Cycle classic Peru, hike the Inca Trail and visit South America's stunning ancient Inca sites

Travel to Peru and embark on a cycling adventure from the coast to the magical Sacred Valley. Kick things off on the streets of Lima, pedalling through fishermen’s and artists’ hangouts, clocking beautiful views of the Pacific coastline. Fly to Cusco and hit the single-track to explore a veritable treasure trove of Inca archaeological sites. Ride a mountain bike across the lush countryside of the Sacred Valley, a world of colourful Andean communities and phenomenal landscapes shaped by lost civilisations. Swap cycling shoes for hiking boots and walk the legendary Inca Trail. Finish with a tour of mighty Machu Picchu, one of South America’s must-see drawcards.

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

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Start
Lima, Peru
Finish
Cusco, Peru
Destination
Peru
Style
Original
Theme
Active Adventures, Cycling, Explorer, Walking & Trekking
Code
GGXTC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 14
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why you'll love this trip

  • Peru's spectacular mountains and valleys are a dream to explore on two wheels. This itinerary combines easy routes with more strenuous paths, allowing a nice mix of sightseeing and adventure

  • Begin with a two-wheeled Urban Adventure through the streets of Lima, stopping in artist enclaves and scenic lookouts

  • Discover the breadth of Peru's diverse heritage, from the gorgeous Spanish colonial architecture of Lima to the mother of all Inca cities, Machu Picchu

  • Tour Cusco both on bicycle and on foot. Check out the San Pedro market, the 12 Angled Stone, Chocolate Museum, and Inca sites such as Sacsayhuaman and Tambomachay

  • Spend three days exploring the Sacred Valley on a mountain bike, visiting the Huaypo lagoon and the iconic terraced Moray Agricultural Laboratory

  • This trip allows you to choose how you want to approach Machu Picchu. Hike the Inca Trail or Inca Quarry

  • You'll have plenty of free time to explore the greatest icon of ancient South America, Machu Picchu. Take a guided tour and then wander around it at your own pace

  • Explore Cusco, South America's oldest continuously inhabited city. The city has ancient foundations, an interesting blend of Inca and colonial influences, and endless things to do and see

  • The Sacred Valley is known for its steep and soaring scenery, its mystical significance for the Inca and the indigenous cultures that still reside here

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.

  • On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed)

  • While the cycling can be challenging at times, there's a hotel to retire to each night, giving you the chance to relax and unwind.

  • This trip involves a lot of walking to see the sites, and the Inca trail involves strenuous hiking. The trip is recommended for those with a moderate level of fitness but there are also a few different trail options to suit your interests and physical capabilities. Please bring durable footwear suitable to hiking. See the ‘What to Take’ section of the trip notes for more information.

  • When doing the Inca trail, you'll be camping with basic facilities. It's not exactly the Hilton Hotel, but the rewards of the trek are great.

  • Note that full passport details are required at the time of booking the trip. Delays to provide this information may result in booking fees or changes to your itinerary.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020.
View the 2019 itinerary
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Lima, Peru’s coastal capital. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm where you’ll meet your fellow travellers and tour leader. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. After the meeting, stroll the streets of downtown Lima and check out some of its main attractions on a leader-led walking tour. Afterwards, enjoy free time to explore at your own pace. The unofficial food capital of South America, there’s no better place to sample Peru’s national dish, ceviche, than at one of Lima’s excellent restaurants. 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 Miraflores, Central Park, Lovers' Park and the National Museum.

Total riding distance: no included riding today

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Set off on a half-day adventure exploring Lima on two wheels. Uncover several of Lima's vibrant districts including fishermen's hangouts, artists' stomping grounds and hilltop lookouts with marvellous city views. There's time for lunch before taking a short 90-minute flight to Cusco. Take some time to acclimatise to the high altitude (3450 metres), then set out a short walk around the downtown area to get familiarised with Peru's cultural heart.

Total riding time: about 3.5 hours
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you'll check out some of Cusco's lesser-known archaelogical sites (well, lesser-known in comparison to its famous Inca citadel) on a half-day bike tour. Take a short 15-minute bus ride to your starting point, Tambomacay, then it's time to start pedalling. Ride along singletrack through the glorious Andean landscape, visiting Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo, Puca Pucara and Tambomachay. The terrain is nice and easy, and a snack is provided along the way. Later in the afternoon, head out on foot to discover some of Cusco's best sights, such as the facade of Coricancha temple, San Pedro Market, San Blas Square, the 12 Angled Stone the Regocijo Square. 


Total riding distance: about 10 kilometres / 6 miles over 4 hours
Maximum altitude: 3780 metres / 12,390 feet
Minimum altitude: 3380 metres / 11,120 feet
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Embark on a three-day mountain-bike expedition through the Sacred Valley. Today's ride takes you through some of the most scenic parts of the valley. It's flat, not too strenuous and the perfect terrain to acclimatise as you get used to your bike. Firstly head off on a private bus to Huacarpay Lake, the starting point for the ride. As you pedal along, admire beautiful views of the Urubamba River, not to mention traces of Inca heritage. After breaking for lunch, drive to the Pisaq Inca site, then ride along smooth paved roads to enigmatic Pisaq, a village built at the base of an Inca fort on a mountain spur. Take a short tour to the village to help learn its secrets.

Total riding distance: about 38 kilometres  / 24 miles over 3 to 4 hours
Max. elevation: 3100 metres / 10,140 feet
Min. elevation: 3000 metres / 9802 feet
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Notes on the 3-day mountain-bike trip:

What's included:
Helmet, gloves and bike (2016 Specialized PITCH with disc brakes and front suspension)
Fresh water for bottle refills
A packed lunch (on Day 6)

Passengers to bring:
Suitable footwear, windproof/waterproof jacket, polypropoline (seasonal), sunscreen, sunglasses
Camera
Daypack for personal belongings
Hat or cap to protect from the sun, rain or cold
Non-disposable water canteen (fresh water for refills is provided)
Cash in soles and/or US$ (entry fees to archaeological sites, and meals (except lunch on Day 6), are not included)
Depart early for another day on the bike. Connecting two of the Sacred Valley's most iconic towns, this ride will take the whole morning (3 to 4 hours). Its difficulty level ranges between beginner and intermediate, with fun descents and only short climbs. It follows about 34 kilomtres of dirt road – the longest bike path in the Cusco area, travelling downstream and throughout the farming fields. Along the way, see Andean communities living their daily lives. Tonight's accommodation is a real highlight; spend the evening in bungalows set amid landscaped gardens with lovely views of the surrounding hills.

Total riding distance: about 38 kilometres / 24 miles over 3 to 4 hours
Max. elevation: 3000 metres / 9,802 feet
Min. elevation: 2900 metres / 9512 feet
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a private bus at around 8:30 am to the Chinchero Plateu (approximately 30 minutes), the starting point for your ride. Today's route is of intermediate difficulty (approximately 4 hours). Set off firstly for Moray, stopping to spend some time there. Then pedal back down to the Sacred Valley, through to Ollantaytambo. The route follow the quaint townships of ancient communities and stunning Andean landscapes. This is one of the must-ride routes for mountain bike enthusiasts visiting Cusco. Today's highlights include the Huaypo Lagoon and the intriguing Moray Inca Agricultural Laboratory. A packed lunch is included today.

We spend the night in Ollantaytambo.

Ride distance: approx. 30 km / 19 miles
Max. elevation : 3,600 / 11,808 ft
Min. elevation : 2,900/ 9,512 ft
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Depending on the travel arrangements you made before the trip, during the next four days you will hike either the Classic Inca Trail or the Inca Quarry Trail. While you're away from Cusco, the bulk of your luggage will be stored at your hotel. The evening before you leave Cusco 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. Keep in mind 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.

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 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 will reach the campsite at 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.
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 (4,200 m) offers amazing views of the valley below. The group will then descend to the campsite in the Pacaymayo Valley, located at 3,650 metres.

Route 2: Inca Quarry Trail

This is the most challenging and rewarding day of the hike. Your walk (approximately 3 hours) takes you to the top of the first pass of Puccaqasa (4,370 m). After enjoying picturesque views of the valley, it’s a short walk before stopping for lunch. Afterwards, hike to Kuychicassa (approximately 2 hours), the highest pass of the trek (4,450 m). 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.
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 on 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 quarry, 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. 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.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today you will explore the incredible Machu Picchu ruins with a local guide. Your tour lasts for around 1.5–2 hours, and there will be plenty of free time afterwards to explore on your own. When it's all over, return to Cusco for a well-earned shower and perhaps a Pisco sour.

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, the ‘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, take in a spectacular sunrise over the ancient city from the Sun Gate, before going on a guided walk around the ruins.

Visiting Machu Picchu:
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. Once the guided visit concludes, visitors must exit the site and personal exploration of Machu Picchu is not permitted.

Notes: Due to Intrepid's internal safety policy, our leaders are prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking trips to the mountaintop ruins of Wayna Picchu.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Farewell your new friends as your adventure comes to an end after breakfast this morning. Check-out time is 9 am. Luggage storage can be arranged at the hotel if you're departing later.

If you've got some free time in Cusco why not check out Café Daria? This café & pizzeria is Cusco’s first vocational training site for young adults with special needs. Students are trained across all aspects of hospitality and the food is prepared by the students on site. It's a great way to interact with locals, while also giving those who would normally be isolated from society the opportunity to meet people from all over the world.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

10 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners

Transport

Bicycle, Plane, Train, Public bus, walking

Accommodation

Hotel (7 nights), Camping with basic facilities (3 nights)

Dates & availability

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There are currently no scheduled departures on our Cycle Peru with Inca Trail (Machu Picchu & the Sacred Valley) trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

1. 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.
2. A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information.
3. Bicycle hire is included in your trip price. Please advise your height at time of booking so as we can organise a suitable sized bike.
4. Bike helmets are compulsory on this trip. We are unable to hire bike helmets locally so please ensure you bring your own bike helmet from home.
5. On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed)

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.

Please be aware that while hiking the Inca trek or the Quarry trek that you may be joined by passengers from other Intrepid groups.

On June 30th Peruvian authorities released a new list of regulations for visiting Machu Picchu, which came into effect from July 1st. The main points impacting our visits are:
1. There is now a time limit to visit the citadel. Morning visitors must exit the site by 12pm and afternoon visitors by 4.30pm
2. Visitors must complete a designated circuit, in one direction only. Exiting and re-entering the site is not permitted and, upon completion, visitor must exit the site. There is no allowance for personal exploration of the site any longer.
Overall we support these changes as they help preserve this invaluable archaeological site. While this somehow restricts the amount of time we are now allowed to spend in Machu Picchu, we’ll do all possible to maximise your time there and make sure you have the best possible experience.

Essential trip information

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