- Explore Machu Picchu & Cusco
- Visit an ancient Inca Fortress
- Stroll through an Artisans' Market
- Visit villages in the Sacred Valley
- Travel with a private guide
High in the Peruvian mountains the cloud forest opens up, revealing the most well-known ruins of the Incan empire: Machu Picchu. Visit the crown jewel of Peru with the perfect balance of planned activities and independent exploration. You will begin your journey through the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Pisac, a colorful, cozy town known for its indigenous markets and agricultural ruins. A picturesque train ride will bring you to an eco-lodge just outside of Machu Picchu for an afternoon of relaxation, with a nature walk or some time in a natural sweet lodge sauna, before your guided tour of Machu Picchu the following day. Spend your last day exploring Cusco’s cobblestone streets before flying out, satisfied with your well-rounded Machu Picchu adventure.
- TRIP LENGTH7 days
- SUPERIOR PRICEFrom $2,690 (4/5-star hotels)
- STANDARD PRICEFrom $2,190 (3-star hotels)
- INTERNAL AIRFAREFrom $490 (additional)
- GROUP SIZEPrivate
- Private tour of Machu Picchu, Cusco and Sacred Valley with professional Andean Discovery guide(s)
- Accommodations based on double occupancy
- All activities, transfers, and entrance fees as per itinerary
- Most meals
- International round-trip airfare to Lima
- Fees for passport and travel insurance
Upon arriving in Lima this evening, a member of our staff will transfer you to your hotel, just steps away from the airport.
Overnight: Lima Airport Wyndham
Note: Superior lodging is listed. Please contact us for information about Standard lodging.
The capital of the Inca Empire awaits! This morning, Andean Discovery staff will assist with your check-in for the spectacular one-hour flight over the Andes Mountains to Cusco. Upon arrival, you’ll be met by your local Andean Discovery guide and driver and begin the journey toward the Sacred Valley. Extending from Cusco to the intriguing 15th-century city of Machu Picchu and surrounded by the Andes, the Sacred Valley is home to archeological sites and small towns alike. Prepare to experience this balance of what was and what is—ancient civilization and modern life.
The first stop is Sacsayhuaman, featuring some of the largest and most impressive stonework of the Incas. Marvel at the massive limestone boulders and ponder how the Incas transported, carved, and meticulously positioned the stones so that not even a sheet of paper fit between them. Next, visit a Quechua community and participate in a ceremonial offering to Mother Earth. Learn about the important role of weaving in Peruvian culture before continuing your descent into the Sacred Valley. Enjoy a traditional lunch in a private estate and peruse its fine collection of Inca and colonial artifacts. Later this afternoon, you’ll check in to your room at an Andean paradise with fragrant gardens and mountain views.
Overnight: Sol y Luna Lodge & Spa (B, L)
This morning. head to Moray, an important Inca ruins site whose multi-terraced architecture made it an advanced bio-agricultural laboratory in its time. The changes in altitude between levels allowed for experimentation with different conditions, and ultimately allowed the Inca to perfect their farming techniques.
We’ll then visit a rural Quechua village and participate in a Pachamanca ceremony with community members. This revered tradition pays homage to Mother Earth by cooking meats and produce in a baking hole underground using heat from stones that have been left in the fire. Enjoy delicious local potatoes, lamb, chicken, corn, beans, and cheese, and learn about how this custom celebrates the fertility of the earth. After lunch, we head to the incredible salt ponds of Maras. Since before the Inca, this mountainside cascade of thermal springs has provided salt for the area’s residents. Return to your hotel in the afternoon and relax on your own.
Overnight: Sol y Luna Lodge and Spa (B, L, D)
This morning continue down the Sacred Valley to Ollantaytambo, home to the royal estate of the ninth Inca, Pachacuti, one of the most important Inca rulers because of his role in expanding the empire throughout South America. Today, Ollantaytambo is thought to be the only remaining example of pre-Colombian urban planning. It still retains the original street plan and foundations designed by the Incas. Later this morning, experience one of the world’s great train rides as you embark on the journey to Machu Picchu. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the views as the mighty Urubamba River carves its way through the Andean peaks outside your window. Descend into the cloud forest and arrive in Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu. Our staff will assist you to your boutique eco-lodge, Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, situated in 13 acres of cloud forest garden along the Urubamba River. This afternoon is free to spend as you desire, with opportunities to visit thermal hot springs, a natural sweat lodge sauna, and a serene orchid pavilion. For those who just can’t wait, an optional visit to Machu Picchu can also be scheduled during this time. (Additional cost for extra Machu Picchu visit today and must be booked at least 30 days in advance.)
Overnight: Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel (B, L, D)
Take a short bus ride through tropical mountain forests to reach Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas. Flanked by steep Andean peaks on all sides and the mighty Urubamba River gorge below, it’s no wonder the Spanish were never able to find this secret Incan hideaway. Journey back in time with a walking tour through the complex and learn about the mysterious origins of this other-worldly citadel, which once served as a private retreat for Inca royals and their families. Marvel at the intricate and sophisticated stonework of its dwellings, sculptures, terraces and waterways, all of which make Machu Picchu one of the greatest architectural achievements of all time. Visit the Temple of the Three Windows, the Sacred Plaza, and the famous Intihuatana stone, a sacred stone carved by the Inca to mark the solstice and determine the beginning and end of each agricultural year. After exploring Machu Picchu, relax and watch the clouds of mist roll in over the mountains or opt for an exhilarating hike up to the summit of Wayna Picchu for an unparalleled aerial view of the ruins. Return to Cusco this evening. Dinner on your own.
Overnight: Palacio del Inka (B, L)
This morning you will explore Cusco, the capital of the Inca empire and known as the “Navel of the World” in the Quechua language. Quechua-speaking descendants of the Incas fill the streets, proof that this ancient culture is still vibrant today. Meet your guide and wander down cobbled walkways admiring the architecture, a unique blend of Inca and Spanish influences. The first stop is a local, open-air market where Cusqueños buy their produce, meats, and cheeses. Discover exotic fruits, and several varieties of Quinoa, the Andean superfood, as well as unusual items like guinea pig and live frogs. Sample local delicacies, such as Chuta bread, which is cooked in traditional wood-burning ovens. Later this morning, visit the Coricancha, a temple dedicated to the sun that was once covered in sheets of gold and filled with golden figures and statues.
This afternoon enjoy some free time to explore Cusco on your own. Explore the colorful artisan shops of the San Blas neighborhood and search for the famed twelve sided stone. Lunch and dinner not included. Later this afternoon you will be transferred to the airport in time for your flight to Lima. Upon arrival in Lima, check in for your international flight.
Optional activity: Time permitting, you may choose to visit the market with a professional chef, who will show you how to select the best ingredients and give you a cooking class to prepare a traditional recipe. This activity must be requested in advance for an additional cost.
Ideally located within Jorge Chavez International Airport, the Lima Airport Wyndham Hotel offers guests first class comfort and service.
The charming Sol & Luna Boutique Spa is set amidst blooming flowers and a backdrop of canyon walls.
This boutique, luxury eco-lodge is located just steps from the train station in Aguas Calientes, but it's a world apart.
Located in the historic center of Cusco, this storied mansion dating back nearly five centuries is a comfortable and luxurious location to lay your head.
Fly over the mysterious Nazca Lines and explore Paracas National Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Natural Site. A boat trip to the Ballestas Islands offers great perspective of the desert coastline and up-close viewing of coastal birds, sea lions, and fur seals.
Hike on the Inca Trail to the lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu, on this epic one-day journey. Sleep in eco-lodges instead of camping.