(Lima, Sacred Valley, Aguas Calientes, Cusco)
Up until now, the word mystical has held little meaning for you. That’s about to change.
Hike the Inca Trail, one of the top 5 treks in the entire world, and immerse yourself in the profound mysteries that are hidden high in the eastern slopes of the Andes. Journey through sublime mountain scenery, lush cloud forests, subtropical jungles and ancient ruins and tunnels as you slowly make your way to Machu Picchu, the “Lost City of the Incas.” In the evenings, rest and relax in well-appointed and comfortable lodgings.
Explore the impressive Inca city of Llactapata enjoying spectacular views of the Vilcanota ridge across the Urubamba River. Pass the Abra Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman´s Pass) where you may glimpse domesticated llamas and alpacas grazing on ichu, one of the few plants that grow at such a high altitude. Descend towards Yanacocha (Black Lagoon) and enter the cloud forest, arriving at Sayacmarca. Climb to the Intipunku, or The Sun Gate along a trail of flat stones on the edges of cliffs in highland jungle. From this vantage point, if you’re one of the lucky ones, you may view the sunrise over the sacred citadel of Machu Picchu and be forever changed.
Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance.
Upon your arrival you will be met by a local representative who will help you locate your vehicle.
A welcome package with your vouchers, a city map, and any other touristic information that we deem you may find useful will be waiting for you upon your arrival at your first hotel on your trip.
Our local representative will meet you at the airport, walk with you to the lobby of the hotel and assist you with airport check-in.
Conveniently located beside the Jorge Chavez Airport, Lima, the Ramada Costa del Sol is a great choice for travelers. The 130 guest rooms include mini bars and climate control. Breakfast offers a lovely range of options, with all the necessities required to start the day off. Try the hotel restaurants which feature items from across the world. Spend time using the sauna and massage services for a relaxing stay.
Our local representative will meet you in the lobby of the hotel, walk with you to the airport, and assist you with airport check-in.
Fly from Lima to Cusco. Flight duration is approximately 1 hour 15 minutes.
Our local representative will meet you for a transfer, with private vehicle and professional driver to your hotel in the Sacred Valley. Transfer time is approximately 2 hours
Take the rest of the day to acclimatize and enjoy time at leisure surrounded by the natural beauty of the Sacred Valley.
The 87-room Sonesta Posadas del Inca Yucay is located in the heart of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, a one-hour drive from the ancient Inca capital of Cusco and close to Machu Picchu. The Sonesta Yucay Posada is a former 18th century colonial-style monastery and is surrounded by beautiful gardens.
Enjoy a full day excursion to the Pisac ruins located on the top of a hill overlooking the Vilcanota (Urubamba) river, a series of terraces, canals, houses, food storage and temples can be seen in very good shape. The most notable is the “Intihuatana” or solar calendar made out of a big piece of red stone. Continue to visit the Pisac Market where artisans from all over the area congregate to sell their crafts. Buffet lunch in a countryside restaurant and visit to Ollantaytambo, a fortress built during the Inca Empire, excellent sample of military architecture. 8 hours in duration.
“Please note that due to weather conditions during the rainy season (December through March, and possibly longer) the Marinera dancers will not be performing during the show, however the Paso horse show will still take place”
Includes tourist ticket and entrance fees.
Today is the start of a great journey back in time as you set off on an early morning (04:00-04:30am) transfer by private chauffeured vehicle to the trail head of the Inca trail. Piskacuchu (2700m/8856ft) is a community located on the 82nd kilometer of the Cusco –Machu Picchu railroad, our starting point of the Inca Trail.
The Sacred Valley of the Incas is a valley in the Andes of Peru, close to Cusco. It is fed by rivers which descend through adjoining valleys and gorges, and contains numerous archaeological remains and villages. The valley was appreciated by the Incas due to its special geographical and climatic qualities. It was one of the empire's main points for the extraction of natural wealth, and the best place for maize production in Peru. The Sacred Valley is generally understood to include everything between Písac and Ollantaytambo, parallel to the Urubamba River, or Vilcanota River or Wilcamayu, as this Sacred River is called when passing through the valley.
Tips for Inca Trail hike Hiking pants and T-shirts are recommended during the day, complemented by sweaters, fleeces and waterproof jackets. It is very convenient to have light rain gear available in the daypack (rain poncho or jacket and/or rain pants) as the weather changes easily and rains can suddenly occur. At night, warm clothing is required in the first two campsites, down jackets can be useful, otherwise a fleece and a jacket are sufficient. During the third day (if sunny) and in Machu Picchu, convertible hiking pants are useful, as can be switched into shorts if necessary. Machu Picchu has a warm climate, colling down only in the evening.
Climate Cusco’s climate is divided into two differentiated seasons: the rainy season, from November to April (the heaviest rainfalls occurring usually between January – March); and the dry season, from May to October. The dry season is colder, so temperatures can drop to below 0 degrees at night.Along the Inca Trail, temperatures range from 15-20ºC during the day if it’s sunny, to 05-10ºC during the day if not sunny or 0-05ºC at night in the first 2 campsites. At Wiñaywayna and Machu Picchu, at lower altitude, temperatures are usually warmer though warm clothes are still recommended at night.
This Inca Trail Premium option includes the assistance of local porters who will carry and set up your camp and prepare meals daily. Including porters on your Inca Trail experience provides a great employment opportunity to local people and allows you to give back.
Premium amenities included:- Private transfer from your hotel in Cuzco or the Sacred Valley to the hike start point- Personal Tent (Eureka Timberline 4 Outfitter or similar based on double or single occupancy)- Premium brand Sleeping Bag to -25C/-13F (the North Face or Eureka Timberline 4 Outfitter or similar) and liner- Personal pillow- Luxury thermarest- Personal lamps in tents- Textile bags for carrying snacks- Bio-degradable portable station for toilet facilities- Portable bath station with hot shower + bathing towels- Duffel bag is available for your disposal- Stainless Steel cutlery, plates and glasses/cups- Gourmet meals with limited alcoholic beverages (selection of beverages will be provided during briefing before hike)- Gourmet meals (alcoholic beverages are not included)- One Pisco Sour cocktail and one glass of wine per day per person- English Speaking Guide, Assistant Guide and Coordinator (Day 1,2,3 and 4 of the hike)- Massage Tent- Massage Therapist (1 massage per day after completing the day’s hike as well as assistance during the hike if pain strikes)- Porters to carry personal items (maximum weight of 10kg per person)- Bus ticket between Machu Picchu and Aguas Calientes on day 4 of the hike- Entrance Fee at Machu Picchu on Day 5
Begin today's hike by crossing the bridge over the Urubamba River and walking along its left shore as it flows northwest along the Sacred Valley. Following the trail along a flat terrain, arrive in Miskay (2800m/9184ft), to then ascend and finally see, from the tallest part of an overlook, the impressive Inca city of Llactapata (2650m/8692ft). Continue trekking along the valley created by the Kusichaca River, gradually climbing for about five hours until you reach the community of Wayllabamba (3000m/9840ft), which is the site of tonight's campsite. All along the way, enjoy spectacular views of the Vilcanota ridge on the opposite side of the Urubamba River, where the impressive Veronica peak reigns at 5,832 meters above sea level and a unique diversity of wild flora and fauna which can be found all along the valley.Maximum altitude point:: 3,000 m (9,840 ft)Campsite altitude: 3,000m (9,840ft)
You'll be provided with a premium grade tent (Eureka Timberline 4 Outfitter) for your hiking adventure which will be set up and taken down at each camping spot along the route. A premium brand Sleeping Bag (the North Face or Eureka Timberline 4 Outfitter) as well as sheets for your tent, a pillow, and a standard thermarest will be provided for maximum comfort. Textile bags for carrying snacks, a bio-degradable portable bath station and a duffel bag will also be available for your personal use.
Wake up at around 6:00 am and after breakfast begin the most difficult part of the trek, which consists of an abrupt and steep ascent that stretches for 9 km. Along this climb, the landscape changes from sierra to puna (a dry and high area with little vegetation). On the way to the first mountain pass, the Abra Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman´s Pass – 4200m/13776ft), you may see domesticated llamas and alpacas grazing on ichu, one of the few plants that grow at high altitude. Cross an area of the so called cloud forest, which is the habitat for many different kinds of birds like hummingbirds and sparrows, and the Andean bear, which is also called the Spectacled Bear (Tremarctus Ornatus). On this day in particular, it is advised to stock up your day pack with candies, chocolates and coca leaves that will keep your sugar level high, and help with altitude sickness. Immediately after the pass, descend into the Pacaymayo valley (3600m/11808ft), where we camp after approximately 7h of hiking.
Maximum altitude point:: 4,200 m (13,776 ft)Campsite altitude: 3,500 m (11,480 ft)
When in Rome... enjoy a pisco sour on one of your evenings on the trail - the national drink of choice!
This day is the longest but also the most impressive and the most interesting, due the number of archaeological sites and the lush cloud forest area rich in Andean flora and fauna. From Pacaymay, climb to the second pass, the Abra Runkurakay (3970m/13022ft). Halfway up, stop to visit the archaeological complex of the same name. This site, located at 3800m/12464ft, consists of a small oval structure that is believed to have served the purpose of a watchtower.
After going over the pass, descend towards Yanacocha (Black Lagoon) and enter the cloud forest to finally arrive at Sayacmarca (3624m/11887ft). This is a beautiful complex made up of a semicircular construction, enclosures at different levels, narrow streets, liturgical fountains, patios and irrigation canals.
Continuing up an easy climb, arrive at the third pass, the Abra Phuyupatamarca (3700m/12136ft). Along this climb you'll surely appreciate the magnitude of the Incas´ ancient craft, by walking along paths semi-detached from the mountain, and seeing rocks that fill up ravines in perfect order, saving the trail from the multileveled Andean geography. This is one of the most complete and best-preserved archaeological complexes along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and is located on the highest point of a mountain.
Continue the trek down the long descending stone steps that lead us to Wiñaywayna (2650m/8692ft), an impressive Inca complex made up of an agricultural center with numerous terraces, a religious sector and an urban sector, close to which our camp is located. This campsite hosts a trekker lodge, a bar and bathrooms with hot shower facilities. After visiting the impressive archaeological site, enjoy a farewell dinner at camp.Maximum altitude point: 3,900 m (12,792 ft)Campsite altitude: 2,650 m (8,692 ft)
On this fourth and last day, arise at 4.00 am to leave Wiñaywayna an hour later and climb to the Intipunku, or The Sun Gate. This will take an hour of hiking along a trail of flat stones on the edges of cliffs in highland jungle. From this fabulous spot, you may see the sunrise over the sacred citadel of Machu Picchu. From Intipunku, descend into Machu Picchu, and 40 minutes later you'll enter the citadel from the highest point through the ¨House of the Guardians¨.
Descend to the control point where your guide will register you before you'll be privy to a complete privately guided tour of the Inca citadel that will take approximately two hours. Bid farewell to your guide and porters and enjoy some free time to walk around, or climb the Huayna Picchu Mountain, where one can experience spectacular views of all of Machu Picchu, the valleys and mountains that surround it. Alternatively, you may like to consider visiting the Temple of the Moon or the impressive Inca Bridge.Maximum altitude point: 2,700 m (8,829 ft)Machu Picchu altitude: 2,400 m (7,872 ft)
For your convenience the bus ticket between Machu Picchu and Aguas Calientes is provided. Buses depart about every 30 minutes, once the bus is full.
Inkaterra Machu Picchu enjoys the privacy of 12 acres of lush vegetation and land in Aguas Calientes. The 85 rooms are well-appointed, with local decorative effects accented by contemporary fabrics. Traditional Andean alpaca blankets and terra cotta tile mark the appearance of this Peruvian retreat. A talented kitchen staff and chef are responsible for scrumptious, fusion-style Andean cuisine. Delve into this region by taking hikes, walks, and bird watching. Otherwise, spend some time at the spa and pamper yourself with relaxing treatments and aromas.
Participate in some of the optional excursions available at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo hotel. Experience contemplative walks to sacred sites, or attempt a challenging Andean ascent. On the hotel grounds, nature trails wind past waterfalls and gardens; trained guides explain the fascinating cloud forest ecosystem. Discover a working tea plantation, and the world’s largest private collection of indigenous orchids, open to the public. What could be more enchanting than the vibrant Waqnaki and the legend of a lovesick Inca princess whose sadness was transformed into colorful teardrop petals?
NATURE WALK Walk along the hotel's trails, and discover the fascinating yet fragile ecosystem of the Machu Picchu cloud forest, and learn about its many indigenous plants and animals.The Nature Walk offers guests a glimpse of cloud forest flora: ferns, bromeliads and orchids and fauna -an interesting variety of birds; as well as an introduction to the Vilcanota river system, the Observatory, the tea garden and house.Duration: ¼ day.Difficulty level: I.Attractions: Tea / Birds / Medicinal plants / Butterflies / Insects / Photos
BIRDS OF MACHU PICCHU Walk early in the morning to take advantage of the optimum time for cloud-forest bird watching. Begin at a river observatory, with the possibility of sighting the sought-after torrent duck and the white-capped dipper. Then proceed to a productive tanager feeding area, where silver-beaked, blue-necked, fawn-breasted and saffron-crowned tanagers can be found.Along the hotel's pathways, be on the lookout for the cock-of-the-rock, the golden-headed quetzal and many of the 18 different hummingbirds identified on the grounds, including the booted racket-tail and the green-and-white hummingbirds, which are native to the area.Duration: ¼ day.Difficulty level: I.Attractions: Birds / Photos.
TWILIGHT WALK This early evening walk is designed to connect on a spiritual level with the environment and the historical energy of the Machu Picchu area.With special attention placed on nature's core elements, the walk pauses at the Rocotal Observatory to appreciate an enchanting waterfall and sacred pre-Inca pictographs.Duration: ¼ day.Difficulty level: II.Attractions: Insects / Photos / Waterfall / pre-Inca Pictographs.
The entrance ticket to Machu Picchu is provided for your convenience.
Return to Cusco on the Vistadome train. Departs from Aguas Calientes at 3:25pm* and takes 4 hours to return to Cusco. Snacks are served on board.*Note train times and schedules may vary based on availability
Our local representative will meet you with a private vehicle and professional driver for a train station transfer.
The Palacio del Inka Hotel is located opposite to the Temple of the Sun or “Koricancha”, and walking distance to the main square. From here, you can visit one of the new wonders of the world, Machu Picchu, a place that will be steeped in the memory of every traveller. A stay at Palacio de Inka Luxury Collection is more tan a refined visit; it’s the key that unlocks authentic locales for today’s seasoned global explorers.
Our local representative will meet you for an airport transfer, with private vehicle and professional driver.
Direct flight from Cusco to Lima. The flight duration is approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes.Please note: Flights' rates and availability are subject to change until booking.
Explore Lima on a sightseeing tour of Colonial and Modern Lima with a private guide and driver. Visit the Government Palace, City Hall, Cathedral at the Plaza Mayor (closed on Sundays), along with the 17th century San Francisco Convent. Take a short tour of the modern districts of San Isidro and Miraflores for a magnificent view of the Pacific Ocean.
Enjoy dinner at the restaurant "Huaca Pucllana"
In the Fifth century, the Lima valley inhabitants started the construction of the Huaca Pucllana. Two important reasons inspired the group of sacred priests, who were the governing rulers at that time. The first reason was their need to express their religious authority. The second reason was directly linked with the control of the hydrological resources stemmed from the water canal system, on the left bank of the Rimac river. Therefore, Pucllana was an important ceremonial and administrative location. Its magnificence was reflected by the configuration of a monumental architecture. It was built with small adobe bricks wrought on a continuous base of blocks and remodeled during the three centuries of the Huaca existence. Currently the Pucllana Archeological Zone spreads over 15 hectares. Today, fifteen centuries after those men gave life to Pucllana, Huaca Pucllana Restaurant, offers you a sample of the best Peruvian and International cuisine. Welcome to La Huaca Pucllana!
Welcome to Peru!
Laura Iyer ,
January 10, 2014
We just returned last night from our Patagonia adventure and wanted to tell you we had the time of our lives! Everything turned out perfectly. Guides were fun, on time and informative. The excursions were great for an active family and, of course, amazing.
I can't tell you what was our favorite. The boys enjoyed exploring the mountains in El Chalten (they called it Mountain running) while Mohan and I relaxed in the beautiful hotel. I thought after the glacier trek it can't get any better - but it kept surprising me and amazing me. My personal favorite was the horseback riding. I thought afterwards after everything we have seen the bike tour would have to be a let down - NOPE - it also was so exciting and our guide was a hoot! We had great weather for each activity (I know there is a bit of luck involved with that one).
Meals were amazing and after so many active excursions no guilt in pigging out.
I am so happy we took a little risk and went out of the way with our vacation this year. We will have this with us for a life time.
Thank you again,
Laura, Mohan, Ryan, and Nathan
Catherine Dudley ,
January 10, 2014
Happy New Year!
GREAT trip! The brochure you sent to us the week before we set off was marvelous -- the pages are marked and worn with us referring to it so often! We were very pleased with every aspect that you set up for us including the airport pick-up and drop off and the tour of Quito and environs on Friday. Our guide spoke excellent English, the driver was courteous and we felt safe and well-informed throughout the day. The transfer to the Eclipse team was super easy and the flight to Guayaquil and trip to the boat went off without a hitch.
We're still going through the 500+ photos that I took and the 1700+ photos that my son took, but I promise to send a few to you in the next week or so. Galapagos was a fabulous trip and the Eclipse was a terrific way to navigate the islands. Gave them a 10 on their feedback form and would recommend Eclipse very highly.
Mark Dornfeld ,
November 11, 2013
"My wife and I had a wonderful trip, we really enjoyed ourselves. All the accommodations that you booked for us were exceptional and our drivers and guides were lovely. We had great weather the whole trip and only lost one activity due to high winds. As you know this is a beautiful part of the world so my camera was snapping all the time. We would definitely use your services in the future for this type of travel. Thanks for all you help and expertise........be well.....m.d."
Jack Gregory ,
November 11, 2013
I wanted to give you a little feedback on our recent trip to Peru.
In a word – EXCELLENT – especially the high quality people you work with in Peru. We have taken tours all over the world, S. Africa, France, England, Vietnam, China to name just a few, and the service we received in Peru was far beyond and of the other experiences we have had. The attention to detail was very much appreciated, picking us up at the airport, taking us back to the airport and complete, hassle free, handling of all our details truly made this a stress free experience.
Special thanks to:
-The entire reservation system and the people I came in contact with that process...every detail accounted for
-The people that looked after us in Lima
-Andre, the young man in Cusco who faithfully phoned every night just to make sure the day went well, my wife was well and that we knew what we had to do the next day.
-The Sumaq hotel in Aquas Calientes...you can tell the level of service by the details...I watched a waitress hold a high stool for a lady to prevent her from tipping backwards as she got on the stool, the lady didn’t even know the waitress did it....that’s client care.
-Especially Mariela, the tour guide in Cusco...highly knowledgeable, passionate, personable and shows great care for the people she guides.
Hainsworth Sherry ,
November 05, 2013
Clients were very impressed. Guides were amazing and accommodation was beyond expectations. They will definitely travel with you again and they have highly recommended Kensington Tours.
Hope I can work with you again the in the near future.
Scott Parks ,
November 05, 2013
Sandy and I are back from Peru and had a wonderful time. Kensington seems to have the best contacts in each country and Peru was no exception. I wanted to take the time to give you some specific feedback on each segment of out trip.
The “Hotel B” in Lima is fantastic. It’s an old house that has been turned into a small Hotel. The people are great and the location in Barranco is just what we like.
The Inkaterra Amazonica is probably the best place place to stay in the Amazon region. The rooms give a real feel of the sounds of the rain forest.
The hotels in both Cusco and Aquas Calientes were perfect with great locations. We added an additional day in Aquas Calientes which gave us three days in Machu Picchu. For us, this was well worth it and gave us the time we wanted to see all aspects of Machu Picchu. Pictures did not do justice to the site, although we got some great pictures.
The trip to see the Nasca Lines was, also, worth the time. Our guide added some side trips including lunch at a local winery which we really enjoyed. The Hotel Paracas was an unexpectedly high quality resort and a great way to end our trip.
Thanks for your help we look forward to next year
June Murray ,
August 20, 2013
"Buenas Noches Brandi-
I filled out the survey but I wanted to send you a note to say thank you. Our trip was the stuff lifelong memories are made of and I mean every part of it. From our time spent in Quito, to the Safari Camp and Isla Isabela. I cannot say enough about the professionalism of the staff at our accommodations and the expertise of all our guides (most especially Tanya Helmig at the Safari Camp). We hope to go back for an extended stay.
I have attached 2 photos for you of Bart and I. I think the joy is clearly evident- thank you for making it possible.
Barbara Mackey ,
July 22, 2013
"We just completed a family trip to Costa Rica, with three families traveling from different locations. All the coordination efforts were made easily and efficiently by our Kensington representative, Brandi Merchant, who was wonderful; an absolute delight to work with. All the accommodations were first class and the guides knowledgeable and very punctual. We will be using Kensington again!
Cindy Thoene ,
July 22, 2013
What an AMAZING trip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Seriously…the trip of a lifetime!
We returned late on Thursday and had out of town visitors through the weekend and we are just now unpacking and getting back to non-vacation reality.
I will share my feedback and get pictures sent to you soon.
Thanks for everything….truly a perfect trip!
July 24, 2013
Our trip was wonderful, we had a great time, wish we could have spent more time. In fact, I now know I would have spent more time in Cuzco and the Machu Picchu area.
Machu Picchu was fabulous.
Margot, our guide, and the driver, were absolutely wonderful, low key, very personable, very accommodating, really good. We didn't end up with enough time on the last morning in Cusco to finish the tour, but got a feel- of Sacsayhuman, Qengo, Koricancha. We saw Ollayantatambo, and went to Moray and Maras, and Wayra ranch which was also outstanding, on the next day, but did not do Pisac and the market. We got tired and ran out of time so cut a couple things. Louis the coordinator was good as well.
Would love to go back and learn more some time.
The coordinator in Lima was extremely nice too, and very helpful.
In fact, we loved the food, the people and everything. The Libertador Palacio , the Tambo del Inka and the Sanctuary were indeed outstanding hotels. LAN was all on time, great service.
Thank you again for all your help.
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