Travel to Peru and discover its fascinating history, from the depths of the Amazon to the heights of the Andes and on to the unique islands of Lake Titicaca. Experience diverse ecology, geology, cultures and witness daily Peruvian life. Uncover the mystery of Peru's culture and history on this unforgettable journey that is sure to leave you enthralled and wanting more.

Lima, Peru
Lima, Peru
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16
Carbon offset
927kg pp per trip


  • Sample life on Lake Titicaca's floating islands
  • Behold Peru's 'Lost City' of Machu Picchu
  • Visit Lima and explore Peru's churches and colonial history
  • Admire the pre-Inca funerary towers at Sillustani
  • Relax in Cuzco’s Plaza de Armas
  • Experience sleeping in the Amazon Jungle
  • Visit a community in the Sacred Valley
  • Be amazed by the geometric perfection of Ollantaytambo


This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2015 - 31 December 2015

Welcome to Lima, Peru. On arrival at Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport, you'll be transferred to your hotel in the well-known coastal suburb of Miraflores. In the afternoon around 2 pm, there will be a welcome briefing at the hotel with your tour guide. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader. If you're going to be late, please inform hotel reception. Later in the day your leader will take you on a walking tour of downtown Lima, including the city's historical centre. Start off at the Central Market for a mini walking tour. The market has a huge variety of fresh produce on offer, including fruits, vegetables and even guinea pigs. Afterwards, take a walk through the restaurants and grocery stores of Chinatown, known locally as Barrio Chino. Visit the nearby San Francisco Monastery, with its catacombs containing some 70,000 human remains. Within the monastery you will visit a libary which houses one of the oldest collections of books in Lima (approximately 25,000). Flanked by streets of ornate mansions, palaces and churches, Plaza Mayor is the best place to end your exploration of Lima. Take a walk through the old streets to get a feel for colonial life. In the evening, enjoy an included dinner with the group. Notes: Due to the high altitude of many of places we visit, the air is thinner and some people can suffer altitude sickness, regardless of age, gender or fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary. Some people aren’t affected at all, but if you are, be sure to drink plenty of water and don’t push yourself too hard. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information about altitude sickness.
Fly from Lima to Puerto Maldonado today, which should take around two hours. Upon arrival, the lodge staff will take you to their office in town where you'll leave the majority of your luggage in safe storage. You'll continue travelling with a small pack with only the necessary items for your next two nights in the jungle. Shortly afterwards, take a motorised canoe up river to your jungle lodge in the Madre de Dios region. Posada Amazonas is a rainforest lodge that's just a 45-minute boat ride from Puerto Maldonado. The lodge is eco-friendly and combines low-impact architecture with traditional native style. Rooms are simple, but comfortable with flush toilets (en suite), showers (cold water only), mosquito nets and kerosene lamps for light.
This morning, head into the jungle of the Amazon with your local, multilingual guides, encountering magnificent fauna and flora in their natural habitat. You may even spot an array of animals from macaws and monkeys to peccary, jabirus, otters and thousands of butterflies. The guides can also teach you about the medicinal properties and practical uses of the plants. After your hike finishes in the afternoon, you're then free to sit back and relax in the comfort of your lodge.
Today, travel back to Puerto Maldonado before taking the short flight to Cuzco. On arrival, your local guide will take you on a walking tour, including a visit to the Coca Museum - where you can learn about the infamous plant that has been an essential part of life for centuries in the Andes - and the local San Pedro market. Take the time to acclimatise to the city's 3,400 metres altitude and explore the many Baroque churches and ancient temples that dot the city.
Travel by private bus for around two hours through the Sacred Valley, on the outskirts of Cuzco. Known as Wilcamayo to the Incas, this fertile valley has long been the main source of food for the high Andes. Venture to a community in the valley to learn about the local lifestyle (lunch will be provided) and visit the stone fortress of Sacsayhuaman. If your visit coincides with market day (Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday), spend time browsing the stalls in search of hand-painted beads or warm ponchos. Continuing on, drive 20 minutes to Ollantaytambo. On your full day tour of the Sacred Valley, you'll see evidence of the Incas' engineering skills in the ruins of ancient aqueducts, irrigation canals, dams on the Urubamba River, imposing sets of terraces and centres of worship dedicated to Pachamama (Mother Earth).
Depending on your pre-arranged travel arrangements, during the next four days you may: hike the Classic Inca Trail, hike the Inca Quarry Trail or stay in Cuzco for another two days before taking the train to Aguas Calientes. 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 (6 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 for the next few days. Route 1 Classic Inca Trail: Today travel by minivan to the 82 kilometre marker and meet your crew of local porters, cook and guide. The first day includes uphill trekking to the campsite, which is at 3,100 metres above sea level. On the way you’ll see the ruins of Llactapata, which was burnt to the ground by the last Inca emperor to discourage Spanish pursuit down the trail. In the evening, set up camp while the cook makes dinner. Notes: The Inca Trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people, but please come prepared, as the trail is 45 kilometres long and often steep. Each day's journey generally consists of seven 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 foam camping mats will be provided. The porters will set up the tents while the cook prepares meals. Route 2 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, which is 3,700 meters 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 Quarry Trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people. The hike is 26 kilometres 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 the third night you will stay at a simple hotel. Double tents (twin-share) and foam camping mats will be provided. The porters will set up the tents while the cook prepares meals. Route 3 Train: For those travellers disinterested in hiking the trail or who are unable to, spend two extra nights in Cuzco before travelling by bus to Ollantaytambo. From here take a train through the winding Urubamba Valley to the town of Aguas Calientes where you’ll spend a third night. Please note: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Quarry Trail only.
Route 1 Classic Inca Trail: This is the most challenging day of the trek, as we ascend a long steep path (approximately five 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, providing amazing views of the valley below. The group will then descend to the campsite in the Pacaymayo Valley at 3,650 metres. Route 2 Quarry Trail: This is the most challenging and rewarding day of the hike. A three-hour walk takes us to the top of the first pass of Puccaqasa (approximately 4,370 metres 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 metres. From here, descend to the sacred site the Incas called Intipunku (Sun Gate), with views of the Nevado Veronica mountain. Head to the campsite, which is only a stone’s throw away at Choquetacarpo. Route 3 Train: Today, perhaps use your free day indulging your inner foodie in the eateries of Cuzco. Head to lunch at the arty Fallen Angel restaurant, and if you still have room for dessert, the ChocoMuseo offers tastings and chocolate-marking workshops. For you to make the most of your free time in Cuzco, your trip includes a “Full Boleto Turistico”, a tourist pass that gives you access to 16 archaeological sites in and around Cuzco, including Qenqo, Tambomachay, Pukapukara, Saqsaywaman, amongst others. Please note: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Quarry Trail only.
Route 1 Classic Inca Trail: Start the day with a climb through the Pacaymayo Valley to Runkuracay pass (3,980 metres). Enjoy views of the snow-capped mountain of Cordillera Vilcabamba before descending for around two to three hours to the ruins of Sayacmarca. Continue over the trail’s third pass to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca (3,850 metres), also known as 'Town Above the Clouds'. Start the two-hour descent down the Inca steps, which takes you to the final night's campsite by the Winay Wayna archaeological site. Route 2 Quarry Trail: Today’s hike will all be downhill. The first stop is the incomplete Kachiqata quarry, where the Incas were intercepted by the Spanish. Around midday, come to the end of the trek. 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 soothing way to spend the late afternoon. Spend the night in a comfortable hotel before tomorrow’s visit to Machu Picchu. Route 3 Train: In the morning take the three-hour train to the town of Aguas Calientes, which is nestled in the hills at the foot of Machu Picchu. For those who want to, there’s time to visit Machu Picchu independently before the guided tour the next day. If you’d like to do this, please advise your group leader at the welcome meeting at the start of the trip. Otherwise, you might like to while away the afternoon in the natural hot springs of Aguas Calientes. Please note: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Quarry Trail only.
Route 1 Classic Inca Trail: The day starts before dawn with breakfast at 4.30 am. Say farewell to the porters as they descend to the train station and then begin hiking by 5.30 am. The walk to Intipunku (the Sun Gate) takes around two-and-a-half hours. Weather permitting, enjoy unforgettable views over the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ as the sun rises (and before it’s packed full of tourists). Route 2 Quarry Trail: Depending on weather conditions, take a bus at 5:30 am along the winding road to Machu Picchu (30 minutes). At Machu Picchu, join up with the travellers in your group who hiked the Classic Inca Trail. If 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: In the morning at 5.30 am, take a bus up to Machu Picchu. 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 some free time afterwards to wander around on your own before the group returns to Cuzco. 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.
Today enjoy free time to relax, shop or explore more of Cuzco's sights. Perhaps head to a cafe on the Plaza de Armas, or for those seeking an active adventure, try mountain biking in the hills surrounding Cuzco.
Travel by bus for around six hours to Puno, which will be more or less a full day's journey. This scheduled tourist service will take you on decent roads through spectacular mountain scenery, with the chance to stop at several sites along the way, including adobe Inca ruins. Along the way you'll also make a short roadside stop at La Raya, which at 4,335 metres is the highest point of your journey. Lunch will be included on a stop in the small town of Sicuani. Continue driving through the large sprawling town of Juliaca on your way to Puno. Located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, Puno is a melting pot of Aymara and Quechuan Indian culture and traditional Andean customs are still strongly represented here. The town is known as the folklore capital of Peru and is famous for its traditional dances. Many festivals are celebrated here, so if you're lucky your visit might coincide with one of the colourful evening parades, when the streets fill with costumed dancers and musicians.
Puno sits on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. Today take a tour of the lake by slow motorboat, stopping off to visit the Uros floating islands. The Uros people built these islands to isolate themselves from rival tribes in ancient times. They're built completely from multiple layers of totora reeds, which grow in the shallows of the lake. Later on visit Taquile Island, on the Peruvian side of the lake, and peruse its residents’ renowned handicrafts, including woollen items. You will hike uphill for around an hour to reach the main part of the island. There will be an optional lunch here as well, with a simple set menu of quinoa soup and muna tea (Andean mint tea). You will return down 500 steps to the boat that will take you on the three hour journey back to Puno.
Fly from Puno back to Lima today, which should take around one to two hours. If time permits you'll have the opportunity to visit the Sillustani archaeological site, a collection of ruined towers built by a pre-Inca civilisation near Lake Umayo. The towers are chullpas - funeral towers built to commemorate noble men, and fitted with offerings to help secure their passage into the next life. Your evening is then free to do as you wish.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
View trip notes to read full itinerary


13 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners
Hotel (7 nights), Jungle Lodge (2 nights)
Included activities
  • 4 or 3 days trek and Machu Picchu guided tour
  • Coca Museum


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For information about altitude sickness click here

Important notes

1. Name and passport number are required at time of booking.
2. A single supplement is available on this trip. Single Supplement is not available on Days 6-8 if you choose to hike the Inca Trail.
3. An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking.
4. The itinerary of this trip has been slightly modified from the version printed in the 2013 Latin America brochure. We now visit the Sacred Valley of the Incas on day 5 of the trip (as opposed to day 6)
5. You can opt to hike the Inca Trail on this itinerary. This must be specifically requested at the time of booking, otherwise the normal (non hiking) itinerary will be booked for you.

Inca Trail (and Quarry Trek) hiking groups have a maximum capacity of 16 travellers. If you opt to take the hiking alternative of this itinerary your group size may increase to 16 (as opposed to 12 as advertised) during the trekking part of the itinerary.

During the trek you may travel alongside other Intrepid and non Intrepid like minded travellers.

Inca Trail permits are sold on request basis only. Once deposit is paid and passport details provided, Intrepid will endeavor 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 or to continue with the normal (non hiking) itinerary of this trip.

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 offered to hike the Inca Quarry Trail.

Important information regarding new regulations and booking procedures for the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide 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.

View trip notes


Our Peruvian Pathways trips score an average of 4.7 out of 5 based on 10 reviews in the last year.

Peruvian Pathways , July 2015

Peruvian Pathways , August 2015