Peru Active Explorer
A more active approach with one day hiking the Inca Trail, biking or horseback riding, and unique cultural opportunities.
From: $3,900 | 9 DAYS | PERU
Peru Active Explorer Trip Highlights
- 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
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 Machu Picchu with time for independent explorations.
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 Tambomachay, 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 • 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.
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 $3,900per person / 2 travelers
Additionally, regional airfare is estimated at $400 (Lima/Cusco & Cusco/Lima—subject to change).
- Single supplement – rates quoted are per person, based on sharing double accommodations. If you request single accommodations you are required to pay a single supplement. Please inquire for single supplement costs.
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.
MODERATE TRIP More active trips that may feature hiking at elevation, kayaking, horseback riding and more. Suitable for most people in good health, these trips may also venture into remote territory and more rugged terrain.
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 9 days – 8 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 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. 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 top-local chef on a culinary tour.* 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 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. 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, Tambomachay.
Continuing through the mountains with inspired views to the snow-capped Andean peaks descend into the Sacred Valley of the Incas and check in to your accommodations. Take the afternoon to unwind, explore Urubamba and 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 to 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 their world-renowned textiles are brought 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 we’ll 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 hand-crafted wares. Return to your hotel for a relaxing evening.
DAY 4 Mountain Biking the Andes to Colonial Villages and Salt Mines
Departing in the morning, drive up the mountains towards Cruzpata where your adventure begins. Non-technical and mostly downhill, this world-class mountain 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.
From here you begin descending and pass through a traditional colonial village. After enjoying
a gourmet picnic lunch in the shadows of the Andes, 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, hike an alternative trail, or return to the valley by van. Relax at your hotel in the evening with dinner at your leisure.
DAY 5 Inca Trail Express to Machu Picchu
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 foot bridge you pass Winay Wayna ruins with its extensive terracing and water fountains. Another gourmet picnic along the trail will have you refueled. Hiking a total of approximately 5-8 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 during the late afternoon. From here you’ll descend towards the citadel taking in the amazing site and reunite with your van that takes you down to Machu Picchu Pueblo for a relaxing evening.
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. Return to Machu Picchu Pueblo for the evening.
DAY 7 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 Sacred Valley you’ll stop to enjoy lunch at an authentic colonial-era hacienda before continuing on and arriving in the early evening to Cusco. For those who’d like to try riding the famed Peruvian Paso horses, after lunch you can enjoy a couple hours riding through the spectacular hacienda, the small nearby town with it’s handsome colonial square, and along the valley.*
Enjoy the day at your leisure independently exploring – or accompanied by your guide – 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 9 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.