On this awe-filled tour of Peru, immerse yourself in the ancient Inca civilization as you visit spectacular ruins in Pisac, Ollantaytambo, and Machu Picchu and as you encounter remnants of that culture in our time. The Incas ruled a vast empire along the Western coast of South America from about 1400 to 1533 AD. They left behind unique art and architecture and were known for adapting natural landscapes with terracing, highways and mountaintop settlements set impossibly high in the Andes. Also tour the city of Cuzco, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with an intriguing blend of stone walls built by Incas, Spanish colonial architecture and modern buildings. Tour leaders Len and Mary Friesen make every tour an experience as they take travellers to see hidden gems. On this tour they will share a part of the world they first encountered in 2005.
2023 Peru: The Sacred Valley of the Incas
Saturday, October 7 Cuzco
Arrive in Cuzco, the capital of the largest pre-Columbian American empire. Settle in at your centrally located hotel and enjoy dinner with your travel companions and tour leaders.
Sunday, October 8 Cuzco
Spend a day at leisure exploring Cuzco and get acclimatized to the altitude. The city is famous for its spectacular main square, cobbled streets, and houses with terracotta tile roofs that may remind you of historic European villages. Marvel at Inca engineering, Spanish colonial influences, and explore Inca culture today at the daily San Pedro market.
Monday, October 9 Cuzco
Today, survey the Pisac ruins high above the Sacred Valley of the Incas. This historic complex with a residence, citadel, astronomical observatory and religious shrine was built in the shape of a partridge. Among Peru’s most intact archaeological sites, the Pisac ruins boast ingenious Inca architecture and beautiful countryside views. After the guided tour, make your way down to the local market for lunch and free time in the town of Pisac. Return to Cuzco for the evening.
Tuesday, October 10 Cuzco
Spend the first half of the day exploring Sacsayhuaman—the most important military base of the Inca Empire. The site includes residential buildings, towers, shrines, warehouses, roads and aqueducts. The impressive main wall is built in zigzag with giant stones up to 5 meters (16 feet) high and 2.5 meters (8 feet) wide. Sometimes people still re-enact Inca-inspired ceremonies at Sacsayhuaman. After a full morning, enjoy a free afternoon back in Cuzco or walkabout with your tour leaders. Peruse local shops, churches, museums, and galleries, or stroll through the historic San Blas barrio.
Wednesday, October 11 Ollantaytambo
Today, relax on a coach ride to the village of Ollantaytambo (“Oh-yahn-tai-tam-boh”), situated between Cuzco and Machu Picchu in the Inca “Sacred Valley”. Converse with your fellow tour members and marvel at modern village life set amidst ancient structures. If time allows enjoy an evening orientation to the village.
Thursday, October 12 Ollantaytambo
Enjoy a full day hiking in and around Ollantaytambo. Set on the Urubamba River amid snow-capped mountains, Ollantaytambo is known for its ruins: a massive Inca fortress with large stone terraces on a hillside. Marvel at the sites within the complex, including the huge Sun Temple and the Princess Baths fountain. Walk through the Inca-era old town: a grid of cobblestoned streets and adobe buildings. Other options include a more demanding hike to the ancient granaries high overtop the Inca fortress.
Friday, October 13 Machu Picchu
Travel in comfort on a glass-ceiling train from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu. Marvel at the rushing rivers, rugged mountains, villages, and impressive ruins in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. We will have the option to explore our base village, Aguas Calientes with its thermal springs, and to get a hint of the high forests that will eventually lead to the Amazon basin.
Saturday, October 14 Machu Picchu
Eat a hearty breakfast to prepare for a full day of searching out the mysteries one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Nestled in a dramatic landscape between the Peruvian Andes and the Amazon Basin, Machu Picchu was built in the mid-1400s as a royal retreat for a great Incan ruler. Constructed in the classic Incan style, polished dry-stone walls surround a stone astronomic clock, the Temple of the Sun, the Room of Three Windows and other structures. On a guided tour, learn why this landmark is the most significant legacy of the Inca civilization. Climb up and sit in silence on one of the many terraces as you consider this impossibly situated and still-mysterious UNESCO world heritage site.
Sunday, October 15 Cuzco
Say goodbye to Machu Picchu and return to Cuzco for your final full day in Peru.
Monday, October 16
After breakfast, bid farewell to your fellow travellers. Savour this experience of a lifetime as you depart for home.
Q: How active is this trip?
A: This tour is not all that active, unless you want it to be. We will reach almost all of the sights by train or bus and you’ll be welcome to return to our hotels by the same methods. And Cuzco and Ollyantaytambo, where we are staying for most of our time, are on largely level ground. We will also have options that will allow for more active walking. Even then, the Incas built their vast cities on mountains, which means that we will be on slopes and mountain terraces as we explore the magnificent ruins.
Q: Should I worry about altitude sickness on this trip?
A: Altitude sickness is a real concern as we will be high up, especially in Cuzco. Set high in the Andes, we will be about a third of the altitude above sea level that planes use to fly across oceans. So we will need to be careful. Tour leaders will be sure to pace the trip, especially at the beginning, to allow our bodies to get accustomed to the noticeably thin oxygen levels. They will offer practical advice on how to lessen the risks. This article provides some insights and tips for dealing with altitude sickness.
Check the pricing page for what is included and excluded in the tour fare.
For further information, please contact us. We would be happy to be of assistance.