Machu Picchu & Amazon Adventure

  • 10 Days
  • Avg Group Size: 12
  • Activity Level 3
    • Activity Level 3

      Those who take on our Level 3 tours are looking for more challenging hikes that will raise their heart rate.

    Read more about the Active Range

  • Trip Start: Cusco
  • Trip End: Cusco
Ultimate Peru Adventure Trip

Feast your eyes on magnificent landscapes, ancient ruins and dense jungles on our Machu Picchu & Amazon Adventure

Starting and finishing in Cusco, you'll hike in the footsteps of the Incas, cycle through Andean villages, and explore the Amazon jungle on our 10-day Machu Picchu & Amazon Adventure. Every day will have you exploring new landscapes and taking in the captivating history Peru has to offer. You'll hike the Lares Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, where you'll have plenty of time to explore the enchanting passageways and stone structures. That's not all this adventure entails though, you'll also cycle through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, hike the Sacsayhuamán fortress, visit Pisac market, and wander the virgin jungle of the Amazon. The variety of activities and landscapes on this Ultimate Peru Adventure tour will give you a Peruvian trip like no other – and an experience you'll never forget!

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Our Trip Itinerary contains all the exciting details you can expect to do on our trips. Get a clear picture of the adventures on this trip.

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Machu Picchu & Amazon Adventure ~ Itinerary

Trip Start: Cusco Trip End: Cusco

Download our Handy Trip itenary

Our Trip Itinerary contains all the exciting details you can expect to do on our trips. Get a clear picture of the adventures on this trip

  • Day 1Arrive in Cusco, hike Sacsayhuaman Fortress

  • Day 2Cycle Sacred Valley, visit Pisac Market, hike Pisac Ruins

  • Day 3Lares Trail: Hike to Cuncani

  • Day 4Lares Trail: Hike over Paso de Pumahuanca to Paccha

  • Day 5Lares Trail: Hike to Ollantaytambo

  • Day 6Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

  • Day 7Machu Picchu Excursion

  • Day 8Journey to the Amazon, wildlife viewing in Tambopata Reserve

  • Day 9Wildlife hike, virgin jungle exploration

  • Day 10Return to Cusco, depart for home

  • Day 1

    Arrive in Cusco, hike Sacsayhuaman Fortress

    #5725

    Our trip starts in Cusco, the heart of the Inca empire. Your trip leader will greet you with a cup of hot coca tea – a local specialty. After lunch, we’ll set off for a walk around this amazing ancient city and up to Sacsayhuamán fortress overlooking the main Plaza and Cusco Valley. The fortress, meaning ‘House of the Sun’, is a magnificent archaeological site representing a set of jaguar’s teeth with massive, perfectly fitted stones weighing up to 130 tonnes each and was the place where the Incas made their final stand against the Spanish conquistadores. No one really knows what the Incas used Sacsayhuamán for – some say it was a sanctuary and temple of the sun, others say it was a granary. No matter who is right, you’ll have a lot of fun hearing all the stories this amazing area inspires.

    Later, we’ll take a walk through the colorful Cusco street markets. If you prefer, you can take some time to soak in the vibrant atmosphere of Cusco’s lively town square and meet up again later for an evening meal.
    Accommodation: Ramada Wyndham Costa del Sol, Cusco
    Meals: Lunch, Dinner

    Hiking: 1.2 miles (2 kilometers), 2-3 hours
    Elevation Gain/Loss: 656 feet (200 meters) ascent, 656 feet (200 meters) descent

  • Day 2

    Cycle Sacred Valley, visit Pisac Market, hike Pisac Ruins

    #5726

    We’ll head into the fertile Sacred Valley of the Incas this morning, stopping just above Cusco, where we’ll jump on our bikes and ride down through breathtaking scenery, dotted with local villages and surrounded by the massive green slopes of the Andes. We’ll finish our ride in the small town of Pisac, where we’ll have a chance to check out the colorful mercado artesanal. From here we’ll begin a spectacular hike up to the Pisac ruins. These Inca terraces rise 2,000 feet (610 meters) up from the river below. It’s a heart-pumping walk up through ancient agricultural terraces – you’ll never forget the views of Pisac and the Urubamba Valley!

    After exploring the ancient complex, we’ll descend the original Inca stairways and head back down the valley to Cusco. This is the largest existing fortress-city of the Incas, and it’s the perfect warm-up for your Inca Trail trek tomorrow!
    Accommodation: Ramada Wyndham Costa del Sol, Cusco
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Biking: 12 miles (20 kilometers), 2-3 hours

    Hiking: 1.8 miles (3 kilometers), 2-3 hours
    Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,476 feet (250 meters) ascent

  • Day 3

    Lares Trail: Hike to Cuncani

    #5727

    From Cusco, we’ll head in the direction of the Sacred Valley. The road leads to Lares and crosses the Amparaes Pass. This phenomenal drive winds through arid landscapes, crosses rivers and you’ll see some of the most stunning mountain vistas in Peru.

    Our final destination is the hot baths of Lares. Here, naturally occurring hot springs await us before we set out on our trek. From the thermal baths unfolds a small track used by local children and community members of Lares. We’ll pass through hand-tilled fields and crops of quinoa and potato, amongst quaint stone houses.

    After a gradual climb of a few hours, we’ll stop for a delicious lunch, before continuing on to the community of Cuncani, where we’ll set up camp for the evening. 
    Accommodation: Lares Inca Trail Camp
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Elevation: Lares Inca Trail Camp - 12,600 feet (3,840 meters)

    Hiking: 6.8 miles (11 kilometers), 4-6 hours
    Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,968 feet (600 meters) ascent 

  • Day 4

    Lares Trail: Hike over Paso de Pumahuanca to Paccha

    #5728

    If we have clear skies at sunrise, we’ll wake to the imposing view of Colque Crus, a majestic mountain capped by a glacier, which provides water to the local community. We follow the path next to an icy stream that will take us towards the pass. The ascent is challenging.

    On reaching the summit a stunning view of the Pampas of Anta awaits us, followed by a descent that will be most welcome after the challenging climb. The descent is steep but beautiful, crossing a small forest of ‘Polylepis’, the endemic and endangered trees of the high Andes. Just after the forest and with an incredible view of the valley below we will stop for lunch.

    After which the drop continues until we reach our camp, a tranquil paradise surrounded by trees and crossed by a small river. 
    Accommodation: Lares Inca Trail Camp
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Elevation: Lares Inca Trail Camp - 13,400 feet (4,040 meters)

    Hiking: 9 miles (14.4 kilometers), 7-9 hours
    Elevation Gain/Loss: 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) ascent 

  • Day 5

    Lares Trail: Hike to Ollantaytambo

    #5729

    This morning will be our last on the trail and after breakfast there will be a chance to take photos with our support crew, cooks and field staff. All those who made this trip possible. From here the walk becomes easier down to the piscigranja (fish farm). We will feel the climate changing, becoming warmer and more alive, with more variety in vegetation as hummingbirds accompany us on our journey.

    After a few short hours we will meet our private transportation that will take us to Ollantaytambo for an overnight stay at the stunning & unique El Albergue hotel.
    Accommodation: El Albergue Hotel
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Hiking: 3.1 miles (5 kilometers), 4 hours
    Elevation Gain/Loss: 2,624 feet (800 meters) descent

  • Day 6

    Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

    #5730

    Embarking on the exhilarating journey from Kilometer 104 to the Sun Gate of Machu Picchu is an awe-inspiring adventure that promises a blend of natural beauty, ancient history, and physical challenge. From Ollantaytambo, we take the train to Kilometer 104 to begin our day trek along the famous Inca Trail.

    The anticipation builds with each step as we hike high above the valley floor to the magnificent Incan site of Wiñay Wayna. Here we find a fabulous sense of peace far from the crowds, with superb views of the imposing verdant mountains and native orchids. The trail now becomes gentler, meandering through beautiful rainforest, then up the ancient stone "monkey steps", until eventually there it is – our first glimpse of the Machu Picchu citadel! Arriving at the Sun Gate, with its panoramic views of Machu Picchu, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This iconic vantage point reveals the grandeur of the ancient citadel, framed by the surrounding lush green mountains and the winding Urubamba River.

    After snapping photos to your heart’s content, we make our way across the site to take the bus down to Aguas Calientes. But don’t worry, we’ll be back for a full day of exploration tomorrow!
    Accommodation: Hatun Inti Boutique, Aguas Calientes
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Hiking: 6.8 miles (11 kilometers), 7-8 hours
    Elevation Gain/Loss: 2,120 feet (650 meters) descent

  • Day 7

    Machu Picchu Excursion

    #5731

    Good Morning! Rested and enthusiastic for our ultimate day you have the option to relax this morning or have a wander round the town. We will lunch early in one of Aguas Calientes’ excellent restaurants in order to arrive to the Citadel in good time for our full afternoon tour. Accompanied by our guide, we take a 25-minute bus ride to the sanctuary of Machu Picchu at 7,874 feet (2,400 meters). Our guide will lead us on a 2-hour tour of exploration and discovery of the many curious corners within this enigmatic Citadel. As the site closes for the day, we will bus back down to Aguas Calientes.

    We then have a charming train journey back to Ollantaytambo and time to reflect on the amazing day at Machu Picchu. Our private transport will be waiting to take us back to the hotel in Cusco.
    Accommodation: Ramada Wyndham Costa Del Sol, Cusco
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Hiking: Wander around the ruins, 2 hours
    Elevation Gain/Loss: 656 feet (200 meters) ascent, 656 feet (200 meters) descent

  • Day 8

    Journey to the Amazon, wildlife viewing in Tambopata Reserve

    #5732

    Today we’ll take a short flight from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado, a frontier town in the Amazon basin. We’ll take to motorized canoes and glide deep into the jungle down the Tambopata River, one of the headwaters of the Amazon. Listen for howler monkeys in the tropical forest canopy above and spot macaws perched high on the riverbanks. This area is teeming with wildlife and the boat trip to our jungle lodge is a great opportunity to look for giant otters, capuchin monkeys, caiman and an array of birds that can be found in this area.

    After lunch, we’ll experience the jungle with all of our senses by exploring on foot this time. Keep an eye out for the rainforest dwellers including several species of monkeys – that come out in search of food in the late afternoon!

    After dark, you’ll have a chance to get back on board the canoes with a spotlight in search of the nocturnal caiman (South American crocodile) lurking in the river.
    Accommodation: Sachavacayoc Lodge, Amazon jungle
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Hiking: 2 hours, short hikes in the jungle

  • Day 9

    Wildlife hike, virgin jungle exploration

    #5733

    This morning we’ll explore some of the many miles of jungle trails that criss-cross the dense rainforest. We’ll travel by motorized canoe and hike through virgin forest to experience the wealth of native flora and fauna under the Amazon rainforest canopy, and learn how the indigenous people thrive in this challenging environment. The Amazon is the most biologically diverse place on Earth and you’ll discover more about the amazing flora and fauna here, as well as learn about the incredible medicinal plants that are found in this region.

    After lunch, you have the rest of the afternoon free to hang out at the lodge with a book or continue exploring the surrounding area on your own. If you’d prefer to hike a little more this afternoon, you can head out with our naturalist guide on little-known trails that pass by the homes of some of the rarest animals in the rainforest.

    This evening we’ll brave the jungle on foot to look for tarantulas, insects and frogs that come out after dark.
    Accommodation: Sachavacayoc Lodge, Amazon jungle
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Hiking: 1.2 miles (2 kilometers), 1-2 hours

  • Day 10

    Return to Cusco, depart for home

    #5734

    This morning we leave the rainforest and take a boat back to Puerto Maldonado, where we’ll catch a short flight to Cusco. This is the last day of your trip in Peru, if you have time to spare after the trip, we’re happy to give you suggestions on how to make the most of it.

    On the other hand, if you’re on your way home today, we’ll send you back refreshed and invigorated from the great food, exercise, rest and adventures you’ll have had with us in Peru!
    Accommodation: Not applicable
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Machu Picchu & Amazon Adventure Departure Dates

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Included

  • Our own highly experienced trip leader, with you from start to finish
  • Industry-leading Guest-to-Guide ratio (averaging 6:1)
  • Your own ‘Travel Wallet’, an online space with everything required for your adventure
  • Our knowledgeable Customer Service Team to answer your queries - just a phone call, email or chat away
  • Customer Service pre-trip phone calls to ensure you’re 'trip ready'
  • All accommodations for the duration of your trip
  • All meals except where indicated in the itinerary
  • Unlimited snacks to keep you fueled
  • Flights as outlined in the itinerary
  • All activities outlined in the itinerary
  • All necessary equipment (well-maintained and safe) for activities
  • All gratuities for hotels, restaurants, and activities
  • Transportation in our air-conditioned vans - safe, clean, modern, and comfortable!

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Useful Info

Where does the trip start?

On the first morning of the trip, our two pick-up locations are Cusco airport (CUZ) (if your flight arrives by 11am) or Ramada Wyndham Costa del Sol at 12pm. You are welcome to book your pre-trip stay at this hotel directly or any other hotel in Cusco, though you must make your own way to one of the two pick-up points at the pre-designated times.

Where does the trip end?

Your trip ends with a flight to Cusco Airport (CUZ) in time for flights below.

What flights would you recommend?

Arrival: We recommend arriving in Cusco a couple of days before your trip begins to get accustomed to the 3,300 metres (10,000 feet) elevation. If this isn’t possible that’s okay – your trip is designed to begin very gently and ease you into being active at altitude!

Departure: Flying out on the last day of the trip, we recommend departing from Cusco any time after 6pm. Earlier flight times will require a separate transfer booked at your own expense.

 

How fit do I need to be for this trip?

As an Activity Level 3-4 trip, you’ll need a solid level of fitness for this trip. Typically, hikes on this trip range between three and six hours to complete, with longer hikes on the Inca trails. So get out there with a daypack on and train so you’ll be ready to join us! While you don’t have to be extremely fit, you should be in the habit of doing regular aerobic exercise, ideally involving some up hills and down hills and carrying a pack! With a little preparation before your trip begins, you’ll enjoy the active and outdoor nature of your trip all the more.

Please head to our Fitness Guide for great tips on how to prepare along with a workout plan!

What accommodations do we stay at on this trip?

We’ve chosen the places we stay for their location, cleanliness and charm – not the number of channels available on the television! Many of the places we stay are off-the-beaten track and set in amazing locations. For example, on the Lares Trail trek we’re under canvas, though it’s pretty fancy camping. Our porters carry tents and supplies, cook meals, boil drinking water for us and take care of everything around camp.

On the nights where we stay in Cusco we have chosen good lodgings, ideally situated close to the main attractions without being too central, in order to avoid the most touristy and noisy areas. It’s worth keeping in mind that Peru is a noisy place – people here have a festive way of looking at life and often enjoy beeping their horns and playing loud music! We have chosen the quietest areas practical in order for people to get the best sleep possible (although after hiking the Inca Trail trek most people find they have no trouble sleeping!), and earplugs are recommended in this energetic and lively part of the world. In contrast, the jungle lodges in the Amazon are very tranquil and quiet.

We recommend bringing enough clothing to only have to do laundry once during your trip and the best time will be during our two night stay in Cusco (during your free day).

How much luggage can I bring on this trip?

You are allowed one piece of luggage on your trip, plus a daypack. Your main piece of luggage should not exceed 50 pounds (23 kilograms) and can be anything from a duffle bag to a sports bag with wheels or a suitcase. You’ll also want a good quality backpack sized 25-30 liters (2000 cubic inches) to use throughout the days. 

We’ll give you an Active Adventures South America porter bag to pack 17 pounds (8 kilograms) of your main gear into to give to your porter for the Lares Trail, and you’ll hike with your daypack. You can store remaining gear at the hotel in Cusco while we trek.  

When we go to the Amazon Jungle, we only need to take along what we need for these nights, so you can leave your extra gear securely in your Cuzco hotel for when you return. Therefore, please bring along a collapsible bag to take your overnight gear away in. 

Tell me about the Lares Trail?

This three day trek through the real Peru will take you over high Andean passes, past secluded lakes, along remote valleys and into local villages. This trail is somewhat less well known than the Classic Inca Trail, but it’s an equally spectacular wilderness experience.

The Lares Trail is 40km (25 miles) in total length and you’ll average around 5 hours or 10km (6 miles) per day. The greatest elevation reached on the Lares Trail is 4,730 metres (15,700 feet) at the top of Pumahuanca Pass. It involves three days of hiking, two passes, two nights of camping, one night in a hotel and time in numerous quaint villages. You’ll feel like you have Peru to yourself on this trail – it’s a hidden gem that you’ll be very glad that you found!

We often have travelers comment on how strongly they’re touched by the interactions they have with the local communities on the Lares Trail. You’ll see many young children on this hike, so feel free to bring along some small spin tops or other fun gifts to hand out.

What are the accommodations/meals on the trails?

While on the Lares Trail you’ll be camping for two nights. We provide spacious four-person tents for those with twin and double share rooms and those who opt for the single bedroom supplement get a tent of their own. Thermarest brand sleeping mats are provided by us and your porter will carry this. When you arrive into camp you’ll find your tent already pitched, water on the boil and a hot meal being prepared for you. Latrine bathrooms with running water can be found nearby. If you’re up for it you’ll also have the option of a cold shower at some stage too.

You’ll be provided with three delicious hot meals while on the trail, and you’ll also be provided with two litres of boiled water at the beginning of each day, as well as at lunch and dinner for drinking and brushing teeth.

Do you provide porters on the trails?

Included in your trip fare are the services of our group porters who carry your tents, food and cooking equipment.
They also can take up to 8 kilograms (17 pounds) of your personal gear – including your sleeping bag and sleeping mat. The night before you hit the trail, we’ll give you a porter duffel bag to pack 8 kilograms (17 pounds) worth of overnight gear into (e.g. sleeping bag, sleeping mat, toiletries, spare clothes) - scales are provided at your hotel to help you pack.

The porters will whisk your duffel bag away, leaving you to walk at your own pace self-sufficiently with your day gear in your daypack (e.g. passport, water, raincoat, fleece, camera, personal items). Your excess gear is stored securely in Cusco.

Tell me about the Amazon Jungle?

For three days during this trip you’ll be visiting the Amazon Jungle near Puerto Maldonado. Once again, we’ll only take what we need for these 3 days, and leave any excess luggage stored securely at your Cusco hotel for when we return. You’ll take a short flight from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado before boarding a boat down an Amazonian tributary to a jungle lodge – your home for the next three days.

We stay at a variety of jungle lodges and many are built from a combination of traditional native materials and modern day eco-lodge technology deep in the jungle. The modest facilities are built with wood, palm fronds, wild cane and clay. All rooms are separated by drapes (so they’re not sound proof) and each bedroom has beds, mosquito nets, bedside tables, hammocks or lounge chairs and a private cold-water bathroom. A generator is turned on once a day to recharge batteries for guests or lodge facilities. Light is provided by numerous kerosene lamps and candles. Common areas are open and spacey and offer ample area for resting and socialising, they include a dining room and bar, a reception lounge with souvenir shop, and an interpretation centre.

The climate here is very different to that of the Andes – hot and humid is a pretty accurate description! Some long sleeved/ legged clothes are a good idea for sun and bug protection, though we don’t recommend doing any washing while you’re here - it probably won’t dry. The amounts on the mini gear list below are guide for what to pack from April to October. If you’re travelling from November to March, you might like to bring a little extra clothing also as things can get a little more wet and muddy! Hiking boots are also better than shoes at this time of year. Some jungle lodges provide rubber boots in the wet season, but others don’t, so it’s better to come prepared!

What is not included?

Flights to and from trip start/end points
Pre/Post accommodation
Optional extra activities
Travel insurance
Gratuities for your guides
Rental gear

Is tipping expected in Peru?

Most people do choose to tip their Active Adventures guides and we recommend USD$20 per day, per guest, per trip leader. You are welcome to tip an equivalent amount in the local currency. There are plenty of ATM’s and banks in the larger towns of Peru. During your Active Adventures trip, your trip leader will take care of all included restaurants and service tips for you. For other restaurants or services during your time in Peru, 5-10% is a typical gratuity amount.

On the Machu Picchu & Amazon Adventure you’ll be accompanied by a trekking crew and porters on the Lares trail, and we recommend S/100 (US$30) to be shared amongst them.

How do rooming arrangements work?

Trip prices are based on shared arrangements (typically two guests per room), unless otherwise stated. For solo travelers, we’ll pair you with another person of the same gender to share rooms and if there’s no one suitable to share with, there’s no forced single supplement. However, if you specifically request your own rooms, you can opt to pay the single supplement. Solo travelers who book within 90 days of departure, where there are no other solo travelers willing to share, will be required to pay the single supplement. 

For Family Vacation bookings, families consisting of four guests traveling with children aged 17 and under will be automatically assigned one shared room. However, the following alternative rooming allocations are available:

  • Families consisting of four guests with all children aged 13 and above are welcome to opt for additional rooms as per advertised double occupancy adult rates.
  • Families consisting of four guests with at least one child aged 12 and under are automatically assigned a shared room. However, families can opt to pay the adult rates for all guests in their family to have an additional room.
  • The same principles apply for families consisting of more than four guests.

Rooming preferences are subject to availability and must be communicated in writing at time of booking. Automatic assignments as per this policy will be applied in the absence of any specification provided by guests. Any request for additional rooms during trips will be at guests’ own expense and subject to rates made available by the accommodation provider at the time. All minors (guests aged 17 and under) must be accompanied by at least one adult.

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