Inca Encounter

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Fully Guided Adventure Small Group Walking & Hiking Inca Trail
Our Price From 4,784 Per Person
Exclusive Savings 901 Per Person
 Trip Length
10 Days
 Trip Starts
Lima
 Trip Finishes
Cusco
10 Day Inca Encounter Itinerary (Intrepid)
Countries Explored: Peru
Trip Style
Comfort
Departures
Budget
Affordable
Max. Group Size
12
Pace
Challenging
Guide Level
Fully Guided
Trip Code
GGKY

Overview

Book online and enjoy exclusive savings on Intrepid's 10 Day Inca Encounter. Explore Peru on an eye-opening journey from the depths of the Amazon to the heights of the Andes. Get to know downtown Lima’s ornate buildings and markets, uncover Cusco’s ancient charms, encounter incredible wildlife in the Amazon, see the lush Sacred Valley and Ollantaytambo, and marvel at the wonder of Machu Picchu. Offering an up-close look at Peru's diverse attractions, this is an unforgettable trip at a relaxing pace. Discover ancient cultures, natural wonders, welcoming locals and vibrant modern life as you journey...read more through the homeland of the Incas.

Itinerary

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Lima, Peru. On arrival at Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport, you'll be transferred to your hotel in the well-known coastal suburb of Miraflores.  Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm where you'll meet your tour leader and travel group. From here, you’ll jump on public transport and head downtown for a guided walking tour of the city's historical centre. Take in the ornate spectacle of the colonial mansions, palaces and churches that line the streets, pay a visit to the San Francisco Monastery and its catacombs, and browse the fresh produce on offer at Lima's central market. Your walking tour wraps up in Lima's main square, with the rest of the day free to do as you wish. Perhaps head out for dinner with the group – your leader will have plenty of local recommendations.

Rise and shine early today for your journey into the wilds of the Peruvian Amazon. Take an early morning transfer to Lima airport, then board a flight to Puerto Maldonado. From here, you’ll board a motorised canoe and cruise deep into the jungle. The journey to your eco-lodge in the Madre de Dios region will take around three hours, and you'll be given a packed lunch on the way. Arrive and settle in to your thatched-roof lodge before a short orientation walk of the area close-by. Spend the evening getting acquainted with the sights and smells of the jungle and fall asleep to the sounds of nature. (B/L/D)

Get ready for an unforgettable day exploring the depths of the Amazon Jungle. Set out on a half-day walk guided by local experts on the area's flora and fauna. Learn from your guides about the medicinal and practical uses for some of the plants that grow here, which Indigenous people have been studying and using for thousands of years. On your walk, keep an eye out for rainbow coloured macaws and butterflies, and listen for the barking call of the peccaries and chattering of monkeys that call the jungle home. This part of the Amazon is also known to house capybaras, giant otters and jabirus, so keep your eyes peeled for these creatures.  Return to the lodge for lunch and some free time to relax. Once the sun goes down, venture out on a night walk in search of some of the jungle's nocturnal inhabitants.    (B/L/D)

Leave behind the natural wonders of the Amazon for the man-made wonders of Cusco today. Return to Puerto Maldonado on a three-hour canoe ride to collect your luggage, then take a flight to the lofty city. When you arrive, get acquainted with Cusco during an orientation walk with your leader. This evening, you may like to head out for dinner with your fellow travellers – your leader can recommend some great local places to grab a meal. If you're feeling adventurous, why not try one of the many establishments serving up cuy, which you might know by the English name of guinea pig. (B)

Start the day with a visit to Sacsayhuaman – the archaeological site of an Incan citadel on the outskirts of Cusco. Travel by private bus through the Sacred Valley. Known as Wilcamayo to the Incas, the valley has been a source of livelihood to the locals for hundreds of years. You’ll see maize crops covering the terraced valley walls and the sacred river beneath. Along the way, you'll stop for coffee and cake at a restaurant that gives single mothers from the Sacred Valley (who often struggle to find work that allows them to care for their children) job opportunities and a chance to earn an income. Here, you can tuck into sweet treats made from local, organic produce. Then continue on to your next stop – the Huilloq community above Ollantaytambo. You’ll be hard-pressed to find any tourists in this village. You’ll get a chance to meet the locals and learn about their traditional textile weaving and join in on an offering to Pachamama (Mother Earth) before enjoying lunch together. In the afternoon you’ll continue to your final stop for the evening – Ollantaytambo, where you’ll visit the town’s archaeological site of ancient Incan ruins. (B/L)

Depending on the travel arrangements you made before the trip, during the next four days you’ll be doing one of the following: hiking the Inca Trail (Route 1), hiking the Quarry Trail (Route 2) or staying in Cusco for two days before taking the train to Aguas Calientes (Route 3). All routes visit Machu Picchu.

While away from Cusco, the bulk of your luggage will be stored at your hotel. If you’re hiking the Inca Trail or the Quarry Trail, the evening before you leave Cusco you'll receive a small duffle bag to carry your clothes in for the next four days (5 kg maximum). Your team of porters will carry these bags for you, together with the food and equipment for the trail. You won't have access to these items until the end of each day, as the porters will always be ahead of the group. If you’re travelling to Aguas Calientes by train, you'll be able to leave most of your luggage at the hotel in Cusco and travel with only a small bag for the overnight stay in Aguas Calientes.

Route 1 Inca Trail

Today travel by minivan to the 82 km marker and meet your crew of local porters, cook and guide. The first day includes uphill trekking to the campsite, which is at 3100 m above sea level. On the way you’ll see the Inca sites of Ollantaytambo, Huillca Raccay and Llactapata, as well as incredible views of snow-capped Veronica Peak. In the evening, unwind at the campsite with a nourishing meal prepared by your cook.

Route 2 Quarry Trail

Make an early start today and drive to Choquequilla, a small ceremonial place where Incas worshipped the moon. Drive to the starting point of the trek, Rafq'a, and meet the horsemen who join us on the hike. After an hour’s walk, reach the small community of Socma. Carry on to the Perolniyoc Cascade lookout, an opportunity to stop for photos and a food break. Continue to the campsite, which is 3700 m above sea level. You should reach the campsite around lunchtime. After lunch, set off to explore the Q'orimarca archaeological site, which once served as a checkpoint to the Incas.

Route 3 Cusco

For those travellers not hiking, today you visit the archaeological site of Chinceros, on the way back to Cusco. Your Intrepid leader travels with you and is at hand to provide recommendations for your time in Cusco. (B/L/D)

Route 1 Inca Trail

This is the most challenging day of the trek as you ascend a long steep path (approximately 5 hours) to reach the highest point of the trail. Colloquially known as 'Dead Woman's Pass', Warmiwanusca sits at a height of 4200 m above sea level, providing amazing views of the valley below. The group will then descend to the campsite in the Pacaymayo Valley at 3650 m.

Route 2 Quarry Trail

This is the most challenging and rewarding day of the hike. A 3 hour walk takes you to the top of the first pass of Puccaqasa (approximately 4370 m high). After enjoying picturesque views of the valley, it’s a short walk before stopping for lunch. After, make the two-hour hike to Kuychicassa, the highest pass of the trek at 4450 m. From here, descend to the sacred site the Incas called Intipunku. This is a sun gate, where the sun will stream through at particular times of the year and there are views of the Nevado Veronica mountain year-round. The Incas built several sun gates, the most notable overlooking Machu Picchu. Head to the campsite, only a stone’s throw away and at 3600 m.

Route 3 Cusco

Enjoy a free day in Cusco, the heart and soul of Peru. You may like to purchase a boleto turistico, which allows entry to the city's many museums and archaeological sites. Ask your leader for their recommendations. (B/L/D)

Route 1 Inca Trail

Start the day with a climb through the Pacaymayo Valley to Runkuracay Pass (3980 m). Enjoy views of the snow-capped mountain of Cordillera Vilcabamba before descending for around 2 to 3 hours to the ruins of Sayacmarca. Continue over the trail’s third pass to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca (3850 m), also known as 'Town Above the Clouds'. Start the 2 hour descent down the Inca steps to the final night's campsite by the Winay Wayna archaeological site.

Route 2 Quarry Trail to Aguas Calientes

Today’s hike will all be downhill. The first stop is the incomplete Kachiqata quarry, where the Incas were intercepted by the Spanish. Around midday, come to the end of the trek. Explore the cobbled streets of Ollantaytambo before taking the short train journey to Aguas Calientes. This is where you’ll meet up with the travellers in your group who didn't hike. Spend the night in a comfortable hotel before tomorrow’s visit to Machu Picchu.

Route 3 Train to Aguas Calientes

After a 1.5 hour drive to Ollantaytambo, catch a train through the winding Urubamba Valley to Aguas Calientes (another 1.5 hours). The city is nestled in the cloud forest at the foot of Machu Picchu. This is where you’ll meet up with the travellers in your group who hiked the Quarry Trail. Spend the night in a comfortable hotel before tomorrow’s visit to Machu Picchu. (B/L/D)

Route 1 Inca Trail

This is the final and most spectacular leg of the trek to Machu Picchu. The day starts before dawn with breakfast at 4 am. Say farewell to the porters as they descend to the train station and then begin hiking by 4.30 am. Once the final checkpoint opens at 5 am, begin the final leg of the trek. The walk to Intipunku (the Sun Gate) takes around 2.5 hours. Weather permitting, enjoy unforgettable views over the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ as you enter Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate.

Route 2 Machu Picchu to Cusco

Take an early bus up to Machu Picchu at 5.30 am. The city was built around 1440 AD as a country retreat for Incan nobility, but there’s evidence that the land had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Take a guided tour around the ruins of temples, palaces and living quarters.

Route 3 Machu Picchu to Cusco

Take an early bus up to Machu Picchu at 5.30 am. The city was built around 1440 AD as a country retreat for Incan nobility, but there’s evidence that the land had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Take a guided tour around the ruins of temples, palaces and living quarters.

For all travellers, after taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it's time to catch the bus to Aguas Calientes where you’ll stop for lunch together. From here, take a scenic train ride to Ollantaytambo, then drive back to Cusco, arriving in the evening. (B)

Your Inca Encounter comes to an end after breakfast this morning. There are no activities planned for the final day. (B)

Trip Inclusions

  • Marvel at the incredible Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, a moment you’ll truly never forget – enjoy a guided tour around the ruins of temples, palaces and living quarters.
  • Experience the wild world of the Amazon rainforest. Stroll along jungle trails on the lookout for monkeys, parrots, otters and caiman, and sleep in a nature lodge lit by candles and kerosene lamps.
  • Treat yourself to freshly made coffee and cakes at a local restaurant in the Sacred Valley that’s empowering community growth and providing job opportunities and training for single mothers from the region.
  • Get to know the locals of the Huilloq community in the Sacred Valley, learn from them, discover their ancestral textile techniques, join an offering to Pachamama and then sit down for a special lunch together.
  • Choose your own adventure on your way to the magnificent Machu Picchu – hike the Inca Trail, traverse the Quarry Trail or enjoy a few days in Cusco before taking the train to Aguas Calientes.
  • At Intrepid, we’ve always been about balancing profit and purpose and as the largest B Corp certified operator on the Inca Trail, we’re committed to operating our treks for the benefit of all – join us and help make the world a better place.

  • Hotel (7 nights)
  • Jungle Lodge (2 nights)

  • 9 Breakfasts included
  • 6 Lunches included
  • 5 Dinners included

  • Accommodation, itinerary and inclusions subject to change.
  • Price is for land, cruise and internal flights as specified. Flights not specified are not included
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