Classic Machu Picchu
An ideal Machu Picchu trip including classic Peru highlights, while also venturing off the beaten path.
From: $3,340 | 8 DAYS | PERU
Classic Machu Picchu Trip Highlights
- Experience a variety of vibrant indigenous Andean cultures
- Ride the rails in a historic train along the ancient Inca Trail
- Explore the famed Lost City of Machu Picchu and the Sun Gate
- Wander the legendary Incan ruins of Sacsayhuaman and Ollantaytambo
- Meander the stone streets and bustling markets of Cusco
- Get off the beaten path & discover the ancient ways of Amaru villagers & bargain for colorful, hand-woven textiles in colorful Pisac market
- Lunch in a centuries-old hacienda while relaxing in the Sacred Valley
Discover ancient ruins and vivid indigenous cultures as you journey through the heart of the Andes to the Lost City of Machu Picchu. Get off the beaten path in the Sacred Valley’s vibrant traditional villages and markets and return to charming accommodations on your in-depth, relaxing exploration of this powerful and charming region of Peru.
DAY 1 • LIMA
Arrive Lima. Visit the city’s 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 – URUBAMBA & PISAC
Visit the isolated Amaru indigenous community in the Andes. Gather plants used as natural dyes and see how the Amaru’s colorful textiles are brought to life. Lunch with community leaders or picnic amongst Pisac ruins before bargaining for wares in the region’s most vibrant market.
DAY 4 • SACRED VALLEY – MORAY & MARAS
Visit the massive Inca agricultural terraces of Moray and continue beyond the little-known village of Maras where pre-Columbian saltpans are still being harvested in the traditional way.
Take the train along the river and Inca Trail arriving to your accommodations in the early evening.
DAY 5 • MACHU PICCHU
Revel at the sunrise from the Lost City of Machu Picchu, perched amidst Andean peaks and lush cloud forest. Enjoy a complete guided tour of the site with time to explore on your own as well.
DAY 6 • MACHU PICCHU – OLLANTAYTAMBO – CUSCO
Take a morning train ride to Ollantaytambo and see the vast Incan ruins towering above. Lunch at a colonial-era hacienda before continuing to Cusco.
DAY 7 • 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 8 • CUSCO – LIMA – HOME
Return to Lima and depart.
Is It For Me?
An itinerary great for all ages that pays special attention to altitude, this trip takes you to the classic Peru highlights while also venturing off the beaten path offering hands-on experiences in indigenous communities, returning afterwards to charming, comfortable accommodations.
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 $3,340 per person / 2 travelers
Additionally, regional airfare is estimated at $440 (Lima/Cusco &Cusco/Lima —subject to change).
- $1,080 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.
TYPE Flexible Date Private Departures. You choose the date, your travel companions and one of our adventures. This is great for families, groups of friends and couples.
LIGHT TRIP Suitable for nearly all ages and ability levels. Walks are generally short and on flat
terrain. Activities include cultural opportunities, history, train ride, shopping, wildlife viewing, optional
DEPARTURES Year round; can be set up to match your dates. The Peruvian highlands high season coincides with their dry season from May through October (see weather section below). The low and rainy season can also be a greener and less crowded time to visit. Consult us for more information on the time of year that best suites you.
LENGTH 8 days – 7 nights comfortable hotels 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 Machu Picchu
This Machu Picchu adventure 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
Explore Peru’s diverse and delectable cuisine and visit some of the city’s many sites and museums on your own or, depending on your time, make a guided exploration of the city or learn to make ceviche from a top 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
In the morning, a representative will meet you in the lobby and assist you to your flight out of Lima. 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 – Urubamba and Pisac
After breakfast you’ll head by van along the Sacred Valley past the communities of Calca, Coya, Lamay and Pisac. From here you go completely off the map winding up a small dirt road, which takes you through remote Andean villages until we arrive to the Amaru community. 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 you take part in gathering plants used as natural dyes, learn of their medicinal and culinary properties, and see how the Amaru’s world-renowned textiles are woven and brought to life.
Stay for lunch with community leaders or enjoy a picnic amongst the Pisac ruins that sprawl down the mountainside towards town. If still energized, you can enjoy a gentle hike through the extensive Inca terracing down the mountainside, or hop in the van, and arrive to Pisac – one of Peru’s largest and most vibrant markets – where you can bargain with Andean campesinos for hand-crafted wares. Return to your hotel for a relaxing evening.
DAY 4 Sacred Valley – Moray and Maras
Heading out early you’ll arrive to the massive Inca agricultural terraces of Moray, thought to have been a nursery to experiment with and modify different varieties of crops. 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. Enjoy a picnic in this surreal setting before a walk down the Andes to the valley floor where you board the train that chugs along the Urubamba River and parts of the Inca Trail towards the Amazon arriving at Machu Picchu Pueblo.
DAY 5 Machu Picchu
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 archaeological site – lost to the world until well into the twentieth century – is perched amidst 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 as you begin to unlock the mystery of the Inca, and also have plenty of time to wander the site on your own. Lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge adjacent to the ruins means you’ll be able to enjoy the whole day without leaving awe-inspiring Machu Picchu.
DAY 6 Machu Picchu – Ollantaytambo – Cusco
Taking the train after breakfast, you’ll have time to roam through Ollantaytambo town taking in the ancient ruins towering above. Heading into the valley you’ll stop to enjoy lunch at an authentic colonial-era hacienda before continuing on and arriving in the early evening to Cusco. Your accommodation is an artfully restored colonial-era mansion surrounding a traditional courtyard with Spanish arches and fountains.
Enjoy the day at your leisure independently exploring a 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. We can also arrange guided city tours, a culinary exploration with a top local chef, or – for those bursting with energy – mountain biking, horseback riding, or even whitewater rafting.*
DAY 8 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.