Masters of farming, engineering geniuses, and creators of a religion that combined features of animism, fetishism and nature worship, the Incas are without a doubt one of the world’s most interesting and mysterious ancient civilizations. This luxury tour to Machu Picchu allows you to learn about Incan accomplishments, from the triumphal constructions of Machu Picchu and the intricate stonework of the old Inca capital Cusco, to the ingenious agricultural terraces that dot the stunningly serene Sacred Valley. Discover what this fascinating civilization embodied during its glorious heyday with this customized tour centered on Peru’s Incan heritage.
- Visit an ancient hacienda dedicated to agriculture surrounding giant Peruvian corn and delight in a one-of-a-king culinary experience.
- Immerse yourself in local life with visits to remote Andean villages that are, for most travelers, uncharted territory.
- 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.
- Relish a luxury tour to Machu Picchu with your very own expert guide to explain the history, architecture, and theories surrounding the site, before wandering independently among the iconic ruins the following day.
- Discover the delights of Peruvian cuisine at the country’s finest dining establishments.
- Enjoy enriching experiences with local artists at their workshops.
- Relax in hand-picked luxury accommodations throughout your personalized trip of Peru.
Itinerary at a Glance
Day 1: Arrival in Lima – Welcome to Peru!
Day 2: Lima to the Sacred Valley – Sacred Valley / Ancient Hacienda
Day 3: Exploring the Sacred Valley – Ollantaytambo, Pisac’s Archaeological Complexes and Pisac Market
Day 4: Visiting the Agricultural – Lab of the Incas and Our Friends in a Local Community
Day 5: The Lost City of the Incas: Machu Picchu – Private Tour of Machu Picchu
Day 6: Machu Picchu on Your Terms – A Free Day to Explore the Ancient City at Your Own Pace
Day 7: Cusco – Private Walking Tour of Cusco
Day 8: Cusco to Lima and Home – Return Home
DAY 1: Arrival in Lima
Welcome to Peru!
Upon arrival in Lima, your Kuoda host will escort you to the nearby Wyndham Costa Del Sol Hotel at Lima’s airport. With most international flights arriving quite late and flights to Cusco departing early, staying in an airport hotel will allow you to maximize your sleep so you can begin your vacation feeling well-rested.
DAY 2: Lima to the Sacred Valley
Sacred Valley / Ancient Hacienda
This morning we’ll escort you back to the airport for your morning flight to Cusco. Watch the windows as the desert coast rises into the snow-capped peaks of the Andes!
Just 15 minutes outside of Cusco, true Peruvian countryside will stretch away on either side of you, sheep grazing tranquilly road-side. Impossibly steep peaks rise in the distance. Your journey will take you to an ancient hacienda, nestled in the fertile valley next to the pueblo of Pisac. Step onto the family-owned hacienda grounds and step into centuries past while your hosts expound upon the growing process of Giant White Corn and its profound cultural significance in the Andes Mountains. This hacienda dates back generations, and you’ll immediately be immersed in local customs steeped in the spirits and mysticism of the Andes, and embraced by the warmth of local Peruvians.
Relish your time on the farm with a delicious multi-course lunch with sample dishes featuring none other than the “white gold” giant-kernelled corn, and make sure to visit the on-site stables housing the renowned Peruvian Paso horses. Watch the horses dance with their human counterparts in a “marinera” demonstration, and even go for a quick trot yourself if you feel up to the task!
DAY 3: Exploring the Sacred Valley
Ollantaytambo, Pisac’s Archaeological Complexes and Pisac Market
Today you’ll witness just how Peru’s past shapes its present. We’ll start things in the ancient town of Ollantaytambo, one of the few remaining places in the Sacred Valley that has retained its original Inca urban planning. Walk through the maze-like streets which come complete with Inca-era canals and view the ancient houses still in use today which feature interior courtyards and trapezoidal doors.
Alongside your guide, 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 quarries from where the stone for Ollantaytambo was sourced. It’s amazing to think how far these large stones were transported, especially considering the challenge faced by the Incas, who didn’t have pack animals strong enough to carry them.
Descend back into the valley to the pretty village of Pisac and browse the wares on offer at the market. Both travelers and valley villagers 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 up to a ridge high above the stepped agricultural terraces where Pisac’s mountainside Inca ruins are located.
DAY 4: Visiting the Agricultural
Lab of the Incas and Our Friends in a Local Community
After breakfast, you’ll be taken to see the ancient agricultural site of Moray. Experts today believe these grassy amphitheaters served as a farming laboratory, with the varying temperatures and soils of the ascending terraces providing different growing environments. We’ll pass through the town of Maras – known for its beautiful colonial doorways – before arriving at the town’s still-in-use salt pans. The small white evaporation pools that cover the hillside are still harvested by locals in a traditional manner. We’ll pause for a delicious local lunch, where you’ll be able to sample some regional fare.
Post lunch you’ll have a chance to mingle with the locals during a visit to an off-the-beaten-track highland village on the shore of the icy blue Lake Piuray. This rural community subsists on agriculture and many of the women are master weavers, creating exquisite textiles using generations-old techniques. You will have the opportunity to communicate with the residents, visit their houses and fields, and experience what day-to-day life is like in the Andean highlands. You might also get to meet some of the local children who attend Kuoda’s after-school program (Monday to Friday) – they love sharing their art with visitors.
Later, you’ll return to your comfortable hotel of choice.
DAY 5: The Lost City of the Incas – Machu Picchu
Morning Train through the Cloud Forest, Private Afternoon Tour of Machu Picchu
Prepare for a climactic day! In the morning, we will board the train in Ollantaytambo for our journey to Machu Picchu. Watch the cloud jungle pass by through the large glass windows! Upon arrival to Aguas Calientes, we’ll tuck in to an early lunch in order to refuel before ascending to Peru’s lost citadel.
After a bus ride to the gates of this wonder of the world, you will pass through the main gates with your private guide to finally emerge at the top of the world – Machu Picchu. The incredible Inca stone construction will be spread below, alternately hidden and revealed by clouds. Your expert guide will give you a private tour of the ancient city.
Upon conclusion of your tour, return for an evening in Aguas Calientes. Enjoy an excellent dinner on-site at your hotel and fall into bed, lulled to sleep by the sound of the cloud forest around you.
DAY 6: Machu Picchu
A Free Day to Explore the Ancient Ciry at Your Own Pace
This day is yours to do as you please. Feeling adventurous? Consider climbing to the citadel from town or hiking the steep slope of neighboring Huayna Picchu, which offers unrivalled views over Machu Picchu. Please note that only 400 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 Cusco. Your Kuoda host will meet you at the station and bring you to your hotel for a well-deserved good night’s rest.
DAY 7: Cusco
Private Walking Tour of Cusco
On day seven on a private city tour, you’ll get to know the city that many consider to be Peru’s most attractive: Cusco.
Your guide will recount this fabled city’s stories and show you around the major sights, from the ancient Inca walls, Qorikancha (the Temple of the Sun) and the Pre-Columbia Art Museum to the exuberant colonial churches and cathedrals. Wander around the artsy quarter of San Blas and join locals shopping at the energetic open-air market at San Pedro.
The afternoon is free so you can do as you wish. Perhaps continue exploring Cusco’s nooks and crannies or celebrate your final night in Peru with a frothy pisco sour and delicious Peruvian fare at one of the city’s esteemed restaurants.
DAY 8: Cusco to Lima and Home
This morning, you’ll be chauffeured to the airport for your direct flight to Lima. Once you touch down in the capital, a Kuoda host will meet you and you’ll be transferred to Miraflores, one of Lima’s leafiest cosmopolitan neighborhoods and a prime shopping district. A car will be at your disposal so, should you want to venture to another neighborhood in Lima, you can.
Like the sound of this Journey to the Center of the Inca Empire? Get in touch with Kuoda and we’ll start devising your very own customized Peru private travel experience.
- Take the reins of a Peruvian Paso for a trail ride through the Sacred Valley.
- Sit down with a shaman for a private meditation ceremony.
- Observe local weavers at work during private demonstrations.
- Hone your kitchen skills during Peruvian cooking classes with celebrated chefs.
- Join a local Peruvian family for a home-cooked meal in their residence.
- Admire views of the Andes from your luxury, vintage-style carriage on the Belmond Hiram Bingham Train.
- Take a day hike along part of the famed Inca Trail and arrive in Machu Picchu via the iconic Sun Gate.
- Revel in the gorgeous views as you tuck into lavish picnics that come complete with glassware, crockery, and even a professional waiter to serve you.
- Amp up the adrenaline with exhilarating adventure activities such as riding the fast-flowing rapids of the Vilcanota River, or zooming along zip lines among towering Andean peaks.
- 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 handpicks the best hotels in the country to ensure you get comfort and character.
Take a look to our recommendations and let us know if you’d like to incorporate one or a few in to your next trip
This sample itinerary is an ideal introduction to the history, culture, and beauty of Peru! This Journey to the Center of the Inca Empire itinerary will serve as the perfect inspiration.
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.
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