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19937
Peru

Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

The Incas created the largest pre-Columbian empire in the Americas. Hike and learn about their grand achievements as you explore sacred ruins, the Inca Trail and iconic Machu Picchu.
Rating (5)
Program No. 19937RJ
Length
13 days
Starts at
4,349
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at
825
Peru

Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

The Incas created the largest pre-Columbian empire in the Americas. Hike and learn about their grand achievements as you explore sacred ruins, the Inca Trail and iconic Machu Picchu.
Length
13 days
Starts at
4,349
Special Offer
Click on Dates & Prices below to see special offer details.
Flights start at
825
Program No. 19937 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
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itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Aug 12 - Aug 24, 2021
Starting at
4,349
Special Offer

OFFER EXTENDED: Enroll by Feb. 28, 2021 and save $300 off the price shown.

Sep 21 - Oct 3, 2021
Private Group
Starting at
4,349
Special Offer

OFFER EXTENDED: Enroll by Feb. 28, 2021 and save $300 off the price shown.

Itinerary Note

The Llamas

Oct 2 - Oct 14, 2021
Private Group
Starting at
4,349
Special Offer

OFFER EXTENDED: Enroll by Feb. 28, 2021 and save $300 off the price shown.

Itinerary Note

Grand Rapids Running Club

Oct 14 - Oct 26, 2021
Starting at
4,349
Special Offer

OFFER EXTENDED: Enroll by Feb. 28, 2021 and save $300 off the price shown.

Nov 2 - Nov 14, 2021
Starting at
4,349
Special Offer

OFFER EXTENDED: Enroll by Feb. 28, 2021 and save $300 off the price shown.

DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Aug 12 - Aug 24, 2021
Starting at
4,949
Special Offer

OFFER EXTENDED: Enroll by Feb. 28, 2021 and save $300 off the price shown.

Sep 21 - Oct 3, 2021
Private Group
Starting at
4,949
Special Offer

OFFER EXTENDED: Enroll by Feb. 28, 2021 and save $300 off the price shown.

Itinerary Note

The Llamas

Oct 2 - Oct 14, 2021
Private Group
Starting at
4,949
Special Offer

OFFER EXTENDED: Enroll by Feb. 28, 2021 and save $300 off the price shown.

Itinerary Note

Grand Rapids Running Club

Oct 14 - Oct 26, 2021
Starting at
4,949
Special Offer

OFFER EXTENDED: Enroll by Feb. 28, 2021 and save $300 off the price shown.

Nov 2 - Nov 14, 2021
Starting at
4,949
Special Offer

OFFER EXTENDED: Enroll by Feb. 28, 2021 and save $300 off the price shown.

At a Glance

Let your feet carry you into natural beauty, mystery and even spiritual awareness on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The Inca constructed an advanced road and trail system over which agile runners would deliver messages (in the form of knotted cords known as quipu) and even carry fresh fish into the highlands for the ruling class. Led by experts, hike the most famous stretch of this road system, passing through lush cloud forests and alpine tundra and examining Incan ruins before successfully arriving at the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu.
Activity Level
Outdoor: Challenging
Hiking up to six hours a day over varied terrain. Elevation sickness can affect even healthy, physically fit people. Two and a half days in the Sacred Valley are intended to help participants acclimate before starting the Inca Trail. Participants can return to Cusco after the first day if they feel unwell/unable to complete the Inca Trail (additional cost applies). Elevations up to 13,779 feet.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Hike the famed Inca Trail from Piscacucho to Machu Picchu.
  • Experience the “Lost City of the Incas” through an on-site lecture.
  • Learn about the remarkable Incan agriculture system in the Sacred Valley from a local expert.

General Notes

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. Participants must email or fax a copy of their passport identification page to the Program Coordinator upon enrollment.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Gustavo "Tito" Leon
A native of Cusco, Gustavo "Tito" Leon found himself fascinated with the music of the Andean highlands. This affinity led him to devote his life to the research and preservation of Peru's Andean music. His research has focused on the origins of Andean music, its different forms, influences and instruments. Gustavo is a talented musician and an expert on native Andean woodwind, percussion, and string instruments. His interactive style will get your toes tapping as he performs the various song styles and instruments of the Andes.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Maywa Blanco
Maywa Blanco View biography
A lifelong resident of Cusco, Maywa Blanco is a university professor who teaches courses in genetics, the biodiversity of Andean crops and agricultural research. She attended the National University of Saint Anthony the Abbot in Peru and studied English at the Peruvian-North American Cultural Institute. She received a Fulbright Scholarship to study at Michigan State University, earned a master’s degree, and then returned to Cusco to work helping impoverished communities. In her free time, Maywa enjoys cooking, soccer and spending time with her family.
Profile Image of Gustavo "Tito" Leon
Gustavo "Tito" Leon View biography
A native of Cusco, Gustavo "Tito" Leon found himself fascinated with the music of the Andean highlands. This affinity led him to devote his life to the research and preservation of Peru's Andean music. His research has focused on the origins of Andean music, its different forms, influences and instruments. Gustavo is a talented musician and an expert on native Andean woodwind, percussion, and string instruments. His interactive style will get your toes tapping as he performs the various song styles and instruments of the Andes.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Stone Offerings
by Mike Torrey
Torrey captures the dramatic setting, solitude and intricate construction of the Inca site of Machu Picchu in 100 striking color photographs taken over a few days at summer and winter solstice.
Peru Mammals
by Rainforest Publications
A handy, double-sided laminated card depicting over 60 commonly encountered mammals of Peru. Beautiful and accurate full-color illustrations.
Inca Trail: Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Cusco Map
by Lima 2000
This fact-filled map shows the whole of the Sacred Valley, from Cusco to Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu, on one side, and, on the reverse, the area surrounding the sanctuary in splendid, topographic detail (1:50,000). It's the best map for those making the trek from kilometer 88 to the site and an excellent choice for those exploring by bus or train.
Lima, A Cultural History
by James Higgins
An erudite guide to the cultural gems and literary history of Peru's capital city. James Higgins, who specializes in Peruvian literature, covers the scope of the city's history from its pre-Columbian museums, to its conquistador heritage, to its dynamic present.
Conquest of the Incas
by John Hemming
This classic prize-winning history of the Inca struggle against the Spanish invasion weaves wide-ranging, scholarly material into a gripping narrative.
The Heights of Macchu Picchu
by Pablo Neruda
An indispensable contribution to 20th-century poetry, Neruda’s ode to Machu Picchu celebrates the Incan civilization while abhorring that the ancient estate was built by slave labor.
Turn Right at Machu Picchu
by Mark Adams
Over his head on an arduous guided trek to Choquequirao and other remote sites, Mark Adams mixes entertaining tales of his adventures (he makes himself out to be quite the accidental explorer) with analysis of the rather grand Hiram Bingham in this light-hearted "following-in-the-footsteps-of" account.
The Inca Trail, Cuzco & Machu Picchu
by Alexander Stewart
An excellent overview of local culture and history, including chapters on exploring Cuzco, the Sacred Valley and Lima. Fifth edition.
Machu Picchu, Unveiling the Mystery of the Incas
by Richard L. Burger (Editor), Lucy C. Salazar (Editor)
Burger and Salazar vividly evoke the art, architecture, culture and society of Machu Picchu in this illustrated, up-to-date survey. With Hiram Bingham's original report, archival and modern photographs and excellent chapters on recent archaeology at the site.
Machu Picchu Revealed
by Ruth M. Wright
Wright's handsome little tribute to Machu Picchu includes not only gorgeous color photographs but also a map, color rendering and suggestions for exploring the site.
The Incas
by Carmen Bernard
Featuring archival drawings and photographs, a chronology and chapters on Atahualpa, the Conquistadors and Hiram Bingham, this handy book (previously published as People of the Sun) illuminates the daily life, monuments and history of the Incas.
The Bridge of San Luis Rey
by Thornton Wilder
The classic tale of Franciscan missionaries in 18th-century Lima, Peru by the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist. First published in 1927.
Peru, Travellers' Wildlife Guides
by David L. Pearson, Les Beletsky
Featuring 500 illustrations of the birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and insects of the Amazon, Andes and Pacific Coast.
A Sacred Landscape, The Search for Ancient Peru
by Hugh Thomson
Hugh Thomson travels all over Peru with his archaeologist pals, visiting Moche, Chavin, Nasca and other ancient sites in this thrilling account of adventure. His tale is bracketed by an account of his discoveries with Gary Ziegler at Llactapata, a newly excavated observatory barely two miles from Machu Picchu and essentially lost since Bingham happened upon the place in 1912. He concludes with wise words by John Hemming, "Anyone can find a ruin in the jungle; but it can take a lifetime to understand what you have found."
Art of the Andes, from Chavin to Inca
by Rebecca Stone-Miller
This authoritative and concise illustrated survey of Andean art and architecture covers not only Machu Picchu and additional Inca monuments, but also Chan Chan, Nasca and other archaeological sites and cultures.
Peru Map
by Borch Maps
A detailed laminated relief map of Peru at a scale of 1:1,750,000. This is a very clear, colorful map, which also features detailed insets of Lima and Cuzco and even a site plan of Machu Picchu.
Lost City of the Incas
by Hiram Bingham
This first-rate adventure story by the man who brought Machu Picchu to the attention of the world is not just a gripping tale of exploration and archaeology, it also sets the scene for any visitor to the site.
Archaeological Map of Machu Picchu
by Wright Water Engineers
Ken Wright's foldout color site plan shows the monuments, topography and physical features of the Inca sanctuary with exquisite clarity.
Insight Guide Peru
by Insight Guides
Panoramic in scope, this illustrated overview brings Peru to life in color photographs and vivid essays on history, archaeology and culture.
Peru, Birds of the Forest
by Rainforest Publications
A handy, double-sided laminated card depicting 100 commonly encountered parrots, motmots, hummingbirds and other forest birds of Peru. We also carry Peru Mammals Guide plastic card. (Item PRU73)
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13 days
12 nights
28 meals
11 B 9 L 8 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program, Arrive Lima
Lima
Four Points by Sheraton Miraflores

Activity note: This is an international travel day; no meals or program activities are scheduled on this day. Hotel check in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Upon arriving at the hotel, check in and get your room assignment. Then take some time to freshen up and relax.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure. Settle in and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Orientation, Intro. to Peru & Inca Trail, Lima Field Trip
Lima
B,L
Four Points by Sheraton Miraflores

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as a rotating variety of hot dishes, eggs, meat, cheese, vegetables, cereals, seasonal fruits, breads, yogurt, juices, milk, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Meals on our program feature local cuisine. In many cases, they will be plated and served set meals; in others, we will have buffets with multiple options. Beverages include coffee, tea, water; other beverages are usually available for purchase. Transfers to /from program activities will be by bus, unless specified otherwise. If you feel unwell or anxious about your abilities before or during hiking activities, it is essential to notify the Group Leader. If you are incapable of participating or opt not to participate in the hikes, arrangements will be made to return you to Cusco at your cost. Once we are on the Inca Trail, there is no opportunity to depart from the program until we reach the end. (See the NOTES section for details.) When we reach the official control point at the start of the Inca Trail, each participant’s original, valid passport must be presented to officials. Periods in the schedule labeled “free time and “at leisure” offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable while going out to explore on your own, engaging in available activities independently, making new friends among fellow participants, or simply relaxing. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We’ll complete the morning with a presentation by the Group Leader providing a brief Introduction to Peru, Inca culture and history, and the Inca Trail and the Sacred Valley.

Lunch: At a local restaurant with a presentation on local Peruvian dishes, ingredients, and meal preparation.

Afternoon: We will embark on an expert led field trip in Lima’s historic downtown, beginning with a visit to the historic Plaza de Armas, the official center of the city and the original site upon which Lima was founded. We will explore La Catedral, an architectural masterpiece built in 1534, and the Church of San Francisco with its library and collection of fine paintings and frescoes. We’ll also see exteriors of the Presidential Palace, where soldiers guarding the palace offer an excellent photo opportunity; the Archbishop’s Palace; City Hall; the Desamparados train station; and Moorish-style houses and balconies along Lima’s old streets. We’ll then join in a favorite pastime of Limeños, an afternoon walk along the city’s Malecon (waterfront) in Miraflores with its magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean and landscaped parks.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like of the many options for Peruvian cuisine and local fare. Please see "Notes" section for a list of restaurant recommendations.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and our flight to Cusco in the morning.

DAY
3
Fly to Cusco, Sacred Valley, Ollantaytambo Ruins
Sacred Valley/Yucay
B,L,D
Posada del Inca - Yucay

Activity note: Flight from Lima to Cusco is approximately 1.5 hours. The weight limit for checked luggage on this flight is 50 pounds/23 kg. The drive to Urubamba by car is about 38 miles, approximately 1.5 hours; other drives are shorter distances. Ollantayambo is very hilly with about 100 stone steps to the top of the fortress at an altitude of 9,100 feet. Walking the ruins at Ollantaytambo ruins takes approximately 1.5 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll check out and depart to the airport for our morning flight to Cusco. High elevations can have an adverse effect on hikers, even those in good shape, so 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 everyone’s ability to adjust to the altitude during this time. Upon arrival, we’ll board a bus and meet our local guide. Then, we will begin the transfer to the Sacred Valley for lunch.

Lunch: At a local restaurant. We’ll have a plated and served meal with salad, entrée, and soda or water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We will vsit the Ollantaytambo ruins and have a site lecture. We’ll learn about the engineering genius of the Inca demonstrated by the extensive terracing and irrigation present at the site. Running water still flows through the town in aqueducts. The Inca emperor Pachacuti built Ollantaytambo in the 15th century as part of his royal estate. In the mid-15th century after Pachacuti’s death, the Spanish conquest of Peru began. The Inca emperor at that time was Manco Inca who used Ollantaytambo as a stronghold against the Spanish. His army won a small victory nearby against Spanish forces. Though, shortly afterwards Manco Inca decided the site was not secure enough and fled with the remaining members of his empire to Vilcabamba where the Inca famously made their last stand against the Spanish. We will hike up several terraces at the archaeological site. Afterwards, transfer to the hotel. We’ll check in with time to freshen up and relax before dinner. You might like to take a stroll around the hotel grounds and gardens.

Dinner: In the hotel restaurant, we’ll have a plated and served meal with appetizers, choice of main dish, dessert, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Sacred Valley, Moray Inca Ruins, Salinas Salt Pans
Sacred Valley/Yucay
B,L,D
Posada del Inca - Yucay

Activity note: The drive to the Maras Salt Pans is about 30 miles, approximately 1.5 hours; other drives are shorter distances. Hiking 1.5 miles, approximately 1 hour, downhill trail.

Breakfast: In the hotel restaurant.

Morning: We’ll set out on a hiking field trip to Moray, where a local expert will give a presentation. 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 good opportunity to acclimate in preparation for the Inca Trail. We’ll continue our exploration with a hike to the Salineras de Maras (Salt Pans of Salinas) for a demonstration of the salt extraction process.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a buffet lunch with a variety of appetizers, main dishes, salads, desserts, and bottle of water included.

Afternoon: Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the afternoon is free. We’ll regroup before dinner for a presentation on the crops of the Inca, a source of health and energy.

Dinner: Restaurant plated and served meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Sacred Valley, Pisac Hiking, Market
Sacred Valley/Yucay
B,L,D
Posada del Inca - Yucay

Activity note: Pisac elevation is approximately 11,000 feet. At ruins, paved walkways, intermittent and sloping dirt paths, some sections uneven, steep, narrow. Walking the ruins takes approximately 2 hours. Wear hiking shoes, hat, sunscreen bring water.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will board the bus and ride to Pisac for a hiking field trip in the vicinity of the Pisac ruins to help us acclimatize. This trail is similar to the Inca Trail routes. The beautiful site high above the Urubamba River features one of Peru’s only remaining “intihuatanas” — enigmatic carved rocks that were used for astronomical observation. The ruins are notable for their Inca waterworks and large, curving agricultural terraces offering excellent views of the Sacred Valley. We’ll then descend to the town.

Lunch: At Pisac, we’ll have boxed lunches.

Afternoon: We’ll continue walking in Pisac and its busy, colorful market. This rustic Andean village that grew up at the foot of the original Incan settlement has become well known to visitors. The artisan market hosts hundreds of vendors offering ceramics, clothing and knitted goods including those made of alpaca, jewelry, scarves, and trinkets of many kinds. Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the afternoon is free time. We’ll gather with our Group Leader before dinner for a final briefing session on the Inca Trail in preparation for our hikes.

Dinner: Hotel plated and served meal.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
6
Begin Inca Trail, Hike to Patallaqta Ruins & Huyllabamba
Inca Trail
B,L,D
Inca Trail Camp

Activity note: The drive from Pisac to Ollantaytambo is about 36 miles (58 kilometers), approximately 1 hour. The drive from Ollantaytambo to Piscacucho is about 51 miles (82 kilometers), approximately 1.5 hours. The total hiking distance today is 7.8 miles, approximately 7 hours; maximum altitude point 9,842 feet.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This is the day to decide if you will hike the Inca Trail or return to Cusco. Once we begin hiking on Day 7, there is no turning back We’ll check out and depart for Ollantaytambo, where we’ll stop briefly for last minute purchases. We’ll then transfer to Piscacucho, where we will meet our porters and have a final bathroom stop. Formal registration procedures are required 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 done with registration, we will cross a footbridge over the Urubamba River and start our hike! After the first leg of the hike, we’ll stop for a brief rest break and a snack. Moving on, we’ll arrive at the Patallaqta viewpoint and see classic Inca ruins at the intersection of three valleys — a wonderful photo opportunity.

Lunch: En route, we’ll stop for a sit down lunch. Trail lunches will include a main dish and drink.

Afternoon: We’ll continue walking hiking for about 5 hours to the first campsite. It’s time to rest and enjoy an extended tea break to revive body, mind, and spirit.

Dinner: In the dining tent, dinner will include soup, a main dish, dessert, and hot beverages.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Inca Trail, Huayllabamba to Pacaymayo
Inca Trail
B,L,D
Inca Trail Camp

Activity note: Total distance 5.5 miles; estimated walking time 7 hours; maximum altitude point 13,779 feet.

Breakfast: Early morning wake-up call with a hot beverage followed by breakfast at the camp. Foods will vary daily from pancakes to scrambled eggs, cheese, oatmeal, quinoa, fruit, bread, hot chocolate, coffee, tea.

Morning: The first portion of our hike this morning will take approximately 1.5 hours through tropical subalpine forest with opportunities to see bromeliads and orchids. We’ll have a stop at Ayapata to see the landscape and a rest break with an opportunity to use the local toilet facilities. We’ll then continue hiking on ascending stairs for approximately 2.5 hours.

Lunch: Trail lunch en route.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll set out on a 2-hour hike to Abra Warmiwañuska, the first pass, at an elevation of approximately 13,776 feet. From there, we’ll descend to our second campsite at Pacaymayo (11,580 feet) for tea time and relaxation.

Dinner: In the dining tent.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Inca Trail, Pacaymayo to Phuyupatamarka
Inca Trail
B,L,D
Inca Trail Camp

Activity note: Hiking up to 5 miles, approximately 7 hours; some sections with wet stones, mud, uneven steps. Maximum altitude point approximately 12,795 feet.

Breakfast: At the camp, early morning wake-up call with a hot beverage, followed by breakfast.

Morning: We’ll start the day with a hike of approximately 1 hour to the Runkuracay archaeological site with superb views overlooking the Pacaymayo Valley. Runkuracay, the Egg Hut, is about halfway up the climb to the second pass. It was probably built as a lookout point for watching the highway, and perhaps also as a “tambo” — a traveler's lodging and temporary storehouse. We’ll then move on, hiking to Runkurakay Pass, the second on the trail. After reaching the pass, we’ll continue downhill for approximately 1 hour before arriving at the narrow staircase that will take us into Sayacmarca, “Inaccessible Town.” The ruins of Sayacmarca are the remnants of a fortress or travelers' lodge used by the Inca. It was built on a narrow mountain ridge with only one entrance — probably planned as a means of defense. 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. Leaving the ruins, we’ll continue our hike and stop for lunch.

Lunch: At Chaquicocha, trail lunch.

Afternoon: We’ll continue hiking for another 1.5-2 hours to the next campsite at Phuyupatamarka, elevation 10,695 feet. There, we’ll relax with a tea break and some “down” time before dinner.

Dinner: In the dining tent.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Machu Picchu, Phuyupatamarka, Wiñay Wayna, Intipunku Ruins
Machu Picchu/Aguas Calientes
B,L,D
El MaPi Hotel

Activity note: Hiking up to 7 miles, approximately 5 hours; mix of flat paths, uneven steps including approximately 2,000 Inca steps down; altitude point 11,811 feet. Early wake-up call to witness the spectacular sunrise. Have your cameras ready! Hot beverages provided.

Breakfast: At the camp.

Morning: We’ll begin hiking the trail towards the Phuyupatamarka archaeological ruins, located less than 1/2 mile (approximately 15 minutes) from the camp. As we hike through the ruins, our Group Leader will give us an explanation of the site. 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. We’ll continue hiking for another 3.5 hours and arrive at Wiñay Wayna in time for lunch.

Lunch: At Wiñay Wayna archaeological site.

Afternoon: We estimate that this final stretch of the Inca Trail will take approximately 1.5 hours 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, we’ll board the bus to Aguas Calientes and check-in at our hotel. Have a hot shower and get a good night's rest in preparation for tomorrow morning's activities in Machu Picchu.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a set plated meal with appetizer, main dish, dessert, hot beverages and water.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for our early morning (7:00 a.m.) field trip to Machu Picchu. As the UNESCO World Heritage Site inscription states, “Embedded within a dramatic landscape at the meeting point between the Peruvian Andes and the Amazon Basin, the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is among the greatest artistic, architectural and land use achievements anywhere and the most significant tangible legacy of the Inca civilization…Built in the fifteenth century Machu Picchu was abandoned when the Inca Empire was conquered by the Spaniards in the sixteenth century. It was not until 1911 that the archaeological complex was made known to the outside world.”

DAY
10
Machu Picchu, Train to Ollantaytambo, Bus to Cusco
Cusco
B,L
Sonesta Hotel Cusco

Activity note: Train ride from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo is approximately 1.5 hours. Bus transfer from Ollantaytambo Station to Cusco is about 1.5 hours. We recommend wearing or bringing a long-sleeved shirt as in the past some participants have complained about “no-see-ums.” For those who wish to hike independently to the summit of Huayna Picchu, the trail is narrow, rocky, very steep and strenuous; no handrails. See NOTES section of the preparatory materials for details.

Breakfast: Early at the hotel.

Morning: We’ll check out of the hotel and keep our luggage in storage until after the field trip. We’ll then board a bus to the Machu Picchu ruins for a field trip and on-site presentation by our Group Leader on the ruins, their history, and latest discoveries. For those who are highly motivated, highly energetic, and have great strength and stamina, you may wish to hike another portion of the Inca Trail to the summit of Huayna Picchu for an amazing overview of Machu Picchu. (Additional cost, see NOTES section for details.) At the conclusion of our field trip, we’ll board the bus and return to Aguas Calientes town, then walk to the hotel.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a set plated meal with appetizer, main dish, dessert, hot beverages, water.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll transfer to the Aguas Calientes train station and board the train back to Ollantaytambo Station. There, we’ll board the bus to Cusco and check into our hotel with some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Sacsayhuaman Ruins, Cusco Orientation, Music Presentation
Cusco
B,D
Sonesta Hotel Cusco

Activity note: Mostly flat terrain, few steps.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Our next field trip is to the Inca ruins of Sacsayhuaman where our Group Leader will discuss this amazing fortress that forms the head of the Puma design of old Cusco. It is a wonder of technical achievement and a testament to human will. It is a mystery how it was constructed, as the stones are not native to the region and the majority of them weigh over one ton. The largest rock is more than 300 tons. Sacsayhuaman is constructed of huge polygonal blocks which interlock with one another so precisely a knife blade cannot be inserted between them. Returning to Cusco, we’ll embark on a walking field trip orientating ourselves to the city with visits to the Koricancha sun temple, the Plaza de Armas, and most important streets.

Lunch: On your own to explore local fare.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity to explore Cusco on your own. We’ll regroup before dinner for a presentation-performance by local experts with traditional Inca instruments and music.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have our farewell dinner, a buffet with an alcoholic beverage included, with local entertainment. Share your favorite experiences of this amazing journey with new Road Scholar friends. Other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
12
San Pedro Market, Flight to Lima, Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out from 10:00 a.m. Flight from Cusco to Lima is approximately 1.5 hours, book flights departing Lima from 9:00pm. The weight limit for checked luggage on this flight is 50 pounds (23 kg). There is no hotel stay included in Lima.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will set out on foot from the hotel, walking through Cusco with our Group Leader to arrive at the San Pedro Market. This small, local market is where many Cusqueños shop for fruit, produce, snacks and other kitchen staples, gifts and trinkets, and enjoy a meal. Our Group Leader will take us around the locale and provide insight into some of the goods offered. We will have the chance to interact with locals and purchase snacks and souvenirs. Following this visit, we will have time for independent exploration. The center of Cusco is a history lesson where modern and colonial buildings were built on top of Inca foundations and colonial churches dominate the central square. Our Group Leader will establish a meeting time for us all to reconvene back at the hotel in preparation for the late afternoon transfer to the Cusco airport.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: We’ll say goodbye to our Group Leader and transfer to the Cusco airport for the flight to Lima's Aeropuerto Internacional Jorge Chávez (LIM). Upon arrival in Lima, we’ll check in for our international flights this evening.

Dinner: On your own.

Evening: Upon arrival to Lima you will connect with your evening flights out of Jorge Chávez International Airport to the U.S. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

DAY
13
In Transit From Program
In Flight





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