A stunning tapestry of Andean landscapes, Inca history and Quechua tradition, this trip wraps you in the essence of Peru. Witness a mélange of cultures in Cusco, where trendy galleries rest on foundations of ancient Inca stonework, and young fashionable locals pass rural women dressed in rainbow-colored polleras (skirts) and ponchos. Meet folk musicians, ceramic artisans and weavers, who keep ancestral arts alive. Feel the energy of the apukuna (mountain spirits) as you explore the mysterious citadel of Machu Picchu. And delight in the company of our Peruvian guides, who offer personal insights into the region's deep mythological and religious roots.
Days 1-2 Alongside our engaging local guide, walk through the World Heritage site of Cusco to gain rich context for the people and places we'll encounter during this unforgettable week Practice your Spanish bartering phrases while shopping for ceramics, woven goods, jewelry and alpaca sweaters at colorful markets For lunch, take part in a hands-on cooking class at the home of longtime Backroads friends Be awed by the fortress of Sacsayhuamán, a perfect example of Inca ingenuity often called "Stonehenge of the Andes."
Days 3-4 Witness the stunning Inca salt pans (Salineras de Maras), a spectacular honeycomb of salt-encrusted basins farmed for centuries Walk into Urubamba to shop and people-watch Visit the world-renowned ceramics studio of Pablo Seminario and enjoy a private dinner at the historic Hacienda Huayoccari The nooks and crannies of ancient Ollantaytambo reveal advanced Inca stonemasonry that still perplexes modern-day engineers Connect with enthusiastic kids at a nearby preschool In the isolated weaving hamlet of Huilloc, a local family provides an intimate look at traditional Andean home life and their community's renowned handicraft skills.
Days 5-7 All aboard the train to Aguas Calientes gateway to Machu Picchu! Sure to be an experience that surpasses your imagination, explore the enigmatic "Lost City of the Incas" on a late afternoon visit, marveling at its perfectly constructed temples and aqueducts A second full day at Machu Picchu gives you the chance to contemplate its exquisite stonework and mysterious astrological designs, and perhaps walk to the Inca Drawbridge or Gate of the Sun Options abound at our hotel: indulge in a spa treatment, go bird-watching or enjoy a nature walk on the property's rain forest trails.
- A local expert unveils the country's culture and ancient civilizations
- Soak up the fascinating Inca and Spanish Colonial history of vibrant Cusco
- Partake in exclusive Backroads cultural events, like age-old shaman ceremonies and master weavers at work
- Learn secrets of traditional Peruvian cooking at the home of a local family and at a special culinary event with Sol y Luna's chef
- Discover the magical architectural masterpiece of Machu Picchu
Hotel Monasterio (2 nights): "An outstanding property housed within a converted 16th-century monastery situated just a short stroll from the Plaza de Armas," says Andrew Harper. Travel + Leisure World's Best.
Sol y Luna Lodge (2 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 (2 nights): This hotel with Andean-style casitas is just minutes from the ruins of Machu Picchu. Travel + Leisure World's Best. (pool, spa)
Private Trips Options & Pricing
Guest Trip Reviews
This exciting new Insider trip introduces you to little-known sites - as well as heavy-hitters like Machu Picchu - in the most authentic way possible, so you'll never feel like a typical tourist. Imagine walking through the famous Lost City of the Incas without dodging other visitors at every step and visiting other fascinating spots that standard tour groups miss. Get set for a vacation filled with encounters you'd never have on your own!- Regional Manager, Latin America