Peru Family: Machu Picchu & the Sacred Valley

Family Tour of Peru: Machu Picchu & the Sacred ValleyFamily Tour of Peru: Machu Picchu & the Sacred Valley

Peru Family

Machu Picchu & the Sacred Valley

overview

High in the Andes Mountains the legendary ruins of Machu Picchu lie hidden in the clouds, just waiting for your family to explore them. But that’s not all Peru has to offer: a visit to this South American paradise isn’t complete without experiencing the sacred Urubamba Valley—a lush patchwork of terraced farmland, grazing sheep, tiny villages, and age-old cliff-side burial sites. Don’t miss out on the enchanting city of Cusco, where remarkably preserved Incan structures co-exist with raucous markets and mouthwatering restaurants. Trek the Incan trail up and down lush hillsides, past farming families and soccer-playing school children (who will invariably offer to let you join in). Feed llamas and alpacas in traditional weaving centers—and maybe pick up some souvenirs while you’re at it. And, when you do visit the magnificent Machu Picchu, do so away from the crowds with a best-in-the-business guide who can unlock this mysterious site’s true wonder—a stirring memory your family will savor for years to come.

Activity Level
Moderate with
challenging sections,
with an average
of 4-9 miles daily
Meet
Cusco, Peru
Depart
Cusco, Peru
Daily Itinerary
Download printable
itinerary
Family Adventure 
8 days, 7 nights Trip Includes 

Trip Includes

  • Two expert, local guides (for groups of 7 or more), with you 24/7
  • All meals and non-alcoholic beverages included; welcome and farewell cocktails
  • All accommodations (with private bathrooms) while on tour
  • Transportation from the meeting to the departure point
  • Complimentary airport transfers upon arrival and departure in Cusco
  • Entrance fees and special events as noted in the itinerary
  • Basic travel insurance coverage
  • The unbeatable and cumulative experience of the CW staff

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Itinerary and Accommodations

Days
Destination
1
Cusco
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2
Yucay
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3
Yucay
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4
Yucay
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5
Aguas Calientes
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6
Aguas Calientes
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7
Cusco
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8
Departure
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Day 1

Cusco

Cusco and surrounding ruins; 3 miles, easy

After an early breakfast and an orientation meeting, your Peruvian guides acquaint you with the history and culture of this ancient city on a walking tour. Your meeting hotel is a lovely colonial building situated in the heart of Cusco, one of the highest cities in the world at 11,400 feet. Your explorations take you over the cobbled streets as you visit the main cultural and religious sites within the city, both Incan and colonial.

San Pedro Market is a must-see while in the fascinating city of Cusco. Colorful flowers, aromatic herbs and an astonishing variety of fruits are on display. The brave might enjoy a stroll through the meat section of this market—where everything from choice steaks to pig heads are displayed.

Later, a short drive brings you to the city’s outskirts, where you can explore the famous sites surrounding Cusco. You begin at Sacsayhuaman, the principal Incan temple in the region, where the Inca held religious celebrations. You then proceed to Quenko, a ceremonial site for important Incan families. Although Quenko was virtually destroyed by the Spanish, remains of ceremonial altars and gods worshiped by the Inca are still visible. Time permitting you may visit the impressive site of Tambomachay, where ritual baths and aqueducts surround the ancient Temple of the Water.

After returning to the hotel, you have a bit of time to relax before dinner. The evening meal is at an inviting restaurant in Cusco and features local specialties such as rocoto relleno (stuffed peppers) and chupe de quinoa (stew made with local cheese, vegetables, and a local power-packed grain called quinoa).

Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel

Cusco, Peru

A former 16th-century colonial mansion, this elegant boutique hotel is ideally located just two blocks from the Main Square. The property features lovely rooms equipped with an intelligent oxygen system.

Day 2

Yucay

Pisac Market visit and horseback riding (3 hours)

After breakfast, you transfer to Pisac, stopping at Awanacancha en route for a short visit of this bustling weaving center. Pet llamas and alpacas and feed them alfalfa while learning the differences between these two South American camelids. Pisac Market offers colorful textiles, paintings, silver jewelry and friendly local people. It’s the perfect spot for picking up a few souvenirs and for doing some people watching.

Lunch today is plentiful with local dishes and the best desserts in the area.  Afterwards you enjoy a horse show featuring the Peruvian paso horse—a unique breed with a gentle gait. Their unique dance provides a compelling insight into Peru’s fascinating traditions. After a short orientation you can ride yourself, exploring countryside paths through small villages.

Late in the afternoon you drive 40 minutes to your beautiful monastery-turned-hacienda accommodations in Yucay, where there may be time for a short walk around the farmlands before reuniting for dinner.

La Posada Del Inca

Yucay, Peru

A beautifully restored hacienda with colonial architecture and expansive gardens, located at the base of the Andes.

Day 3

Yucay

Chinchero Market; Maras and Moray, to the Urubamba River; 7-9 miles, moderate with easy option (approximate 600-ft elevation gain and 2,000-ft elevation loss), sections of walk may cause vertigo

A visit to Chinchero begins the day (a 40-minute transfer) where you experience a traditional Andean market. Here Indians from the surrounding communities come to barter or sell their handicrafts and products. Colorful assortments of weavings, fruits, vegetables, beans, and livestock make this a truly unforgettable experience.

Afterward, transfer to the charming village of Maras, from where you begin a walk along ancient farming paths. Along the way you may see shepherds herding flocks of sheep or farmers threshing wheat. You stop to refuel on a gourmet picnic lunch. A short transfer takes you to the fascinating Inca site of Moray, once used for agricultural experimentation (and today preserved by UNESCO).

After a walking exploration of the site, you begin a descent through a narrow canyon to the Maras salt mines. The snowcapped Andes and golden wheat fields provide a stunning backdrop for a walk to this unique site, still mined today. Here you learn about the process of harvesting salt from terraces of pools created by an underground salt-water spring. The entire process is done by hand, and the methods have not changed since pre-Hispanic times. A final 30-minute descent brings you to the Urubamba River and the village of Pichingoto, where you are met by your bus driver for the short transfer back to the hotel. Dinner this evening is a hands-on experience as you make your own down for pizza tonight.

La Posada Del Inca

Yucay, Peru

A beautifully restored hacienda with colonial architecture and expansive gardens, located at the base of the Andes.

Day 4

Yucay

Traditional Andean Village; 5-7 miles, moderate to challenging (approximate 620-ft elevation gain and loss)

The village of Ollantaytambo is the first stop today. The spectacular Incan site above the village is famous as one of the few places where the Inca defeated the conquistadors in battle. Here you learn how the Inca maneuvered huge blocks of stone from the riverbanks below to the steep cliffs above to build their terraced temple.

Afterward you transfer (one hour) to a remote, traditional village, which provides an opportunity for an intimate view of mountain life in Peru. The walk follows ancient footpaths and life here continues as it has for hundreds of years as farmers still work the high Andean terraces, harvesting wheat and a variety of vegetables. Residents still wear the traditional dress of the area, and houses are made of stacked stone. You encounter llamas, cows, and goats grazing alongside the trail, and the snow-capped peak of Mount Alacoma appears close enough to touch. You are warmly welcomed by its inhabitants as you visit their primary school and homes. The kids in this area only play soccer and this is your chance to join them in the fun!

After finishing your descent, adults can unwind with a pisco sour (Peru’s national drink, made with clear white grape alcohol) by the fire before a final dinner in Yucay. This afternoon there is also an optional visit to the renowned Pablo Seminario pottery studio.

La Posada Del Inca

Yucay, Peru

A beautifully restored hacienda with colonial architecture and expansive gardens, located at the base of the Andes.

Day 5

Aguas Calientes

Train and Inca Trail to Machu Picchu; 7.5 miles, moderate to challenging, sections of steep stair climbing (approximate 2,000-ft elevation gain and loss), sections of walk may cause vertigo. Option to continue on train for shorter walk into Machu Picchu

After an early breakfast you transfer by bus to the Ollantaytambo station to board a train bound for Machu Picchu. The train follows the river and offers magnificent views of the surrounding peaks. Along the way the landscape magically transforms from vast highlands into lush cloud forest. You disembark from the train at kilometer 104, cross a footbridge, and begin a walk along the original Inca Trail towards Machu Picchu. After visiting the ancient Incan site of Chachabamba, you ascend steadily for three to four hours in the midst of lush mountain valleys and snow-capped peaks. Along the way you pass rushing waterfalls, delicate orchids, and perhaps even spot the native condor.

Stop to explore the well-restored Winay Wayna ruins, perched precariously on a steep mountain slope and flanked by ancient farming terraces. Winay Wayna, meaning “Forever Young” in Quechua, was named after a brightly colored orchid that blooms year-round. From here, you continue walking approximately two more hours along a mostly shaded section of the Inca Trail before arriving at the stairs leading to Intipunku, “Gate of the Sun,” and the entrance to Machu Picchu. You enter the site, like the ancient Inca themselves, through Intipunku and the spectacular view of the citadel unfolds before you. After taking in the fantastic ruins of this city, you descend to the valley floor by bus.

Walking the Inca Trail requires a permit, which is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Permits are limited and your passport details will be required to apply. We recommend booking as early as possible to acquire a permit. If CW is unable to obtain an Inca Trail permit, we will automatically request a permit for the optional walk which is Machu Picchu Mountain, located to the south of the archaeological site (not to be mistaken with Huayna Picchu which is the mountain behind Machu Picchu). In this case you and a CW guide continue on the train from kilometer 104 to the riverside town of Aguas Calientes. Upon arrival you board the bus to Machu Picchu, where you start your hike. This two-mile trail involves a challenging 2,000 foot ascent and descent along mostly stone steps. The hike takes about three and a half hours with spectacular views of Machu Picchu throughout. Additionally, less challenging options are available. Your hotel for the next two nights is a lovely eco-property overlooking a river at the edge of the cloud forest.

Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

Aguas Calientes, Peru

A Travel + Leisure “World's Best Hotel.” A unique ecoboutique hotel with extensive grounds including cloudforest gardens, medicinal plants, orchids, and a panoramic riverfront restaurant.

Day 6

Aguas Calientes

Machu Picchu; 2-6 miles on easy to challenging terrain (approximate 900-ft elevation gain and loss)

To experience the magic of sunrise over Machu Picchu, an optional bus ride to the site is offered in the pre-dawn hours, just as the gates open. After watching the sunrise over the site, you then eat breakfast at the nearby Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge before joining the full group for a guided tour. If you choose not to join the sunrise visit, you can have breakfast at your hotel before boarding a bus for the breathtaking climb up a series of switchbacks to the entrance of Machu Picchu. Your guide provides a comprehensive tour of the site including exploration of the Temple of the Sun, Temple of the Condor, and the astronomical observatory. There is time after to explore the mystical temples, altars, terraces, and chambers in solitude, or to embark on one of the short walks leading from the site.

Later, back at your hotel, you may choose to relax on the verandas overlooking the river and gardens, browse through the town’s market, or follow the fragrant orchid trail at the hotel. You may also visit the hotel’s tea plantation, harvest your own tea and make some iced tea from scratch.

Tonight you eat dinner while listening to Peruvian music in the property’s lovely dining room above the rushing river.

Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

Aguas Calientes, Peru

A Travel + Leisure “World's Best Hotel.” A unique ecoboutique hotel with extensive grounds including cloudforest gardens, medicinal plants, orchids, and a panoramic riverfront restaurant.

Day 7

Cusco

Transfer to Cusco, 3 hours; free afternoon

Following a hearty breakfast you will have the opportunity to enjoy some of the many activities offered at your hotel, including a guided nature walk through the orchid gardens. Mid-morning you will board the train to Cusco, arriving in time to further explore this celebrated city in the afternoon.

This evening your journey culminates in a farewell celebration and dinner at a Cusco restaurant where you bid farewell to this magical land.

Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel

Cusco, Peru

A former 16th-century colonial mansion, this elegant boutique hotel is ideally located just two blocks from the Main Square. The property features lovely rooms equipped with an intelligent oxygen system.

Day 8

Departure

Departure

After breakfast you transfer to the Cusco airport. Complimentary transfers to the airport are provided throughout the morning depending on the time of your departing flight.

Itinerary Disclaimer

Bear in mind that this is a typical itinerary, and the actual activities, sites, and accommodations may vary due to season, special events, weather, or transportation schedules. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary since tour arrangements are made up to a year in advance, and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve the tour and your experience. If you are currently booked on a CW adventure, an itinerary has been sent to you for your exact departure date. Please call CW at 800.464.9255 if you have any questions about the exact itinerary or hotels selected for any of our tours.

Guides

Freddy Delgado

Born in Cusco, Freddy Delgado has spent his life living between urban and rural areas where he learned Quechua, the Inca native language, from the local people. After trying different careers he decided to study tourism and archeology, eventually becoming an official tour guide. He has developed an expert knowledge of the region and his kindness and love for his country are contagious and will leave you with many fond memories after your trip.

Juan Carlos Yanez

Guiding runs in the family for Juan Carlos, who is a certified professional tour guide of Cusco and has been leading tours in the Andes for many years. Trained in his mother city of Cusco, Juan Carlos enjoys sharing his vast knowledge and love for his ancestral culture; evident from his enthusiastic smile and warm sense of humor. When not guiding, Juan Carlos spends time researching the Peruvian Andes with his father, also a well-known tour guide.

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