Once upon a time, responsible travel essentially boiled down to the old adage, “Take only pictures, leave only footprints.”
International Expeditions' new Inca Discovery adventure is more than a simple Machu Picchu tour. This new 10-day experience will have you enjoying an in-depth look at Andean culture and the Inca ruins dotting the Sacred Valley. In addition to time spent in Machu Picchu and Cusco, exclusive to this journey are excursions to the Maras Salt Pans and a remote Willoq community, an in-home cooking demonstration, and a day spent exploring the famed churchs of the Andean Baroque Route. Join IE in the Peruvian Andes for an inspirational look at relics of a past with guarded secrets and Cusco's vibrant culture, blending Inca traditions with a modern flare.
inca trail trek mp8
Maras Salt Pans
machu picchu cucso photos ollantaytambo
Saint Peter the Apostle Church
Inca Discovery Itinerary
Fly to Lima, Peru, the nation’s capital and largest city, and overnight at the Swissotel.
Lima / Cusco / Urubamba Valley
This morning, fly to Cusco — the heart of the Inca Empire and the oldest continuously inhabited city in the Western Hemisphere. Descend immediately into the historic Urubamba Valley. Along the way, we visit the Awanacancha Weaving Center, a community program specializing in teaching traditional Andean art and textile making techniques. Enjoy a lunch of fresh local dishes on the town square. Continue to Pisac Market to browse and shop for the best handicrafts and alpaca sweaters. Spend the next two nights at the Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba. (B,L,D)
After a morning weaving demonstration, continue to the famed salt pans near Maras. These terraced Inca salt pans are still in use, harvesting salt as it evaporates from shallow pools the Inca originally dug into a sloped hillside. Savor a taste of local life during a cooking demonstration in a private home. (B,L,D)
Urubamaba Valley / Machu Picchu
Wind our way into the mountains to visit the remote Willoq community, virtually unchanged in its dress, language and social structure from pre-Inca times. Board the train to Machu Picchu. Your afternoon is free to take advantage of activities around the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, our home for two nights. You may opt to meander through the orchid garden spotting some of the hotel’s 372 different native orchid species, or visit an enchanting waterfall and pre-Inca pictographs on a guided evening walk. (B,L,D)
Tour the ruins with our guide, who points out the significance of the stone structures, temples and plazas. This impressive ruin, hidden for 400 years by semi-tropical jungle, lies in a saddle with the peaks of Machu Picchu, "Old Mountain," and Huayna Picchu, "Young Mountain" rising dramatically on either side. (B,D)
Machu Picchu / Ollantaytambo / Cusco
You may wake up early and hike to the Sun Gate or enjoy some early morning birding in the abundant gardens surrounding our hotel. Catch the train back to the Sacred Valley. Explore the fortress of Ollantaytambo. The expertly fashioned walkways, canals and pools are a testament to the builders' unrivaled skill. Arrive in Cusco this evening before dinner and spend two nights at Palacia del Inka. (B,D)
Spend the morning strolling the streets on a Cusco tour, exploring the Koricancha — also known as Santo Domingo, Santa Catalina Convent and the Cathedral. The Church and Convent of Santo Domingo are beautiful examples of Spanish architecture superimposed on Inca construction — the complex was built over the Koricancha, a temple dedicated to the sun, the Inca's most important god. The walls were covered in sheets of gold studded with emeralds and turquoise. Tour Sacsayhuamán — a huge fortress of massive stones which zigzags across the side of the mountain. After lunch, the afternoon is free to explore on your own. (B,L,D)
Cusco: Andean Baroque Route
Spend a full day touring the churches belonging to the Andean Baroque artistic movement, including the Saint Peter the Apostle Church of Andahuaylillas. Along the way, explore a variety of Wari and Inca ruins scattered throughout the valley. Enjoy a festive farewell dinner of local delicacies. (B,L,D)
Cusco / Lima / Depart
After breakfast, fly back across the Andes to Lima. Enjoy a superb lunch of local delicacies before an afternoon at leisure. Enjoy a guided visit to the Larco Herrera Museum, viewing 3,000 years of Peruvian pre-Columbian history. Dayrooms are available at the Swissôtel. Transfer to the airport this evening for flights home. (B,L)
Connect with your flight home. (Meals Aloft)
An elegant and modern hotel, the Lima Swissotel is nestled in teh heart of the San Isidro buisiness and residential area. Swissotel Lima is steps from shopping, parks frequented by locals and even a pre-Inca temple!
Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba
Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba is a contemporary hacienda-style hotel in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, in-between Cusco and Machu Picchu. Immersed in the countryside in a gorgeous area, Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba spans approximately 100 acres surrounded by imposing green mountains. All 12 rooms in the Casa Hacienda and 24 stand-alone luxury casitas feature breathtaking views of the valley, immersing guests in open space, serenity and relaxing solitude. Architecture and interiors are inspired on the area’s cultural history, with colonial furniture, authentic Inca masks and handcrafted woodwork that add to the hacienda’s local charm. At an onsite organic plantation, guests are welcome to pick their own produce. Carbon-free crops such as quinoa, Urubamba giant corn, medicinal herbs and a variety of potatoes are farmed with traditional hand tools and oxen, as done centuries ago.
Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo
Our Machu Picchu tour accommodations are at the famed Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, nestled in an area of natural beauty spreading over 12 acres of streams, gushing waterfalls, plantations and wild forest interspersed by stone pathways, the hotel is composed 83 guest houses nestled in one or two-storey whitewash cottages. Each room features California long beds with alpaca bedspreads, hand-woven pima cotton sheets, private bathrooms, heaters, aromatherapy products and nightly turndown service. The bar, boutique and reception building are each decorated with Andean artifacts and fabrics. Charming attractions include a library, a display wall of pre-Columbian artifacts in the Mikhuna Wasi dining room, and the lounge's cozy fireplaces, as well as the Andean sauna: an igloo made of indigenous bamboo and fresh eucalyptus leaves.
Palacio del Inka
A storied mansion dating back nearly five centuries, Palacio del Inka stands in the historic center of Cusco. Directly across from the Koricancha, it is a five-minute walk from the main square and less than a mile from an array of museums, markets and restaurants. Amenities in the spacious rooms include an iPod docking station with alarm clock and a 32-inch LED television. Paired with a beverage from the mini bar or coffee and tea maker, both technologies invite guests to relax after a long day, while a two-guest dining table offers an additional seating option. Exclusive aromatic Gilchrist & Soames bath amenities and plush bathrobes and slippers enhance the relaxing experience.