Peru & Machu Picchu
May 13-20, 2019 • 8 Days • $3590**
SMALL GROUP TOUR: 15-20 Travelers
Peru & Machu Picchu begins and ends in Lima, but focuses on the Andean wonderland around Cuzco, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu.
**Traveler Rewards Program 2019: New Travelers receive a $200 discount on the Peru & Machu Picchu 2019 tour! Returning travelers receive our Alumni Traveler Discount of 5-10% off the main tour price. Terms, exclusions and conditions apply. Check out our Traveler Rewards page for more details.
Reserve your spot on this tour with a $500 Registration Deposit! Check below for more details.
We are excited about our return to enchanting Peru, a destination that conjures up images of the exotic, the remote, the illusive, the mystical!
Peru & Machu Picchu begins and ends in Lima, but focuses on the Andean wonderland around Cuzco, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu. Our program provides access to classic, breathtaking panoramas of the Andes and some of the planet’s most impressive and mysterious architecture—the massive, stone structures of the Incas! The otherworldly ruins of Machu Picchu are justifiably one of the top must-see sights on the planet, but they comprise only a fraction of the historical, cultural, and scenic connections we make in Peru!
- Cuzco – center of the powerful Inca civilization with its delightful colonial center, enticing traditional shops, and Inca stone walls that continue to defy explanation
- Ollantaytambo – massive Inca fortress of cleanly dressed stones of amazing dimensions, marking the site of the only Inca victory over the technologically superior Spaniards
- Moray Inca Terraces – reached on a walk offering breathtaking Andean panoramas, these terraces offer evidence of agricultural experiments practiced by these consummate farmers
- Incomparable Machu Picchu – silent testimony to the skill and vision of the Quechua people
- Airport to hotel group transfers on first and last day
- Roundtrip airfare from Lima to Cuzco – a $300+ value
- All land travel by motorcoach as outlined
- Roundtrip scenic train transport along the Urubamba River from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes
- Superior tourist-class or better hotel accommodations in strategic locations to maximize free time
- 14 meals: all breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 4 dinners as listed (BLD)
- 8 Walks as outlined
- Fees for walking credit if approved for those who collect IVV stamps (4 stamps requested)
- Cultural & historical expertise of our local guide and assistant local guide in Cuzco and Sacred Valley
- Local guide for half day excursion in Lima
- WAI guide service throughout (2 WAI guides for total of 4 guides)
- All tipping for local guides, coach drivers, and group meals
- Pricing is based on double occupancy. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $390.
- Awana Kancha Camelid Center
- Moray Inca farming terraces
- Maras Salt Pans
- Pumamarca Inca Ruins
- Tour of Ollantaytambo Inca Fortress Ruins –
- Walking tour of colonial-era Ollantaytambo village
- Guided tour of Machu Picchu World Heritage Site
- Chinchero weaving demonstration
- Walking tour of Colonial Cuzco
- Tour of Qurikancha—Temple of the Sun
- San Pedro Market
- Tour of Cuzco Cathedral
- Guided city tour of Lima
- More fun stops than we can list!
- Lima Inca Introduction & Food Tour – Day 1
- Ollantaytambo Inca Fortress Ruins (Challenge Walk) – Day 4
- Inca Bridge Excursion (Challenge Walk) – Day 5
“The tour was well organized and executed. We especially enjoyed the local touches….shopping in the market in Cuzco – the guinea pig lunch experience – off the beaten track in the villages and farm lands.”
-Roger & Tui M; Taranaki, NZ
“Walking in these countries brings you closer to the people, the landscapes, the flora & fauna.”
-Martha A; Detroit, MI
“Tour very well organized – Enjoyed the mix of people. Looking forward to our next adventure with WAI. Sites and walks were OUTSTANDING!”
-Elizabeth T; Covington, WA
“The entire experience was outstanding – We were amazed at the experience every day – Many thanks.”
-Mike T; Covington, WA
“Beautiful country – enjoyed all the sights. Guides, driver & fellow travelers very personable & interesting. I find I’m not ready for the trip to end yet.”
-Connie M; Kent, WA
“Loved all the information, guides were amazing both WAI & local, well organized, always felt safe & well taken care of and [enjoyed] the cultural & historical aspects.”
-Michelle L; Canby, OR
“Love the blend of history & culture; interesting side activities, like the salt mines, weaving & catacombs. Walk routes well planned.”
-Snow L; Lakewood, CO
“Walks were unique especially those through villages. I enjoyed the distances and location of every single walk…I have not enough vocabulary to describe how fantastic and unique was my first experience with WAI. Denise & Pat are friendly, patient, fun and loving tour guides. I hope to return to this same tour with my husband.”
-Alda W; AB, Canada
“I feel like I learned about Peru in addition to the Incas and ruins. The culture of the countryside was enjoyable to experience. Nice job done by all. Thank you!”
-Shirley L; Renton, WA
“A couple of the walks I really enjoyed were the walks up to the salt ponds and Machu Picchu. When we arrived at the site, Machu Picchu was enshrouded in clouds and then slowly revealed itself for a truly breathtaking view of its beauty. It truly lived up to the tagline of ‘Mystical Machu Picchu’!”
-Michelle T; Gold Bar, WA
“Loved the trains to/from Agua Calientes. Machu Picchu was magical. The other Inca sites in the Sacred Valley a bonus, loved the museum in Lima, [and the] friendliness of Peruvians & Andean people.”
-Helene L; Ormond Beach, FL
SMALL GROUP TOUR: 15-20 Travelers
A 1:5 guide to traveler ratio
Roundtrip airfare from Lima to Cuzco
Roundtrip train travel from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes
14 meals: All breakfasts, 3 lunch, and 4 dinners
Superior tourist class or better hotel accommodations
8 walk routes/2 challenge routes
4 Guides throughout/2 Walking Adventures Guides and 2 Local Guides
Basic transportation in 35+ pax motorcoaches
Discounts available. See below for more details on activities included.
Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5
Ruth Burk has been leading travelers on Walking Adventures for the past several years, sharing highlights of European and American destinations with fellow Adventurers! Always on the lookout for the best viewpoint or hole-in-the-wall café, Ruth enjoys finding the hidden treasures along those paths less traveled. She looks forward to walking the wonders of Peru with you!
Sergio Eduardo will be offering cultural and historical insights as our local guide. Sergio has been guiding since 2011, is one of the top guides in Cuzco, and was chosen to accompany the King of Belgium on his visit to Peru last year! Sergio partnered with our Walking Adventures Guide Team in 2017 and we requested his excellent services again for our upcoming tour in 2019.
Click on each day for more details.
DAY 1 - May 13: Arrive Lima, Peru
Lima elevation: 505 feet
You arrive today in Lima, capital of Peru. A representative of Walking Adventures will meet you as you exit customs and arrange transportation to our airport area hotel. Flights generally arrive late in the evening so the first group activity is breakfast tomorrow morning at the hotel.
Lima Inca Introduction & Food Tour of the Barranco District: Travelers who arrive a day early are invited to join us on an optional day-long exploration of Lima in two parts. Part one of the experience takes place in the Larco Museum, featuring a fascinating and highly regarded collection of pre-Columbian and Inca-era art and artifacts. This is a good opportunity to preview key elements of the Inca story we encounter together later in our Peruvian Adventure. Next, we will spend the afternoon experiencing Lima’s culinary scene while exploring the brightly colored, artsy neighborhood of the Barranco district. During this 3.5-hour food tour, your local guide will introduce you to the history of this neighborhood and treat you to 4 different food stops including a restaurant ranked in the top 50 of Latin America. Our experience begins as we stroll through Barranco’s central park while our local guide shares a myriad of stories about the area’s history. Before long, we reach the busy food markets, where we learn about Peruvian culture and culinary traditions. We mingle with the shoppers and vendors, browse through fresh ingredients and sample dishes in a Barranco ceviche (seafood) bar, all before taking in a live cooking demonstration that teaches us about Peru’s best-loved foods. Afterward, we visit one of Latin America’s top 50 restaurants to sample a pisco sour. As we continue our stroll along the seafront, we hear culinary myths and traditions associated with the ocean and then duck into one more local tavern before returning to the park. Estimated price: $135 per person (includes entrance fees, food tour, round-trip transportation, and guide services)
DAY 2 - May 14: Lima – Ollantaytambo (BD)
Ollantaytambo elevation: 9,160 feet
After breakfast, we return to the airport for an early-morning flight to Cuzco, 15th century capital of the powerful and far-ranging Inca Empire. Our objective is reaching the Sacred Valley’s lower altitudes with stops en route to imbibe the stunning natural beauty of the Peruvian Andes. Our stops include a visit to the Awana Kancha Camelid Center for an introduction to the four species of camelid present in the Andes, including the most familiar, the llama. We finish the day in the Urubamba River valley in the endearing Inca/colonial village of Ollantaytambo, home for the next three nights.
DAY 3 - May 15: Activities from Ollantaytambo (BLD)
Moray Inca Terraces Walk – 3 km, rated 2B
Maras Village Stroll – 2 km, rated 1B
After more breathtaking vistas on this morning’s coach ride, our first activity is a walk through the Andean countryside to the circular farming terraces of the Incas at Moray. Here we learn about the surprisingly sophisticated, somewhat mysterious, innovations of Inca agricultural engineers who developed a myriad of specialized subspecies of corn, potatoes, and other agricultural products. Nearby Maras offers a startling sight—evaporating salt pans carved from the mountainside by villagers to exploit the natural salinity of a mountain spring.
NOTE: Walk lengths are shorter in the Andes, and the rarified air of high altitudes turns our focus more to the richness of the walking experiences than the distances covered.
DAY 4 - May 16: Activities from Ollantaytambo (BL)
Pumamarca Inca Agriculture Walk – 4 km, rated 2B
Ollantaytambo Village Walk – 2 km, rated 1B
Ollantaytambo Inca Fortress Ruins Challenge Walk – 1-2 km
The first part of today’s walk introduces us to the Pumamarca Inca ruins above Ollantaytambo with magical vistas over the Urubamba Valley. A highlight of the walk is the advanced system of canals and hydraulics used to irrigate crops during the Inca period. After a fascinating wander through the busy, colonial-era Ollantaytambo village, a challenge hike is offered up into the oversized stone masonry of the Ollantaytambo fortress ruins, where Spanish conquistadors suffered a rare defeat at the hands of defending Incas. The size of these dressed stones and the puzzle of how they were transported are primary conundrums for this part of the Inca story.
DAY 5 - May 17: Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes (B)
Mystical Machu Picchu Walk – 3 km, rated 3B
Inca Bridge Challenge Walk – 1-2 km
Aguas Calientes elevation: 6,700 feet
We board the train early today, enjoying a spectacular riverside rail descent through the Andes to Aguas Calientes, staging point for our journey to Machu Picchu! The balance of the day is devoted to Machu Picchu, first on an in-depth guided tour, then with free time to explore the ruins at your leisure. Using the Machu Picchu bus service, you are free to return on your own. Consider joining us for a trek to the fabled Inca Bridge, or on the more rigorous ascent to the Sun Gate, primary access point to Machu Picchu from the renowned Inca Trail. Dinner this evening is on your own in the colorful village of Aguas Calientes, sprawled along the dramatic cascades of the Urubamba River at the base of these dramatic mountains.
DAY 6 - May 18: Aguas Calientes – Cuzco (BLD)
Chinchero Andean Village Walk – 2 km, rated 2B
Chinchero elevation: 12,345 feet
Cuzco elevation: 11,150 feet
The morning train returns us to Ollantaytambo where we meet our coach and drive to the distinctive, high-altitude Quechua town of Chinchero. A very different perspective on life in the Andes begins with a memorable opportunity to lunch on a local specialty – cuy (guinea pig). A nearby textile shop introduces us to traditional Inca weaving techniques, with a chance to meet the weavers themselves. A high-altitude stroll then takes us through town to the dramatically-situated colonial-era church. We finish the day in Cuzco, the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city, at our hotel located strategically just off the Plaza de Armas.
DAY 7 - May 19: Activities from Cuzco (B)
Colonial Cuzco Walk – 5 km, rated 1B
The Adventure continues with a relaxing walking tour of this former capital of the Inca Empire. The highlight of the walk is a visit to the Santo Domingo Church, built by conquering Spaniards atop the foundation of Qurikancha, the Inca Temple of the Sun. The wonder of Inca architecture with its massive, multi-surface boulders fit tightly together must be seen to be believed. The San Pedro Market offers a fun introduction to how locals shop, and a visit to the impressive Cuzco Cathedral gives insight into the transition from Spanish to South American Catholicism. Following the walk, the balance of the day is free to explore fascinating Cuzco on your own. Dinner is on your own this evening, with many options to tempt you from the convenient location of our hotel.
DAY 8 - May 20: Cuzco – Depart from Lima, Peru (BD)
Lima Miraflores Seacliff Walk – 3 km, rated 1A
This morning we say farewell to Cuzco and the Andes. Upon arrival in Lima, an easy amble at sea level overlooking the Pacific Ocean seems like the proverbial “cakewalk” after the ensemble of high-altitude hikes we just finished. Colonial Lima offers a few highlights to explore as well, which we take in on a guided tour by coach and on foot. Following dinner together, we make our final Peruvian drive, this time to the Lima airport for homeward flights departing later this evening. Life back home is sure to be enriched by this Adventure in another hemisphere and, in many ways, another world.
Click on each heading for more details.
How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?
To save yourself a spot on this Adventure, contact us to register with a $500 deposit as soon as possible! This is a Small Group Tour – Up to 20 travelers will be accepted on this departure!
Traveler Rewards Program 2019 - NEW!
New Travelers receive a $200 discount on the Peru & Machu Picchu tour! Returning travelers receive our Alumni Traveler Discount of 5-10% off the main tour price. Terms, exclusions, and conditions apply. See the Traveler Rewards 2019 page for more details or contact us with any questions at 800.779.0353 or [email protected].
General Tour Conditions and Registration Form
Andean Mountain High – A word of caution about altitude
Cuzco, Peru sits at an elevation of over 11,000 feet (contrary to common belief, Machu Picchu is situated at a much lower elevation than Cuzco). From Lima, at sea level, we fly to Cuzco. To help with altitude acclimation, we drive directly from the Cuzco airport into the Sacred Valley, dropping from over 11,000 feet above sea level down to about 9,000 feet above sea level. From the Sacred Valley, we continue by train down to about 6700 feet at Aguas Calientes (base town for Machu Picchu). We then return to Cuzco at the end of the program when most travelers have acclimated. It is important to pursue any concerns you have about altitude with your doctor. As always, travelers are free to opt out of any activities. However, for most of us who live near sea level, acclimation to these altitudes is an important aspect of a successful visit to the Andes.
A word about immunizations
We are not aware that any shots are required for a visit to Peru, but as this is a developing country, you will want to check with your doctor or visit a travel clinic.
What about the walks?
We generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. Some walks on this trip are oriented more towards history or culture, which slows the average pace to allow for guide commentary. Nature walks with less commentary generally continue at a steadier pace. In most cases, we are not “strolling.” We are walking at a relaxed but steady pace. Your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. Because these are guided group walks, the success of the walks is predicated upon walkers having this minimum level of fitness in order to ensure that we are walking at a somewhat similar pace. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand in order to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion. If you have questions about your ability to participate, please talk with our office at 1.800.779.0353.
We have adopted a walk difficulty rating system that contains a numeric indicator for trail incline and an alpha indicator for trail terrain. The explanation for this system is presented below:
1. Very small hills or very little stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: up to 200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 1000-2000 feet.
4. Lots of significant hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 2000-3500 feet.
5. Many steep hills. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: more than 3500 feet.
A. Almost entirely on pavement.
B. A significant part of the route is on well-groomed trails with very few obstacles.
C. A significant part of the route is on somewhat difficult terrain (rocky / rooted paths or soft sand).
D. A significant part of the route is on very difficult terrain.
E. The majority of the route is on very difficult terrain.
How Is airfare arranged?
Our official start and finish point is the Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM) in Lima, Peru. You will be met at the airport by a WAI representative upon arrival and transferred to our starting hotel. We recommend that you contact Debbi Custer, the travel agent we work with, to help book your flight arrangements. In this age of airfare complications and airport uncertainty, using a travel agent is a good investment! More details about flight arrangements and travel agent contact information will be provided in the Adventure Advice flyer, mailed to you after you register for the Adventure. Please do not book your airfare prior to receiving the Adventure Advice flyer!
WAI believes strongly in the importance of travel insurance for financial and medical protection from any number of unforeseen circumstances that can arise before departure or during your Adventure. Many travel insurance providers are available for you to consider. Debbi Custer of World Travel Inc., a travel agent who provides air travel services to many WAI travelers, can provide travel insurance options for your WAI tour as well as your airfare (email [email protected] -OR- call 1.888.276.0925 / 1.503.231.9507). For those of you who purchase airfare through Debbi, purchasing your travel insurance from her as well may be the simplest option. As always, do some shopping to ensure you are getting the best value. Using the squaremouth.com website can be a good way to compare pricing. Other options include:
- Travel Guard
- Travel Insured International
NOTE: We suggest purchasing from a reputable, well-established insurance company (avoid buying insurance from an unknown company found only online). In addition, be aware that some travel insurance policies contain time-sensitive provisions—i.e. some benefits are available only if the policy is purchased within a certain number of days of the purchase of the travel package.
What happens next?
Upon registering for this Adventure, you will receive a welcome letter and initial invoice. The Adventure Advice packet will be sent soon after, with important information about steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you receive the Adventure Advice flyer. The final payment for the program is due 90 days before departure, and you will receive a final billing about 3 weeks prior to that point, along with a factsheet of additional information about the Adventure to help you get prepared! Then, about 3 weeks before departure, you will receive a final packet with all the details of the program, including hotel names and contact information, a list of fellow travelers, and a more detailed daily schedule.
Peru brims with a diverse array of attractions— spectacular scenery, captivating cultures, and spellbinding accounts of the drama, pathos, and mystery of South America’s human history. Join us for a walking adventure that will take you behind the scenes on a journey of discovery!