Peru Hiking Tour
Peru
The Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu

Immerse yourself in Quechuan culture with hikes to remote villages in the Sacred Valley. Explore the lost city of Machu Picchu and conclude your journey with a memorable ride on the luxury Hiram Bingham train back to Cusco.

Peru Trip Overview

The incredible beauty of Peru is evident on this journey as we explore the culturally rich farmlands of the Sacred Valley, the reaches of the majestic Andes, and the lost citadel of Machu Picchu. We begin by exploring Cusco’s beautiful Spanish colonial cathedrals and rare artwork before descending to the Sacred Valley, where our local guides take us to fascinating ruins, festive markets, and traditional villages. 
 
Between beautiful hikes we are welcomed into the home of local weavers, where we learn about the traditions of life in the valley. This is followed by the climax of our journey where we explore of the lost citadel of Machu Picchu, learning about this mysterious center of Inca life, and ride the famed Hiram Bingham luxury train back to Cusco. Throughout our journey, we indulge in fine local food and memorable, perfectly located accommodations.

Itinerary at a Glance

Peru hiking tour map

Day 1: Cusco - Afternoon city tour and exploration of Sacsayhuaman. Welcome dinner.
 
Day 2: Sacred Valley - Chinchero artisans’ co-op and textile demonstration, Moras salt mines and Moray agricultural terraces, hacienda lunch, and hike or optional horseback riding. 
 
Day 3: Sacred Valley - Lake Kiswar hike and visit to potato seed conservation site, village exploration, traditional Quechua lunch, and Pisac. 
 
Day 4: Sacred Valley - School visit, mountain villages walk, and Ollantaytambo market and ruins. 
 
Day 5: Machu Picchu - Vistadome train to Machu Picchu. Optional afternoon activities.
 
Day 6: Machu Picchu - Sunrise and morning exploration of Machu Picchu. Lunch at Sanctuary Lodge. Afternoon exploration of Aqua Calientes. Evening Hiram Bingham train back to Cusco.
 
Day 7: Optional excursions or independent exploration of Cusco. Farewell dinner at a favorite restaurant in Cusco.  
 
Day 8: Breakfast and transfer to airport for departing flights.
 
*Please note that there is the option on Day 5 to hike Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. This is at an additional expense and hiking permits are limited and issued 'first come, first served,' so you are encouraged to reserve early.

THE BOUNDLESS JOURNEYS ADVANTAGE

  • A passion for travel. Simply put, we love to travel, and that is woven into every one of our journeys.
  • Unique, award-winning itineraries. Our flexible, hand-crafted journeys have received accolades from the world’s most revered travel publications.
  • Insider connections. There is simply no substitute for traveling with a knowledgeable insider.
  • Small groups. We tread softly, and our average group size is just 6-8 guests.
  • Flexibility to suit your travel style. We offer both small-group departures and Private Collection trips, so that you can choose which works best for you.
  • Customer service that goes the extra mile. There is no request that is too big – or too small – for our staff to handle.
  • Sustainability. We are committed to traveling responsibly – striving to preserve traditions and cultures around the world, and to protect fragile natural habitats.
RESERVE EARLY!
Our tours often fill months in advance, and our maximum group size is smaller than most tour operators. It's very quick and easy to reserve a trip. Give us a call at 800-941-8010 or complete the online Reserve a Trip form. We will confirm your reservation with a $500 per person deposit, payable by check or credit card.
 
QUESTIONS?...CONTACT US.
If you have any questions about the level of comfort, difficulty, or any activities included in this trip, please call Boundless Journeys at 800-941-8010, or Contact Us by e-mail. Our travel experts look forward to helping you choose the perfect adventure!

Group Size

4-16 guests

Trip Rating (1 Easiest - 5 Most Strenuous)

Description of Trip Ratings

Adventure travel may involve exotic destinations, varying levels of physical exertion, and activities that may be new to you. We want to make sure that you choose the adventure that's right for you from our many one-of-a-kind trips. Each trip is rated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the easiest, and 5 being the most strenuous. A few of our trips have had a "+" added to the number, indicating something that falls in between. Our Trip Ratings may be found on the trip schedule and on our website. Our detailed itineraries provide additional information on what to expect on the trip you are considering (detailed itineraries are available by mail or e-mail; or you can find them on our website: www.BoundlessJourneys.com). We encourage you to call one of our travel experts with any questions or concerns that you may have. We are happy to assist you in selecting the most appropriate adventure for you.
 
EASIEST 1
 
Our easiest trips are generally hotel-based cultural and nature journeys that offer light activity. Walks and hikes (approximately 2 to 4 hours) are through gentle terrain with little elevation gain or loss. Altitude is not a factor on these tours. Other activities, such as snorkeling or sea kayaking, are optional. Examples: Galapagos Islands Cruise, Tanzania, and Vietnam.
 
EASY TO MODERATE 2
 
Hotel nights and/or deluxe, safari-style camping. Walking, hiking (approximately 3 to 5 hours), kayaking, or other activities on most days. Trails and paths are through rolling countryside, with occasional steep trails with up to 1,000 feet of elevation gain. Many of our hotel-based walking trips are in this category. Examples: Tuscany & Umbria, Turkey, and Bhutan.
 
MODERATE 3
 
Hotel or inn-based hiking trips, that involve full day hikes (approximately 4 to 6 hours), mostly on unpaved trails and paths through hilly terrain with typical elevation gains and losses of 1,000 to 2,000 feet. There may be occasional steep sections of trail. Examples: Slovenia, Amalfi Coast, Spain.
 
MODERATE TO STRENUOUS 4
 
Full day hikes (approximately 5 to 7 hours) through mountainous terrain with significant elevation gains and losses (2,000 to 3,000 feet). Terrain may be rugged with uneven footpaths. The average altitude is generally no more than 12,000 feet. Vehicle support is limited. These trips may involve some full-service camping or simple accommodations in remote locations. Examples: Tour du Mont Blanc, Peru Trek, Haute Route.
 
MOST STRENUOUS 5
 
Full-day trekking (approximately 6 to 8 hours) through rugged mountainous terrain with steep climbs and descents and the following present: elevation gains and losses of as much as 4,000 feet, altitude that exceeds 12,000 feet, and rugged uneven footpaths with some exposure. These trips typically offer minimal to no vehicle support and include full-service camping in a remote setting.

Activity Details

Easy to moderate hiking and walking with a moderately strenuous option; altitudes of 8,000 to 12,000 feet, 2-6 hours per day.

Meeting Point

Cusco, Peru

Departure Point

Cusco, Peru

Traveling to and From

Most Convenient Airport:
Jorge Chavez Lima - Calleo International Airport, Lima, Peru (LIM - for international arrivals), and Cusco Valazco Astete Airport, Cusco, Peru (CUZ - for domestic arrivals from Lima)

Meeting Time and Place:
12:30 p.m. in the lobby of the Hotel Novotel in downtown Cusco.

Departure Time and Place:
Cusco airport in time for your departing flights to Lima on the last day of the tour.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Trip Rating
Boundless Journeys’ trips are designed for energetic and flexible individuals who like to be active and have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. The Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu is rated 2+, easy to moderate, on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being the most strenuous). The walks and hikes on this trip are easy to moderate with some moderately strenuous options, at altitudes of 8,000 to 12,000 feet. Walks and hikes are generally from 2-6 hours in length with minimal vehicle support. On days with significant ascents or descents, we have noted them in the itinerary.

Preparing for this Trip
It is very important that you realistically assess your physical condition with regard to the demands of this trip. The more well prepared you are for the activities on this trip, the more you will enjoy yourself! Please engage in moderate aerobic activities (hiking, jogging, or cycling) for at least 30-45 minutes several times a week for 4-6 weeks before the trip. If you live in a flat area, try to incorporate some stairs into your workout, or use a treadmill with varying incline capability. Consult your doctor before undertaking any new fitness program.  

The Altitude
Peru’s geography is as diverse as its culture, with altitudes from sea level to over 22,000 feet. Our trip begins and ends in Cusco, which is situated at 11,150 feet, in the foothills of the Andes. After our first night, we move to the Sacred Valley, and our hotel is located at 9,350 feet. Our third hotel, in Machu Picchu Pueblo, is located at about 6,500 feet. Our walks and hikes will take place at elevations of 8,000 feet to approximately 12,000 feet. There is time to move at a comfortable pace, allowing ourselves to adjust to the mountain air. Keeping well hydrated, avoiding excessive alcohol, eating frequent, light meals, and getting plenty of rest will help with any effects of altitude that you may feel.

Weather
The mountainous areas of Peru have pronounced rainy and dry seasons, which are more responsible for the prevailing weather than seasonal temperature fluctuations. While the dry season lasts only from May through September, the most significant rains fall from January through March. Temperatures do not fluctuate as much, although nights do tend to be colder from May through September. Any time of year, dressing in layers is a good strategy so that you can shed or add layers as the day heats and cools.

The following are average temperatures in Cusco:
                    high / low

April:           66°F / 43°F
July:            66°F / 34°F
August:       66°F / 37°F
October:     68°F / 44°F
December:  66°F / 45°F

You may obtain more detailed weather information at www.weatherbase.com.

When to Reserve
It is important to sign up early, as the Peruvian government has a permit system in place which strictly limits the number of hikers on the Inca trail at any given time. Permits are issued on a first-come, first-served basis. If you dream of hiking into Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail, now is the time to reserve. There are alternative hiking options if permits are not available at the time when you reserve. This will not affect our visit to Machu Picchu, just the hike to the ruins. Please contact our office with any questions regarding this.

When to Go
Peru is generally delightful for hiking from April through December. We avoid scheduling trips during January through March as this is the height of the rainy season. That being said, the hillsides and valleys tend to be greener in April, May and June. Later in the dry season the fields turn golden and the campesinos harvest their crops.

Peru Accommodations

Overview: First-class Cusco hotel and historic country lodges, all private baths.

Night 1: Hotel Novotel
Cusco, Peru


Peru Walking Tour - Hotel Novotel, Cusco, PeruBuilt to incorporate an early 16th-century house, this well-located hotel in the heart of historic Cusco showcases the exceptional style of colonial architecture.

 

 

Nights 2, 3 & 4: Posada del Inca
Yucay, Peru

          
Peru Walking Tour -  Posada del Inca, Yucay (Sacred Valley), PeruThis country lodge is located on the site of a restored, 350-year-old monastery surrounded by the foothills of the Andes. Property features include a quaint chapel, restaurant, gift shop, and lounge.

 

 

Nights 5 & 6: Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
Machu Picchu Pueblo
, Peru

Highest rated hotel in Machu Picchu region (Travel + Leisure, "World's Best Hotels")
                   
Peru Walking Tour -  Inkaterra Machu Picchu, Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes), PeruWith Andean-style individual bungalows in a quiet riverside spot in the town of Machu Picchu Pueblo, this acclaimed hotel is renowned for its progressive sustainability programs. An impressive tropical garden showcasing a wide variety of native plant species, stone paths, and canals flowing with spring water create a special atmosphere.


Night 7:  Hotel Novotel
Cusco, Peru


See description for Night 1

Peru Detailed Itinerary

DAY 1
Arrival to Cusco; afternoon city tour and Sacsayhuaman

Walk – easy to moderate, 2-3 hours.

After a group lunch and brief orientation, we begin our exploration of the land of the Incas in the city of Cusco (11,150’), whose name is taken from the Quechua word for “naval” or “center.”  Here, dramatic Spanish colonial architecture blends with solid Inca masonry in a harmony belying the area’s tumultuous history. Beautiful cathedrals abound, often built directly on top of ancient Inca temples. The juxtaposition of pagan and Christian art and architecture is fascinating. 
 
After exploring the center of Cusco, we drive to the surrounding countryside for a walk on the grounds of the impressive site of Sacsayhuaman, where we encounter our first example of the huge boulders the Incas used in building temples and fortresses. The stonework of the Incas is unsurpassed by that of any other culture. Massive rocks were painstakingly ground to fit so perfectly together that no mortar was needed, and many walls have remained for over 500 years in spite of tremors that sometimes occur in the area. It is mind-boggling to think of the work that went into producing these temples and fortresses.  

After time to freshen up at our hotel, we dine at one of our favorite restaurants while enjoying traditional music. 
Hotel Novotel, Cusco
 

DAY 2  
Chinchero, Moras to Moray, and into the Sacred Valley

Hike – easy to moderate, 2-4 hours on hiking trails and country roads; optional horseback riding – about 1 hour.

This morning we leave Cusco early for the Sacred Valley, stopping along the way at a local market and the village of Chinchero.  Here, we meet artisans who are part of a cooperative based on one of the tenets of Inca philosophy: service to community. We are introduced to traditional spinning, dying, and weaving methods that result in beautiful and unique cloth. We then enjoy a scenic walk along the pathways above the village. 

From Chinchero, we continue toward the Sacred Valley, taking a side trip to Moray, an important experimental agricultural site for the Incas. After time to explore this interesting site, we drive a short distance to the Maras Salt Mine, whose white pools have provided salt for the southern highlands since the time of the Incas. 
We next make our way to a rustic and charming hacienda on the other side of the valley for a farmhouse lunch. After lunch, for those who would like a longer walk, we explore the quiet country roads on foot; or for those who are interested, there is the option of a horseback ride from the hacienda (at an additional expense).

Later this afternoon, we arrive at our hotel for the next three nights, a charming country lodge on the site of a restored, 350-year-old monastery. You may choose to relax with a Pisco Sour in front of the lodge’s fireplace, before we meet for dinner in the hotel’s restaurant.
Posada del Inca, Yucay


DAY 3  
Kiswar Lake and Pisac

Hike – easy to moderate, 2-3 hours.

We begin our day with a drive to the nearby town of Pisac, and ascend into the foothills to Kiswar Lake. Here, a European NGO is working with local villagers to promote the preservation of dozens of types of potato seeds. We spend some time learning about the project, before a walk with spectacular views over the Sacred Valley. At the end of our walk, we make our way to another village for a traditional Quechua lunch provided by a partnership of local women. 

After lunch, we descend to Pisac. The well-preserved ruins above the town offer excellent views and further insight into the spiritual life of the Incas. Here are good examples of Inca stairs, and the hills above the site are dotted with caves which functioned as ancient burial grounds. The belief was that the ancestors would be able to watch over and protect the living from their vantage point on the hillside. 

We have some time to relax and enjoy our hotel this afternoon, before dinner tonight at a local home in Yucay, where we have the opportunity to enjoy traditional Peruvian dishes and learn about life in the Sacred Valley. 
Posada del Inca, Yucay


DAY 4  
Mountain Village and Ollantaytambo

Hike – easy to moderate, about 3 hours on dirt roads and trails; some steep stone stairs at ruins.  

Today’s hike begins in one of the mountain villages near the town of Ollantaytambo. If school is in session we may stop for a visit to meet some of the children, before departing on foot. Our route allows us a glimpse of the agricultural life the campesinos have lived for centuries, growing wheat and potatoes, and raising sheep and guinea pigs. We pass through remote areas where we may see isolated herds of llama or alpaca roaming amid the patchwork of cultivated fields. After a picnic lunch we return to Ollantaytambo, a charming town of cobblestone streets, ingenious aqueducts, and colorful market stalls at the base of an impressive ruin. Exactly how the Incas moved the rose-colored stone blocks from their quarry miles away is a mystery to this day. This spot, at a narrow part of the valley, is the only place where the Incas managed to stave off the Spanish conquest by using canals to flood the valley floor. 

Tonight we enjoy dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants before retiring early in anticipation of tomorrow’s journey to Machu Picchu!
Posada del Inca, Yucay


DAY 5  
Machu Picchu by Rail
Hiking – easy to moderate, with possible more strenuous options.

Today we board the Vistadome train to the town of Aguas Calientes (also called Machu Picchu Pueblo),  at the base of Machu Picchu Mountain.  Our  hour-long, breathtaking train journey takes us along the Urubamba River, winding through a narrow valley, where we begin to note the landscape changing to lush forests and steep cliffs indicative of the cloud forest surrounding this mythical site. Upon arriving in Aquas Calientes, we take the bus to Machu Picchu and begin our exploration of these amazing ruins. Our guide will introduce us to this mesmerizing site, and following lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge, there will be time for you to explore the lost city on your own. For those who are feeling more adventurous, you can venture up to Intipunku (the Gate of the Sun), or you may simply choose to find a quiet spot from which to soak in the splendor. Please contact Boundless Journeys if you would like to do the day hike on the Inca Trail into Machu Picchu. This is an additional expense.
 
Tonight we enjoy dinner at our award-winning hotel, where we share a festive celebration of our day at Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, Machu Picchu Pueblo


DAY 6
Sunrise and full day at Machu Picchu; return to Cusco by Hiram Bingham train
Touring Machu Picchu – easy 2-5 hours; optional strenuous hike, 2-3 hours.  

For those who wish to rise early, a very special experience is in store. An early bus will bring us back to Machu Picchu before sunrise, so that we can quietly enjoy the ruins before the crowds begin to arrive later in the morning. There is plenty of time to learn more about the complexities of this mountaintop city, or you may choose to challenge yourself to a final hike up Wayna Picchu, the dramatic spire that rises in the background of every classic photograph of the famed citadel. 

Upon concluding our excursion to Machu Picchu around mid-day, we return to Aquas Caliantes by bus and enjoy lunch before having some independent time for exploration and shopping. 
 
In the late afternoon, we travel back to Cusco in style aboard the Hiram Bingham train. This is a highlight of our journey, as we unwind over a delicious gourmet meal and listen to lively Peruvian musicians. 
Hotel Novotel, Cusco


DAY 7
Morning at leisure and exploration of Cusco

Optional walking – easy, 1-2 hours.

This morning we have the opportunity to explore Cusco independently or join our guide for excursions to some of the city sights. Cusco is a lively city, and often there are festivals and celebrations taking place. You may stroll the markets or sit back and relax at the main square, a great place to simply watch the daily scene unfold. You may also choose to join a cooking class (at an additional expense), or visit one of the many famous museums or cathedrals. Lunch is on your own today, and you may choose one of the many world-class restaurants emerging as a result of the budding gastronomic scene in Peru. After sometime to rest in the afternoon, we gather this evening for our final celebratory dinner at a favorite restaurant in Cusco.
Hotel Novotel, Cusco


DAY 8  
Departure from Cusco


After breakfast we say goodbye and transfer to the Cusco airport in time for flights to Lima and homeward.

Please note that this is a typical itinerary, and actual activities may vary to take advantage of weather conditions, local events, and to allow serendipity to play a hand in your experience. Accommodations are as outlined in the itinerary, although we reserve the right to change these should the need arise.

Trip Length

8 Days

Trip Dates

Upcoming Trips:

  • Aug 17–24, 2014
  • Sep 21–28, 2014

Prefer a group departure?
Africa | Asia | Europe | Latin America | South Pacific

2014 Land Cost

$4,295 per person

Single Supplement

First two reserved on each departure: $325; Additional singles: $825

View Single Supplement Policy

Single Supplements: (Free or reduced single supplements are not combinable with other offers or promotions.)

Accommodations (hotels, tents, cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. A single supplement may be charged to participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability. We have made every effort to eliminate or greatly reduce this cost for most of our scheduled small-group departures; however, these savings are limited to two single supplements per departure. Therefore, the first two single participants to reserve will receive the savings. This is not applicable to our Private Collection journeys.

If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender. If you reserve at least 90 days ahead and a roommate is not available, you will only be charged a “forced” single supplement in the amount of 50% of the standard single supplement (unless otherwise noted in the detailed itinerary).* Single accommodations are limited so you are encouraged to reserve early!

*This does not apply to cruises in the Galapagos Islands. Please see these trip pages for more details.

What's Included

  • Expert leadership
  • All accommodations
  • All meals
  • All transportation during the tour
  • Archeological site entrance fees 
  • All activities as noted in the itinerary

Please complete the following information to request a reservation. A trip deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your reservation (payable by check or major credit card). Once we receive your request we will contact you within one business day to confirm availability and answer any questions you may have.

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About our guides
With a Boundless Journeys guide, your experience is that of friend and local adventurer. We believe strongly in working with local guides, experts in the areas to which we travel, and they hold the keys to unlocking the hidden delights of your chosen destination. Although you will never know they are at work – the mark of a truly great leader – our guides make magical things happen and add a dimension to your trip that you could not experience on your own.

Over the years we have forged bonds with some of the best guides in the world, and we typically work with a small team of guides in each region. You will be informed of the guide for your trip one month prior to your departure.

Featured Guides

Peru Tour guide - Harry Cavero - Boundless JourneysHarry Cavero: Harry was born in the village of Calca in the center of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and began hiking the Inca Trail and exploring the Vilcabamba region when he was just seven years old. The son of a traveling teacher, Harry had the opportunity to travel extensively through the mountains and villages surrounding Cusco and near Machu Picchu.Starting as an assistant guide at the age of 13, Harry has now been assisting and leading tours through his homeland for more than 20 years. In addition to guiding, Harry has worked with NGOs in support of Andean families who have few resources, and participated in anthropological projects studying the native communities of Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras to assess similarities with his native culture.

With a degree from the University of San Antonio Abad and official certification from the Polytechnic Guide’s School in Cusco, and a true passion for the cultures of the Andes, Harry is an ideal companion for exploring the mountains and villages of Peru.
 

Peru Tour guide - Ruben Choque - Boundless JourneysRuben Choque: Ruben grew up in the quaint and historic city of Cusco, and from a very young age was exposed to the rich cultural and natural heritage of his native country. Upon completing his university degree in Archeology and Tourism and a Masters in Business Administration, he pursued guiding, his ultimate passion. He has an intimate knowledge of the adventure travel industry in Peru and draws from his extensive experience not only as a guide, but from working in tour operations and as a consultant in sustainable tourism development. At present, Ruben brings to the table more than a decade of experience leading groups around Peru. He is dedicated to uncovering the unique cultures and landscapes of Peru through cultural, adventure and ecological tours.


What other guests have said about our Peru guides:

“Our trip was very special and it was made even more so by [our guide] Harry and our driver, Ever. Their knowledge and experiences made everything move smoothly. This makes enjoying the various activities and destination effortlessly enjoyable.”
– K.S, Kansas City, MO

“I arrived home last night and am still in a mental daze.  The trip far surpassed my expectations.  It was glorious!  Everyone in our group agreed that our guide was central to making it all work.  He is truly an amazing person. There is no praise I could give that would equal what he actually offers with his knowledge of the culture, his managerial capabilities and the spiritual connection with the land that he conveys.”
– J.C., Aspen, CO

Ask a Question about our Private Collection Trips

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Picture Yourself Here:

Experienced local guides – the very best in Peru – lead walks through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, the ruins of Pisac, and Quechua town of Ollantaytambo

Journey on the Hiram Bingham luxury-train from Machu Picchu to Cusco

Traditional Quechua culture, including festive local markets and dinner in a local home

Inca and Spanish city of Cusco, with beautiful cathedrals, fine dining, and a lively atmosphere

Upcoming Trips:

  • Aug 17–24, 2014
  • Sep 21–28, 2014

You may also be interested in:

Prefer a private departure?

Private Peru ToursPlease see our Private Collection:

Peru: Land of the Incas Private Journey

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Announcements:

RESERVE EARLY!
Inca Trail hiking permits are issued first-come, first-served and can sell out 4-6 months in advance for peak periods. Please plan ahead!

What others have said...

"The best trip we have ever taken. It was the trip of a lifetime."

-M. LoVerde, Aurora, CO

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Testimonials

Peru Hiking Tour"I have never had better guides on any trip, EVER! Many tour companies can show you the various Inca ruins. With Boundless Journeys, we also saw and learned about Peruvian culture in a very engaging manner."
- Rich Gleitsmann, Peru: The Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu

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