Map of Inca Encounter including Peru

From monumental cities to the mighty Amazon and Machu Picchu

Explore Peru on an eye-opening journey from the depths of the Amazon to the heights of the Andes. Get to know downtown Lima’s ornate buildings and markets, uncover Cusco’s ancient charms, encounter incredible wildlife in the Amazon, see the lush Sacred Valley and Ollantaytambo, and marvel at the wonder of Machu Picchu. Offering an up-close look at Peru's diverse attractions, this is an unforgettable trip at a relaxing pace. Discover ancient cultures, natural wonders, welcoming locals and vibrant modern life as you journey through the homeland of the Incas.


Start
Lima, Peru
Finish
Cusco, Peru
Destination
Peru
Style
Comfort
Theme
Explorer
Code
GGKY
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Marvel at ancient Incan architecture throughout the fertile Sacred Valley, before discovering the mother of all Incan cities during a guided tour of Machu Picchu.

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

  • Get to know Cusco’s colonial and Inca architecture during a guided exploration with your leader, finishing up with a hot chocolate made from made from local cacao beans at the Chocolate Museum.

  • Spend time with the residents of a village in the Sacred Valley when you join them for a lunch of local specialties and learn about life in this storied part of the Andean highlands.

  • The choice is yours on the way to Machu Picchu – test yourself on the challenging Classic Inca or Inca Quarry trails, or take the train for a more leisurely experience.

  • At Intrepid we’ve always been about balancing profit and purpose and as the largest B Corp certified operator on the Inca Trail we’re committed to operating our treks for the benefit of all – join us and help make the world a better place.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Parts of your trip go above 28000m/9200ft where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. Please see the ‘Medical and Health Information’ section of the Essential Trip Information for more detail.

  • The Amazon Jungle can be very hot and humid, so it's important to drink plenty of water and wear light cotton clothing. Make sure you also bring tropical-strength insect repellent.

  • Visitors are not permitted to explore Machu Picchu without a Machu Picchu guide (not our trip leaders) and must follow set routes within the site. This trip includes one guided visit of Machu Picchu (approximately 1.5 - 2 hours). Your leader will provide more information to ensure you get the most out of your visit to this incredible site.

  • If you choose to trek the Inca Trail or Inca Quarry Trail, there'll be strenuous hiking. This option is recommended for those with a good level of fitness. Please bring comfortable footwear suitable to hiking. See the ‘Packing’ section of the Essential Trip Information for more detail.

  • For those who trek the Inca Trail or Inca Quarry Trail, you'll be camping with basic facilities. It's definitely the journey as well as the final destination (Machu Picchu) that makes this way of exploring Peru worthwhile.

  • Travellers who choose different ways of reaching Machu Picchu (Inca Trail, Quarry Trail or Train), will not follow the same routes within Machu Picchu. This means that you may not be able to have photos together, overlooking Machu Picchu. This applies to travellers on the same booking or separate bookings.

Itinerary

Bienvenidos! 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. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2pm where you'll meet your tour leader and travel group. After the formalities are out of the way, dive into life in Lima. Jump on public transport and head downtown for a guided walking tour of the city's historical centre. Take in the ornate spectacle of the colonial mansions, palaces and churches that line the streets, pay a visit to the San Francisco Monastery and its catacombs, and browse the fresh produce on offer at Lima's central market. Your walking tour wraps up in Lima's main square, with the rest of the day free to do as you wish. Perhaps head out for dinner with the group – your leader will have plenty of local recommendations.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Lima - San Francisco Monastery and the Catacombs
  • Lima - Downtown walking tour
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.

The arrival transfer is only valid if arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through Intrepid. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 14 days prior to travel, as we may not be able to confirm a request made within 14 days of travel.
Rise and shine for your journey into the wilds of the Peruvian Amazon. Take an early morning transfer to Lima airport, then board a flight to Puerto Maldonado. Upon your arrival, lodge staff will take you to their office in town, then you’ll travel by private vehicle to the water. Here, board a motorised canoe and cruise deep into the jungle. The journey to your eco-lodge in the Madre de Dios region will take around three hours, and you'll be given a packed lunch on the way. Arrive and settle in to your thatched-roof lodge before a short orientation walk of the immediate area and a briefing. Spend the evening getting acquainted with the sights and smells of the jungle and fall asleep to the sounds of nature.
Accommodation
  • Jungle Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Today’s flight time is approximately 3 hours.

Upon arrival in Puerto Maldonado, you will pack a small duffle bag with clothing and essential items needed for two days in the jungle. Your main luggage will be securely stored in Puerto Maldonado.

Rooms at the jungle lodge are simple but comfortable. They are built using local materials such as bamboo, adobe mud and palm trees. Rooms have traditional curtains for the entrance and bathroom. Each room opens out to the rainforest, providing a true jungle experience. Rooms are equipped with flushing toilets, showers (cold water only), mosquito nets and kerosene lamps. Electricity and internet are only available in the common areas at designated times. Drinks and tips are not included during your stay.
Get ready for an unforgettable day exploring the depths of the jungle! Set out on a half-day walk guided by local experts on the area's flora and fauna. Learn from your guides about the medicinal and practical uses for some of the plants that grow here, which indigenous people have been studying and using for thousands of years. On your walk, keep an eye out for rainbow coloured macaws and butterflies, and listen for the barking call of the peccaries and chattering of monkeys that call the jungle home. This part of the Amazon is also known to house capybaras, giant otters and jabirus, so keep your eyes peeled for these creatures. Return to the lodge for lunch and some free time to relax. Once the sun goes down, venture out on a night walk in search of some of the jungle's nocturnal inhabitants.  
Accommodation
  • Jungle Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Amazon Jungle - Night jungle walk
  • Amazon Jungle - Morning jungle walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Leave behind the natural wonders of the Amazon for the man-made wonders of Cusco today. Return to Puerto Maldonado on a three-hour canoe ride to collect your luggage, then take a flight to the lofty city. Once you have arrived, get acquainted with Cusco during an orientation walk with your leader, finishing up at the Chocolate Museum for a tasty hot chocolate. This evening, you may like to head out for dinner with your fellow travellers – your leader can recommend some good places to grab a meal. If you're feeling adventurous, why not try one of the many establishments serving up cuy, which you might know by the English name of guinea pig. Or perhaps head to Manos Unidas cafe, a central pizzeria which also provides vocational training for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cusco - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Cusco - Full Boleto Turistico Pass (access to 16 archaeological sites, transport & guides not included)
  • Cusco - Chocolate Museum Visit & Hot Chocolate
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s flight time is approximately 3 hours.

The direct flight between Cusco and Puerto Maldonado is temporarily suspended and you’ll transit in Lima between Cusco and Puerto Maldonado. Your time in Cusco maybe impacted but no activities will be affected by this. We will revert to the direct flight once they are operating again. Your leader will provide you with the latest update.
Travel by private bus through the Sacred Valley. Known as Wilcamayo to the Incas, the valley has been a source of livelihood to the locals for hundreds of years. You’ll see maize crops covering the terraced valley walls and the sacred river beneath. For lunch, visit a community that live in the valley and learn about the local lifestyle and language. Meet women from the community and share a meal of local specialties at the community centre. You’ll see each family wears different clothing to indicate where they are from, and you’ll learn about the traditional wool dyeing and weaving techniques.. Continue your journey to the town of Ollantaytambo where you’ll spend the night. If there’s time you may like to see the town’s archaeological site, which includes remnants of an Inca city and soaring views over the present-day settlement.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sacred Valley - Community visit & lunch
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Today’s total travel time is approximately 2 hours.
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 Inca Trail (Route 1), hiking the Quarry Trail (Route 2) or staying in Cusco for two days before taking the train to Aguas Calientes (Route 3). All routes visit Machu Picchu.

While away from Cusco, the bulk of your luggage will be stored at your hotel. If you’re hiking the Inca Trail or the Quarry Trail, the evening before you leave Cusco you'll receive a small duffle bag to carry your clothes in for the next four days (5kg maximum). Your team of porters will carry these bags for you, together with the food and equipment for the trail. 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 travel with only a small bag for the overnight stay in Aguas Calientes.

Route 1 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 3100m 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 prepared by your cook.

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 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.

Route 3 Cusco:
For those travellers not hiking, today you visit the archaeological site of Chinceros, on the way back to Cusco. Your Intrepid leader travels with you and is at hand to provide recommendations for your time in Cusco.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • 3 Night/4 Day Inca Trail (or 2 Night/3 Day Inca Quarry Trail) guided hike(s) with porters' support. Or guided Cusco stay (Machu Picchu by train)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Included lunch and dinner on this day is for travellers on the trekking options.

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.

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 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 wi
Route 1 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 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 two-hour hike to Kuychicassa, the highest pass of the trek at 4450 metres. From here, descend to the sacred site the Incas called Intipunku. This is a sun gate, where the sun will stream through at particular times of the year and there are views of the Nevado Veronica mountain year-round. The Incas built several sun gates, the most notable overlooking Machu Picchu. Head to the campsite, only a stone’s throw away and at 3600 metres.

Route 3: Cusco
Enjoy a free day in Cusco, the heart and soul of Peru. You may like to purchase a boleto turistico, which allows entry to the city's many museums and archaeological sites. Ask your leader for their recommendations.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Included lunch and dinner on this day is for travellers on the trekking options.
Route 1 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 to 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 Quarry Trail to Aguas Calientes:
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. Spend the night in a comfortable hotel before tomorrow’s visit to Machu Picchu.

Route 3 Train to Aguas Calientes:
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. This is where you’ll meet up with the travellers in your group who hiked the Quarry Trail. 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
Special Information
Included lunch and dinner on this day is for travellers on the Inca Trail trekking option.

Included lunch on this day is for travellers on the Quarry Trail trekking option.
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 to the porters as they descend to the train station and then begin hiking by 4.30 am. Once the final checkpoint opens at 5 am, begin the final leg of the trek. The walk to Intipunku (the Sun Gate) takes around 2.5 hours. Weather permitting, enjoy unforgettable views over the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ as you enter Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate.

Route 2 Machu Picchu to Cusco:
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.

Route 3 Machu Picchu to Cusco:
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.

For all travellers, after taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it's time to catch the bus to Aguas Calientes where you’ll stop for lunch together. From here, take a scenic train ride to Ollantaytambo, then drive back to Cusco, arriving in the evening.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s total travel time is approximately 4.5 hours.

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, re-entering the site is not permitted. Once the guided visit concludes, visitors must exit the site. Personal exploration of Machu Picchu is not permitted.

Due to safety reasons the final checkpoint for all trekkers does not open until 5 am. The estimated arrival time at Machu Picchu's Sun Gate for Inca Trail trekkers is approximately 7.30 am. For Quarry Trail trekkers and train travellers the first bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu departs at 5.30 am. The estimated arrival time is between 6 and 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.

Due to Intrepid's internal safety policy, our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with bo
Your Inca Encounter comes to an end after breakfast this morning. There are no activities planned for the final day.
Optional Activities
  • Sacred Valley - Mountain Biking - USD120
  • Cusco - Rainbow Mountain Hike - USD97
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Visiting Rainbow Mountain involves climbing up to more than 5000m/16400ft above sea level in one day. As such, our tour leaders are only able to assist in booking this activity at the end of your stay in Cusco when you will be better acclimatised. Our leaders can only book you onto departures of this activity that we operate, meaning we have full control over the safety precautions (eg transport, oxygen, emergency horses, first aid kits and experienced guides).

The price above is indicative only as the final price will depend on the total number of travellers participating in this activity on the day. The price can range from USD56 (with 16 travellers) to USD216 for 2 travellers. A minimum of 2 travellers is required to operate this activity.

Meals

9 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 5 dinners

Transport

Plane, Canoe, Private vehicle

Accommodation

Hotel (7 nights), Jungle Lodge (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Lima - San Francisco Monastery and the Catacombs
  • Lima - Downtown walking tour
  • Amazon Jungle - Night jungle walk
  • Amazon Jungle - Morning jungle walk
  • Cusco - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Cusco - Full Boleto Turistico Pass (access to 16 archaeological sites, transport & guides not included)
  • Cusco - Chocolate Museum Visit & Hot Chocolate
  • Sacred Valley - Community visit & lunch
  • 3 Night/4 Day Inca Trail (or 2 Night/3 Day Inca Quarry Trail) guided hike(s) with porters' support. Or guided Cusco stay (Machu Picchu by train)

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Inca Encounter trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

Prices may go up, so secure your trip today!
Jump to a departure month

Important notes

1. A complimentary airport arrival transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.
2. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
3. This trip starts in Lima on Day 1 at 2pm. This allows time after the welcome meeting to explore Lima’s historical centre.
4. This trip includes domestic flights. The luggage allowance is 23kg for check in luggage and 7kg for carry on.
5. Full passport details are required at the time of booking. These must match the passport you will be travelling on. These details are used to obtain Inca Trail permits, entrance and transport tickets. Delays in providing this information may result in booking fees or itinerary changes. Discrepancies could lead to refusal of entry to the Inca Trail.
6. At the time of booking, please advise whether you would like to hike the classic Inca Trail, Inca Quarry Trail or take the train. Fees may apply to late changes.
7. Inca Trail permits are not guaranteed and must be requested. Once you have paid your deposit and provided your full passport details we will endeavour to secure a permit for you. If Inca Trail permits are unavailable, you can choose to hike the Inca Quarry Trail or take the train.
8. The Inca Trail closes in February to allow for cleaning and restoration work. If the trekking portion of your trip starts in February, you will be automatically booked to hike the Inca Quarry Trail.

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

Reviews