Location

Cuzco to Cuzco

Difficulty

7-8

Strenuous

Length

9

Trip Cost

From $4400 pp
twin share

Overview

Highlights

  • Acclimatise on a three-night pre-trek stay in Cuzco, with a private walking tour 
  • Explore the fascinating Inca ruins of Tambomachay and Sacsayhuaman and hike to the mystical Temple of the Moon
  • Hike the Lares Trail through stunning mountain scenery, majestic high plains and fascinating rural communities
  • Camp, fully-supported, for two nights under the Andean stars, waking each morning to panoramic vistas and fresh mountain air
  • Visit traditional Andean hill villages where ancient Inca traditions of weaving and textiles are still practiced
  • Gain an insight into rural life in Peru as you hike through farmland in the Sacred Valley where llamas and alpacas dot the landscape
  • Join the classic Inca Trail for a day hike to the famous Inti Punku (Sun Gate)
  • Visit Machu Picchu — the Lost City of the Incas — on a private guided tour

This private, guided hiking adventure starts and ends in Cuzco. Here we spend three nights pre-trek, acclimatising to the high altitude before embarking on the spectacular Lares Trail. This trail offers a less crowded option than the Inca Trail but one that is equally captivating.

We camp for two nights on this trail, enjoying breathtaking scenery and a real insight into local rural life in hilltop Andean communities. We then join the classic Inca Trail for one day to the famous Inti Punku (Sun Gate) and see breathtaking Machu Picchu. 

Please note: Trip price is based on two people travelling together (enquire for group pricing).

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Cuzco

After arriving at Cuzco’s airport, walkers are welcomed by our representative and transferred to the hotel. Wander the streets and side alleys of the city to see the perfect tapering Inca stonework that provided the foundations for many of Cuzco’s colonial and modern buildings. The city itself is the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city and was the home of the Inca Empire for two centuries before the Spanish built their first capital here. Today Cuzco is a fascinating combination of both cultures. Take the time to acclimatise to the city’s high altitude (3400m) and explore the many Baroque churches and ancient temples in the city. Join a welcome meeting this evening with our local guide (look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place).

Overnight: Cuzco Hotel (34oom)

Meals: None

Day 2: Explore Cuzco 

In the morning, a guided walking tour explores vivid examples of the mixture of Inca and Spanish cultures. We see the Stone of Twelve Angles at the Inca Roca Palace and visit the most sacred Inca building: the Temple of Qoricancha. Qoricancha was the most important temple of the Inca Empire. According to archaeologists, it housed over 1000 priests and attendants. It was built over an Inca palace dedicated to the worship of the Sun. 

Next is a visit to the heart of the city, the Plaza de Armas, surrounded by colonial arcades and four churches. You will see the beautiful Cathedral of Cuzco facade, a fine example of colonial Baroque art. Explore the San Pedro Market with its vegetables, meats, local cheeses (which we recommend trying) and chocolates, herbal medicines and local handicrafts. It’s a great place to purchase souvenirs. The market is also a place where many locals go to eat ‘mystery soups’. Some may be chicken, however, the locals usually prefer the more unusual ones like frog soups or soups that contain the “nose to tail” of various animals. Today’s lunch is at Museo del Cafe (Coffee Museum), with its free museum. Sample hot chocolate made from local cacao beans, and try the mate de coca (coca tea).

  • Altitude: Cuzco 3400m
  • Duration: 2.5-3 hours

Overnight: Cuzco Hotel

Meals: B L

Day 3: Explore Cuzco 

We begin today with a drive to Tambomachay, an archaeological site just outside of Cuzco. Tambomachay was a temple dedicated to water. We visit the fort of Puka Pukara and the large Inca ceremonial center of Sacsayhuaman. This enormous structure overlooks the city of Cuzco. Its construction is amazing, with its huge rocks perfectly fitting together. It is said that it took over 10,000 workers 50 years to build it. The origin of the temple of Sacsayhuaman is still today unknown. We also visit another important Inca site known as Qenqo, with subterranean passages and carved stone channels in a zigzag pattern. Inside there is a carved stone table where it is said the Incas mummified their dead. Next is a visit to the Temple of the Moon. After a picnic lunch, we walk a beautifully-preserved section of The Royal Inca Trail into the old San Blas district, home to the city’s artists 

  • Altitude: Sacsayhuaman 3700m
  • Duration: 5-6 hours

Overnight: Cuzco Hotel

Meals: B L

Day 4: Transfer from Cuzco, hike Cuncani to Kiswarani (10km)

We leave Cuzco early, stopping after 30 minutes in Taray to see a great view of the landscape of the Sacred Valley. We continue to Calca (2900m) where we can purchase last-minute items like water and ponchos, or have a coffee. Our next stop is the Inca site  Totora. We then head to Lares Pass (4400m), and continue for around one hour to reach Cuncani, the beginning of our trek.

Here, we start walking to our lunch spot in a conservation area. After lunch, we will walk downhill to Kiswarani, our campsite for the night.

  • Max trek altitude: 4247m
  • Ascent: 437m
  • Descent: 397m
  • Trek duration: 5 hours

Overnight: Camping Kiswarani (3850m)

Meals: B L D

Day 5: Kiswarani to Cancha Cancha (14km)

Breakfast is early today (6am), but it will power us for our 4-hour-long morning walk uphill to Pachakuteq Pass (4600m). From here we will be able to see the snow-capped mountain Qolqe Cruz (5600m). On the way up we have great views of the Kiswarani valley including lakes, a waterfall, as well as llamas and alpacas. After arriving at the summit, we’ll walk downhill for around an hour to our lunch spot. There’s more downhill after lunch as we head to our night’s campsite in Cancha Cancha. In this traditional town the houses are made with stones with thatched roofs. Families here still practice the Incas tradition, including using Inca technology for weaving textiles.

  • Max trek altitude: 4600m
  • Ascent: 700m
  • Descent: 850m
  • Trek duration: 7 hours

Overnight: Camping Cancha Cancha (3800m)

Meals: B L D

Day 6: Cancha Cancha to Huaran, transfer to Ollantaytambo (9km)

We’re up early at 6am again for breakfast, followed by another four-hour walk downhill. Our destination this morning is the Sacred Valley. We’ll see more llamas and alpacas by the path, and pass by farms. We’ll also have the chance to see the area’s different types of native trees. This trek finishes at Huaran, where we have lunch. A one-hour vehicle transfer delivers us to our hotel in Ollantaytambo. We’ll join a guided walking tour to see the best of this ancient town.

  • Max trek altitude: 2700m
  • Descent: 1100m
  • Trek duration: 4 hours

Meals: B L D

Overnight: Ollantaytambo Hotel (2,800m)

Day 7: Train from Ollantaytambo, hike Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (13km)

After breakfast we’ll catch an early morning train to the starting point of our hike on the Inca Trail. After arriving, we cross a bridge to a checkpoint where we need to show our passport. We start with an easy walk to the other side of the Vilcanota River. Here the trail veers off to the right towards the ruins of Chachabamba which are located on the old Inca Road that ran along the southern bank of the Urubamba River. After around three hours we descend into a shaded forest with a refreshing waterfall, where we take a break.

Continuing on, we trek to the lower part of the incredible ruins of Wiñay Wayna. We walk the last part of the trail along superb stone steps and tambos (resting places). After climbing 60 steps we arrive at the famous Inti Punku (Sun Gate). From this magnificent point, we can see the extraordinary and magical Machu Picchu before us. It’s the perfect place to feel the energy and warmth of this surreal sanctuary. We then hop on a bus for short journey to our hotel in Aguas Calientes.

  • Max trek altitude: 2720m
  • Ascent: 549m
  • Descent: 320m
  • Trek duration: 7.5 hours

Overnight: Aguas Calientes Hotel (2000m)

Meals: B L D

Day 8: Machu Picchu and transfer to Cuzco

We’re up very early for breakfast and to take the first bus of the day to Machu Picchu. Here we learn about the history and the mysterious world of the Incas on a guided tour. We have around four hours to explore the enigmatic city of Machu Picchu, before taking the bus back to Aguas Calientes. From here, we return to Ollantaytambo by train, and then transfer to our hotel in Cuzco.

  • Duration: 4 hours

Overnight: Cuzco Hotel

Meals: B

Day 9: Depart Cuzco

Our tour ends today after breakfast, with transfers provided to the airport for onward flights.

Meals: B

 

Please note that distances and times are approximate and do vary depending on the pace of the group or if alternate routes need to be taken due to inclement weather. 

Dates

This itinerary offers the flexibility of selecting your own travel dates (subject to availability). Please select your preferred dates below. It is helpful to offer the sales team one or two alternative start dates in the event that we cannot secure your preferred date. Please note that submitting a booking form does not guarantee a booking confirmation. Please do not book other travel arrangements until you have received a formal confirmation from the sales team.

Please note this trip involves 1 day of walking on the Classic Inca Trail. The trail is closed for conservation every February, so we cannot accept bookings on this particular itinerary in February, however, we can provide an alternate itinerary which includes getting to Machu Picchu by train and bus instead of walking. Contact RAW Travel for details.

 

  • Date Format: DD slash MM slash YYYY
  • Date Format: DD slash MM slash YYYY

Inclusions

  • Private tour with your own private guide
  • Flexibility to select your own departure date* and travel with your own group of family or friends
  • Airport transfers 
  • Experienced English-speaking trek guide
  • Guided walking tour of Cuzco with local guide
  • Guided visit to archaeological sites near Cuzco
  • 6 nights hotel accommodation
  • 2 nights full service camping
  • 8 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 2 dinners
  • Transport by private transfer, public train and bus while on tour
  • Entrance fees as per the itinerary
  • Guided tour of Machu Picchu with a local guide
  • Luggage transferred by horses/mules on Lares Trek (max 6kg)
  • RAW Travel luggage tag and buff
  • Emergency contact support in Australia and Peru

Exclusions

  • Airfares
  • Travel insurance
  • Single supplement $750
  • Solo traveller supplement (available on request)
  • Visas
  • Meals not outlined above
  • Beverages
  • Tips for guides, drivers and porters

Map & Guide

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Trip Expert

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Trip Grading

This trip is rated as Strenuous