10 Day Inca Trail Discovery
- Trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, one of the most famous and coveted hiking routes in the world.
- Follow in the footsteps of the Incas and enter the ancient kingdom of Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate.
- Visit rural communities in the Sacred Valley towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo.
- Embark on a private city tour of Cuzco, whose fascinating streets feature a unique concoction of Inca ruins and colonial constructions.
- Scale the ancient stone stairway up Machu Picchu’s neighboring peak, Huayna Picchu.
- Discover the delights of Peruvian cuisine at the country’s finest dining establishments.
- Stay at your choice of signature accommodations throughout your exclusive tour of Peru.
Venture into the heart of the ancient Inca Empire as you challenge yourself to complete the epic and world-famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Tramp along the very same trails that the ancient Inca people – and later the explorer Hiram Bingham – once trod. You’ll see jaw-dropping views of the jagged Andes and revel in the relaxed pastoral atmosphere of Peru’s Sacred Valley even meeting some of its inhabitants, from traditional craftspeople to lovable camelids. Along the way you’ll have the chance to marvel at Machu Picchu as well as some of the region’s other amazing Inca ruins
Get ready to trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu! We’ll be waiting for you as soon as you arrive in Lima. Just head for arrivals and look for a smiling PAD representative, who will be holding a sign with your name. We’ll take you to your hotel and help you with anything you may need to get settled. Then we’ll leave you to enjoy a good night’s sleep – the perfect remedy for a long flight.
Flight from Lima to Cuzco – Enjoy the “Imperial City” of Cuzco!
Fill up with a complimentary buffet breakfast in the hotel before catching your morning flight to Cuzco. The flight time between the two cities is welcomingly short (less than an hour and a half). The views from the plane window – the desert coast before the needle-like peaks of the Andes come into view – are a great distraction to pass the time. When you arrive in Cuzco, we’ll be waiting and will take you on a private tour of the Sacred Valley.
Leaving Cuzco, we head to Chinchero Plateau to explore Chinchero, an important town in Inca times. The most striking remnant of this period is the massive stone wall in the main plaza which has ten trapezoidal niches. There are beautiful views overlooking the Sacred Valley of the Incas, with the Cordillera Urubamba and the snow-capped peak of Salkantay dominating the western horizon. Chinchero is believed to be the mythical birthplace of the rainbow. Visit the salt mines of Maras, a salt-producing center that dates back all the way to pre-Inca times with over 3000 salt pools all carved into the mountain side. Discover Moray’s mysterious concentric circular terraces which, according to some scholars, was an agricultural research center. After lunch in a local restaurant, we will head to the hotel to relax and enjoy the beauty of this famous sacred valley.
Meals: B, L, D
Private Tour – Ollantaytambo, Pisac Ruins and an artisan market.
Today, you’ll get a sense of the wonderful combination of old and new that makes Peru so compelling as you travel around the enchanting Sacred Valley.
First stop on our agenda will be the ancient hillside town of Ollantaytambo, where the influence of its old Inca inhabitants is still evident on the town’s streets. The traditional Inca urban planning remains in place here, and is seen in the street canals, the multi-family stone residences and the solid adoors – a shape used in Inca construction to denote importance and to withstand earthquakes.
From here it’s on to the charming valley town of Pisac, best known for its market – a vibrant, crowded, and colorful spectacle that attracts visitors and residences from all over the country. Pick up some patterned textiles or artful ceramics for friends and families back home, or inspect the fresh and unique produce. After, we’ll head up to see Pisac’s mountainside Inca ruins. Get a close-up look at the impeccably fitted stonework on the site and peer down at the views of the agricultural terraces, which sweep around the slopes.
Later, your guide and driver will bring you back to your hotel for a quiet evening in preparation for the Inca Trail adventure that awaits!
Meals: B, L, D
Your first day trekking the renowned Inca Trail to Machu Picchu!
The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is consistently rated among the best treks in the world and you’ll soon see why. This hiking route traverses several different ecological areas, from the high deserts to tropical rain forest, and the natural surroundings are seriously beautiful. Then there are its mysterious archaeological sites, whose covering of jungle overgrowth give the impression that you are discovering them for the first time. Of course, the Inca Trail saves its greatest reward for last, culminating at the lost city of the Incas: Machu Picchu.
With PAD, you can rest assured that your Inca Trail experience will be a safe one. You’ll be accompanied by experienced guides and aided by support staff, who will ensure your trek is comfortable and pleasant. Native Quechua porters will help you with your luggage and you’ll be provided with delicious, hearty meals to help you keep up your energy levels. We’re also happy to include portable hot showers and massage services – a godsend for weary trekkers. Just make sure to ask!
From the hotel, we will transfer you to the start of the trek (Km 82) where you’ll meet your porters with all the necessary equipment. You’ll set off on the first section of the trail, which weaves through semi-arid terrain along the rushing Urubamba River, providing magnificent views of the looming snow capped mountains. We will leave the Urubamba Valley and set off up the Kusichaca River to our first campsite in Huayllabamba, at 9,842 feet above sea level.
Meals: B, L, D
Second Day on the Inca Trail
Fortify yourself with a hearty breakfast before beginning the ascent up the Warmihuañusca pass, which has an elevation of 4224 meters (13,860 feet) above sea level. From the top of the pass, it is possible to see the trail on the other side of the valley, which leads all the way down to a small Inca complex known as the Runkurakay ruins. Once we reach the end of the gorge, we will stop and settle into our second campsite, Pacaymayo, which is located at 3405 meters (11,181 feet).
After two days of hiking, your leg muscles may be starting to feel the effects. Now would be a good time to make use of that hot shower and elicit the services of the massage therapist who can rub away the tension in your tired muscles.
Meals: B, L, D
Third Day on the Inca Trail.
Your private tour of the Inca Trail continues today as we depart from Pacaymayo. Climb up a short, zigzagging path that leads up to the Runkurakay circular ruins, which you will have seen from a distance earlier on the trail. With no signs of human life here – and only the age-old forests and towering hills watching on – it’s a place where hikers feel especially close to nature. After a rest, we will hit the road again heading toward the best-preserved section of the Inca Trail.
Just a short climb up a flight of steps we arrive at another set of Inca ruins, Sayacmarca, at an elevation of 3640 meters (11,946 feet), a wonder to behold. How the Incas managed to build this complex in such an isolated and breathtakingly scenic setting, is a mystery. From Sayacmarca, we follow the stone road down into the jungle and we continue our trek through the canopied ‘tunnel’ toward the Phuyupatamarca campsite.
Having completed the bulk of this challenging trail, we think it’s time for a little reward. Toast the success of your intrepid adventure before dinner then kick back and relax. Tomorrow will be the final leg of your quest!
Meals: B, L, D
Final Day on the Inca Trail and a Luxury Tour of Machu Picchu
Today will be the final leg of your trek on your Inca Trail to Machu Picchu journey.
First, you’ll drop down past the frequently cloud-shrouded Phuyupatamarca ruins, which sit at 3670 meters (12,045 feet). After a further three hours’ worth of walking, you’ll reach yet another reminder of the Incas who originally carved out this mountain pass. The romantically named Wiñay Wayna – the name means “forever young” in Quechua – is the penultimate Inca site on the trail, and features picture-perfect terraces that cascade down the mountainside like a giant staircase. We’ll spend some time exploring Wiñay Wayna before continuing on toward the Inti Punku, or Sun Gate, at Machu Picchu.
You’ll be elated at having made it to this cherished site! It’s hard to not be affected by the scene: the passing clouds and lighting lend the citadel almost otherworldly appearance. Once you’ve eaten, you’ll enter the site proper with your private guide. After an afternoon of exploring, you’re bound to be tired. Luckily, you won’t have far to go to reach your bed for the night. You’ll be experiencing a luxury Machu Picchu travel experience, staying in the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, which is the only hotel with an exclusive location next door to this New World Wonder!
Meals: B, L, D
Hike one of the Coveted, Limited-Entry Hikes at Machu Picchu
Lace up your hiking boots again, for we have secured hiking permits for you to scale the iconic sugarloaf peak in the background of the classic Machu Picchu postcard photo – Huayna Picchu! Delight in an alternate perspective of Machu Picchu from the top of what is certainly a true feat of engineering.
Descend to Aguas Calientes for lunch and your return train to Ollantaytambo, Cuzco. We will be waiting in the station for you and will bring you to your hotel for an evening at leisure.
Meals: B, L
Private walking tour of Cuzco
You’ll spend day nine getting to know Cuzco, a city that seems to straddle the divide between the past and the future. On the one hand, it wears its history on its sleeve with Inca stonework, traditionally dressed locals and grand colonial churches. On the other hand, it is thoroughly cosmopolitan with trendy bars, world-class restaurants and familiar multinational names. The contradiction of old and new is a curious, but winning mix. You’ll tour the city with a private guide, who will show you the extent of Cuzco’s contrasts and help explain how it ended up as it is today. You’ll see the Santo Domingo monastery, which sits atop what was once the most opulent Inca temple in the region, as well as the treasure-laden Pre-Columbian Art Museum, the famous 12-angled stone (which you may recognize from the label of Cusqueña beer) and the cooler, more alternative city quarters, such as the trendy San Blas district.
Once you’ve gotten your bearings with the help of your guide, you’ll be free to spend the afternoon exploring on your own or simply relaxing back at the hotel. At a loss for what to do next? Ask your guide for suggestions– they can point you in the direction of some more of Cuzco’s must-see sights or suggest a good spot to grab a drink or an early dinner.
* You can continue your private tour of Cuzco with a trip out to the nearby fortress of Sacsayhuaman, the temple of Q’enko, and Puca Pucara – Consult with your PAD Travel Designer to include this in your personalized itinerary.
Fly from Cuzco to Lima and explore Miraflores before heading home
You’ll be transferred to Cuzco airport in the morning for your return flight to Lima. In Lima, you’ll be met by your PAD host who’ll take you to Miraflores, where there are tons of places to wile away your few remaining hours. Shop in the markets and fashionable boutiques, go for one last Peruvian supper or simply people-watch from the Pacific-facing parks.
As your personalized trip to Peru draws to a close, we will transport you to Lima airport so you can catch your flight home.
- 10 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 8 dinners.
- Pick up from Cuzco hotel on day 1.
- Expert bilingual guide for each section.
- Group medical kit.
- Comfortable and central hotels.
- Private internal transportation.
- Group camping equipment.
- Porters to carry personal gear.
- Sightseeing and site entrance fees as listed (including Machu Picchu entrance fee)
- International and domestic flights and taxes.
- Travel Insurance (compulsory)