Peru: Land of the Inca

  • 8-day journey into the legacy of the Inca and the vibrant traditions of Peruvian culture
  • Explore Machu Picchu, Cusco, and the Sacred Valley of the Inca.

Expedition Details

 

Within the mountains of Peru lies a wealth of ancient Inca temples, Spanish colonial towns, and breathtaking Andean vistas. Discover the magnificent capital of Cusco, hike to ruins in the Urubamba Valley, meet artisans and archaeologists, and examine pre-Colombian treasures at the renowned Larco Herrera Museum. Then spend the night among the enchanting ruins of Machu Picchu, excavated by Hiram Bingham with funding from National Geographic more than a century ago.

Trip Highlights

    • Watch day break over the mountaintop Inca ruins of Machu Picchu.
    • Explore cathedrals in the Inca Empire's capital city of Cusco, stroll colorful markets in the Sacred Valley of the Inca, and discover the towering stones of the Sacsayhuaman Fortress.
    • Join archaeologist and National Geographic grantee Peter Frost for talks on the Inca and on his archaeological expeditions in Peru, which have been featured in National Geographic magazine.*
    • Attend a private demonstration of traditional Andean weaving techniques by a National Geographic grantee, and hear local musicians play indigenous instruments in a 16th-century monastery.

Itinerary - 8 Days

Day 1 — U.S./Lima, Peru

Depart for Lima, Peru's largest city, founded in the 1500s by conquistador Francisco Pizarro. Transfer to our hotel upon arrival and enjoy an evening to relax. 

Ramada Costa Del Sol Airport Hotel

Day 2 — Cusco/Sacred Valley of the Inca

Fly from Lima to Cusco this morning, and drive into the Sacred Valley of the Inca, stopping for a visit to Awanacancha, a farm where llamas and alpacas are bred. At our lodge and spa, nestled in tropical gardens in the hills just outside of Urubamba, settle into your private bungalow. Before dinner, enjoy a talk by National Geographic grantee Peter Frost*, who has been exploring the Andes for 35 years. In 2001 and 2002, Peter led National Geographic Society-sponsored expeditions into the remote region of Vilcabamba, Peru, finding and exploring the previously unknown Inca and pre-Inca site of Qoriwayrachina (National Geographic magazine, February 2004).
Hotel Sol y Luna (B,L,D)

Day 3 — Sacred Valley of the Inca

Travel further into the valley to Ollantaytambo this morning. Peter will join us here to explore the massive stone fortress where the Inca won their greatest victory against the conquistadores. Back at the lodge, meet National Geographic grantee Nilda Callañaupa, who has helped preserve and revive traditional Inca textiles. Learn about her ancient craft and watch a weaving demonstration. After a barbecue lunch, witness the delicate dance of paso horses during a presentation of traditional horsemanship, and enjoy a chance to ride these elegant creatures, known for their unusual gait. During a free afternoon, go for a walk or a horseback ride in the hills, visit a local pottery studio, or indulge in the spa. Gather for a captivating performance of folkloric stilt dancing tonight.
Hotel Sol y Luna (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Machu Picchu

An exhilarating morning train ride brings us through the valley and then up steep slopes 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 support from the National Geographic Society. Discover the mysteries of the "lost city of the Inca" on a guided walk of the citadel and then check into our incredible lodge overlooking the ruins—the only accommodation adjacent to Machu Picchu. This afternoon, return to the site to explore with a guide; head off on your own to see the Inca Bridge, built on a stone path that the Inca cut into a sheer cliff face; or request a private soak in the hotel’s hot tub, which is hidden in the surrounding cloud forest and has stunning views of the ruins. Watch twilight descend on Machu Picchu after the crowds have disappeared, and soak up the quiet enchantment of this legendary site.
Sanctuary Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Machu Picchu/Cusco

Before sunrise, hike up to the Sun Gate, the final checkpoint of the Inca Trail, and watch day break over the timeless ruins of Machu Picchu. Spend the rest of this morning wandering through the site on your own. After lunch, board the train and ride back to Cusco. Once the capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco is a city of astonishing charm and beauty. Our home here is an exquisite 16th-century monastery just steps from the city square. Take a stroll in the elegant arcaded courtyard and admire the 16th-century antiques and paintings decorating the halls before a special dinner with opera singers in the vaulted dining room.
Hotel Monasterio (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Cusco

Delve into the legacy of the Inca and the Spanish during a full day of exploration in Cusco. Examine the massive stone boulders that make up the 15th-century Sacsayhuaman fortress, site of one of the bloodiest battles in the Spanish conquest. See the Coricancha, a 17th-century cathedral and convent built atop the ruins of an opulent Inca temple. Then enjoy the afternoon at leisure to stroll around this beautiful city or relax at our historic hotel. This evening, experience the music of the Andes at a presentation of indigenous instruments.

Hotel Monasterio (B,D)

Day 7 — Cusco/Lima

After our flight back to Lima, visit the renowned Larco Herrera Museum to view the world's largest private collection of pre-Columbian art. Catch the changing of the guard at the Plaza Mayor before we gather for a farewell lunch at Casa Aliaga, a lovely colonial home. Later, check into our hotel, perched on the waterfront in the elegant Miraflores district, and take the rest of the day to relax or explore on your own.
Miraflores Park Hotel (B,L)

Day 8 — Lima/U.S.

After breakfast, transfer to the Lima airport for the return flight home.
(B)

Related Trips

National Geographic Expert

Ernesto Ore

Ernesto OreBorn and raised in a small Peruvian village, Ernesto Ore is well-versed in the rich history, traditions, and modern-day customs of his people. He is currently president of the Fundación Apu Kuntur, a non-profit dedicated to saving the endangered Andean condor, and has served as an apprentice to a high priest and healer from the Andes. Ernesto has been introducing travelers to his native culture for more than a dozen years years, lecturing on topics ranging from local wildlife and Inca ruins to traditional Peruvian perspectives on astronomy.

Ernesto will join the following departures:

Nov 29 - Dec 06, 2014
Dec 27, 2014 - Jan 03, 2015

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Lindblad/National Geographic Logo

This trip is offered in association with Lindblad Expeditions.

Dates

2014
  • Nov 29 - Dec 06, 2014
  • Dec 07 - 14, 2014
  • Dec 13 - 20, 2014
  • Dec 21 - 28, 2014
  • Dec 27, 2014 - Jan 03, 2015 (waitlist only)
2015
  • Jan 04 - 11, 2015
  • Jan 10 - 17, 2015
  • Jan 18 - 25, 2015
  • Jan 24 - 31, 2015
  • Feb 01 - 08, 2015
  • Feb 07 - 14, 2015
  • Feb 15 - 22, 2015
  • Feb 21 - 28, 2015
  • Mar 01 - 08, 2015
  • Mar 07 - 14, 2015
  • Mar 15 - 22, 2015
  • Mar 21 - 28, 2015
  • Mar 29 - Apr 05, 2015
  • Apr 04 - 11, 2015
  • Apr 12 - 19, 2015
  • Apr 18 - 25, 2015
  • Apr 26 - May 03, 2015
  • May 02 - 09, 2015
  • May 09 - 16, 2015
  • May 16 - 23, 2015
  • May 23 - 30, 2015
  • May 30 - Jun 06, 2015
  • Jun 07 - 14, 2015
  • Jun 13 - 20, 2015
  • Jun 21 - 28, 2015
  • Jun 27 - Jul 04, 2015
  • Jul 05 - 12, 2015
  • Jul 11 - 18, 2015
  • Jul 19 - 26, 2015
  • Jul 25 - Aug 01, 2015
  • Aug 02 - 09, 2015
  • Aug 08 - 15, 2015
  • Aug 16 - 23, 2015
  • Aug 22 - 29, 2015
  • Aug 30 - Sep 06, 2015
  • Sep 05 - 12, 2015
  • Sep 13 - 20, 2015
  • Sep 19 - 26, 2015
  • Sep 27 - Oct 04, 2015
  • Oct 04 - 11, 2015
  • Oct 11 - 18, 2015
  • Oct 18 - 25, 2015
  • Oct 24 - 31, 2015
  • Nov 01 - 08, 2015
  • Nov 07 - 14, 2015
  • Nov 14 - 21, 2015
  • Nov 22 - 29, 2015
  • Nov 28 - Dec 05, 2015
  • Dec 06 - 13, 2015
  • Dec 12 - 19, 2015
  • Dec 20 - 27, 2015
  • Dec 26, 2015 - Jan 02, 2016

*On departures that coincide with Peter's assignments, one of his colleagues, acclaimed anthropologist Jean-Jacques Decoster or ethnomusicologist Holly Wissler, will join us.

Expedition Cost

2014 and 2015

$4,990

Price is per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $1,200 in 2014 and $1,300 in 2015.

International airfare to/from Lima and airfare within Peru is not included in the expedition cost. The group flight within Peru is $370 (subject to change).

What To Expect

We will be traveling at high elevations while in Cusco and 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.