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A Family Adventure: Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Program Number: 21324RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/22/2014 - 8/2/2014;
Duration: 11 nights
Location: Peru
Price starting at: $3,482.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Family Programs; Walking/Hiking Activity Level: n (see description)
Meals: 31; 11 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 10 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Salt; Low Fat; Gluten Free    

Hike with your family into natural beauty, mystery and spiritual awareness on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Led by experts, hike a famous stretch of the advanced road-and-trail system built by the ancient Inca. Pass through lush cloud forests and alpine tundra and examine Incan ruins before arriving at the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu.


• Over four days and three nights, hike the famed Inca Trail from Pisacucho to Machu Picchu.
• Experience the “Lost City of the Incas” through on-site lectures and summit Wayna Picchu.
• Study Incan agriculture in the Sacred Valley.

Activity Particulars

Demanding program at 14,000 feet. Elevation sickness affects even the physically fit. Time in Sacred Valley for acclimation before starting the Inca Trail. Return to Cusco for additional cost after first hiking day if unable to complete Inca Trail.

Inca Trail permits are issued in limited quantities and on a first come, first served basis. The permits are person-specific and must match the bearer's passport records. Therefore, it is vital that participants email, fax, or mail a copy of their passport identification page to the Program Coordinator upon enrollment. Permits cannot be purchased without this information.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Lima, 1 night; flight to Cusco, coach to Sacred Valley, 3 nights; hiking Inca Trail, 3 nights; Machu Picchu, 1 night; train and coach to Cusco, 2 nights; flight to Lima, 1 night; departure.


Known as the land of the Incas, Peru was home to an ancient civilization that thrived from the 12th century to 1532, when Francisco Pizarro conquered it. Although a prominent memory in history, prior civilizations like the Chavin, Paracas, Nazca, Moche and Wari set the foundations for the Inca Empire. Peru is divided into three zones: the coast, the Andean mountain range and the Amazon jungle basin, all of which are culturally and linguistically different.

Lima: Airport hotel. Sacred Valley: Country lodge on site of 350-year-old monastery. Inca Trail: Expedition-style tents. Machu Picchu: Newly renovated hotel. Cusco: Historic four-star hotel.
Meals and Lodgings
   Ramada Airport Costa del Sol Hotel
  Lima, Peru 1 night
   Posada del Inca - Yucay
  Sacred Valley/Yucay, Peru 3 nights
   Inca Trail Camp
  Inca Trail, Peru 3 nights
   El Mapi Hotel
  Machu Picchu/Aguas Calientes, Peru 1 night
   Casa Andina Private Collection – Cusco
  Cusco, Peru 2 nights
   Casa Andina Select
  Lima, Peru 1 night
 Ramada Airport Costa del Sol Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: Modern hotel, conveniently located near the international airport in Lima.
  Contact info: Av. Elmer Faucett s/n Aeropuerto
Internacional Jorge Chávez
Lima,   Peru
phone: +51-1-7112000
  Room amenities: Air conditioning, heating, cable TV, safety deposit box, internet access, hair dryer, minibar, and direct dial phone.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, 24 hr room service, business center, meeting rooms, hair salon, spa services, laundry service, luggage storage, and gift shop.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Posada del Inca - Yucay
Type: Hotel
  Description: Country lodge built on the site of a 350 year old monastery.
  Contact info: Plaza Manco II de Yucay 123
Yucay,  0000 Peru
phone: +51-84-201107
  Room amenities: Heating, direct dial telephones, and in-room safe.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, business center, meeting room, gift shop, and luggage storage.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Inca Trail Camp
Type: Tents
  Description: The tented camp is composed of high quality expedition-style tents. The camp is raised and disassembled each day at pre-assigned sites along the Inca Trail.
  Contact info: Camp is set up at various sites along the Inca Trail
000000000,   Peru
phone: +0000000000
  Room amenities: Each tent can accommodate up to two sleeping bags. A padded floor mat is provided to use under the sleeping bag.
  Facility amenities: Camp facilities include a bathroom tent with a portable toilet, a kitchen tent, and a dining tent. The individual sleeping tents can accommodate up to two guests in each. Tents are REI with waterproof fly. Sleeping bags are REI HALO mummy bags 750 down filled and sex specific (for the shape) and are good for 10+ degrees Fahrenheit. When the weather is nice, tables and chairs are often set up outside for an alfresco dining experience.
  Smoking allowed: No

 El Mapi Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: Smart and contemporary are the defining elements of this hotel, amidst the commercial village of Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes). The newly remodeled El MaPi (formerly Machu Picchu Inn) provides a wonderful location from which you can admire and interact with the quaint folksy town and get a different perspective
  Contact info: 109 Pachacutec Ave.
Machu Picchu Pueblo
Aguas Calientes,   Peru
phone: +51-84-211011
  Room amenities: Each room is equipped with blackout curtains, 100% cotton sheets, down duvets, hypoallergenic pillows, cotton bath robes, natural herbal amenities, 32" flat screen TVs and tight-focus reading lights.
  Facility amenities: Luggage storage, wake up calls, 24/7 reception, restaurant, WiFi, turndown services, self guided fern walk, oxygen upon request, hot water pool, gift shop, and computer room.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Casa Andina Private Collection – Cusco
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Converted from an 18th century colonial house, the hotel is located 3 blocks away from Cusco’s main square.
  Contact info: Plazoleta de Limacpampa Chico 473
Cusco,   Peru
phone: +51-84-232610
  Room amenities: 100 rooms with heat, cable television, safe deposit box, direct-dial telephone, coffee making facility and private bathroom with hairdryer. Oxygen available upon request.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant and bar, Wi-Fi Internet access, PC with internet access, laundry service, room service, medical assistance and currency exchange.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Casa Andina Select
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Casa Andina Select hotel is located in Lima's trendy Miraflores neighborhood, within easy access to restaurants and local attractions. The newly constructed hotel has 155 rooms with modern installations and various amenities meant to satisfy the needs of both leisure and business travelers.
  Contact info: Calle Schell 452
Miraflores, Lima,   Peru
phone: +51-1-2139739
  Room amenities: Comfortable rooms with private baths, hair dryer, AC, safety deposit box, minibar, soundproof windows, direct dial phone, and cable TV.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, Spa, gym, sun terrace with Jacuzzi, conference rooms, business center, high-speed Wi-Fi Internet access, laundry service, valet service, currency exchange, 24 hr front desk, luggage storage, and souvenir shop.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: Subject to availability. Please contact the Program Coordinator, Holbrook Travel, at 1-800-866-7111 or for information on availability and rates.

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Arrivals at the Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima, Peru. Hotel check-in starts at 3 p.m. You will be staying at Ramada Airport Costa del Sol Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Departures from the Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima, Peru. Hotel check-out by 11 a.m. You will be staying at Casa Andina Select the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. It is vital that participants email, fax, or mail a copy of their passport identification page to the Program Coordinator (Holbrook Travel) upon enrollment. Inca Trail permits cannot be purchased without your passport details! Holbrook Travel 3540 NW 13th Street Gainesville, FL 32609 attn: Road Scholar Dept. Toll-free: 1-800-866-7111 Fax: 352-371-3710 Email: Participants who are in the process of applying for a passport should call, email, or fax Holbrook Travel to provide their date of birth, place of birth, and name submitted on the passport application. As soon as the new passport becomes available, please email or fax a copy of the identification page to Holbrook Travel. Adults traveling with a child under 18 should carry a notarized, travel authorization letter signed by the parents or legal guardians. The letter should give permission to the accompanying adult to travel with the child and make decisions on the childs behalf in the event of a medical emergency.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Lima
  Nearest city or town:  Lima
  Nearest airport:  Jorge Chaves Lima Callo International Airport
  Transportation to site: The Hotel Costa del Sol Ramada - Lima is located within easy walking distance from Lima's international airport; directly across from the main terminal. Taxi services are available at the international airport (e.g., Taxis Green). Participants can hire a taxi and prepay in dollars at one of the taxi booths inside the secured section of the airport (after clearing Immigration/Customs).
  From End of Program
  Location: Lima
  Transportation from site: Taxi services are available for hire at the hotel. Participants should ask the hotel front desk for assistance.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Elevation Note: Highest point on Inca Trail is 13,779 feet and highest camp site is 11,745 feet.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Lima
Depart U.S./Arrivals in Lima, Peru

(Tuesday, July 22)
 Arrive To: Arrivals at the Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima.

Proceed through Immigrations, Baggage Claim and Customs before exiting the secured area of the airport. The Road Scholar representative will be waiting outside the exit door with a Road Scholar sign (only applies to Road Scholar group flights).

Transfer to the hotel and check-in.

*Note: This is a travel day; no meals or program activities are scheduled on this day.
Accommodations: Ramada Airport Costa del Sol Hotel

Day 2: Sacred Valley
Flight to Cusco and Coach to the Sacred Valley/Field trip to Ollantaytambo Ruins

(Wednesday, July 23)

Note: Program activities in the Sacred Valley are designed to help participants acclimate to higher elevations prior to starting the Inca Trail hikes. The group leader will monitor participants' ability to adjust to the altitude during this time. High elevations can have an adverse effect on hikers, even those in good shape.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel restaurant.
 Morning: Depart to the airport for morning flight to Cusco.
Arrive in Cusco and transfer by coach to the Sacred Valley.
Visit to Ollantaytambo ruins with site lecture.

Ollantaytambo is a town with original buildings of Inca construction where the Inca retreated to make their last stand in the highlands against the Spanish. Running water still flows through the town in aqueducts. The terraces above the town still are farmed. The pinnacle above the town is a small burial ground.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant in Ollantaytambo town.
 Afternoon: Transfer to the hotel.
Arrive at hotel and check-in.
Time at leisure.
Lecture: A Brief Introduction to Peru, the Inca, and the Sacred Valley.
Lecture: Initial Preparations for the Inca Trail.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel restaurant.
Accommodations: Posada del Inca - Yucay
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Sacred Valley - Moray Inca Ruins/Salinas Salt Pans
(Thursday, July 24)
 Breakfast: At hotel restaurant.
 Morning: Field trip to Moray with site lecture. The large series of circular terraces were built by the Inca as an outdoor agricultural research station. Walking around the terraces as they decrease in size to a central point will provide a wonderful opportunity to acclimate in preparation for the Inca Trail.

Continue with an excursion to the Salt Pans of Salinas for a brief demonstration of the salt extraction process. Walk 1.5 miles on a downhill trail to the Urubamba River and the small town of Salinas (approximately 45 minutes).
 Lunch: At a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Return to the hotel, followed by time at leisure.
Lecture: The Crops of the Inca, A Source of Health and Energy.
 Dinner: At a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Posada del Inca - Yucay
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Sacred Valley - Pisac Market & Walking Activity
(Friday, July 25)
 Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: Depart for the town of Pisac.
Enjoy an acclimatizing walk in the vicinity of the Pisac ruins.
 Lunch: Boxed lunch at Pisac.
 Afternoon: Excursion to the Pisac Market for additional walking.
Return to the hotel and free time.
Before dinner, a local expert will conduct a final briefing session on the Inca Trail in preparation for our hikes.
 Dinner: At the hotel restaurant.
Accommodations: Posada del Inca - Yucay
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Inca Trail - Formal Registration Procedures/Hike to Patallaqta Ruins and Wayllabamba
(Saturday, July 26)

Note: Consult the group leader if you feel unwell and/or are apprehensive about the Inca Trail hikes. Option #1:Take part in the first day of the hike and see how you feel. If you decide not to continue, provisions will be made to transfer you to Cusco. However, if you wish to stay, you will need to complete the hikes all the way through to Machu Picchu. Option #2: If you decide not to attempt any hikes, provisions will be made to transfer you back to Cusco. **Extra fees apply for Cusco provision.**

 Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: Depart for Ollantaytambo. Upon arrival, enjoy a brief stop for last minute purchases.

Transfer to Pisacucho (or Km 82) where we will meet our porters and have a final bathroom stop. Formal registration procedures are required at this time at the official control point at the start of the Inca Trail. Original, valid passports must be ready to be presented to the officials.

Once you are done with your registration, cross a footbridge over the Urubamba River and start your hike! This initial hike will take approximately 1:30 minutes before the first rest stop.

Stop for a 20 minute snack and rest break.

Arrive at the Patallaqta viewpoint. These classic Inca ruins at the intersection of three valleys with wonderful photo opportunities.
 Lunch: Enjoy a sit down lunch at Tarayoq.
 Afternoon: Continue walking for 1:45 minutes to the first campsite.
Time to rest and enjoy an extended tea break to revive body, mind and spirit.
 Dinner: At the dining tent.
Accommodations: Inca Trail Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Inca Trail - Wayllabamba to Pacaymayo
(Sunday, July 27)
 Breakfast: Early morning wake-up call with a hot beverage.
Breakfast at the camp.
 Morning: The first portion of your hike this morning will take approximately 1:30 minutes.

The first stop will be at Avapata. Take the opportunity to rest, use the local toilet facilities, and/or rehydrate. Water and energy drinks will be available.

Continue walking on ascending stairs for 2:30 minutes.
 Lunch: At Llulluchapampa.
 Afternoon: After lunch, begin your 2-hour walk to Abra Warmiwañuska. The first pass, Abra Warmiwañuska, is at an elevation of approximately 13,776 ft.
Descend to the second campsite at Pacaymayo (11,580 ft).

Tea time and relaxation.
 Dinner: At the camp.
Accommodations: Inca Trail Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Inca Trail - Pacaymayo to Phuyupatamarka
(Monday, July 28)
 Breakfast: Early morning wake-up call with a hot beverage.

Breakfast at camp.
 Morning: Begin the approximately 1-hour hike to the Runkuracay archaeological site overlooking the Pacaymayo Valley. Enjoy a site lecture.

The following 20 minutes will be spent hiking to the Runkurakay Pass (12,960 ft)--the second pass on the trail. After reaching the pass, continue downhill for approximately 1 hour before arriving at the narrow staircase that will take you into Sayacmarca ("Inaccessible Town"). Enjoy a site lecture.

The ruins of Sayacmarca are the remnants of a fortress or travelers' lodge used by the Inca. Sayacmarca was built on a narrow mountain ridge with only one entrance--probably planned as a means of defence. The thatched roofs are long gone, but an observatory, small plaza, ritual baths, housing complex, and other constructions remain. The lack of agricultural terraces and farmland point to a dependence on outside suppliers--a big weakness in times of war. In its heyday, Sayacmarca is thought to have housed as many as 200 people.

Leave the ruins and hike for another 20 minutes before breaking for lunch.
 Lunch: Stop for lunch at Chaquicocha.
 Afternoon: After lunch, continue walking for another 1:45 minutes to the last campsite at Phuyupatamarka (10,695 ft).

Once at the camp, reward your day's efforts with a tea break and free time before dinner.
 Dinner: At the camp.
Accommodations: Inca Trail Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Machu Picchu -
Phuyupatamarka, Wiñay Wayna & Intipunku Ruins/Final Hike to Machu Picchu

(Tuesday, July 29)
 Breakfast: Early wake-up call to witness the spectacular sunrise. Have your cameras ready! Hot beverages will be provided.

Enjoy your final breakfast at camp.
 Morning: Begin walking to the Phuyupatamarka archaeological ruins, located approximately 15 minutes from the camp. Enjoy a brief site lecture.

The ruins of Phuyupatamarka (Cloud Level Town) include many terraces and a series of ceremonial baths. A large platform on the highest part of the site once served as an open-air temple--the Temple of the Sun.

Continue walking for another 3:30 hours and arrive at Wiñay Wayna in time for lunch.
 Lunch: Lunch at Wiñay Wayna archaeological site.
 Afternoon: After lunch resume walking. This final stretch of the Inca Trail will take approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete. Once at Intipunku (Sun Gate) we will begin the descent into Machu Picchu, just as the late afternoon shadows begin to accentuate the mysterious citadel.

After a quick walk through the ruins, board the bus to Aguas Calientes and check-in at your hotel. Enjoy a hot shower and commemorate the end of your exciting hiking adventure during dinner. Get a good night's rest in preparation for the next morning's activities in Machu Picchu.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
Accommodations: El Mapi Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Cusco -
Machu Picchu Ruins/Train to Ollantaytambo & Bus to Cusco

(Wednesday, July 30)
 Breakfast: Early breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Board a bus to the Machu Picchu ruins.

Field trip to Machu Picchu and site lecture. Spend the morning in both guided and individual exploration, visiting the most fascinating features of this astounding and mysterious Inca settlement. Some might want to take the optional hike to the summit of Wayna Picchu for an amazing overview of the site, while others may want to investigate Machu Picchu's many hidden architectural treasures.

Board the bus and return to Aguas Calientes town.

Arrive in Aguas Calientes and walk to the hotel.
 Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Transfer to the Aguas Calientes train station.

Board train back to Ollantaytambo Station. Once at Ollantaytambo, board bus to Cusco.

Arrive at Cusco hotel and check-in.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
Accommodations: Casa Andina Private Collection – Cusco
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Cusco -
Sacsayhuaman Ruins/Cusco City Orientation/Music Presentation

(Thursday, July 31)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Field trip to the Inca ruins of Sacsayhuaman and site lecture.
Return to Cusco for a walking orientation of the city and a site lecture.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant in Cusco's main square.
 Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure to explore Cusco on your own.
Lecture with presentation on traditional Inca instruments and music.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at local restaurant with local entertainment.
Accommodations: Casa Andina Private Collection – Cusco
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Lima -
Lima City Orientation

(Friday, August 1)
 Breakfast: At the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to the airport to board flight to Lima.

Arrive in Lima and transfer to downtown area for lunch.
 Lunch: At local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Orientation to downtown Lima including the Cathedral and San Francisco Church.

Transfer to the hotel and check-in.

Time at leisure to rest, explore Lima, or finish packing.
 Dinner: At local restaurant.
 Evening: **Participants with late-night flights will transfer to the international airport this evening after dinner. Those with morning flights will be transferred the following morning in time for their international flights. **
Accommodations: Casa Andina Select
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Departures -
Return Flights to the U.S.

(Saturday, August 2)
 Breakfast: At the hotel (dependent on flight times).
 Morning: Transfer to the international airport to check-in for return flights to the U.S.

Note: Participants with independent travel arrangements and/or scheduled on later flights can keep their hotel rooms until check-out time on this day. Except for breakfast, all other meals are on your own on this day.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Archaeological Map of Machu Picchu

Author: Wright Water Engineers

Description: Ken Wright's full color site plan shows monuments, topography and physical features of the Inca sanctuary in exquisite detail.

Birds of Peru

Author: Tom Schulenberg, Dan Stotz, John O'Neill, Dan Lane

Description: Gorgeously illustrated, this authoritative guide covers nearly 20% of the world's birds.

Culture Smart! Peru

Author: John Forrest

Description: A concise, well-illustrated and practical guide to local customs, etiquette and culture.

Insight Guide Peru

Author: Insight Guides

Description: Panoramic in scope, this illustrated overview brings Peru to life in hundreds of color photographs and vivid essays by a team of experts writing on history, archaeology and culture.

Lonely Planet Quechua Phrasebook

Author: Serafin M. Coronel-Molina

Description: This shirt-pocket guide is a surprisingly thorough introduction to not just the language but also the customs and culture of the Andes.

Peru, Travellers' Wildlife Guides

Author: David L. Pearson, Les Beletsky

Description: Featuring 500 illustrations of the birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and insects of the Amazon, Andes and Pacific Coast.

The Andes, A Cultural History

Author: Jason Wilson

Description: A literary, cultural guide to the art, architecture, traditions and history of Peru and the Andes.

The Inca Trail, Cuzco & Machu Picchu

Author: Richard Danbury

Description: Not just for those hiking the Inca Trail, this compact guide is an excellent overview of the culture and history and attractions of Cuzco and the Sacred Valley. With a chapter on Lima, good maps, travel information and photographs.

The Incas, People of the Sun

Author: Carmen Bernard, Paul Bahn (translator)

Description: Featuring hundreds of drawings and photographs, a chronology and long excerpts from the journals of early explorers, this is a colorful pocket encyclopedia of Inca history and archaeology.

The Last Days of the Incas

Author: Kim Macquarrie

Description: MacQuarrie tackles the personality, aspirations and greed of Francisco Pizarro in this vivid account of the conquest of a continent.

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