Lima – Cusco – Sacred Valley – Choquequirao  Trek – Machu Picchu – Cusco – Lima

The Inca Trail hike, though undoubtedly beautiful, is not the only way to reach Machu Picchu. For those who want to discover a more scenic and lesser-trodden trail, or those who find the Inca Trail is fully booked (due to restrictions on the number of trekkers allowed), we have a seriously attractive alternative for you: the Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu. Though it is nowhere near as well-known as its famous counterpart (the Inca Trail) it is, unquestionably, just as magical. On this sample tour through the Andes, you will travel around the serene Sacred Valley where age-old ways of living and working with the land are still practiced, meet the local inhabitants (both the human and animal varieties), and delve into the world of the Incas. Finally, embarking on the Choquequirao Trek you’ll ultimately reach what for many is the top bucket-list destination: Machu Picchu!

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    Day 1: Arrive at your hotel in Lima after your international flight to Peru!

    Lima is a metropolitan city known for its colonial architecture and mouthwatering ceviche!

    When your international flight arrives in Lima, look for your Saga host holding a sign with your name on it! We know you’ll most likely be a little tired after your long flight, so we’ll save you the stress of trying to navigate and bring you straight to your hotel where you can shake off that icky flight feeling with a shower and a sleep. Relax into the evening and enjoy a good night’s rest before your flight to Cusco in the morning!

    Day 2: Fly to Cusco and visit a local community in Chinchero, Maras, and Moray

    Tucked into the Andes Mountains, the city of Cusco lies at 11,150ft (3,300m) above sea level!

    Fill up with a complimentary buffet breakfast in the hotel before catching your morning flight to Cusco. The flight time between the two cities is welcomingly short (less than an hour and a half). The views from the plane window – the desert coast at first before the needle-like peaks of the Andes come into view – are a great distraction to pass the time. When you arrive in Cusco, we’ll be waiting and will take you on a private tour to the Sacred Valley. Your first stop will be the community of Chinchero. Besides being famous for its Incan and colonial architecture, it is well known for its church and handicraft market. Afterwards, we’ll pass through the town of Maras – before arriving at the town’s still-in-use salt pans. The small white evaporation pools that cover the hillside are still harvested by locals in a traditional manner.  After a local gourmet lunch en route, you’ll be taken to see the ancient agricultural site of Moray. Experts today believe these grassy amphitheaters served as a farming laboratory, with the varying temperatures and soils of the ascending terraces providing different growing environments.

    Day 3: Take a full day excursion into the Sacred Valley, visiting Ollantaytambo, Pisac Market, and Pisac’s Archaeological Complexes.

    Ollantaytambo is a lovely Incan town known for its original urban planning and awe-inspiring ruins.

    Today you’ll witness just how Peru’s past shapes its present. We’ll start things in the ancient town of Ollantaytambo, one of the few remaining places in the Sacred Valley that has retained its original Inca urban planning. Walk through the maze-like streets which come complete with Inca-era canals and view the ancient houses still in use today which feature interior courtyards and trapezoidal doors.

    Alongside your guide, climb past the agricultural terraces toward the Temple of Sun, where you can enjoy an Inca’s-eye-view of the valley. From this elevated position, you’ll also be able to see some of the quarries from where the stone for Ollantaytambo was sourced. It’s amazing to think how far these large stones were transported, especially considering the challenge faced by the Incas, who didn’t have pack animals strong enough to carry them.

    Descend back into the valley to the pretty village of Pisac and browse the wares on offer at the market. Both travelers and valley villagers come from miles around to barter and sell goods ranging from textiles and dyes to fresh vegetables. After you’ve had your fill of shopping, you’ll venture up to a ridge high above the stepped agricultural terraces where Pisac’s mountainside Inca ruins are located.

    At the end of the day, your guide and your drive will drop you off at your Cusco hotel so you can participate in a briefing about your upcoming trek.

    Day 4: Explore the hidden cobblestone streets of historical Cusco on a private city tour!

    Tucked into the Andes Mountains, the city of Cusco lies at 11,150ft (3,300m) above sea level!

    It’s time to get acquainted with Cusco, a gorgeous city that wins the heart of most every traveler that passes through it. Get to know the real Cusco during a private tour. After breakfast, meet your guide and wander among the archaeological remains of Sacsayhuaman, where the Incas staged a great battle against the conquistadors. Return to the city and roam the atmospheric streets of the bohemian neighborhood of San Blas, which is known for its free-spirited scene. Explore Qoricancha and the Santo Domingo monastery (a colonial structure built on top of the ancient Inca temple of the sun); see where the locals make their grocery runs at the open-air San Pedro market and pass the famous 12-angled stone, whose image appears on the bottle of the local Cusqueña beer.

    At the end of the tour, your guide will suggest places to visit for lunch. This evening, rest up before you begin the physically demanding portion of your Peru journey: the Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu!

    Day 5: Start your journey on the Choquequirao to Machupicchu Trek!

    Cusco – Capuliyoc – Chikiska – Playa Rosalinas.

    This incredible adventure begins early in the morning when your guide picks you up at your hotel in our private van. We embark on a 4-hour drive to Capuliyoc, situated on the edge of the Apurimac Canyon and surrounded by towering snow-capped peaks. Along the way, there are views of picturesque villages and spectacular valleys. Once at Capuliyoc, we meet our horsemen and pack all of our equipment onto the horses. You will only carry a small daypack with the essentials you will need on the trail. Then, we hike down for 2 hours until we arrive at Chikiska where we have lunch. Afterwards, we continue our hike for 1 more hour to Playa Rosalinas (1,550 m/5,084 ft), where we will spend the first night. Hot drinks and appetizers will be waiting when you arrive at camp and your tents will already be set up. You will have time to settle into your tents before your hearty and delicious dinner.

    Day 6: Playa Rosalinas – Maranpata – Choquequirao

    Your guide will wake you with a hot mug of tea or coffee to enjoy in your tent before you get up for breakfast. Departing early, we ascend to Santa Rosa and then on to Maranpata, where we will have lunch. The climb from the river takes about 4 hours and is relatively steep. From our lunch spot, we get our first good view of just how extensive Choquequirao is. Then, we have 2 more hours to hike to reach the Choquequirao Archeological site (3,110 m/10,120 ft). Drinks, appetizers and tents will be ready for you when you arrive. Take a well deserved relaxing evening, watching the sunset and soaring condors.

    Day 7: Choquequirao – Pinchiunuyoc

    After breakfast, we will do a thorough exploration of the archeological site of Choquequirao and have a little rest before lunch. In the afternoon, we will leave camp to hike up over a ridge, then 2 hours down to the fascinating site of Pinchiunuyoc, where we will camp for the night. This is definitely the easiest day of the trip.

    Day 8: Pinchiunuyoc – Rio Blanco – Maizal

    After another hot drink in your sleeping bag, you will enjoy a delicious breakfast. Leaving camp, we hike downhill for 2 hours and arrive at the canyon of the Rio Blanco (1,990 m/6,527 ft), where we have our lunch. Take some time for a rest before starting a difficult climb to our campsite of Maizal. The climb takes about 3- 4 hours.

    Day 9: Maizal – Yanama – Totora – Lucmabamba

    We leave early, and walk uphill for about 3 hours through a sub-tropical jungle towards the Victoria Mines. We visit them as well as some Inca Ruins before climbing 1 hour more to the pass of Victoria (4,130m/13,546 ft).

    Once we get to Yanama, we take the local transport all the way to Lucmabamba. Along the way, we get to enjoy the gorgeous views of snow-capped mountains and waterfalls.

    Day 10: Lucmabamba – Santa Teresa –  Aguas Calientes

    Trek past rural farms and explore small villages following the Santa Teresa river valley.

    In some of the farms you will pass by today, you will see granadilla, which is a Peruvian fruit known for its aid in digestion, heals stomach ulcers, helps to stabilize the nerves, plus other health benefits.

    Today, your personalized Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu continues with another bout of hiking. This time, you’ll tramp along the more populated Santa Teresa River valley, where encounters with locals are much more likely. You’ll see evidence of how the valley dwellers make their living. You’ll pass through plantations and may even see the local inhabitants tending their crops of banana, granadilla, avocado, and coffee. Caffeine enthusiasts may be interested to know that some of the best organic coffees in the world are produced in this very valley!

    Perhaps you want to make  your own coffe following the artisanal way and enjoy the nice hot spring to relax your mussels

    After lunch  we’ll continue going along the Urubamba River, passing through several camera-worthy landscapes comprised of bamboo forest, orchards, and plantations. From there, you’ll ride the train to Aguas Calientes, the closest settlement to Machu Picchu and your final overnight destination before exploring Machu Picchu properly tomorrow. Celebrate your completion of the Choquequirao Trail over dinner with your guide!

    Day 11: Tour the Machu Picchu Citadel with your Trek guide

    Machu Picchu will take your breath away with its enigmatic and historical atmosphere.

    Today will be a day that remains permanently etched in your mind, long after you’ve returned from your personalized trip of Peru, for today will be the day you finally set eyes on the storied city of Machu Picchu! After an early breakfast at your hotel, meet your guide and begin the bus ride up switchbacks to the Lost Citadel. As you trek up the entrance’s stone steps, heavy foliage hides the surrounding views until you emerge at what seems like the top of the world, with Machu Picchu spread out below. You’re sure to reach for your camera to try and capture the vista, but before you do, be sure to take a moment to stop and truly appreciate this staggering site. Return to Aguas Calientes for a late lunch, before  heading back to your return train to Ollantaytambo.

    Day 12:   Hike one of the coveted, limited-entry hikes, Huayna Picchu!

    Huayna Picchu, a not to miss experience while exploring Machu Picchu.

    Today you have the option to hike two different trails – Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, so it’s completely up to you on how you would like to culminate your Choquequirao – Machu Picchu luxury tour. Consider hiking the steep slope of neighboring Huayna Picchu, which offers unrivalled views over Machu Picchu. Please note that only a limited amount of hikers are allowed to climb Huayna Picchu each day and tickets will need to be purchased in advance along with your Machu Picchu entrance.

    Day 13: Tour the inspired streets of bohemian Barranco and bid farewell to Peru!

    The Limeñan district of Barranco is home to Peru’s most influential artists, musicians, and cultural commentators.

    Going home is the worst part of any private Peru vacation, but at Saga, we’ll do our best to make it as smooth and hassle-free as possible. First, we’ll bring you to Cusco airport for your return flight to Lima. In Lima, a Saga host will meet you and take you to the seaside bohemian district of Barranco. See the streets of Barranco come alive as you visit a number of local art galleries and shops that support local artisans. Finally, enjoy a first-class gourmet meal featuring world-renowned Peruvian flavors in a restaurant of your choosing before returning to the airport for your journey home! Buen viaje!

    Like the sound of this Journey Through a Fabled Past private tour? Get in touch with Saga and we’ll start crafting your very own customized private travel experience to Peru!

    Notes: There are many additional activities that can be added to the Journey Through a Fabled Past private tour, as our tours are entirely customized to your interests, hobbies, and expectations!



    • Personalized itinerary planning: Work with a Saga Travel Designer to create the trip of your dreams.
    • Saga hosts take the hassle out of traveling. They’ll be there to assist you – whether with luggage, check in, transport or translating – at every destination during your private tour of Peru.
    • Got a question or query? Saga operate a 24-hour, seven day a week customer service operation and can provide updates and assistance whenever you need it.
    • With Saga, you’ll never be bundled in with big groups; each visit, activity, tour and experience will be completely private and conducted by your very own expert, English-speaking guide.
    • Our private tours of Peru are fully flexible, which means we can modify them to suit your travel mood. So if you want to cut an activity or add on a new one, just say the word!
    • All necessary adventure and trekking equipment will be provided so all you need bring is yourself.

    Can be added

    Can be added

    • Take the reins of a Peruvian Paso for a trail ride through the Sacred Valley.
    • Sit down with a shaman for a private meditation ceremony.
    • Observe local weavers at work during private demonstrations.
    • Hone your kitchen skills during Peruvian cooking classes with celebrated chefs.
    • Admire views of the Andes from your luxury, vintage-style carriage on the Belmond Hiram Bingham Train on your way back to Cusco.

    Not included

    Not included

    • International flights to and from your home country
    • Travel insurance
    • Meals not specified
    • All gratuities

    Price reference

    Price reference

    An exemplary way for any adventure seeking traveler to experience the best of the region! This sample itinerary is just the way for you to get inspired.



    Our staff handpicks the best hotels to ensure you get ultimate comfort and character during your stay.

    Talk with your Saga expert to help find the right hotels for you during your personalized luxury tour.

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