Travel to Peru and be awed by the ancient civilisation of the Incas

Travel to Peru and discover the secret land of the Incas as you journey along the coastal shores of Lima, travel beneath the Amazon Jungle's lush canopy, past the llama-filled plains of the Sacred Valley and beyond to tiny colonial towns. Embark on an adventure of a lifetime along the Inca Trail, trekking to Machu Picchu. Head to the dizzy altitude of Lake Titicaca before journeying to Bolivia and immersing yourself in the history of La Paz. This insightful adventure through Peru is sure to leave you astounded by the magic and mystery of the sacred land of the Incas.

This trip requires Inca Trail Permits. View permit availability here.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Lima, Peru
Finish
La Paz, Bolivia
Countries
Bolivia, Peru
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
GGSQ
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Experience the untouched world of the Amazon rainforest. Wander along jungle trails on the lookout for monkeys, parrots, otters and caymans, and sleep in a nature lodge lit by candles and kerosene lamps

  • Marvel at the mother of all Incan cities, magical Machu Picchu. Enjoy a guided tour of the ruins and free time to explore on your own

  • If trekking's not your thing, simply take a train to Machu Picchu instead – a great excuse to stay longer in lovely Cuzco

  • The floating reed islands of Uros on Lake Titicaca are a marvel of concept, construction and history. Take a boat tour on the world's highest navigable lake and stay with a local family there

  • Feast your eyes on beautiful Spanish colonial architecture, from Lima through to La Paz

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information on this

  • There's a lot of walking involved, and if you do the Inca trail the hiking can be strenuous. This trip is recommended for those with a moderate level of fitness; however, there are also a few different trail options to suit different interests and physical capabilities.

  • Be sure to wear sturdy footwear that's suitable for hiking. See the ‘What to Take’ section of the trip notes for more information.

  • Those who walk the Inca Trail will be camping with basic facilities. It's not exactly the Hilton, but the rewards of the trek are many!

  • The Amazon jungle can be very hot and humid, so it's important to drink plenty of water and wear light cotton clothing. Be sure to bring tropical-strength insect repellant.

Itinerary

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Peru. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. Straight after the meeting enjoy a walking tour of downtown Lima, including the city's historical centre. Flanked by streets of ornate colonial mansions, palaces and churches, Plaza Mayor is the best place to start any exploration of Lima.

If you arrive early, we recommend you take a walk around Miraflores. Go from Central Park (Parque Kennedy) to LarcoMar via Larco Avenue. Alternatively go to Parque del Amor (Love's Park) for a nice view of Lima's beaches. Other great things to see and do include a tour to Pachacamac (around 30 km from downtown Lima), the Museo de la Nacion and the Gold Museum. Limenos (Lima's residents) are friendly and there are plenty of great restaurants and cafes to sample ceviche, a local seafood speciality.

Notes: This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information on this.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lima - Leader-led walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Lima - Museum of the Inquisition visit - Free
  • Lima - Archaeological Museum - PEN15
  • Lima Home Cooked - Urban Adventures - USD74
  • Lima Coast Biking Tour - Urban Adventures - USD45
  • Lima Discovery - Urban Adventures - USD34
  • Lima - Night Bites & Sights - Urban Adventures - USD45
  • Lima - Guided tour of San Francisco Monastery including The Catacombs - PEN12
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Some departures of this trip are part of a combination trip. As such, some of your fellow travellers may have started their trip 9 days ago in Quito, Ecuador on Galapagos & Peru Adventure (GGSYC).

Urban Adventures Optional activities: If you are interested in any of the Urban Adventures listed you will need to book additional accommodation prior to the tour start date as there won't be any spare time on day one once the tour has commenced. Please contact Urban Adventures directly. Contact information for Lima can be found here: http://www.urbanadventures.com/contact-us
Take an early morning transfer to Lima airport for a flight to Puerto Maldonado in the Amazon Jungle, where you'll be staying for two nights. The flight should take around three hours, including a 30-45 minute stop in Cuzco (during this stop you will not disembark the plane). Upon your arrival at around midday, the lodge staff will take you to their office in town. Upon arrival at the Jungle lodge office you will be provided with a small duffle bag to pack your personal items required for the duration of your jungle stay. The remainder of your items will be stored securely in the office. From the office, you'll travel by private vehicle to the port, this drive is approximately 45 minutes. You’ll then take a motorised canoe upriver to your jungle lodge in the Madre de Dios area (approximately 2 - 2.5 hours). Lunch today is a packed lunch that you will be given during the boat ride. Once you arrive there is time to unpack and unwind before a short orientation and briefing.
The next two days are packed with activities. Your full day in the jungle includes a trek which lasts approximately half a day. At times the paths can get quite muddy and some people can find the trek a little exhausting. Along the way there will be regular stops, and you'll encounter magnificent fauna and flora in their natural habitat. You might spot everything from macaws and monkeys to peccaries, jabirus, otters and thousands of butterflies. The guides can also teach you about the medicinal properties and practical uses of the plants. For lunch you will return to the lodge.For your night-time excursion, venture out on a night jungle walk!


Accommodation
  • Jungle Lodge (2 nights)
Included Activities
  • Amazon Jungle - Jungle activities
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
Special Information
Amazon Lodge: We stay at two different lodges in the same area. The activities may vary slightly according to which lodge you are at. Depending on which lodge you are staying at, the included night excursion may be on the night of Day 1 or Day 2. As both of our lodges are in the same area of the jungle, you will see the same wildlife and your overall jungle experience will be the same in either lodge.

Jungle Walk: On Day 3 there is an 11km Jungle walk. At times the paths can get quite muddy and some people can find the trek a little exhausting, but the adventure is well worth it! Along the way there will be regular stops and you'll encounter magnificent fauna and flora in their natural habitat.
Fly from Puerto Maldonado to Cuzco, the true heart and soul of Peru (approximately 35 minutes). Spend a little time acclimatising to the high altitude (3,450 m) and then head out on an orientation walk with your tour leader. You’ll visit the facade of Qoricancha temple, the local San Pedro market, the main square, past the 12 Angled Stone, Regocijo Square and San Blas Square. Finally you’ll visit the Chocolate museum where there will be an opportunity to sample a hot chocolate made from local cacao beans. This might be a good opportunity to purchase some gifts or souvenirs. There’s a small store where you’ll find various handicrafts and a variety of artisanal chocolate products. Tonight is free, perhaps head out for dinner your fellow travellers. Your leader will be able to recommend some good place sot eat!

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cuzco - Orientation Walk
  • Cuzco - Chocolate Museum Visit & Hot Chocolate
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Head to Ollantaytambo, visiting a local community en route. When you arrive in Ollantaytambo you'll see it's a magnificent example of Incan urban planning. It's one of the few places where the Incas defeated the Spanish. Ollantaytambo's archaeological site is located to the east of the Plaza de Armas. The upper terraces of this site offer great photo opportunities of the squared grid town below. Visit Hearts Cafe for a bite to eat – it's part of a project supported by the Intrepid Foundation and the coffee there is excellent.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sacred Valley - Local community visit and lunch
Optional Activities
  • Ollantaytambo - Archeological site - PEN70
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
During the next four days, you'll do one of the following, depending on what you've arranged:

Route 1: Hike the Classic Inca Trail;
Route 2: Hike the Inca Quarry Trail;
Route 3: Take the train to Aguas Calientes, after staying in Cuzco for two extra days.

While away from Cuzco, the bulk of your luggage will be stored at your hotel. If you’re hiking the Inca Trail or the Inca Quarry Trail, the evening before you leave Cuzco you'll receive a small duffle bag to carry your clothes in for the next four days (5 kg maximum). Your team of porters will carry these bags for you, together with the food and equipment for the trail. Please note that you won't have access to these items until the end of each day, as the porters will always be ahead of the group. If you’re travelling to Aguas Calientes by train, you'll be able to leave most of your luggage at the hotel in Cuzco and only travel with the necessary items during the excursion by train.

Route 1: Classic Inca Trail

Travel by minivan to the 82 km marker and meet your crew of local porters, cook and guide. The first day includes uphill trekking to the campsite (located 3,100 m above sea level). On the way you’ll see the Inca sites of Ollantaytambo, Huillca Raccay and Llactapata, and catch incredible views of the snow-capped Veronica Peak. In the evening, unwind at the campsite with a nourishing meal.

Notes: The Inca Trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people, but please come prepared, as the trail is 45 km long and often steep. Each day's journey generally consists of 7 hours of walking (uphill and downhill) with stops for snacks and lunch. Trekking usually begins at 7 am (except on the fourth morning) and you reach the campsite around 5 pm. Accommodation on the trek is camping (three nights). Double tents (twin-share) and inflatable camping mats will be provided. The porters will set up the tents while the cook prepares meals.

Route 2: Inca Quarry trail

Make an early start today and drive to Choquequilla, a small ceremonial place where Incas worshipped the moon. Drive to the starting point of the trek, Rafq'a, and meet the horsemen who join us on the hike. After an hour’s walk, reach the small community of Socma. Carry on to the Perolniyoc cascade lookout, an opportunity to stop for photos and a food break. Continue to the campsite (3,700 m above sea level). You should reach the campsite around lunchtime. After lunch, set off to explore the Q'orimarca archaeological site, which once served as a checkpoint to the Incas.

Notes: The Inca Quarry trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people. The hike is 26 km long in total and its highest pass is at 4,450 meters above sea level. Throughout the trek, horses will carry your gear and camping equipment. The first two nights are spent camping, and on the third night you'll stay at a simple hotel. Double tents (twin-share) and inflatable camping mats will be provided. The porters will set up the tents while the cook prepares meals.

Route 3: Train

After spending the night in Ollantaytambo, leave around 9.30 am and take a short drive to the town of Pisac, which is well known for its market. Here you’ll have the opportunity to shop for souvenirs and perhaps try some local Empanadas. Arrive back in Cuzco in the afternoon, where your leader will take you to the San Pedro Market in order to buy some things for a picnic tomorrow. In the late afternoon, you’ll have an option to visit the Choco Museum and try some exquisite artisanal chocolate that's prepared in-house from cacao beans. Be sure to sample some of the delicious hot chocolate.

Notes: The included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Inca Quarry trail only. Travellers taking the train option spend the night at a hotel in Cuzco.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Trek - 3 Night / 4 Day Inca Trail (or 2 Night / 3 Day Inca Quarry Trail)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Route 1: Classic Inca Trail

This is the most challenging day of the trek as you ascend a long steep path (approximately 5 hours) to reach the highest point of the trail. Colloquially known as 'Dead Woman's Pass', Warmiwanusca sits at a height of 4,200 metres above sea level, giving amazing views of the valley below. The group will then descend to the campsite in the Pacaymayo Valley at 3,650 metres.

Route 2: Inca Quarry trail

This is the most challenging and rewarding day of the hike. A three-hour walk takes you to the top of the first pass of Puccaqasa (approximately 4,370 m high). After enjoying picturesque views of the valley, it’s a short walk before stopping for lunch. Afterwards, make the two-hour hike to Kuychicassa, the highest pass of the trek at 4,450 meters. From here, descend to the sacred site the Incas called Intipunku (Sun Gate), with views of the Nevado Veronica mountain. Head to the campsite, only a stone’s throw away at Choquetacarpo.

Route 3: Train

Today, take a taxi to Tambomachay, an archaeological site just outside of Cuzco. From here you’ll take a short downhill walk (1–3 hours) back to Cuzco. On the way, stop to admire some of the archaeological sites including Puka Pukara, Qinqu Quenqo and Saksaywaman. Arrive back in Cuzco in the afternoon and enjoy some free time to go shopping, or perhaps visit Merida, Mendivil and Olave art galleries and workshops. Your tour leader will be able to give you some suggestions.

Notes: The included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Inca Quarry trail only. Travellers on the train option spend the night at a hotel in Cuzco.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Route 1: Classic Inca Trail

Start the day with a climb through the Pacaymayo Valley to Runkuracay pass (3,980 m). Enjoy beautiful views of the snow-capped mountain of Cordillera Vilcabamba before descending to the ruins of Sayacmarca (approximately 2–3 hours). Continue over the trail’s third pass to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca (3,850 m), also known as the 'Town Above the Clouds'. Start the descent down the Inca steps to the final night's campsite by the Winay Wayna archaeological site (approximately 2 hours).

Route 2: Inca Quarry trail

Today’s hike is all downhill. The first stop is the incomplete Kachiqata Inca Quarry trail, where the Incas were intercepted by the Spanish. Around midday, your trek comes to an end. Explore the cobbled streets of Ollantaytambo before taking the short train journey to Aguas Calientes. This is where you’ll meet up with the travellers in your group who didn't hike. Visiting the natural hot springs in town is a recommended way to spend the late afternoon. Spend the night in a comfortable hotel before tomorrow’s visit to Machu Picchu.

Route 3: Train

After a drive to Ollantaytambo (approximately 1.5 hours), catch a train through the winding Urubamba Valley to Aguas Calientes (also approximately 1.5 hours). The city is nestled in the cloud forest at the foot of Machu Picchu. For those who want a sneak peak, there is time to visit Machu Picchu independently before a guided tour the following day (dependent on ticket availability).

Notes: The included lunch on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Inca Quarry trail only. Travellers on the train option spend the night at a hotel in Aguas Calientes (also known as Machu Picchu town)
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Machu Picchu - Entrance and Guided Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Route 1: Classic Inca Trail

This is the final and most spectacular leg of the trek to Machu Picchu. The day starts before dawn, with breakfast at 4.30 am. Say farewell to the porters as they descend to the train station and begin hiking by 5.30 am. Walk to Intipunku, aka the Sun Gate (approximately 2.5 hours). Weather permitting, enjoy unforgettable views over Machu Picchu, ‘Lost City of the Incas’, as the sun rises (and before it’s crawling with visitors).

Route 2: Inca Quarry trail

Depending on weather conditions, take a bus at 5.30 am along the winding road to Machu Picchu (approximately 30 minutes). At Machu Picchu, join up with the travellers in your group who hiked the Classic Inca Trail. If the skies are clear, enjoy a spectacular sunrise over the ancient city from the Sun Gate before going on a guided walk around the ruins.

Route 3: Train

Take an early bus up to Machu Picchu at 5.30 am. The city was built around 1440 AD as a country retreat for Incan nobility, but there’s evidence that the land had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Take a guided tour around the ruins of temples, palaces and living quarters, and enjoy free time afterwards to wander around on your own before the group returns to Cuzco.

For all routes: After taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it's time to return to Cuzco for a well-deserved shower and a Pisco sour. Your evening is then free for the last night of your adventure.

Notes: Due to Intrepid's internal safety policy, our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking trips to the mountaintop ruins of Wayna Picchu.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy free time to relax, shop and explore more of Cuzco's sights. Perhaps rest you weary legs at a cafe on Plaza de Armas or head to the San Pedro Market where you will find vegetables, meats, local cheeses (which you should certainly try), local chocolates, herbal medicines and many local handicrafts. It’s a great place to purchase some souvenirs. The market is also a place where many locals go to eat ‘mystery soups’. Some may be just chicken; however, the most popular amongst the locals are usually the more unusual ones like frog soups or soups that contains nose to tail of various animals.For those who can't get enough active adventure, why not try mountain biking in the hills that surround Cuzco?
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Cuzco - Full Boleto Turistico Pass, which gives you access to 16 archaeological sites in/around Cuzco (Transport & guides are not included) - PEN135
  • Cuzco - City tour - USD15
  • Cuzco - Half Tourist Ticket Pass, which gives you access to selected archaeological sites in/around Cuzco (transport & guides are not included) - PEN75
  • Cuzco - Coricancha Temple entrance fee - PEN15
  • Cuzco - Cathedral Entrance Fee - PEN25
  • Sacred Valley - Via Ferrata & Zipline - PEN265
  • Sacred Valley - Mountain Biking - USD35
  • Cuzco - Pisco Making - Urban Adventures - USD36
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel by local bus through the dramatic scenery of the high altiplano to Puno, located on the shores of Lake Titicaca (approximately 6 hours). You'll be at an altitude of 3,820 metres. There will be a couple of stops along the way to pick up and drop off passengers. Take in glorious views of the seemingly endless water stretching into the horizon. This place is a melting pot of Aymara and Quechuan Indian culture and traditional Andean customs, and it wears its traditions on its sleeve. If you're lucky your trip will coincide with one of the many cultural festivals here.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Puno - Sillustani archaeological site - USD10
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Embark on a tour of the lake by slow motor boat, stopping off to visit the Titinos floating islands. The Titinos originally built their islands to isolate themselves from rival tribes. The islands are built from many layers of totora reeds that grow in the shallows of the lake. To get a closer look at daily life in the Lake Titicaca region, you'll be welcomed into local homes for an overnight stay with the community. Make the most of your visit by helping your host family with their daily activities or trying to chat in the local language, Quechua. A game of soccer is also a great way to make local friends.

Notes: Your homestay tonight is a mud brick house. Rooms have beds and many blankets, and there are shared drop-toilets but no showers.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Titicaca - Boat tour & Homestay
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning after breakfast you'll board the boat again and head to Taquile Island (approximately 1 hour). Here, the tradition of knitting is strictly a male domain, and women do the spinning. It's a great place to pick up some high quality, locally knitted goods. An uphill trek (approximately 1 hour) brings you to the main area of the island. After the visit, you will descend about 500 steps back to our boat. Then travel back to Puno by boat (approximately 3 hours).

Puno is the hometown of Kusimayo, a terrific local organisation that works towards improving the living condition of children and adults affected by poverty and malnutrition in this part of the world you have now come to know so well. Take a look at this short video for more information on this wonderful project: https://vimeo.com/154422813
Kusimayo is supported by the Intrepid Foundation which means you can donate to this project and your donation will be match dollar for dollar by the Intrepid Group. Please donate through our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/kusimayo/
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel by comfortable local bus to Desaguadero and cross the border into Bolivia. After border formalities at the Peruvian migration office, you'll walk across a bridge to the Bolivian side, submit your passport at the Bolivian migration office, then board the bus again. Head for La Paz, and after 30 minutes or so there's another stop where your documents will be checked by authorities. The journey to La Paz takes about 5 hours (don't forget that Bolivia's timezone is 1–2 hours ahead of Peru!). When you arrive, you might feel like you're on top of the world at around 3,600 metres above sea level. Discover the colonial architecture and browse the markets – you'll see this town is a interesting mixture of the indigenous and modern.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • La Paz - Tiwanaku Archeological site (Shared service) - USD30
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your trip comes to an end after breakfast this morning.
There isn't a huge amount of time included in Bolivia on this itinerary. If you wish to further explore this wonderful country and perhaps head out to Uyuni to see the Salt Flats, then check out the 'Bolivian Salt Flats' Short Break Adventure (GGAU) The full itinerary can be viewed on our website.
Optional Activities
  • La Paz - To 3,600 Metres, and Beyond - Urban Adventures - USD41
  • La Paz - Food with Altitude - Urban Adventure - USD57
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Some departures of this trip are part of a combination trip. As such, some of your fellow travellers may be continuing on further into Bolivia today to start the second part of their trip – Explore Peru & Bolivia (GGSUC).

Meals

14 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 6 dinners

Transport

Boat, Bus, Canoe, Plane, Private minibus, Private vehicle

Accommodation

Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nights), Homestay (1 night), Hotel (6 nights), Jungle Lodge (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Lima - Leader-led walking tour
  • Amazon Jungle - Jungle activities
  • Cuzco - Orientation Walk
  • Cuzco - Chocolate Museum Visit & Hot Chocolate
  • Sacred Valley - Local community visit and lunch
  • Trek - 3 Night / 4 Day Inca Trail (or 2 Night / 3 Day Inca Quarry Trail)
  • Machu Picchu - Entrance and Guided Tour
  • Lake Titicaca - Boat tour & Homestay

Dates & availability

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Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip however excludes nights 2 & 3 (Amazon Jungle) and night 12 (Lake Titicaca, Homestay) where you will be in shared accommodation.

INCA TRAIL PERMITS
Inca Trail permits are sold on request basis only. Once deposit is paid and passport details provided, Intrepid will endeavour to secure a permit for you. If Inca Trail permits are unavailable by the time you book, you can opt to hike the Inca Quarry Trail instead
https://www.intrepidtravel.com/en/inca-quarry-trail
The Inca Trail closes in February to allow cleaning and restoration works. If the trek portion of your trip starts in February you will be automatically booked to hike the Inca Quarry Trail.
Should you choose not to hike at all, please let us know in writing at the time of booking so alternative arrangements can be made. Without this prior warning, local fees may apply.

BOLIVIAN VISA FOR U.S CITIZENS
Nationals from the United States need a visa to enter Bolivia and you we highly recommend you obtain this visa in advance from your nearest Bolivian consulate or Embassy. Not obtaining the visa in advance is likely to cause long delays at the border. Please see the visa information section for more information.

PASSPORT DETAILS REQUIRED
Full passport details are required at the time of booking in order to purchase Entrance fees to important sites such as Machu Picchu. Delays to provide this information may result in booking fees or changes to your itinerary.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Reviews

Our Sacred Land of the Incas trips score an average of 4.81 out of 5 based on 314 reviews in the last year.

Sacred Land of the Incas, July 2017

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Sacred Land of the Incas, July 2017

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