Days
11
Price from
$2,596USD

Peru for the wild at heart. Tune into Lima’s lowdown on a guided walking tour, then do the same in Cusco before hitting the Inca Trail. Explore Ollantaytambo, summit Dead Woman’s Pass and catch Machu Picchu at sunrise. Then find out what’s creeping and crawling about the Amazon.

Your first priority should be ordering a plate of fried cuy (guinea pig). Peruvians eat around 65 million of the critters each year. Cusco’s main cathedral even has a version of the Last Supper showing Christ and his disciples dining on one.


Start
Lima, Peru
Finish
Lima, Peru
Country
Peru
Style
Geckos
Code
GSES
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
(5 reviews)
Ages
Min 18 , Max 39
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • This tour gives you tonnes of time in Cuzco where you can dig into the archaeological awesomeness of this ancient capital (please don't dig at the archaeological sites)

  • Whether you trek the classic Inca Trail, the Quarry Trail or take the scenic train route, trust us, this is one classic adventure that'll make all you left at home jealous

  • Although the Classic Inca Trail is hard work, the rewards are incredible. Imagine walking in the footsteps of the ancient Inca and being treated to wowza views of Machu Picchu at the end

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip involves a lot of hiking and walking, so requires a moderate level of fitness. There are a few different trail options to suit your interests and physical capabilities. Please bring durable footwear suitable for hiking. See the ‘What to Take’ section of the trip notes for more information.

  • You’ll be camping with very basic shared facilities along the Inca Trail (where there are drop toilets and no showers). This is all part of the adventure of being among nature.

  • The Amazon jungle can be very hot, humid and sticky. Prepare by wearing light cotton clothing and don’t forget to bring insect repellent.

  • It’s important to wear sunscreen and other sun protection, and always drink plenty of water.

  • Due to the high altitude of many of places we visit some people can suffer altitude sickness. Some people aren’t affected at all, but if you are, be sure to drink plenty of water and don’t push yourself too hard. If possible, arrive into Lima a few days early to allow yourself time to acclimatise. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information about altitude sickness.

Itinerary

Welcome to Lima, Peru. Your adventure begins with a group meeting this afternoon at around 2 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader. If you're going to be late, please inform hotel reception. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for the meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). After the meeting your leader will take you on an orientation tour of the city. Once you've seen enough of the sights, stop by one of the bars in the Barranco Quarter and bust a traditional Afro-Peruvian move or two.

Notes: Due to the high altitude of many of places we visit some people can suffer altitude sickness, regardless of age, gender or fitness. Please see the 'Is This Trip Right For You?' and 'Fitness' sections in the trip notes for detailed information.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we take a flight to the Inca capital of the world, Cuzco. This city is at a very high altitude (3,400 m ) so you may like to take a little time to acclimatise, whether that be stepping out to see the town or chilling over a bite of some street food. Your leader will take the group on an orientation walk to see the colonial marvels and indigenous foundations of this fascinating city. It’s the oldest continuously inhabited city in South America, so there’s plenty to do and to see.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Cuzco was once the capital of the Inca Empire and is now the considered the archaeological capital of the Americas. It’s also the gateway to Machu Pichu which we’ll be approaching in the coming days. You’ll have another free day to make the most of Cuzco, perhaps by exploring the mysterious Inca ruins of Sacsayhuaman and Tambo Machay. If you run out of ideas, ask your leader for some more optional activities in the area – there’s tonnes of stuff to do!

As this is a combination trip, some travellers may be joining the group today. You may like to meet them at the welcome meeting, then prepare for the epic adventure awaiting you tomorrow.
Optional Activities
  • Full Boleto Turistico Pass, which gives you access to 16 archaeological sites in/around Cuzco (Transport & guides are not included) - PEN135
  • City tour - Cuzco - USD15
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Depending on the travel arrangements you made before the trip, during the next four days you’ll be doing one of the following: hiking the Classic Inca Trail, hiking the Inca Quarry Trail or staying in Cuzco for another two days before taking the train to Aguas Calientes. While away from Cuzco, the bulk of your luggage will be stored at your hotel. If you’re hiking the Inca Trail or the Inca Quarry Trail, the evening before you leave Cuzco you'll receive a small duffle bag to carry your clothes in for the next four days (6 kg maximum).

Your team of porters will carry these bags for you, together with the food and equipment for the trail. Please note that you won't have access to these items until the end of each day, as the porters will always be ahead of the group. If you’re travelling to Aguas Calientes by train, you'll be able to leave most of your luggage at the hotel in Cuzco and only travel with the necessary items during the excursion by train.

Route 1 Classic Inca Trail: 

Today travel by minivan to the 82 km marker and meet your crew of local porters, cook and guide. The first day includes uphill trekking to the campsite, which is at 3,100 metres above sea level. On the way you’ll see the Inca sites of Ollantaytambo, Huillca Raccay and Llactapata, as well as incredible views of snow-capped Veronica Peak. In the evening, unwind at the campsite with a nourishing meal. 

Notes: The Inca Trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people, but please come prepared, as the trail is 45 km long and often steep. Each day's journey generally consists of seven hours of walking (uphill and downhill), with stops for snacks and lunch. Trekking usually begins at 7 am (except on the fourth morning) and you reach the campsite around 5 pm. Accommodation on the trek is camping (three nights). Double tents (twin-share) and foam camping mats will be provided. The porters will set up the tents while the cook prepares meals.

Route 2 Quarry Trail: 

Make an early start today and drive to Choquequilla, a small ceremonial place where Incas worshipped the moon. Drive to the starting point of the trek, Rafq'a, and meet the horsemen who join us on the hike. After an hour’s walk, reach the small community of Socma. Carry on to the Perolniyoc cascade lookout, an opportunity to stop for photos and a food break. Continue to the campsite, which is 3,700 meters above sea level. You should reach the campsite around lunchtime. After lunch, set off to explore the Q'orimarca archaeological site, which once served as a checkpoint to the Incas.

Notes: The Quarry Trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people. The hike is 26 km long in total and its highest pass is at 4,450 meters above sea level. Throughout the trek, horses will carry your gear and camping equipment. The first two nights are spent camping and the third night you will stay at a simple hotel. Double tents (twin-share) and foam camping mats will be provided. The porters will set up the tents while the cook prepares meals.

Route 3 Train:

For those travellers who don’t want to hike or are unable to, spend two extra nights in Cuzco before travelling by bus to Ollantaytambo. From here take a train through the winding Urubamba Valley to the town of Aguas Calientes where you’ll spend the third night.

Notes: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Quarry Trail only.
Included Activities
  • 3 Night / 4 Day Inca Trail (or 2 Night / 3 Day Quarry Trail)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Route 1 Classic Inca Trail: 

This is the most challenging day of the trek, as we ascend a long steep path (approximately five hours) to reach the highest point of the trail. Colloquially known as 'Dead Woman's Pass', Warmiwanusca sits at a height of 4,200 meters above sea level, providing amazing views of the valley below. The group will then descend to the campsite in the Pacaymayo Valley at 3,650 metres.

Route 2 Quarry Trail: 

This is the most challenging and rewarding day of the hike. A three-hour walk takes us to the top of the first pass of Puccaqasa (approximately 4,370 meters high). After enjoying picturesque views of the valley, it’s a short walk before stopping for lunch. Afterwards, make the two-hour hike to Kuychicassa, the highest pass of the trek at 4,450 meters. From here, descend to the sacred site the Incas called Intipunku (Sun Gate), with views of the Nevado Veronica mountain. Head to the campsite, only a stone’s throw away at Choquetacarpo.

Route 3 Train:

Today, perhaps your free day indulging your inner foodie in the eateries of Cuzco. Head to lunch at the arty Fallen Angel restaurant, and if you still have room for dessert, the ChocoMuseo offers tastings and chocolate-marking workshops. All optional activities are at your own cost. 

Notes: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Quarry Trail only.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Route 1 Classic Inca Trail: 

Start the day with a climb through the Pacaymayo Valley to Runkuracay pass (3,980 metres). Enjoy views of the snow-capped mountain of Cordillera Vilcabamba before descending for around two to three hours to the ruins of Sayacmarca. Continue over the trail’s third pass to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca (3,850 metres), also known as 'Town Above the Clouds'. Start the two-hour descent down the Inca steps to the final night's campsite by the Winay Wayna archaeological site.

Route 2 Quarry Trail: 

Today’s hike will all be downhill. The first stop is the incomplete Kachiqata quarry, where the Incas were intercepted by the Spanish. Around midday, come to the end of the trek. Explore the cobbled streets of Ollantaytambo before taking the short train journey to Aguas Calientes. This is where you’ll meet up with the travellers in your group who didn't hike. Visiting the natural hot springs in town is a soothing way to spend the late afternoon. Spend the night in a comfortable hotel before tomorrow’s visit to Machu Picchu.

Route 3 Train:

In the morning take the three-hour train to the town of Aguas Calientes, which is nestled in the hills at the foot of Machu Picchu. For those who want to, there’s time to visit Machu Picchu independently before the guided tour the next day. If you’d like to do this, please advise your group leader at the welcome meeting at the beginning of the trip. Otherwise, you might like to while away the afternoon in the natural hot springs of Aguas Calientes.

Notes: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Quarry Trail only.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Inca Trail:

This is the final, and most spectacular, leg of the trek to Machu Picchu. The day starts before dawn with breakfast at 4.30 am. Say farewell to the porters as they descend to the train station and begin hiking by 5.30 am. The walk to Intipunku (the Sun Gate) takes around two-and-a-half hours. Weather permitting, enjoy unforgettable views over Machu Pichu ‘Lost City of the Incas’ as the sun rises (and before it’s crawling with tourists). 

Route 2 Quarry Trail: 

Depending on weather conditions, take a bus at 5:30 am this morning along the winding road to Machu Picchu. The journey takes around 30 minutes. At Machu Picchu, join up with the travellers in your group who hiked the Classic Inca Trail. If skies are clear, enjoy a spectacular sunrise over the ancient city from the Sun Gate, before going on a guided walk around the ruins.

Route 3 Train:

In the morning at 5.30 am, take a bus up to Machu Picchu. The city was built around 1440 AD as a country retreat for Incan nobility, but there’s evidence that the land had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Take a guided tour around the ruins of temples, palaces and living quarters, and enjoy free time afterwards to wander around on your own before the group returns to Cuzco.

For all trails - after taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it's time to return to Cuzco for a well deserved shower and a pisco sour. Your evening is then free for the last night of your adventure.

Notes: Due to Intrepid's internal safety policy, our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking trips to the mountaintop ruins of Wayna Picchu.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
You'll have another free day in Cuzco. Go shopping, recover or sprawl dramatically on the ground groaning in pain - do whatever you want because the day is yours. If you've got any energy left, you might like to visit Cuzco's many markets, museums, eateries and local sights.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a flight to Puerto Maldonado in the Amazon Jungle, where you'll be staying for two nights. Upon your arrival, the lodge staff will take you to their office in town. Here you can leave most of your luggage in safe storage and continue travelling with a small pack with just the necessary items for your next two nights in the jungle. You’ll then take a motorised canoe upriver to your jungle lodge in the Madre de Dios area. There will be time to unpack and unwind once you get there. The next two days are packed with activities. Your full day in the jungle includes a trek which lasts approximately half a day. At times the paths can get quite muddy and some people can find the trek a little exhausting. Along the way there will be regular stops, and you'll encounter magnificent fauna and flora in their natural habitat. You might spot everything from macaws and monkeys to peccaries, jabirus, otters and thousands of butterflies. The guides can also teach you about the medicinal properties and practical uses of the plants. For lunch you will return to the lodge.
For your night-time excursion, you will venture out in the dark in search of caimans on the Tambopata River. The naturalist guide will use a spotlight in order to locate them on the banks of the river, so you can observe them from a respectable distance.

Notes: We stay at two different lodges in the same area. The activities may vary slightly according to which lodge you are at. Depending on which lodge you are staying at, the included night excursion may be on the night of Day 1 or Day 2. As both of our lodges are in the same area of the jungle, you will see the same wildlife and your overall jungle experience will be the same in either lodge.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
Take a final boat trip today back to Puerto Maldonado to pick up your luggage. Fly over the Andes back to Lima, enjoying some spectacular views of the region. Your tour ends on arrival at Lima Airport and you may leave at any time.

Notes: Please ensure departure flights out of Lima are not booked prior to 9 pm as there’s a chance we won’t be back to Lima in time.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

10 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners

Transport

Boat, Bus, Motorised Canoe, Plane, Public bus, Taxi

Accommodation

Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nights), Hotel (5 nights), Jungle Lodge (2 nights)

Included Activities

  • 3 Night / 4 Day Inca Trail (or 2 Night / 3 Day Quarry Trail)

Reviews

Our Peru Unearthed trips score an average of 4.4 out of 5 based on 5 reviews in the last year.

Un Poco Peru, September 2015

Joanne Wust

Un Poco Peru, September 2015

Cathlyn Simpson

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Important notes

A good level of fitness and pre-trip training is essential for the Inca Trek. You will trek on hilly terrain or mountainous terrain at altitudes of up to 4200 metres, for up to 7 hours per day.

Inca trail Permits:
Very Important - In order to obtain the necessary permit to trek the Inca Trail, we must be provided with accurate details of the passport to be used whilst travelling in Peru. If the name, passport number, nationality or date of birth shown on the permit are different from the passport, park authorities will refuse entry. If passport details have not been supplied, the permit cannot be issued. When we are unable to secure the "Classic Trail", our groups take the "Quarry Trek". This also applies during February each year, when the Classic Trail is closed for restoration.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.