- Our local guide shares deep insight into Peru's culture and ancient civilizations
- Machu Picchu: the incredible "Lost City of the Incas"
- Cusco, alive with the energy of the Inca and history of the Spanish conquistadors
- Hike to impressive ruins: Tambo Machay, Temple of the Moon and others
- Experience Quechua culture at an off-the-beaten path weaving community
Cusco, the Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu: A Cultural Odyssey
It's about that picture. You know the one. Every website and coffee-table book has it. History, archaeology, anthropology guides all have it. You'll have it too. Standing above Machu Picchu, wispy white clouds floating by, the jagged Andes in the background, you'll snap the picture. But being there, feet firmly planted above that scene, will forever reset your view of humanity, society and history. How did they do this? When was this again? There are maybe ten places on Earth like this spot. And to think, it's only one moment in a week's worth of incredible moments.
Permits to hike the Inca Trail are extremely limited. We recommend booking a minimum of 4-6 months prior to departure in order to significantly increase your chance of securing a permit. If permits are unavailable during some seasons you will take a train to Aguas Calientes, bus to the entrance and hike into Machu Picchu.
Days 1-2 Hike to impressive Inca archaeological sites Explore Cusco, once the center of the pre-Columbian Inca Empire Visit Coricancha, a Spanish Colonial church built atop the ruins of an Inca temple Our local guide shares deep insight into Peru's culture and ancient civilizations as we journey through Puca Pucara, Q'enko, Temple of the Moon and Sacsayhuamán A long-time friend and Quechua shaman teaches us the meaning of his indigenous "Pago a la Tierra" ceremony Discover the superb collection at Cusco's Museum of Pre-Columbian Art.
Day 3 Las Salineras, a stunningly beautiful honeycomb of tiered pools, where salt has been raked and gathered by families for generations Check out the Colonial church in Chinchero, where the residents still wear traditional clothing and live in ancestral homes Bike along dirt roads through the altiplano amid a panorama of snowy peaks and traditional villages In Moray, learn how the Inca ingeniously farmed using high-altitude terraces.
Days 4-5 Experience Quechua culture in an off-the-beaten-path weaving community where master weavers work After an expert guide unlocks the historical treasure trove of Ollantaytambo's enigmatic ruins, climb the temple's 200 stone steps Visit the world-renowned ceramics studio of Pablo Seminario Enjoy a private dinner at the historical Hacienda Huayoccari Pedal on paved and dirt roads through the Sacred Valley Explore the ruins at Pisac, offering sweeping vistas of the terraced hillsides Interested in shopping for alpaca sweaters or decorative gourds? You'll find plenty to choose from at the Pisac market Learn the secrets of Peruvian cuisine during our exclusive cooking class with Sol y Luna's chef, a highlight of our trip.
Days 6-8 Machu Picchu: the incredible "Lost City of the Incas" After taking the train to Aguas Calientes, hike to the Gate of the Sun for an unforgettable bird's-eye view of Machu Picchu (you may have the option to take the famed Inca Trail) Spend a second full day exploring the "Lost City" A local expert provides insight into the exquisite stonework and mysterious astrological designs of this sacred site Stroll through the grounds of the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel with a local naturalist to learn about the local flora and fauna.
Guests Reviews About This Trip
I have been on several trips, and this was the best so far. I think it was the combination of outdoor adventure and cultural exploration. When people call and say which trip should I go on with Backroads you should say, "They are all great, but have you thought of Peru!"- Atlanta, GA
The trip was fantastic - yet another fabulous Backroads experience. I really feel rested and relaxed - not an easy thing for a New Yorker! I love the feeling of being taken care of for a week - not having to worry about anything, knowing that Backroads has thought of everything I could ever want, in addition to a whole bunch of stuff I never would have thought of! I'm already planning my next trips.
This wasn't just a trip; it was a life experience.- Mississauga, ON
Cusco (2 nights) "An outstanding Orient-Express property housed within a converted 16th-century monastery situated just a short stroll from the Plaza de Armas," says Andrew Harper. Condé Nast Traveler Gold List; Travel + Leisure World's Best.
Sol y Luna Lodge
Urubamba (3 nights) "An unpretentious but impeccably maintained lodge set in a wonderful garden surrounded by mountains," according to the Hideaway Report. (pool, spa, tennis)
Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
Aguas Calientes (2 nights) This hotel with Andean-style casitas is just minutes from the ruins of Machu Picchu. Condé Nast Traveler Gold List; Travel + Leisure World's Best. (pool, spa)
Argentina's Lake District Biking New!
A Trio of National Parks & Epicurean Delights in Patagonia
Northern Argentina Biking New!
Andean Culture and the World's Highest Vineyards in Argentina's Northwest
Costa Rica Biking
Through the Cloud Forest to Arenal Volcano
Costa Rica Multisport
An Adventurer's Playground from the Pacific Coast to Nicoya Peninsula
Costa Rica Multisport
Biking, Walking & Kayaking to Arenal Volcano & the Pacific Coast
Ecuador: Galapagos & Andes Multisport
Ancient Culture & Wondrous Wildlife in Ecuador's Islands & Highlands
This Trip Is Rated Level 1-3
Routes For All Abilities
Every Backroads trip is designed to appeal to a wide variety of interests and fitness levels. We know your pace may vary from one day to the next-and your traveling companion's may differ somewhat from yours. So we present a range of mileage options, and each day you decide exactly what and how much you want to do.
|Daily Route Options|
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Level 4||Level 5|
|miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain|
|Other||Machu Picchu guided walk (3 hours)|
|8||Other||Early-morning naturalist walk (45 minutes)|
On this trip, we'll be using titanium mountain bikes that are just right for the non-technical dirt road riding as well as the paved riding. (approximately 70% dirt and 30% paved).
Altitude makes the routes feel more challenging than the mileage suggests.
* Includes a shuttle