Day 1: Depart the U.S. on this day and arrive into the airport in Lima, Peru. Most flights from the U.S. arrive late at night, between 11pm and 1am. Rooms are arranged at the airport hotel so that you may arrive anytime and check in on your own to the hotel. Costa del Sol Hotel at Lima airport, no meals.
Day 2: In the morning, we will all meet in the hotel for a brief pre-trip orientation and breakfast. Afterwards, we will catch our flight to Cusco. After arriving to Cusco and checking into our hotel for the next 2 nights, and having a chance to unpack and rest, we’ll embark on an afternoon city tour. We’ll visit the nearby ruins of Sacsayhuaman, the stunning Cusco Cathedral and at least one additional historic site in Cusco. A welcome dinner is planned at a local restaurant to begin our culinary adventure in Peru! Casa Andina Cathedral in Cusco (or similar), B & D.
Day 3: Today we tour the Sacred Valley of the Incan Empire. We’ll visit the “Away Yachani Wasi” or Learning House in Quechua and the remaining ruins at Chinchero. We’ll continue on the fortress of Ollantaytambo and the indigenous markets in Pisac. We’ll return to Cusco in the late afternoon to pack for the start of our trek the following morning. Casa Andina San Blas in Cuscos, B & L.
Day 4: After an early breakfast, we will begin our drive to the Salkantay Lodge & Adventure Resort in Soraypampa. En route we will take a short break to visit the Inca ruins of Tarawasi near the town of Limatambo (approx.1.5 hrs from Cusco). After leaving Limatambo, we pass through the mountain village of Mollepata where we stop for a short coffee break before ascending a winding mountain road to Marcoccasa. Here we will begin our trek to Soraypampa, on an old route called the “Camino Real” (Royal Path). This is a good opportunity to acclimate and enjoy a mild & beautiful 3-4 hour trek. Guests who do not wish to trek may be transported to the lodge in the vehicle. The Salkantay Lodge & Adventure Resort takes its name from the majestic peak at the head of the valley – the “Salkantay”, the second most sacred peak in Inca mythology and, at 20,600 ft (6,270 m), the highest in the region. After checking in we will have the rest of the afternoon to relax and adjust to the altitude. An evening briefing by the fireplace is followed by aperitifs and dinner. B, L, D. Salkantay Lodge & Adventure Resort. 12,500 ft elevation
Day 5: Depending on our level of acclimatization, we will spend this day relaxing. We will have the option of taking a half-day hike to a glacial lake. This is an excellent opportunity to acclimatize and our first immersion into high-mountain trekking. For those wishing to just relax, you can do so in the lodge’s outdoor Jacuzzi. In the evening, the guides will brief our trekking party on gear and the itinerary for the next four days. B, L, D. Salkantay Lodge & Adventure Resort. 12,500 ft elevation
Day 6: This is the big day: the start of the trek to Machu Picchu. After an early breakfast, we will hike up the Rio Blanco Valley, circling Humantay Peak across from the Salkantay. The highest point on the trek is Salkantay pass at 14,800 ft (4,500 m). At the pass we stop to take in views of snow-capped peaks of the Vilcabamba Range in every direction with the south face of Salkantay towering above us. We will keep our eyes out for Andean condors, often visible in this area. From the pass we continue our descent toward the Wayra Resort in Huayraccmachay - our destination for the evening. B, L, D. Hiking Time 4-6 hours. Wayra Lodge 12,600 ft elevation
Day 7: Following the long first day we enjoy a leisurely breakfast at Huayraccmachay. We then begin our trek by hiking downhill above the Salkantay River, through increasingly verdant scenery. Our arrival at the lodge encounters a “Pachamanca”-style lunch (traditional underground stone cooking). The Collpa Lodge is located in an open promontory at the confluence of three rivers. The outdoor jacuzzi in this lodge has prominent views of lush green mountains and a small far-away local town. B, L, D. Hiking Time 3-4 hours. Collpa Lodge 9,200 ft. elevation
Day 8: After an early breakfast we head down the Santa Teresa River Valley, through more populated rural areas with coffee plantations (said to be one of the best organic coffees in the world!), bananas, ‘granadillas’, and orchards. We stop along the river for a hot picnic lunch. A vehicle arrives to the lunch spot to pick us up for a short drive to the beginning of the “Llactapata Inca Trail”. From the head of the trail it is a short climb (30 min.) to the Lucma Lodge, set in an avocado orchard. We arrive in time to allow for exploration of the small village of Lucmabamba and possible meeting with members of the local community. B, L, D. Hiking Time 4-6 hours. Lucma Lodge 6,900 ft. elevation
Day 9: After an early start and a hearty breakfast, we tackle the last day of our trek. We head uphill for two hours towards Llactapata pass at 8,900 ft (2,700m), where we come upon a distant but quite special view of Machu Picchu from the southwest, a view few tourists ever glimpse; we will also visit the Llactapata Ruins, which have recently been restored. Lunch is provided at the observatory, in view of Machu Picchu. We then begin our final descent to the Urubamba River through lush bamboo forests and more orchards and coffee plantations (2-3 hours descent). Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu are a short, scenic train ride away (30min). We will spend the evening in Inkaterra. B, L, D. Hiking Time 4-6 hours. Inkaterra Luxury Boutique Hotel
Day 10: Early in the morning, we will leave the hotel for the short ride to Machu Picchu. Here we will have all day to explore the ruins. We will embark on a guided tour of the most important part of the lost citadel. Some adventurous spirits may choose to climb Huayna Picchu, the famous jutting peak overlooking the ruins. In the afternoon, we will catch the train to return to Cusco and return to our hotel. B, L. Casa Andina Cathedral in Cusco
Day 11: After breakfast, we will catch our flight back to Lima. After arriving at the airport, we’ll leave our luggage at the airport hotel, and then take a van into Lima. First, we’ll enjoy an awesome farewell lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch, we’ll embark on an optional city tour of Lima. At the end of the tour, time permitting, we’ll head to a bar/restaurant on the beach for those to enjoy a beverage or a snack before we head back to the airport to catch our departing flights. Breakfast and Farewell Lunch.
Day 12: For those catching late-night flights from Lima to the US, you will arrive home on Day 12.