Parting Shots: Custom Inca Trail Trip

Machu Picchu Trips

After returning home from a phenomenal custom Inca trail trip in Peru, Mary Fransen took time to reflect on the incredible memories she and her friends created not too long ago. She remembered hiking curiously on paths forged hundreds of years ago, exchanging stories with friends, and marveling at intricate agricultural terraces and magnificent ruins. Mary shares with us that their guide Wilfredo, “had such a passionate connection to the trails, the Incan sites, and the history that he shared with us. And, is seemed like there was no joy greater for him than to share this with us. At pinnacle locations, he pulled out a flute that he had made himself and played for us. He created such a heart-felt connection with our group. Truly, one of the most unforgettable people I have met while traveling.”

Mary and friends explored the Sacred Valley, walked through bustling markets in Cusco and hiked the famous Inca trail. Their time in Peru was very special, read their full itinerary and see more photos below.


Custom Inca Trail Trip: Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Cusco & More

Day 1 USA – Lima
Upon your evening arrival to Lima at 11:05 p.m. you will be met at the airport by a Knowmad Adventures representative and assisted in crossing the street and checking in to your hotel adjacent the terminal.

  • No meals – Costa del Sol Ramada

Day 2 Lima – Sacred Valley

Sonesta Posada del inca Hotel
You will be met in your hotel lobby at 7:40 a.m. and assisted in checking in for your flight. After a short morning flight to the former Incan capital of Cusco you’ll be met at the airport and taken by private van through the Sacred Valley of the Andes where you’ll have lunch and continue on to your accommodations in the Sacred Valley. Departing for the Incan sites around the town, you’ll visit the fortress Sacsayhuaman and its megalithic stone terraces; Kenko, with its carved stone surfaces and subterranean altars; the Puka Pukara fortress that protected the royal capital from attacks; and the water temple, Tambo Machay. You will have the afternoon at your leisure and may choose to explore the area on your own or to rest and relax as you acclimatize to the altitude.

  • B, L – Sonesta Posadas del Inca

Day 3 Sacred Valley Villages and the Weavers of Amaru

Custom Peru Trip Custom Private Peru Trip

Private Custom Peru Trip
After breakfast you’ll head by van along the Sacred Valley past the communities of Calca, Coya, and Lamay. You’ll start your day at the Pisac Market- one of Peru’s largest and most vibrant markets- where you can bargain with Andean campesinos for handcrafted wares. The market is best in these morning hours.

After exploring the market, the van goes completely off the map winding up a small dirt road, which takes you through remote Andean villages and arrives to the community of the Amaru people. Share lunch with the community leaders. This isolated community holds strongly to their ancient customs and practices a largely subsistence lifestyle on the slopes of the Andes. The Amaru will proudly open their village to you where you will learn of their lifestyle and traditions. Among other things, take part in gathering plants used as natural dyes, learn of their medicinal and culinary properties, and see how Peru’s world-renowned textiles are woven and brought to life. Afterwards, hike along the high- mountain terraces and through the ruins as you enjoy a beautiful sunset.

  • B, L – Sonesta Posadas del Inca

Day 4 Inca Trail – Sacred Valley – Llaqtapata
You will be picked up from your hotel at 8:00 a.m. Geared up and ready to go, today you begin the Inca Trail departing in the morning to Piscaycucho. After meeting the porters, hike through a little- visited section of the trail gently winding up the valley until arriving to the Incan ruins at Q’oriwayrachina – first discovered in 2001. Enjoy a picnic lunch surrounded by stones from more than 200 structures. Crossing the Urubamba River at Q’ente arrive to an isolated campsite amidst Inca terracing and nearby the archaeological sites of Wayna Q’ente and Llaqtapata which you can visit at your leisure in the evening. Hike details: 6.8 miles, approximately 5-6 hours

  • B, L, D – camping

Day 5 Llaqtapata to Llulluchapampa

Custom Inca Trail Trip     Custom Inca Trail Trip
Continuing up the Cusicacha Valley you reach the small indigenous community of Huallabamba. After glimpsing into the life and traditions of the high Andes, make your ascent to a large Pampa below the first pass to where your camp awaits pirched for breathtaking sunset and sunrise views of Mount Huaynay. Ascending this narrow hanging valley with views to the cloudforest, you’ll see the very rare Andean Quenua tree. Hike details: 5.6 miles, 6 hours

  • B, L, D – camping

Day 6 Llulluchapampa to Phuyupatamarca

Custom Inca Trail Travel

Knowmad Adventures Travel
Begin the most challenging day of hiking with a steady ascent until rewarded with big Andean views from the 13,692-ft Warmiwanusqa Pass. From here head down towards the Pacamayo River and up the other side of the valley to the Runkuraqay atop the second pass. Visit the Sayacmarca ruins after just entering the cloudforest. A beautiful location overlooking the Aobamba Valley, it affords a respite for a leisurely walk through the imposing structures often enshrouded by clouds. Continuing along the ridge you’ll see the majestic Mount Salkantay and the silhouette of Mount Pumasillo to the north on the horizon. Arriving to a small village on the edge of the clouds, continue just beyond to your isolated camp. Hike details: 8.7 miles, 7-8 hours

  • B, L, D – camping

Day 7 Phuyupatamarca to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu Trips
Begin todays trek by passing the Phuyupatamarca ruins and winding sharply down into increasingly dense cloudforest to the well-restored ruins of Winay Wayna. Continue on until you cross through Intipunku – the Sun Gate – as the Incas did long ago for your first bird’s-eye view to the Lost City of Machu Picchu. Arriving to the Sun Gate in the evening helps avoid crowds and allows you to first see Machu Picchu when it is less visited. From here you will descend to Machu Picchu Pueblo to toast your feat of retracing the ancient Incan pathway to Machu Picchu and your upcoming full-day exploration of the site. You will meet back up with Annette Ellstrom at the hotel. Hike details: 8.1 miles, 8 hours

  • B, L, D – El Mapi

Day 8 Machu Picchu

Travel to Machu Picchu

South America Travel Knowmad Adventures
Early risers can watch the sunrise from the Machu Picchu citadel. This incredibly vast archeological site – lost to the world until well into the twentieth century – is perched amongst Andean peaks and lush cloud forest making it one of the most breathtaking sights in the world. You’ll have the opportunity to get a complete guided tour of the site as you begin to unlock the mystery of the Inca, and will also have plenty of time to explore the ruins on your own. Lunch at the adjacent Sanctuary Lodge means you’re able to enjoy the whole day without leaving awe-inspiring Machu Picchu. After descending from the ruins, take the afternoon train to the Sacred Valley continuing by private van to Cusco for the evening.

  • B, L –Marqueses Boutique Hotel

Day 9 Cusco

Custom Personalized Travel South America
Enjoy the day at your leisure independently exploring one of South America’s most dynamic cities. Visit Incan architectural jewels such as Korikancha – the temple of the sun, shop at Andean markets, enjoy incredible Peruvian cuisine, and see the colonial cathedrals around the Plaza Central.

  • B – Marqueses Boutique Hotel


Day 10 Cusco – Lake Titicaca
You will be picked up at the hotel at 8:55 a.m. and taken to the airport for your morning flight to Juliaca. Visit the charming town of Lampa and after a short and scenic drive, arrive at your lakeside hotel for a relaxing evening.

  • B, L – Casa Andina Private Collection Puno

Day 11 Kayaking Lake Titicaca – Taquile Island

Kayaking Lake Titicaca Knowmad Adventures
Heading out early (you will be picked up at 7:30 a.m.) you’ll leave Puno driving along the lake to isolated Llachon Peninsula and passing through traditional villages. Start kayaking from the point and cross the azure waters to Isla Taquile. After a few hours paddling around the island you disembark, hike through the island villages and enjoy a typical lunch on Taquile Island before departing by boat to your homestay lodge on the island of Luquina. Enjoy a typical dinner of delicious products harvested locally and to learn of the islands lifestyle and traditions. Visit islands chacras or farms and get to know an indigenous lifestyle mostly unchanged for centuries.

  • B, L, D – rural homestay lodge – Luquina Island

Day 12 Uros Floating Islands
Continue kayaking around the island in the morning if you wish at 9 a.m. In the afternoon you’ll enjoy a traditional lunch before taking a local-style boat to the authentic and little-visited Uros Titinos floating islands. These islands are actually totora reed vegetation piled atop itself forming the islands which float amongst the lake and support small bands of Uros people. It is believed that they have lived on the islands for centuries after fleeing the stronger Aymara civilization. The lives of the Uros people are interwoven with these reeds, which are partially edible and are also used to make their homes, boats, and crafts. Return to Puno in the evening.

  • B, L – Casa Andina Private Collection Puno

Day 13 Puno – Lima
Head out from Puno at 8:30 a.m. visiting the Sillustani burial towers overlooking Lake Umayo, charming Lampa, and continue on to the airport for your afternoon flight back to Lima. Upon arrival to Lima you will reclaim your baggage and exit baggage claim. A Knowmad representative will be there with a farewell surprise before assisting you in checking in for your overnight flight home.

  • B

Day 14 Arrive Home


Hasta Pronto, Knowmad Adventurers

South America Travel - Knowmad AdventuresKnowmad Adventures works closely with independent-minded travelers creating innovative trips to South America. Our specialists in Patagonia, ChileMachu Picchu, Peru, Argentina, the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador and Antarctica are eager to collaborate and create a trip as unique and authentic as you are, and our experienced South American operations team guarantees you get an insider’s perspective, superior values, and a flawlessly operated trip.