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, 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 the quality of food and equipment.
Dates and Pricing
The next departure will be May 12-19, 2024. Travelers will likely need to depart from their home airport on May 11th in order to arrive on the 12th.
The cost for this departure will be $2799.
8 of 16 total spots are now available.
7 nights in accommodations
Accommodations are double occupancy. 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. Hotels are 3-star hotels, but night 4 is an exception, as the rustic cabins the group stays in for that night have glass ceilings for star gazing and could be classified as glamping with beds.
Private transportation between cities
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 to and from the airport in Cusco
4 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 2 dinners
Vegetarian and vegan options are available.
A TWC group leader, Marie!
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
Several fun activities
Including 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.
Individual TWC Traveler Account and access to a private group Facebook for the trip
Q&A leading up to and during the trip for travel advice and to answer questions
1. The activity level of this trip is high. There are 3 days of hiking, and there will be a lot of walking involved on most other days. The terrain on the hiking days is strenuous, steep, and at a high-altitude. However, these trails are generally considered accessible to most healthy travelers with the proper preparation.
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. Everyone reacts to altitude differently, regardless of fitness and age. For details on how to best prepare and what to do in the event you are affected during the trip, please consult your physician.
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 $100.
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 there is a 3% processing fee on payments made by credit card.
Flight to Peru
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 $100 round-trip.
The day prior to the trip, May 11th, 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 can 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 begins at approximately $50-$100 per person for the night. It is inside the airport, so it's very convenient.
Arrival in Cusco
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 5-minute walk from the city center, Plaza de Armas, where you can find amazing restaurants, cafes, and markets.
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.
Join the group for a welcome talk and optional dinner in the evening and get to know your fellow travelers and hikers!
Sacred Valley Day Trip
In the morning, the group will depart for a tour of the Inca’s Sacred Valley. Drive through the Urubamba Valley and pass the first snow-capped peaks of the trip!
Stop in Chinchero first for a textile-making class and to explore another important architectural site with ruins and mountain views known to the Incas as the birthplace of the rainbow. The next stop will be at the mysterious terraces of Moray to 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.
Lastly, enjoy an included lunch in Urubamba and 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.
Breakfast and lunch are included.
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, take a cooking class using fresh ingredients from the market, or visit one of the many temples or ruins around Cusco. TWC provides a list of recommendations for food and activities in each destination.
For avid and experienced hikers, you can use this day to add additional hiking to your trip. Rainbow Mountain is a popular but strenuous day trip that involves hiking up to over 17,000 feet/5,364 meters.
Breakfast is included.
Laguna Humantay & Glass Cabanas
The group will depart from Cusco to begin a day of hiking in the Salkantay region.
Once we arrive at our glass cabin accommodations, the group will enjoy breakfast made by a team of chefs.
After breakfast, your trekking adventure to Machu Picchu will begin with 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.
After breathing in the beauty of such a magical place, the group will begin making their way back down to the starting point. Lunch will be back at the glass cabins. The afternoon will be free afternoon for resting, taking pictures, and playing cards until tea time before dinner. At tea time, enjoy snacks, tea, and tell wild stories from our Peruvian guides. Another amazing dinner made by a team of chefs is also included.
In the evening, check out the stars, as you'll be sleeping in cabins with windows on the ceiling meant for star gazing!
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included,
Salkantay Pass to Ollantaytambo
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 Salkantay Pass, located at just over 15,000 feet. This place is cold (almost frozen depending on the time of year) but has the best views of Salkantay´s glacier peak.
Take in the breathtaking scenery before continuing down from the pass for about 1.5 hours to our lunch spot. 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 take the afternoon.
At the end of the hike, the group 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.
Breakfast and lunch are included.
Inca Trail to Aguas Calientes
Start the day with a picturesque train ride through the Sacred Valley along the way to the start of the Inca Trail at 2,000 meters/6,561 feet elevation. Snack bags will be given out.
The hike will start with a visit to the group's first Inca site. Then the hiking will begin with tremendous views of other surrounding Incan sites. After hiking for three hours, the group will reach the most beautiful Incan site on the Inca Trail Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young) at 2,600 meters/8,500 feet. 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.
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, the group will walk to the Sun Gate to see the picturesque landscape of the famous Machu Picchu. After taking in the once-in-a-lifetime views, the group will descend into Machu Picchu. After taking photos and exploring the area, the group will take the bus down to Aguas Calientes and head to the hotel. Check into the hotel and then head to an included dinner.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included.
Catch one of the first buses 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 to explore more of the town and local markets.
In the afternoon, the group will take another stunning train ride out of Aguas Calientes. Arrive 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!
Breakfast is included.
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.
Breakfast is included.