Hike the Highlights
Don your hiking boots and join this tour as you explore the sights around Cusco, the Sacred Valley and awe inspiring Machu Picchu.
Hike the Highlights
6 days from £1,690 pp
For those who enjoy the outdoors and like to visit places and explore on foot, then this six day group hiking holiday is just the ticket. Each enjoyable day is different and the trip takes in some of Peru’s gems such as Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.
This varied trip starts and ends in the bustling streets of Cusco. You’ll take in the surrounding hills and historical Inca sites which include the fascinating concentric circles of Maras that many believe to be an Inca agricultural experiment to maximise agricultural efficiency, and the impressive salt pans of Moray that are still in use today.
Machu Picchu is of course included, it’s a must visit. Take a train part of the way and join the impressive Inca Trail at km 104 for a day that will remain etched in your memory for many years to come. Enjoy the vistas as you climb higher and catch your breath when Machu Picchu comes into view as you step through the entrance. You’ll return to this unforgettable site, and sight, again the next morning, and relive it over again with time to explore more in-depth.
From here you return to Cusco’s colourful streets, to visit the markets and the Plaza de Armas or sit and people watch as you enjoy the local cafes.
It’s not a strenuous hiking holiday but a modicum of fitness is required, you’ll be at high altitude which isn’t to be underestimated. You’re supported along the way with carefully chosen guides and a back-up vehicle is available some of the time too, plus you get to experience the train ride from Aguas Calientes back to Cusco after visiting Machu Picchu. And you’ll be staying in comfortable accommodation along the way.
Hike the Highlights
Explore Cusco’s main sights
Hike around Sacsayhuaman & Tambo Machay
Walk in the Sacred Valley
Visit Moray and Maras
Hike the Inca Trail from km 104
Guided tour and free time at Machu Picchu
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Why not extend this trip to include the rainforest, Lake Titicaca, or other areas of Peru before or after this itinerary. Or combine with other South American destinations such as Galapagos.
DAY 1: CUSCO
Land in Cusco and make your way to the arrivals hall where our friendly guide will be waiting for you. He’ll whisk you away to your hotel, navigating city streets. Freshen up and then meet at the Coffee Museum for lunch, learning about this popular beverage as you dine. Get used to the altitude with a gentle walk around Cusco’s colourful streets together with your guide. Take in the Plaza de Armas, the cathedral and Qoricancha, the temple of the sun. Legs willing, enjoy the vibrant San Pedro food market with stalls filled with exotic fruits and fresh produce. Then you are free to relax and wander around the city at leisure.
DAY 2: CUSCO RUINS
Leaving the bustling city behind for a while, you’ll take to the hills above Cusco for some more acclimatisation and exploration. First up is Sacsayhuaman and the impressive stone ramparts and grass amphitheatre. It’s the site for annual re-enactment of traditional Inca ceremonies, and also a popular spot for local families to visit on Sundays. Moving on you’ll explore the Inca water temple Tambo Machay at an impressive 3700m followed by a tasty picnic lunch. Later, follow the trail through the fields to the Inca Temple of the Moon and continue until you reach the arty district of old San Blas and then continue on to the Plaza de Armas. Breakfast, lunch
DAY 3: MORAY AND MARAS
Today marks the start of your journey to Machu Picchu. You’ll be driven to the fascinating circular ruins of Moray, about an hour from Cusco. From Moray you take a downhill trail through the fields, depending on the season, you may see the farmers at work planting or harvesting their crops. Enjoy a picnic lunch with a backdrop of the snow-capped Viilcanota Mountains before continuing on the impressive salt pans of Maras. The salt is still extracted by hand as it has been for centuries. To end the day you’ll take an old track down to the Sacred Valley where first llamas and then horses would carry the salt so it could be distributed across the empire. The support vehicle will be on hand for most of the day should you be feeling the effects of altitude and want to hitch a ride. Breakfast, lunch
DAY 4: INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU
Waking early, board the train towards Machu Picchu. Alight at km 104 of the Inca Trail, and begin your trek. You’ll come across the Chachabamba ruins before gently ascending through the tropical cloudforest towards Winay Wayna. The climb becomes steeper as you navigate old Inca stairways through the terraces. Take a welcome picnic stop with a view no doubt and then continue along the trail, flanked by lush vegetation and accompanied by tropical birdsong. Before long you’ll reach the final steps taking you to Inti Punku, the Gateway of the Sun. Step through and Machu Picchu in all its glory will appear before you. Soon it will be time to catch the bus down to Machu Picchu Pueblo, also known as Augas Calientes where your hotel awaits. Enjoy a well-deserved hot shower and dinner. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
DAY 5: MACHU PICCHU TO CUSCO
This morning you’ll return to Machu Picchu and spend more time in this fascinating place, A 20 minute bus ride takes you back up the hill to the entrance, with the aim of arriving early to spend time exploring with your guide before it gets busy. After a two hour guided tour you can spend a few more hours exploring under your own steam, perhaps hike to the Sun Gate or visit the Inca Bridge which once spanned a daunting, sheer cliff face. When it’s time to leave you’ll catch the bus down to Aguas Calientes and board the train. Enjoy the scenery as the train trundles along the Urubamba River, and take the time to reflect on your journey so far. This evening has been kept free for you to do as you wish. Breakfast, lunch
DAY 6: CUSCO AT LEISURE
Back where it all began - after breakfast, you’re free to explore the city of Cusco at leisure. There is plenty to do from cookery classes, chocolate making, shopping or simply sitting down at a local café and enjoying some people watching. Late flights out of the city help you make the most of your time here. Breakfast
Minimum age: Because of the activities in this itinerary it is not suitable for toddlers. We reckon from about 10 years upwards most kids would cope. But all kids are different! If you have a younger family just drop us a line and we’ll discuss your needs and see if we can tweak some bits to fit your requirements.
Guide price from (pp sharing): 2020 prices from £1690 based on travel throughout 2020.
Dates: This group trip starts on a Saturday. Should you wish to book this trip privately it can depart on any day you wish, subject to availability.
Includes: Six nights accommodation in the properties mentioned; transfers; sightseeing tours as mentioned with an English-speaking guide; entrance fees for the sites specified in the tours; train ticket from Cusco to Inca Trail km 104, train from Machu Picchu to Cusco; meals as indicated in the itinerary.
Excludes: International and domestic flights (we would normally book these for you and add this to the package); Visas (not currently required by British passport holders); insurance; meals not mentioned as included; drinks; tips; personal expenses such as laundry.
The climate in the Andes varies according to the altitude. In general though, the rainy season is from December to March, but it varies in intensity from area to area and from year to year. For most people the best time to come to the Andes is between June and September. Days are mostly dry and sunny, but it can be cold at night. April and May, after the rains, and October and November are also good months to visit the Andes. Being at high altitude you will need to pack for variable weather at any time of year.
Note that June is a very busy month for festivals in Cusco, including the Inca festival of Inti Raymi, so there will be high tourist occupancy at this time.
The Inca Trail is closed in February, but we also choose not to sell the Inca Trail in January or March as we believe that trekking can damage the trail in these wet months.
Start planning your tailor-made holiday to Peru. Tell us what you want, and we will tailor make your perfect trip.
Call: 01473 599008