Precious Journeys Peru

Retrace the steps of the ancient Incas on a hiking expedition along the Inca Trail. Explore Sacred Valley, including the traditional Andean community of Pisaq and spend a day discovering the magical Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu!

Country Information




Peru experiences two very distinct seasons, wet and dry - terms that are more relevant than "summer" and "winter." Peru's high season for travel coincides with the driest months: May through September, with the most visitors in July and August. May and September are particularly fine months to visit much of Peru.

Time Zone:

Peru is in the same zone as U.S. EST (GMT -5 hours).

Flight Information:

flight injforamtion



Nuevo Sol (S/), divided in 100 cents. Coins come in 5,10,20 and 50 cents. Banknotes are in denominations of 10 20 50 100 and 200. US dollars are welcome at most shops, restaurant and services stations at the current exchange rate.

Before You Go

Download The Free Big Five Peru Destination Guide (Download)

Precious Journeys Peru Precious Journeys

(Countries Visited)


(Interest Type(s))

Sustainable Travel


Adventure Travel

(Tour Length)

12 Days

Tour Highlights

Starting at: $5,450
  • Retrace the tracks of ancient Incas on an in-depth hiking expedition along the famous Inca Trail to the fabled mountain fortress of Machu Picchu
  • Explore Sacred Valley, including the traditional Andean community of Pisaq with its colorful Indian market, and Incan complex at Ollantaytambo Fortress
  • Spend a day discovering the magical Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu, which was begun in the 1400s and abandoned a century later to the Spanish conquistadors
  • Enjoy Cusco, with remnants of ancient Inca walls blended with colonial architecture; and visit archaeological sites including Saqsayhuaman Fortress
  • Sustainable tourism practices include conservation of natural resources; and Inkaterra, which we highlight in this program, demonstrates their leadership in the conservation of Peru’s original forest, committing to a 100% carbon neutral hotel stay for every guest

Machu Picchu Terraces

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu Lost City of Incas

Day 1:  Arrive Lima, Peru
Welcome to Peru!  Upon arrival in Lima, Peru, please proceed through Immigration and Customs.  After claiming your luggage, exit the Customs Hall where a representative from Big Five will be waiting to assist you and escort you to your hotel.  Costa Del Sol Ramada – Standard Room

Day 2:  Lima / Cusco
This morning you fly to Cusco.  High in the Andes at nearly 11,400 feet above sea level, Cusco is considered the oldest continuously inhabited city in the Western Hemisphere.  Founded in the 15th century by the Incas, it was later conquered by Spain and much of its architecture reflects the dramatic Spanish style of what is known as Cusco Baroque.  According to Peter Frost in Exploring Cusco, “Cusco was more than just a capital city to the Incas and the millions of subjects in their realm.  It was a Holy City, a place of pilgrimage with as much importance to the Quechuas as Mecca has to the Muslims.  Every ranking citizen of the empire tried to visit Cusco once in his lifetime; to have done so increased his stature wherever he might travel.”  Cusco retains signs from the time of the Incas, who conceived their capital in the shape of a puma with the river serving as the spine, Sacsayhuaman the head and the main city center as the body.  Almost every central street has remains of Inca walls, arches and doorways.  Many streets are lined with Inca stonework, now serving as foundations for more modern buildings.  Inca stonework is tapered upwards (battered) and every wall has a perfect line of inclination towards the center, from bottom to top.  The stones have each edge and corner rounded.  Enjoy a half day visit of this magical city as you drive.  Visit the Qorikancha (Sun Temple) now the Santo Domingo Church.  The curved stonework of the temple is probably unequalled in the world.  During the Inca period, the stones were covered with gold.  Then, visit the archaeological sites that surround Cusco:  the Saqsayhuaman Fortress, an amazing site with huge stone constructions.  The site has a great cosmic energy - that is why people think it was an astronomic observatory and an Inca oracle.  Also visit Q’enqo, a place that was used as a worship and ceremonial center.  Back in the city visit the San Pedro Local Market where you will see everyday life of Cusco, and then move on to “San Blas,” the Artisans’ Neighborhood of narrow, high streets, a beautiful little plaza, where artists work with wool, clay and wood and other materials.  Continue to see the famous Twelve Angles stone, part of the largest Inca wall of Cusco, which used to be the Hatunrumiyoc (Big Stone) palace, built by Inca Sinchi Roca.  This is an example of Inca skill with polygonal masonry.  La Casona Inkaterra - Plaza Suite (B,L,D)

Day 3:  Cusco – Sacred Valley
Travel to Pisaq in the fertile Sacred Valley of the Incas (Urubamba Valley) for your full day tour.  First,  visit the village of Pisaq, with its Indian Market, Peru’s most famous, colorful market.  Lunch is at a local restaurant, and then you continue to Ollantaytambo to explore this beautiful and tranquil village that has some spectacular and extensive Inca ruins, most of them enclosed with a Temple Fortress.  The unfinished temple, begun by the Pachacuti, contains some of the largest stones ever used by the Inca builders.  La Casona Inkaterra - Plaza Suite (B,L,D)

Day 4:  Cusco / Inca Trail
After an early breakfast, you will be picked up by your guide travel toward the Salkantay Lodge & Adventure Resort in Soraypampa.  En route, you take a short break to visit the Inca ruins of Tarawasi near the town of Limatambo.  After leaving Limatambo, pass through the mountain village of Mollepata and you stop for a short coffee break before ascending a winding mountain road to a place called Marcoccasa.  Here, you will begin your trek to Soraypampa (3,800m / 12,500 ft), on an old route called the “Camino Real” (Royal Path).  This is a good opportunity for you to acclimate and enjoy a mild and beautiful four-hour trek.  Hiking level is moderate.  (Optional:  you can choose to be transported to the lodge in the vehicle).  The lodge takes its name from the majestic peak at the head of the valley – the “Salkantay”, the second most sacred peak in Inca mythology.  At 6,270 m/20,600 ft, it is also the highest in the region.  The first afternoon is spent at leisure to adjust to the altitude.  Aperitifs and dinner follow an evening briefing by the fireplace.  Salkantay Lodge & Adventure Resort (B,L,D)

Day 5:  Inca Trail
This day is spent at leisure for rest or activities, depending upon guests’ level of acclimatization.  The most popular activity at Soraypampa is a half-day hike (3-4 hours with hiking level:  moderate to challenging.  Walk to a glacial lake where the more adventurous can enjoy a very short swim!  This activity is excellent for acclimatization and a first immersion into high-mountain trekking!  In the afternoon, you may choose to trade the glacial swim for a relaxing soak in your outdoor Jacuzzi.  In the evening, the guide will brief you on trekking gear and the itinerary for the next four days.  Salkantay Lodge & Adventure Resort (B,L,D)

Day 6:  Inca Trail
This is the big day:  the start of the four-day trek to Machu Picchu.  After an early start, you hike up the Rio Blanco Valley, circling Humantay Peak across from the Salkantay.  The highest point on the trek is a pass at 4,600 m/15,000 ft. At the pass, you pause to take in the views of snow-capped peaks of the Vilcabamba Range in every direction and the south face of Salkantay towering above.  The rare Andean condor is often visible in this area.  From the pass descend toward the Wayra Lodge, your destination for the evening.  Hiking time is 4-6 hours. Total excursion time for day: 5-7 hours.  Hiking level:  challenging with that high altitude pass.  Wayra Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 7:  Inca Trail
Following the long first day, enjoy a leisurely breakfast before you begin your trek by hiking downhill above the Salkantay River through increasingly verdant scenery.  The next lodge offers a “Pachamanca”-style lunch, using traditional underground stone cooking methods.  (Subject to availability).  The Colpa Lodge is located in an open promontory at the confluence of three rivers.  The outdoor hot tub in this lodge has prominent views of lush green mountains and a small town in the distance.  Hiking time is 3-4 hours.  Hiking level:  easy to moderate.  Colpa Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 8:  Inca Trail
After an early breakfast, you head into the Santa Teresa River Valley, through more populated rural areas with coffee plantations that are said to grow one of the best organic coffees in the world as well as  bananas, granadillas and orchards.  Savor a hot picnic lunch along the river.  After another hour of trekking, a private vehicle arrives to take you to the beginning of the “Llactapata Inca Trail.”  From the head of the trail it is a short 30-minute climb to the Lucma Lodge set in an avocado orchard.  You have time to explore the small village of Lucmabamba and possible meeting with members of the local community.  Hiking time:  5-6 hours. Total excursion time for day:  6-8 hours.  Hiking level:  moderate to challenging, basically due to distance, not terrain.  Lucma Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 9:  Inca Trail / Machu Picchu
After an early start and a hearty breakfast, you tackle the last day of your trek to the fabled Incan fortress.  You head uphill for 2-3 hours toward Llactapata Pass, 2,700 m/8,900 ft.  You approach from the southwest, which gives you rewarding views of Machu Picchu in the distance.  This is a view few tourists ever glimpse.  Also, explore the Llactapata Ruins, which have recently been restored.  Lunch is provided at the observatory, in view of Machu Picchu.  Begin your final descent to the Aobamba River through lush bamboo forests and more orchards and coffee plantations (2-3 hour descent).  Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu are a short, 30-minute scenic train ride away.  (Total hiking time is 4-6 hours.  Hiking level:  moderate to challenging).  Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel – Superior Room (B,L,D)

Day 10:  Machu Picchu
This morning you transfer by small buses to the entrance of the ruins to mythic Machu Picchu, which rises to an altitude of 2,408 m/7,900 ft. above sea level between the Huayna Picchu (young peak) and Machu Picchu (old peak).  It lies within the spectacular framework provided by the exuberant vegetation of nearby jungle and the rugged landscape.  The ruins are situated on the eastern slope of Machu Picchu in two different areas:  the agricultural and the urban.  The latter includes the civil sector (dwellings, canalizations), and the sacred sector (temples, mausoleums, squares, royal houses).  Although constructions show different levels of architecture, religious buildings exhibit a high degree of perfection.  The construction was with general use of stone, and the roofs were built of tree trunks and thatched with ichu straw.  The walls were made with an inward inclination for protection against earthquakes.  Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel – Superior Room (B,L,D)

Day 11:  Machu Picchu / Cusco
The morning is at leisure to explore Machu Picchu area.  Your private guide is available to assist with the many leisure options available to you.  You may choose to visit the Indian market in Aguas Calientes village or visit the hotel’s cloud forest trails including the Orchid Garden (372 species), endemic birds as the Cock of the Rock (Peru’s national bird) and hummingbirds (18 species).  For those who wish to return to the Archaeological Site, your entrance fee and bus tickets are included and your guide will privately accompany you back to Machu Picchu.  For a truly mystical experience, we advise those early rises to also hike the Huayna Picchu peak, situated opposite of Machu Picchu, where there are panoramic views of the imposing complex of ruins and the Urubamba Valley in the distance.  You may also walk along to the Sun Gate, which is the last section of the famous Inca Trail.  Later in the afternoon, you board the Vistadome Valley train to the Ollanta station, where you will be met and privately transferred to your hotel in Cusco.  La Casona Inkaterra - Plaza Suite (B)

Day 12:  Cusco / Lima / Depart 
Transfer to the airport for your departure to Lima and your connecting international flight.  (B) 

Departure Dates:  Mar 1 to 31 and Nov 1 to Dec 14, 2013

Land price, per person, double occupancy: Starting from $5450


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