Peru & Machu Picchu

May 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: 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. Check out our Traveler Rewards page for more details.

Galápagos Islands Pre-tour

May 2021 • 4 Days • Price TBA

Join us prior to Peru & Machu Picchu for a visit to the mesmerizing Galápagos Islands. After flying from mainland Ecuador, we spend 4 days aboard a well-appointed ship with excellent meals and an outstanding crew.

Lake Titicaca Extension

May 2021 • 4-6 Days • Price TBA

Extend your time in South America with a visit to stunning Lake Titicaca, lying at over 12,000 feet in elevation on Peru’s southern border. Our time in this area will also include visits to colorful Copacabana, Isla del Sol, and more!

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!

Peru & Machu Picchu

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!

Galápagos Islands Pre-tour

Over 150 years after Charles Darwin developed his theory of evolution here, the Galápagos Archipelago continues to mesmerize visitors from around the globe. Many Galápagos species are found only here and developed remarkable differences compared to their foreign cousins. After flying from mainland Ecuador, we spend 4 days aboard a well-appointed ship with excellent meals and an outstanding crew. Morning and afternoon shore excursions accompanied by naturalists allow short hikes to fraternize with island inhabitants and gawk at natural wonders.

Lake Titicaca Extension

Stunning Lake Titicaca lies at over 12,000 feet in elevation on Peru’s southern border, a mysterious lake at the top of the world. We start with a visit to floating totora reed islands created by the Uros people as a barrier against encroaching Inca (Quechua) tribes. On the Bolivian side of the border, colorful Copacabana is a delightful base to visit the Isla del Sol (Island of the Sun), fabled setting of Chincana, considered by Incas to be the origins of the sun and the birthplace of their demi-god Inca rulers. Join us for an exciting return to the Lake Titicaca area!

The Galápagos Islands Pre-tour and the Lake Titicaca Extension are under construction. More details on these new itineraries will be available soon!

Peru & Machu Picchu

This is a draft itinerary. Revisions will be made, and an updated itinerary with dates and pricing will be made available!

Including:

  • 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 (2 WAI 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. We also provide a roommate matching service.

Activities/Visits to:

  • 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!

Optional Excursions:

  • 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

Adventure Pace

Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5

Important Info

Group Size

24-28 travelers

Hotels

Strategically located Superior Tourist Class or better

Meals

Breakfasts included with a selection of lunches and dinners. Letters BLD indicate which meals are included.

Airfare

International airfare not included. We partner with a local travel agent who can help book aifare.

Transportation

Included. We use motorcoaches with a seating capacity of 35+ seats.

Traveler Age

Our travelers usually range from 50–75 years of age. All ages welcome!

Your Guides

Walking Adventures Guide Ruth BurkRuth 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 joined by an assistant from WAI on this tour, along with our national guide. She looks forward to walking the Splendors of South America with you!

Walking Adventures Guide Chrissy JonesChrissy Jones will be assisting on this tour. Chrissy has traveled in Europe and North and South America, and is always immensely grateful for opportunities to discover and appreciate new environments and cultures.

Itinerary

The Galápagos Islands Pre-tour and the Lake Titicaca Extension are under construction. More details on these new itineraries will be available soon!

Peru & Machu Picchu

This is a draft itinerary. Revisions will be made, and an updated itinerary with 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.

More Details

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 24-28 travelers on this tour, accompanied by 2 Walking Adventures Guides and our national guide, offering a guide to traveler ratio of 1:9.

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

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 page for more details or contact us with any questions at 800.779.0353 or [email protected].

Note: The New Traveler and Alumni Traveler Discounts apply only to the main tour price. The Galápagos Pre-tour and Lake Titicaca Extension are not eligible for these discounts.

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:

INCLINE

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.

TERRAIN

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.

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.