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Peru: Machu Picchu & the Sacred Valley

Enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hike the celebrated Inca Trail and discover mystical Machu Picchu during VBT’s unforgettable vacation in Peru. Along the way we’ll learn how ancient Incan traditions endure in modern Peru, stroll the cobbled streets of Cusco, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and much, much more.

  • 11 Days
  • Activity Level: Moderate
  • Daily Mileage: 4 - 8 mi
  • Daily Walking: 2 - 6 hr
  • Small Groups: 20
  • Walking Activity
  • Suitable for experienced walkers who are comfortable with ascents and descents (but no scrambling!). Uneven terrain possible. Elevation gains of up to 2,000 feet.
  • Airfare Packages Available

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Peru: Machu Picchu & The Sacred Valley

Ancient Incan architecture, stunning physical beauty, and mystical inspiration combine at Machu Picchu in a way both thrilling and meditative. You’ll walk trails formed by Inca footsteps centuries ago, experience their “Lost City” set dramatically atop a peerless mountain ridge, and delight in the spectacle of the sprawling Sacred Valley. You’ll also share warm encounters with local Peruvians at village markets and restaurants, explore their colorful towns and archaeological sites, and learn about their enduring arts, crafts, and religious ceremonies. Once here, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley will leave indelible marks on your memory and imagination.

Cultural Highlights

  • Walk the ancient paths of an Andean farming community
  • Interact with vendors at a local market
  • Visit the Maras salt mines, fed by underwater springs
  • Sip corn beer at a typical Andean chicheria
  • Step back in time in the ancient Inca villages of Chinchero and Urquillo
  • Hike the Inca Trail, one of the world’s most iconic walks
  • View Machu Picchu from Intipunku, the Sun Gate
  • Stroll the orchid gardens and tea plantation of your inn at Machu Picchu
  • Enjoy a full day to explore Machu Picchu, the “Lost City of the Incas”
  • Ride through the Sacred Valley by train
  • Explore Cusco on a walking tour
  • Discover historic religious ceremonies held at Puka Pukara, Qenqo, and Laqo
  • Gaze out over Cusco from Sacsayhuaman fortress

What to Expect

This tour features a combination of cobbled streets, uneven footpaths, and rocky, irregular terrain over hills and valleys. An elective 8-mile (13-km) Inca Trail hike includes a 2,000-foot (610-meter) elevation gain. Altitudes of between 6,500 and 13,500 feet may require a slower pace. Our VBT minibus support is available at specified meeting points for those who need assistance except on the Inca Trail, where there is no road access and you will be required to walk the entire 8 miles (13 km). Both morning and afternoon walking options are available most days. Appropriate for enthusiastic beginners and ideal for experienced walkers. Several of the walks require a transfer from our hotel to the start of the walk. Our Trip Leaders often use this time in the van for our morning route review, so we can enjoy a more leisurely morning at breakfast.

BOOK EARLY FOR THE INCA TRAIL: A permit to walk the Inca Trail is included in your VBT trip cost. However, if you want to hike the Inca Trail, please make your reservations as early as possible! The Peruvian government limits the number of hikers on the trail at any given time. Permits are issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Have your passport details in hand when booking your reservation with VBT. Permits are only issued for individuals and only for a specific passport number. VBT cannot guarantee your permit. If a permit is unavailable, you will travel by train to Aguas Calientes and by bus to the entrance, then walk into Machu Picchu. This will not impact your visit to Machu Picchu, only the hike into the site. Should you elect at any time to take the train option instead of the hike, the permit is non-refundable. If you do not wish to apply for an Inca Trail Pass at the time of booking, please advise your Tour Consultant. Understand that VBT will not be able to secure a pass at a later date if you change your mind and decide that you do want to hike the Inca Trail due to the limited number of passes available.

Average Daily Mileage: 4 – 8 miles
Average Walking Time: 2 – 6 hours

Climate Information

Average High/Low Temperature (°F) – Cusco
Apr 66°/43°  May 67°/39°  Jun 66°/35°  Jul 66°/34°  Aug 66°/37°   Sep 67°/31°  Oct 68°/44°  Nov 67°/45°

Average Precipitation (in.) – Cusco
Apr 1.5  May .3  Jun .1  Jul .1  Aug .3  Sep .9  Oct 1.9  Nov 2.7

What’s Included:

Walking Vacation Only – without Air

  • 7 nights in fine hotels and inns
  • 16 meals – 7 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners

Air Package Plus

  • Roundtrip international airfare
  • Transfers
  • 8 nights in fine hotels and inns
  • 17 meals – 8 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners
  • Dayroom at Lima Airport Hotel prior to overnight flights home
  • And the option to add our Low-Cost Trip Extension: Pre-trip: Lima – 2 nights for only $545 • Post-trip: Peruvian Amazon – 2 nights for only $695

Both Vacations Include

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2016 Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $895 | 2017 Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $945 | 2016/2017 Land Only Single Supplement: $745

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. 2016/2017 Prices include all airline surcharges and Government taxes and fees. Ask our Tour Consultants for details. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. Prices are based on preferences selected above, including meals and sightseeing as specified in What’s Included. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.

LATAM Airlines Group

Itinerary & Map
Or, Expand All Days
DAY 1: Depart from home / Fly overnight to Peru

Depart from home and travel to Peru. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

DAY 2: Cusco

You will arrive in Peru via Lima’s Jorge Chavez International Airport early this morning. You will need to clear Peruvian immigration and customs before you transfer to your connecting flight to Cusco. Upon arrival at Cusco airport, claim your luggage and look in the arrivals hall for your VBT representative, who will be holding a VBT sign. Make certain that your VBT luggage tags are affixed to your bag so your VBT representative can identify you. Your representative will make arrangements for the transfer to your hotel in Cusco.

Once you arrive in Cusco (10,900-foot/3,322-meter elevation), it will prove very helpful to rest and avoid strenuous activity as your body acclimates to the altitude. Also, beware of dehydration, and drink plenty of water to help avoid altitude sickness. A couple of hours’ rest now will go a long way toward making you more comfortable later.

VBT provides you with City Information that includes recommendations on what to see and do in Cusco. You have the rest of the day to relax or to begin your exploration of the town.

Cusco and its many dining options are at your doorstep tonight.

Hotel: Casa Andina PC Cusco
Meals: B

DAY 3: All guests meet in Cusco / Transfer to the Sacred Valley / Cuyuni Community

VBT No-Air Package guests: Meet your VBT Trip Leaders at the Casa Andina PC Cusco at 8:00 a.m. The contact information for the Casa Andina PC Cusco will be confirmed in your final documents. Please contact our Peru partner – Colturto advise them of any travel delays or changes so the staff can pass the message on to your VBT Trip Leaders.  Coltur’s  Customer Service Department is available 24/7 with a bilingual staff to assist you .  Coltur’s main office  phone number is 51.1.615 55 76, email is [email protected] and the Coltur Cusco office emergency phone number is 51. 984 765 336. We will have a short orientation during our shuttle ride (approximately 1.5 hours) to the start of our warm-up walk in the Sacred Valley. Please be dressed in your walking attire for your warm-up walk this morning when you meet your Trip Leaders.

VBT Pre-Trip Extension and Air Package guests: Meet your VBT Trip Leaders at your Cusco hotel at 8:00 a.m. We will have a short orientation during our shuttle ride (approximately 1.5 hours) to the start of our warm-up walk in the Sacred Valley. Please be dressed in your walking attire for your warm-up walk this morning when you meet your Trip Leaders.

We depart Cusco and shuttle to the start of our morning walk, which will give us the opportunity to experience local life as it unfolds in the peaceful Andean Highlands. We begin our walk along the ancient farming paths in this primarily agricultural community. We will make various stops throughout our walk today to learn about local farming, religious ceremonies, and textile production in this region.

After an included lunch, we descend to the Sacred Valley (7,841-foot elevation) and continue to the town of Pisac. Here we’ll visit a local market where we can view the diverse fruits and vegetables, including some of the 4,000 varieties of potatoes grown in Peru. We’ll also have a chance to interact with the vendors as they barter their wares. If you didn’t pack a smaller bag to take with you to Machu Picchu, this is a wonderful place to pick up a bag to use.

Tonight enjoy a special welcome reception and dinner at our acclaimed inn.

Please note:  Due to the logistics of getting to Machu Picchu, there are restrictions on what luggage you can travel with. Please be sure to pack a lightweight, expandable bag that can be packed within your luggage. You will need to transfer only what you need for these two overnights from your large suitcase. Your large luggage will remain in secure storage during your stay in Machu Picchu. In addition to this duffel, you are able to carry your daypack with you.

Hotel:  Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba
Meals: L, D
Daily Options: 2.4 miles on descending, rolling dirt roads and paths.

DAY 4: Andean villages of Chinchero and Urquillo / Chicha (corn beer) tasting at a typical Chicheria

This morning we will shuttle (40 minutes) to the typical Andean village of Chinchero where we will find Inca ruins and a colonial church.   Our morning walk will begin in this lovely village and we will pass through picturesque landscapes as we descend to the village of Urquillo – once a significant village during the Inca era due to its location on the Inca Trail to Cusco.  Today the town is characterized by its haciendas dating from the Spanish colonial period.  At the end of our walk we will enjoy a short ride to a chicheria where chicha de jora (corn beer) is prepared and sold. It’s believed the Incas consumed chicha  for rituals during their religious festivals and today you will have an opportunity to sample and learn about the brewing process of this unique beverage.

Upon returning to the hotel enjoy lunch and relaxation on your own in our resort.  Later in the afternoon join the leaders on an optional 2 hour trek from the hotel on the Challa Huasi (house of the viewer) trail.

This evening we will venture out of the hotel on a short shuttle to a nearby restaurant for tonight’s included dinner.

Hotel:  Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 5.5 or 7 miles on descending and rolling  dirt roads and paths.

DAY 5: Visit the Qotowincho Market / Maras Salt Mines

After breakfast, we shuttle to the largest town in the valley – Urubamba.  Here we will have the opportunity to visit the very authentic Qotowincho market where you will see sellers from surrounding regions offering their products.  This particular market which is held only on Wednesdays is vital for the local people and the varieties of potatoes, corn and fruit that you will find are amazing.  After our visit to the market we venture into the Andean countryside, where we will walk scenic footpaths downhill to Maras village through the Maras salt mines, which are fed by underground saltwater springs. The terraced Inca saltpans of Salineras are still mined for salt using methods unchanged over centuries. We will be rewarded with a sumptuous picnic lunch overlooking Huaypo Lagoon at the end of our walk  before we shuttle back to the hotel.

We have the remainder of the afternoon to relax in our comfortable accommodations or join our leaders for an optional walk around Yucay before enjoying dinner on your own in the hotel this evening..

Hotel:  Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 2.4 or 6.4 miles on descending dirt roads and paths.

DAY 6: The Inca Trail / Machu Picchu

We shuttle early this morning to Ollantaytambo to catch the narrow-gauge Vistadome train. Our train ride is down the narrowing valley, which offers breathtaking views of the river and surrounding peaks.

Those who have elected to hike the Inca Trail will disembark at the “Km 104” marker (7,183 feet) to start one of the world’s most iconic walks. The walk offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and cloud forests, an unforgettable entry into the Machu Picchu Sanctuary. Expect to be on the legendary trail for six hours with a mostly continuous ascent. An elevation gain and loss of about 2,000 feet and some steep stair climbing will keep you on your toes. Note that a minibus support van will not be available on the Inca Trail. You will be required to walk the entire 8 miles. A picnic break is well deserved—and enjoyed.

All your effort is rewarded when you arrive at Intipunku, the Sun Gate (8,954 feet)—the most spectacular approach to Machu Picchu from above. This was the original entrance to the “Lost City.” Give yourself some time to take it all in! Then continue down to our hotel located below Machu Picchu. You’ll have all of tomorrow to discover the wonder of Machu Picchu, both with your Trip Leaders and independently.

For those looking for a less strenuous option—and for those unable to obtain a permit for the Inca Trail—you’ll stay on the train past Km 104, arriving in Aguas Calientes in the early morning. Check into the inn is not until 1pm so your room may not be available for several hours after your arrival. You may wish to take advantage of the spa services, or walk the incredible orchid gardens at the inn while waiting for your room. You may also take the bus up to the main entrance of Machu Picchu and hike in to meet the rest of the group, or just walk the site at your own pace.  You will be given the same box lunch provided to the guests on the Inca Trail walk so that you may enjoy lunch at your leisure today – wherever and whenever you so desire.

This evening we will regroup and enjoy dinner at our lovely resort’s restaurant.

Hotel: Inkaterra Machu Picchu
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 8 miles on flat to rolling dirt roads and paved paths.

DAY 7: Machu Picchu

Enjoy a leisurely morning at the hotel. Options include birding on the hotel grounds, visiting the spa and pool, or exploring the city of Aguas Calientes. This afternoon we shuttle to the Machu Picchu.  Here our Trip Leaders will be offering a guided walk around Machu Picchu, as well as in the surrounding area, including a roundtrip walk to Inca Bridge (1.8 miles).

You may wish to continue your exploration of the ruins on your own. Return to the hotel whenever you like by shuttle bus Enjoy recounting the day over an included dinner tonight.

Hotel: Inkaterra Machu Picchu
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: Only Machu Picchu: 2 miles up and down stone stairs and dirt paths. Additional Inca Bridge: 2 miles up and down stone stairs and dirt paths.

DAY 8: Cusco

Enjoy a relaxing breakfast. Several walking trails begin right at the hotel, or you may wish to visit the tea plantation located within the hotel grounds. Later this morning, we return to Cusco through the Sacred Valley by train.Upon our arrival in Cusco this afternoon, we will put on our walking shoes and discover this ancient Inca capital with a walking tour. Evidence of both the original Inca city and the Spanish colonial city established in 1533 will be pointed out as we explore Koricancha (“Temple of the Sun”), Cusco Cathedral, and the San Blas district. In Incan times, San Blas was a settlement for ancient craftsmen who saw yachay—Quechua for “teach and learn”—as their special calling. Today the area is famous for the unusual Baroque-style pulpit in the San Blas Church and for its artists and artisans.

Cusco and its many dining options are at your doorstep tonight.

Hotel: Casa Andina PC Cusco
Meals: B
Daily Options: 1.5 miles on descending cobblestone and paved pedestrian paths.

DAY 9: Tambomachay / Puka Pukara / Sacsayhuaman

After breakfast, we transfer six miles (25 minutes) north of Cusco to begin our day. We’ll trace our way on foot back in the direction of the city, visiting the most important Incan monuments. This is a spectacular area for our walks, with Andean mountain views, colorful villages and impressive remains of the Inca Empire.

First we visit Tambomachay (the highest elevation of the day at 12,500 feet), which may have fulfilled an important religious function linked to water and the regeneration of the land. Walking down a gentle slope, we’ll later stop to explore the complexes of Puka Pukara, Qenqo, and Laqo. Our Trip Leaders can explain more about historic religious ceremonies held here. \

Next, we visit Sacsayhuaman. Though only a fraction of its original size and scope, this fortress will astound and baffle you. We take a moment to look back over the orange tile rooftops of Cusco before our short transfer into the city.

We find a comfortable meadow overlook to enjoy our box lunch before returning to the hotel.

There is time to soak in some last bits of Andean culture in the colorful plazas of Cusco. Tonight, we’re out on the town for a festive farewell dinner.

Hotel: Casa Andina PC Cusco
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 4.5 miles on flat to gradually descending dirt roads and paths.

DAY 10: VBT Tour ends / Peruvian Amazon Extension begins

VBT No-Air Package guests: Our tour finishes in the hotel after breakfast this morning. The hotel will help you book a taxi at your own expense to the Cusco airport.

VBT Air Package: There will be a mid-morning transfer to the airport in Cusco for the flight to Lima. Upon arrival, check in to comfortable rooms for day use. Tonight, dinner is at your leisure before returning to the airport for flights departing in the late evening.

VBT Post-Trip Extension guests: You will catch a mid-morning flight from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado, here the Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica staff will greet and assists with your transfer to the port. After a 45-minute boat ride, arrive at Reserva Amazonica. Lunch is included today, and you’ll have time to enjoy the extensive trail system with an interpretive guide this afternoon. This evening, join an included “Twlight River” excursion, or catch a nature presentation in the Eco Center. Dinner is in the lodge dining room tonight. Note: Due to the logistics of getting to Reserva Amazonica Lodge, there are restrictions on what luggage can travel with you. Please use the small bag you brought for Machu Picchu to transfer only what you need for these two overnights from your large suitcase. Your large luggage will remain in secure storage in Puerto Maldonado.

Please note: VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

Hotel: Wyndham Costa del Sol Lima
Alternate Hotel: Reserva Amazonica Lodge
Meals: B

DAY 11: Air Package Guests arrive home

Flights arrive home this morning, depending on connections.

Machu Picchu Walking Tour Map

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Accommodations

Casa Andina PC Cusco

A beautifully renovated 18th-century manor house, just three blocks from Cusco’s Plaza de Armas, Casa Andina Private Collection Cusco is replete with authentic colonial character. It offers the intimacy of a boutique hotel but the comforts and services of a much larger property. The hotel is distinguished by its three interior patios with wooden balconies. The principal patio, featuring a gurgling stone fountain, is one of Cusco’s emblematic colonial courtyards. In the hotel’s cozy lounge and reading room is a massive stone fireplace that’s always crackling, while the romantic restaurant invites guests to dine by candlelight in one of four connected salons richly decorated with 18th-century Cusco School paintings. Several rooms in the original structure of the hotel feature surviving colonial frescoes unearthed during renovation.
Free WiFi Included

Inkaterra Machu Picchu

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel is a pueblo of luxurious whitewashed bungalows nestled into terraced hills. The train station is only steps away, but the ambiance at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel seems to exist in a world apart. It is an intimate 85-cottage luxury hotel designed in the manner of a sprawling Andean-style village on 12 secluded acres of exquisite beauty. Guests follow stone pathways to their rooms, located in comfortable one- or two-story whitewashed casitas. Spa services use natural essences, and a first-class restaurant offers grand views of the Vilcanota River.
Free WiFi Included

Wyndham Costa del Sol Lima

The Wyndham Costa del Sol Lima at Jorge Chavez Lima-Callao International Airport is a beautiful 130-room hotel. Each guestroom features a 26-inch LCD TV with cable, complimentary wireless Internet access, marble bathroom with tub and shower, individual climate control, minibar, in-room safe, and hairdryer.
Free WiFi Included

Casa Andina PC Miraflores

With its stylish contemporary design, cutting-edge technology, and ideal location, the flagship Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores hotel is the top of its class in every respect. Formerly the Miraflores César's — Lima’s fondly remembered, original 5-star hotel — this modern icon was dramatically transformed in 2008 into the capital’s newest luxury hotel. In both its public spaces and its private rooms, a quintessential Limeño flavor resonates in an exquisite collection of works by contemporary, local artists and its prized colonial-era antiques. The 17-story hotel, with views over Miraflores and the Pacific coast, offers 148 sophisticated, contemporary luxury rooms and suites, with soundproofing and LCD flat-screen TVs in every room. First-class amenities include a heated, covered pool and breezy terrace, gymnasium with the latest exercise equipment, and the prestigious Joop salon and massage room.
Free WiFi Included

Reserva Amazonica Lodge

Reserva Amazonica Lodge is located in a private reserve, surrounded by a vast jungle canopy. You’ll awake to tropical birdsong and end your day by lantern light, falling asleep to the lulling sound of the Amazon rainforest. Exotic yet accessible, Reserva Amazonica Lodge provides an unforgettable introduction to this remarkable region of incomparable biodiversity.

Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba

Serenity and relaxation are hallmarks of the Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, a contemporary, hacienda-style hotel on a 100-acre property surrounded by a dramatic mountain range. Set in the Sacred Valley, between Cusco and Machu Picchu, it proudly showcases the region’s blend of Spanish and Andean influences in its colonial furnishings, Inca mask accents, and handcrafted woodwork. Harvest produce from the hacienda’s 10-acre organic plantation, where crops are cultivated as they have been for centuries. Gaze in awe at stunning views from nearly every window. And relax on the terrace or in the privacy of your comfortable room.
Free WiFi Included
Photos

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Reviews

Enjoy Your Vacation Longer With LOw-Cost Trip Extensions

Pre Trip in Lima Peru

Pre-Trip Extension - Lima

2 nights for only $545

Post Trip Peruvian Amazon

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2 nights for only $695

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