Discover the land of the Inca on a journey that includes activities specifically geared for kids. Within the mountains of Peru lies a wealth of ancient Inca temples, Spanish colonial cathedrals, and breathtaking Andean vistas. Explore the magnificent ancient capital of Cusco, hike to ruins in the Urubamba Valley, examine pre-Columbian treasures at the renowned Larco Herrera Museum, and encounter incomparable Machu Picchu.
Visit an alpaca farm, participate in a weaving class, and explore the passageways of Machu Picchu.
Meet archaeologist and National Geographic grantee Guillermo Cock, who recently uncovered the 500-year-old remains of the first known gunshot victim in the Americas.
Listen to the music of the Andes during a presentation of traditional instruments, and meet a local shaman at a ceremonial performance.
Itinerary - 9 Days
Day 1 — U.S./Lima, Peru
Depart for Lima. Upon arrival, transfer to our hotel, located in the elegant Miraflores district. Miraflores Park Hotel
Day 2 — Lima
Spend the morning exploring Lima, founded in the 1500s by conquistador Francisco Pizarro. Visit the Plaza Mayor, city hall, and the baroque San Francisco Church. After lunch, meet with archaeologist Guillermo Cock, whose discovery of thousands of ancient Inca mummies was featured in National Geographic magazine and funded by a National Geographic grant. During recent excavations, Guillermo and his team found the first known gunshot victim in the Americas—thought to be an Inca killed by a bullet from a Spanish musket nearly 500 years ago. Gather for a welcome dinner this evening at Casa Aliaga, a lovely colonial home.
Miraflores Park Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 3 — Lima/Cusco/Sacred Valley of the Inca
Fly to Cusco this morning, and drive to Awanacancha, a farm where llamas and alpacas are bred. Stop in Pisac, the gateway to the Sacred Valley of the Inca, and wander through its local market. Explore the town’s ruins, from ritual baths to towers that may have been astronomical observatories. Settle into your private bungalow, nestled in a valley just outside of Urubamba. Tonight, meet a shaman and learn about the beliefs of the Inca at a ceremonial performance. Hotel Sol y Luna (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Sacred Valley of the Inca
Explore the massive stone fortress of Ollantaytambo, where the Inca won their greatest victory against the conquistadores. Then attend a traditional weaving demonstration by National Geographic grantee Nilda Callañaupa. Return to the lodge and enjoy a free afternoon to go horseback riding, indulge in the spa, or see a Paso horse demonstration. Gather for a barbecue around a campfire tonight, and watch folkloric dances performed on stilts. Hotel Sol y Luna (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Machu Picchu
Take a morning train ride through the valley and then ascend to magnificent Machu Picchu. Isolated among mountain peaks, Machu Picchu is one of the world’s most awe-inspiring sites. The sacred citadel was abandoned by the Inca, reclaimed by the jungle, and lost to history until it was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911 and excavated with financial support from the National Geographic Society. Discover the mysteries of “the lost city of the Inca” on a guided walk through the site. Sanctuary Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Machu Picchu/Cusco
Before sunrise, hike up to the Sun Gate, the final checkpoint of the Inca Trail, and watch daybreak over the quiet ruins of Machu Picchu. Spend the rest of this morning wandering through the ruins on your own, or set out on a challenging hike up Huayna Picchu for a magnificent view. After lunch at the site, board the train and ride back to Cusco. Hotel Monasterio (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Cusco
Delve into Inca culture in Cusco, once the capital city of the Inca Empire. Explore the 15th-century ruins of the Sacsayhuaman fortress, site of one of the bloodiest battles in the Spanish conquest. Then enjoy the afternoon at leisure to stroll around this beautiful city; visit the Coricancha, a magnificent 17th-century cathedral and convent; or just relax at our historic hotel. This evening, experience the music of the Andes at a presentation of indigenous instruments. Hotel Monasterio (B,D)
Day 8 — Cusco/Lima
Fly back to Lima. At the renowned Larco Herrera Museum, view the world’s largest private collection of pre-Columbian art. This afternoon, gather for a farewell lunch at Casa Diez-Canseco, a traditional Peruvian country home. Miraflores Park Hotel (B,L)
Day 9 — Lima/U.S.
After breakfast, transfer to the Lima airport for the return flight home. (B)
We will be traveling at high elevations while in Cusco and at Machu Picchu. Cusco is at an altitude of 11,200 feet and Machu Picchu, 8,000 feet. Participants should be physically fit. This expedition is not suitable for anyone who suffers from a respiratory disorder, a circulatory ailment, or a disability that limits mobility.