Trek the mystical Inca Trail and cruise through Lima’s lesser-known islands on this exciting Peru adventure. Take the road less traveled as you explore Lima’s island-dotted coastline, Huaraz’s outdoor adventurer’s Mecca, and the rugged Inca Trail. Each day leads you to discover new worlds and vibrant landscapes, secluded camps and otherworldly ruins. This 11 day tour shows you the best of Peru: from the culinary hotspot of Lima to the history-rich Cusco and the remote stretches of the Inca trail to the iconic ruins of Machu Picchu.
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Arrive in Lima
Your Peruvian adventure takes off as you land in Lima. Your Peru Unbound guides greet you upon arrive, after which you’ll check-in to tonight’s accommodations and relax a bit before rejoining for a brief orientation. Enjoy Lima’s intoxicating sights and sounds before settling in for your first night in Peru.
Begin your morning with a journey to Callao, where you set off on a nautical journey exploring some of Peru’s stunning islands full of history and incredible views. Today’s cruise takes you to a number of islands:
- El Camotal, part of the seaport of Callao sunken underwater after an earthquake hit the region in 1746. During low tide, you can see traces of the historic place submerged under the waves.
- San Lorenzo Island, sitting offshore from Callao, has a rich and varied history. Beyond the interesting visits of Charles Darwin and a number of privateers hoping to stash their goods, ancient Callao inhabitants once worshipped the island, believing the goddess Shina resided there—and left a prehistoric temple as well as a large cemetery laden with artifacts.
- Isla El Frontón, an island off the coast of Callao, was once a prison and it redolent with the past.
- The Cavinzas Islands, a collection of rocky islets and shaded caverns, is a haven to pelicans, red-legged cormorants, Guanay cormorants, boobies and even Humboldt penguins.
- The Palomino Islands, where sea lions play and sunbathe amongst natural grottos.
This afternoon, visit the Larco Museum, an 18th century building constructed over a pre-Columbian pyramid dating back to the 7th century. Browse 4,000 years of pre-Columbian history as you walk the halls. After, we dine at the museum’s restaurant on a some authentic Peruvian dishes while you take in views of the pyramid and the colonial mansion on the grounds. Return to your hotel at the end of the evening.
Today takes you to Huaraz, an Andean world of sweeping panoramas and rugged mountain ranges jutting up against a trekking Mecca. After checking in to tonight’s accommodations, spend the rest of the day exploring the adventure-driven metropolis on your own. There’s plenty of local watering holes, markets and native cultural hotspots to keep you entertained as you acclimatize.
Trek to Tzacracancha
After a hearty breakfast, depart Huaraz and make your way to the village of Canrey Chico, where you meet up with your mountain guides as well as some llamas and donkeys who know how to hit the trails. From here, set off on your trek through sprawling Andean landscapes dominated by the White Mountain Peaks. The hike takes you to the scenic camp of Tzacracancha.
Trek up Yanashallash Pass
Wake up to fresh air and a wholesome breakfast before beginning your trek up a pre-Inca stone path to Yanashallash Pass, the highest point you reach on our hike. With expansive views bordered by mountain ranges on the east and the west, the Pass is worth every step. After you catch your breath and explore the pass, begin the winding descent down to Shonkoruri, where we make camp for the night. Relax with a freshly prepared dinner and winking stars in the sky before bed.
Hiking Shonkoruri – Chavin, Arrival to the city of Huaraz
Enjoy a freshly prepared traditional Andean breakfast, set off on your downhill hike to the archaeological site of Chavín—passing by remote villages dotted with straw huts as you walk. There, explore Chavín, filled with ruins dating back to 1200BC and a cultural stronghold of the pre-Incan Chavín people. A place of worship, there’s plenty of terraces, squares and zoomorphic ornamentation decorating the stone to wonder at as you walk through the ruins.
After your visit to Chavín, pass through the Cahish Tunnel’s highest point as you return to Huaraz via car.
Travel to Cusco
This morning, fly to the historic town of Cusco with a stopover in Lima. Once there, check in to your hotel and spend the rest of the day exploring a city still fused with its ancient Andean culture and sumptuous Spanish colonial past. See what historic sites the town has to offer and tempt your tastebuds with authentic Peruvian dishes before bed.
Explore the depths of Cusco’s rich history and evocative culture today. After breakfast, set off on a tour of the city, visiting Cusco’s ancient Incan ruins and Spanish colonial monuments. Stops today include the Main Square—known to the Inca’s as Huacaypata or the Warrior’s Square—the El Triunfo Cathedral—where the Incan temple of Suntur Wasi once sat—and the Convent and adjoining Church of Santo Domingo—a Dominican church built on the ruins of the Incan temple of Koricancha, or Temple of the Sun.
After, venture outside the Cusco with a visit to Sacsayhuamán, an immense Incan fortress, and then Tambomachay, or the Incan baths, where Incas once worshiped water. We then continue onto Kenko, another worship site featuring a large stone block resembling a puma as well as canals, stairways and other passages decorated with other stone engravings of animals. Our day concludes with a visit to Puca Pucará, where the Incas made war not worship throughout the ruins’ the carefully constructed terraces, turrets and vaulted niches.
This afternoon, return to Cusco and spend your evening adventuring throughout the town as you will before bed.
Trek to Chachabamba, Wiñay Wayna and Arrive at Machu Picchu
Depart Cusco for Ollanta this morning, where you meet a train heading for the archaeological ruins of Chachabamba and Wiñay Wayna. Debark and begin your 8km hike to Wiñay Wayna, where you can wander through the complex’s terraces, urban quarters and religious center.
After, continue onto Inti Punku, otherwise known as “The Sun Gate,” from which you can see the sprawl of Machu Picchu situated off in the distance. Once we explore these ruins and surrounding landscape, travel to the village of Machu Picchu where you spend the night.
Explore Machu Picchu, Return to Cusco
Begin your morning with a guided tour of Machu Picchu’s mysteries and wonders. After, journey to the Sanctuary, where we begin our trek up the scenic Huayna Picchu Mountain, whose steep views provide stunning views of Machu Picchu and the lush Andean mountains. Catch your breath and take in the views of Andean peaks, the winding Urubamba River and the country’s most iconic ruins.
After today’s Peruvian adventures, return to Aguas Calientes where you catch a train to Cusco. Spend your last night in Peru exploring as you wish before bed.
Note: If a trek to Huayna Picchu is not available, we plan to hike to Montaña Machu Picchu tucked away in the mountains to the southwest of the Machu Picchu citadel. This mountain trek not only offers plenty of panoramic views or the sloping mountains but of the iconic Incan sanctuary.
Fly to Lima and Connect with Your Return Flight Home
Make your way to the Cusco airport to catch your flight to Lima, where you will connect with your international flight home.
Dates & Rates
Year round departures starting at $3600 per person based on 2 guests. Please inquire for specific dates and rates.
- Brief presentation prior to departure
- Tours as specified
- Transfers in private
- Entrance fees
- English-speaking guide
- First Class Train to/from Machu Picchu
- Meals as specified & Accommodation
- Services not specified in the program, extras and tips
- International or National flight tickets
- Insurance coverage of personal loss, injury, illness or damages incurred during your trip
- Personal laundry, dry cleaner, telephone charges
- Room service and mini bar
FAQ & More
Difficult to answer, this is really a question of personal preference. The busy season is June to August and it's also the driest part of the year in Machu Picchu. If you don't mind being a little wet while avoiding a heavy flow of visitors, Machu Picchu in December and January is absolutely perfect for you. It's important to remember that tours to Machu Picchu happen all year round but the Inca Trail is closed in February each year.
Like most in South America, Peruvians love any excuse for a celebration and the country enjoys a huge number of religious ceremonies, festivals and local events. Carnival time (generally late Feb.) is especially lively almost everywhere in the country, with fiestas held every Sunday. Tours to Machu Picchu during these requires a bit more planning in advance for airfare prices calendar of major public holidays & festivals:
February Carnival - Celebrated most of the month prior to Lent throughout the whole country.
March/April Easter (Holy Week) - Fantastic parades all over Peru. ROW Adventures like the one in Cusco!
June 24 Inti Raymi - Cusco's main Inca Festival of the Sun. A great time to tour the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu.
August 13 - 19 Arequipa Week - Parades, firework displays, plenty of folklore, dancing, and craft markets.
September End of the month Festival of Spring - Involves dancing, particularly the local Marinera dance.
October 18 - 28 Lord of Miracles - Festival featuring large and solemn processions.
Most travelers do not need visas; travelers of most nationalities are granted a 90 day tourist visa. All nationalities, however, need a tourist or embarkation card (tarjeta de embarque) to enter Peru, issued at the customs or on the plane before landing in Lima.
Please be sure to have at least 6 months validity on your passport from your departure date from Peru.
Altitude sickness is common in the highlands when visiting Machu Picchu, but can easily be treated by taking it slow and resting, staying hydrated, and there is medication available over the counter for pills altitude sickness. A yellow fever vaccination is recommended for areas east of the Andes Mountains, but not needed for Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu, or other places along the coast or in the mountains. It's advisable to consult with Peru's official website before leaving for any questions.
Peru is on the equivelant of Central Standard Time
Electricity in Peru is 220 Volts and 60 Hertz (cycles per second). If you want to use a 110-volt appliance in Peru, you’ll need to buy a power adapter. Most outlets in Peru accept US standard two flat blade male.
The current Peruvian currency, the Nuevo Sol - whose symbol is S/. Simply called a "Sol" . In Lima and Cuzco (and most other cities), Euros are as acceptable as US dollars for changing into soles.