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 Machu Picchu ‘discoverer’ 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 hiking routes in the world.
- Follow in the footsteps of the Incas and enter the ancient kingdom of Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate.
- Feast outdoors on gourmet picnics that include all kinds of luxury trappings – including real glassware, table settings and a professional waiter!
- 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.
- Tour Machu Picchu with your very own expert guide who can explain all about 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.
- Immerse yourself in local life with visits to remote Andean villages that are, for most tourists, unchartered territory.
- Stay at your choice of signature accommodations throughout your exclusive tour of Peru.
Itinerary at a Glance
Day 1: Welcome to Peru! – Arrival in Lima
Day 2: Over the Andes to the Sacred Valley – Flight from Lima to Cusco – private car to the Sacred Valley
Day 3: Delving into past and present in the Sacred Valley – Private Tour – Ollantaytambo, Pisac Ruins and an artisan market
Day 4: Over the hills to Machu Picchu! – Your first day trekking the renowned Inca Trail
Day 5: Conquering “Dead Woman’s Pass” – Your second day on the Inca Trail
Day 6: Inca ruins and Inca roads – Your third day on the Inca Trail
Day 7: Through the Sun Gate and triumphant arrival in Machu Picchu – Your final day on the Inca Trail and a private tour of Machu Picchu
Day 8: Hiking Huayna Picchu – Hike a coveted limited-entry hike with your guide
Day 9: Exploring the Imperial City of Cusco – Private walking tour of Cusco
Day 10: Return to Lima – Fly from Cusco to Lima and explore Miraflores before heading home
DAY 1: Welcome to Peru
Arrival in Lima
Get ready to trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu! We’ll be waiting for you as soon as you arrive Lima. Just head for arrivals and look for a smiling Kuoda representative, who will be holding a sign with your name. We’ll take you to your hotel and help you with anything you may need to get settled. Then we’ll leave you to enjoy a good night’s sleep – the perfect remedy for a long flight.
DAY 2: Over the Andes to the Sacred Valley
Flight from Lima to Cusco – Private Car to the Sacred Valley
After a restful night, you will wake up feeling refreshed. Tuck into the complimentary buffet breakfast in the hotel and, as soon as you’re done eating, we’ll take you to the airport for your morning flight to Cusco.
A Kuoda representative will be waiting for you. There’ll be time for a tasty lunch before you’re whisked off to the Sacred Valley – the perfect place to acclimatize during your customized tour of Peru before you head on up to higher altitudes.
The Sacred Valley is just a short drive (less than an hour) from Cusco. Watch the changing scenery out the window during the trip: the urban landscapes of Cusco will soon yield to verdant valley scenes, with hills and fields dotted with cows and sheep. Along the way, we’ll stop at Awana Kancha Living Museum, which provides fascinating insight into Peruvian traditions. Here, you can see traditional weavers at work and take pictures of Peru’s adorable camelids.
Remember, this isn’t your typical group tour – you don’t have to adhere to a strict timetable. Should you want to stop to take a photograph or two, just say the word; your private Kuoda guide and driver are at your disposal.
DAY 3: Delving into past and present inthe Sacred Valley
Private Tour – Ollantaytambo, Pisac Ruins and an artisan market
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 doors and windows.
Your customized tour of Peru’s Sacred Valley continues at Ollantaytambo’s Inca ruins, which are located higher up on the hillside overlooking the town. Wander around the site and ponder the incredible engineering skills of the ancient people who created it as your guide reveals more about the Incas and their culture.
From there, 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 vegetables – among them many unusual types and varieties that simply aren’t available on US shelves. 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: Over the hills to Machu Picchu!
Your firts day trekking the renowned Inca Trail
The Inca Trail is consistently rated among the best trekking trips in the world and you’ll soon see why. This hiking route traverses several different ecological areas, from the high deserts to tropical rainforest, 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. Portable hot showers and a massage services – a godsend for weary trekkers – are also included.
From the hotel, we will transfer you to the start of the trek (point km 82) where we meet our porters with the 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 Kusichaca River to our first camp site in Huayllabamba, at 9,842 feet above sea level.
DAY 5: Conquering “Dead Woman’s Pass”
Your second day on the Inca Trail
Fortify yourself with a hearty breakfast before beginning the ascent up the Warmihuañusca pass, which has an elevation of 13,860 feet above sea level. From the top of the pass, it is possible to see the trail on the other side of the valley, which leads all the way down to a small Inca complex known as the Runkurakay ruins. Once we reach the end of the gorge, we will stop and settle into our second camp site, Pacaymayo, which is located at 11,181 feet.
After two days of hiking, your leg muscles may be starting to feel the effects. Now would be a good time to make use of that hot shower and elicit the services of the massage therapist who can rub away the tension in your tired muscles.
DAY 6: Inca Ruins and Inca Roads
Your third day on the Inca Trail
Your private tour of Machu Picchu continues today as we depart from Pacaymayo. Climb up a short, zig-zagging path that leads up to the Runkurakay circular ruins, which you will have seen from a distance earlier on the trail. With no signs of human life here – and only the age-old forests and towering hills watching on – it’s a place where hikers feel especially close to nature. After a rest here, we’ll hit the road again heading toward the best-preserved section of the Inca Trail.
Just a short climb up a flight of steps and we’ll arrive at another set of Inca ruins. The Sayacmarca ruins, at an elevation of 11,946 feet, are a wonder to behold. How the Incas managed to build this complex in such an isolated and breathtakingly scenic setting, is a mystery. From Sayacmarca, we follow the stone road down into the jungle and we continue our trek through the canopied ‘tunnel’ toward the Phuyupatamarca campsite.
Having completed the bulk of this challenging trail, we think it’s time for a little reward. Toast the success of your intrepid adventure before dinner then kick back and relax. Tomorrow will be the final leg of your quest!
DAY 7: Sunrise at the Sun Gate and Triumphant Arrival in Machu Picchu
Your Final Day on the Inca Trail and a Luxury Tour of Machu Picchu
Your wake-up call will be very early today! A hearty breakfast by candlelight waits for you, and then you’ll set off for the hour-long walk around the mountain. You’ll drop into a cloud forest before coming to an almost vertical flight of 50 steps leading up to the final pass at Intipunku, known widely as the Sun Gate. You’ll approach this stone construction, catch your breath and then lose it again as you see Machu Picchu nestled and hidden between steep peaks below you. You’ll tread in the footsteps of the Incas as you descend over ancient paving stones to the city and you’ll arrive at the Watchman’s Hut from where you’ll be able to appreciate the ruins in all their glory. This is the classic postcard viewpoint and the point at which you should pat yourself on the back for having conquered the historic Inca Trail!
You will next have a guided tour of the Peru’s World Wonder with your Inca Trail guide. The tour will focus on Machu Picchu’s most important temples and ceremonial sites. Whenever you get hungry you can enjoy a buffet lunch at the on-site Sanctuary Lodge, before taking the bus down to your hotel in Aguas Calientes. Revel in the lovely feeling of accomplishment with a hot shower and delicious dinner, before sleeping as soundly as you’ve ever slept!
DAY 8: Hiking Huayna Picchu
Hike one of the Coveted, Limited-Entry Hikes at Machu Picchu
At the appropriate time this morning, board the bus with a private guide and return to the front gates of Machu Picchu.
Lace up your hiking boots again, for we have secured hiking permits for you to scale the iconic sugarloaf peak in the background of the classic Machu Picchu postcard photo – Huayna Picchu! Delight in an alternate perspective of Machu Picchu from the top of what is certainly a true feat of engineering.
Descend to Aguas Calientes for lunch and your return train to Ollantaytambo. We will be waiting in the station for you and will bring you to your hotel for an evening at leisure.
DAY 9: Exploring the imperial City of Cusco
Private walking tour of Cusco
You’ll spend day nine getting to know Cusco, a city that seems to straddle the divide between the past and the future. On the one hand, it wears its history on its sleeve with Inca stonework, traditionally dressed locals and grand colonial churches. On the other hand, it is thoroughly cosmopolitan with trendy bars, world-class restaurants and familiar multinational names. The contradiction of old and new is a curious, but winning mix. You’ll tour the city with a private guide, who will show you the extent of Cusco’s contrasts and help explain how it ended up as it is today. You’ll see the Santo Domingo monastery, which sits atop what was once the most opulent Inca temple in the region, as well as the treasure-laden Pre-Columbian Art Museum, the famous 12-point stone (which you may recognize from the label of Cusqueña beer) and the cooler, more alternative city quarters, such as the trendy San Blas district.
Once you’ve gotten your bearings with the help of your guide, you’ll be free to spend the afternoon exploring on your own or simply relaxing back at the hotel. At a loss for what to do next? Ask your guide for suggestions; they can point you in the direction of some more of Cusco’s must-see sights or suggest a good spot to grab a drink or an early dinner.
DAY 10: Return to Lima
Fly from Cusco to Lima and explore Miraflores before heading home
You’ll be transferred to Cusco airport in the morning for your return flight to Lima. In Lima, you’ll be met by your Kuoda host who’ll take you to Miraflores, where there are tons of places to while away your few remaining hours. Shop in the markets and fashionable boutiques, go for one last Peruvian supper or simply people-watch from the Pacific-facing parks.
As your personalized trip to Peru draws to a close, we will meet you and bring you to Lima airport so you can catch your flight home.
If you’ve ever dreamed of trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, get in touch – Kouda can help you plot your personalized tour of Peru.
- 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 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
An exemplary way for any adventure seeking traveler to experience the best of the Andes! This sample Crossroads of History itinerary is just the way for you to get inspired.
Please know you can change or modify these tours however you deem necessary as all Kuoda itineraries are crafted just for you, to suit your individual interests and schedules. Interest in getting this trip completely customized?
The price is customized based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.
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Whether traveling on your own or with family and friends, a trip with Kuoda will never come short of being 100% personalized. Here you’ll find useful tips, travel news and experiences to get the most out as you discover this region.