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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 $853 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

- Historic property with contemporary touches
- Excellent central Cusco location
- Near main square, museums, markets, cafes
- Excursions further afield available

Pakaritampu

Sacred Valley

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Superb Inca Fortress and hillside terraces
- Pretty, landscaped gardens
- Modest, comfortable accommodation
- Perfect base before or after Inca Trail

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 504 reviews

(5.00/5)

  • Service rating : Excellent.Very professional and attentive to my needs.
    Product : I looked at other tour operators and Tourdust offered good value and a well prepared and thought out itinerary.

    Ben feefo reviewer verified review for Inca Trail, Cusco & Lima Holiday on 21 December 2018

  • Really brilliant being met in the airport off the plane. It got the holiday off to the right start and driver really chatty and knowledgeable. Great transfers to and from the camps with drivers that were like guides - pointing out animals and full of interesting facts. All really friendly.

    4 Rosmead in Cape Town; We loved it here. Just the right side of plush and a lovely warm, friendly welcome. Breakfast were delicious. It was a real haven to come back to and even though it was small it didn’t feel intrusive. They were also really helpful with great places to eat.

    Tours in Cape Town; Our guide, Bevan, gave us an incredible insight into the history of South Africa whilst also being really knowledgeable on wild life and nature. No question was too hard and his answers honest. He had an intern with him from a township and this allowed us a different perspective. Bevan was brilliant with my daughter. The Cape Point trip was a full on day with lots packed in. Our highlight was the penguins but we also really enjoyed seeing Cape Point and getting our first taste of the wild life to come! Our stand out experience in Cape Town had to be the tour of Masiphumelele. We’re so pleased that we did this as it gave us an insight of the lives of so many people in SA. The visibility of such poverty was tough going at times and we learned much about the harsh realities of living in a township such as how dwellings regularly burn down, TB & HIV incidence but equally we saw the resilience, warmth and resourcefulness of the residents. We loved being shown around the nursery and the library and the chance to have a very different experience. Being in someone’s home for lunch was a real privilege. We got such a lovely welcome there and the food was really delicious. The tribal dance routine felt a little forced and I wasn’t convinced there was much pride in the display. I think being shown a little more of the craft workshop or the older people’s group might have worked better. Although I can see how this allowed us have a purpose to go into the unofficial part of the township. All in all a moving experience that will stay with us both for years to come.

    Getting around Cape Town; We quickly learnt from local people it’s not actually that safe walking around Cape Town except for in the Waterfront. Uber is the best way to travel - much safer and cheaper than the local cabs. The fares are ridiculously cheap.

    Food/Going Out; There are so many great places to eat in Cape Town. The indoor food market at the Waterfront is an absolute must. A huge variety of food that is great quality. Also a great place to hang out for a while as there is always bands playing. The Waterfront overall was a pleasant way to do a bit of shopping. We got some great township art there. We ate at the Cod Father in Camp Bay. It was night so we couldn’t benefit from the incredible views. The food was incredible and really fresh. Really warm service too. The Nelson Eye? was also gorgeous for meat eaters. A slightly retro steak house but with the best meat (nor for vegetarians!). We had great steak, ribs and a divine mint crisp local dessert. We also found a lovely place on Kloof Street called the Dark Horse (its sister restaurant the Black Sheep was closed). Really excellent small plates and great selection of wines.

    Moswari Game Reserve; This part of the holiday blew us away. The safari was spectacular. From our first game drive we saw and learnt so much about the incredible bush. We saw the Big Five within 24 hours (although we appreciate that must be unusual) but it wasn’t just that we saw them we saw them in amazingly dynamic situations - lion cubs suckling the lioness, rhino doing a strange greeting, a herd of 40 elephants at almost touching distance, a leopard eating its kill in a bush and then majestically descending. I could just go on. It wasn’t just these but also the wonderful giraffe sightings, all types of buck and antelope, a rainbow of different coloured birds. This was an unforgettable experience.

    Our guide and tracker, Weinond and Bricks, were perfect. Weinond was a lovely gentle and sensitive man with an encyclopaedic knowledge for wildlife and nature. Bricks was a skilled tracker and I am certain that without him we would not have seen half of what we did. You could feel their passion for the animals and they seemed to take as much joy from a spot as we did. Whilst driving Weinond filled us with information about life in the bush. This meant we learnt so much about the habits and habitats of the magnificent animals and birds we were seeing.

    The camp and rooms were top class. It was a small intimate camp with nicely spaced lodges for privacy. The view from our lodge was stunning. The room was large, beautifully furnished and with the best bathroom ever. If there was one thing that could be added it would be would be access to drinks in your room. Sometimes you want a beer or a nightcap without having to go all the way to the main camp.

    The food was luscious. There was something for everyone and it was all of a really high standard and cooked to perfection. It was definitely restaurant standard. My only complaint is how much weight I’ve put in because I couldn’t resist!

    The service throughout was warm, friendly and appropriate. Very professional.

    We stayed for a night in the Giraffes Nest. This was a special, magical experience. The setting was fabulous and ‘nest’ itself beautifully decorated. It was winter so it was a cold night but they gave you lots of blankets and a cosy robe to help with that. Once in the best you we’re in your own but with radio connection back to the camp. Whilst we only spotted 2 animals during the night it was a special experience sleeping under a blanket of stars. It was a bit overpriced I think for what it is and I think in the winter it should be possible might to stay a bit longer in the morning ( we were collected 6 am to join our drive group) as this might mean you would see animals in the light.

    Finally, I cannot recommend this camp enough to people. A truly spectacular holiday that we will never forget. I’ve definitely been bitten by the Africa bug!

    MissingDara d reviewing Cape Town & Kruger Safari on 02 July 2019

  • We had a wonderful time! Our transfers (besides a bit of a wait when we arrived) were smooth. The gentleman that drove us to and from the airport also drove us to our hike and he was very nice and helpful, clean car and very accommodating.
    Our tour guide on the first day, Mandy, was charming and insightful. It was a slow day in the markets but we appreciated the space and gave us a chance to hear all about the Souks. The gentlemen who was with her was a wealth of knowledge and both did a very nice job!
    Our hike was awesome and our guide was great- he even took us to a cool waterfall and took great care of us; lunch in the mountains was delicious!
    The hotel was so lovely and the staff was very accommodating and helpful. The food was great and the rooms very comfortable!
    I did a good amount of damage in the market (often accused of being Berber;) and truly hope to be back next Spring... maybe a girls trip or perhaps I’ll bring my kiddos!
    Thank you for organizing such a nice getaway for my husband and I; we will confidently recommend Tourdust to our friends!!

    MissingJennifer H reviewing Boutique Marrakech & Atlas Mountains on 12 June 2019

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