might consider the Rainforest by Night excursion through the Inkaterra Ecological Reserve for an approximate 2 hour outing. Venture into the forest and experience the mystery of the animal activity that awakens in the rainforest after dark, enhancing animal resources to create new adaptation mechanisms. Listen to nocturnal forest sounds and spot species that only emerge when most are sleeping. Enjoy a final night in the wild tonight! (This service is on a group basis.)
Indulge in a filling and tasty breakfast this morning, before it is time to say goodbye to the lodge. A 45 minute return trip by boat on the Madre de Dios River, will take you back to Puerto Maldonado, where you will have the opportunity to revisit the Inkaterra Butterfly House. You will be dropped off in good time to catch your ongoing departure flight. You will be leaving the exotic Amazon with an unforgettable experience and the photos to prove it! (This service is on a group basis.)
Carefully restored to retain its historical heritage, La Casona presents modern luxury without sacrificing authenticity, capturing the sense of privacy and privilege experienced by those who once lived there. A colonial manor house —perhaps the first Spanish construction in Cusco built over Inca complex -and later occupied by the conquistadores of Peru, and their descendants. Eleven suites surround a sumptuous courtyard, where the patina of time is tastefully preserved. Contemporary amenities create the ambience of comfort and exclusivity enjoyed by residents in centuries past.
Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba is a contemporary hotel with colonial inspiration, built in the heart of Urubamba Valley, among flowers, mountains and trees. It creates an enabling environment for mental, spiritual and physical rest. The hotel has a design inspired by the architecture of the Cusco region, with an interior design made of local materials. A luxurious Andean environment proper of the Inkaterra spirit preserves the authenticity of Peruvian highlands. It is ideal for family holidays, offering various activities at the Valley and its surroundings, which are perfectly designed to assist travelers with the process of acclimatization. These allow the discovery of ancient traditions on the Andean farm and emphasize the history, traditions, nature and charm of the Sacred Valley.
Camping on the Inca Trail is an experience like no other. Meet and become friends with the porters and cooks that will support your journey to Machu Picchu. While walking all you need to carry is a daypack. Your luggage is carried by the porters, your tents are put up for you and your food is prepared for you. All you have to do is shoulder your daypack and enjoy the walking. Tents are new and sturdy and can fit up to two people each. Nothing beats waking to the smell of breakfast and stepping out of your tent to spectacular panoramic views of the Andes.
Rated by Travel + Leisure as ‘one of the ten best hotels in South America’, Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel is an intimate 85-cottage luxury hotel surrounded by 12 secluded acres of exquisite beauty. With its sublime Spa services and a first-class restaurant that overlooks the stunning Vilcanota River, the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel provides a tranquil retreat at the base of Machu Picchu. Scattered among lush gardens, accommodations range from the opulent Villas Inkaterra, with private terraces and plunge pools to more intimate lodges that provide a perfect sanctuary for simple relaxation. Overlooking the Vilcanota River, discover Andean cuisine with a contemporary twist at Cafe Inkaterra. Under the traditional Amazonian palm-thatched roof and surrounded by regional crafts, Cafe Inkaterra is as much of a destination as it is a culinary experience.
On the banks of Amazonian Peru's Madre de Dios River, and at the edge of a private ecological reserve, Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica's 35 thatched-roof cabanas, with their hammocks, crisp white linens, lanterns, and organic bath products, offer simple, low-impact elegance. Opened in 2009, the Canopy Tree House, 90 feet above ground, takes jungle luxury to the next level. Watch the sunset through the treetops, then fall asleep to a toucan serenade, all with your personal butler just a walkie-talkie call away. One of the most dramatic (and safest) suspended bridge systems in the world, the Inkaterra Canopy walk will take you on a thrilling quarter-mile journey across seven hanging bridges high above the rainforest. Meanwhile, down on land, the riverfront ENA Spa not only offers massages by sunset, it also pampers using indigenous plants.
*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.