Inca Trail Express from Lima


Travel to Peru and retrace the steps of the Incas – Peru's fascinating ancient civilisation. Beginning in Lima, the capital of Peru flanked by Spanish colonial architecture, you’ll journey through the fertile heartland of the Sacred Valley, see the magnificent Ollantaytambo ruins and take on your own trail (the Inca Trail, Quarry Trail or scenic train route) to Machu Picchu – nestled high in the Andes, this is one of the Seven Wonders of the World! End it all in Cusco, a foodie’s paradise and cultural hub of nightlife. This eight-day Peruvian tour gets you closer to the secrets of the elusive civilisation that once resided here.

8 days, from

$1,327

per person

GROUP SIZE

16 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

4
Trip code: GGTBC
Style: Original
Theme: Walking & Trekking

Details

Countries Visited:  Peru
Accommodation: Route 1 Inca Trail: Camping with basic facilities (3 nights), Hotel (4 nights). Route 2 - Quarry Trail: Camping with basic facilities (2 nights), Hotel (5 nights). Route 3 - Train option: Hotel (7 nights)
Transportation: Plane , private vehicle , taxi , train
Included Meals:

  • 6 breakfasts
  • 4 lunches
  • 3 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 16

  • Lima’s grand colonial facades, Spanish houses and endless culture make it one of the prettiest cities to explore in Latin America.

  • Explore Cusco, South America's oldest continuously inhabited city. The city has ancient foundations, an interesting blend of Incan and colonial influences, and seemingly endless things to do and see.

  • Adjust to the altitude with a pisco sour and some ceviche to get to know Peruvian cuisine.

  • This trip gives both trekkers and non-trekkers the chance to visit Machu Picchu with Inca Trail*, Quarry Trail and train options.

  • Travel through the Sacred Valley - known for its steep and soaring scenery, its mystical significance for the Inca and the indigenous cultures that still reside here.

  • Explore the greatest icon of ancient South America, Machu Picchu, on a guided tour.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Lima

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Lima, Peru. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, 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). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

After the meeting, go on a walking tour of downtown Lima, one of the most beautiful cities in South America, and an optional dinner with your group. Be sure to get your hands in Peru's national dish of ceviche during your stay. As there's little time spent in Lima, you may like to arrive a few days early to see the sights, including the chic suburb of Miraflores, Central Park, Lovers' Park and the National Museum.

Day 2: Cusco (3450m)

This morning you'll take an included flight from Lima to Cusco.

Welcome to Cusco. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm where you'll meet your tour leader and travel group. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. After this important meeting, get acquainted with this charming city's intriguing blend of cultures on a guided walking tour with your leader. Check out some of Cusco's main attractions, as well as its lesser-known sights such as the Qoricancha temple, San Pedro market, the main square, the 12 Angled Stone, Regocijo Square and San Blas Square. End the walking tour with a visit to the Chocolate Museum where you get to sample hot chocolate made from local cacao beans. There’s also a small store where you can shop handicrafts and artisanal chocolate products. Don't miss the opportunity to sample mate de coca (coca tea) while here.

Day 3: Sacred Valley - Ollantaytambo (2792m)

Travel by private bus through the Sacred Valley for about two hours. Known as Wilcamayo to the Incas, the valley has been a source of livelihood to the locals for hundreds of years. You’ll see maize crops covering the terraced valley walls and the sacred river beneath. Stop for lunch in a local community, where you'll also get the chance to learn about their traditional lifestyle and maybe wrap your tongue around a few words of the Quechua language. If it’s market day, you'll have time to browse the local handicrafts on offer, such as beads and ponchos. Continue your journey to the town of Ollantaytambo where we check out the town’s archaeological site – a magnificent example of Incan urban planning – which includes remnants of an Inca city and soaring views over the present-day settlement. Spend the night in Ollantaytambo.

Day 4: Inca Trail (3100m) or Quarry Trail (3700m) or Cusco

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 Inca Trail (Route 1), hiking the Quarry Trail (Route 2) or staying in Cusco for two days before taking the train to Aguas Calientes (Route 3). All routes visit Machu Picchu.

While away from Cusco, the bulk of your luggage will be stored at your hotel. If you’re hiking the Inca Trail or the Quarry Trail, the evening before you leave Cusco you'll receive a small duffle bag to carry your clothes in for the next four days (5kg maximum). Your team of porters will carry these bags for you, together with the food and equipment for the trail. 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 Cusco and travel with only a small bag for the overnight stay in Aguas Calientes.

Route 1 Inca Trail:
Today travel by minivan to the 82 kilometre marker and meet your crew of local porters, cook and guide. The first day includes uphill trekking to the campsite, which is at 3100m 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 prepared by your cook.

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 3700 metres 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.

Route 3 Cusco:
After spending the night in Ollantaytambo, take a short drive to the town of Pisac. Pisac is well known for its market. Here you’ll have the opportunity to shop for souvenirs and perhaps try some local empanadas. Arrive back into Cusco in the afternoon, where your leader will take you to San Pedro Market in order to buy some things for a picnic tomorrow.

Day 5: Inca Trail (3650m) or Quarry Trail (3600m) or Cusco

Route 1 Inca Trail:
This is the most challenging day of the trek as you ascend a long steep path (approximately 5 hours) to reach the highest point of the trail. Colloquially known as 'Dead Woman's Pass', Warmiwanusca sits at a height of 4200 metres above sea level, providing amazing views of the valley below. The group will then descend to the campsite in the Pacaymayo Valley at 3650 metres.

Route 2 Quarry Trail:
This is the most challenging and rewarding day of the hike. A 3 hour walk takes us to the top of the first pass of Puccaqasa (approximately 4370 metres 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 4450 metres. From here, descend to the sacred site the Incas called Intipunku. This is a sun gate, where the sun will stream through at particular times of the year and there are views of the Nevado Veronica mountain year-round. The Incas built several sun gates, the most notable overlooking Machu Picchu. Head to the campsite, only a stone’s throw away and at 3600 metres.

Route 3 Cusco:
Today, take a taxi to Tambomachay, an archaeological site just outside of Cusco. From here you’ll take a short downhill walk (between 1 and 3 hours) back to Cusco. On the way, stop to admire some of the archaeological sites, including Puka Pukara, Qinqu Quenqo and Saksaywaman. Arrive back in Cusco in the afternoon and enjoy some free time to go shopping, or perhaps visit Merida, Mendivil and Olave art galleries and workshops. Your tour leader will be able to give you some suggestions.

Day 6: Inca Trail (2650m) or Aguas Calientes (2040m)

Route 1 Inca Trail:
Start the day with a climb through the Pacaymayo Valley to Runkuracay Pass (3980 metres). Enjoy views of the snow-capped mountain of Cordillera Vilcabamba before descending for around 2 to 3 hours to the ruins of Sayacmarca. Continue over the trail’s third pass to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca (3850 metres), also known as 'Town Above the Clouds'. Start the 2 hour descent down the Inca steps to the final night's campsite by the Winay Wayna archaeological site.

Route 2 Quarry Trail to Aguas Calientes:
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. Spend the night in a comfortable hotel before tomorrow’s visit to Machu Picchu.

Route 3 Train to Aguas Calientes:
After a drive to Ollantaytambo (about 1.5 hours), catch a train through the winding Urubamba Valley to Aguas Calientes (another 1.5 hours). The city is nestled in the cloud forest at the foot of Machu Picchu. This is where you’ll meet up with the travellers in your group who hiked the Quarry Trail. Spend the night in a comfortable hotel before tomorrow’s visit to Machu Picchu.

Day 7: Machu Picchu (2430) - Cusco

Route 1 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 am. Say farewell to the porters as they descend to the train station and then begin hiking by 4.30 am. Once the final checkpoint opens at 5 am, begin the final leg of the trek. The walk to Intipunku (the Sun Gate) takes around 2.5 hours. Weather permitting, enjoy unforgettable views over the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ as you enter Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate.

Route 2 Machu Picchu to Cusco:
Take an early bus up to Machu Picchu at 5.30 am. 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.

Route 3 Machu Picchu to Cusco:
Take an early bus up to Machu Picchu at 5.30 am. 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.

For all travellers, after taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it's time to catch the bus to Aguas Calientes where you’ll stop for lunch together. From here, take a scenic train ride to Ollantaytambo, then drive back to Cusco, arriving in the evening.

Day 8: Cusco

Your tour comes to an end today and there are no activities planned. You may like to stay on for a few extra days to make the most of your visit here. We’ll be happy to assist in booking accommodation (subject to availability).