Parting Shots: Amazon, Sacred Valley + Machu Picchu, Peru Trip

Machu Picchu Peru Trip

Last March, Mary and six of her friends embarked on a twelve-day trip in Peru. They mountain biked, hiked, saw ancient sites, cooked local meals, and soaked in the wonders and adventures of Peru.

Mary and her friends spent the first few days of their Peru trip outside and enjoying the local activities in the Sacred Valley. They worked up an appetite kayaking and paddle boarding on Piuray Lake one day and spent time in the afternoon preparing and eating a pachamanca, a traditional celebratory meal in the area. The women’s group took to the Andes mountains their next day, this time using bikes as their transportation, and wheeling along the paths they were privy to the mountains’ vistas from within as they continued onward.

Halfway through their trip, the group was able to spend the day at the ancient Inca site of Machu Picchu, walking along the magnificent paths to see the ruins up close. After their time at Machu Picchu, Mary and her friends returned to Cusco for the final day for half of the group in Peru. They spent the day enjoying the city’s local charm as they explored the markets and partaking in the preparation of another beautiful meal, something Mary said she “came home with the confidence to prepare” herself!

As a special addition, half of the group extended their trip to incorporate three more days at Reserva Amazonica, seeing incredible wildlife and plant life while staying in their lodge as the perfect bookend to their twelve-day trip in Peru.

Do you want to travel to Peru with your group? We’re regional experts 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 custom trip today!


12 Days in Peru


Day 1 USA – Lima
You will fly from the USA to Lima arriving most likely in the evening. Upon your evening arrival to Lima you will be met at the airport by a Knowmad representative (look for a Knowmad Adventures sign) and assisted in crossing the street and checking in to the hotel adjacent the terminal.

  • No meals – Costa del Sol Wyndham Airport Hotel

Day 2 Lima – Cusco – Sacred Valley
In the morning, you will be met in the lobby and assisted in crossing back over to the airport in accordance with your flight. 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 by your guide and driver. 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; and if time permits, 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, you’ll stop for lunch at a delicious local restaurant. Descend into the Valley of the Incas and arrive to Pisac – one of Peru’s largest and most vibrant markets – where you can bargain with Andean campesinos for hand-crafted wares. Continue through the valley and check in to your accommodations. Take the evening to unwind, explore and acclimatize.

  • B, L – Sonesta Posadas Del Inca

Day 3 Sacred Valley Kayaking, Stand Up Paddle Boarding and Pachamanca

Pachamanca Peru Custom Trip Machu Picchu Peru Excursion

Machu Picchu Peru Travel     Machu Picchu Peru Travel
Departing from your hotel early you will head to village of Chinchero, a scenic area predominated by high-altitude indigenous farming and weaving communities. Continue on through the village and to Piuray Lake where the kayaks and gear will be ready for you to begin paddling along the shores with your guide. Paddle according to your fitness and experience, enjoying awesome views of the Veronica and Salkantay glaciers, as well as mountains and agricultural terraces around the lake. Along the lake you’ll see fishermen and farmers doing their daily work, as well as some native plants and wildlife. You’ll also have the opportunity to try standup paddle boarding on the lake. Arriving back to the shore, stones will have been heating for around 5 hours in preparation of your pachamanca, a celebratory meal traditional in these areas. The chef will explain this tradition and the dish and you will participate in this elaborate and unique ancient preparation technique. In the afternoon you will drive and/or walk about 3 km to the community of Umasbamba, an old and beautiful hacienda populated by traditional Andean farmers and weavers, where you will learn about the Andean traditions and the magic of waist loom weaving, as well as the harvest of the dying agent plants, washing with natural soaps (roots), spinning and weaving. There is also a nice after school project at Umasbamba that you can visit after the demonstration, if time allows.

  • B, L – Sonesta Posadas Del Inca

Day 4 Biking the Andes to Colonial Villages and Salt Mines

Salt Flast Machu Picchu Peru Trip
Departing in the morning, drive up the mountains towards Cruzpata where your adventure begins. Non-technical and mostly flat or downhill, this world-class biking adventure is great for those
with and without experience alike. Traversing the altiplano landscape with sweeping vistas to snowcapped peaks over 16,000 feet high, you arrive to Moray – a little-known site thought to be an ancient Incan agricultural laboratory. After enjoying a gourmet picnic lunch in the shadows of the Andes, you’ll get back on your bikes and pass through a traditional colonial village. Continue on the downhill section to Maras where villagers still harvest the pre-Colombian terraced saltpans in the traditional way. From here you can choose to continue the descent down to the Urubamba Valley floor, or return to the valley by van. Relax at your hotel in the evening with dinner at your leisure.

Note: For those who would not like to bike this day, or possibly bike for just part of it, there will also be a support vehicle that you can ride in. This will just give you extra time at each site while the others arrive by bike.

  • B, L – Sonesta Posadas Del Inca

Day 5 Inca Trail Express to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu Peru

Heading out early you’ll take the train along the Urubamba Valley to kilometer 104 where you’ll begin hiking the Inca Trail. Crossing a footbridge you pass Winay Wayna ruins with its extensive terracing and water fountains. A gourmet picnic along the trail will have you refueled. Hiking a total of approximately 5 hours, you finally edge along a ridge to catch your first dramatic views of the Lost City of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate Inti Punku. 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: 6.8 miles, approximately 6 hours.

  • B, L, D – El Mapi

Day 6 Machu Picchu – Cusco

Early risers can watch the sunrise from the Machu Picchu citadel or make the early morning climb of 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’ll be able to enjoy the whole day without leaving awe-inspiring Machu Picchu. You will descend from Machu Picchu and take the early evening train back to Ollantaytambo where you will continue by private van to Cusco for a relaxing evening.

  • B, L – Casa San Blas

Day 7 Cusco

Enjoy the day independently exploring Cusco, one of South America’s most dynamic cities, or taking a fun cooking class. If exploring independently, you may choose to 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. Should you wish to participate in the cooking class, you will be picked up at your hotel at in the morning and taken to the historic San Pedro Mercado. (This is a group service.) This authentic food market is the place of choice for local Cuzqueno people to do their grocery shopping, and filled with a cacophony of sounds, vibrant colors, and pungent aromas. Explore the market alongside your chef guide learning about Peru’s diverse cuisine and ingredients while getting a real dose of Peruvian culture and meeting some of the chef’s favorite local providers. From here you’ll be taken to the chef’s beautiful open-air cooking laboratory in the countryside just above Cusco where you’ll tour the garden sipping a delicious pisco sour before the cooking instruction begins. After your interactive cooking lesson and a delicious lunch you’ll be taken back to your Cusco hotel.

  • B, L (if doing the cooking class) – Casa San Blas

DAY 8 Cusco – Lima – Onward
 (For Mary and half the group)

Enjoy the morning at leisure to continue exploring Cusco. You will be picked up at your hotel in the afternoon and transferred to the airport in accordance with your onward flight to Lima. After arriving in the Lima airport you will be responsible for checking in and catching your international flight. This is often a long & unavoidable layover, so save a few pages in your book or enjoy dinner or spa service across the street at the Costa del Sol and then fly out.

  • B

DAY 9 Arrive Home


Trip Extension Details

*Three women on the trip chose to extend their adventure in Peru at Reserva Amazonica. See below for details.

DAY 8 Cusco – Amazonia

You will be picked up at your hotel lobby in the morning in accordance with your onward flight to Puerto Maldonado. Upon arrival you will be met by an Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica representative and be taken to the pier and head upriver for approximately an hour to the lodge. Before boarding the boat, you will have the opportunity to reshuffle some of your baggage to bring a smaller amount of your luggage to the lodge if you would like to (remaining luggage will be locked up and remain in their offices until you return from the lodge). At Reserva Amazonica you will stay on an inclusive basis and will have many included Amazon excursions to choose from. Food is included but not alcoholic beverages

  • B, L, D – Reserva Amazonica

Day 9 Amazonia

Continue enjoying your stay at Reserva Amazonica.

  • B, L, D – Reserva Amazonica

Day 10 Amazonia

Continue enjoying your stay at Reserva Amazonica.

  • B, L, D – Reserva Amazonica

Day 11 Amazon – Lima – USA

You will be transferred by Reserva Amazonica in accordance with your onward afternoon flight to Lima. After arriving in the Lima airport you will be responsible for checking in and catching your international flight. This is often a long & unavoidable layover, so save a few pages in your book and enjoy dinner or spa service across the street at Ramada and then fly out.

  • B

Day 12 Arrive Home


Hasta Pronto, Knowmad Adventurers!

Knowmad AdventuresKnowmad Adventures works closely with independent-minded travelers creating innovative trips to South America. Our specialists in Patagonia, ChileMachu Picchu, PeruArgentina, 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.