Inca Trail & Beyond
An optimal Peru itinerary that includes hiking the Inca Trail. Knowmad avoids crowds, enjoys the best food, camps in privileged remote sites, enjoys a full day at Machu Picchu, and helps you arrive safely and in an environmentally friendly way.
From: $3,495 | 10 DAYS | PERU
Inca Trail & Beyond Trip Highlights
- Make the pilgrimage to Machu Picchu as the Incas did centuries ago
- Discover the ancient ways of the Amaru villagers and bargain for colorful, hand-woven textiles in traditional Pisac market
- Meander the cobblestone streets of Cusco – former center of the Incan empire
- Explore the famed Lost City of Machu Picchu and the Sun Gate
Doing the pilgrimage to Machu Picchu may push you, will likely help you know yourself better, and will certainly be an amazing experience. Doing the Inca Trail with Knowmad means you’ll do it away from the crowds; that you’ll have charismatic, fun guides and meet unforgettable people along the way; and that you’ll do it all in style with great equipment and food.
DAY 1 • Lima
Arrive Lima. Visit the city sites, museums and restaurants.
DAY 2 • LIMA – CUSCO – SACRED VALLEY
Fly to Cusco where Andean cultures come alive. Explore Incan stone terraces at Sacsayhuaman, the subterranean altars of Kenko, the water temple Tambomachay, and the 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 the Pisac ruins before visiting the region’s most vibrant market to bargain for wares.
DAY 4 • Inca trail – sacred valley – llaqtapata
Begin hiking the famed Inca Trail to the Lost City of Machu Picchu. Enjoy first-class equipment, informed and fun guides and porters, and gourmet trail picnics and meals. Doing the trail in five days rather than four means you’ll camp and hike away from the crowds.
DAY 5 • llaqtapata to llulluchapampa
Visit the small indigenous community of Huayllabamba. Ascend to the first pass for a breathtaking sunset upon Mount Huaynay.
DAY 6 • llulluchapampa to phuyupatamarca
A challenging day of hiking past Sayacmarca ruins overlooking the Aobanba Valley takes you to your isolated camp outside a remote Andean village.
DAY 7 • Phuyupatamarca to Machu Picchu
Hike past ruins continuing into verdant cloudforest before arriving to Inti Punku, the Sun Gate, in time to see the sun set over Machu Picchu. Descend past the ruins and continue to Machu Picchu Pueblo for the evening.
DAY 8 • Machu Picchu
Revel at the sunrise from Machu Picchu. Enjoy a complete guided tour of the site with time to explore on your own as well. Return to Cusco in the evening.
DAY 9 • 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.
DAY 10 • Fly to lima and return home
Fly to Lima and depart.
Is It For Me?
People often overlook the challenge that the Inca Trail presents. Expect to hike 6-8 hours a day with significant gains in elevation. If you’re looking for challenging hiking with flawless logistical planning as well as a well-rounded trip to Peru that gets you in touch with Andean communities, this trip is for you. Knowmad has vast knowledge and operating capacities 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.
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.
Have questions? Talk to an expert: 612-315-2894
Listed prices are approximations. All Knowmad trips are custom and exact pricing is provided in your trip proposal.
- From $3,495 per person / 2 travelers
Additionally, regional airfare is estimated at $440 (Lima/Cusco & Cusco/Lima—subject to change).
TYPE Flexible Date Private Departures. You choose the date and your travel companions and we’ll get you together with a group of fellow, like-minded travelers for the Inca Trail portion of the trip. Private Inca Trail departures are also available; please inquire for pricing.
MODERATE TO VIGOROUS TRIP More active trips that are suitable for most people in good health, these trips may also venture into remote territory and more rugged terrain. Activities include extended hiking, camping, cultural opportunities, history, train ride, shopping, wildlife viewing.
DEPARTURES March through November; can be set up to match your dates.
LENGTH 10 days – 6 nights comfortable hotels, 3 nights camping BEGIN / END Lima, Peru
INTERNATIONAL Airfare is not included in the land cost of our trips. You may arrange your international airfare independently, or we are happy to offer our feedback and assistance in helping you book it.
REGIONAL If booked by Knowmad Adventures, internal airfare for this trip (Lima/Cusco, Cusco/Lima) averages $440, however this is an approximation and the airfare is subject to change upon booking. If you would like to arrange your own regional flights, please consult us prior so we can verify the departure and arrival times.
Ready for the trip of a lifetime? Signing up is easy. Call us at 612-315-2894 or email [email protected] and reserve your spot. Or simply download our registration form, fill it out, and send it back to us along with your trip deposit. Please refer to registration form for terms & conditions.
Weather & When to Go to Peru
This trip takes place mostly in the Peruvian highlands. Throughout the year the average temperature is in the mid-50s °F (10-12 °C) and does not fluctuate greatly. Evenings are cooler. There are primarily two seasons: wet and dry. December through March sees much more precipitation than other times of the year and is the less visited season. As Peru has three distinct climate zones, if you are interested in combining this trip with a visit to the jungle or the coastal areas please inquire for more weather details.
Prior to your departure, you are provided a detailed pre-trip information packet including a recommended pack list, information about the regions you’ll be visiting, suggested readings, up-to-date health information including any recommended vaccinations and more.
Our trips feature comfortable accommodations that complement their surroundings. We seek out intimacy and character, but never sacrifice cleanliness and security. We also find the best value for quality. In general, our physically moderate to vigorous trips feature hotels classified as 3+ to 4 stars, while less physically demanding trips feature 4+ to 5 star hotels.
As South American travel specialists, we’re experts and have inspected hundreds of properties. Knowmad is happy to suggest upgrades and alternative hotels based on your preferences to ensure your trip is perfect for you. Photos below are from this itinerary’s preferred accommodations. For more specifics, call or write to request more info, or download the detailed trip itinerary.
Accommodations featured in this itinerary are the following:
DAY 1 Lima
Upon arrival you’ll be met at the airport by a Knowmad Adventures representative and taken to your accommodations centrally located in the Miraflores neighborhood. Explore Peru’s diverse and delectable cuisine and visit some of the city’s many sights and museums on your own or, depending on your time, we can arrange a guided exploration of the city or you can learn to make ceviche with a local chef on a culinary discovery.* Please note if arriving late as most flights from the U.S do it is best to stay at the airport hotel and not enter Lima.
DAY 2 Lima – Cusco – Sacred Valley
After your short 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 a light lunch. 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, Tambomachay.
Driving through the city and into the snow-capped Andean peaks with inspired views you descend into the Sacred Valley of the Incas where you’ll check in to your hotel, an oasis in this beautiful valley. Take the afternoon to relax while acclimatizing to the altitude (the Sacred Valley is lower than Cusco and the perfect place to gradually acclimatize).
DAY 3 Sacred Valley Villages and the Weavers of Amaru
After breakfast you’ll head by van along the Sacred Valley past the communities of Calca, Coya, Lamay and Pisac. From here the van goes completely off the map winding up a small dirt road, which takes you through remote Andean villages and arrives at the community of the Amaru people. 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.
Stay for lunch with the Amaru or enjoy a picnic amongst the Pisac ruins that sprawl down the mountainside towards town. Afterwards, hike along the high-mountain terraces and through the ruins before descending to Pisac – one of Peru’s largest and most vibrant markets – where you can bargain with Andean campesinos for handcrafted wares. Return to your hotel for a relaxing evening.
DAY 4 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
DAY 5 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 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
DAY 6 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 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 at a small village on the edge of the clouds, continue just beyond to your isolated camp.
Hike details: 8.7 miles, 7-8 hours
DAY 7 Phuyupatamarca to Machu Picchu
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 at 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
Early risers can revel at the sunrise from the Machu Picchu citadel or climb the adjacent sacred peak Huayna Picchu in the morning for a bird’s eye view. 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- inpiring Machu Picchu. After descending from the ruins, take the afternoon train to the Sacred Valley continuing by private van to Cusco for the evening.
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. Or choose from optional excursions such as guided culinary explorations and cooking lessons, or an exciting whitewater rafting adventure on the exciting but safe stretches of the Urubamba River in the Sacred Valley.*
DAY 10 Fly Lima and Return Home
Or with more time, extend your trip with a visit to the Amazon or Lake Titicaca.
Extend Your Adventure
Just a short flight from Cusco, spotting troops of monkeys, colorful macaws and countless bird species, giant sloths, caimans, and maybe even a jaguar or puma in the Amazon Jungle is a traveler favorite. We have scoured the jungle lodges of Peru and can advise you on which experience fits you best while guaranteeing the best value.
Besides being the highest navigable lake in the world, Lake Titicaca is home to diverse traditional cultures including the floating Uros civilization, the Quechua people of Taquile Island, and the Amaru peoples. Come and meet them at the top of the world.
Want to spend more time exploring this great city? Besides getting you a great value for hotels and airport transfers, we can line up a fantastic cooking lesson and culinary city tour, full and half day sightseeing adventures, surrounding ruin visits and much more.
Let The Journey Begin
Planning a trip to South America might seem a little overwhelming at first. Knowmad offers door-to-door trip planning: first, we listen, and then we help you navigate the seasonal differences and itinerary options, resulting in a holistic, seamless, and custom-crafted experience, all at a guaranteed best value.
The simplest way to get started is to give us a call at 612-315-2894or to fill out this short form so we can learn more about your travel preferences.