Crossroads of History
Venture into the heart of the ancient Inca Empire as you challenge yourself to complete the epic and world-famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Tramp along the very same trails that the ancient Inca people – and later the explorer Hiram Bingham – once trod along. You’ll see jaw-dropping views of the jagged Andes and revel in the relaxed pastoral atmosphere of Peru’s Sacred Valley, even meeting some of its inhabitants, from traditional craftspeople to lovable camelids. Along the way you’ll have the chance to marvel at Machu Picchu as well as some of the region’s other amazing Inca ruins.
- Trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, one of the most famous and coveted hiking routes in the world.
- Follow in the footsteps of the Incas and enter the ancient kingdom of Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate.
- Visit rural communities in the Sacred Valley towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo.
- Embark on a private city tour of Cusco, whose fascinating streets feature a unique concoction of Inca ruins and colonial constructions.
- Scale the ancient stone stairway up Machu Picchu’s neighboring peak, Huayna Picchu.
- Discover the delights of Peruvian cuisine at the country’s finest dining establishments.
- Stay at your choice of signature accommodations throughout your exclusive tour of Peru.
Itinerary at a Glance
Day 1: Arrival in Lima – Welcome to Peru!
Day 2: Lima to Cusco – Fly to Cusco, and adjust to the altitude with a private city tour of the former capital of the Inca Empire. Inca Trail briefing will take place tonight. (Private Tour)Fly to Cusco, and adjust to the altitude with a private city tour of the former capital of the Inca Empire. Inca Trail briefing will take place tonight. (Private Tour)
Day 3: Exploring the Sacred Valley – Climb to the top of the impressive Ollantaytambo ruins and visit the vibrant Pisac Market
Day 4: Inka Trail Day #1 – Begin your journey on the Inca Trail!
Day 5: Inka Trail Day #2 – Brave the highest pass on your journey: “Dead Woman’s Pass”
Day 6: Inka Trail Day #3 – Savor your third day on this glorious trail, and hike among the cloud at Phuyupatamarca. Visit Wiñay Wayna.
Day 7: Final Day on the Inka Trail – Arrive to Sun Gate before reaching the Machu Picchu citadel.
Day 8: Machu Picchu on your terms – Return to the ancient citadel with your guide with the option to hike the legendary Huayna Picchu before returning to Cusco.
Day 9: Cusco to Lima – After a morning of leisure in Cusco to recover from your trek, fly to Lima for an evening on your own.
Day 10: Lima – Embark on an afternoon private tour of the bohemian Barranco district and dinner in Huaca Pucllana before bidding farewell to Peru!
Day 1: Arrive at your hotel in Lima after your international flight to Peru!
Lima is a metropolitan city known for its colonial architecture and mouthwatering ceviche!
Get ready to trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu! When your international flight arrives in Lima, look for your Kuoda host holding a sign with your name on it! We know you’ll most likely be a little tired after your long flight, so we’ll save you the stress of trying to navigate and bring you straight to your hotel adjacent to the airport where you can shake off that icky flight feeling with a shower and a sleep. Relax into the evening and enjoy a good night’s rest before your flight to Cusco in the morning!
Day 2: Fly to Cusco and enjoy a private afternoon city tour
Tucked into the Andes Mountains, the city of Cusco lies at 11,150ft (3,300m) above sea level!
Fly to Cusco this morning! Upon arrival, and after a delicious local lunch, you will explore mysterious alleyways, historic plazas, and coveted treasures of Cusco with your private guide. Your first stop will be Sacsayhuaman. Next you will visit the temple and ampitheater of Q’enko and the red fortress of Puca Pucara. The final stop will be Tambomachay before returning to the city to visit the famous Plaza de Armas and Qoricancha. Briefing for your Inka Trail (Private Tour).
Day 3: Take a full day excursion into the Sacred Valley, visiting Pisac and Ollantaytambo
Ollantaytambo is a lovely Incan town known for its original urban planning and awe-inspiring ruins.
Today, you’ll get a sense of the wonderful combination of old and new that makes Peru so compelling as you travel around the enchanting Sacred Valley.
First stop on our agenda will be the ancient hillside town of Ollantaytambo, where the influence of its old Inca inhabitants is still writ large on the town’s streets. The traditional Inca urban planning remains in place here, and is evident in the street canals, the multi-family stone residences and the solid trapezoidal doors – a shape frequently used in Inca construction to denote importance.
From here it’s on to the charming valley town of Pisac, best known for its market – a vibrant, crowded, and colorful spectacle that attracts visitors and residences from all over the country. Pick up some patterned textiles or artful ceramics for friends and families back home, or inspect the fresh and unique produce. After, we’ll head up to see Pisac’s mountainside Inca ruins. Get a close-up look at the impeccably fitted stonework on the site and peer down at the views of the agricultural terraces, which sweep around the slopes.
Later, your guide and driver will bring you back to your hotel for a quiet evening in preparation for the Inca Trail adventure that awaits!
Day 4: Start your journey on the Inca Trail!
The Inca Trail is a difficult yet immensely rewarding trek; we recommend some sturdy yet worn in hiking boots!
The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is consistently rated among the best treks in the world and you’ll soon see why. This hiking route traverses several different ecological areas, from the high deserts to tropical rain forest, and the natural surroundings are seriously beautiful. Then there are its mysterious archaeological sites, whose covering of jungle overgrowth gives the impression that you are discovering them for the first time. Of course, the Inca Trail saves its greatest reward for last, culminating at the lost city of the Incas: Machu Picchu.
With Kuoda, you can rest assured that your Inca Trail experience will be a safe one. You’ll be accompanied by experienced guides and aided by support staff, who will ensure your trek is comfortable and pleasant. Native Quechua porters will help you with your luggage and you’ll be provided with delicious, hearty meals to help you keep your energy levels up. We’re also happy to include portable hot showers and massage services – a godsend for weary trekkers – just make sure to ask!
From the hotel, we will transfer you to the start of the trek (point km 82) where you’ll meet your porters with all necessary equipment. You’ll set off on the first section of the trail, which weaves through semi-arid terrain along the rushing Urubamba River, providing magnificent views of the looming snowcapped mountains. We will leave the Urubamba Valley and set off up the Cusichaca River (“Happy Legs River” in Quechua), to our first camp site in Ayapata at 10,829 feet above sea level. This evening, enjoy a wonderful hot dinner prepared by your incredible porters and then fall asleep under the stars in the comfort of your tent.
Day 5: Second day on the trail – Facing “Dead Woman’s Pass”
Make sure you have your portable battery charger with you to always have your camera or phone ready for a once-in-a-lifetime photo op!
Get ready for a significant challenge today and fortify yourself with a hearty breakfast before beginning the ascent up the Warmihuañusca pass (or “Dead Woman’s Pass”), which has an elevation of 13,829 feet above sea level. This name is given due do the crests resembling the form of a woman’s supine body when seen from the valley below.
It will be a challenging 4-hours climb through different microclimates, but there will be a lot of breaks along the way. We will stop and settle into our second camp site, Chaquicocha, which is located at 11,800 feet.
Tonight as you relax in your campsite, revel in today’s accomplishments, as you have completed the most difficult section of the trail.
Day 6: Third day on the trail – Sleeping among the clouds
A few Ziploc freezer baggies are also a great idea for keeping your electronic devices warm and dry on the trail.
Your tour of Machu Picchu continues today as we depart from Chaquicocha and start hiking along the “Inca flat”, before entering into the jungle, known as the Cloud Forest. During the hike, we will have the opportunity to see the majestic Salkantay, the second highest snow-capped mountain in the Sacred Valley, and a panoramic view of the Vilcabamba mountain range. Towards the end of the Inca flats, we’ll start climbing to the last peak at Phuyupatamarka. From Phuyupatamarka, we will have three hours of walking down steps. During the descent, we will visit Phuyupatamarka (Town in the Clouds) and then Intipata (Terraces of the Sun), before reaching to our last campsite, which is close to Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young).
After lunch at the campsite, you will have time to relax and just enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Later in the afternoon, your guide will take you to visit the Inca ruins of Wiñay Wayna .
Today’s evening, you will have the opportunity to dine with the porters and chiefs and meet the people who made the magic happen throughout your Inka Trail hike. After dinner, it is time to sleep as you will be getting up early in the morning to arrive to Machu Picchu at the crack of dawn to view the stunning sunrise over the ruins at Machu Picchu.
Day 7: Triumphant arrival at the Sun Gate overlooking Machu Picchu
Make sure to log Machu Picchu in your passport with a stamp at the desk area!
Bright and early this morning after breakfast, we will head to the checkpoint. Say goodbye to your team of porters and chefs, as we continue on our journey to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku). From Sun Gate, stare out into the horizons and be in awe with the views of the mountains and Machu Picchu hidden between steep peaks below you. Take a deep breath of relief and triumph as you have tread in the footsteps of the Incas and have conquered the historic Inca Trail!!
Descend to the lost citadel and reach for your camera to try and capture the vista, but before you do, be sure to take a moment to stop and truly appreciate this staggering site. Make your way to Aguas Calientes by bus and enjoy the rest of the evening relaxing to the sound of the cloud forest around you.
Day 8: Hike one of the coveted, limited-entry hikes, Huayna Picchu!
Huayna Picchu, a not to miss experience while exploring Machu Picchu!
Today you have the option to hike two different trails – Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, so it’s completely up to you on how you would like to culminate your Machu Picchu luxury tour. Feeling adventurous? Consider hiking the steep slope of neighboring Huayna Picchu, which offers unrivalled views over Machu Picchu. Please note that only a limited amount of hikers are allowed to climb Huayna Picchu each day and tickets will need to be purchased in advance along with your Machu Picchu entrance.
In the afternoon, reconvene in Aguas Calientes and board the return train to Ollantaytambo. Your Kuoda host will meet you at the station and bring you to your hotel for a well-deserved good night’s rest.
Day 9: Some well-deserved down time in Cusco and Lima
Three of the world’s 50 best restaurants are in Lima!
This morning, you can continue your exploration of the city of Cusco, or have a lie-in and enjoy the comforts of your hotel! At the appropriate time mid-day, we will bring you to the Cusco airport for your return flight to Lima. You will have the evening to spend as you please in the culinary capital of South America!
Day 10: Tour the inspired streets of bohemian Barranco and bid farewell to Peru!
The Limeñan district of Barranco is home to Peru’s most influential artists, musicians, and cultural commentators.
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.
Meet your private guide this afternoon and drive 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 the Huaca Pucllana restaurant before returning to the airport for your journey home! Buen viaje!
Like the sound of this Crossroads of History private tour? Get in touch with Kuoda and we’ll start crafting your very own customized private travel experience to Peru!
Notes: There are many additional activities that can be added to the Crossroads of History private tour, as our tours are entirely customized to your interests, hobbies, and expectations! Please note that the Inca Trail and Huayna Picchu have a limited entry quota per day and needs to be booked months in advance.
- Sit down with a shaman for a private meditation ceremony.
- Observe local weavers at work during private demonstrations.
- Admire views of the Andes from your luxury, vintage-style carriage on the Belmond-owned Hiram Bingham Train on your way back to Cusco.
- Learn about preparing and cooking Peruvian classics with professional local chefs.
- Lunch on hearty Peruvian fare hosted by a local family, who will welcome you into their private home.
- Amp up the adrenaline with exhilarating adventure activities, such as riding the fast-flowing rapids of the Vilcanota River or zooming along zip lines in the Andes.
- Personalized itinerary planning: Work with a Kuoda Travel Designer to create the trip of your dreams.
- Kuoda hosts take the hassle out of traveling. They’ll be there to assist you – whether with luggage, check in, transport or translating – at every destination during your private tour of Peru.
- Got a question or query? Kuoda operate a 24-hour, seven day a week customer service operation and can provide updates and assistance whenever you need it.
- With Kuoda, you’ll never be bundled in with big groups; each visit, activity, tour and experience will be completely private and conducted by your very own expert, English-speaking guide.
- Our private tours of Peru are fully flexible, which means we can modify them to suit your travel mood. So if you want to cut an activity or add on a new one, just say the word!
- All necessary adventure and trekking equipment will be provided so all you need bring is yourself.
- Receive a customized Kuoda Travel kit upon arrival.
Our staff hand picks the best hotels in the country to ensure you experience utmost comfort and character.
Feel free to browse our recommendations and let us know if you’d like to incorporate a specific property in your customized journey!
This sample itinerary takes you on a multi-day trek on the iconic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. This Crossroads of History itinerary will serve as the perfect inspiration for you!
Please know we will work with you to change or modify these tours however you deem necessary – all Kuoda itineraries are crafted just for you, built to suit your individual interests and schedules. Interested in customizing this particular itinerary?
The price will be based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.