Trip Inspiration

8-Day Adventure to Machu Picchu

Partnering with Mountain Lodges of Peru

Embark on a journey through Peru's ancient history and living culture, taking in the magnificent landscapes of Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Experience a perfect combination of adventure travel and cultural immersion, both in busy cities and remote mountain hamlets.

Trip Highlights

Locations

  • 2 nights in charming Cusco
  • 3 nights in the Sacred Valley and Lares Region
  • 1 night at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
  • 1 final night in Cusco as you make your way home

Activities

  • Private walking tour of Cusco
  • Visits to Sacred Valley villages and colorful markets
  • Discovery at ancient archeological sites
  • Participate in a variety of activities and excursions
  • Exploration at Machu Picchu
About this Trip

At Travel Beyond, we believe your trip should be designed just for you, not for the masses. The itinerary below showcases a trip from Cusco to Machu Picchu and was planned with, Mountain Lodges of Peru, a 10-year old Peruvian company specializing in cultural immersion, lodge-to-lodge journeys, and exploration of nature and its breathtaking landscapes. This particular journey to Machu Picchu will take place in a group of no more than 16 travelers, and our travel consultants can offer recommendations on additional places and experiences that best fit your style. Let us know when we can design a trip just for you!

DAY 1

Cusco (Photo courtesy of Mountain Lodges of Peru)

Arrive Cusco, Peru

Upon arrival in Cusco, you will be met by a Mountain Lodges of Peru representative for your private transfer to Palacio del Inka hotel, where you will spend two nights, including breakfast daily. Enjoy the remainder of your day at leisure, exploring the streets of Cusco and the unique shops and restaurants, all within walking distance of your hotel.

Palacio del InkaMeals: N/A

DAY 2

Cusco

This morning you will be met for your private, half-day Cusco Walking Tour. which starts with a visit to the bustling Plaza de Armas. The plaza was the scene of several important events in the history, including Francisco Pizarro’s proclamation of the conquest of Cusco. Similarly, the Plaza witnessed the execution of Tupac Amaru II, considered to be the most important post-conquest indigenous resistance leader.

Along the plaza stands the Cathedral, an imposing building constructed on the foundations of the palace of Viracocha Inca and built between 1560 and 1664. A look inside demonstrates different architectural styles, ranging from the late-Gothic to Baroque. The cathedral is home to outstanding examples of religious art, especially paintings from the distinctive colonial-era “Cusco School,” such as The Last Supper depicting Jesus and the Twelve Apostles feasting on guinea pig, a traditional Andean delicacy.

Visit Korikancha, or “Temple of the Sun,” the most important place of worship dedicated to the Sun deity during the Inca Empire. Plates of gold once covered its walls made up of tightly fitting, rectangular, exquisitely polished stones. The Spanish built the still functioning convent and church of Santo Domingo directly on top of the pre-Columbian foundations.

The Museo Inka, also known as the Archaeological Museum of Cusco, houses an important collection of artifacts that trace Peruvian history from pre-Inca civilizations and demonstrate the impact of the Conquest and colonial times on these native cultures. After lunch at a local restaurant, you can spend the afternoon at leisure and continue your exploration of this beautiful city.

This evening, you will meet the guides from Mountain Lodges of Peru for a briefing to prepare you for the journey to Machu Picchu. The next several days will be a multi-activity travel experience and you can tailor your adventure by choosing various activities on offer each day. Every activity is designed to be unique, authentic and highly experiential, allowing you to design your own adventure.

Palacio del InkaMeals: Breakfast / Lunch

DAY 3

Cusco to the Sacred Valley

This morning, your adventure starts! Embark from Cusco, with your choice of two options:

Cultural Activity: Stop at Awanacancha for a chance to see the iconic llamas, alpacas, vicuñas and guanacos of the Andes. Learn how their fur is turned into beautiful and useful wares, before heading to Pisac. The town square is often the center of activity throughout this region, but so too is the town market, and none is more alive than the famous market at Pisac! Exploring its unique array of products will inspire you with a small taste of the rich culture yet to be explored on your journey.

Hike: If you are seeking inspiration in nature, you can opt for an invigorating morning hike surrounded by amazing views of the Andes Mountains that guard this magnificent valley. (Duration: 2.5-3hrs / Difficulty Level: Moderate / Highest Elevation: 14,200ft)

After morning activities, the group will meet up at the local village of Viacha. Enjoy exclusive access to this isolated community, where you will learn about its artisanal potato farming practices and enjoy a traditional “Pachamanca” lunch, cooked under hot stones. Next, visit the archaeological complex at Pisac, an afternoon excursion that offers a unique opportunity to explore the complex free of crowds, with the sun setting behind the peaks. After your visit, you will transfer to Lamay Lodge, where you will spend one night. Settle in to your room before meeting for this evening’s guide briefing, followed by a delicious dinner.

Lamay LodgeMeals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

DAY 4

The Sacred Valley to the Lares Region

Now that you have gotten a glimpse of the rich Andean tapestry, today offers the opportunity to go a deeper exploration into the heart of the Lares Valley. A scenic drive into the mountains, along the celebrated ‘Inca Weaver’s Trail,’ allows you to visit the unique and uncrowded archeological site of Ancasmarca, for a guided tour. Continue to Lares, where the group will have lunch together. After lunch, you can choose between the following activities:

Cultural Activity: Visit the traditional and ancient weavers’ village of Choquecancha. Meet with local weavers, enjoy a guided tour of the imposing ruins, and visit the colonial church.

Hike 1: Drive to the small village of Quelquena for easy hike to the lodge. (Duration: 2-2.5hrs / Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate / Highest Elevation: 12,595ft)

Hike 2: Drive to the village of Cuncani for a moderate hike to the lodge. (Duration: 3.5-4hrs / Difficulty Level: Moderate / Highest Elevation: 13,838ft)

Your afternoon activity will end at the remote Huacahuasi Lodge, your home for the evening. The lodge is run as a joint venture with the local community and aims to protect the cultural heritage and the environment. Your time here will give you an interesting insight into the evolving role of the original Andean people.

Huacahuasi LodgeMeals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

 

Peruvian Woman Welcomes Guests (Photo courtesy of Mountain Lodges of Peru)
Peruvian Textiles (Photo courtesy of Mountain Lodges of Peru)

DAY 5

The Lares Region to the Sacred Valley

This morning, you can spend time learning more about the heritage and day-to-day activities of the Huacahuasi community. Then, choose between one of the following full-day activities:

Cultural Activity: Return to Sacred Valley for further exploration. Visit the market in the town of Calca, followed by a stop at an ethnographic museum, featuring the history of Peru’s rich civilizations of the past. You will meet up with the group from Hike One and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in the Urubamba River countryside. Continue to the ancient town of Ollantaytambo, where you can spend time meandering through its charming maze-like streets.

Hike 1: Drive to the Lares Pass for a downhill hike to Totora. Here, you will transfer to the Sacred Valley, where you will meet up with the group from the Cultural Activity. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in the Urubamba River countryside, before continuing to the ancient town of Ollantaytambo, where you can spend time meandering through its charming maze-like streets. (Duration: 3hrs / Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate / Highest Elevation: Downhill from 14,566ft)

Hike 2: From the lodge, embark on a spectacular hike through varied terrain and over a high pass, to the adjacent valley leading to Ollantaytambo, the oldest living city in Latin America. En route, you will enjoy lunch alongside Ipsaycocha Lake. (Duration: 7hrs / Difficulty Level: Moderate to Challenging / Highest Elevation: 14,646ft)

You will transfer to K’uychi Rumi Lodge, where you will spend one night. Settle in to your room before this evening’s guide briefing, followed by another delicious dinner.

K’uychi Rumi LodgeMeals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

DAY 6

Photo courtesy of Mountain Lodges of Peru
Ollantaytambo Fortress (Photo courtesy of Mountain Lodges of Peru)

The Sacred Valley to Aguas Calientes

This morning, you will transfer to your guided tour of Ollantaytambo fortress. From its beginnings as the royal estate of Inca-Emperor Pachacutec, to a stronghold against the Spanish conquistadors for Manco Inca Yupanqui, the temple at Ollantaytambo was regarded by the Incas as one of their most important ceremonial centers. Your guide will lead you through a morning tour of the temple and explain its strategic architectural planning. You will also get a sense of its mystical history – a perfect introduction to the wonder of Machu Picchu.

Around noon, you will embark on a scenic train ride along the famous Urubamba River to Aguas Calientes, the last stop before Machu Picchu. This charming village began as a small railway stop and has evolved into a bustling town still bisected by the train tracks. You will check into the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo hotel, where you will stay for one night. Spend the remainder of your day at leisure, enjoying the charm of Aguas Calientes. Later today. Meet your guides for the evening’s guide briefing, followed by dinner.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo HotelMeals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

DAY 7

Machu Picchu Sanctuary (Photo courtesy of Mountain Lodges of Peru)

Machu Picchu to Cusco

At dawn, you will begin your journey to Machu Picchu with a short uphill bus ride. As you enter the Sanctuary, as locals refer to it, the morning sun rises over the iconic Sun Gate and washes the structures and terraces with resplendent light.

Prepare to be awed by the imposing and skillful architecture of the Watchtower, the Temple of the Sun, and the royal Inca residences, among many others. Take a moment to quietly sit and listen to the wind or to meditate and absorb the mystical energy that envelops you. Your imagination will soar as you contemplate the history of Machu Picchu and its mysterious origins. You may choose to walk to the Sun Gate to experience the citadel from a unique vantage point.

You may also choose to hike Huayna Picchu, the iconic towering mountain behind Machu Picchu, which is often seen in photographs. Your hike will give you dramatic views, stretching from the Urubamba River valley to the edge of the Amazon Jungle. (Duration: 2-2.5hrs / Difficulty Level: Moderate to challenging / Highest Elevation: 8,924ft)

No matter how you choose to spend your time at Machu Picchu, you will be touched by a feeling of peace and rejuvenation which will linger as you make your return journey to Cusco.

Palacio del InkaMeals: Breakfast / Lunch

DAY 8

Depart Peru

Today you will have much of your day at leisure to explore Cusco. Later, you will be transferred to the Cusco Airport for your flight to Lima. Upon arrival in Lima, you will connect to your international flight home.

N/AMeals: Breakfast

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About Mountain Lodges of Peru

Travel Beyond is proud to offer this adventure in partnership with Mountain Lodges of Peru.

The team at Mountain Lodges of Peru is passionate about their mountains and the people who live there. For more than 10 years, they have hosted guests at their mountain lodges, which were designed specifically to afford visitors a seamless experience while they explore their remarkable country. Not only is Mountain Lodges of Peru committed to sharing the celebrated treasures of their country, they are devoted to exceeding guests’ expectations by offering an integrated cultural component that brings these treasures to life. They are convinced that sustainable tourism should be built around a model that empowers local communities, making them active investors in local development projects for the long-term benefit of all.

Learn more about the experience with Mountain Lodges of Peru or contact us for more information on this itinerary!