12 Day Great Inca Trail & Machu Picchu Tour
Experience two of the Incas’ greatest accomplishments on this 12-day Great Inca Trail and Machu Picchu tour. First, follow in the footsteps of the Incas on a remote and pristine section of the Great Inca Trail, a magnificent engineering marvel that very few people have ever visited. You will spend 5 days hiking on the Incas’ great road, camping at their ancient refuges and depending on llamas to carry your luggage. Then fly to Cuzco, the ancient Inca capital, to experience the wonders of the city, the Sacred Valley and the magnificent citadel at Machu Picchu in private, guided comfort.
This fully customizable, private tour can be crafted by a Destination Expert to match the vacation of your dreams. From the moment you contact us, until the day you return home, we cater to your every whim.
See our preferred hotels for this itinerary by destination:
- A day in Huaraz to acclimatize to the altitude and explore this fascinating town before the start of your adventure.
- Visit magnificent Inca sites and Andean landscapes that only a handful of Westerners have had the privilege to reach.
- Spend time with the Araujo family of master weavers and witness their centuries-old skills in action.
- Carry only a daypack while a traditional llama caravan does the rest. Benefit from a method of transport that has been all but lost to humanity.
- Enjoy a private tour of Huanuco Pampa, an extremely important Inca administrative center located hundreds of miles from the beaten path.
- Camp in ultimate comfort and warmth, with quality sleeping bags and Therm-a-Rest sleeping mats in your spacious two-man tent. Enjoy four wholesome meals every day and make use of a private tented bathroom.
- Wander the winding streets of Cuzco, the erstwhile Inca capital, and visit the imposing ancient Incan temples of Sacsayhuaman and Koricancha, to discover the history and might of the lost empire.
- A tour of Cuzco’s Cathedral where you’ll learn about the fascinating the Cuzco school of colonial art, and view its archaeological relics.
- A day-tour of key sites of the Sacred Valley, including the agricultural terraces of Moray, the working salt mines at Maras, and the spectacular ruins and village of Ollantaytambo.
- A scenic train ride and an overnight stay in Aguas Calientes which lies at the base of the Incan citadel of Machu Picchu.
- A guided tour of the Machu Picchu, the “lost city of the Incas”, to unravel the mysteries of the great civilization. You’ll take in breath-taking views and learn how the temples were built.
- Free time to explore Machu Picchu and absorb the awe-inspiring surroundings at your own pace.
- Flight schedule allowing, take a private tour of the main sites of Lima, including the Larco Archaeological Museum, and the San Francisco Monastery, Lima’s historical squares and Miraflores.
Trip At A Glance
- Day 1 – Arrive in Lima and stay in a luxury hotel over the road from the airport to minimize transit times.
- Day 2 – Fly to Huaraz, gateway to the Great Inca Trail, to acclimatize and explore this little-visited cultural gem.
- Day 3 – Drive to the trailhead to begin your adventure. Ease into things with a 3-hour hike to the fascinating Inca archeological site where you’ll camp for the night.
- Day 4 –Be wowed by the Incas’ engineering prowess and the magnificence of the Andes. Summit a 15,000ft pass and camp alongside a family of master weavers.
- Day 5 – Visit a tiny Andean village before climbing to the high “puna”. Camp at an important Inca tambo and learn about Inca cosmology.
- Day 6 – Be one of the lucky few to hike alongside the Taparaco River on one of the most spectacular sections of Inca highway on the continent.
- Day 7 –Climb to Huanuco Pampa, a very important Inca administrative center and home to thousands of ruins. Return by road to Huaraz.
- Day 8 - Fly from Huaraz to Cuzco (via Lima), where you’ll be free to explore the Inca capital’s cobbled streets at leisure.
- Day 9 – Explore the wonders of Cuzco on a private guided tour with visits the key sites of Sacsayhuaman, Koricancha and Cuzco's Cathedral.
- Day 10 - Take a journey through the breath-taking scenery of the Sacred Valley to the ruins and current-day Andean village of Ollantaytambo.
- Day 11 - Marvel at the ancient Incan citadel of Machu Picchu tucked amongst the Andes. Enjoy a private tour and free time to explore at leisure.
- Day 12 – Depart your Cuzco hotel and fly back to Lima ahead of your international departure. Take a tour of Lima if time allows.
Day 1 - Arrival in Lima, Peru
Welcome to Peru! Today is a transit day, and after a long flight you're probably looking forward to a nice meal and some relaxation. The Costa del Sol hotel is located right across the street from the airport and is the best choice for travelers connecting to Huaraz.
Day 2 - Lima to Huaraz
In the morning, you will just need to walk back across the street to check in for your flight to Huaraz, the gateway to the Qhapaq Ñan aka the Great Inca Trail. Upon arrival in Huaraz, you’ll be met at the airport by your guide and driver and escorted to your Huaraz hotel. After settling in, enjoy an afternoon tour of Huaraz.
Day 3 - The Great Inca Trail – Castillo to Soledad de Tambo
Heading out early from your Huaraz hotel, you will be driven to the small town of Castillo, where you will begin the trek. You will climb three hours along the Inca Trail towards Soledad de Tambo, where you will arrive in time for lunch. This Inca “tambo” will also be your camp for the evening, allowing you to explore the Inca ruins and speak with the archeologists on site about their exciting new discoveries.
Day 4 - The Great Inca Trail –Soledad de Tambo - Quenuajirca
Departing one Inca Tambo, you will follow a mind-boggling section of the Qhapaq Ñan that reaches fifty feet in width, with stunning views of high Andean peaks. After spending most of your morning climbing to the 15,000-foot pass at Wagapunta, you will arrive to camp at Quenuajirca by the afternoon. There you will visit the master weaver, Juan Araujo to learn about his work and life on The Great Inca Trail, before enjoying a hearty meal against a magnificent mountain backdrop and retiring to the comfort of your tent.
Day 5 - The Great Inca Trail – Quenuajirca to Tambo Grande
After descending to the small town of Ayash, you will start your climb to the high Andean puna at Huamanin. The Great Inca Trail then follows the Taparaco river basin to Tambo Grande where you will camp under a sky that illuminates the Milky Way and surrounding stars, allowing you to understand how the Incas’ Cosmic vision defined their society and religion.
Day 6 - The Great Inca Trail – Tambo Grande to Isco
Continuing down the Great Inca Trail that runs along the Taparaco river, you will experience one of the most impressive sections of Inca road anywhere in the Empire. It’s a day where nature and Inca engineering turn your walk into a mystical experience that immerses you in an Andean world that very few people ever experience. You will arrive to San Lorenzo de Isco by early afternoon, in time for lunch and one of our legendary afternoon teas.
Day 7 - The Great Inca Trail – Isco to Huanuco Pampa
After arriving at Colpa, where the Taparaco and Vizcarra rivers intersect, in the late morning you will climb to Huánuco Pampa. This extremely important Inca administrative center boasts thousands of constructions built around an impressive Ushnu and is an excellent example of imperial Inca architecture. After a two-hour tour of the fascinating site, you will go by private vehicle back to Huaraz to relax before your departure the following day.
Day 8 - Huaraz to Cuzco
You will be picked up from your hotel and driven to the Huaraz airport for your flight to Cuzco (via Lima), the capital city of the former Inca Empire. Upon arrival in Cuzco, you’ll be met at the airport by your guide and driver and escorted to your Cuzco hotel. Cuzco is one of the most charming towns in all of South America, and extremely pedestrian and visitor friendly. We’d love to recommend the city's best options for delicious dining and exciting shopping.
Day 9 - Private Half Day Cuzco City Tour
During your tour of Cuzco, the capital of the Incan Empire, you’ll visit Sacsayhuaman, an immense Incan complex with impressive stonework; Koricancha, one of the most important Incan temples (the walls were once actually coated in gold!). You’ll also stop at Cuzco's Cathedral where you'll learn about the intricacies of the Cuzco school of art and view fascinating historical artefacts.
Day 10 - Private Sacred Valley Tour
Immerse yourself in the wonders of the Sacred Valley with a tour that includes visits to the ancient circular agricultural terraces of Moray, the functioning salt mines at Maras, and the ruins and village of Ollantaytambo. Departing from Ollantaytambo, enjoy a scenic train ride through the Sacred Valley to the town of Machu Picchu before checking into your hotel at Aguas Calientes.
Day 11 - Private Machu Picchu Tour
This is the moment you’ve been waiting for! Uncover the secrets of Machu Picchu during a guided tour of the most famous of all Incan ruins. You’ll visit the most important parts of the citadel to learn how and why they were constructed. After the tour, you’ll have time to further explore the ruins or sit back and enjoy the magic of Machu Picchu. You can also hike to the top of Huayna Picchu for a bird’s eye view of the ruins. The steep path takes about an hour and a half to ascend. Departing from Machu Picchu town, enjoy a train ride to Ollantaytambo. Upon arrival at the train station you will be met and transferred to your Cuzco hotel.
Day 12 - Cuzco to Lima
You will be picked up from your hotel and driven to the Cuzco airport for your flight to Lima. (Optional recommended excursion) Depending on the time of your international flight out, you can opt to take a private tour of Lima's key sites. You will visit the Larco Archaeological Museum, the San Francisco Monastery and its catacombs, Lima's historic colonial squares, and the picturesque waterfront district Miraflores.
Pricing includes everything from your international arrival to your departure, with the exception of flights and a few lunches and dinners. Our specialty is private, customizable travel experiences.
12 Day Tour from $4,990 per person
- 7 nights in our preferred properties hand selected for comfort, convenience and quality
- Privately guided tours with your own personal guide and driver
- All private airport transfers with English speaking assistance
- 4 nights on privately guided Great Inca Trail Trek
- All camping gear and nutritious meals, snacks and water
- Upgraded thermarest sleeping mats & sleeping bags
- Private portable bathroom to supplement camp-site restrooms
- Porter assistance to carry up your personal belongings
- Roundtrip Vistadome train to Machu Picchu Pueblo and the bus to ruins with the company of your private guide to ensure a seamless journey
- All required entrance fees
- All breakfasts
- 24hr support
- All taxes
8 Day Great Inca Trail Expedition
1 night in Lima, 2 nights in Huaraz, 4 nights on the trail
Indulge in the adventure of a lifetime when you hike a pristine section of the Great Inca Trail, a 25,000-mile road network widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest engineering marvels. For five days you’ll traverse a remote, rugged and spectacular swath of Peru’s Northern Andes that very few tourists have ever visited. You will follow in the footsteps of the Incas – treading their great road, camping at ancient refuges and relying on llamas to carry your luggage – under the watchful guidance of an experienced local guide, chef and porters.
8 Day Inca Trail Choquechaca to Machu Picchu Trek
1 night in Lima, 3 nights in Cuzco, 2 nights on the trail, 1 night in Machu Picchu town
The 8-Day Inca Trail Choquechaca to Machu Picchu Trek is a unique and authentic experience developed by SA Expeditions in conjunction with the people of the Choquechaca Valley who have become lifelong friends with our founder. You’ll trek through remote and pristine landscapes accompanied by the men who have lived there for millennia, camp in spectacular locations and visit your guides’ ancestral village and meet their families. What’s more, you’ll enjoy a guided tour of Machu Picchu and spend a few days exploring Cuzco and imbibing its intoxicating blend of Spanish and pre-Colombian history.
9 Day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu
1 night in Lima, 3 nights in Cuzco, 3 nights on the trail, 1 night in Machu Picchu town
Trek to Machu Picchu by going “off the beaten Inca Trail” on the exotic Salkantay Trek. Described by National Geographic as “the cool way” to get to the ancient Incan citadel, this challenging hike takes you through Andean peaks, cloud forests, Incan ruins and small villages where people still live as they have for hundreds of years. You’ll camp in style, beat the crowds to Machu Picchu, and visit cosmopolitan Lima and charming Cuzco, the erstwhile capital of the Incas.
8 Day Lares Trek & Tour
1 night in Lima, 3 nights in Cuzco, 2 nights on the trail, 1 night in Machu Picchu town
Experience a little bit of everything the Cuzco region has to offer on this 8-Day Lares Trek & Tour. You’ll discover the fascinating pre-Columbian and colonial history of Cuzco, jewel of the Andes, before immersing yourself in the ancient lifestyle of the Lares region on a three-day trek through spectacular Andean scenery and centuries-old communities. Top it off with a comfortable visit to Machu Picchu and a private guided tour of the Incas’ crowning achievement. You’ll stay in luxury hotels and camp and trek in comfort, with expert guides catering for your every whim.