10 December 2016
On this 10-day adventure you'll have the chance to see the sights and experience the hospitality of Peru's capital, Lima, and the historic town of Cisco, before heading out on the trip of a lifetime: trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, one of the world's most famously impressive sights. Please note that you'll need to be in good physical condition for the four-day hike along the Inca Trail, but all that hard work is rewarded when you pass through a stunning cloud forest, or reach stunning Machu Picchu in time for sunrise.
Your adventure begins as you're met on arrival at the airport in Lima and transferred to your hotel. You then have the rest of the day at leisure to explore this friendly city and make the most of the excellent restaurants and nightlife within walking distance of your hotel.
After breakfast this morning you'll fly to Cusco, where you'll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. You'll have the rest of the day and evening at leisure to rest and allow your body to acclimatise to the altitude.
After a morning at leisure to explore the cobblestoned streets of this beautiful colonial town, this afternoon you'll enjoy a guided tour of Cusco's historical sights, beginning with the impressive Colonial Cathedral, then on to the Temple of the Sun – the Korikancha. Next you'll head to the outskirts of Cusco for a tour of the archaeological site of Sacsayhuaman, before visiting the ruins of Puca Pucara, Qenqo and Tambomachay.
Today you will travel with your local guide through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, visiting the impressive Pisac ruins and the colourful artisan market before finishing in the picturesque village of Ollantaytambo, site of another large Inca ruin which overlooks the beautiful Urubamba River Valley. The site is renowned as the best surviving example of Inca urban planning and engineering, as well as for being one of the few places where the Spanish lost a major battle during the conquest. You will spend the night here.
After an early breakfast you'll be driven to Piskacuchu (2,700m/8,856ft), to join the Inca Trail. You'll start your hike by crossing the bridge over the Urubamba River, then continuing northwest through the Sacred Valley to Miskay (2,800m/9,184ft) and on to the impressive Inca city of Llactapata (2,650m/8,692ft). From here you will trek along the Kusichaca River valley, climbing for about five hours, until you reach the community of Wayllabamba (3,000m/9,840ft). Here you will spend the evening relaxing around the camp fire and enjoying the astounding panoramic views.
This morning you'll rise early for a campfire-cooked breakfast before tackling the most difficult section of the trek. You'll begin with a steep ascent, as the landscape changes from sierra to puna, an arid habitat with little vegetation. As you approach the first mountain pass, the Abra Warmihuausca (Dead Woman's Pass – 4,200m/13,776ft), you may come across llamas and alpacas grazing on ichu, one of the few plants that grow here. After crossing the pass you will enter an area of cloud forest, a lush mountain jungle filled with hummingbirds and sparrows, and you may be lucky enough to spot a spectacled bear. You'll then descend to tonight's camp in the Pacaymayo Valley (3,600m/11,808ft).
After an early breakfast this morning you'll climb to the Abra Runkurakay pass (3,970m/13,022ft), where you'll pause to admire the spectacular views of the surrounding Andes before descending towards Yanacocha (the Black Lagoon), entering the cloud forest and continuing to Sayacmarca (3,624m/11,887ft), one of the best-preserved archaeological complexes on the Trail. You'll have time to explore this site before you continue to Winaywayna (2,650m/8,692ft), an impressive Inca complex. Your camp, complete with a trekker lodge, bar and hot showers, is nearby.
You'll rise early this morning for the hike up from Winawayna to Intipunku (the Sun Gate). After about an hour of hiking along ancient Inca paths you'll be rewarded with the spectacular sight of sunrise over Machu Picchu. From Intipunku you'll descend to Machu Picchu itself, entering the citadel through the House of the Guardians. You'll join a two-hour guided tour, then have time to explore the ruins by yourself and perhaps hike to the top of Huayna Picchu to admire the spectacular views. Later in the afternoon you will be transported down to the town of Aguas Calientes, where you'll have the rest of the day at leisure to relax and enjoy the town's hot springs.
This morning you're at leisure. You may like to return to the ruins, or perhaps make the four-hour hike to Wayna Picchu to experience the amazing views of Machu Picchu and the surrounding area. This afternoon you'll take the train back to Cusco, arriving just after sundown, to be met and taken back to your hotel. This evening you may like to enjoy a gourmet dinner at the Pre Columbian Art Museum, considered to be one of Peru's top private collections.
After breakfast and a morning at leisure, you will be transferred to Cusco airport for your flight back for Lima and your onward journey.
Standard Rate fr £1258pp
Superior Rate fr £1455pp
Deluxe Rate fr £2213pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated