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 most interesting and mysterious ancient civilizations. This luxury tour to Machu Picchu allows you to learn about their accomplishments, from the triumphal constructions of Machu Picchu and the intricate stonework of the old Inca capital, Cusco, to the Inca-era agricultural terraces that can be seen around the stunningly serene Sacred Valley. Discover just what this fascinating civilization was like during its glorious heyday with this customized tour centered on Peru’s Inca heritage.
- Visit rural communities in the Sacred Valley towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo.
- Special visit that will take you to the Awanakancha Living Museum, where you will encounter llamas, alpacas and other Andean camelids.
- Immerse yourself in local life with visits to remote Andean villages that are, for most tourists, unchartered 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 in this luxury tour to 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.
- Enjoy enriching experiences with local artists at their workshops.
- Outstanding 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 / Inca Ruins at Sacsayhuaman / Living Museum of Awanakancha
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 Costa Ramada del Sol Hotel. 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 / Inca Ruins at Sacsayhuaman / Living Museum of Awaka Kancha
Your Lima host will meet you in the lobby and take you to the airport for your 45-minute flight to Cusco. Get a fascinating perspective on the Sacred Valley from the plane window, as you pass over the glacier peaks of the Cordillera Vilcabamba and Vilcanota, and a carpet of Andean fields dotted with tiny red-roofed hamlets.
In Cusco, your host will accompany you to Sacsayhuaman, where you’ll enjoy a customized private tour of this stunning archeological complex. Stroll around the site and examine the stone-boulder walls, which are expertly fitted together without any mortar.
Next, call into the Living Museum of Awana Kancha – a favorite for Peru family tours – where Inca agricultural terraces, traditional weavers and a gaggle of furry South American camelids, including llamas, alpacas and vicuñas, await.
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 multi-family houses, which feature interior courtyards and trapezoidal door.
Alongside your guide, climb up past the agricultural terraces toward the Temple of Sun, where you can enjoy an Inca’s-eye view over 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. The site also contains food storehouses, which – during the empire’s heyday – were well-stocked with food.
Descend back down into the valley to the pretty village of Pisac and browse the wares on offer at the market. Both tourists and valley villagers come from miles around to barter and sell everything 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
Private Tours of Moray and Maras and Off-the-Beaten Track Stop at 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 have lunch at the Casa de Barro, where you can 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 practice is an agricultural lifestyle 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
Private Tour of Machu Picchu
For many travelers, today will be a climactic day – the day they finally set their eyes on the most extraordinary of Inca relics: Machu Picchu!
From Ollantaytambo, you’ll set off on a rail journey that will pass through the heart of the cloud forest. Disembark and hop on a bus for a short ride up to the gates of what truly is one of the great wonders of the world. Lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge will fortify you for the adventure that lies head.
After lunch, you’ll ascend the stone steps until the trees and vegetation give way to reveal the well-preserved structures of this 15th-century citadel and the surrounding cloud-level Andean peaks.
An expert guide will show you around the ancient complex and explain the significance of the ruins. Return to Aguas Calientes to relax for the evening. Tomorrow is yours to do as you wish so you may want to ask your guide for advice on how best to spend your time before parting.
DAY 6: Machu Picchu on Your Terms
A Free Day to Explore the Ancient City 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 train back to Cusco. A host will meet you at the station and take you to your hotel for a 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 horse trek 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-owned Hiram Bingham Train.
- Take a day hike along part of the famed Inca Trail and arrive in Machu Picchu via the Sun Gate entrance that afternoon.
- 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.
- Dine on hearty Peruvian fare during a dinner hosted by a local family, who will welcome you into their private home and show you their organic garden.
- 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 Journey to the Center of the Inca Empire 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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