Uncharted Outposts - vacations and travel

Machu Picchu

Peru, South America

Contact provider for price 11 Days Year-round
Boutique accommodations Exertion level: 3
Operator: Uncharted Outposts 12 people max
  • Lima international airport, peru
  • Active & Adventure trips
Why so long in Machu Picchu? The better question is, why do others explore this Wonder of the World for so little time? If you had a week you might just be able to discover the depth and breadth of this fascinating and delightfully gorgeous ruin on the mountain saddle. Our three days allow for a guided tour of the main ruins, hikes to Huayna Picchu with the Temple of the Moon, hikes to the Sun Gate, the Inca bridge and more, and private exploration at your own pace.  Finding a hot pink orchid clinging to a barely excavated wall in a remote corner of the ruins is a pleasure reserved for few. We will explore the world of Inca, both the past and the present. Our focus will be on the legendary city of Cuzco, the breathtaking Urubamba Valley and the magnificent ruin of Machu Picchu. Our journey begins in Lima were we will stroll remarkable museum collections, then head to the Andes in the heart of the Inca empire. We will explore Cuzco, Sacsayhuaman and San Salvador, Chincheros Market, Moray and Maras, as well as the towns and ruins of Pisac and Ollantaytambo. And then we will stay 3 delightful days and 2 remarkable nights at Machu Picchu. 

Locations visited/nearby

Peru, South America

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Special information

  • This is a custom departure, meaning this trip is offered on dates that you arrange privately with the provider. Additionally, you need to form your own private group for this trip. The itinerary and price here is just a sample. Contact the provider for detailed pricing, minimum group size, and scheduling information. For most providers, the larger the group you are traveling with, the lower the per-person cost will be.


Day 1 —
Alvear Palace
You will arrive in Lima, located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers, on a beautiful coastline  overlooking the Pacific Ocean. You will be met and transferred to either the Swissôtel or Country Club Lima.

Day 2 —
Alvear Palace
Lima is the capitol of Peru and its largest city, and it has it all - great plazas, beautiful gardens, gorgeous cathedrals, elegant Colonial homes, chic nightlife, amazing restaurants, world-class museums, and five-star hotels. We will tour historic Lima, including the Plaza de Armas, where you’ll see elegant carved wooden balconies and Colonial architecture. We will also visit the National Museum of Archeology, Anthropology and History which has one of the largest collections of Pre-Hispanic art and relics, including exceptionally well preserved mummies. From here we proceed to Museo Larco to see an impressive collection of pottery, gold and silver. An elegant lunch at a seaside restaurant comes next fortifying you for the remainder of the afternoon. We’ll bring you back to your hotel where you can relax, have a restorative cocktail and make your plans for dinner and an evening on your own in Lima.

Day 3 —
Alvear Palace
A quick flight over the snow-capped Andes brings us to the legendary City of Gold—Cuzco (alt. 11,200 feet)—the Center of the Inca Universe. You will check into the beautiful, 16th-century Hotel Monasterio, originally built as a monastery in 1592. We will have breakfast and sip coca-leaf tea while acclimating to the elevation.  We’ll begin our walking exploration of Cuzco after lunch (on your own), walking along streets in the footprints of the the Incas and later the Spaniards. In the course of the day we will stop at Coricancha, the partially restored Temple of the Sun at the center of the Inca Universe, where the gold-covered walls were stripped by the Conquistadors. Along narrow cobblestone streets, we will pass walls of stone so precisely fitted that they remain in superb condition centuries later, even after many earthquakes. Along the Plaza de Armas, we will peek into the University, beautiful churches and shops that face onto this historic plaza.  Dinner tonight will be in the courtyard of the Art Museum at the delightful MAP Café accompanied by traditional music of the High Andes.

Day 4 —
Alvear Palace
We will visit the colorful and bustling Cuzco "Mercado Central", a traditional market were we will get a sense of the daily rhythm of Cuzqueño life. Open air stalls tout everything from coca leaves, carrots, rubber boots, jeans, padlocks, chickens and ducks, to Band-Aids and a range of familiar and unfamiliar fruits and vegetables. Bartering is part of the fun and challenge of market day! Later we will view an archbishop’s private collection of colonial and Indian art. Very special. After lunch we will visit the Inca Historical Museum for a fine overview of the history of the Inca Empire from its beginning to its demise. In the late afternoon we will venture to Sacsayhuaman to explore the spectacular ceremonial and "parade" grounds used by the Incas for major celebrations, pageants and sporting events. Inti Raymi, the Incan "Festival of the Sun," is still celebrated here beginning every June 24th.  We  will be treated to a special ceremony with plants and herbs conducted by a shaman before we descend into Cuzco.

Day 5 —
Alvear Palace
Our first stop in the Southern Valley of Cusco is at scenic Lake Huacarpay to view some beautiful wetland birds. Our next stop will be in the town of Andahuaylillas, where we will visit the "Sistine Chapel" of Peru, the Church San Pedro de Andahuaylillas. Built in 1631 on top of ancient Inca foundations, the interior of the church bombards visitors with an explosion of Baroque art. The walls are lavishly decorated with exquisite Colonial paintings from the Academy of Cusco and frescoes and murals by Luis de Riaño. The altars and wood carvings are all accented with gold leaf. After Andahuaylillas, we stop in San Salvador where a group of women will demonstrate the art of weaving with the traditional back strap looms.  After a delicious picnic lunch, we will continue on our way, passing lush fields of quinoa and amaranth, and then descending into the breathtaking Urubamba Valley. Here we explore the typical, indigenous village of Pisac where we can hike above the valley in the ruins of the Temples of Pisac. The balance of the afternoon will be spent exploring the agriculturally-rich Urubamba Valley en route to a two-night stay at the enchanting Sol y Luna Resort in the heart of the Urubamba Valley.

Day 6 —
Alvear Palace
We start our day with a visit to the Sunday Indian Market at Chinchero where the locals do their weekly shopping.  Very colorful and very fun. Save room in your suitcase for great finds! After Chinchero, we will visit the town of Moray and walk around the extensive circular terraces where the Incas once experimented with adapting plants to new climates and temperatures. We then continue onto Maras and the amazing salt pans which have been harvested since Inca times. We will explore the salt flats and the surrounding fertile valley below and the snow-capped peaks of the Cordillera Urubamba. Then we’re off to the spectacular temple-fortress and village of Ollantaytambo, a site that is little changed from the days of the Incas. The comuñeros, people from the small villages, descend to the town wearing their distinctive costumes—locally woven and dyed red—and easily recognized wherever you see them.  We return to Sol y Luna in the afternoon. You’ll have plenty of time for a stroll in the lovely garden, a spa treatment and, of course, Sundowners! The resort’s restaurant features Novo Andino cusine, a distinctive blend of Andean, coastal and international flavors.

Day 7 —
Alvear Palace
We catch the early train in Ollantaytambo for one of the most breathtaking train journeys in the world. The rail line follows the river down the impressive Canyon of the Vilcanota to the foot of Machu Picchu. If our accommodations are at Hotel Pueblo de Machu Picchu, we leave the train at Aguas Calientes to check in to this lovely riverside inn.  Then we head up the mountain by bus to Machu Picchu. If our accommodations are at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge on the mountain by the ruins, we transfer to a bus for an exhilarating 20-minute dash up the mountainside to Machu Picchu. Weather permitting we will offer an optional hike to the peak of Machu Picchu Mountain—a 5-6 hour round trip scenic workout! We’ll bring our picnic lunch and feast on it as well as the sights. For those who do not hike, the exploration of Machu Picchu begins with an orientation stroll around the site which helps get a sense of the layout of the ruins. Machu Picchu is truly a place to explore on your own. The elevation is about 7,500-ft., much lower than Cuzco’s 11,500-ft., so you will feel the difference immediately.

Day 8 —
Alvear Palace
The park opens at sunrise, a magical time of the day. Mist often shrouds the major peaks and floats onto the valley below. The rising sun casts a golden glow into this fantasyland; it is not to be missed at this hour. Enjoy, and then return to the hotel for a quick breakfast. Depending on the weather, we have another optional hike this time climbing the steep, challenging trail, hidden in crevasses and bushes, that leads to the top of Huayna Picchu, the slender granite peak that appears in every photo of Machu Picchu. On top we have a breathtaking view of Machu Picchu and the surrounding valleys and snow-capped peaks. The climb is impressive and requires no more than 1-1/2 to 2 hours, even if you are a very slow hiker. It is well worth the challenge. You will be privy to one of the most spectacular vistas in the world.  The descent is steep, but relatively quick and easy and leads straight to lunch! After lunch you have the afternoon to yourself to explore the ruins, snooze in the sun, read, or take photos. Machu Picchu is all yours!

Day 9 —
Alvear Palace
You will have another morning of personal discovery.  You may hike up to the Sun Gate overlooking Machu Picchu or explore the Inca Bridge, take photos or muse about Machu Picchu until you meet the rest of the group for lunch. After lunch we bus down to the train for Cuzco. Once there we tumble into the lovely Monasterio del Cuzco for the night.

Day 10 —
Alvear Palace
We have time to do last minute shopping and lunch before our flight to Lima. In Lima, you may rest, shop and explore on your own. You may select from Lima’s many fine restaurants for dinner. You will stay in either the Swissôtel or Country Club Lima.

Day 11 —
Alvear Palace
Depart for home, or on to other adventures.

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