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Inca Trail, Cusco & Lima Holiday

An action-packed 10 day holiday to Peru taking in the highlights of Cusco and the Sacred Valley, before heading out on the Inca Trail, one of the world's most iconic treks in the footsteps of the ancient Incas in the majestic Andean mountains.

Tailor-made Adventure 11 days

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $894 per person economy class from London

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Itinerary

Overview

  • Tread in the footsteps of Incas on the Inca Trail
  • Porters, camping, meals & guide included
  • Guided tours of Cusco & the Sacred Valley

Your holiday starts in Cusco, the ancient capital of the Incan Empire. Cusco lies at 3,300, so you will feel the effects of altitude when you first arrive, so your first afternoon and the next day should be spent resting and relaxing. The following day, you will join a group tour of Cusco to see the local sights and get an understanding of the history. You will then head off on a tour of the key sites of the Sacred Valley, including Ollantaytambo and Pisac, as well as visiting a local market.

The second part of your trip involves a 4 or 5 day trek in the mountains. The majority of trekkers choose to reach Machu Picchu via the 4 Day Inca Trail, arriving at the Sun Gate on the final day of the trek to watch the sun rising above the citadel. However, with government regulation of the trail reducing the number of daily trekkers and porters to 500, availability is limited. If you miss out on a permit for the Inca trail, two alternatives are on offer; the Salkantay and Lares trails. Both of these offer fantastic hiking, with the added bonus that they are not as popular as the Inca Trail, meaning fewer people around. Both of these treks take you to Aguas Calientes, the gateway town to Machu Picchu where you stay the night before arriving in Machu Picchu the next day by bus.

Whichever trek you decide on, you can't fail to be captivated by the ancient citadel, it's location, hidden deep within the mountains and air of mystery make it irresistible to all who visit. After a guided tour of the ruins, there is plenty of time to explore at your leisure before heading back to Cusco by train and bus and rewarding yourself with a nice hot shower to clean off the mountain dust! Your trip is rounded off with a final day in Cusco, spent relaxing and reminiscing about your experience, before heading back home the next day.

Day-by-day

There are three different treks to choose from for this holiday. The Inca Trail is the most popular, but sells out months ins advance. The Salkantay and Lares Trails are good alternatives.

Itinerary in Brief
DAY 1: Arrive in Cusco
DAY 2: Cusco - Day at Leisure
DAY 3: Cusco City Tour
DAY 4: Sacred Valley tour
DAY 5: Inca trail 1
DAY 6: Inca trail 2
DAY 7: Inca trail 3
DAY 8: Inca trail 4
DAY 9: Cusco - Day at Leisure
DAY 10: Depart

Full Itinerary
Day 1: Arrival in Cusco
You will arrive in Cusco this morning after your long flight via Lima. We recommend taking the rest of the day easy to allow your body to acclimatise to the altitude.

Day 2: Cusco - Day at Leisure
Today is a free day in Cusco to recover from your jet lag and acclimatise. You might want to have lunch in one of the many cafes at the Plaza de Armas taking in the views. There is a chocolate museum in town which offers 2 hour chocolate workshops which we will happily book for you.

Day 3: Cusco City Tour
Today you will join a group tour of Cusco, a Unesco World Heritage Site. The tour will start at the temple of Koricancha, an ancient Inca palace and main worship centre of the Sun God, where the Dominicans built an incredible church that can still be seen there.
Then, you will tour the Plaza de Armas, where the Cathedral and the beautiful Church of the Society of Jesus, among other colonial buildings, are located. You will then continue the journey to the colonial church of San Cristóbal to enjoy a spectacular view of the city. Afterwards you will go on to the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, an Inca building known for its massive walls of hewn stone, located in a strategic location, on a hill, with a broad view of the city of Cusco. Later, you will visit the important archaeological complexes of Qenko and Puca Pucara.

Day 4: Sacred Valley Tour
Today you will join a group tour of the Sacred Valley. If you have suffered from the altitude in Cusco, you will be pleased to know that from here on, you will drop well below the 3,300m mark! The first stop is Awanacancha Cultural village where you will see a variety of camelids (llamas, alpacas, vicunas) and women demonstrating traditional weaving techniques. The next stop is the market of Pisac where you can sample delicious fresh bread that this area is known for. The market has many colourful stalls selling a wide variety of locally produced handicrafts. From the market, you are driven up to the stunning Pisac Ruins, which offer an excellent insight into how the Incas cultivated and managed their crops. You will stay here for around 1 1/2 hours, whilst your guide takes you on a tour, explaining Incan farming techniques, as well as showing you the ceremonial centre at the top of the terracing, where mummification, the sacred rituals of preparing the higher classes for the after life, took place. Time for lunch and you head to Urubamba where you will stop at a tourist restaurant for lunch. After lunch, you will head to the pretty Andean town of Ollantaytambo where you have a guided tour of the spectacular ruins. The terraces here were not for agriculture, but were part of a huge temple complex that was being built to honour the sun, an important Incan deity. The temple was never finished, as building was interrupted by the Spanish invasion. You will overnight in Ollantaytambo, before starting the Inca Trail tomorrow.

Day 5: Inca Trail
You will meet your guide and group early in the morning before embarking on a 2 hour bus journey to the start of the trail. Your guide will be able to tell you about the land you're travelling on and answer any questions about the area you may have. Before you start walking you'll have your first photo op of the Veronica Snow Mountains. With that beautiful vista as your backdrop. The first part of the walk will see you following the Urubamba river to the first archaeological site Llaqtapata where you will stop for lunch. For the afternoon walk you will start climbing uphill through the valley until you reach the last village, Huayllabamba, where you will camp for the night.

Day 6: Inca Trail
Today's breakfast is the most important meal of the trek, ensuring to be carb filled it will help prepare you for today's walking. Three hours after the start you'll reach the highest part of the trail which is called Warmiwañusca or Dead Woman's Pass at 4200 metres (13800 feet). After lunch you'll have a short two hour descent to Pacaymayo, where you'll spend the night. If you're lucky your chef will already have your well deserved meal cooking on the fire. Don't be surprised if everyone heads to bed early after a tough but rewarding day.

Day 7: Inca Trail
Possibly the most diverse day of sites and views, you will start the morning with an ascent to the pass of Runcuracay which sits at 3900 metres (12800 feet) followed by a short descent to the archaeological site of Sayacmarca. You will have some time to explore this area before continuing along the original path of the Incas to Phyyupatamarca at 3600 metres (12400 feet). At cloud level this provides a beautiful spot to stop for lunch, with far reaching views of snow peaked mountains and low lying valleys. From here its a downhill walk to Wiñaywayna, where you'll camping amongst the mystical ruins.

Day 8: Inca Trail
Your final day starts very early but you'll be treated to a great morning as you'll reach the Intipunku (Sun Gate) where you will catch your first glimpse of Machu Picchu. The ruins are just a short walk way and after a little break you'll have a guided tour of the various sites at the lost city of the Incas. After that you'll descend by bus to the quaint village of Aguas Calientes where you'll have your final lunch as a group. An afternoon train and bus back will see you arriving back to the Sacred Valley in the early evening.

Day 9: Cusco
Today is a final day back in Cusco. You might want to book a massage for your weary legs, or spend some time in one of the many cafes at the Plaza de Armas taking in the views and reflecting on your trek.

Day 10: Departure
You will be transferred to Cusco airport in time to catch your morning flight back to Lima. From here you fly home.

Accommodation


Guide price is based on recommended accommodations. Alternative accommodations and upgrades are available. Please get in touch or click on 'alternatives' below for alternatives and upgrade options.

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Boutique hotel
- Historical former market
- Family rooms
- Suites with free-standing baths

Pakaritampu

Sacred Valley

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Set in beautiful gardens
- Spacious rooms and apartments
- Excellent location

Details

Getting there

Flights are not included in the price, but we can arrange them for you. You will need return flights to Lima and domestic return flights to Cusco. You can't fly direct to Peru from the UK, you will need to stop over in the USA, Madrid, Paris or Amsterdam.

Price includes

International and domestic flights are not included in our quoted from price due to variations in flight prices. We will provide a quote for flights on a case by case basis. We usually book BA, KLM, Air France and LAN to Peru and LAN or AVIANCA internally. When enquiring, please let us know if you have any airline preferences, and we will quote accordingly.

The price includes the following:
Cusco & Lima: Transfers, accommodation with breakfast in mid-range hotels, activities and tours as described in the itinerary, entrance to sites, white water rafting excursion
Excluded: international and domestic flights (if you would like a quote to include flights please just let us know), Lunch & Dinner, airport taxes, tips.

Inca Trail: Porter with a personal 7kg luggage allowance, Porters to carry camping equipment, all meals on the trek (except breakfast day 1), English speaking guide, emergency first aid and oxygen, all camping equipment, Vistadome train ticket and bus transfer back to Cusco.
Excluded:Breakfast on Day 1 of trek, Sleeping Bag rental (can be arranged for $25 per person, or you can bring your own, Walking poles (can be rented), pillows (can be rented), thermarests (can be rented) tips.

Salkantay & Lares Trails: Wranglers & horses to carry the loads, all meals on the trek (except breakfast day 1), English speaking guide, emergency first aid and oxygen, all camping equipment, Vistadome train ticket and bus transfer back to Cusco.
Excluded:Breakfast on Day 1 of trek, Sleeping Bag rental (can be arranged for $25 per person, or you can bring your own, Walking poles (can be rented), pillows (can be rented), thermarests (can be rented) tips, entrance to hot springs.

When is best?

The peak season is June - August when the Inca Trail sells out months in advance. The weather at this time is cold at night, but lovely in the days with little rain. The rainy season lasts from November - March and whilst the treks are much quieter, the rain, especially in January & February, can make the trekking harder work.

The Inca Trail is closed in February, so for this month you will be offered the holiday with one of the alternative treks. That said, the weather at this time is very wet, so best avoided unless you like trekking in the rain.

Is it for me?

This holiday is aimed at those with an adventurous spirit looking for an active holiday. You do need to be in good shape to trek in the mountains is Peru and it is recommended that you do some regular exercise in the month before you depart. That said, you don’t have to be a fitness freak; children as young as 7 and adults of 68 have completed the trail. We strongly recommend that you allow at least 2 -3 days acclimatisation before you start your trek. This is to ensure your enjoyment and well-being. You will be hiking at altitude, so it is essential that you take it slowly and at your own pace.

The Peruvian government has now limited places on the Inca trail by issuing an allocation of 500 permits per day. This includes all porters, guides and cooks, so it fills up quickly. The high season on the trail is from May – September so you will need to book quite a way in advance if you want to trek this particular trail – we recommend at least 5 to 6 months in advance.

The Lares & Salkantay trails are alternative treks to the Inca Trail and as there are no permits required, are available all year round. Of these two treks, the Lares is the gentler option, offering more of a cultural experience. Salkantay is more strenuous.

The maximum group size for the trek is 16 people. The guide to walkers ration is 1 : 9. Don’t worry about being rushed along too fast, there will be plenty of time for comfort breaks and chances to admire the views along the way. The guide will always walk at the back with the last person in the group, so you really don’t need to be concerned about taking too long. This is a cultural journey, not a running race!

This trek is organized by a professional and licensed tour operator who has been operating in the region for the past 12 years. They know what they’re doing and treat their porters well, ensuring that they are well equipped and fairly paid.

Safety

For the latest travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth office check www.gov.uk/travelaware

What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

Average Rating

based on 613 reviews

(4.94/5)

  • Everything worked perfectly! We all found our trekking experience to be the best part of our adventures in Morocco. We were particularly pleased with our guide, Hussain; he did a brilliant job. He is thoughtful, knowledgable, and sweet. He represents you well.

    MissingJacob Moffat reviewing Atlas Valleys & Villages Comfort Treks on 09 March 2017

  • Thanks for organising an excellent holiday for us. It's my first time using Tourdust and I've been really impressed and will certainly be recommending you to friends and family. You provided an excellent level of service all the way through, and the bespoke nature of the trip was fantastic whilst being really good value for money.
    Key highlights:
    - Le Kasbah de Toubkal blew us away - one not to miss!
    - The trek was amazing and my kids loved it. The camping was really fun, the food was excellent, and I'd particularly call out our guide Rashid who was fantastic show especially with my kids.
    - Riad Adore was outstanding - far exceeding my expectations - it was beautiful and we were very well looked after
    - Le Doux Tour was luxurious and a nice relaxing way to end the holiday.
    - Logistics were great and our main driver Mustapha was brilliant

    If there was one build / thing I would change, it's a very small one but some candles / lanterns to use in the evening whilst camping would have made it easier to stay outside for a bit longer.

    MissingMark Dilley reviewing Boutique Marrakech & Atlas Mountains on 07 June 2016

  • Truly another world. The sky was enormous and the summits snow covered. Blue irises, wild herbs and fruit trees flowered on the slopes. Even as I toiled up the dry river bed I gazed in admiration.

    Without exception, everyone was courteous and welcoming. Food was good ( and far too plentiful); accommodation clean. Above all-everything worked! A pick-up was promised for 9.00am. At 8.55 the doorbell rang. Impeccable.

    No praise is too high for the organisation and staff. I am definitely going back.

    MissingTerence Humphreys reviewing Classic Atlas Valleys & Villages Trek on 16 May 2016

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Alternative Itineraries

Our itineraries are carefully designed by our experienced travel designers based on years of experience and customer feedback. For a custom itinerary tailored to you, please enquire giving as much detail as possible on your brief.

Trek the Inca Trail in Peru. A four day guided hike to Machu Picchu through the Andes mountains with experienced guides

Small Group Adventure 4 days

Adults from $861 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Superb challenging Inca Trail alternative crossing the snow capped pass of Salkantay & finishing with a Machu Picchu visit.

Small Group Adventure 5 days

Adults from $1,089 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Lares is an alternative moderate trek to the Inca Trail passing through remote & traditional villages in the beautiful Lares Valley.

Small Group Adventure 4 days

Adults from $1,379 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

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