Machu Picchu, Cusco, and the Sacred Valley
Travel to the mist-shrouded mountain citadel of the Incas. So remote and inaccessible that it was left untouched by the Spanish conquistadors, Machu Picchu was unknown to the outside world until Hiram Bingham rediscovered it in 1911. During your time in the Peruvian highlands, you will have a chance to explore the famous city of Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Visit the Pisac Market, ride the train through the Urubamba Valley, marvel at the massive stone stairs at Ollantaytambo, and break bread in the home of a local Peruvian family outside of Cusco.
Day 8: Guayaquil / Flight to Lima, Peru
Welcome to Peru!
Transfer to your hotel to refresh for tomorrow's exciting expedition to the heights of Peru—and into its past, when the largest empire in pre-Columbian America ruled the Andes and beyond.
Overnight: Wyndham Costa del Sol – Lima Airport
Day 9: Lima / Flight to Cusco / Sacred Valley
This morning, fly east over the Central Andes' peaks and plateaus to the ancient capital of Cusco, and then transfer to the Sacred Valley, with stops along the way to capture scenic photographs. Relax and sample traditional flavors during lunch at a lovely local restaurant before exploring this region of Inca sites and indigenous villages.
In the village of Pisac, discover a vibrant market with the colorful handicrafts for which this region is known: weavings, musical instruments, alpaca sweaters, jewelry, ceramics, and much more. Find a fruit and vegetable market at the main square where villagers from miles around visit, barter, and shop. Join this lively scene surrounded by the beauty of both the merchants' wares and the traditional clothing worn by locals.
Later this afternoon, enjoy time to relax after checking in, and perhaps take a short stroll through the property's lush gardens before dinner at the hotel.
Overnight: Sonesta Posadas del Inca – Yucay (B,L,D)
Day 10: Sacred Valley / Machu Picchu
After breakfast, make your way through the intimate cobblestone streets of Ollantaytambo, a "living" Inca town. Here, Inca descendants inhabit the largely unchanged homes of their ancestors and continue to maintain ancient customs and traditions. The massive fortress, perched among steep stone terraces carved into the hillside, is where the Inca won their greatest victory against the conquistadores.
Next, board a Vistadome train to Machu Picchu, the most important site of the vast Inca empire. Enjoy views of the mountains, villages, and Inca vestiges as you descend into the Sacred Valley. From there, a short bus ride takes you to the archaeological site of “The Lost City of the Incas." Begin a guided exploration of the enigmatic citadel. As it lies before you, learn about the archaeology and history of Intihuatana (the Sun Dial), the Sacred Plaza, and the Temple of the Sun, with plenty of time to wander, hike, and take pictures of the photogenic site.
This evening, share impressions of your day while dining with your travel companions at your Machu Picchu hotel.
Overnight: Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 11: Machu Picchu / Sacred Valley / Cusco
After an early breakfast, experience the wonder of a quiet morning at Machu Picchu, imagining the sanctuary as it was centuries ago. Today, have a more in-depth look at this amazing place and its surroundings. Adventurers are welcome to hike the surrounding trails to other discoveries. Ascend to the Sun Gate, or, with advance reservations, hike more challenging paths, such as Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. Each option offers excellent views of the sanctuary and panoramic vistas.
After lunch, return to Ollantaytambo via the Vistadome train, and then continue to your relaxing Cusco accommodations.
This evening, we will dine at a local restaurant offering exquisite Peruvian cuisine and a festive atmosphere.
Overnight: Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 12: Cusco / Saqsayhuaman / Kenko / Villa Tipón
This morning, explore Cusco's streets still flanked in places by Inca walls built with gigantic carved granite blocks. View the unique masonry up close to truly appreciate the astonishing perfection and mass of this true Inca marvel. Walk the plaza of Saqsayhuaman, an Inca complex overlooking Cusco, with stones so enormous the largest is estimated to weigh up to 200 tons.
Visit Kenko archaeological sites before going to the colorful San Pedro local market, which offers a sense of everyday life in Cusco. Mid-day, retreat to Villa Tipón, which is just outside the city of Cusco and set in the midst of awe-inspiring mountains and incredible gardens full of vividly colored flowers. A local family hosts a delicious Peruvian lunch followed by a traditional Shaman performing an Andean ceremony.
This evening, celebrate the rich rewards of your journey during a special farewell dinner.
Overnight: Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 13: Cusco / Flight to Lima / Depart for U.S.
After breakfast, head to Cusco's airport for your flight to Lima. In Lima, share a final lunch with your fellow travelers in a lively, local restaurant. Check in to your day room at Estelar Hotel Miraflores, your own private and convenient home base while awaiting your evening flight.
Day Room: Estelar Hotel Miraflores – Lima (B,L)
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Post-tour space is limited, so it's recommended to reserve early for best availability.
Guests should be sure-footed on stairs of varying heights and able to walk at least two miles on rocky, uneven ground without assistance. Also, keep in mind you will experience varying altitudes to which you may not be accustomed.
Maximum elevation: 11,200 feet in Cusco
Wyndham Costa del Sol – Lima Airport
Travelers appreciate this property for its convenient location directly across from the Lima airport. The hotel offers modern amenities and conveniences, including a restaurant, bar, indoor pool, fitness facilities, and complimentary wireless internet access.
Room Amenities: Individual climate control, cable/satellite TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, phone, alarm clock/radio, safe, coffee and tea maker, minibar, and en suite bathroom with sundries and hair dryer.
Sonesta Posadas del Inca – Yucay
Located in the heart of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, this hotel is a former 18th-century, colonial-style monastery surrounded by beautiful gardens. Rooms offer the comfort of modern amenities and the charm of rustic decorative features.
Room Amenities: Individual climate control, TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, phone, safe, and en suite bathroom with sundries and hair dryer.
Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
Only a short walk away from Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes) and the train station, but worlds apart from its hustle and bustle, the Inkaterra is nestled on 12 quiet acres of forest with nature trails, waterfalls, and the world’s largest private collection of indigenous orchids. Relax in this lovely hotel's atmosphere of refinement and warm hospitality while exploring nature and encountering the wonders of the Inca civilization.
Room Amenities: Individual climate control, complimentary Wi-Fi, and en suite bathroom with environmentally friendly sundries and hair dryer.
Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel
This luxurious property is situated near Cusco's main square, only minutes away from colonial buildings, restaurants, and shops. Built in a 16th-century mansion, its decor, sculptures, and carvings accentuate the colonial period. Each room is well-appointed and elegantly decorated with traditional furniture and frescoes.
Room Amenities: System supplying an additional 30% oxygen—to assist in preventing ill effects from altitude sickness (request at check-in to have this feature turned on), individual climate control, LCD TV, iPod docking station, complimentary Wi-Fi, phone, safe, minibar, and en suite bathroom with organic sundries and hair dryer.
Hotel Estelar Miraflores – Lima
Hotel Estelar is located in the heart of the upscale and suburban Miraflores District, known for its many galleries, as well as cultural and historical venues. These include Sala Luis Miró Quesada Garland, Virgen Milagrosa Church, Kennedy Park, Ricardo Palma Cultural Center, and Miraflores Central Park. Enjoy contemporary and spacious rooms, a rooftop pool with terrace, a large fitness center, and panoramic city views from Estelar's restaurant, Piso 21.
Room Amenities: Individual climate control, TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, phone, coffee maker, and en suite bathroom with sundries and hair dryer.
Deluxe Accommodations Package (availability limited)
While all accommodations at the listed properties are exceptional, guests seeking more spacious rooms and additional amenities may choose to purchase the Deluxe Accommodations Package, which includes the following upgrades:
• Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel: Upgrade to larger Superior Deluxe Room, featuring a seating area with fireplace.
• Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel – Cusco: Upgrade to larger Superior Deluxe Room adjacent to the inner courtyard and features a bathroom with jacuzzi tub and heated floors.
• Hotel Estelar Miraflores – Lima: Upgrade to Junior Suite, featuring a superior king bed and additional seating area.
Single (Standard): $5,299
(Airfare from main program to post-tour is additional $740 per person.)
Post-tour rates are per person based on double occupancy, in U.S. dollars. Single availability limited. Post-tour rate includes internal airfare between Lima and Cusco on Days 9 and 13; airfare otherwise not included. Airfare from main program (Guayaquil) to post-tour (Lima) will be charged additionally at $740 per person.
- 5 nights premium accommodations, including a private day room on departure day
- 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 4 dinners
- Round-trip internal airfare between Lima and Cusco
- Fully guided tours and field presentations from local experts
- All ground excursion transportation, including Vistadome train through the Urubamba Valley
- Luggage porterage
- Gratuities to guides, drivers, and waiters for included meals
- Airport transfers for guests arriving and departing during the suggested times