Our unique luxury adventure to the Land of the Inca gets you closer to the true spirit and timeless ways of these ancient and evocative lands. In the engaging company of your own private guides, well-versed Peruvian natives, the history and stories of Peru and the Andes come to life.
Day 1 - Welcome to Cuzco
You’ll be warmly greeted on arrival in the ancient capital of the Inca and escorted to the luxurious Inkaterra La Casona. Take some time to refresh and then join your personal guide for a walking tour designed to reveal Cuzco’s centuries-old history. Begin in the lively San Blas district; once an Inca settlement, it’s now busy with cafes and artisan galleries set in handsome Baroque buildings of the Colonial era. Then descend along cobblestone streets to Plaza de Armas and visit the Cathedral and Qorikancha, once the most important temple of the Inca Empire. This evening, you’ll dine at Incanto.
Today’s in-town 2.5 to 3-hour walking tour covers about 1.5 miles. Some of the terrain will be uneven with cobbled and stone-paved streets.
Day 2 - Fabled Inca Sites
Enjoy the drive to Tambomachay, an Inca site with stone terraces, aqueducts and fountains that originate from nearby springs. A gentle 2-mile descent takes you to other ancient sites like Puka Pukara. Finish at Sacsayhuaman, a hilltop fortress heralded for its remarkable masonry and sweeping views over Cuzco. After lunch, this day is yours to enjoy as you wish. Take advantage of our hotel’s heart-of-it-all location to explore this welcoming town at your own pace.
Our morning drive brings you to an elevation of 12,267 feet. From Tambomachay, the walk is mostly downhill with several stops to explore other sites like Puka Pukara and Kenko. Sacsayhuaman is a vast site that will involve a bit of walking over uneven, mostly unpaved terrain. Overall, this morning’s 4 to 4.5-hour excursion will cover about 3 miles.
Day 3 - Along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Board the Vistadome Train for the scenic journey into the Sacred Valley. You’ll disembark at kilometer 104 while we take your luggage to your hotel. Cross the footbridge and begin your 6-hour hike along the Inca Trail. Vistas of forested valleys and snowcapped peaks are spectacular as you make your way to ancient Inca sites like Chachabamba and Wiñay Wayna. Waterfalls, orchids and other exotic bromeliads add to the magic. A final ascent brings you to the Gate of the Sun, where the dramatic view of Machu Picchu unfolds below. Descend into the Lost City and continue to the Inkaterra Pueblo. Our enchanting retreat is set in a riverside cloud forest below the ancient citadel.
Today’s hike will bring you to a peak elevation of about 8,700 feet. The longest ascent between sightseeing stops is a 5-mile section from the Chachabamba archaeological complex near our starting point to Wiñay Wayna. This trek is usually made in about 4 hours – including some brief stops to rest, hydrate and take in the glorious views. The total distance covered today will be about 8 miles, which you’ll do in 6 to 7 hours. The terrain is uneven and includes unpaved sections, ancient stone steps and stone-paved trails that wind along cliffs in the highland jungle.
Day 4 - Machu Picchu
Arise early this morning and ascend to Machu Picchu to explore the ancient citadel in the soft morning light as your personal guide sheds light on the glory of the Inca Empire. At this early hour, the day visitors from Cuzco and the Sacred Valley have not yet arrived – allowing for a more powerful and enriching experience. After lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge, situated adjacent to the citadel, you can return to Machu Picchu to explore further at your own pace or choose one of these included adventures:
Mandor Waterfall: This 4-mile hike takes you into the cloud forests along the Vilcanota River. Passing coffee and banana plantations, you’ll have a chance to see river otters, coatis and numerous bird species.
Inca Bridge: This one-hour walk along an ancient stone path west of Machu Picchu leads to a wonderful view of the celebrated Inca Bridge.
Machu Picchu sits at an altitude of about 7,900 feet. Your morning walking tour will last about three hours, covering 1.5 miles. The uneven terrain is largely paved with ancient, Inca-carved stone trails and steps.
Day 5 - Into the Sacred Valley
Delight in some free time or join one of the morning nature walks offered by our hotel. Then head to the train station to board the Vistadome Train for the return journey into the Sacred Valley. You’ll step off in Ollantaytambo, a town that dates to Inca times. Ascend to the imposing fortress that looks down upon this ancient town and hear the dramatic history of how this mighty citadel was successfully defended by the Inca in a fierce battle with the Spanish. Then, check in to the Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba for an enchanting 3-night stay in the heart of the Sacred Valley.
There are some 200 or so stone steps that lead to the top of the Ollantaytambo fortress. Making the ascent is well worth the effort; at the summit, you’ll find some of the finest masonry work of any Inca site and the views over the town and valley are inspiring.
Day 6 - Moray + Maras
Ponder the circular terraces of Moray which scholars speculate may have been used by the Inca to study the effects of temperature and wind on their crops. Continue to Maras for a look into village life in the highlands. Then set out on a 3-hour walk along ancient paths through sweeping farmland that has been cultivated for centuries. Enjoy a picnic lunch surrounded by these golden fields and Andean peaks and then visit the terraced Maras salt mines, worked for generations by the same families. A 1.5-mile descent brings you to the rushing Urubamba River. Learn about chicha, a local beverage that has been distilled from corn since Inca times and have a taste before returning to your hotel.
The guided walk from the village of Maras to the salt mines will cover approximately 4 miles in about 3 hours. A few rest stops to enjoy the vistas and a break for an alfresco lunch are included. The terrain is uneven and unpaved. After visiting the terraced mines, the 1.5-mile descent will take about one hour along uneven paths that wind along the pools.
Day 7 – Exploring Pisac
Today’s privately guided exploration begins high above the Vilcanota River where you’ll explore ancient Inca ruins including Intihuatana – an oval stone structure built around a sacred rock that was used to track the sun’s movements. Enjoy a picnic lunch surrounded by the magnificent mountain scenery of the Sacred Valley and then begin your downhill trek to Pisac. The trail takes you through other Inca sites including buildings that are believed to have been used for religious, military and residential purposes. Reaching the floor of the valley, you’ll explore the artisan market in the town of Pisac before returning to your Sacred Valley resort. You’ll have time to refresh and relax before dinner.
After exploring the Inca ruins of Pisac at 10,700 feet, your ascent to Intihuatana covers a little over a mile and brings you to an elevation of 11,500 feet above sea level. Your 90-minute afternoon descent brings you down to the Pisac market which sits at 9,500 feet in elevation
Day 8 - Ccorccor Village + Back to Cuzco
Enjoy the scenery on this morning’s chauffeured drive to Ccorccor. Here in this quiet community, your private guide will be on-hand to translate and offer insight as you work alongside villagers in their fields; it’s a great opportunity to learn about farming techniques that have changed little over the generations. Weaving and cooking are other activities that offer insight into the daily life and traditions of this Andean village. Continue to Cuzco and check in once again to the 5-star Inkaterra La Casona. Enjoy a free afternoon and a farewell dinner at Bacco. Meals B+D
Day 9 - Farewell, Peru
Your private car and driver will take you to the airport this morning for your onward flight. Meals B