Active in the Andes

Multi-activity adventure on Inca trails and waterways culminating at Machu Picchu
Overview

overview

Hike, bike, raft, and engage with the people of the Andes in one all-encompassing itinerary. Run the rapids of the Rio Apurimac and pedal across the mystical Chinchero Plain into the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Encounter the secrets of the Lares Trail on your hike toward Machu Picchu, winding among ancient ruins, epic scenery, and villages of the closest descendents of the Incas, eager to show you their traditional weavings. (You may wonder why we have chosen to skip "the" Inca Trail on this trip in favor of this trek, and it is for the cultural experience, which augments views that rival the more famed path. Plus, we will avoid the crowds that detract from the more heavily traveled route.)

Go deep into the experience of the Andes and see it from all breathtaking angles. From the dramatic snow-capped peaks to the lush, green valleys, our journey through Peru offers every flavor of excitement and adventure you can imagine, and more that will surprise and delight you. If you're always on the go, if you like variety, if you appreciate a solid challenge, if you enjoy feeling small against the vastness of nature, if you are an intense explorer...

Active in the Andes is yours to conquer.

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive Lima
    Lima's City Hall is representative of the colonial architecture around the city.

    Flights from the U.S. arrive in Lima late in the evening. You will be met at the airport and transferred to our hotel for a transit night before continuing to Cusco in the morning, where our real adventure begins. If you want time to explore Lima, it is possible to add additional time in Lima before or after the group trip.

    Meals
    None
    Lodging
    Hotel La Castellana
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  • Day 2: Fly to Cusco / Embark Rafting Trip
    Float down this breathtaking river

    Early in the morning, we head to the airport for our flight to Cusco and our first glimpse of the Andes. Our guide will meet us at the airport and transport us to the Apurimac Canyon, where we will be briefed on rafting safety and instruction before embarking on a three-day, two-night excursion on the Apurimac River. By descending from Cusco to the canyon, we will have a chance to acclimatize and by beginning with this river run we will be sure to start the trip on a metaphorical high note.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Tented Beach Camping
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  • Day 3: Apurimac River Rafting
    Your expert guides will help you navigate the canyon

    Today we will face the mighty rapids of the Apurimac, which means "The Great Speaker" in Quechua. The rapids are largely continuous and occasionally we may have to stop to scout a new route to avoid obstructions.

    At night we camp on gorgeous, sandy beaches and explore the surrounding rocky terrain. If we're lucky, we may spot Andean foxes, otters, and pumas on the banks of the river.    

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Tented Beach Camping
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  • Day 4: Apurimac / Cusco
    We will bond on the waters of the mighty Apurimac River

    After two days of rafting, we reach a break in the canyon walls and head back to Cusco. Along the way, keep an eye out for the snow-capped Salcantay Mountain. Upon arriving in Cusco, we will be dropped off at our hotel for a refreshing shower and, later, enjoy a celebration of our successful run through the Apurimac Canyon.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Hotel Tupac Yupanqui
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  • Day 5: Mountain Biking in the Sacred Valley / Urubamba
    The best way to cross the Chinchero Plain

    This is a bike ride you'll never forget: a one-day, mostly downhill trip across the Chinchero plain and into the Sacred Valley of the Incas. We will follow dirt trails and ancient mule routes along the breathtaking Lake Huaypo and through the village of Chequereq. A short uphill sretch brings us to the mystical, circular Inca ruins of Moray. Here, enjoy a picnic lunch and meander through the enchanting ruins.

    After lunch, take a smooth mule trail to the town of Maras for a descent into the incredible salt pans. Thousands of them cover the hillside. The salt pans are a significant part of Inca culture and quite a sight to see. Finally, meet your vehicle beside the Urubamba River for the drive back to your charming hotel in Ollantaytambo located in the heart of the Sacred Valley.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Urubamba Villas
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  • Day 6: Lares Trail: Urubamba to Quisuarani

    Today we begin our four-day hike toward Machu Picchu. Departing Urubamba early, we drive along the Sacred Valley heading high into the Andes. We will drive about two hours before abandoning our vehicles and hiking up an ancient Inca trail, beginning acclimatization. Within the narrow canyon, we will have the chance to explore Inca burial tombs before reaching a bus at the end of the valley that will take us over a 14,000' pass to a small community called Quisuarani, where we will camp for the night.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Camping
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  • Day 7: Lares Trail: Quisuarani to Huacahuasi
    Spot a soaring Andean condor. No other land bird has such a large wingspan.

    Today is dedicated to hiking out of the Quisuarani Valley, hopefully meeting some colorfully dressed locals. This whole area is famous for its weavings, and at campsites along the way we can barter for beautiful hand-made textiles at a fraction of the price they would be at home or even in Cusco. As we continue along the trail, we will pass native tree reforestation projects where many endemic birds make their homes in the restored ecosystem, descend past spectacular waterfalls and crystal clear lakes, and hopefully encounter herds of Llama and Viscachas (long-tailed rabbits). We stop for a picnic lunch in the small village of Cuncani before a short walk over the ridge to the village of Huacahuasi where we will camp for the night. The old Inca Trail past camp leads to the "Baños del Inca" – The Inca’s Baths – a group of perfectly heated natural pools where we can enjoy a good soak after a great, but tiring, day.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Camping
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  • Day 8: Lares Trail: Huacahuasi to Huilloc

    This morning offers the greatest challenge of our trek, as we climb over a 14,000' pass and slowly descend down into the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Hike by untouched lakes before arriving at the pass after lunch, a great vantage point for viewing the snowy Mount Veronica. Continue down an old mule trail through Patacancha to the village of Huilloc, famous as the hometown of many of the traditional porters for the Inca Trail. We will set up our final camp here, where everyone wears traditional dress and the locals speak Quechua.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Camping
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  • Day 9: Lares Trail / Machu Picchu Town
    The train helps us cover the distance between the Lares Trail and Machu Picchu

    We begin our day with a short, steep climb to the little visited ruins of Pumamarca. Later, we follow an ancient Inca trail along the many terraces of the Huilloc Valley, winding our way through eucalyptus forests to the nearby town of Ollantaytambo, where we conclude our hike. Following lunch, we'll catch the afternoon train to cover the remaining distance to Machu Picchu Pueblo (formerly known as Aguas Calientes), the town outside the Machu Picchu ruins.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Inti Inn (or similar)
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  • Day 10: Machu Picchu / Cusco
    Experience majestic, mysterious Machu Picchu

    Wake up early to get to Machu Picchu for a full guided tour. There will be time afterwards to climb Huayna Picchu (or Machu Picchu Mountain), though this needs to be planned in advance due to permit restrictions. Otherwise, you can wander through the valley at your own pace and soak in the moutain air.

    In the evening our train and bus brings us back to Cusco so we can spend the full day there tomorrow.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Hotel Tupaq Yupanqui
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  • Day 11: Cusco Free Day
    Visit the always-vibrant Plaza de Armas

    Cusco is a busy, historically rich city with endless things to do, and with just a day here, we don't want to dictate how you spend it. Explore Inca ruins, visit colonial churches, bargain hunt in Indian markets or just relax over coffee on a terrace overlooking the Plaza de Armas. If everyone is interested, we'll try together for one final group farewell this evening.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Hotel Tupaq Yupanqui
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  • Day 12: Onward
    It's a shame to go to Peru without witnessing the culture of Lake Titicaca

    Transfer to the Cusco airport for onward flight. Perhaps you'd like to consider an extension to explore Lake Titicaca, Colca Canyon and Arequipa? Or consider adding a day or two to explore Cusco in greater depth.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    None
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Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Or Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$3,175
Airfare Lima-Cusco roundtrip est. $375
Single Supplement:
$595
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Need to Know

Need to Know

Duration:
12 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost.
Comfort Level:
1
Mix of camping and cozy lodges
Group Size:
4-16
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
4
JOURNEYS grading system from I to IV will help you choose an experience with physical demands which match your motivation. 1. Active Active exploration with optional day hikes, easy walking, leisurely bicycling or light canoeing. Comfortable travel by vehicle. 2. Vigorous Experience may include regular hiking or physical exercise in varied environments. Travel by vehicle may be long or over rough terrain. 3. Challenging Parts of trip will involve physical challenge. Daily hiking in rough terrain, high altitude, rough road travel and remoteness from modern medical care may be unavoidable circumstances. 4. Demanding Extended foot travel in very remote areas. Previous wilderness travel experience advisable. Doctor's certification may be requested.

Terms & Conditions: 

Standard

Included in costs: Meals as noted, each night in double occupancy accommodations, land transfers between components, English speaking guides, park or site entry fees, surface transport, equipment other than personal gear, government tax, airport transfer assistance, in-country ticket reconfirmation and check-in assistance (where permitted), complete pre-departure packet, toll-free pre-departure phone assistance.

Not included in costs: Meals not noted as included, gratuities, beverages (except tea or coffee at meals), international or domestic airfare unless specified, airport departure taxes not included with air tickets, visas, itinerary changes after confirmation, any services not included in itinerary, any costs incurred due to canceled or delayed flights, acts of nature or other happenings beyond our control, or other costs as are more fully described in JOURNEYS Terms & Conditions.

Deposit and payment schedule: $500 per person per trip or the applicable amount based on the trip and the proximity of the departure date. A second deposit of $800 per person is due four months prior to departure, and final payment for land arrangements is due 60 days prior to departure.  Any applicable permit fees required in advance are non-refundable as well.  Airlines require full payment when tickets are issued. The deposit may be made by Visa, Master Card, American Express, or check, and the Reservation Form may be submitted by fax, mail, or via our website. Full payment schedule and cancellation penalties are described in our Terms and Conditions as noted in our Global Expedition Catalog, on our website, and elsewhere. Please request these if you do not have them before advancing a deposit.

Air fares: JOURNEYS can make complete air arrangements applicable to your trip as noted in this itinerary. If you wish to redeem frequent flyer mileage or arrange flights directly with the airline, you may do so on your own at no penalty. If you do, please consult with us on exact arrival and departure dates and times before having your tickets issued to avoid errors.

Insurance: When you make your application, we strongly recommend the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergency situations. Please contact us for a recommended policy.

Itinerary Change Fee: There will be a $40 fee for changes once an itinerary has been confirmed and approved. Additional cancellation penalties or change fees may apply as per our terms and conditions. The passenger is responsible for such fees.

Resources

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

Lake Titicaca, Arequipa, and Colca Canyon

Duration: 6 days

Your trip to Peru really isn't complete without walking the shores of the infamous Lake Titicaca and standing in awe of the iconic condor soaring above Colpa Canyon. Select this extension to round out your Peruvian experience.

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