Day 1: Cusco, Peru
Arrive in Cusco, the southern capital of the Inca Empire and one of the most beautiful towns in Peru. Spend the afternoon taking a guided tour of the main sites of Cusco and the surrounding area including Santo Domingo, La Catedral, Plaza de Armas, and Sacsayhuaman.
Day 2: Cusco / Sacred Valley
Travel to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, a fertile valley lined with picturesque Andean markets, impressive churches, and remarkable Inca ruins. Visit Awanacancha to learn about the four types of Andean camelids, feed the friendly llamas and alpacas and also observe local artisans demonstrating traditional Andean weaving techniques. Next, explore the ruins of Pisaq or visit its produce, textile, and handicraft market.
Day 3: Sacred Valley
Explore the archaeological site of Moray, comprised of impressive agricultural terraces that were used by the Incas as open-air crop laboratories or greenhouses. Next, visit the pre-Columbian salt mines of Maras that are still active today.
Day 4: Inca Trail
Begin the famous 4-day pilgrimage trek to Machu Picchu. Visit the Inca ruins of Llactapata and the village of Huayllabamba, a small agricultural settlement.
Day 5: Inca Trail
Hike to the Machu Picchu Sanctuary control station. Continue the tough ascent toward the trail’s highest pass, Warmiwañusqa or “Dead Woman’s Pass.”.
Day 6: Inca Trail
Visit several magnificent archaeological sites before slowly climbing the second pass of Runkuraqay. This section of the trail features masterful Inca engineering and the Inca site of Sayacmarca a true highlight of the trail.
Day 7: Inca Trail / Aguas Calientes
Pass the Phuyupatamarca ruins, following the flagstone trail and Inca stairs down into the cloud forest. VIsit the beautiful ruins of Wiñay Wayna. Reach Inti Punku or the “Gate of the Sun” and descend into the citadel of Machu Picchu.
Day 8: Machu Picchu / Cusco
Watch the sun rise over Machu Picchu and take a guided tour of the ruins this morning. Board a train to Ollantaytambo and transfer to Cusco.
Day 9: Cusco / Puerto Maldonado / Tambopata National Reserve
Fly to Puerto Maldonado, and ride along the Tambopata River into a 3.2 million acre conservation area in the Amazon. Embark on a nighttime caiman excursion along the river’s edge.
Day 10: Tambopata National Reserve
Embark on an Amazonian exploration to Oxbow Lake, which is home to hoatzin, caiman, and horned screamers. Explore the Canopy Tower, where you can spot toucans, macaws, and raptors.
Day 11: Tambopata National Reserve
Visit a clay lick used by both parrots and parakeets. Dusky-headed parakeet, yellow-crowned Amazon, blue-headed pionus, severe macaw, and orange-cheeled parrots also frequent this clay lick. Explore a beautiful Brazil nut patch that has been harvested for decades.
Day 12: Puerto Maldonado / Depart for Home
Transfer by boat back to Puerto Maldonado and depart for home.
Note: Travelers will be hiking 5-8 hours each day on the Inca Trail on uneven terrain and at altitudes of up to 12,000 feet. Travelers not interested in hiking can take the train to Machu Picchu.