WHY THIS TRIP
Hike the best trails around Cusco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and then enter Machu Picchu on foot via the Gate of the Sun on the 1-Day Inca Trail Trek, even when permits for the full Inca Trail trek are sold out. Each day you will hike along little known Inca Trails and learn about the fascinating cultures of Peru, both past and present. These moderate hikes show you all the main sites of the area, but allow you to walk away from the crowds and see the real Peru that lies beyond. At the end of each day you can relax in comfortable local hotels. World-class guides will enhance your understanding of what you are seeing, giving you a very complete Inca Peru experience.
- Arrive to Machu Picchu on foot via the Gate of the Sun, even if permits are sold out for the full Inca Trail trek
- Hiking on Inca trails
- Exploring the popular and lesser know Inca sites with your knowledgeable local guide
- Relaxing each night at a comfortable hotel
- Early morning and a full day at Machu Picchu
- Experiencing the culture of Peru, both past and present
After being met at the Cusco airport, you will begin the trip with a local’s guide to Peru, a short walking tour of colonial Cusco to help you get your bearings in this fascinating city, and also to help you adjust to the high altitude.
On Day 2 you will hike in the hills above Cusco to explore the impressive site of Sacsayhuaman where huge stone rampart surround a beautiful grass amphitheater. Next is the Inca water temple of Tambo Machay where you will enjoy a special picnic lunch. After checking out the Temple of the Moon you will descend a beautifully preserved section of royal Inca Trail back into Cusco.
You will hike to the circular ruins of Moray on Day 3, as you begin your journey towards Machu Picchu. The concentric circular terraces here were used as an experimental agricultural center by the Inca. From there you walk downhill through a series of fields where you may get to stop and chat with local farmers digging in their corn fields or planting potatoes. Finally you come to the Maras Salt Pans, where you can see locals harvesting salt the same way they have been for hundreds and hundreds of years, well before the Incas. Continue on foot to the Urubamba River, where you meet your driver and head to your hotel for the evening.
Next you catch the train towards Machu Picchu, where you get off at Kilometer 104 to begin the final stretch of the trek along the world famous Inca Trail, passing restored ruins and eventually arriving at the entrance to Machu Picchu at the Gate of the Sun. You will hike past perhaps the prettiest part of the Inca Trail, hiking on Inca stairways and through the tropical cloud forest. At Machu Picchu you will enjoy the overview from the Gate of the Sun, but then will head down to a hotel in Machu Picchu Pueblo where you have the evening free to explore the extensive artisan market and lively bars and restaurants.
The next morning you explore the pinnacle of Inca engineering – Machu Picchu. You will arrive early, allowing you to explore the ruins in the company of your guide, before they get too busy. The guided tour takes around two hours leaving you a few hours free to wander amongst the old Inca walls and just sit and take in the scale of the place on your own. For those who want to walk a bit more, you could hike to visit the Inca Bridge which once spanned a sheer cliff face. Later you return via train and bus to Cusco along the spectacular Urubamba River.
Your final day is a free morning in Cusco, the old Inca capital, to enjoy all that this city has to offer. Museums, chocolate making classes, souvenir hunting or even just sitting in one of the many cafes and watching the world go by. Finally, in the afternoon, you are taken to the airport for your flight home or on to the Amazon rainforest, Lake Titicaca, Arequipa and the Colca Canyon, or other destinations.
LOCAL PROVIDER: AMAZONAS EXPLORER
For more than 30 years Amazonas Explorer has used a different approach in leading high-quality trips and adventures in South America. While the company had its beginnings in adventure tourism, its success in building a strong team of knowledgeable guides has enhanced its ability to offer a range of innovative cultural tours. By raft, bike, foot, horse and even paddleboard, travelers are immersed in their surroundings to explore in unique ways the highlights of southern Peru, the company’s home turf. Every adventure with Amazonas Explorer is treated with impeccable care and top-notch services, all focused on the client’s comfort and safety.
The current owners, while originally from the United Kingdom, have lived and played in the Cusco region for more than 20 years. The itineraries they’ve crafted are based on places they love and activities they enjoy. Their obvious love for Peru shines through in the company’s efforts to maximize benefits to local economies and to promote responsible tourism across the country. Beginning in the home office, its professionally trained guides, cooks and support crew are well cared for as they build rewarding careers for themselves within the hierarchy of the company. With more than 20 office staff and a Peruvian team total of nearly 200, Amazonas Explorer prides itself on being a great place to work. On an Inca Trail hiking trip, for instance, it is likely you will have the support of porters who have been with the company more than 10 years. Amazonas has a porter protection policy in place and all employees enjoy the provisions of proper working conditions, fair wages, quality gear, and insurance.
Dedicated to sustainable tourism projects in alliance with local communities, Amazonas Explorer purchases local food and, when available, local equipment and gear. Its exceptional cultural experiences include engagement with local people and opportunities for travelers to purchase local crafts and weavings directly from their source. The largely paperless company takes significant steps to further reduce its carbon impact by minimizing its impact to the environment with small group sizes, smart transportation choices, recycling whatever it can, cooking with gas not kerosene or firewood and carefully disposing of all waste generated on trips. Above all, the entire crew of experts holds collective focus on safety and on providing memorable experiences that are equal to none. Amazonas Explorer is also a member of One Percent for the Planet, donating annually its time and money to reforestation efforts in Peru’s Lares Valley.