I’ll never forget my first time in Peru. My roommate from college and I had been traveling for over a month in Ecuador and decided to splurge on an overnight bus with plush, reclining semi-cama seats. I fell into a deep sleep as we made our way down the coastline from the more humid and tropical climate of Ecuador to the low-lying desert outside of Lima on the way to visiting Machu Picchu. I awoke to an outer world landscape; morning light seeping through ocean mist and casting a gentle glow over the sand dunes. I knew that I would love this country. We made our way to the southern Andean highlands and I felt as if I had stepped into the pages of National Geographic.
Over a decade later, with many more destinations under my belt, I still find Peru to have one the most eclectically diverse cultures. Spanish colonial buildings literally built atop Incan foundations. Cloth woven with the most brilliant of colors. The smell of diesel from the taxistas cursing up the steep hills of Cusco in stark contrast to the granite faces overhanging pastoral scenes in the Sacred Valley. And Machu Picchu! Travelers from every corner of the Earth converging at these magical ruins.
Read on for one of my favorite itineraries in the region. My husband, Jordan, and I crafted this one with an active and adventurous couple or family in mind. Travelers that want to experience visiting Machu Picchu in a unique way, be it mountain biking through the Sacred Valley or gathering plants to use for dyes with local weavers.
We’re regional specialist here at Knowmad Adventures and pride ourselves in building trips that are a perfect fit for our travelers. If you’re interested in traveling to Peru, but the Peru Active Explorer itinerary doesn’t strike your fancy, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our Trip Specialists at 612-394-2894 or [email protected].
Peru Active Explorer: Visiting Machu Picchu, The Sacred Valley, Cusco + More
Trip Summary + HIGHLIGHTS
A more active approach to the Incan lands of Peru, on this trip you’ll find yourself day hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, downhill mountain biking through Andean villages, exploring and unwinding in the Sacred Valley with options to horseback ride or whitewater raft, and discovering Cusco and visiting Machu Picchu with time for independent explorations.
- Hike part of the ancient Inca Trail to Machu Picchu for a full day of exploring the Lost City
- Mountain bike through the Andean countryside, indigenous villages, and ancient salt pans
- Get off the beaten path while discovering the ancient ways of the Amaru villagers and bargain for colorful, hand-woven textiles in traditional Pisac market
- Lunch in a centuries-old hacienda while relaxing in the Sacred Valley
- Optional opportunities for horseback riding and whitewater rafting
Peru active explorer itinerary
DAY 1 • LIMA
Arrive Lima. Visit the city’s sites, museums and restaurants.
DAY 2 • LIMA – CUSCO – SACRED VALLEY
Fly Cusco. Explore Incan stone terraces at Sacsayhuaman, subterranean altars of Kenko, the water temple Tambo Machay, and Puka Pukara fortress. Continue into snow-capped Andean peaks to your oasis in the Sacred Valley.
DAY 3 • SACRED VALLEY VILLAGES AND THE WEAVERS OF AMARU
Visit the isolated Amaru indigenous community in the Andes. Gather plants used as natural dyes and see the Amaru’s colorful textiles brought to life. Lunch with community leaders – or picnic amongst Pisac ruins – and hike down the mountainside to the region’s most vibrant market to bargain for wares.
DAY 4 • MOUNTAIN BIKING THE ANDES TO COLONIAL VILLAGES AND SALT MINES
Mountain bike through colonial villages, down the Andes, to an ancient Incan laboratory, and amidst pre-Columbian terraced saltpans. Good for experienced and beginner riders alike.
DAY 5 • INCA TRAIL EXPRESS TO MACHU PICCHU
Day hike the Inca Trail through Andean cloud forest leading you to the Sun Gate and the magical Lost City of Machu Picchu.
DAY 6 • visiting MACHU PICCHU
Revel at the sunrise from Machu Picchu and make the morning climb of Huayna Picchu mountain. Enjoy a complete guided tour of the site with time to explore on your own as well.
DAY 7 • MACHU PICCHU – OLLANTAYTAMBO – CUSCO
Hop the train to Ollantaytambo and see a vast complex of Incan ruins on the mountainside. Enjoy lunch at an authentic colonial-era hacienda and a relaxing evening in Cusco.
*Optional horseback riding on Peruvian Paso horses through hacienda and colonial town.
DAY 8 • CUSCO
Enjoy the day at your leisure exploring Cusco – a city where traditional Andean cultures, the colonial Spanish, and modern Peru fuse into one. Visit Korikancha – Temple of the Sun, shop at Andean markets, enjoy savory Peruvian cuisine and see colonial cathedrals built atop Incan foundations.
*Optional whitewater rafting or culinary adventure.
DAY 9 • FLY LIMA AND RETURN HOME
Fly to Lima and depart.
IS IT FOR ME?
An ideal trip for adventuresome families and couples looking for an active trip that explores the best of Peru and ventures to little-known lands and cultures.
Knowmad has vast knowledge and operations in Peru; this is a private trip and we are happy to modify excursions, accommodations, and the flow of the itinerary to perfectly suit your travel style and interests.
- $2,395 per person (4 or more travelers)
- $2,565 per person (3 travelers)
- $2,890 per person (2 travelers)
Additionally, regional airfare is estimated at $440 (Lima/Cusco & Cusco/Lima—subject to change). Knowmad Adventures is happy to help you coordinate booking these tickets.
- $705 single supplement – rates quoted are per person, based on sharing double accommodations. If you request single accommodations you are required to pay the single supplement.
Ready to start planning your trip to Peru? The first step is to reach out to one of our Trip Specialists at 612-315-2894 or [email protected]. For additional details about accommodations, weather and when to go and more, visit the full Peru Active Explorer trip page.
Un Beso, Tara
Tara is the Co-Founder, Marketing and Operations Manager at Knowmad Adventures, a company dedicated to creating unique, private and custom trips in South America. She first traveled to South America in college and is endlessly inspired by the cultures, food, colors and idiosyncrasies she discovers there. Read Tara’s biography and more about the Knowmad team.