Expedition Overview

Expedition Overview

  • Enjoy an early morning at Machu Picchu, then unlock the secrets of these mysterious ruins while exploring with a private guide.
  • Stay in three spectacular National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World: Inkaterra La Casona, Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, and Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel.
  • Attend a private demonstration of traditional Andean wool-dying and weaving—practices recently revived in the Sacred Valley by National Geographic grantee Nilda Callañaupa.
  • Enjoy experiences exclusively reserved for National Geographic travelers, including a chicha-brewing lesson, an architectural tour of a Cusco colonial manor, and a private visit to a spectacled bear rehabilitation center.

Itinerary

Itinerary

Still shrouded in the mysteries of Inca civilization, Peru’s Sacred Valley is a treasure trove of ancient ruins, dramatic landscapes, and Andean villages that still cling to age-old traditions. Starting in magical Cusco, trace the legacy of the Inca all the way to their crowning achievement: the citadel of Machu Picchu. Immerse yourself in this enchanting land, meeting artisans and farmers and getting acquainted with daily life in the Andes. Stay in a historic manor house, go stargazing high in the mountains, and enjoy two full days to explore Machu Picchu and its environs.

Day 1: Arrive Cusco, Peru

Fly to Cusco, the gateway to Peru's Inca heartland. Settle into Inkaterra La Casona, a member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection. Enjoy an exclusive architectural tour of this restored 16th-century manor, once home to Simón Bolívar. Take the rest of the day to relax or explore Cusco's old town, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Accommodations:This night includes a stay at a National Geographic Unique Lodge.
An inconspicuous door in the heart of Cusco’s old town opens into a world of Spanish-colonial splendor at Inkaterra La Casona, an exquisite 16th-century manor house.
Day 2: Cusco

Uncover the many layers of Cusco's vivid history on a private tour of the city. Visit the Iglesia de Santo Domingo and La Catedral—churches that showcase a fusion of pre-Columbian and colonial design. Get introduced to the marvels of Inca architecture at the staggering ruins of Sacsayhuaman, and absorb the vibrancy of Peruvian culture in the Plaza de Armas, the festive central square. In the afternoon, explore this fascinating city further at your leisure.

Meals Included:Breakfast
Accommodations:Inkaterra La Casona
Day 3: Sacred Valley of the Inca

Begin your three-day journey through the Sacred Valley of the Inca. In Awanacancha, learn about the history of llamas and other camelids that call this region home. Test your bargaining skills in the colorful stalls of Pisac's famous market and visit the studio of an artist who uses ancient Peruvian ceramic techniques. Continue to Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, a Unique Lodge of the World perched on the emerald slopes of the Sacred Valley. This evening, join a naturalist in the lodge's on-site Chicha House for a hands-on lesson in brewing, chicha de jora, a popular local drink.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodations:This night includes a stay at a National Geographic Unique Lodge.
From their perch on an emerald Andean slope, the colonial-style estate and casitas of Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba invite you to soak up the spirit of the Sacred Valley, a region still shrouded in the mysteries of the Inca.
Days 4-5: Sacred Valley of the Inca

Follow the Sacred Valley's most scenic roads, passing through a patchwork of verdant fields set beneath snowcapped peaks. At The Center of Traditional Textiles of Cusco, learn about Andean textiles at a private weaving demonstration. Traditional weaving and wool-dying practices have been recently revived thanks to the efforts of National Geographic grantee Nilda Callañaupa, a master weaver native to the valley. See the terraced remains of impressive Inca agriculture systems at Chinchero and Moray. Then visit the white salt mines stacked on the slopes of Maras. The next day, explore the town of Ollantaytambo, where colonial buildings were erected upon the original Inca street plan. This afternoon, learn about everyday life in the Andean village of Patakancha.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch Daily
Accommodations:Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba
Day 6: Machu Picchu

Make your way to Machu Picchu, the renowned 15th-century Inca citadel rediscovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911 and excavated with support from the National Geographic Society. Choose to take the scenic train ride from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu Pueblo (also known as Aguas Calientes). Or disembark early for an optional trek on the Inca Trail with a private guide (this option must be reserved in advance so that permits can be secured). Hike through lesser known Inca ruins to the famous Sun Gate, where you can take in your first views of Machu Picchu. Your home for the next two nights is Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, a National Geographic Unique Lodge nestled within its own private rain forest reserve just below the citadel. At twilight, stroll through the grounds with a lodge guide to hear the sounds of the cloud forest.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations:This night includes a stay at a National Geographic Unique Lodge.
Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel is a haven of Andean charm tucked into the tropical forests just beneath the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.
Day 7: Machu Picchu

Rise early to catch the early morning light over Machu Picchu. During a tour of the ruins with a private guide, learn about the Inca's incredible construction feats and day-to-day life in the ancient city. Spend the afternoon immersed in the magic of this mysterious and awe-inspiring site.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations:Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
Day 8: Machu Picchu/Cusco

Go on a guided nature walk through the lush grounds of the lodge, where hundreds of orchid, bird, and butterfly species make their home. Join your private guide for a visit to the lodge's spectacled bear rehabilitation program before traveling back to Cusco, where you have another free afternoon to explore.

Meals Included:Breakfast
Accommodations:Inkaterra La Casona
Day 9: Lima/Depart

Depart from Cusco. If you have a layover in Lima, we can arrange a tour of the city's highlights. Discover the cathedral and other colonial buildings of the historic center, a World Heritage site, and examine pre-Columbian treasures at the Larco Herrera Museum. Then return to the airport to catch your flight home.

Meals Included:Breakfast