A Journey Through A Fabled Past

12D / 11N

Uncover the secrets of Machu Picchu with a hidden gem excursion retracing the
original Inca path stemming from Cusco. Discover the scenic route to this Incan citadel,
treading the lesser-known trail known as the Salkantay Trek to Hike Machu Picchu.

Treasure the experience of hiking Machu Picchu with this magical alternative to the Inca Trail. Your adventure through
the Andes begins in the serene Sacred Valley where you can learn about local traditions. Mingle with the local inhabitants
(both the kind humans and adorable animal varieties), and delve into the world of the Incas. Finally, embark on the
Salkantay Trek which will take you right to the top of Peru’s bucket-list destination: Hike Machu Picchu.

BEST TIME TO TRAVEL
SEPT - NOV

IDEAL TRIP LENGTH
12 DAYS

Highlights

  • Take the road less traveled by hiking the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu, a hidden gem alternative to the Inca Trail.
  • Wander the capital Incan city of Cusco with your private guide, discovering local highlights and hidden treasures at your own pace.
  • Delight in luxury trek amenities, such as deluxe lodges, jacuzzis, and nightly massages.
  • Relish a luxury tour to Machu Picchu with your very own expert guide to explain the history, architecture, and theories surrounding the site.
  • Discover the delights of Peruvian cuisine at the country’s finest dining establishments.
  • Immerse yourself in local life with visits to remote Andean villages that are, for most travelers, uncharted territory.
  • Enjoy enriching experiences with local artists at their workshops.

Itinerary

Welcome to Peru! Arrive at your hotel in Lima, the City of Kings.

When your flight arrives in Lima, a Kuoda host will welcome you personally and escort you to the hotel. Instead of navigating a new city after a long flight, let us take care of the transportation logistics. We will drop you off at your hotel so you can refresh and enjoy a peaceful evening before the real excursion starts. Relax with a good night’s rest before your flight to Cusco in the morning.

Fly over the Andes into Cusco and meet the locals in Chinchero, Maras, and Moray

Enjoy your complimentary breakfast in the hotel before catching a morning flight to Cusco. The flight is short (less than an hour and a half) but offers remarkable views from the plane window. Watch the desert coast transform into rugged Andean peaks as you relax on the journey.

When you arrive in Cusco, we’ll be waiting and will take you on a private tour of the Sacred Valley. First, stop in the community of Chinchero, famous for its Incan and colonial architecture. Afterward, pass through the town of Maras where you will explore the ancient Incan salt pans that are still in use today. After a gourmet lunch en route, you’ll be escorted to discover the ancient agricultural site of Moray. Experts believe these grassy amphitheaters served as a farming laboratory where the ancient empire once experimented with different agricultural methods and crop production.

Explore the Sacred Valley with an excursion through Ollantaytambo, Pisac Market, and Pisac’s archaeological complexes.

Today you’ll learn how Peru’s past shapes its present. Beginning in the ancient town of Ollantaytambo, you will study the legacy of original Inca urban planning. Walk through the maze-like streets which come complete with Inca-era canals and ancient houses that feature interior courtyards and trapezoidal doors.

Climb past the agricultural terraces toward the Temple of Sun, where you can enjoy an Inca’s-eye-view of the valley. From this elevated position, you’ll also be able to see some of the ancient quarries used to build the city below.
Descend back into the valley and wander the colorful village of Pisac,

browsing the wares on offer at the market. Travelers and villagers alike come from miles around to barter and sell goods ranging from textiles and dyes to fresh vegetables. After you’ve had your fill of shopping, you’ll venture to a ridge high above the stepped agricultural terraces where Pisac’s mountainside Inca ruins are located.

At the end of the day, your guide and your driver will drop you off at your Cusco hotel so you can participate in a briefing about your upcoming trek.

Uncover the secrets of Cusco’s cobblestone streets with a private city tour.

Prepare to fall in love with Cusco, a gorgeous city that wins the heart of almost every traveler that passes through it. A private tour is the best way to learn about this historic city, and get the best insider secrets! After breakfast, meet your guide and wander among the archaeological remains of Sacsayhuaman, where the Incas staged a great battle against the conquistadors. Return to the city and venture through the bohemian neighborhood of San Blas, a hub of artistic inspiration. Explore Qoricancha and the Santo Domingo monastery, a colonial structure built on top of the ancient Inca temple of the sun. Live like a local and grab some groceries in the open-air San Pedro market for a delightful shopping experience!

At the end of the tour, your guide will suggest places to visit for lunch. This evening, rest up before you begin the physically demanding portion of your Peru journey: the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu!

Start your journey on the Salkantay Trek

After an early breakfast, you’ll be picked up from your hotel in Cusco and start the drive to the beginning of the trail. Cruise through the purple and blue mountains of the Andes, where you will visit the Tarawasi Incan ruins before reaching Marcoccasa. Here, you will begin your trek on the “Camino Real.” It will be a few hours of hiking today before reaching your first lodge, the Salkantay Lodge and Adventure Resort in Soraypampa.
Salkantay Lodge takes its name from the majestic peak at the head of the valley, Mt. Salkantay. Eternally topped with a covering of snow, Salkantay’s 20,600-foot summit is the highest in the region, and is often obscured by the swirling clouds that rise from the jungle. For the Incas, it was one of the most sacred mountains. You’ll be given a charming Peruvian welcome to the lodge before enjoying dinner.

Sleep overnight at the lodge, which – at 12,690 feet – is a good place to acclimatize to the thinner air.

Relax and enjoy Soraypampa before the real hiking begins

Today is all about rest and relaxation in the breathtakingly beautiful Humantay Lake, only half an hour from the lodge. This blissful four-hour excursion will be a leisurely way to enjoy the landscape before an evening at the lodge. Take a dip in the outdoor Jacuzzi, and prepare for the next few days of rigorous hiking.

Reach the highest point of the trek at Vilcabamba Range

Today, the challenge begins! Your adventure has a mesmerizing start, as you begin the trek with the sunrise illuminating the Andean peaks. Hike to the Rio Blanco valley, circling Humantay Peak across from the summit of Salkantay. Once we reach the highest point on the trek, Salkantay Pass, we’ll take a break. At 15,213 feet, the views from here are glorious. The white-hatted Vilcabamba Range extends in every direction and the glacial south face of Salkantay towers above. Be on alert for Andean condors zooming by; these majestic birds are often seen soaring around the rocky ledges.

From the pass, we’ll descend toward Wayra Lodge, our destination for the night. ‘Wayra’ means wind, and references the nearby Wayracmachay, literally the “place where the wind lives.” Hikers will be given ample sustenance, with a hot picnic lunch served en route and dinner at the lodge.

Descend into the cloud forest and enjoy a Pachamanca feast

Being your morning with breakfast at Wayra Lodge before continuing the descent along the left bank of the Salkantay River. The further you plunge, the more verdant the scenery becomes. As the warm air from the jungle rises to envelop you, so do the colorful creatures that thrive in warmer climes: intricately patterned butterflies flutter through the air and attractive orchids can be seen spurting up from the ground.

The destination for today is Colpa Lodge, a charming lodge set on an open plateau at the confluence of three rivers. Once we get there, you and your fellow hungry hikers can fill up on Pachamanca – a traditional Peruvian meal made by layering meat and vegetables with hot stones and cooking them in a covered earthen pit. After, you might want to soothe your shaky calves with a soak in the outdoor Jacuzzi and enjoy the panoramic views. Or, should you crave something a little more active, you can ramble along the nearby orchid trail. Dinner will be at the lodge.

Trek past rural farms and explore small villages following the Santa Teresa river valley

Today, your luxury Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu continues, hiking across the more populated Santa Teresa River valley. You’ll see evidence of how local valley dwellers make their living. As you pass through plantations, you may even see the community members tending their crops of banana, granadilla, avocado, and coffee. Caffeine enthusiasts may be interested to know that some of the best organic coffees in the world are produced in this very valley!

Come lunchtime, we’ll find a suitable spot to stop by the river and refuel with a hot picnic. After lunch, get moving again for another hour or so until a private vehicle comes to collect us for a quick 30-minute transfer to the beginning of the Llactapata Inca Trail.
Tucked into the mountainside among a lush avocado orchard is our next overnight stop: the Lucma Lodge which will provide dinner and rest before the finale of your trek: Machu Picchu.

Get your first glimpse at Machu Picchu and arrive in Aguas Calientes

Today you’ll tackle the last day of your trek. The first few hours will be an uphill slog toward Llactapata Pass which gifts travelers with a first look at Machu Picchu in the distance. From this vantage point, you’ll see the site looming from the southeast.

After gazing at the ruins, take some time out to check out the Llactapata ruins, which were also “discovered” by Hiram Bingham on that fateful expedition in 1911. The site, which was recently restored, looks better than ever. Sit down for lunch at a scenic outlook that offers views of Machu Picchu and the surrounding mountains.

Once lunch concludes, begin your descent towards the Urubamba River, passing through several picturesque landscapes comprised of bamboo forests, orchards, and plantations. From here, you’ll ride the train to Aguas Calientes, the closest settlement to Machu Picchu and your final overnight destination before exploring Machu Picchu properly tomorrow. Celebrate your completion of the Salkantay Trail over an indulgent dinner.

Tour the Machu Picchu Citadel with your expert guide

Today will be a day that remains permanently etched in your mind, long after you’ve returned from your personalized trip to Peru, for today will be the day you finally set eyes on the storied city of Machu Picchu!

After an early breakfast at your hotel, meet your guide and begin the bus ride up switchbacks to the Lost Citadel. As you trek up the entrance’s stone steps, heavy foliage hides the surrounding views until you emerge at what seems like the top of the world, with Machu Picchu spread out below. Take in the wonder of this historic, sacred site, relishing in your accomplishment of trekking the valley below. Return to Aguas Calientes for a late lunch, before heading back to your return train to Ollantaytambo.

Tour the bohemian streets of Barranco and bid farewell to Peru!

Going home is the worst part of any private Peru vacation, but at Kuoda, we’ll do our best to make it as smooth and hassle-free as possible. First, we’ll bring you to Cusco airport for your return flight to Lima. In Lima, a Kuoda host will meet you and take you to the seaside bohemian district of Barranco. See the streets of Barranco come alive as you visit a number of local art galleries and shops that support local artisans. Finally, enjoy a first-class gourmet meal featuring world-renowned Peruvian flavors in a restaurant of your choice before returning to the airport for your journey home. Buen Viaje!

PRICE & INCLUSIONS

Each journey is tailored to your specific needs and desires, and so our prices vary depending on the number of people
traveling, level of accommodations desired, and activities included, among other factors.

Our travel designers will curate a journey specifically for you. If you have a budget you want us to work with, please let
us know, and we will do our best to achieve it.

PRICE INCLUDES

  • Personalized itinerary planning
  • A Kuoda host to assist you in every location
  • The majority of meals in the itinerary
  • Daily activities and excursions as indicated in the itinerary

NOT INCLUDED

  • International flights to and from your home country
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not specified
  • All gratuities

ACCOMMODATIONS

From luxury properties to boutique hotels, our staff handpicks your ideal stay to ensure you get the ultimate comfort during your travels.

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Note: Trip costs vary by destination, number of days, and number of people traveling

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