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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Terms & Conditions

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

Why we 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 Cuzco, 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.

  • 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

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Peru. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm on Day 1. You will find more information about this at the hotel reception. 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, a walk around Miraflores is recommended. Go from Central Park (Parque Kennedy) to LarcoMar via Larco Avenue. Alternatively, go to Parque del Amor (Love Park) for a nice view of Lima's beaches. Other options are a tour to Pachacamac (approximately 30 kilometres from downtown Lima), the Museo de la Nacion and the Gold Museum.

No included riding today
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Set off on a bike tour of Lima this morning (approximately 3.5 hours). This covers various districts of the city, from fisherman's hangouts to the stomping ground of Lima's artists. Take in beautiful Pacific Ocean views from the coastline and marvellous city views from hilltops. Afterwards, fly to Cusco (approximately 1.5 hours).

Spend a little time acclimatising to the high altitude (3,450 m) and then head out on a gentle early evening orientation walk with your leader: visit the facade of Coricancha temple, the main square, past the 12 Angled Stone, and the Regocijo Square
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
If you are feeling energetic rise early and check out Cusco's San Pedro market and San Blas square.

Check out the Cusco archaeological sites on a half-day bike tour (approximately 4 hours). Start with a private bus ride (approximately 15 minutes) to Tambomachay, the starting point for the ride. Start pedalling along singletrack, riding from site to site through the glorious Andean landscape. Inca sites visited include Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo, Puca Pucara and Tambomachay. A snack will be provided along the way. The terrain is fine for all levels of ability.

Ride distance: approx. 10km / 6 miles
Maximum altitude: 3,780m / 12,390 ft
Minimum altitude: 3,3800m / 11,120 ft
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Embark on a three-day mountain-bike adventure through the Sacred Valley. Today's ride (3–4 hours) takes you on the most scenic ride along the valley, with fun descents and only short climbs. Not too strenuous, it's the perfect way to acclimatise and to 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. The ride culminates in the enigmatic town of Pisaq, a village built at the base of an Inca fort on a mountain spur.

Ride distance: approx. 38 km / 24 miles
Max. elevation: 3,100 / 10,140ft
Min. elevation: 3, 000/ 9,802ft
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 the hotel on your bike today. Connecting two of the Sacred Valley's most iconic towns, this ride will take the whole morning (3–4 hours). Its difficulty level is beginner–intermediate. It follows about 34 km 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 – bungalows set amid landscaped gardens with lovely views of the surrounding hills – is a real highlight.

Ride distance: approx. 38 kms / 24 miles
Max. elevation: 3,000 / 9,802ft
Min. elevation: 2,900/ 9,512ft
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
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
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 Cuzco, the bulk of your luggage will be stored at your hotel. 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. 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.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
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.
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 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.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
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 Cuzco 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.

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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
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.
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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Important notes

PASSPORT DETAILS:
Domestic airlines require passengers' passport numbers to issue their tickets. It is then very important that you provide this information at the time of booking. Delays to provide this information may result in third party booking fees.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
A Single Supplement to have your own room 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/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.

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.