Cusco, Inca Trail & Machu Picchu - 9 Days
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- Day 1: Arrival in Lima
- Day 2: Arrival in Cusco
- Day 3: Cusco City Tour
- Day 4: Sacred Valley Tour
- Day 5: Begin The Inka Trail Trek to Machu Picchu
- Day 6: Inka Trail Trek
- Day 7: Inka Trail Trek
- Day 8: Machu Picchu Tour
- Day 9: Departure from Cusco
Experience the drama and mystery of South America’s greatest civilization, on a tour package that takes you from the imperial capital of Cusco and along the sacred pilgrimage route of the Incas all the way to world wonder Machu Picchu.
You’ll acclimate for the trek while touring the sights in Cusco and the Sacred Valley, visiting places like the Plaza de Armas, the Cusco Cathedral, Sacsayhuaman, Pisac, and Ollantaytambo. Then you’ll embark on the Inca Trail on a thrilling 4-day walk past fascinating Inca ruins, over the famous Dead Woman’s Pass, and into the cloud forest, ending at the Sun Gate entrance to Machu Picchu.
It’s been called the world’s greatest trek and it leads to South America’s greatest wonder, Machu Picchu. Contact us when you’re ready to begin planning your trek.
*Please let us know as soon as possible if you are interested in booking the Inca Trail. Only 500 people per day (including guides and porters) are allowed to enter the Inca Trail and permits are regulated by local authorities. During the high season (June/July/August), it is best to secure your Inca Trail permit at least 6 months in advance. During the rest of the year, we recommend securing your Inca Trail permit at least 3 months in advance.
Day 1: Arrival in Lima
Arrival at Lima airport. Meet our representative for a transfer to your Lima airport hotel.
Day 2: Arrival in Cusco
After breakfast, return to the airport for your flight to Cusco. Upon arrival, meet our representative for a transfer to your Cusco hotel.
Be sure to take it easy on this first day at altitude. Visit a museum, people-watch on the Plaza de Armas, or find a cafe where you can relax. In the evening, choose among Cusco’s many options for casual or fine dining.
Day 3: Cusco City Tour
This morning you’ll have time to explore Cusco on your own. Explore the vendor stalls at San Pedro Market, browse artisan workshops and art galleries in the San Blas neighborhood, or visit the Pre-Columbian Art Museum (MAP) or Casa Concha (Machu Picchu Museum).
After lunch, meet your guide for an afternoon tour of Cusco’s must see sights. You’ll start on the Plaza de Armas, where your guide will begin to tell you about the history of South America’s oldest continuously inhabited city. You’ll enter into the Cusco Cathedral, formerly the site of a temple to the Inca creator deity Viracocha and today a treasure trove for religious art produced by native artisans in the years after the Spanish Conquest. You’ll continue to Santo Domingo Monastery, which was also constructed on the site of an Inca temple, Qoricancha or the Temple of the Sun. The building of the church atop the ruins ironically preserved parts of the Inca structures, which were revealed intact after a devastating earthquake in 1950 crumbled the Spanish construction. Next, you’ll visit the Inca ruins outside of Cusco, beginning at the fortress of Sacsayhuaman (site of an important battle between Inca and Spanish troops), and wrapping up the day with stops at Q’enko, Puka Pukara, and Tambomachay.
At the end of the tour, you’ll be returned to your hotel in Cusco. Hit the town to see Cusco by night or enjoy a quiet evening in.
Day 4: Sacred Valley Tour
After breakfast, meet your guide for a tour of the Sacred Valley, which in Inca times was littered with royal palaces and temples and today is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes. Your first stop is Pisac town, with its famous market and impressive hilltop ruins. At the market, your guide will point out local products like potatoes, giant corn, and natural dyes, and you’ll have a chance to browse the souvenir stalls for one-of-a-kind gifts. Next, you’ll drive up the hill to the Pisac ruins, which sprawl across a narrow mountain ridge and most likely protected the southern entrance to the Sacred Valley. You’ll continue down the road to Urubamba and stop for lunch (not included) at a buffet restaurant serving Peruvian specialties. The final stop is in Ollantaytambo, where you’ll climb to the top of the fortress ruins for panoramic views across the former Inca heartland.
At the end of the tour, you’ll be dropped of at your hotel in Cusco, where you’ll sleep one more night at altitude before the start of the trek.
Day 5: Begin The Inka Trail Trek to Machu Picchu
Transfer from Cusco to the start of the Inca Trail trek at Piscacucho km 82. After crossing the trailhead checkpoint, you’ll walk on a mostly flat trail to the community of Miskay, take a short rest, and then continue on a steeper path to the first archaeological site at Patallacta. After lunch, you’ll continue walking for about 2 hours until you reach the first campsite at Wayllabamba.
Hike distance: 7.5 miles (12 km)
Minimum altitude: 8,860 feet (2,700 meters)
Maximum altitude: 9,840 feet (3,000 meters)
Approximate time: 5 to 6 hours
Day 6: Inka Trail Trek
The second day of trekking is the most difficult due to the terrain and the altitude, but also the most rewarding for the gorgeous views you’ll get along the way. You’re encouraged to find a pace that’s most comfortable for you. After breakfast, you’ll begin the climb to Abra de Warmiwañusca, known in English as “Dead Woman's Pass,” at over 13,700 feet (4,200 meters). On the other side, a stairway path descends steeply into the Pacamayo Valley and your campsite for the night.
Hike distance: 5.6 miles (9 km)
Minimum altitude: 9,840 feet (3,000 meters)
Maximum altitude: 13,780 feet (4,200 meters)
Approximate time: 6 to 7 hours
Day 7: Inka Trail Trek
Today you’ll be treated to the trail’s most impressive archaeological sites which are scattered between the trek’s final two passes, Runkurakay and Phuyupatamarca. You’ll begin with an uphill climb to the circular ruins of Runkurakay, continuing on to the ruins of Sayacmarca or “Inaccessible Town” and the Phuyupatamarca. At day’s end you’ll arrive to the last campsite at Wiñay Wayna.
Tonight you’ll have dinner and celebrate the near completion of the trek alongside the trekking staff who have accompanied you this far. The cooks and porters will walk ahead of you the next morning to catch an early train back to Cusco. Remember, it is customary for trekkers to contribute to a tip pool, which will then be distributed amongst the staff (guide, cook, and porters). A good tip amount ranges $10-$40 USD per hiker. These tips are voluntary, so feel free to tip according to the service you received.
Hike distance: 9.3 miles (15 km)
Minimum altitude: 8,860 feet (2,700 meters)
Maximum altitude: 1,2960 feet (3,950 meters)
Approximate time: 8 to 9 hours
Day 8: Machu Picchu Tour
Wake early for breakfast and then start walking the final stretch of the trail to Inti Punku, the Sun Gate entrance to lost Inca city. Descend the stone path to the Inca citadel. After a short rest, you’ll meet with your trekking guide for a 2-hour tour of Machu Picchu. You’ll visit the primary temples and palaces of the Inca citadel and then you’ll have time to explore the ruins on your own.
In the late afternoon, return to the train station for the trip back to Cusco.
Hike distance (to Machu Picchu): 2 miles (3 km)
Minimum altitude: 7,875 feet (2,400 meters)
Maximum altitude: 8,860 feet (2,700 meters)
Approximate time: About one hour of hiking
Day 9: Departure from Cusco
Grab breakfast in the morning and then meet our representative for a transfer to the Cusco airport and the start of your journey back home.
- 1 night in Lima airport hotel, 4 nights in Cusco in Peru Hotels based on US standards & 3 nights camping on the Inca Trail
- All tours stated in the itinerary with English-speaking guides
- Ground transportation and entrance fees
- Breakfast at all hotels
- All meals on Inca Trail
- Train Machu Picchu - Cusco (Vistadome Train for 4-star and 5-star packages / Expedition Train for 3-star packages)
- Budget tours are designed to offer the best value and comfort possible, and have some variations compared to our 3, 4, and 5-star packages. Call or email us to learn more about our Budget tours.
- Private transport from your Cusco hotel to the start of the trek
- Bus from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes
- Train Machu Picchu - Cusco (Vistadome Train for 5-star and 4-star packages / Expedition Train for 3-star packages)
- Transfer from Cusco train station back to your Cusco hotel
- We use four season Eureka tents with two entrances and capacity for four people (for comfort, only two people per tent)
- Foam mattresses, tables, and seat for each tent
- Food and drink utensils
- Dinner tent and kitchen tent
- First aid kit and emergency oxygen bottle
- Professional, knowledgeable bilingual guide
- A cook to prepare your meals
- Porters to carry provided equipment and food (additional porters are available for rent to carry your personal belongings)
- High quality meals to provide the necessary energy for this challenging trek
- In addition to three meals daily, you will be given revitalizing snacks
- Hot drinks such as tea and coffee, as well as enough water for your canteens (collected from local streams and boiled while on the trek)
- Lunches and dinners (unless otherwise specified)
- Airport taxes
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Packages start at USD$1,239 for our 4-day Cusco & Machu Picchu package (with domestic flights included.)
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