Peru Machu Picchu with tree

Peru: Exploring the Incas’ Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu

Peru marks Kudu Travel’s fifth country in South America. Our 17-day itinerary concentrates on the Inca and colonial sites in the Andean highlands.

Having familiarised ourselves with the highlights of Lima’s historic centre, we start our high-altitude acclimatisation in the city of Arequipa, known for its scenic setting at the foot of a snow-capped volcano and the wealth of colonial era churches and mansions, built in white volcanic stone sillar.

Our next stop is the Colca Canyon, the second deepest in the world, where we relax in a country lodge for two nights and spot condors on our walks, before we arrive at Lake Titicaca, the high-altitude lake situated on Peru's border with Bolivia. We board the luxury Belmond Andean Explorer for an overnight journey to Cusco, the capital of the Inca empire and the starting point for our exploration of the Incas’ Sacred Valley.

Based in stylish and comfortable mountain lodges, run in partnership with local communities, we walk for two to three hours each day, with more or less energetic activities on offer. The remainder of each day allows immersion in the Quechua history and culture.

Guests’ comments on this trip:

‘The holiday was a mix of gentle hiking and cultural appreciation with the opportunity to learn a lot about the Incas and their predecessors. Thanks to very good weather, the Andean scenery was spectacular. Peruvian food was both interesting and mostly very good, and to our surprise some of the Peruvian wines were excellent. An overnight trip on the Belmond Andean Explorer train, and a stay at the Inkaterra hotel in Aguas Calientes highlighted the accommodations.’

 'It was a wonderful experience albeit demanding at times with the high altitude. I shall never forget the first sight of Machu Picchu.'


Peru walk
Peru Lima
Peru condor
Peru Sacsayhuaman
Peru bell tower
Peru alpaca

After meeting at Lima airport in the evening, we have a road transfer (1 hour) to the fashionable Miraflores suburb and our hotel, for three nights, centred around a 1920s Spanish-colonial style mansion, filled with Peruvian art and antiques.

B, L, D included  
Plaza Mayor is the heart of this colonial City of the Kings, founded in 1535, and we start our tour of Lima here, taking in the Palace of Government, the seat of political power in Peru since the 16th century; the Cathedral, containing the tomb of Francisco Pizarro, the city’s founder, and the picturesque 17th century San Francisco church and convent, built in the earthquake-resistant quincha. After lunch, we visit the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History of Peru, housed in a building with historic connections to Peru’s liberators, Jose de San Martin and Simon Bolivar.

B, L, D included
We travel to the outskirts of Lima to Pachacamac. This ancient sacred site, active for over 2,000 years, is dedicated to the eponymous god, also known as the Maker of the Earth. We transfer to the privately-owned Larco Herrera museum, housing an impressive collection of Peruvian pre-colonial art in the equally impressive setting of an 18th century mansion built on a 7th century pyramid.

B, L, D included
We transfer to the airport for a morning flight to Arequipa (alt 2,335 m/7,660 ft), our gateway to the Andes. From our 4-star hotel base on the Plaza de Armas, we explore the UNESCO listed Baroque heritage of churches and mansions of this White City on foot. We wander through the maze of the Santa Catalina Convent complex, decorated in Mudejar style. At dinner, we may sample some of Arequipa’s regional dishes, such as the Rocoto Relleno (stuffed pepper) or Chupe de Camarones (shrimp chowder).

B, L, D included
We head higher into the Andes and after a 4 hours’ drive through the altiplano, crossing a 4,900 m/16,000 ft pass, before we arrive in Yanque (3,400 m/11,150 ft), one of the original twelve settlements in the Colca valley. We enjoy some free time in our stylish country lodge (2 nights), with outdoor hot spring pools, to allow for adjustment to the altitude.

B, L, D included
We set off on foot from the lodge on an undemanding circular walk (3 hrs) taking in the pre-Inca archaeological site of Uyo Uyo and the 16th century Franciscan Church of Immaculate Conception in the centre of Yanque. In the afternoon, we drive along the edge of the Colca Canyon, twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. At viewpoints overlooking the canyon we may encounter the endangered Andean Condor soaring.

B, L, D included
On the drive from Colca Valley to Lake Titicaca, we cross the Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve, established in 1979 for the protection of vicuñas and guanaco, the two wild South American camelids. We may see these shy animals, as they feed during the day in the highland grassy plains. We stop on the shore of Lake Umayo at the Sillustani cemetery complex of the ancient Colla people with its chullpas, large circular fortified stone burial towers up to 12 m high. Our accommodation tonight is a 3-star central hotel in Puno.

B, L, D included
We board the luxury Belmond Andean Explorer train at midday and enjoy our first meal on board. Approximately halfway between Puno and Cusco, at the La Raya Pass railway station (4,335 m/14,220 ft), we disembark for a short excursion into the surrounding altiplano landscape. Cocktails and dinner are served as the train continues its journey through the Andes.

B, L, D included
We arrive in Cusco (3,400 m/11,150 ft) and disembark at around 8 o’clock after breakfast. The Incas’ Sacred Valley, called alternatively the Urubamba river valley, is a fertile region with an agreeable climate and has been supplying agricultural produce to Cusco for centuries. We start our Mountain Lodges of Peru adventure with a visit to the impressive Inca citadel ruins at Pisac. Our mountain lodge tonight is in Lamay (2,950 m/9,700 ft) and, like the next two lodges, is run in partnership with local communities. The lodges are built and furnished to a high standard using traditional materials and techniques and the restaurants serve modern versions of typical regional dishes.

DAY 10
B, L, D included
This morning, we drive through the scenic Lares valley, visiting small villages and the off-the-beaten track archaeological site of Ancasmarka. Our afternoon walk takes approx. 3 hrs and brings us to our delightful lodge in Huacahuasi (3,800 m/12,500 ft).

DAY 11
B, L, D included
We are introduced to an ancient Inca animal well-being ceremony before a short but energetic climb (1 hr) takes us to the atmospheric small Inca site at Pumamarka. After lunch, we drive to nearby Ollantaytambo and have free time for individual exploration of its picturesque centre, which preserves the original Inca street layout.

DAY 12
B, L, D included
An early start allows us to reach the Pinkuylluna granary ruins above Ollantaytambo on foot (1.5 hr round trip), before we visit the unfinished Temple of the Sun within the urban archaeological site. Around midday, we board the train for the 90-minute journey to Machu Picchu, enjoying lunch on board. The railway station and our exclusive stylish hotel (2 nights), with conservation and sustainability credentials, are located in the town of Aguas Calientes, below the Sanctuary itself.

DAY 13
B, L, D included
On our first visit to Machu Picchu, we are introduced to the highlights of this extensive Inca Citadel complex on a guided tour. We return to our hotel for lunch and have a free afternoon to relax or to look for birds and orchids in the hotel’s extensive tropical garden.

DAY 14
B, L, D included
Our second permit to Machu Picchu allows us to walk (1.5 hrs) to the Sun Gate, enjoying increasingly spectacular views of the ruins and the surrounding tropical forest. In the afternoon, we travel to our 4-star country hotel in the Sacred Valley via Ollantaytambo by train and bus.

DAY 15
B, L, D included
This morning’s 3 hr walk takes us from Moray, described as the Incas’ agricultural laboratory, to the ancient salt ponds at Maras. In the afternoon, we transfer (1 hr) to Cusco where we stay for 2 nights in a 4-star central hotel. To celebrate our Sacred Valley journey, we may treat ourselves to a pisco sour cocktail before dinner.

DAY 16
B, L, D included
We explore this ancient capital of the Inca Empire, starting at Sacsayhuaman, the citadel on the outskirts of Cusco. In Qorikancha, we see the remains of the legendary 15th century Temple of Gold, notoriously looted by the Spanish conquistadors immediately on their arrival in Cusco. The characteristic Inca mortarless stone walls with trapezoidal apertures now form the base of the Santo Domingo Convent.

DAY 17
B, L included
Our Peruvian journey concludes with an afternoon flight from Cusco to Lima in time to connect to evening flights home or extend your tour for further exploration.

Trip Price, per person sharing:
TBC double for single room supplement
TBC deposit per person
Please note that the single use supplement is imposed by the hotels and not by Kudu Travel. If you are willing to share but no other suitable guest books on the trip, we regret that the supplement will be payable.
Price Includes

  • Accommodation for Days 1 through 17, on a twin shared basis
  • Overnight railway journey from Puno to Cusco on the Andean Explorer in a cabin for twin or single occupancy
  • Meals (with wine at dinner and soft drinks and beer at lunch) as listed in the daily notation
  • Land transportation in a private vehicle as described, except during free periods
  • Scheduled internal flights between Lima and Arequipa and Cusco and Lima
  • Return Inca Rail train journey between Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu Pueblo (aka Aguas Calientes) 
  • Entrance and sightseeing fees, except during free periods
  • Services of specialist local guides and drivers, plus Kudu Travel tour leader
  • Gratuities for local guides, drivers, hotel and restaurant staff (appreciation for your Kudu tour leader is at your discretion)
Price does not Include

  • Flights to and from Lima
  • Trip cancellation, medical or other insurance
  • Immunisations, prescriptions or other medical requirements
  • Passport, visa and health documentation
  • Personal expenses (laundry, alcohol other than wine with dinners, free time activities, etc.)
  • Transport and transfer of excess baggage
  • Peru departure tax, if any


On Kudu trips, you will only need money for postcards, presents to take home, the odd G & T or an irresistible ice cream. Festival and opera tickets, museum and gallery entrances, National Park fees, all meals (with a very few exceptions specified in individual itineraries), wine with lunch and dinner, access to specialist books carried by the guides, gratuities for porters and hotel and restaurant staff, boat rides, train trips, internal flights, wine tastings, 4WDs with drivers, the services of skilled local guides and trackers etc are ALL INCLUDED in the cost of your holiday. 

We are confident that, like previous very satisfied guests, you will discover that our tours give you excellent value for money.

  • 3 nights in Lima, in a hotel centred around a 1920s Spanish-colonial style mansion, filled with Peruvian art and antiques

  • 1 night in Arequipa, in a 4-star hotel on Plaza de Armas

  • 2 nights in Yanque (Colca Canyon), in a stylish country lodge with outdoor hot spring pools

  • 1 night in Puno on Lake Titicaca, in a central 3-star hotel

  • 1 night on the Belmond Andean Explorer train from Puno to Cusco

  • 1 night in Lamay, in a rural lodge built and furnished to a high standard using traditional materials and techniques

  • 1 night in Huacahuasi, in a rural lodge run in partnership with the local community

  • 1 night in Urubamba, in a rural lodge with rooms in individual casitas

  • 2 nights in Machu Picchu Pueblo (aka Aguas Calientes), in an exclusive stylish hotel, with conservation and sustainability credentials and an extensive tropical garden

  • 1 night in a 4-star country hotel in the Sacred Valley

  • 2 nights in Cusco, in a central 4-star hotel

Off the beaten track

Please be aware that electricity and water supplies may occasionally be erratic and travel arrangements may be disrupted. Kudu Travel will endeavour to do everything possible to ensure a smooth-running tour, but please be ready with your sense of humour and tolerance when travelling in Peru.

Visa and Health Requirements

Visitors from the UK, EU, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand currently require a valid passport, but not a visa, for entry to Peru. If you are a national of any other country, please check visa regulations with your nearest Embassy of Peru.

At present, there are no specific and compulsory health requirements for entry to Peru, but you are advised to consult your doctor at least 6 weeks before you travel about updating your immunisation against Hepatitis A, polio, tetanus and typhoid, as they consider advisable. You may also wish to check the advice given to travellers by the Department of Health and the FCO.


It is essential, and a condition of booking, that you protect yourself with a suitable travel insurance policy as soon as you book a trip. Please ensure that you are specifically covered for walking at high altitude (up to 4,000 m). Follow this link for a quote for a policy available to UK residents.

If you are already insured or a non-UK resident, please inform us of your policy at the time of booking.

Size of Party

This trip will run with a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 14 guests.