Experience two of the Incas’ greatest accomplishments on this 12-day Great Inca Trail and Machu Picchu tour.
First, follow in the footsteps of the Incas on a remote and pristine section of the Great Inca Trail, a magnificent engineering marvel that very few people have ever visited. You will spend 5 days hiking on the Incas’ great road, camping at their ancient refuges and depending on llamas to carry your luggage. Then fly to Cuzco, the ancient Inca capital, to experience the wonders of the city, the Sacred Valley and the magnificent citadel at Machu Picchu in private, guided comfort.
Day 1 - Arrival in Lima, Peru
Welcome to Peru! Today is a transit day, and after a long flight you're probably looking forward to a nice meal and some relaxation. The Costa del Sol hotel is located right across the street from the airport and is the best choice for travelers connecting to Huaraz.
Day 2 - Lima to Huaraz
In the morning, you will just need to walk back across the street to check in for your flight to Huaraz, the gateway to the Qhapaq Ñan aka the Great Inca Trail. Upon arrival in Huaraz, you’ll be met at the airport by your guide and driver and escorted to your Huaraz hotel. After settling in, enjoy an afternoon tour of Huaraz.
Day 3 - The Great Inca Trail – Castillo to Soledad de Tambo
Heading out early from your Huaraz hotel, you will be driven to the small town of Castillo, where you will begin the trek. You will climb three hours along the Inca Trail towards Soledad de Tambo, where you will arrive in time for lunch. This Inca “tambo” will also be your camp for the evening, allowing you to explore the Inca ruins and speak with the archeologists on site about their exciting new discoveries.
Day 4 - The Great Inca Trail –Soledad de Tambo - Quenuajirca
Departing one Inca Tambo, you will follow a mind-boggling section of the Qhapaq Ñan that reaches fifty feet in width, with stunning views of high Andean peaks. After spending most of your morning climbing to the 15,000-foot pass at Wagapunta, you will arrive to camp at Quenuajirca by the afternoon. There you will visit the master weaver, Juan Araujo to learn about his work and life on The Great Inca Trail, before enjoying a hearty meal against a magnificent mountain backdrop and retiring to the comfort of your tent.
Day 5 - The Great Inca Trail – Quenuajirca to Tambo Grande
After descending to the small town of Ayash, you will start your climb to the high Andean puna at Huamanin. The Great Inca Trail then follows the Taparaco river basin to Tambo Grande where you will camp under a sky that illuminates the Milky Way and surrounding stars, allowing you to understand how the Incas’ Cosmic vision defined their society and religion.
Day 6 - The Great Inca Trail – Tambo Grande to Isco
Continuing down the Great Inca Trail that runs along the Taparaco river, you will experience one of the most impressive sections of Inca road anywhere in the Empire. It’s a day where nature and Inca engineering turn your walk into a mystical experience that immerses you in an Andean world that very few people ever experience. You will arrive to San Lorenzo de Isco by early afternoon, in time for lunch and one of our legendary afternoon teas.
Day 7 - The Great Inca Trail – Isco to Huanuco Pampa
After arriving at Colpa, where the Taparaco and Vizcarra rivers intersect, in the late morning you will climb to Huánuco Pampa. This extremely important Inca administrative center boasts thousands of constructions built around an impressive Ushnu and is an excellent example of imperial Inca architecture. After a two-hour tour of the fascinating site, you will go by private vehicle back to Huaraz to relax before your departure the following day.
Day 8 - Huaraz to Cuzco
You will be picked up from your hotel and driven to the Huaraz airport for your flight to Cuzco (via Lima), the capital city of the former Inca Empire. Upon arrival in Cuzco, you’ll be met at the airport by your guide and driver and escorted to your Cuzco hotel. Cuzco is one of the most charming towns in all of South America, and extremely pedestrian and visitor friendly. We’d love to recommend the city's best options for delicious dining and exciting shopping.
Day 9 - Private Half Day Cuzco City Tour
During your tour of Cuzco, the capital of the Incan Empire, you’ll visit Sacsayhuaman, an immense Incan complex with impressive stonework; Koricancha, one of the most important Incan temples (the walls were once actually coated in gold!). You’ll also stop at Cuzco's Cathedral where you'll learn about the intricacies of the Cuzco school of art and view fascinating historical artifacts.
Day 10 - Private Sacred Valley Tour
Immerse yourself in the wonders of the Sacred Valley with a tour that includes visits to the ancient circular agricultural terraces of Moray, the functioning salt mines at Maras, and the ruins and village of Ollantaytambo. Departing from Ollantaytambo, enjoy a scenic train ride through the Sacred Valley to the town of Machu Picchu before checking into your hotel at Aguas Calientes.
Day 11 - Private Machu Picchu Tour
This is the moment you’ve been waiting for! Uncover the secrets of Machu Picchu during a guided tour of the most famous of all Incan ruins. You’ll visit the most important parts of the citadel to learn how and why they were constructed. After the tour, you’ll have time to further explore the ruins or sit back and enjoy the magic of Machu Picchu. You can also hike to the top of Huayna Picchu for a bird’s eye view of the ruins. The steep path takes about an hour and a half to ascend. Departing from Machu Picchu town, enjoy a train ride to Ollantaytambo. Upon arrival at the train station you will be met and transferred to your Cuzco hotel.
Day 12 - Cuzco to Lima
You will be picked up from your hotel and driven to the Cuzco airport for your flight to Lima. (Optional recommended excursion) Depending on the time of your international flight out, you can opt to take a private tour of Lima's key sites. You will visit the Larco Archaeological Museum, the San Francisco Monastery and its catacombs, Lima's historic colonial squares, and the picturesque waterfront district Miraflores.