Photos by Knowmad traveler Katie Henly
In this multi-generational custom family trip, a group of 7 travelers visited Peru on a bucket list-worthy adventure. Read on to see how they combined the Sacred Valley, the Inca Trail, and Lake Titicaca in a fun, active way.
Flying into Lima, this group of intrepid travelers were straight off to Cusco and the Sacred Valley to begin acclimatizing to the elevation. After visiting Incan ruins and discovering more about Peru’s cultural heritage, they arrived in Ollantaytambo to prepare for the journey ahead. Four days of hiking on the incredible Inca Trail culminated in a full day to enjoy the wonder of Machu Picchu.
Following their time to enjoy the colonial city of Cusco, the family was off to Lake Titicaca, the largest lake in South America and one of the highest navigable lakes in the world. Here they kayaked and discovered more about the unique cultures of Titicaca including the incredible Uros Island, a human-made floating island created using reeds.
Are you trying to plan a two week trip to Peru or figuring out the best way to get to Lake Titicaca? We’re regional experts here at Knowmad Adventures and pride ourselves in building custom trips that are a perfect fit for our travelers. If you’re interested in crafting an adventure combining several regions in Peru, but this particular itinerary doesn’t strike your fancy, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Trip Specialists at 612-394-2894 or [email protected] to begin planning your trip today!
Active Two Weeks in Peru Itinerary: Inca Trail, Machu Picchu + Lake Titicaca
Day 1 USA – Lima
You will fly from the USA to Lima arriving at 11:10 p.m. Upon your evening arrival to Lima you will be met at the airport and assisted in crossing the street and checking in to the hotel adjacent the terminal.
- No meals – Costa del Sol Ramada airport hotel
Day 2 Lima – Cusco
You will be met in your hotel lobby at 7:45 a.m. and accompanied back to the airport to check in. After your short morning flight to the former Incan capital of Cusco where Andean cultures come alive (don’t be surprised when the language doesn’t sound like Spanish – it is most likely the native Andean tongue Quechua), you’ll be met at the airport and taken for lunch.
After lunch, enjoy a half-day guided walking tour of the city where traditional Andean cultures, the colonial Spanish, and modern Peru come together in one of South America’s most culturally and visually dynamic cities. Visit Incan architectural jewels such as Korikancha – the temple of the sun, shop at Andean markets, enjoy savory, wide-ranging Peruvian cuisine, and see the colonial cathedrals built atop Incan foundations around the Plaza Central.
- B, L – Libertador Hotel
Day 3 Cusco – Sacred Valley
Departing for the Incan sights outside Cusco, 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. Continuing through the mountains with inspired views to the snow-capped Andean peaks descend into the Valley of the Incas. You’ll stop to enjoy lunch at an authentic colonial-era hacienda before continuing on and arriving to your accommodations in the picturesque town of Ollantaytambo. Take the afternoon to unwind, explore and acclimatize.
- B, L – El Albergue
Day 4 Maras – Moray – Chincheros
Heading out early you’ll first visit the pictaresque town of Chincheros. On Sunday mornings the town fills with villagers, wearing traditional and colorful clothing, who come for the barter market. Roam through the market and town, full of colonial architecture and Incan ruins. Continue on to the massive Inca agricultural terraces of Moray, thought to have been a nursery to experiment with and modify different varieties of crops. Enjoy a picnic in this surreal setting. From here hike or go by van (depending on your preference, time, and weather) to the little-known village of Maras where pre-Columbian terraced saltpans are still being harvested in the traditional way by villagers. Return to your hotel for a relaxing evening.
- B, L – El Albergue
Enjoy the day at leisure to explore the charming town of Ollantaytambo. Roam through its picturesque streets and visit the vast ruin complex clinging to the mountainside above town.
- B – El Albergue
Day 6 Inca Trail – Sacred Valley – Llaqtapata
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 7 Llaqtapata to Llulluchapampa
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 perched for breathtaking sunset and sunrise views of Mount Huaynay. Ascending this narrow hanging valley with views to the cloud forest, you’ll see the very rare Andean Quenua tree.
Hike details: 5.6 miles, 6 hours
- B, L, D – camping
Day 8 Llulluchapampa to Phuyupatamarca
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 cloud forest. 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 9 Phuyupatamarca to Machu Picchu
Begin today’s trek by passing the Phuyupatamarca ruins and winding sharply down into increasingly dense cloud forest 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.
Hike details: 8.1 miles, 8 hours
- B, L – Andina Luxury
Day 10 Machu Picchu
Early risers can watch the sunrise from the Machu Picchu citadel or climb Huayna Picchu mountain. 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
Day 11 Cusco
Enjoy a day to independently explore Cusco.
- B – Marqueses
Day 12 Cusco – Lake Titicaca
You will be picked up at your hotel and taken to the airport for your morning flight to Juliaca, the airport nearest Lake Titicaca. Visit the charming town of Lampa and after a short and scenic drive, arrive at your lakeside hotel for a relaxing evening. Enjoy stunning views of the highest navigable lake in the world.
If you are trying to plan a trip to Lake Titicaca, figure out where to stay near Lake Titicaca, or decide what to do around Lake Titicaca, we’re here to help. Give us a call at 612-315-2894 to start planning your custom and private trip to Peru today.
Day 13 Kayaking Lake Titicaca – Taquile Island
Heading out early 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 and hike through the island with views to Bolivia’s Cordillera Real mountains. Enjoy a typical meal of delicious products harvested locally and to learn of the islands lifestyle and traditions. Visit remote ruins and get to know an indigenous lifestyle mostly unchanged for centuries. In the afternoon return to your lakeside accommodations for a relaxing evening.
- B, L – Casa Andina Private Collection Puno
Day 14 Uros Floating Islands
Today you’ll take 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. Learn about their traditional way of life. You’ll also visit the larger Uros Islands. If there’s time and you have the energy, continue exploring the culture and traditions of the communities surrounding the lake with a visit to Amantani Island. Return to your hotel for a relaxing evening.
- B, L – Casa Andina Private Collection Puno
Day 15 Puno – Lima
Head out from Puno and visit the Sillustani burial towers overlooking Lake Umayo, and continue on to the airport for your flight back to Lima. After arriving in the Lima airport you will be responsible for checking in and catching your international flight. This is a long & unavoidable layover, so save a few pages in your book or enjoy dinner across the street at Ramada’s restaurant and then fly out.
Day 16 Arrive Home
Hasta Pronto, Knowmad Adventurers!
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