- All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 4 dinners are included in the price of the tour. Some snacks are included (in addition to main meals) during the trek but you may wish to bring some of your own to supplement them. Hotel breakfasts are normally simple buffet-style affairs, usually including bread/toast and jam, cereal, sometimes eggs or a cooked dishes, sometimes fruit, tea/coffee and fruit juice. Where lunch and dinner is not included in Cuzco/Ollantaytambo/Aguas Calientes we'll visit a variety of cafes and restaurants. All meals are included whilst on trek - delicious warming traditional dishes will be prepared by the native chefs who are from one of the nearby communities.
- Accom: hotel/lodge
- Accom: premium
- Peruvian cuisine has developed a reputation for its flavours and originality and it’s well worth trying out a few of the local delicacies. Amongst these are ceviche (a spicy dish of seafood or fish marinated in lime juice), lomo saltado (a Peruvian take on a beef stir-fry) and various hearty soups such as the delicious quinoa soup. Other dishes include roasted cuy (guinea pig), alpaca steak, and to drink, the national beverage: Pisco Sour. All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 4 dinners are included in the price of the tour. Some snacks are included (in addition to main meals) during the trek but you may wish to bring some of your own to supplement them. The tap water in Peru is not safe to drink. Hotel breakfasts are normally simple buffet-style affairs, usually including bread/toast and jam, cereal, sometimes eggs or a cooked dishes, sometimes fruit, tea/coffee and fruit juice. Regrettably we can not guarantee that wheat/gluten free products will be available for breakfast in all locations - if you have an intolerance you may wish to bring your own breakfast food. Where lunch and dinner is not included in Cuzco/Ollantaytambo/Aguas Calientes we'll visit a variety of cafes and restaurants. All meals are included whilst on trek - traditional dishes will be prepared by the native chefs who are from one of the nearby communities.
- New trip
- Walking & Trekking
- Guided Group
Start Cuzco (3400m); free time to acclimatise.
Set amidst hills in the Andes, the Imperial City of the Incas, Cuzco (3,400) was the geographic, cultural and political centre of a vast empire which, at its peak, stretched from present day Quito in Ecuador to Santiago in Chile. After the Spanish conquistadores invaded the city they started building on top of the Incan structures, resulting in unique architecture, a fusion of the Incan and Spanish colonial styles. The group flights usually arrive in the mid-afternoon, giving time to wander the cobbled streets admiring the old houses, visiting its interesting museums, churches and pre-Columbian buildings, or to sit in a café and sample a coca-tea. It is recommended to take it easy upon arrival into Cuzco and to drink plenty of water to allow your body time to acclimatise to the altitude (3,400m). There will be a welcome briefing in the hotel lobby this evening.
Four ruins acclimatisation walk, including Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo, Puka Pukara and Tambomachay.
The hills above Cuzco city are dotted with some of the most interesting Inca ruins. We drive to the highest, Tambomachay, and return on foot to Cuzco via Puca Pucara, Qenco and Sacsayhuaman: an easy acclimatisation walk to get used to the altitude. An open-air picnic lunch is included during the hike near the spectacular ruins.
Free day in Cuzco.
Free day in Cuzco to relax and further acclimatise before starting the trek. A range of optional activities and sightseeing excursions can be arranged, including visits to Inca and pre-Inca sites south of Cuzco, or walks in the hills surrounding the city but we recommend taking it relatively easy in order to adjust to the altitude in preparation for the start of the trek tomorrow. Please see the Optional Activities section below for further details and prices.
Drive to trailhead at Chillca; short walk to first lodge (4368m); traditional music performance.
We drive for approx. 4 hrs by coach beside the Vilcanota River, stopping en route to visit the temple of Checacupe, then the upper valley of Pitumarca. When we reach Japura, we leave the transport behind and trek a short distance to Chillca – our first tambo (mountain lodge). We will be greeted by people from the local communities, usually playing Andean instruments, and there’s the chance to try some coca tea.
Trek past glaciated mountains, waterfalls and llama territory to Machuracay (4814m), at the foot of sacred Mt. Ausangate.
After breakfast we trek alongside huge herds of alpacas and llamas (sometimes there are hundreds) in the glacial valley of Phinaya. We will ascend past the Pjachaj waterfalls and come to more glaciers at Santa Catalina. We continue walking for roughly five hours amidst huge walls of glacial moraine, and passing glaciers and glacial lagoons to reach Machuracay Tambo. Our bags, carried by a llama caravan, meet us there and the family that runs the lodge will welcome us.
Over the Palomani Pass (5150m) to Anantapata (4750m) via the 'Nevado del Inca' sandstone formations.
Today we take in our first mountain pass (5,150m) from the top of which we are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Descending alongside the glaciers, we trek to the Ausangate Cocha Lake for lunch. After lunch we see a stark contrast in the landscape as we enter a region of red sandstone sediment formations. Here, we will usually see vicuñas (a smaller relative of the llama) and sometimes condors can be seen soaring overhead. We stay at Anantapata Tambo tonight.
Follow an isolated trail through multi-coloured mountains to Huampococha (4800m).
After breakfast, we set off along a trail towards another mountain pass. Dropping down, we walk past Lake Kayrawiri, surrounded by rugged mountain peaks and the great valley below. Striations of colour are imbedded in the hillsides (a geologists dream). Then we go on to Cerro Laya Grande via the extensive Glacier del Inca, and the most striking colours in the sediments of Yauricunca. We take lunch here amidst this unique landscape. On our way to our last lodge, we should see Andean geese nesting in the cliffs of Anta. Just before reaching Huampococha Tambo we pass the flat iron formations of Apu Labrayani.
Cross the Anta Pass and descend to the valley where the trek ends; transfer to Cuzco.
We wake to fantastic mountain views and set off on our final walk. A steady climb bring us over our final pass, the Anta Pass. We descend from the pass and encounter some peculiar looking shapes of limestone - formations of Cretaceous age. We hike here until the end of the trail in Trapiche, where we have lunch before returning by the bus to Cuzco.
Visit Pisac market and the fortress of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley; continue by train to Aguas Calientes.
Today we visit the magnificent Sacred Valley of the Incas, including the incredible ruins at Pisac and the fortress of Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo we take the train to Aguas Calilentes (the town below Machu Picchu). The Sacred Valley, which runs along the Urubamba River near Cuzco, is the true heartland of Incan culture and tradition, which is still strong today. The high-Andean scenery is dotted with old towns and villages dating back to pre-Columbian times. The ruins of the Citadel at Pisac guarded a road from the lowlands and gives way to a picturesque landscape of terraces carved into the solid rock itself. Whilst the Inca ruins at Ollantaytambo give you a sense of the scale of what is to come as huge stone terraces scale the valley sides. This was the royal estate of Inca Emperor Pachacuti as well as being of religious and defensive significance.
Guided tour of Machu Picchu; return to Cuzco by train and by road.
One of the highlights of the trip is the visit to the greatest ruin in the world, the lost city of Machu Picchu. This is one of the architectural and engineering marvels of the ancient world, in a mountain setting of staggering immensity. The Spaniards never found it; the Incas left no records about it, so Machu Picchu remains a great enigma, a city lost for centuries in the jungle until it was rediscovered in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham. We wake early to make the short bus journey up the winding road to the ruins (aprox 30 mins). Your leader will give you a two/three hour guided tour of the ruins and afterwards there will be free time to explore at your leisure. There are some spectacular walks around the site that you may wish to do, including following the path to the Inca Drawbridge or even up to the Sun Gate for that iconic view of the ruins. In the afternoon we take the train back to Ollantaytambo, from where we continue the remainder of the way to Cuzco by road.
The tour ends after breakfast today. If you have the time and would like to see more of beautiful Peru, we also offer an Amazon Rainforest or Lake Titicaca extension after the main tour.