Peru & Machu Picchu
Projected: May 25-June 1, 2021 • 8 Days • Price TBA**
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: 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.
Now accepting Early Bird deposits on this potential 2021 tour! An Early Bird is a $50 deposit that holds your spot during the planning stages of a trip, when we don’t have a set itinerary or dates. Early Birds are always refundable!
Our program provides access to some of the Andes’ most breathtaking scenery 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 amazing, but they comprise only a fraction of the historical, cultural, and scenic connections we’ll 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
This is a draft itinerary. Revisions will be made, and an updated itinerary with finalized dates and pricing will be made available!
- Airport to hotel group transfers on first and last day
- Roundtrip airfare from Lima to Cuzco
- 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
- Cultural & historical expertise of our local guide in Cuzco and Sacred Valley
- Local guide for half day excursion in Lima
- WAI guide service throughout
- 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. We also provide a roommate matching service.
- 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
“What I love about these walks is that they often take you to places you can’t drive to. We saw some absolutely beautiful scenery that was breathtaking! Excellent local guides as well as the WAI guides!!”
-Trish B.; Harrisburg, PA
“I am impressed with the quality of the trip for the price… I really enjoyed the three amazing meals— especially Ollantaytambo gourmet lunch, dinner with the nuns, and Penelope [chef in Lima].”
-Arleen B.; Aurora, OR
“The memories of our Peru experience will last a lifetime.”
-John F; Anchorage, AK
“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
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. Ruth will be lead guide on this tour, assisted by our excellent national guide. 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 in 2018! Sergio partnered with our Walking Adventures Guide Team on past Peruvian tours and we have requested his excellent services again for our upcoming tour in 2021.
This is a draft itinerary. Revisions will be made, and an updated itinerary with finalized dates and pricing will be made available!
Click on each day to reveal more details. BLD refers to meals included, Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner.
DAY 1: 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. Price TBA
DAY 2: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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?
Call or mail in your Early Bird ($50) to save your spot! We’ll take approximately 24-28 travelers on this tour, accompanied by a Walking Adventures Guide and our excellent national guide.
What’s an Early Bird? Early Bird deposits are refundable $50 deposits which serve to hold your spot on a tour until dates and pricing have been confirmed. Once all details on a tour have been finalized, travelers can then register with an additional $450 deposit to bring their total on a tour up to $500.
Traveler Rewards Program
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. More details about flight arrangements and travel agent contact information will be available after this tour has been finalized.
Andean Mountain High - 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.
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.
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.
Walking Adventures International reserves the right to cancel any tour departure with fewer than 15 participants, in which case registered participants will receive a 100% refund of payments received. This refund policy contains one exclusion related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Many suppliers require non-refundable deposits as a condition of booking services. Unforeseen circumstances linked to the virus can force us to cancel a tour. Due to these supplier’s non-refundable policies, WAI intends to retrieve as much of these deposits as possible, but cannot guarantee a 100% refund. In cases where full refunds cannot be obtained for a cancelled tour, we will do our best to transfer unrefunded money as traveler credits to be applied to a future tour to that destination.
View our full Coronavirus FAQ for more details.
What happens next?
We are currently developing the itinerary for this Adventure. Once the itinerary is released, we will accept registration deposits ($500) to save space.
If you have Early Birded with a refundable $50 deposit, your spot on the tour will be held for 2 weeks after the itinerary is published while you make a decision on whether or not you’d like to register with an additional $450 fee, bringing your deposit on tour up to $500. If you decide not to join us for this tour, your Early Bird can be refunded or transferred to another tour.
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!