Itinerary & Map
We often have multiple itineraries so please check to see which itinerary is suitable for you, by selecting the relevant tab.
Your trip starts with a welcome meeting at 6 pm.
While Peru's capital officially began life in 1535, when Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro founded the city on the Day of the Three Kings, settlements had been scattered through the valley since before the Incas. The city was built on top of an existing palace and temples that belonged to the local chief who had little choice but to move on. Lima was in its prime during the Spanish colonial days and much of the city's attraction now lies in its well-preserved historical centre.
NM Hotel or similar
This morning you will transfer to the airport for your flight to Puerto Maldonado, the gateway for the Amazon. Upon arrival, the lodge staff will take us to their office in town where you will leave most of your luggage in a safe storage and continue travelling with a small pack with just the necessary items for our next two nights in the jungle. Then take a motorised canoe up river to our jungle lodge in the Madre de Dios area.
Head into the jungle with our local, multilingual guides and encounter magnificent fauna and flora in their natural habitat. The guides can also teach us about the medicinal properties and practical uses of the plants.
The lodge is eco-friendly and combines low-impact architecture with traditional native style. Rooms are simple, but comfortable with flush toilets (en suite), showers (cold water only), mosquito nets and kerosene lamps for light.
Posada Amazonas Jungle Lodge - Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
We transfer by boat back to Puerto Maldonado this morning and board a short flight to Cuzco. On arrival in Cuzco you check into your hotel and enjoy a first evening in this fascinating city.
The Cuzco region truly is the heart and soul of Peru. The city itself is the continent's oldest continuously inhabited city and was the home of the Incas for two centuries before the Spanish built their first capital here. Today Cuzco is a fascinating combination of both cultures. Inca-built walls line the central streets and many of the elegant colonial buildings are built on or around Inca foundations. This is a city steeped in history, tradition and legend and is a perfect base for explorations into the Inca world or to enjoy a range of outdoor activities.
Taypikala Cusco Hotel - Breakfast included
Enter the beautiful Sacred Valley. Today you will head to Awanancancha to see Llamas, alpacas and vicunas. Your next port of call is Pisac, a charming little village nestled at the base of an Inca fort. Start by exploring the famous local market (Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday). It's a colourful bazaar with hundreds of local artisans selling their wares. You might find anything from hand-knitted Alpaca jumpers to ornately decorated Andean ceramics here. Next you will tour a local farm to gain some insight into another facet of daily life. Here you will earn about old techniques of dyeing, spinning and weaving the alpaca wool. After lunch, it's off to explore the Inca ruins, which are spread out on the mountains above the town. They are roughly as old as those of Machu Picchu. Enjoy a night in at the Royal Inn in Pisac, which has a swimming pool.
Royal Inka Pisac hotel - Breakfast and lunch included - swimming pool
We continue through the Sacred Valley this morning and onto Ollantaytambo
The town of Ollantaytambo has been built over an ancient Inca town, which is a magnificent example of Inca urban planning. This is one of the few places where the Incas defeated the Spanish.Ollantaytambo's archaeological site is located to the east of the Plaza de Armas. The upper terraces of this site offer great photo opportunities of the squared grid town below.
We then take a midday train up to Aguas Calientes where we spend the night, in preparation for our visit to Machu Picchu tomorrow. Sitting at the base of Machu Picchu in a picturesque valley, Aguas Calientes takes its name from the numerous hot springs that are dotted throughout the area.
Machu Picchu Hostal - Breakfast included
Take an early bus up to the stunning 'lost city' of Machu Picchu. This is one of those genuinely magical places, and your first glimpse of these ruins in the mist is something to remember. The site is perched high in the Andes, surrounded by verdant cloud forest, with the river Urubamba running through the gorge far below. Hidden away on a ridge, Machu Picchu is invisible from below, so it's no surprise it remained a secret for so many years (until 1911). You will explore the ruins with a local guide, learning more about these 200 or so houses and temples. It's fascinating to be able to gaze down on the city from above and imagine how it would have looked during the height of the Inca empire.
After today's excitement, we head back to Cuzco for the night.
Please note: Due to Intrepid's internal safety policy, your leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking trips to the mountaintop ruins of Wayna Picchu.
Taypikala Cusco Hotel - Breakfast included
This morning you will enjoy a stand-up paddle boarding experience on the Piuray Lake. Once you have mastered this activity, head back to Cusco city.
The rest of the day is yours to explore the city as you please. Armed with a full boleto turistico (tourist ticket), you'll have access to the premier museums and sights in town. Perhaps start your day at the local market – a great chance to mingle with the locals, sample some street food or some pastries, and perhaps browse for some strange items such as 'Dragon's Blood' (medicinal tree sap). Some great museums to visit are the Pisco Museum, the Museum of Inca Culture and the Museum of Popular Art. There are also many adventure activities on offer, from trekking and mountain biking to via-ferrata climbing and zip-lining. All are great ways to take in the gorgeous neighbouring hills.
Taypikala Cusco Hotel (AA) - 1 night - (B)
Your trip ends in Cusco.