Climb, bike and hike through lofty Peru, including the Inca Trail

Push yourself on this active nine-day adventure through Peru. Scale the mountainside above the Sacred Valley, then make a thrilling descent by zip line. Spend half a day cycling through peaceful farmland where only locals and llamas venture. Retrace the ancient steps of the Inca as you trek to Machu Picchu via the classic Inca Trail or the lesser-known Quarry Trail – the choice is yours. This trip is breathtaking in more ways than one.

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


Start
Lima, Peru
Finish
Cusco, Peru
Destination
Peru
Style
Original
Theme
Active Adventures
Code
GGXA
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Get a different perspective on the Sacred Valley when you scale a 400-metre cliff face using a via ferrata (iron path) then make a thrilling descent on a zip line.

  • Wave to local farmers and pass chewing llamas as you cycle off the beaten path and into the lesser-seen agricultural areas of the Sacred Valley.

  • It’s one of the world’s most incredible archaeological sites with a breathtaking location to match. Choose which route to take to Machu Picchu: one of two trails or the train.

  • Whether you trek the iconic Inca Trail or the equally stunning Quarry Trail, camping under the Andean stars is an experience you’ll treasure for ever.

  • Our trekking guides are certified and trained in-house. Each trekking guide also receives exclusive Intrepid training provided by mountain rescue experts in the field.

Is this trip right for you?

  • They don’t call it the ‘city in the clouds’ for nothing. Some people can suffer from altitude sickness during the trek, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Medical and health information’ section of the Essential Trip Information for details.

  • As the name would suggest, this trip involves plenty of physical activity. The fitter you are, the more you’ll enjoy it. You don’t need to be an athlete, but the itinerary is suited to those who prefer active adventures.

  • The cycling portion of this trip is within the ability of any rider except those who have never ridden before.

  • Hiking the Inca Trail and Quarry Trail you’ll be camping with basic facilities. It’s not exactly the Hilton, but you’ll have a team of porters to do the heavy lifting and cooking.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020.
View the 2019 itinerary
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Lima, Peru. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm where you’ll meet your tour leader and travel group. After the meeting, your leader will take you on an orientation walk of Miraflores and an optional dinner with your group. Be sure to get your hands in Peru’s national dish of ceviche during your stay. As there’s little time spent in Lima, you may like to arrive a few days early to see the sights, including the chic suburb of Barranco, Central Park and the National Museum.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lima - Leader led orientation walk of Miraflores
Optional Activities
  • Lima - Museum of the Inquisition - Free
  • Lima - Gold Museum - PEN35
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
Catch a morning flight to Cusco, spend a little time acclimatising to the high altitude (3450 metres), then head out on an orientation walk with your tour leader. Visit the facade of Inca temple Qoricancha, bustling San Pedro Market, architectural feat the 12 Angled Stone, Plaza Regocijo and Plaza San Blas. If the altitude has you feeling lethargic, perhaps seek out some coca tea.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cusco - Orientation Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
We recommend not partaking in any strenuous activity until you have time to gauge your reaction to the city’s high altitude, as some people experience symptoms of attitude sickness in Cusco such as dizziness, shortness of breath and sleeplessness.
Transfer by minivan to the Sacred Valley of the Inca (located a 2-hour drive from Cusco) to step out of your comfort zone and into the vertical world of via ferrata. Italian for ‘iron way’, via ferrata is a type of climbing popularised in the European Alps in which permanent ladders, chains and cables are affixed to steep rock faces to make them accessible to non-climbers. On this full-day activity you’ll gain a unique perspective of this stunning valley. To top it off, fly through seven zip lines ranging from 150 to 700 metres long for a memorable, heart-racing descent. Continue to Ollantaytambo for the night. If there’s time, you may like to visit the town’s archaeological site, which includes remnants of an Inca city and views over the present-day settlement.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sacred Valley - Via Ferrata & Zipline
Optional Activities
  • Ollantaytambo - Archeological site - PEN70
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Via ferrata doesn’t require any special climbing skills, but it is physically and mentally challenging. You will need to be physically fit to enjoy this activity.
Saddle up and leave the paved roads behind as you venture through the lesser-seen landscapes of the Sacred Valley. Pedal over rolling hills and past farming communities as locals go about their daily chores. Today you will cycle for approximately 5 hours with plenty of rests along the way. The support vehicle is always at hand for those that want to give their legs a break, and a simple but tasty box lunch is provided today.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sacred Valley - Mountain Biking
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Depending on the travel arrangements you made before the trip, during the next four days you’ll be doing one of the following: hiking the Classic Inca Trail, hiking the Inca Quarry Trail or staying in Cusco for another two days before taking the train to Aguas Calientes.

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 3100 metres above sea level. On the way you’ll see the Inca sites of Ollantaytambo, Huillca Raccay and Llactapata, as well as incredible views of 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 kilometres long and often steep. Each day 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 that evening’s campsite at 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 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-long 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 3700 metres 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-kilometres long in total and its highest pass is at 4450 metres 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:
After spending the night in the Ollantaytambo, leave around 9.30 am and take a short drive to the town of Pisac, well-known for its market. Here you’ll have the opportunity to shop for souvenirs and perhaps try some local empanadas. Arrive back into Cusco in the afternoon, where your leader will take you to 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 where you can try some artisanal chocolate that is prepared in house. Be sure to sample some of the delicious hot chocolate.

Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cusco - 3 Night/4 Day Inca Trail (or 2 Night/3 Day Inca Quarry Trail)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Inca Quarry Trail only.

The evening before you leave for the trek, you’ll receive a small duffle bag to carry your clothes in for the next four days (6 kg maximum). The remainder of your luggage will be stored at the hotel in Ollantaytambo and will be collected on the way back to Cusco on day 8. Your team of porters will carry your 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 Cusco and only travel with the necessary items during the excursion by train.

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 4200 metres above sea level, providing amazing views of the valley below. The group will then descend to the campsite in the Pacaymayo Valley at 3650 metres.

Route 2 Inca Quarry Trail:
This is the most challenging and rewarding day of the hike. A 3-hour walk takes us to the top of the first pass of Puccaqasa (approximately 4370 metres high). After enjoying picturesque views of the valley, it’s a short walk before stopping for lunch. Afterwards, make the 2-hour hike to Kuychicassa, the highest pass of the trek at 4450 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, only a stone’s throw away at Choquetacarpo.

Route 3 Train:
Today, take a taxi to Tambomachay, an archaeological site just outside of Cusco. From here you’ll take a short downhill walk (between 1—3 hours) back to Cusco. On the way, stop to admire some of the archaeological sites, including Puka Pukara, Qinqu Quenqo and Saksaywaman. Arrive back in Cusco 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 or point you in the right direction.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
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 (3980 metres). Enjoy views of the snow-capped mountain of Cordillera Vilcabamba before descending for around 2—3 hours to the ruins of Sayacmarca. Continue over the trail’s third pass to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca (3850 metres), also known as ‘Town Above the Clouds’. Start the 2-hour descent down the Inca steps to the final night’s campsite by the Winay Wayna archaeological site.

Route 2 Inca Quarry Trail:
Today’s hike will all be downhill. The first stop is the incomplete Kachiqata Quarry, where the Inca 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 did not 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:
After a drive to Ollantaytambo (about 1.5 hours), catch a train through the winding Urubamba Valley to Aguas Calientes (another 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 you guided tour tomorrow. Otherwise, you can while away the afternoon in the natural hot springs at Aguas Calientes.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Quarry Trail only.
Route 1 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 am. Say farewell (and a huge thanks) to the porters as they descend to the train station and then begin hiking by 4.30 am. The walk to Intipunku (the Sun Gate) takes around 2.5 hours. Weather permitting, enjoy unforgettable views as you enter Machu Picchu. Take a guided tour of the site.

Route 2 Inca Quarry Trail:
Depending on weather conditions, take a bus at 5.30 am along the winding road to Machu Picchu. The journey takes around 30 minutes. At Machu Picchu, join up with the travellers in your group who hiked the Classic Inca Trail. If skies are clear, enjoy spectacular views over the ancient city from the Sun Gate, before going on a guided walk around the ruins.

Route 3 Train:
Take an early bus to Machu Picchu at 5.30 am. The city was built around AD1440 as a country retreat for Inca nobility, but there’s evidence that the land had been a sacred site for much longer. Take a guided tour around the ruins of temples, palaces and living quarters before the group returns to Cusco.

For all trails:
After taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it’s time to return to Cusco for a well-deserved shower and a Pisco sour.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
According to Machu Picchu visiting regulations, all visitors must follow a pre-determined route within the site. This route must be followed in one direction only and once the guided visit commences exiting and re-entering the site is not permitted.

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.

Due to safety reasons the final checkpoint for all trekkers does not open until 5 am. Therefore, the estimated arrival time to Machu Picchu Sungate is approximately 7.30 am. The first bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu departs at 5.30 am. The estimated arrival time is between 6-6.30 am. The sun rises at Machu Picchu at approximately 5.30 am, therefore it’s not possible to be there in time for sunrise.
Enjoy your last free day in Cusco. You may like to use this time to rest up and regenerate after your hike or go exploring in and around the area. There are plenty of museums and archaeological sites in and nearby Cusco, and the Boleto Turistico (Tourist Ticket) will give you access to most of them. There are different options and variations of this ticket that your leader will explain to you.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Cusco - Full Boleto Turistico Pass (access to 16 archaeological sites, transport & guides not included) - PEN135
  • Cusco - Pisco Making - Urban Adventures - USD51
  • Rainbow Mountain Hike - USD97
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

8 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 3 dinners

Transport

Plane, Train, Boat, Taxi, Private vehicle, Public bus

Accommodation

Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nights), Hotel (6 nights)

Included activities

  • Lima - Leader led orientation walk of Miraflores
  • Cusco - Orientation Walk
  • Sacred Valley - Via Ferrata & Zipline
  • Sacred Valley - Mountain Biking
  • Cusco - 3 Night/4 Day Inca Trail (or 2 Night/3 Day Inca Quarry Trail)

Dates & availability

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Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS
A single supplement is available on this trip. This includes the Inca Trail where a single tent will be provided.

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/machu-picchu-peru/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.

PASSPORT DETAILS REQUIRED
Full passport details are required at the time of booking in order to purchase Entrance fees to certain sites. Additionally on certain trips it's needed to book bus, train or flight tickets. Delays to provide this information may result in booking fees or changes to your itinerary.

INCA TRAIL OR INCA QUARRY TRAIL
While hiking the 4 Day Inca Trail or the 3 Day Inca Quarry trail portion of this trip you may be joined by other Intrepid and/or non-Intrepid travellers.

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.

View Essential Trip Information

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