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There is nothing quite like the way TWC travels Peru. This trip combines the historical gems of Peru’s Incan history with some of the most famous hikes in the world. The trip begins in Cusco, the center of both the Incan Empire and the starting point for all hikes to Machu Picchu. You’ll be staying just steps from the historic city center, Plaza de Armas, and will enjoy a walking tour of the city that takes you to hidden and mysterious Incan sites and other ‘off the beaten track’ locations. You’ll be taken on a tour of the Inca’s Sacred Valley, including Moray, a set of circular terraces used as an agricultural laboratory since the time of the Incas. Next, hop on an optional day trip to hike the famous Montana de Siete Colores (Rainbow Mountain) up to a staggering 17,060 feet elevation! Return to Cusco and rest, take a spa and shopping afternoon around the city, or visit many of the temples surrounding Cusco.

From Cusco, your once-in-a-lifetime hike to Machu Picchu will begin, taking you through sacred Incan sites, snow-capped mountain passes, and rainforests. The first two days of hiking will take place in Peru’s Salkantay region, where you’ll see turquoise glacier lakes and stay in cabins with glass ceilings perfect for star gazing at night. 

After tackling the Salkantay region, the group will head to Ollantaytambo, a fun city home to a massive Incan fortress set into the hillside. This is where the group will begin one of the most scenic train rides in the world to the start of the Inca Trail portion of the hike that takes hikers along the actual route the Incas used to travel for thousands of years, ending at Machu Picchu. The first day on the Inca Trail will take you through the Wiñay Wayna ruins to the Sun Gate, where you’ll catch your first stunning view of the “lost city” of Machu Picchu. On your second day on the Inca Trail, you’ll be taken on a guided tour through the actual city of Machu Picchu. The trip will finish with another breathtaking train ride through the valley back to Cusco.

TWC works with local hiking guides during all hiking days and ensures that we only partner with companies that ensure the fair treatment of their porters and quality of food and equipment. 
 

*Full Trip Itinerary below*

 

 

Check back soon for upcoming 2022 and 2023 dates.

 

 

       

 

                            

  • 7 nights, 8 days, in accommodations

    • Accommodations are rooms of 2-3 people. Roommates will exclusively be people in the TWC group, but fully private room upgrades are available. Travelers can request roommates during the booking process.

    • There is no camping on this trip. Night 4 is an exception because the simple cabins we stay in for that 1 night have glass ceilings for star gazing and could be classified as glamping with beds. 

  • Transportation between cities 

    • Enjoy private transportation between Cusco, Salkantay, and Ollantaytambo.

    • The exception to private transportation is a round-trip train ride between Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes, the city below Machu Pichhu. This train ride is a once-in-a-lifetime experience with amazing views through Peru's Sacred Valley, home to many historic sites you can see from the train. 

  • Airport transfer service

    • You'll have nothing to worry about as you arrive in and depart Cusco

  • Several fun activities

    • Most notably, a tour of the Sacred Valley, a 4-day guided hike to Machu Pichu, entrance into and a guided tour of Machu Pichu, and a walking tour of Cusco. 

    • See the full itinerary below for specific details on included excursions. 

  • Estimated 10 meals 

    • 4 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 2 dinners

    • Vegetarian and vegan options are available. 

  • A TWC group leader

  • A local Peruvian guide to accompany the group on the Cusco city tour, the Sacred Valley tour, and the 4 days of hiking, including the day at Machu Picchu.

    • Get to know some of our favorite local guides and friends!

  • Permits for 4 days of hiking on some of the most famous trails in the world 

  • Individual TWC Traveler Account and access to a private group Facebook for the trip

    • Each TWC Traveler will be given access to their own account where they will find a trip-specific packing list, options to contact their trip consultants with any questions, a link to a private Facebook group for just the Peru TWC travelers, and trip consultants, and more information. 

  • TWC trip consultants leading up to and during the trip for travel advice and to answer  questions

Important notes:

1. The activity level of this trip is high, but this depends on the perspective of the person. There are 3 days of hiking minimum, and there will be a lot of walking involved on most other days.

 

2. All travelers should also be aware of the high altitudes of many of the destinations on this trip. Cusco is at an elevation of about 12,000 feet, the cabins in the Salkantay region are at an elevation of 12,400 feet, and the highest elevation reached on a planned hiking day would be 15,190 at Salkantay Pass. Optional excursions may be at higher altitudes.

 

3. Good shoes for hiking will be needed, but travelers will not be required to bring any other hiking or camping equipment. 

4. Your flights to and from Cusco are not included. We do however happily make suggestions and notify our travelers when great flight deals are available. Note: When searching for flights, it is often much more affordable to book a round-trip flight from the USA to Lima and then to book a round-trip flight from Lima to Cusco, which is only a 1 hour and 20-minute flight that typically costs less than $80.

 

5. Each traveler will also have to purchase travel insurance of their choosing that fits specific requirements. This insurance starts at approximately $20. 

6. Note that proof of a COVID-19 vaccination card showing the traveler received a complete series of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to entering Peru will be required to join this specific trip due to the regulations in place by the destination. A booster dose is recommended for ease of entry into Peru. TWC may additionally request proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48-72 hours of your departure for Peru.

7. Note that there is a 3% processing fee on payments made by credit card.

8. Please note that, depending on your destination after this trip, whether it's the USA or another country, there may be additional COVID-19 requirements. 

 

*Full Trip Itinerary below*

 

 

Check out @travelworldculture and #travelworldculture on Instagram for more photos of the trip.

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DAY 0: FLIGHT

  • Highlights 

    • Note: When searching for flights, it is often much more affordable to book a round-trip flight from the USA to Lima and then to book a round-trip flight from Lima to Cusco, which is only a 1 hour and 20-minute flight that typically costs less than $80.

    • Saturday, August 6th will technically be "Day 0" of the trip for many people. This is because flights to Peru often land in Peru's capital city airport, Lima, late at night. Some people will have only a short layover in Lima if their flight to Cusco is very early in the morning, so they may choose to just wait in the airport as a normal layover.

    • We will help travelers organize to stay at the hotel inside Lima's airport, which we have personally stayed in before and really like, if they have a long layover. We can group solo travelers together. The cost to stay in the airport hotel is approximately $50 per person for the night. It is inside the airport, so it's very convenient and safe.

DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN CUSCO

  • Highlights 

    • Arrive in Cusco, the center of the Incan Empire and the starting point for all hikes to Machu Picchu. You'll get a professional airport transfer straight away to the accommodation. Our accommodation is a 3-minute walk from the city center, Plaza de Armas, where you can find amazing restaurants, cafes, and markets. 

    • Afternoon: Join the group for an afternoon walking tour of the city that takes you to hidden and mysterious Incan sites and other ‘off the beaten track' locations. 

      • ​You will visit Cusco's famous cathedral, ancient Inca-built streets, Incan temples, and more. You will be able to compare and contrast the building methods of the Incan culture and Catholicism. 

    • Evening: Join the group for a welcome drink and get to know your fellow travelers and hikers!

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DAY 2: THE SACRED VALLEY

  • Highlights 

    • Morning: Depart Cusco for the Sacred Valley.

    • You’ll be taken on a tour of the Inca’s Sacred Valley. Drive through the Urubamba Valley on this historic full-day tour. Pass the first snow-capped peaks of the trip and get a feel of what it’s like to be in the infamous Peruvian Andes!

      • Stop in Chinchero first for a textile-making class. Then enjoy the rest of this place, known to the Incas as the birthplace of the rainbow and another important architectural site with ruins and mountain views.

      • The next stop will be at the mysterious terraces of Moray and learn about this agricultural laboratory.

      • Continue to a nearby town to visit the Salt Mines of Maras, an impressive set of salt pits that are fixated on the mountainside. 

      • Enjoy an included lunch in Urubamba.

      • Lastly, take in the views at Pisac Archeological Site. This is one of the top Incan sites in the Sacred Valley, and you'll learn a lot about the history of the Incas from the local guide.

    • The rest of the day will be free time around Cusco. 

      • A full list of optional activities, places to eat, and things to see around Cusco will be provided before the trip begins. ​

    • Evening: Enjoy your time in Cusco.

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DAY 3: FREE DAY OR RAINBOW MOUNTAIN HIKE

  • Highlights

    • Free day around Cusco!

      • Take a spa day to get a massage before the hiking begins. 

      • Visit the San Pedro market, a lively spot for food, clothes, and gifts, and then enjoy a cooking class using fresh ingredients from the market.

      • Visit one of the many temples or ruins around Cusco. TWC provides a list of recommendations for food and activities in each destination.

    • Optional day trip: Rainbow Mountain (Highly recommended!)

      • Early morning: Depart Cuco for an unforgettable day trip 

      • Breakfast: At the trailhead, the chef will make a delicious breakfast, including coffee, hot chocolate, teas, bread, fruit salad, eggs, and hot drinks. Cusco’s elevation is 3300m / 11,300ft, and the trailhead called Phulawasipata is at 4200m/ 14,300ft.

      • After breakfast, we’ll hike about 2 hours uphill to the Rainbow Mountain range. At a slower pace, it could be 2¾ hours, or if you are really fit quick and acclimatized well, some people can do in 1½ hours. The hike up includes some short breaks where the guide will explain some important information about the mountains and the geography of the area. Perhaps you’ll have a chance to catch sight of some of the locals, including llamas and alpacas that frequent this area.

      • Upon your arrival at the top of Rainbow Mountain, you will have time to explore the spectacular views of the surrounding areas – valleys, mountains and to view the highest glacial mountain in Cusco – Ausangate.

      • After giving you a bit of time to take some treasured photos, your guide will tell you some intriguing facts about this fascinating place – like why the colors?! It is about 2½ hours mostly downhill from Rainbow Mountain, to the end of the trail, which is near where we started the hike.

      • Lunch: Next, you will enjoy a fresh meal prepared by the chef, which includes cold drinks, appetizers, soup, and the main course.

      • Evening: Return to Cusco. You can head out to explore restaurants around Cusco, rest up with card games with the group, or explore more.

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DAY 4: SALKANTAY BEGINS: LAGUNA HUMANTAY

  • Highlights

    • Early morning: Depart Cusco to begin a day of hiking in the Salkantay region. The first stop is Soraypampa.

    • Breakfast: Once in Soraypampa, you will enjoy breakfast made by a team of chefs.

    • After breakfast, you will begin your trekking adventure to Machu Picchu by hiking up to Humantay Lagoon. This hike will be approximately 1.5 hours and will take you to the skirts of Humantay Mountain, where the beautiful, crystalline-blue waters of the Humantay Lagoon lay.

    • Lunch: After breathing in the beauty of such a magical place, you will begin making your way back down to the starting point. Lunch will be back in Soraypampa at the glass cabins. 

    • Afternoon: We'll have a free afternoon for resting, taking pictures, and playing cards until tea time before dinner. At tea time, we have snacks, tea, and hear wild stories from our Peruvian guides. 

    • Dinner: Another amazing dinner made by a team of chefs is included.

    • Evening: Time to check out the stars, as you'll be sleeping in cabins with windows on the ceiling meant for star gazing!

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DAY 5: SALKANTAY PASS TO OLLANTAYTAMBO

  • Highlights

    • After a brisk early morning with amazing views of the surrounding glacier peaks, you will enjoy your breakfast and get ready for the Salkantay Trail day 2 hike. 

    • You will take continue along gradually ascending terrain for approximately 2 hours until it's time to take a well-deserved break. 

    • The hike will continue for approximately 2 hours until reaching the Salkantay pass known as Inca Chiriaska, located at just over 15,000 feet. Just as its name in Quechua implies, this place is cold (almost frozen depending on the time of year) but has the best views of Salkantay´s glacier peak.

    • You will enjoy the breathtaking scenery before continuing. The Salkantay Trail hike from the pass will be to the lunch spot at approximately 2 hours downhill.

    • Lunch: Enjoy another chef-prepared lunch, complete with a tent and chairs, while sitting in the most stunning valley as horses graze near the tent and the glaciers sparkle in the distance. 

    • The rest of the downhill hike will finish in the early afternoon. From there, you will be transported to Ollantaytambo, a village in the Sacred Valley of south Peru, set on the Urubamba River amid snow-capped mountains. It's known for the Ollantaytambo ruins, a massive Inca fortress with large stone terraces on a hillside. 

    • Evening: Check into the hotel in Ollantaytambo. You'll have the rest of your night to grab dinner, explore the town, and rest. 

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DAY 6: INCA TRAIL TO AGUAS CALIENTES 

  • Highlights

    • Morning: We'll start the day with a picturesque train ride that follows the Urubamba River. Along the way you’ll see spectacular views of farmlands, snow-capped mountains and the mighty river, one of the sources of the Amazon River.

    • At 2,000 m / 6,561 feet elevation, we’ll begin our breathtaking trek. Once you’re off the train and ready to go, we’ll provide you with snacks and take a group photo. Then we’ll set off to visit our first Inca site. We’ll give you a short orientation about this historical Inca site as well as a walking tour. Then we’ll begin hiking as we head for the Classic Inca Trail. We’ll have tremendous views of Machu Picchu, the Urubamba River, and other surrounding Inca Sites.

    • After hiking for three hours we’ll reach the most beautiful Incan site on the Inca Trail Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young) at 2,600 m/8,500 ft. Few people get the opportunity to see these elaborate water fountains, temples, and agricultural terraces. These provide a perfect opportunity to learn about the history of the Incas. The backdrop of this site is a dramatic cliff drop with beautiful mountains surrounding the area.

    • Lunch: Next, you’ll be able to enjoy the lunch that has been cooked by the chefs. You’ll also get a chance to refill your water and get a little rest after you’ve eaten.

    • From Wiñay Wayna, we’ll walk to the Sun Gate. This is where we’ll see the picturesque landscape of the famous Machu Picchu. After taking in the once-in-a-lifetime views, we’ll begin our descent to Machu Picchu.

    • After taking photos and exploring the area, we’ll take the bus down to Aguas Calientes and head to your hotel.

    • Evening: We'll check into the hotel and then head to an included dinner.

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DAY 7: MACHU PICCHU

  • Highlights

    • Morning: We'll catch one of the first busses up to Machu Picchu. The highlight of the trip is finally here, the lost city of the Incas.

    • You’ll have a two hour guided walking tour by your private English speaking guide. After that, you’ll have time to explore Machu Picchu by yourself.

    • After exploring you can either take a bus or walk down to Aguas Calientes for a free afternoon to explore more of the town and local markets.

    • Afternoon: We'll take another stunning train ride out of Aguas Calientes, which will depart that afternoon. 

    • Evening: Arrival back in Cusco to check back into the hotel. This is the last night that the group will be together, so a group dinner, cards, and going over our favorite memories will be on the agenda for sure!

 

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DAY 8: FLY HOME

  • Highlights 

    • Time for the final goodbyes! (Where will the reunion be?!)

    • Enjoy one last cup of tea or take one last walk around town to grab some souvenirs or take photos.

    • Professional transportation from the accommodation to the Cusco airport is included. 

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For more details, questions, or booking options, click "Ask Questions Here" or email us at jessica@travelwc.com. Find us on Instagram @travelworldculture and check out the hashtag #travelworldculture!