Sacred Valley & Inca Trail Highlights

7 days
from
£999
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Walking & Trekking
Suitable for:
Age 16+
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Trip code: 
TPI
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailor Made Adventures
Activity:
Walking & Trekking
Group size:
4–16
Min age:
16

A short introduction to Cuzco and the Sacred Valley of Peru

This trip is the perfect introduction to the highlights of Cuzco and the Sacred Valley area, explored predominantly on foot. On this short adventure, explore one of South America's most beautiful cities, Cuzco, as well as some of the ruins in the surrounding area, including Tambomachay and Sacsayhuaman. Travel to Ollantaytambo and visit the Pumamarca ruins before trekking through the Sacred Valley. Join the One Day Inca Trail with impressive views of the valley and the Urubamba river, visiting Wiñay Wayna and reaching the Sun Gate and the sight of Machu Picchu. Explore Machu Picchu, one of the architectural and engineering marvels of the ancient world, before returning to Cuzco.

Highlights

  • Guided tour of Machu Picchu, set against its dramatic Andean backdrop
  • Walk a section of the Inca Trail via Wiñay Wayna
  • Explore the Sacred Valley and ruins above Cuzco by foot
  • Discover Cuzco with its distinct Inca-Colonial fusion architecture

Key information

  • 6 nights hotels in en suite rooms
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader. Min. age 16 yrs
  • Altitude maximum 4600m, average 3600m

  • Travel by private bus and by train
  • Countries visited: Peru

What's included

  • All breakfasts and 2 lunches
  • 6 nights en suite hotels
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival and departure transfers

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3943
Call for tailor made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

3

Days of Walking & Trekking
Pace:

Approximately 5 hours walking per day on average

Terrain:

High altitude; good paths, lots of steps

Day by day breakdown
Day 26.5km/4.0miles
Day 43.7km/2.3miles
Day 511.0km/6.8miles

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus, we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

In Cuzco and Aguas Calientes there are opportunities to visit the markets and purchase local handicraft products or to sample Peruvian street food; try the Mercado San Pedro in Cuzco for local produce and the artisan market in Aguas Calientes for textiles. This helps to spread the income from tourism to the wider community. Although Machu Picchu is the highlight, Cuzco itself is awash with magnificent Spanish churches and Inca Museums ‐ your entrance fees to these historic and archaeological treasures contribute towards their preservation.

Café Manos Unidas is the first vocational training site for young adults with special needs. Students are trained across all aspects of hospitality and the food is prepared by the students on site. It's a great way to interact with locals, while also giving those who would normally be isolated from society the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. Exodus support this cafe, and you will have the opportunity to visit it in Cuzco if you wish. 

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Cuzco
to
Cuzco
  • Day 1

    Start Cuzco (3400m); afternoon walking tour

    The trip starts in Cuzco (3400m) today. The group flights usually arrive late morning. The Inca capital - though small enough to be easily manageable - is among the most attractive cities in South America, with much of the centre comprising colonial-era buildings with Inca foundations, and it is full of interesting museums, churches and pre-Columbian sites. We will have a short walking tour of the city including a visit to the Qoricancha Sun Temple.

    It is recommended to take it easy upon arrival into Cuzco and to drink plenty of water to allow your body time to acclimatise to the altitude.

    There will be a welcome briefing in the hotel lobby this evening.

    Accommodation: Hotel Koyllur (or similar)

  • Day 2

    Full day walking tour of nearby ruins including Tambomachay and Sacsayhuaman

    The hills above Cuzco city are dotted with some of the most interesting Inca ruins. We drive to the highest, Tambomachay, and return on foot to Cuzco via Puca Pucara, Qenco and Sacsayhuaman: an easy acclimatisation walk to get used to the altitude. An open-air picnic lunch is included during the hike near the spectacular ruins.

    Walk Profile: approx. 6.5km / 5-6hrs walking (inclusive of the time for visiting the sites)

    Accommodation: Hotel Koyllur (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 3

    Free day for optional activities in and around Cuzco

    Today has been left free for exploring Cuzco, one of South America's most beautiful cities. The Plaza de Armas is a fantastic spot for people-watching, and Qorikancha – the Sun Temple, located in the Santo Domingo Church and monastery, are worth a visit. The Mercado San Pedro is the place to try some local produce and there are many handicraft markets to shop for souvenirs such as alpaca jumpers and scarves.

    If you fancy something more active then there are an array of other optional activities available from Cuzco including paddle-boarding on a lake, mountain biking, or a combination of via ferrata and zip-lining in the Sacred Valley.

    Accommodation: Hotel Koyllur (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Sacred Valley trek

    Today we drive from Cuzco to Ollantaytambo (approximately 2 hrs drive) and then on to the Pumamarca ruins (approx. 30 minutes). These ruins are the remains of a hillside fortress and are built on a steep slope overlooking the Sacred Valley.  Pumamarca ruins are less visited than others in the area so our time here should be relatively uninterrupted.  After we finish exploring the Pamamarca ruins, we’ll walk back through the valley to Ollantaytambo, with views of the terraced countryside along the way.  The walk should take about 3 hours.

    Walk Profile: approx. 3.7km / 3 hrs walking

    Accommodation: Tunupa Lodge (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 5

    Day walk along Inca Trail via Winay Wayna ruins

    Today we have a day walk along a section of the Inca Trail, starting early with a train from Ollantaytambo.  After showing our passports at the check point, we will pass by the archaeological site of Chachabamba and start our trek. The trail has impressive views of the valley and the Urubamba river, with orchids and begonias along the way and the sight of magnificent mountains all around. The trail passes the ruins of Wiñay Wayna where we will stop to explore and have our packed lunch. After visiting the attractive ruins of Wiñay Wayna, we have an undulating walk through cloud forest high above the river to Inti Punku, the Sun Gate. From here we get our first full sight of Machu Picchu itself, with Huayna Picchu rising behind.

    Walk Profile: approx. 11km / 6-7hrs walking

    Accommodation: Intipunku El Tambo (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 6

    Guided tour of Machu Picchu; free time to explore further; return to Cuzco by train and road

    In order to beat the day-trippers arriving from Cuzco and reach the ruins as early as possible, a very early start is required to queue for Machu Picchu; only government-registered buses can make the 30-minute drive up the winding road to the site entrance, and during high season (May-October) queues can be hours long. 

    Machu Picchu is one of the architectural and engineering marvels of the ancient world and what makes it all the more dramatic is its mountain backdrop of staggering immensity. The Spaniards never found it; the Incas left no records of it, and so Machu Picchu remained a great enigma, a city lost for centuries in the jungle until it was rediscovered in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham. 

    New regulations for visiting Machu Picchu are now fully enforced; of the three possible visiting slots, we will purchase the morning slot from 06:00 until 12:00 (unless unavailable), you will be limited to a maximum of four hours within the site and must be accompanied by a guide. There will also be three set routes to follow around Machu Picchu; we select the most comprehensive route. 

    We catch an afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo (1hr 30 mins) and continue by private bus to Cuzco (2hrs 30 mins).

    Accommodation: Hotel Koyllur (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    End Cuzco

    Our adventure ends in Cuzco after breakfast today. 

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Extend Your Trip

Amazon Rainforest extension (from Cuzco)

Code: XPC

Easily accessible via a short flight to Puerto Maldonado from Cuzco, the Amazon is the world's largest rainforest and home to an astonishing array of wildlife, as well as countless plant species. Spending three nights at a lodge in the incredibly rich Tambopata Reserve, we use motorised canoes to explore its lakes and rivers, and follow jungle trails to discover its dense forests. The detailed itinerary can be found here.

Please ask your sales consultant for more details.

Price from: £449 (compulsory supplement of £80 for single travellers)

Post-trip Extensions

Lake Titicaca extension

Code: XPT

Journey across the spectacular high altiplano to Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigable freshwater lake (3,800m). Explore its waters by boat and visit the descendants of the Uros Indians who live on floating reed islands, and are also known for producing fine textiles. Back on the mainland, we visit the pre‐ Incan site of Sillustani, comprised of burial towers with fantastic views over the region. The Titicaca Extension is only available after your main tour as we do not recommend arriving straight into Puno due to the altitude. The detailed itinerary can be found here

Please ask your sales consultant for more details. 

Price from: £209 (compulsory supplement of £48 for single travellers)

Essential Info

Visas

Peru

Visas are not required by UK citizens, Western European nationals, Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans and most other nationalities. If you are in any doubt please contact the nearest Peruvian Embassy.

Vaccinations

Peru

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements.

Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

If you are travelling to the Tambopata reserve in the Amazon rainforest, the risk of malaria is slight, but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. We also strongly recommend that you obtain a Yellow Fever vaccination. Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in the Amazon region. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites: always apply insect repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers while in the rainforest to avoid being bitten.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 2 lunches are included in the price of the tour. 

Peruvian cuisine has developed a reputation for its flavours and originality and it’s well worth trying out a few of the local delicacies. Amongst these are ceviche (a spicy dish of seafood or fish marinated in lime juice), lomo saltado (a Peruvian take on a beef stir-fry) and various hearty soups such as the delicious quinoa soup. Other dishes include roasted cuy (guinea pig), alpaca steak, and to drink, the national beverage: Pisco Sour.

Drinking water is included throughout the holiday as the tap water in Peru is not safe to drink; your leader will buy large water containers for you to refill your bottle from. 

Hotel breakfasts are normally simple buffet-style affairs, usually including bread/toast and jam, cereal, sometimes eggs or a cooked dishes, sometimes fruit, tea/coffee and fruit juice. Regrettably, we cannot guarantee that wheat/gluten-free products will be available for breakfast in all locations – if you have an intolerance you may wish to bring your own breakfast food.

Where lunch and dinner are not included we'll visit a variety of cafes and restaurants.

 

Weather

Peru's diverse geography results in climate which varies greatly by both region and season.

Cuzco and the Andes have a temperate climate. December to March is the rainy season in Cuzco/the Andes and April to November is the dry season; characterised by clear skies and strong sunshine in the mornings, sometimes clouding over as the day progresses. Daytime temperatures are usually pleasant (approx. 20 degrees C on average) but night times only 5-10 degrees C, except for May, June, July and August when days are cooler and nights are often close to, or a few degrees below, freezing. In the Andes, however, anything is possible at any time of year, including cloud, rain or even snow, with rapid and unexpected changes! 

Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu are in the cloud forest and as such attract large amounts of precipitation all year as clouds move up from the Amazon Basin. Rain here can be heavy, but is seldom prolonged. Cold fronts sometimes occur from July-August.

Peru is affected by the El Niño weather phenomenon whereby warming of Pacific Ocean surface water off South America drives a shift in the atmospheric circulation, resulting in abnormally high levels of rainfall over parts of South America. These events occur at irregular intervals of two to seven years, and last nine months to two years. A strong El Niño event occurred in 2014-16. 

Cuzco, Peru

Cuzco, Peru

Is this trip for you?

This is a Leisurely/Moderate grade trek (level 2) – please refer to our activity level guidelines. Anyone of reasonable fitness and with prior walking experience should find no real difficulties). No prior experience of trekking at altitude is required.

As this trip spends considerable time at altitude, we ask you to refer to the altitude warning below. All of our itineraries have built in acclimatisation days before starting the trek.

Walking hours stated within the itinerary are given as approximates only. Timings stated include lunch and photo stops and will vary depending on the pace of your group.

List of Regulations for visiting Machu Picchu:

The main points impacting your visit are the following:

  1. The tickets are valid only for one entry which means that you cannot leave the site and re-enter.
  2. Once you have done the chosen circuit with your guide, you cannot walk back to view anything already visited and once you finish the circuit, you will have to leave the site. You can no longer explore the site further after the guided tour.
  3. The two visit times for visiting the site, either 6am-12pm or 12-16.30pm.
  4. The local authorities have restricted the temples which can visited at Machu Picchu depending on the time of the visit to the site.

These regulations will affect how long you are able to spend at Machu Picchu and which temples you can visit.  In the past, after the guided tour passengers could stay longer to explore the site, this is not possible anymore. The alternative that we are implementing on our visits to allow you further time, is to explore the upper part of Machu Picchu (Sun Gate and Inca Bridge) before starting the guided tour.  The guided tour will be about 2 hrs in duration, and unfortunately at the end of it, you will need to exit the site. You will be able to visit the Condor’s Temple, but not the Sun Dial Temple or the Sun Temple on this itinerary.

 Schedule of visit to Machu Picchu on this itinerary:

  • Early bus to Machu Picchu and explore upper part with the tour leader
  • Between 9-10am start the guided tour
  • Between 11.30am-12.30pm passengers leave Machu Picchu

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3943
Call for tailor made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels

The hotels normally used are indicated within the itinerary, however, accommodation may differ from those stated depending on your departure date.

In Cuzco we will stay at small, locally run hotels where possible, all located in the historical centre of Cuzco, within walking distance of the beautiful Plaza de Armas and close to restaurants and shops.  The hotels each feature cozy rooms, buffet breakfasts and free WiFi.  Most hotels have a safety deposit box in the room but if not, there will be one at the reception.

In Aguas Calientes, we stay in a centrally located hotel with comfortable rooms, buffet breakfasts and free WiFi.  Unfortunately, there is a railway line that runs straight through the centre of Aguas Calientes and whilst we try to allocate rooms away from it whenever possible, the trains might be heard from some rooms.

Please note that central heating is very rare in Peru, even in good standard hotels, however, most hotels provide plug-in heaters and spare blankets which should keep you warm. While all of the hotels we use do have a hot water supply, it can be temperamental when there is high demand.

Should you wish to extend your stay, we can book extra nights accommodation in Cuzco for you. While we endeavour to book your pre/post tour accommodation in the same hotel that you will start/end the trip, it may not always be possible. If your extra accommodation is in a different hotel to where the group will start/end the trip it is your responsibility to make arrangements to get to/from that start/end hotel.

We recommend the early booking of single supplements and of pre/post-tour accommodation. Single accommodation can be arranged, subject to availability. Please request this at the time of booking.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3943
Call for tailor made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

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Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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