10 days

Peru Uncovered

Peru Uncovered

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

The colourful market town of Pisac

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.
    • 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 - Lima

    Arrive Lima and take your complimentary transfer to the joining hotel.
    Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2pm on Day 1. Please check the notice board in reception for confirmation of this meeting time.
    You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
    While Peru's capital officially began life in 1535, when Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro founded the city on the Day of the Three Kings, settlements had been scattered through the valley since before the Incas. The city was built on top of an existing palace and temples that belonged to the local chief who had little choice but to move on. Lima was in its prime during the Spanish colonial days and much of the city's attraction now lies in its well-preserved historical centre.
    Your leader will take you on a walking tour of downtown Lima, including the city's historical centre - so there's no need for you to visit the downtown area prior to the trip. Flanked by streets of ornate colonial mansions, palaces and churches, Plaza Mayor is the best place to start any exploration of Lima. Take a walk through the old streets to get a feel for colonial life. On one side of the plaza is the Cathedral, which houses the remains of Lima's founder, Francisco Pizarro.
    If you arrive early, we recommend you take a walk around Miraflores. Go from Central Park (Parque Kennedy) to LarcoMar via Larco Avenue. Alternatively go to Parque del Amor (Love's Park) for a nice view of Lima's beaches. Other things to see and do include a tour to Pachacamac (approx 30 km from downtown Lima), the Museo de la Nacion and the Gold Museum. Limenos (Lima's residents) are friendly and there are plenty of great restaurants and cafes to sample ceviche, a local seafood speciality.

    This evening we enjoy an included dinner.

    Antigua Mira Flores or Similar
    Breakfast

    Day 2-3 - Amazon Jungle (Puerto Maldonado)

    Fly from Lima to Puerto Maldonado (approx 2 hrs).

    Upon arrival, the lodge staff will take us to their office in town where you'll leave most of your luggage in a safe storage and continue travelling with a small pack with just the necessary items for our next two nights in the jungle. Then take a motorized canoe up river to our jungle lodge in the Madre de Dios area. Head into the jungle with our local, multilingual guides and encounter magnificent fauna and flora in their natural habitat. Spot everything from macaws and monkeys to peccary, jabirus, otters and thousands of butterflies. The guides can also teach us about the medicinal properties and practical uses of the plants.After exploring the wilds, it's time to jump back in the canoe and return to Puerto Maldonado.The lodge is eco-friendly and combines low-impact architecture with traditional native style. Rooms are simple, but comfortable with flush toilets (en suite), showers (cold water only), mosquito nets and kerosene lamps for light.
    Posada Amazonas lodge or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 4 - Puerto Maldonado- Cuzco

    Fly from Puerto Maldonado to Cuzco (approx 35 mins).
    The Cuzco region truly is the heart and soul of Peru. The city itself is the continent's oldest continuously inhabited city and was the home of the Incas for two centuries before the Spanish built their first capital here. Today Cuzco is a fascinating combination of both cultures. Inca-built walls line the central streets and many of the elegant colonial buildings are built on or around Inca foundations. This is a city steeped in history, tradition and legend and is a perfect base for explorations into the Inca world or to enjoy a range of outdoor activities. Take the time to acclimatise to the city's 3,400 m (11,150 ft) altitude and explore the many Baroque churches and ancient temples that dot the city.
    Your leader will take you on a walking tour including a visit to the Coca Museum - where you can learn more about this infamous plant which has been an essential part of life in the Andes for centuries - and the local San Pedro market.
    Eco inn or Similar
    Breakfast

    Day 5 - Sacred Valley/Ollantaytambo

    Travel by private bus through the Sacred Valley. Known as Wilcamayo by the Incas, the lush, fertile valley has long been the main source of food for the high Andes. Maize crops can be seen surrounding the river and covering the terraces carved high into the valley walls.
    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.
    We'll head to a community along the valley to learn about local lifestyle and activities, and if our visit coincides with market day, we can spend time browsing the stalls in search of hand-painted beads or warm ponchos and maybe practising a little bit of the local language, Quechua. Lunch is provided today by the local community.
    Continue the journey to Ollantaytambo.
    The town of Ollantaytambo has been 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.
    Samanapaq hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 6-8 - (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 we 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 may be difficult or impossible for us 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 we are unable to confirm your permit for the 'Classic' route we will 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 6 - Start Inca Trek

    • This morning you will set off for the Inca Trail by travelling from Cusco into the Sacred Valley before 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.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 7 - Inca Trek

    • 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 make a steep descent to the valley below, and your camp beneath the cliff tops at Pacamayo (3600m), overlooking the cloud forest.
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 8 - Inca Trail- Winaywayna

    • 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)
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 9 - Machu Picchu - 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.
    • WAYNA PICCHU: Due to Peregrine's internal safety policy our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity.
    Eco inn or Similar
    Breakfast

    Day 10 - Cusco

    There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time

    Eco inn or Similar
    Breakfast
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • The services of Peregrine's expert English-speaking local leader throughout the tour, and local guides at some sites.
    • Sightseeing where mentioned in the trip notes.
    • 4-day trek on the ‘Classic’ or ‘Quarry’ route to Machu Picchu.
    • 3 nights full service camping, including the services of porters and a cook.
    • Guided tour of Machu Picchu, including park fees.
    • Train from Aguas Calientes to Cusco.
    • Arrival transfer.
    • Local flights from Lima to Puerto Maldonado return and Lima to Cusco.
    • Amazon Jungle Excursions
    • Accomodation: 4 nights comfortable hotel, 3 nights full service camping, 2 nights jungle lodge
    • Meals: 9 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 5 dinners.

    Not Included

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

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PSIE
Start City: Lima
End City: Lima
Style: Small Group

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