Peru | Pathways to Machu Picchu: Traversing the Inca Trail

Peru | Pathways to Machu Picchu: Traversing the Inca Trail

About this trip

Walk the road less traveled to Machu Picchu through a breathtaking tableau of Andean peaks, rushing streams, glacial valleys, and villages where Incan ways find vivid expression in today’s Quechua cultures. The intimacy of your small group makes the grandeur even more stirring as you hike and camp along the famed Inca Trail. At every stop of the trail, enjoy refreshments as needed while you visit different historical and archaeological sites, ruins and valleys. Your adventure is complemented by exploration in the colonial gems of Cusco and Lima, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
PLEASE NOTE:  This program has a strenuous activity level.

Highlights

  • Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu through massive valleys, historical ruins and landmarks, archaeological sites, soaring elevations, and breathtaking sunrises and sunsets.
  • Spend a full day within the Machu Picchu archaeological site, with the option to hike to Huayna Picchu for commanding views.
  • Behold the massive stone walls of Sacsayhuaman.
  • Explore the Inca-Quechua heritage of towns like Cusco, Ollantaytambo, and Chincheros.
  • Visit the Andean community of Misminay, where you can interact with the locals and take part in a toast to honor the earth in a Pachamama ceremony.
  • See the world-renowned collection of pre-Columbian ceramics and jewels at Lima’s Larco Museum.
11 Travelers

$3,775

Land Cost

Group size

Book 10 travelers and 1 group
leader travels for free

16 Travelers

$3,495

Land Cost

Group size

Book 15 travelers and 1 group
leader travels for free

Lima

Day 1

Arrivals in Lima. Proceed through Immigrations, Baggage Claim and Customs before exiting the secured area of the airport. The Holbrook representative will be waiting outside the exit door with a Holbrook sign. Transfer to the hotel and check-in. Please note that this is an international travel day; no meals or program activities are scheduled on this day. Hotel check-in usually begins at 3 p.m.

Overnight at Casa Andina Select Miraflores

Lima

Day 2

After breakfast, we will have a walking city tour of colonial Lima. After lunch at a local restaurant, we will visit Larco Museum. In the afternoon we will join in a favorite pastime of Limeños during a late afternoon walk along the city's Malecon (waterfront), enjoying magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean and landscaped parks. We will then walk to Huaca Pucclana for our dinner.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Casa Andina Select Miraflores

Sacred Valley

Day 3

After breakfast we will transfer to the airport for our morning flight to Cusco. Upon arrival we will transfer to Sacred Valley. En route we will visit Sacsayhuaman ruins, a walled complex on the northern outskirts of Cusco. The complex is made of large polished dry stone walls, with boulders carefully cut to fit together tightly without any mortar. We will also stop at Awanakancha Alpaca Center, a living museum where visitors can see llamas, alpacas and vicuna. A demonstration will show how the wool from these South American animals is used to make woven textiles. We will arrive our hotel in the late afternoon and have a chance to rest and relax until dinner.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Sonesta Posadas del Inca Yucay

Sacred Valley

Day 4

Breakfast at hotel. We drive up 1 ½ hrs to the small traditional hamlet of Huilloc from where many of the porters who hike the Inca Trail originate and where Quechua, the language of the Incas is still used and traditional costumes are worn. Huilloc is famous as a weaving center where you will see traditional ponchos being made and worn before beginning our days hike (45 min. community visit). We begin with a short steep climb up to Puma Marca, a remarkably well preserved and extensive Inca ruin with spectacular views down the valley towards Ollantaytambo. Later we follow an Inca Trail along the steeply terraced valley down towards Ollantaytambo, stopping en route for a picnic lunch (3 hr. hike including lunch). We will have time to visit the Inca town of Ollantaytambo before returning back to the hotel.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Sonesta Posadas del Inca Yucay

Sacred Valley

Day 5

Breakfast at the hotel. Today we drive to Cruzpata in the Pampas of Chinchero. From here, you will begin your exciting hike from the Huaypo Lagoon to reach the experimental Agricultural Site of Moray (1 hr at Moray, 4 hrs total). We will enjoy a picnic lunch. Also you will visit the Andean community of Misminay, where you will visit with the tradition preserving locals. Families live in small single or double room houses, made out of adobe. They raise guinea pigs (cuyes), cattle and sheep. Participants will be able to plow or harvest the soil, depending on the time of the year and take part in a toast to honor the earth in a ceremony in honor of Mother Earth, Pachamama. Additionally, you will observe the ladies spinning wool and dyeing with natural ingredients, and lastly tapestry knitting, according to the ancient techniques. Later in the evening, we will meet with the leader for a pre-dinner briefing/orientation of the trek at the hotel. There will be time for questions after the orientation.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Sonesta Posadas del Inca Yucay

Inka Trail

Day 6

This morning after a brief stop for last minute purchases, transfer to Pisacucho (or Km 82) where porters will meet the group. Formal registration procedures are required at this time at the official control point at the start of the Inca Trail. Upon completion of registration, cross a footbridge over the Urubamba River and start Inca Trail hike. This initial hike will take approximately 1:30 minutes before the first rest stop. Stop for a 20 minute snack and rest break. Arrive at the Patallaqta viewpoint. These classic Inca ruins at the intersection of three valleys with wonderful photo opportunities. Enjoy a sit down lunch at Tarayoq and then continue walking for 1:45minutes to the first campsite.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Camp Site

Inka Trail

Day 7

Early morning wakeup call with a hot beverage and breakfast. The first portion of this morning's hike will take approximately 1:30 minutes. The first stop will be at Avapata. Take the opportunity to rest, use the local toilet facilities, and/or rehydrate. Water and energy drinks will be available. Breakfast at the camp. Continue walking on ascending stairs for 2:30 minutes. After lunch at Llulluchapampa begin your 2 hour walk to Abra Warmiwañuska. The first pass, Abra Warmiwañuska, is at an elevation of approximately 13,776 ft. Descend to the second campsite at Pacaymayo (11,580 ft.).

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Camp Site

Inka Trail

Day 8

Early morning wakeup call with a hot beverage and breakfast before beginning the approximately 1 hour hike to the Runkuracay archaeological site overlooking the Pacaymayo Valley. Enjoy a site lecture The following 20 minutes will be spent hiking to the Runkurakay Pass (12,960 ft.) the second pass on the trail. After reaching the pass, continue downhill for approximately 1 hour before arriving at the narrow staircase that will take you into Sayacmarca ("Inaccessible Town"). Enjoy a site lecture. The ruins of Sayacmarca are the remnants of a fortress or travelers' lodge used by the Inca. Sayacmarca was built on a narrow mountain ridge with only one entrance probably planned as a means of defense. The thatched roofs are long gone, but an observatory, small plaza, ritual baths, housing complex, and other constructions remain. The lack of agricultural terraces and farmland point to a dependence on outside suppliers a big weakness in times of war. In its heyday, Sayacmarca is thought to have housed as many as 200 people. After lunch, continue walking for another 1:45 minutes to the last campsite at Phuyupatamarka (10,695 ft.). Leave the ruins and hike for another 20 minutes before breaking for lunch at Chaquicocha. Once at the camp, reward your day's efforts with a tea break and free time before dinner.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Camp Site

Aguas Calientes

Day 9

Early wake up call to witness the spectacular sunrise. Enjoy a final breakfast at camp and begin walking to the Phuyupatamarka archaeological ruins, located approximately 15 minutes from the camp. The ruins of Phuyupatamarka (Cloud Level Town) include many terraces and a series of ceremonial baths. A large platform on the highest part of the site once served as an open air temple the Temple of the Sun. Continue walking for another 3:30 hours and arrive at Wiñay Wayna in time for lunch. After lunch resume walking. This final stretch of the Inca Trail will take approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete. Once at Intipunku (Sun Gate) begin the descent into Machu Picchu, just as the late afternoon shadows begin to accentuate the mysterious citadel. After a quick walk through the ruins, board the bus to Aguas Calientes and check in at your hotel. Enjoy a hot shower and commemorate the end of your exciting hiking adventure during dinner. Get a good night's rest in preparation for the next morning's activities in Machu Picchu.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

Cusco

Day 10

After breakfast we will take the bus to Machu Picchu Ruins for a guided exploration. Some might want to take the optional hike to the summit of Huayna Picchu for an amazing overview of the site, while others may want to investigate Machu Picchu's many hidden architectural treasures independently. After our explorations, we will return to Aguas Calientes for a late lunch and then take the train back to Ollantaytambo. Upon arrival, we will meet our driver and transfer to Cusco. Dinner will be at hotel.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Sonesta Hotel Cusco

Depart

Day 11

Today we will explore colonial Cusco including a visit to the Koricancha Temple. Lunch will be at a local café in the main plaza where you can enjoy the colonial architecture of the city. We will have some free time in the afternoon, before we transfer to Cusco airport for our late afternoon flight back to Lima. Upon arrival to Lima, we will check-in for our international flight. There is no hotel night included on this day.

Breakfast-Lunch- included

Arrive States

Day 12

Arrive United States. Holbrook was founded on the principle that travel fosters a greater understanding of our world's cultural and natural treasures and that these experiences allow individuals to become agents for global change. We hope that your experiences in Peru will remain with you forever and will challenge you to make a difference in the world we share!