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16 days

Peru, including Inca Trek

Lace up your hiking boots and walk the legendary 4-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The tour also takes you to Lima, Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca and the ancient capital of the Incas, Cusco.

We support sustainability development in Latin America. For every tour booked with us, we plant 10 trees in Brazil. Read more about the sustainability project here.

Peru, including Inca Trek Peru, including Inca Trek
16 days

Peru, including Inca Trek

Lace up your hiking boots and walk the legendary 4-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The tour also takes you to Lima, Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca and the ancient capital of the Incas, Cusco.

We support sustainability development in Latin America. For every tour booked with us, we plant 10 trees in Brazil. Read more about the sustainability project here.

What is included in the price?
This package includes the following
  • Flights from the UK to Lima (enquire regarding direct flights)
  • Flights from Cusco to the UK
  • 1 domestic flight: Lima – Arequipa
  • Transfers from and to airports (in small international groups)
  • Coach travel: Arequipa – Colca Canyon – Puno – Cusco
  • 11 nights’ accommodation in good hotels incl. breakfast
  • 3-night Inca trek including transport to and from Cusco, English-speaking guide, porters, admission fees, full board and guided tour at Machu Picchu
  • 6 x lunch (days 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12)
  • 3 x dinner (days 10, 11, 12)
  • Individual tour, however, all excursions are in small international groups with local English speaking guides
  • Emergency hotline staffed 24/7 throughout your trip
  • ATOL certificate included
  • Departure guarantee – the tour will take place regardless of the number of participants

Comprehensive package of excursions:

  • Half-day tour of Lima, including a visit to the Lima Museum of Art
  • Half-day tour of Arequipa, including a visit to the Santa Catalina Monastery
  • Two-day visit to Colca Canyon – famous for its condors, thermal baths and ancient agricultural terraces
  • Full-day tour to Lake Titicaca and the Uros and Taquile islands
  • Half-day tour of Cusco and the surrounding area
  • Full-day tour to The Sacred Valley
  • Admission tickets to the attractions mentioned

 

Places are limited on the popular 4-day Inca trek, and unfortunately it is already sold out from April to July 2020. Instead, we can offer the Salkantay trek at the same price, which is also a 4-day trek.

 

The tour in short

Peru is a treasure chest of Inca culture, boasting some of the finest cultural and natural delights in South America. Look forward to a trip sprinkled with colonial gems, spectacular mountains and volcanoes, a visit to Colca Canyon, and the Sacred Valley with its impressive terrace systems, fascinating Indian communities and colourful markets. It is also here that you can experience the unique local wildlife, which features lamas, alpacas and condors. The tour will also bring you close to the Uros people on the shores of Lake Titicaca, and give you the chance to experience Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, where you can admire sights such as impressive carvings by Inca stone masons. It is then time to make a start on the Inca trek, where you will walk the famous Inca trail. Look forward to experiencing memorable ruins and captivating countryside featuring green valleys, snow-capped mountain peaks, a host of plants and all kinds of animals. Of course, no trip to Peru would be complete without a visit to Machu Picchu, which forms the perfect endpoint for your trek.

Why choose this tour

  • Lace your hiking shoes and go on a challenging 4-day trek along the old Inca route to Machu Picchu
  • Experience the colourful native society’s exciting traditions at Lake Titicaca
  • See majestic condors glide elegantly across the sky at the deep Colca Canyon
  • Visit important sites and cathedrals from the Spanish Colonial Era in Lima, Arequipa and Cusco

Our prices always include

  • All international and domestic flights
  • All destination transfers
  • All specified excursions and activities
  • All accommodations
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Gallery
Detailed Itinerary
Day 1: Departure from the UK and arrival in Lima

Departure day, where you will fly to Peru, with connecting flights along the way. You will land at Lima Airport, where you will be met by a representative of our partner in Peru, who will accompany you to your hotel. The journey from the airport to the hotel takes around 1 hour, and on the route your guide will answer any questions you may have regarding your trip. The rest of the day is yours to do with as you wish.

Accommodation:
Day 2: Tour of Lima

The day starts with a half-day tour of the Peruvian capital city, which was founded in 1535 by Francisco Pizarro. The itinerary will take you to the magnificent, bustling central square called Plaza Mayor, which is decorated with rose gardens, tall palm trees and a fountain capped with a representation of the city’s guardian angel. The square is lined with beautiful buildings in colonial style, including the Presidential Palace, the Archbishop’s Palace and the city’s impressive cathedral which dates back to 1555 and contains the earthly remains of Pizarro himself. You will then have the chance to visit the San Francisco Monastery and its church from 1674 – which happens to be the most attractive Baroque church in the city. The monastery is decorated with delightful mosaic tiles from Seville and fresco paintings that were rediscovered when an earthquake destroyed parts of the outer wall. Particularly worthy of note are the monastery’s museum of religious art, the library of more than 25,000 books, and the catacombs beneath the church.

Next stop on the itinerary is the San Isidro district, with its attractive parks, and the modern Miraflores quarter, with its fine beaches, gardens and squares, as well as charming cafés and restaurants. Before the tour draws to a close, there will be time to visit the Lima Museum of Art, which is famous for its comprehensive collections of pre-Colombian jewellery and applied art.

The late afternoon and evening are yours to do with as you wish.

Accommodation:
Day 3: Flight from Lima to Arequipa

In the morning, you will be picked up from your hotel and driven to Lima Airport to catch your flight to the elegant colonial city of Arequipa, which is situated at an elevation of 2,400 masl. The city is surrounded by the snow-capped volcanoes Misti (5,822 m), Chachani (6,057 m) and Pichu-Pichu (5,669 m), which generate a truly extraordinary atmosphere. You will be met on arrival at Arequipa Airport and driven to your hotel.

After checking in, it is time for a guided tour of the city, taking in a host of magnificent villas and colonial buildings from the 1700s with their exquisitely carved doors, French windows and ornate fences around spacious courtyard gardens. The city is built almost exclusively of white volcanic stone and is therefore often called ‘The White City’. You will also visit the beautiful central square – Plaza de Armas – with its tall palms, old gas lights and magnificent fountain. It is also the site of the city’s enormous cathedral.

After this, it is time to visit perhaps the most famous attraction in Arequipa: the Santa Catalina monastery, which was once home to more than 400 nuns. Santa Catalina was founded in 1580 by the rich widow Maria de Guzmán, and it was extended in the 1600s. The institution was reserved exclusively for the upper class locals, and during the colonial years it was customary for the second daughters of rich families to become nuns. The girls were taken to the monastery at the tender age of three, after which they never ventured beyond its walls again. It was not until 1970 that the monastery doors were opened, and around 20 nuns still live here today – although they are now free to receive visitors and to leave Santa Catalina as they wish.

Before returning to the hotel, there will be time to visit Yanahuara Square, which provides excellent opportunities to take photos of the volcanoes that surround the city.

Accommodation:
Day 4: By coach from Arequipa to Colca Canyon

Early in the morning, the tour takes you to the fascinating Colca Canyon, which is 3191 metres deep. For comparison, Colca Canyon is almost twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the United States.

Your route will take you across the spectacular Altiplano, a dry, barren landscape of wide open vistas. You will pass through a number of small villages where you are sure so see local herders with their flocks of lamas and alpacas. After a drive of a few hours, you will reach the town of Chivay, which serves as the entrance to Colca Canyon. Here, the landscape around the town is dominated by two mighty volcanoes: Sabancaya (5,976 m) and Ampato (6,288 m).

Following your long coach journey, you have earned a bit of rest and relaxation, and a visit to the hot thermal baths of Chivay is sure to work wonders on your weary muscles.

Day 5: By coach from Colca Canyon to Puno

Early in the morning, you will head off towards Mirador Cruz del Condor, a breath-taking vantage point near one of the deepest parts of Colca Canyon. It is a truly amazing experience to stand here and look out over the canyon. You may even be lucky enough to see some condors soaring on the warm air currents. Condors are the largest flying birds in the world, with a wing span of up to 3 metres.

Following this captivating natural delight, you set off on a short hike into the valley, where you can observe some of the old agricultural terraces that have been in use for centuries.

You then return to Chivay for lunch before driving on to Puno, which is located on the shores of the world’s largest and highest lake, Titicaca, at an altitude of 4,000 metres. Puno was of historical significance to the Incas, because it was here that the first Inca, Manco Capac, arose from the waters of Lake Titicaca, founded the Inca Empire and became the first king in Cusco. Today, Puno is an agricultural town that focuses primarily on raising lamas and alpacas. This makes it a great place to buy woollen items.

Accommodation:
Day 6: Lake Titicaca

Today is devoted to a full-day excursion to Lake Titicaca, which is shared harmoniously by Bolivia and Peru. Indigenous peoples speaking Quechua and Aymara dialects currently live on separate stretches of land along the shores of the lake. You will first visit the Uros people, who have survived through a combination of hunting and fishing, and who live on undulating reed islands in Puno Bay, where both their houses and their boats are built of reeds harvested from the islands. You will have the opportunity to learn a little about their culture and gain some insight into their everyday lives.

The day continues with a sailing trip to the peaceful island of Taquile, where you will likewise spend some time with the locals and will be sure to discover that the two societies are very different from one another. Your guide will then accompany you on a hike to the highest point on the island, where you can enjoy a truly enchanting view out over the giant Lake Titicaca, which is 174 km long and 64 km wide.

Towards the middle of the afternoon, you will be sailed back to Puno and the rest of the day is yours to do with as you wish.

Accommodation:
Day 7: By coach from Puno to Cusco

Get ready for a long but eventful day! You will be picked up from your hotel and driven to the bus station, where a coach is waiting to take you to Cusco, which was once the official capital of the Inca Empire, and is now an elegant, thriving and multicultural city.

En route, you will cross Altiplano, where you may well see some vicuñas, an animal that is related to the camel but looks more like a lama or alpaca. The coach will make several stops along the way, so you can take part in guided tours of various ruins and monuments. The first stop is at the Pukara pyramid: the hugely impressive pyramid that was built by the people of Pukara 3,500 years ago. The coach will subsequently take you over La Raya – the highest point on the route at 4,319 metres above sea level – before descending into a beautiful valley used to cultivate a variety of crops including corn and potatoes. You will then arrive in Raqchi, where you can view the ruins of Viracocha Temple, one of the most sacred sites of all to the Incas. The last stop before Cusco is at the famous colonial age church Andahuaylillas, better known as the ‘Sistine Chapel of the Americas’ on account of its magnificent painted ceilings and other fine art.

On arriving in Cusco, you will have time to check into your hotel before spending the evening exploring the city and its excellent restaurants.

Day 8: Cusco

There is nothing scheduled for today until the afternoon, when a guided tour of Cusco and its surroundings has been arranged. You start at the city’s central square – the Plaza de Armas, which was known as Hucaypata or ‘The Warriors’ Square’ during the age of the Incas. It was here that many of the most important events in the history of Cusco took place.

This is also where you will find Cusco Cathedral, built of stone from the Sacsayhuamán Inca complex on top of the Inca Viracocha Palace during the colonial era. The cathedral is therefore a wonderful mix of Spanish Renaissance architecture and the Incas’ masterful stone masonry. The street next to the cathedral leads to Santo Domingo Church, which is built on top of what was once one of the most important temples of the Inca empire, Koricancha. The magnificent earlier sun temple forms the foundation of the church and is built without the aid of mortar, with each stone fitting perfectly instead.

Next on the itinerary is Kenko, another sacred Inca site marked with a 5-metre-high stone block which is said to resemble a puma. This site is dedicated to the worship of Mother Earth, and features water channels carved in solid rock and a subterranean room. Farther along the road stands a small fortress called Puka Pukara, which is believed to have been used to guard the road and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Here you will see terraces carved into the side of the mountain, as well as steps, tunnels and towers. Continuing north, you will come to Tambomachay, a sacred bathing site for the Inca conquerors and women of the royal household The system is a masterpiece of construction, and is still able to deliver water to this day.

The last stop on the tour is the military complex of Sacsayhuaman, which enjoys a magnificent location with a wonderful view out over Cusco. Sacsayhuaman is a fascinating example of the architectural skill of the Incas. It is an impressive construction, with double walls of carved granite, where the heaviest block weighs more than 125 tonnes. After the tour, you will return to Cusco where the evening is yours to do with as you wish.

Day 9: The Sacred Valley

The day is devoted to an excursion to Urubamba Valley, The Sacred Valley of the Incas. Your first stop is at Pisac, renowned far and wide for its Indian markets, where you will have the chance to buy everything from Peruvian wool sweaters and musical instruments, to paintings, tapestries and jewellery. The town is also well-known for the impressive ruins nearby. The ruined buildings were constructed of smaller stones than those used in Sacsayhuaman, but the precision with which they have been carved and sized is hugely impressive – just like the view.

After lunch, you will continue on your way to Ollantaytambo, another charming village in the heart of the valley, which is considered to be an open air museum, in that all residents observe the old traditions and laws that can be traced back to the their earliest forefathers. The town is probably best known for the complex of the same name, which comprises temples, baths and impressive military installations.

You will then return to Cusco, where the rest of the day is yours to do with as you wish.

Day 10: Cusco – KM 82 – Wayllabamba – Yuncachimpa (approx 3,300 metres)

Today, the trek along the world-famous Inca Trail begins, surrounded by stunning scenery and breathtaking landscapes consisting of green valleys, high mountains, snow-capped peaks and a wealth of flora and fauna. The actual Inca Trail on this trek is part of the extensive Inca road system that stretches all the way from Mendoza in Argentina to the Ecuador–Colombia border. Over the next four days, you will be walking along paths used hundreds of years ago, passing archaeological Inca ruins, each with its own history.

You will be picked up from your hotel at the ungodly hour of 4 am and driven to Ollantaytambo, where you will have the opportunity to buy the last few bits you need for the trek, such as rain ponchos, walking sticks, water and biscuits.

You will then be driven out to the KM 82 stone by bus, where you are dropped off and the Inca trek starts. You will start by walking from the KM 82 stone to Wayllabamba. It is a reasonably flat and scenic walk along the Urubamba River and through the valley of the same name, overlooking the snow-capped mountain Veronica, which, standing 5,750 metres, is the area’s highest. On the way, you will pass a number of local villages, where the inhabitants still build their houses with traditional Ichu grass roofs. You will then make a stop to admire the view of Llactapata, which was an important agricultural area for the Incas. The trek then heads away from the river, and you walk up the valley along the Kusichaca River, where you are in with a good chance of seeing hummingbirds flying around.

You arrive in the village of Wayllabamba in the afternoon and continue to your camp in Yuncachimpa, which affords a beautiful view of the valley and the surrounding mountains.

Transport time from Cusco to KM 82: approx. 3.5 hours
Distance: Approx. 14 km
Hike duration: Approx. 7-8 hours
Level of difficulty: Easy to moderate

Day 11: Yuncachimpa – Warmihuañusca Pass – Runkurakay Pass – Chaquicocha (approx 3,650 metres)

Today is the toughest day of the trek! You start by walking up past Llulluchapampa, through an area of lush cloud forest. Then a steep ascent begins, taking you up to the 4,200-metre-high Warmihuañusca Pass, which is the highest point on the trek. The name of the pass is a Quechua word which translates as “The dead woman’s pass” and refers to the rock formations at the pass. At the top, you can have a well-deserved rest while enjoying the view of the snow-capped mountains and the Inca Trail.

The descent then begins down the Inca steps to the Pacaymayo River. This is where the story of the Incas begins to unfold, and you come to the first of a large number of ruins:  Runkurakay, a small guard house which is often shrouded in fog. You trek on along the original Inca Trail to Runkurakay Pass, located at an altitude of around 3,950 metres. Here, on a sunny day, you have a stunning view of the Vilcabamba Mountains, to which the Incas retreated after fighting the Spanish. You continue the scenic trek to the sizeable Sayacmarca ruins at the top of a narrow cliff, where you will gain a fascinating insight into the ruins and the history of the area. You will then continue through a small cloud forest to your camp in Chaquicocha with views of the surrounding mountains.

Distance: Approx. 16 km
Hike duration: Approx. 8-9 hours
Level of difficulty: Moderate to hard

Day 12: Chaquicocha – Phuyupatamarca – Wiñay Wayna (approx. 2,650 metres)

On a clear day, you will wake up to a fantastic view of the Vilcabamba Mountains. After breakfast, you will continue towards the third pass. On the way, you will see the Inca’s fine stonemasonry, with tunnels and perfectly placed stones, and this part of the trek is also incredibly scenic, taking you past cloud forest, orchids, ferns and colourful birds.

You reach the third pass at an altitude of around 3,600 metres, near the well-preserved Inca city of Phuyupatamarca, the Quechua name of which translates as “The city above the clouds”, referring to its elevated location. You can take a break here and enjoy your lunch overlooking the sacred Inca Urubamba valley. The long descent then begins to Wiñay Wayna, which is the largest complex in the area after Machu Picchu and Llactapata. The ruins are located up one side of the mountain and consist of houses, towers and terraces. The complex enjoys an impressive, scenic location right behind your camp.

As you’ve got a very early start the next morning, it’s a good idea to go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep.

Distance: Approx. 10 km
Hike duration: Approx. 5-6 hours
Level of difficulty: Easy to moderate

Day 13: Wiñay Wayna – Machu Picchu – Cusco

Your day starts very early in the morning with a hike up to Inti Punku – the Sun Gate. From here, you can watch the sun rise over the surrounding mountains. It is also here that you will catch your first sight of Machu Picchu, the subject of all kinds of tales and sagas. It is oddly moving to stand here and soak up the sense of mysticism and adventure that permeates the site.

Enjoy the walk down the last part of the trail to one of the seven wonders of the modern world and the absolute highlight of your trip: the fantastic ruins of Machu Picchu, which stand enchantingly on a steep and verdant ridge of hills, surrounded by cloud forest and green hilltops, with snow-capped mountains far off in the distance Here, you will be given a guided tour of the area and can experience the impressive and intelligent Inca architecture with narrow terraces on the steep mountain sides, as well as areas containing burial sites, prisons, small residences and temples.

It is said that Machu Picchu was rediscovered by the American explorer Hiram Bingham on 24 July 1911. This is not strictly true, but he is certainly responsible for spreading the news of this truly remarkable place to all corners of the globe. The Inca city was built in around 1462 – i.e. during the Golden Age of the Inca Empire – but was abandoned less than a century later, probably on account of a smallpox epidemic. As Machu Picchu was never discovered and plundered by the Spanish invaders, it retains major cultural significance and is considered a sacred site. Machu Picchu was home to priests, highly ranked civil servants, craftsmen, servants and virgins selected to devote their lives to the Sun God. It was a city with streets, aqueducts – which still carry water to this day – fountains and walkways, and it fulfilled a variety of religious functions.

Following the guided tour, you will have time to explore the area for yourself.

It is then time to head to Aguas Calientes to catch the train to Cusco.

On your arrival in Cusco, you will be driven back to your hotel.

Transport time from Aguas Calientes back to Cusco: approx. 3.5 hours
Distance: Approx. 5 km
Hike duration: Approx. 2-3 hours
Level of difficulty: Easy to moderate

Day 14: Cusco on your own

Today, there are no planned excursions, so the day is at your disposal. Perhaps you would like to head out and buy some final souvenirs, or just take a stroll around this gorgeous, historical city.

If you would like to experience even more of the magical Andes Mountains, we recommend purchasing an excursion to the magnificent Rainbow Mountain. This mountain is just one of the many beautiful, rainbow-coloured mountains just outside of Cusco, whose colours are due to the mountains’ combination of colourful minerals. It is a truly unique experience to see a mountain in so many wonderful colours.

Day 15: Return flight

You will be picked up from your hotel and driven to the airport to catch your flight to the UK, which will feature connecting flights along the way.

Day 16: Return trip

Arrive back in the UK after a wonderfully eventful holiday.

Single room supplement £430
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