9 days

Classic Peru

Classic Peru

The 'Lost City of the Incas' - UNESCO World Heritage-listed Machu Picchu

UNESCO World Heritage-listed ancient Inca capital of Cusco

UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic centre of the Peruvian capital Lima

Warminwanusca - 'Dead Woman’s Pass' on the Inca Trail

Trip rating
  • In the 15th century, Peru was the heartland of the Inca Empire. Today, the country is rich in both Inca and Spanish colonial culture. Our jumping off point is Lima, nestled between the mountains and the sea and offering some of Latin America’s finest seafood. Just a short flight away is Cusco, built on the foundations of the old Inca capital. A remarkable cathedral dominates the city, overlooking cobblestone streets lined with ancient shops and delicious restaurants. To the north, looming over Cusco is the temple of Sacsayhuaman, whilst out in the Sacred Valley we visit the market town of Pisac. A highlight for many who visit Peru is a camping trek along ancient Inca pathways culminating in a visit to the magnificent mountaintop ruins of Machu Picchu.

    Why we love it

    • In the 15th century, Peru was the heartland of the Inca Empire. Today, the country is rich in both Inca and Spanish colonial culture.
    • The jumping off point is Lima, nestled between the mountains and the sea and offering some of Latin America’s finest seafood.
    • Just a short flight away is Cusco, built on the foundations of the old Inca capital. A remarkable cathedral dominates the city, overlooking cobblestone streets lined with ancient shops and delicious restaurants.
    • To the north, looming over Cusco is the temple of Sacsayhuaman, whilst out in the Sacred Valley you'll visit the market town of Pisac.
    • A highlight for many who visit Peru is a camping trek along ancient Inca pathways culminating in a visit to the magnificent mountaintop ruins of Machu Picchu.

    Itinerary

    Day 1-2 - Lima

    • On arrival at Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport you will be transferred to your hotel in the well-known coastal suburb of Miraflores. In the evening you'll meet your tour leader and the other members of your group for a pre-tour briefing. It's usually held at 6pm, however please check the noticeboard near the hotel reception for confirmation of the exact time and place of the meeting
    • This meeting is generally followed by an optional group dinner at a nearby restaurant. Lima has some of the most superb cuisine in South America and is especially renowned for its exceptional seafood. During your time here, you may wish to try ceviche, Peru’s national dish, which is raw fish marinated in lime juice and often served with hot peppers. This culinary delight is a must for all seafood lovers!
    • On the morning of Day 2 you will start your exploration of the Peruvian capital with a city tour. Founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador, Francisco Pizarro, it was from Lima that all Spanish territories in South America were governed. Few cities at that time could rival Lima’s power, wealth and opulence. However its glory days ended in 1746 when the city was virtually destroyed by an earthquake. Many of the colonial buildings were rebuilt and you will get a first-hand look at several of them on the tour. The striking Plaza Mayor (Plaza de Armas), flanked by some of the most important buildings in town such as the cathedral, the huge Government Palace and the Archbishop’s Palace, constitutes the heart of the city.
    • You will visit the nearby San Francisco Monastery, with its catacombs containing some 70,000 human remains.
    • Next we will visit the Central market where we will take a walking tour. The market has a huge variety of fresh produce on offer including fruits, vegetables and even Guinea pigs. You will have the opportunity to try some local Peruvian fruits and street food.
    • Next we will visit China town which is close to the Market.
    • The tour will finish in Lima main square, with the option to go for dinner in Down Town or back to Miraflores.
    • In your spare time you might enjoy wandering around around Miraflores, visiting Parque del Amor (Love's Park) where you can enjoy a view aross Lima's beaches, or catching a taxi to visit the Gold Museum or the Larco Museum, which is renowned for its ancient pottery collection. Please remember that you must agree on a fare with the driver before catching a taxi, as the taxis here do not have meters. (Miraflores-Downtown approximately 10-15 soles). You may also want to visit the impressive National Museum of Anthropology, Archaeology and History of Peru, which is home to a wonderful collection of cultural exhibits tracing the history, arts and accomplishments of the people of Peru, ranging from the original inhabitants of the land through to the Inca Empire and the Spanish conquerors.
    • There is are a number of restaurants and cafes to choose from for dinner.
    Antigua Mira Flores or Similar
    Breakfast

    Day 3-4 - Cusco - The Sacred Valley

    Today you'll fly to the ancient Inca capital of Cusco, where you will take an afternoon walking tour to explore this fascinating city. Please remember to walk slowly and take it reasonably easy upon arrival, as you will no doubt feel the effects of altitude as you will have travelled from sea level up to 3350 metres.
    Cusco is a favourite destination of many visitors to Peru. Its main sites radiate outwards from the Plaza de Armas, which is dominated by the 17th century Baroque cathedral. It was in this very plaza that the Spanish conquistadors put to death the last Inca king, Tupac Amaru I. As you wander the streets and side alleys of the city you will witness the perfect tapering Inca stonework that provided the foundations for many of Cusco’s colonial and modern buildings.
    Your comprehensive Walking tour will take you around the Main Squares, Past the Cathedral, Koricancha Temple and a visit to the Coca Museum will be included.
    In your free time, it is also possible to visit the Inca Museum, Religious Art Museum, Church of San Blas and Santa Catalina Museum.
    Head to the Sacred Valley for a full day of sightseeing before spending the night there.
    The Sacred Valley, located between the towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo, was greatly treasured because of its climate, fertile land and the presence of the Urubamba (Sacred) River. On your full day tour of the Sacred Valley, you will see evidence of the Incas' engineering skills in the ruins of ancient aqueducts, irrigation canals, dams on the Urubamba River, imposing sets of terraces and centres of worship dedicated to Pachamama (Mother Earth).
    At the Sacred Valley you will visit the stone fortress of Sacsayhuaman where massive stone blocks that form the walls of this site give you an awesome picture of how highly developed Inca engineering was. Looking over the city from its hilltop position, the fortress is built out of massive stone blocks and is the ultimate example of the Inca's military strength, the Awana Kancha tourist centre where we see llama, alpaca, vicuna and guanaco all in the one place, the colourful market town of Pisac and the towering Inca citadel at Ollantaytambo. The town of Ollantaytambo was built over an ancient Inca town, which is a magnificent example of Inca urban planning. This is one of the few places where the Incas defeated the Spanish. Ollantaytambo's archaeological site is located to the east of the Plaza de Armas. The upper terraces of this site offer great photo opportunities of the squared grid town below.

    Terra Andina hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 5-8 note - (Important Note)

    • We trek the ‘Classic’ and the ‘Quarry’ routes, both of which include a visit to incredible Machu Picchu at the end of the trek. Although you will normally trek the 'Classic' route, it is restricted by the number of trekkers permitted on the trail each day and unless you have booked early, it maybe difficult or impossible for you to secure the necessary group permits (especially during the peak season).
    • It is also closed during the month of February for cleaning and rejuvenation. If you are unable to confirm your permit for the 'Classic' route you will instead use the ‘Quarry’ trail. This is an exceptional alternative. Venturing further off the beaten path, this trek winds its way through remote rural villages and provides stunning views across the Andes. Along the way you can mingle with local families, llama herders and weavers, renowned for their brightly coloured hats and ponchos. The trek is of similar altitude and level of difficulty as the 'Classic' route and also includes a visit to the town of Aguas Calientes and the magnificent Machu Picchu, recently voted one of the ‘New Seven Wonders of the World’.
    • The following description refers to the 'Classic' route. Please refer below to the 'Itinerary Variation' section of this trip note for details of the 'Quarry' route.

    Day 5 - Inca Trail: Km 82 - Wayllabamba (8km)

    • This morning you will set off for the Inca Trail by travelling from Ollantaytambo heading to Kilometre 82, where your trek begins. Today you will hike past the ancient hilltop fort of Huillca Raccay and the beautiful archaeological site of Llactapata.
    • It is a fairly leisurely hike and along the way there are stunning views of snow-capped Veronica Peak (5860m). Following the river you will pass a tiny village and continue on to your camp at Wayllabamba, located at 3000 metres. Porters are provided on this trek, so during the day you will only need to carry a daypack with your personal items. This needs to be big enough to carry such items as water, camera and a warm jacket.
    Camping on the Inca Trail
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 6 - Inca Trail - Pacaymayo (16km)

    • Today is the most difficult part of the trek as you climb to Warminwanusca, or Dead Woman’s Pass (4200m). Along the way you will trek through some of the most spectacular mountain scenery to be seen anywhere in the Andes. This is the first and highest of three Andean passes on the Inca Trail, with breathtaking views over the snow-capped Vilcanota and Vilcabama mountain ranges.
    • Ahead of you, you will see the ruins of Runkuracay and in the valley below, Rio Pacamayo (Sunrise River). Here the trail changes from dirt to steps and stone pathways, your route will take you through a landscape dotted with rural hamlets, grazing llamas and well-preserved remnants of the Incan culture.
    • Although it's not too arduous, you will still need to make a steep descent to the valley below, where you will camp beneath the cliff tops at Pacamayo (3600m), overlooking the cloud forest.
    Camping on the Inca Trail
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 7 - Inca Trail - Winaywayna (15km)

    • You will climb up to the oval shaped ruin of Runkurakay, which is believed to have once been an Inca tambo or post house. Pushing on up the Inca staircase and beside two tiny and fast diminishing mountain lakes, you will be rewarded at the summit of your second pass (3900m) with spectacular views of Pumasillo (6245m) and the entire snow-capped Vilcabamba range.
    • From here it will be a steep descent and then ascent to your third pass and the ruins of Phullupatamarca, where we embark on a long descent into a beautiful orchid-filled cloud forest. The scenery will blow you away! Butterflies flutter across the trail and the air is pure and clean as you head to breathtaking Winaywayna (2650m).
    Camping on the Inca Trail
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 8 - Machu Picchu - Aguas Calientes (5km) - Cusco

    • The day starts before dawn with breakfast served nice and early at approximately 4.30 am. The early start serves two purposes, one we farewell our porters as they descend to the train station to catch their 6.30am train home and two, we are ready to start hiking by 6am by when the gate that leads through to the Inti-Punku (sun gate) opens. The walk to the sun gate takes approximately 2 to 2.5 hours.
    • Here you will enjoy your first views of the complex of Machu Picchu, often referred to as the Lost City of the Incas. On a clear morning the view from the Sun Gate can be quite stunning and creates a lasting impression that will stay with you long after you return home.
    • Built around 1450, the city was deserted less than a century later following the Spanish invasion and ‘lost’ for hundreds of years before it was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911. The architecture of Machu Picchu is quite extraordinary, with the mortar-free design particularly earthquake resistant and the stones so precisely cut that to this day not even a knife fits between them.
    • You will tour the site with your guide and then have some free time to explore by yourself, before taking the bus down to the small town of Aguas Calientes. There are some small shops and restaurants in the town where you can wile the time away.
    • Alternatively you may choose to wash away the dust and grime of the trail in the hot thermal baths located on the edge of town. In the afternoon you take the train back to Cusco.
    Terra Andina hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 9 - Cusco

    • Your trip will come to an end in Cusco after breakfast.
    Terra Andina hotel or similar
    Breakfast
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • Arrival transfer.
    • City tour in Lima
    • The services of Peregrine's expert English-speaking specialist trekking guide and assistant trekking guide.
    • Four day trek on the ‘Classic’ or 'Quarry’ routes to Machu Picchu.
    • Entrance to Machu Picchu and park fees.
    • Guided tour of Machu Picchu.
    • Full service camping including the services of porters and a cook, a sleeping bag, inflatable sleeping mat, and use of a kit bag & walking pole during the trek.
    • Authentic Accommodation: 5 night comfortable hotel, 3 nights full service camping.
    • Meals: 8 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners.

    Not Included

    • International flights
    • Airport departure tax
    • Visas where required
    • Meals not included in the itinerary
    • Insurance
    • Laundry
    • Any optional tours or activities during free time
    • Tips
    • Items of a personal nature
  • Map Itinerary

  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    Classic Peru

    John - Australia, 1 Jul, 2013
    5
    Overall Rating

    This is the first organised tour we have done. We were very impressed with every aspect and would definitely consider Peregrine again if we were to do another tour.

    Classic Peru

    Richard - United Kingdom, 8 Oct, 2012
    5
    Overall Rating

    Fantastic experience. Tour Guide (Aleks Leiva) was exceptional. Knowledge, ability to adapt to the needs of our group and thoroughness of preparation ensured the entire trip was hassle free. Additionally, Eloy Martin, Carlos & the porters carried out their resposibilities to the highest level.

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PSCP
Start City: Lima
End City: Cusco
Style: Small Group

What to know

A good level of general fitness and pre trip training is required for the Inca Trek. You will trek on hilly terrain, generally on well-defined paths, walking between 6 and 8 hours per day. Altitude may exceed 4000 metres.

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