Sample Itinerary to Peru, featuring Machu Picchu
From the dramatic peaks of the Andes to the lush Amazonian rain forest, this 12-day Peruvian journey spans the country's Incan history, vibrant modern culture, and unspoiled wilderness.
This adventure begins in the Urubamba Valley, or the Sacred Valley of the Incas, located at 8,500 feet above sea level. You’ll spend several days to acclimatize and visit local communities, Inca ruins, and colorful local markets offering a variety of pre-Columbian styled textiles and handicrafts. Take a train ride to Machu Picchu to explore one of the world's most iconic and mysterious ruins. Then leave the Andean mountain scenery behind for the lush rain forest of Manu Wildlife Center. Here, you'll spend four days exploring some of the 30 miles of trails around your lodge, including boat rides to see the area's diverse wildlife, including monkeys, macaws, parrots, parakeets, giant otters, and tapirs.
Price: From $7,090 per person, double occupancy
- Day 1 - Lima
Arrive Lima, where you’ll be met and assisted for check-in at the Ramada Airport Hotel. Lodging: Ramada Airport Hotel.
- Day 2 - Urubamba Valley
Fly to Cuzco on a commercial flight and upon arrival you’ll be driven to the Urubamba Valley, also known as the Sacred Valley of the Incas (elevation 8,500 feet), the historic heart of the Inca Empire. Visit Pisac ruins and the local market in Pisac. Lodging: Rio Sagrado
- Day 3 - Urubamba Valley
Visit the Chinchero community where you will find the remains of what was the royal hacienda of Tupac Inca Yupanqui, as well as beautiful colonial temples built on Inca foundations. However, its main attraction is its Sunday market, originally dedicated to the barter of products by the people of the valley. This market is full of colors and movement and fascinates travelers with its variety of handicrafts and textiles made in true pre-Columbian style. Enjoy lunch at the Hacienda Huayoccari. In the afternoon continue to Ollantaytambo. Lodging: Rio Sagrado.
- Day 4 - Urubamba Valley
There are many options for another day in the area, such as hiking Maras/ Moray, bicycling from Chincheros to Urubamba, or a rafting trip. Lodging: Rio Sagrado
Option 1 – Enjoy a day out on the Urubamba River on a rafting trip that is suitable for anyone. The river starts gently with time to practice the maneuvers required, then builds up with a number of rapids through a beautiful canyon with views of the surrounding peaks. After approximately two hours of rafting the take-out point is reached and a full picnic lunch is enjoyed before returning to Cuzco mid to late afternoon.
Option 2 – Take a full-day hike that features breathtaking Andean scenery, local farms, Inca ruins, ancient towns, and the interesting Maras salt pans. The trek begins across the fertile plain of Chinchero, giving fascinating insight into traditional Andean agriculture. Picnic at the circular Inca ruins of Moray then explore these fascinating ruins. Pass through the ancient town of Maras with its outstanding Spanish door arches and vast church, and descend into the Sacred Valley of the Incas. En-route are the incredible salt pans of Maras that were mentioned in the chronicles of the conquering Spanish. A vehicle awaits in the valley for the drive to a local hotel, or back to Cuzco.
Option 3 – Riders with some mountain biking experience may take a mostly downhill, one-day bike trip on dirt trails and ancient mule routes through the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Your route descends across the Chinchero plains and into the valley, past the beautiful Lake Huaypo and then through the village of Chequereq. Picnic at the Inca ruins of Moray before heading to the town of Maras, and then another descent of a lifetime, down into the amazing Maras salt pans, before your drive back to Cuzco.
- Day 5 - Machu Picchu
Board a morning train for the magnificent site of Machu Picchu. In the afternoon enjoy time to visit the World Heritage site of Machu Picchu. Lodging: Sanctuary Lodge Machu Picchu.
- Day 6 - Machu Picchu and Cuzco
Return to Machu Picchu and spend the morning in both guided and individual exploration, visiting the most fascinating features of this astounding and mysterious Inca settlement. Some will prefer to take the optional hike to the summit of Wayna Picchu for an amazing overview of the site, while others may want to investigate Machu Picchu’s multitude of hidden corners. After lunch and your complete experience of this glorious monument to the Inca achievement, take a bus to Aguas Calientes (approximately 30 minutes) and board the return train to Cuzco. Lodging: Libertador Palacio del Inka Hotel
- Day 7 - Cuzco
Explore Cuzco and the surrounding ruins of Kenko, the ceremonial bath of Tambomachay, and the amazing fortress of Sachsayhuaman. After lunch at the Pre-Columbian Art Museum visit Blas, the main plaza, and the cathedral. Lodging: Libertador Palacio del Inka Hotel
- Day 8**( Fixed departure Thursday – Sunday only ) - Manu Wildlife Center
Following an early morning transfer to Cuzco airport, take a 45-minute scheduled charter flight to Boca Manu, and then a 90-minute motorized canoe journey down the Madre de Dios River to Manu Wildlife Center. Enjoy a leisurely lunch, then make your first acquaintance with the lowland rain forest, learning about the plants and forest ecology by exploring some of the 30 miles of trails that surround the lodge. You will have an opportunity to encounter some of the 12 species of monkeys, including the Monk Saki and Emperor Tamarin, which inhabit the surrounding forest. After dinner enjoy a night walk along the trails, in search of the nocturnal birds and animals of the rain forest. Lodging: Manu Wildlife Center
- Day 9 - Manu Wildlife Center
Today, take an early morning 20-minute hike along a trail through palm plantations to the Blanquillo Macaw Lick, where you’ll enjoy breakfast and a spectacular show of big Red-and-Green Macaws, Blue-headed, Mealy, Yellow-crowned, and Orange-cheeked Parrots. After lunch, climb a 112-foot tower to view twilight’s rush-hour in the rain forest canopy. In the evening, visit the lodge’s tapir clay lick, the most active in the Amazon. Your viewing platform includes mattresses and pillows allowing you to nap while awaiting the appearance of rare and elusive tapirs in their rain forest home. Lodging: Manu Wildlife Center
- Day 10 - Manu Wildlife Center
Set off early for Cocha Blanco, an old oxbow lake full of water lilies and sunken logs. Here you’ll search for the resident Giant Otter family during a fishing expedition, or look for troops of monkeys crashing noisily through the trees. En route, observe Wattled Jacanas, dainty Sun Grebes, supple-necked Anhingas, Osprey, Hoatzins, woodpeckers, tanagers, macaws, toucans, and parakeets. After lunch at the lodge, take guided walks or explore on your own. This evening, from late afternoon until after dinner, take a boat ride in search of caiman (alligator-like reptiles), and other nocturnal wildlife along the riverbank. Lodging: Manu Wildlife Center
- Day 11 - Manu Wildlife Center
Rise at dawn and board a motor-canoe to visit Cocha Camungo, another oxbow lake. Circle its enchanted waters by catamaran to look for birds and other lakeside fauna. Visit a 130-foot canopy platform, set among the massive branches of a giant kapok tree for a beautiful view of Cocha Camungo, as well as the forest canopy. After lunch explore the forest trails, and visit the fruiting and flowering trees monitored by your naturalist guides, where you may encounter more monkey species as well as numerous species of birds. Before or after supper, avid explorers will have a second chance to visit the tapir clay lick. Lodging: Manu Wildlife Center
- Day 12 - International Flights Home
After an early breakfast, depart the lodge on a two-hour boat trip to the Boca Manu airfield, enjoying early morning wildlife activity along the way. From Boca Manu fly by scheduled charter to Cuzco. On arrival in Cuzco connect with a commercial flight to Lima and your international flight home.