PERU: THE WAY OF THE INCAS
9 Days | 8 Nights Tour
Journey back in time as you explore the ancient culture of the Incas! Our exclusive student travel program focuses on the Inca’s culture, influence, and rich civilization. From Lima to Cusco, and of course, the citadel of Machu Picchu, “The Way of the Incas” brings you up close and personal to Peru.
3-4 Star Hotel
Starting from $430 per person
Welcome to Lima! Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by a Students Fare ambassador who will assist you with your transfer to the hotel. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore and unwind.
After breakfast at your hotel, the day begins with a tour of the city’s main streets. First, stop at the Plaza de Armas, where you’ll explore the square and admire the exteriors of the Palacio de Gobierno, the Cathedral of Lima, and the Municipalidad. Afterward, visit La Casa Aliaga, a colonial mansion that holds the distinction of being the oldest continuously inhabited private residence in the Southern Hemisphere. Next, make your way to the Convento de Santo Domingo, a religious and architectural gem that houses holy paintings, images, writings, and relics of Peruvian saints.
Finally, leave behind Lima’s Historic Center as you head toward the most traditional of the residential zones: San Isidro and Miraflores. In San Isidro, enjoy a panoramic view of the Huaca Hullamarca Pyramid, an important ceremonial center and cemetery built out of adobe mud bricks. Soon afterward, travel to the district of Miraflores, a perfect spot to enjoy wonderful views of the Pacific Ocean. You will complete your tour of Lima with a visit to the Bohemian neighborhood of Barranco to walk along peculiar streets lined with Republican houses, admire the splendid views, and visit the Puente de los Suspiros to witness untold numbers of romances and the source of inspiration for one of Peru’s great composers, Chabuca Granda. Spend the remainder of the day at your leisure.
After breakfast at your hotel, transfer to the airport for your flight to Cusco. Upon arrival, your Students Fare representative will give you an introduction to the city and transfer you to your hotel. The rest of the morning is at your leisure.
This afternoon, begin your tour enjoying the best view of the city of Cusco from atop Cerro Pukamoqo (Red Peak) — a natural scenic overlook from which the outstretched arms of Cristo Blanco, a massive white statue of Christ, embrace the city in a benevolent gesture. You will then visit nearby Fortaleza de Sacsayhuamán (Fortress of Sacsayhuamán), a colossal structure of enormous stones, carved and fitted together with incredible precision. As you return to the lower part of the city, you will stop off at the Mercado de San Pedro (Market of St. Peter), which being the city’s main street market, will give you an opportunity to get to know the products of Cusco, overwhelming you with the sights, aromas, tastes, and colors of the region. Just a few blocks away, you will discover one of the most impressive buildings of Incan Cusco: the Korikancha (the Golden Temple)—a temple dedicated to the worship of the Sun God, whose interior walls were said to have been covered in gold. You will complete the day with a stroll through the Plaza de Armas (Main Square), where you will visit the Cathedral and admire its exquisite vestibules and priceless paintings from the Cusco School of the 17th and 18th centuries.
This morning, we will continue our trip towards Valle Sagrado (Sacred Valley) where you will soon reach the must-see stop of Awanakancha. Here, learn about the various types of camelids (Llamas, Alpacas, Vicuñas, and Guanacos) that live in the Andes region. Additionally, the local villagers will teach you about the ancestral methods and techniques used to produce their textile art.
A few miles along the way is Pisac, a beautiful place where Incan and Colonial influences have reached a perfect balance and created the city’s unique way of life. You will get a chance to explore this quaint town, famous for its artisan markets where you can find extraordinarily fine jewelry, ceramic art, and textile craftwork. We take a break for lunch at a local restaurant.
Later in the afternoon, you will visit Ollantaytambo, one of the last remaining Incan towns that was once fiercely guarded by a massive fortress. Discover the large archeological complex of an ancient wayside inn for royal delegations on long journeys. Surviving structures here include multiple walls and towers that were used to protect the citadel from possible invasions. Time permitting, you will get a chance to mingle with the locals at a typical Peruvian Andes establishment, either at a “chichería” (establishment for the brewing and sale of chicha, the traditional Andean drink made of germinated corn) or a bakery with still-functioning traditional ovens. Return to Cusco.
Early in the morning, we will go from our hotel to Km 82 of the railroad that leads to Machu Picchu. Here we will meet the porters and the rest of the team that will be joining us. We’ll start our trek led by the porters. We will walk down the Urubamba River, as we enjoy a magnificent view of the snow-capped peaks until we reach the ruins of Llactapata. We then leave the Urubamba Valley behind and follow the Kusichaca river until we reach Huayllabamba, about 3000 meters (9842 feet) above sea level. There we will spend our first night at a comfortable campsite. We will stop for lunch along the way. We will walk approximately 11 kilometers (7 miles) in 6 hours.
An early start this morning, we begin our ascent to the Warmiwayñusca (Dead Woman) pass, at 4200 meters (13780 feet) above sea level, through a narrow path filled with vegetation. After about 5 hours of hiking, we will have arrived at the summit of the pass. From here we will enjoy breathtaking views of beautiful snow-capped mountains punctuating the blue sky. We will stop along the way for lunch. Once we reach the end of the pass, we will stop at Pacaymayo, located at 3600 meters (11811 feet) above sea level, where we’ll set up camp to spend the night. We will walk approximately 7 kilometers (4.5 miles) in 7 hours.
Today we’ll begin with one of the most beautiful stretches of the Inca Trail, due to the number of archaeological sites we will find en route. After breakfast, we will go up a small hill leading to the circular ruins of Runkurakay, which was used in the Inca era as a military vantage point. We will rest for a while, and then we will begin our descent down a very well-preserved stretch of the Inca trail until we reach the stairs leading to the ruins of Sayacmarca, located in a natural promontory at 3620 meters (11877 feet) above sea level. Throughout the hike, we will enjoy spectacular views of exotic birds, a wide variety of orchids, and much more! From Sayacmarca we will enter the cloud forest through a stone path that will lead us to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca (City on the clouds) after crossing a small pass. After that, we continue to descend until reaching the ruins of Wiñay Wayna, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful structures after Machu Picchu, at 2650 meters (8695 feet) above sea level. After visiting the ruins we will go to the camping area where we’ll spend the last night of the trip.
From Pacaymayo to Phuyupatamarca we will walk approximately 7 kilometers (4.5 miles) in 6 hours. From Phuyupatamarca to Wiñay Wayna we will walk approximately 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) in 3 hours.
Prepare to have the experience of a lifetime! We will leave behind our campsite early in the morning and head towards the Inti Punku, or Gate of the Sun, the last pass on the Inca Trail at 2740 meters (8990 feet) above sea level. From this point, Machu Picchu will appear to be wondrous and unreal. After a guided visit through the citadel, we will have some free time to walk through it again.
We will be assisted at the predetermined time in boarding the train to Cusco from the Aguas Calientes station. Arrive at Cusco and transfer to hotel. From Wiñay Wayna to Machu Picchu we will walk approximately 5 kilometers (3 miles) in 4 hours. From Phuyupatamarca to Machu Picchu we will walk approximately 9 kilometers (5.5 miles) in 7 hours.
A wonderful trip comes to an end – it’s time to say goodbye. Transfer to the airport for your onward journey.