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  • Peru: The Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu
Overview

Explore Peru’s Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu with Boundless Journeys

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. On this very special Boundless Journeys tour, The Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu, we begin by exploring Cusco’s lovely 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 awe-inspiring 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 travel to 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 delicious local foods and memorable, perfectly located accommodations.

Please note: There is the option to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu on Day 5 of our tour. This is at an additional expense and hiking permits are limited and issued first come, first served, so you are encouraged to reserve early.

What Our Guests Have To Say About This Tour

Ashley did a great job planning our trip. We contacted Boundless Journeys and at least 20 other companies we found on the Internet. Ashley was the most responsive and helpful of all the people we initially contacted and that is the primary reason we went with Boundless.

Anne C
Boundless Journeys

Itinerary &
Accommodations

Itinerary & Accommodations

Day 1

Arrival in Cusco; Afternoon City Tour & Sacsayhuaman

  • Activity Overview: Walking
  • Activity Level: Easy to moderate
  • Activity Length: 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.

Accommodations
Hotel Novotel

Hotel Novotel
Cusco, Peru

Built to incorporate an early 16th century house, this well-located hotel in the heart of historic Cusco showcases the exceptional style of colonial architecture, and is the perfect base for exploring this historic city and the surrounding area. Featuring colonial architecture, a central courtyard and spacious rooms. Sip a complimentary coca tea in the patio and savor the international fine cuisine of the hotel’s restaurant amidst the fine hospitality of the staff.

Day 2

Chinchero, Moras to Moray & Into the Sacred Valley

  • Activity Overview: Hiking on trails and country roads; optional horseback riding
  • Activity Level: Easy to moderate
  • Activity Length: 2-4 hours (hiking); 1 hour (optional horseback riding)

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.

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.

Accommodations
Posada del Inca

Posada del Inca
Yucay, Peru

This Spanish hacienda-style lodge is located on the site of a restored, 350-year-old monastery in the heart of the Sacred Valley in the foothills of the Andes. The property is an oasis of lush gardens, fruit trees, an inviting courtyard, and quaint chapel. Enjoy local musicians over a cocktail in the lounge before savouring the restaurant’s authentic Peruvian and novoandean cuisine created with native ingredients from the hotel’s gardens and fertile Sacred Valley.

Day 3

Kiswar Lake & Pisac

  • Activity Overview: Hiking
  • Activity Level: Easy to moderate
  • Activity Length: 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 that 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.

Accommodations
Posada del Inca

Posada del Inca
Yucay, Peru

This Spanish hacienda-style lodge is located on the site of a restored, 350-year-old monastery in the heart of the Sacred Valley in the foothills of the Andes. The property is an oasis of lush gardens, fruit trees, an inviting courtyard, and quaint chapel. Enjoy local musicians over a cocktail in the lounge before savouring the restaurant’s authentic Peruvian and novoandean cuisine created with native ingredients from the hotel’s gardens and fertile Sacred Valley.

Day 4

Mountain Village & Ollantaytambo

  • Activity Overview: Hiking on dirt roads and trails, some steep stone stairs at ruins
  • Activity Level: Easy to moderate
  • Activity Length: 3 hours

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!

Accommodations
Posada del Inca

Posada del Inca
Yucay, Peru

This Spanish hacienda-style lodge is located on the site of a restored, 350-year-old monastery in the heart of the Sacred Valley in the foothills of the Andes. The property is an oasis of lush gardens, fruit trees, an inviting courtyard, and quaint chapel. Enjoy local musicians over a cocktail in the lounge before savouring the restaurant’s authentic Peruvian and novoandean cuisine created with native ingredients from the hotel’s gardens and fertile Sacred Valley.

Day 5

Machu Picchu by Rail

  • Activity Overview: Hiking
  • Activity Level: Easy to moderate, with more strenuous options also available
  • Activity Length: 2-3 hours

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 Aguas Calientes, our guide will offer several options to best plan your visit based on your timing and interests. We may 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), Inca Bridge, or you may simply choose to find a quiet spot from which to soak in the splendor. (Please contact Boundless Journeys to request the day hike on the Inca Trail into Machu Picchu. This is an additional expense requiring a permit.)

Tonight we enjoy dinner at our award-winning hotel, where we share a festive celebration of our day at Machu Picchu.

Accommodations
Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
Machu Picchu Pueblo, Peru

This highest rated hotel in the Machu Picchu region (Travel + Leisure, “World’s Best Hotels”) offers 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, featuring an impressive tropical garden showcasing a wide variety of native plant species, stone paths, and canals flowing with spring water, creating a special atmosphere. Enjoy the spa services, including a eucalyptus sauna, and excellent restaurant overlooking the rushing Vilcanota River.

Day 6

Mystical Machu Picchu and return to Cusco by Hiram Bingham Train.

  • Activity Overview: Touring Machu Picchu, with additional optional hiking available
  • Activity Level: Easy, more strenuous options are also available
  • Activity Length: Machu Picchu: 2-5 hours; Optional strenuous hike 2-3 hours

Today offers plenty of time to learn more about the complexities of this mystical mountaintop city. You may opt for a pre-dawn bus ride up to Machu Picchu, or enjoy a more casual morning at the hotel. Our guide will present options to explore Machu Picchu, including an in-depth tour of the citadel as well as optional walks in the surrounding hills.  You may choose to challenge yourself to a final hike up Huayna 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 Aguas 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.

Accommodations
Hotel Novotel

Hotel Novotel
Cusco, Peru

Built to incorporate an early 16th century house, this well-located hotel in the heart of historic Cusco showcases the exceptional style of colonial architecture, and is the perfect base for exploring this historic city and the surrounding area. Featuring colonial architecture, a central courtyard and spacious rooms. Sip a complimentary coca tea in the patio and savor the international fine cuisine of the hotel’s restaurant amidst the fine hospitality of the staff.

Day 7

Morning at leisure, and exploration of Cusco

  • Activity Overview: Walking (optional)
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Activity Length: 1-2 hours (optional)

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 some time to rest in the afternoon, we gather this evening for our final celebratory dinner at a favorite restaurant in Cusco.

Accommodations
Hotel Novotel

Hotel Novotel
Cusco, Peru

Built to incorporate an early 16th century house, this well-located hotel in the heart of historic Cusco showcases the exceptional style of colonial architecture, and is the perfect base for exploring this historic city and the surrounding area. Featuring colonial architecture, a central courtyard and spacious rooms. Sip a complimentary coca tea in the patio and savor the international fine cuisine of the hotel’s restaurant amidst the fine hospitality of the staff.

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 due to 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 or the order visited should the need arise.

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Dates &
Prices

Dates And Prices

2016
Trip Length

8 Days

Trip Dates

Aug 21-28, 2016

Sep 25-Oct 2, 2016

2016 Land Cost

From $4,395 Per Person


Single Supplement

First two reserved:$350

Additional:$850


See single supplement policy below.

2017
Trip Length

8 Days

Trip Dates

May 14-21, 2017

Jul 9-16, 2017

Aug 20-27, 2017

Sep 24-Oct 1, 2017

2017 Land Cost

$4,395 Per Person


Single Supplement

First two reserved:$350

Additional:$850


See single supplement policy below.

2016 PRICING GUARANTEED UNTIL 2017 PRICING IS SET

2017 pricing will be set soon, so reserve your 2017 departure now to guarantee 2016 rates!

What's Included

  • Expert leadership
  • All accommodations
  • All meals except 1 lunch (Day 7)
  • Local beer and wine with included dinners
  • All on-tour transportation
  • Archeological site entrance fees
  • All activities as noted in the itinerary
  • Hiram Bingham luxury-train
Single Supplement Policy

Accommodations (hotels, tents, cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability. If you reserve at least 120 days prior to departure, you may be eligible for a reduced or free single supplement.* This is generally limited to the first one or two solo travelers to reserve, and the reduction is outlined in the pricing for each trip. Please note, free or reduced single supplements are not combinable with other offers or promotions.

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 120 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 To
Expect

What To Expect

Physical Activity

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. Peru: 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.

Inca Trail hike option:
The Inca Trail hike itself is rated 3+, an approximate 5-6 hour hike, over 6 miles, with 2600 feet gain and 890 feet loss. The terrain is a hiking trail, with rocks and roots, and uneven stone steps, thus requires sturdy boots and comfort hiking on uneven trails.

Meeting Point

Cusco, Peru

Departure Point

Cusco, Peru

Traveling To and From

Most Convenient Airport:
Jorge Chavez Lima-Calleo International Airport, Lima, Peru, for international arrivals (airport code LIM)

Cusco Valazco Astete Airport, Cusco, Peru, for domestic arrivals from Lima (airport code CUZ)

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

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, the more you will enjoy yourself. As a general guideline, we suggest that you engage in easy to moderate aerobic activities (such as walking, 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). Please contact us if you have any doubts regarding your physical match with this tour.

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.

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

Cusco

May

High: 67
Low: 39

June

High: 66
Low: 35

July

High: 66
Low: 34

August

High: 66
Low: 37

September

High: 67
Low: 41

October

High: 68
Low: 44

When to Reserve

It is important to sign up early, as the Peruvian government has a permit system in place that strictly limits the number of hikers who are on the Inca trail at any given time. Permits are issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Now is the time to reserve if you dream of hiking into Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail. 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.

Traveler’s Responsibility

Trip participants have certain responsibilities to both Boundless Journeys and your fellow travelers. This includes understanding the conditions described in the trip itinerary and making sure it is appropriate for your interests and abilities, based on a review of the trip ratings, consultation with Boundless Journeys' staff, and perhaps your doctor.

In addition, trip participants are responsible for preparing for a trip by undertaking the proper fitness training. At the guide's discretion, a participant may be asked to leave the trip if the guide feels that the person's further participation may be detrimental to the individual or to other trip participants. If you have any questions about the difficulty level of the trip you have chosen, please contact Boundless Journeys to speak with one of our Destination Managers.

Small Group Travel

Small group travel affords us the opportunity to seek out the most remote and exotic destinations on the planet. Often we are exploring these locales with just 6-12 guests. The nature of active group travel is such that not all participants have the same ability level or interests. Traveling at a pace that is comfortable for the entire group, with a spirit of flexibility and adventure are all part of this shared experience.

Guides

Featured Guides

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.

From $4,395 / person* *airfare not included
8 Days
Reserve This Tour
  • Departure Dates: Aug 21-28, 2016
    Sep 25-Oct 2, 2016
    May 14-21, 2017
    Jul 9-16, 2017
    Aug 20-27, 2017
    Sep 24-Oct 1, 2017
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Activity Level 2+ Easy to Moderate

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

  • Group Size: 4-16 Guests

Make it Your Own!

This trip can be your own adventure by taking over one of our scheduled dates, or we can request a fresh one.

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