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! You will first be taken on a spectacular drive through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, where you will be dropped off at Chillca, the trailhead (2,670 m / 8,760 ft). Now, the adventure truly begins, as you continue on foot. Crossing a footbridge, you will be led on an undulating trek through a dry cactus zone, beneath soaring views of Mt. Verónica, with the turbulent Urubamba river on your right. You can stop for a break on a bluff, high above the Cusichaca Valley, to let your breath be taken away by the imposing sculpted terraces of Llaqtapata, a massive Inca farming complex. Afterwards, you will turn south and follow this side valley upstream to the village of Huayllabamba, where you will set up camp for the evening (3,000 m / 9,842 ft).
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.
Enjoy an early morning visit to the fabled ruins, spending today in both guided and individual exploration. Take your time to investigate the multitude of hidden nooks and corners, as you discover the most fascinating features of this astounding and mysterious Inca settlement. If you're itching for a challenge, you may be interested in embarking on the grueling trek up to the summit of Huayna Picchu. Facing steep and exposed steps, this journey is not for the fainthearted, but offers an astounding "condor's eye" view above the ruins. Please note that this trek requires a special Huayna Picchu Permit, which has not yet been included in your tour. Should you be interested in taking on this expedition at an additional cost, please let us know as soon as possible, as permits do sell out.
After an overwhelming adventure of this glorious monument to the Inca achievement, you will ride the return shuttle down to Machu Picchu Pueblo, where you will board the Vistadome train back to Cusco. Upon arrival at the Poroy station, which is located just outside of Cusco, you will be greeted by your driver and transferred to your accommodations within the city. Fall asleep dreaming of today's once in a lifetime experience!
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.)
Inkaterra La Casona was the first boutique hotel in Cusco, and still remains the best. Located in a carefully restored 16th-century Spanish Colonial mansion, the opulent period interiors are discretely closed to the curious public behind a heavy, intricately carved wooden door facing the flower-filled Plaza Nazarenas. This quiet area of Cusco, which today is a highly coveted locale among discerning guests, was formerly reserved for the homes of Inca elite, the warrior class and institutes of higher learning. With just 11 suites that surround a central garden, La Casona provides an intimate residential feel, capturing the sense of privacy and privilege experienced by those who once lived here.
Surrounded by spectacular Andean vistas and located halfway between Cusco and Machu Picchu, Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba is the perfect base to explore the heart of the Incan Empire, the Urubamba Valley. Often referred to as the Sacred Valley, this lush strip of fertile farmland is replete with beautiful ancient terraces. The rich cultural treasures of this land are often condensed into a day trip from Cusco in the rush to get to Machu Picchu, but travelers in the know will appreciate a few days in the Urubamba Valley where authentic immersion in the Andean heritage is possible. With only 36 rooms on property, your experience here will be personalized, intimate and unforgettable.
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.
Inkaterra’s Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel perfectly compliments a visit to Machu Picchu, providing you with a deeper understanding of why the Incas chose this hidden location in the Andean cloud forest to build their marvelous citadel. Nestled among 12-acres on the outskirts of Machu Picchu Pueblo, it is also a peaceful haven away from the tourist crowds that are inevitably a fixture of any visit to Machu Picchu. The lodge is laid out like a traditional Andean Village. You will follow stone pathways to your room, crossing gurgling water channels within a cloud forest dripping with exotic orchids and buzzing with colorful hummingbirds. The property was designed in traditional Andean style, using local materials of stone, adobe, stucco and eucalyptus. The expansive grounds offer a perfect refuge for bird watching and trained naturalist guides can also lead you on a variety of thematic nature walks in the morning and afternoon.
Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica is an award-winning eco-lodge situated along the steep banks of Peru's meandering Madre de Dios River, at the heart of a 29,650-acre private ecological reserve. Your exotic Amazon immersion begins almost immediately. You will travel to the lodge in comfortable outboard dugout canoes, leaving civilization behind on a 45 minute scenic river journey. Tree-trunk boardwalks wind through the property, designed in the fashion of a native Ese’ Eja village. Private thatched-roof cabanas, built on raised platforms in the indigenous style, surround a stunning open-air main building and dining room, that blend almost seamlessly into the jungle. Luxurious furnishings, amenities and delectable food offer an elegant complement to the simplicity of the jungle. Accompanied by expert local guides, you can explore the surrounding Amazon Rainforest on jungle hikes, canoe trips and along the Canopy Walkway, a series of 7 hanging bridges suspended nearly 100 feet off the ground.
*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.