Heart of the Incas + Sankantay Trail Peru to Machu Picchu 9D/8N

Cusco, Machu Picchu & Salkantay Trail Peru


Heart of the Incas & Sankantay Trail Peru – Overview

Daily departures and fully customized.

Cusco was the heart of the Inca Empire and the most important place for the Incas. It is nowadays considered one of the two most beautiful cities in South America. Inca and Spanish architecture are intermixed in its narrow streets that survived several earthquakes.

The Inca Empire was stretched out as far as Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, Argentina and Chile from 12th hundreds to 15th hundreds, but when a handful of Spanish arrived in the heart of the Inca Empire, many of the amazing work was destroyed including temples and palaces of the Inca kings, on top of which they built Catholic churches, but the history still lives and it is on display in the outdoor museum of Cusco.

Visiting Cusco before Machu Picchu is a perfect idea because you learn all the history of the Incas, pre-Incan and colonial times after the arrival of the Spanish to Cusco.

The Sacred Valley itself is unique with many Incan sites along the valley, offering to travellers spectacular views with snowcapped mountains and the Urubamba river (the main river of Cusco area).

Machu Picchu has always been the mysterious place in the Peruvian history. When visiting the place, it is amazing to see the high quality of the architecture, hydraulic engineering and astronomical observatories.

Cusco traditional, Machu Picchu, Salkantay Trail Peru

  • Day 1: Arrival to Cusco
  • Day 2: Cusco city tour
  • Day 3: Sacred Valley tour
  • Day 4: Salkantay Trail Peru
  • Day 5: Salkantay Trail Peru
  • Day 6: Salkantay Trail Peru
  • Day 7: Salkantay Trail Peru
  • Day 8: Machu Picchu tour
  • Day 9: Departure from Cusco


Heart of the Incas + Sankantay Trail Peru

Day 1: Arrival to Cusco

When you arrive to Cusco airport, one of our PERU BY LOCALS Travel representatives will meet you and drive you to your hotel. On the way he/she will show you some samples of Inca and colonial constructions and the historic center.

The rest of the day you may just want to relax and explore the historic center of Cusco to adjust to the altitude or visit Peruvian cuisine restaurants.

Overnight in Cusco.

Day 2: Cusco City Tour

Spend the morning at your leisure – it will be a great idea to explore Cusco streets that still keep the beauty of Inca work, and you should not miss the San Pedro Market, local market that is the main provider of all the food for hotels and restaurants in Cusco.

In the afternoon you will meet your guide who will guide you to the main attractions. You will visit the Cathedral of Cusco, where you can view colonial paintings by the Cusco school of painting at the time, including a painting of the Last Supper with the local specialty, cuy (guinea pig), as the main dish. The local painters managed to capture the culture and history in uniquely historical way in the art work such as paintings.

The following place will be Qoricancha or the Temple of the Sun, in the Inca times with its amazing architecture kept on its walls for centuries, this is one of the greatest examples of the Inca buildings in Cusco.

Next you will visit Saqsayhuaman, where you will have a guided tour of this incredible architectural site, built with stones that weigh up to 120 tons and amazingly fit together without the help of a mortar! There is probably not a place in the world that can beat the architectural skill of this place. Afterwards you will tour the Inca archaeological site of Qenqo, considered to be the Temple of the Mother Earth and also once probably the tomb of the most important king of the Incan empire Pachakuteq.

Finally, you will visit the Incan sites of Pukapukara and Tambomachay that used to be ceremonial places in past times.

You will be back in your hotel by 6 pm for the dinner time.

Day 3: Sacred Valley tour

The Sacred Valley of the Incas is an incomparably beautiful stretch of small villages and ancient ruins spread across a broad plain and rugged mountain slopes northwest of Cusco. It is the main valley of Cusco, capital of the Inca Empire. It was the best place for maize production in Peru as well as a great source of natural wealth.

The first Incan site you will visit will be Pisaq, a beautiful site with its Temple of the Sun, ancient Inca cemetery, terraces, great architecture and an unbelievably great view of the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

After seeing the ruins of Pisaq, your guide will take you to the local market where you will find a variety of handicrafts and locals garments made from alpaca, a perfect place for shopping.

Leaving Pisaq, you will take a 1 hour drive to Urubamba town where you will have lunch.

Ollantaytambo is the last place to be visited with its majestic Inca architecture. Your guide will give you tour of the temples, the bath of the princess, terraces etc.

In the evening we will take you back to Cusco, where you will spend the night.

Days 4-8: Salkantay Trail Peru and Machu Picchu

The Salkantay Trail Peru will take you through unique and varying landscapes with the scenery nothing short of breathtaking! Photographers will experience sheer ecstasy as we walk along ancient and solitary footpaths: from picturesque grassy highlands to flourishing cloud forests, where luxuriant tropical rainforests meet colossal snowcapped mountains, the Salkantay Trail is off-the-beaten path and authentic. You will be spirited away into a world of phenomenal beauty and abundance of nature, with sacred solitude and hours of deliciously quiet contemplation.

Since the ancient Incan times, the spectacular glacier-capped peak of Mount Salkantay has been considered as sacred and the protector of the local people and their crops. The name Salkantay or Salcantay is a Quechua word meaning «invencible, wild or savage».

Day 4: Short trek to Soyroccocha (first day of trek)

We will pick you from your hotel at 5:00 am and transport you to Mollepata, a town en route to the starting point of the Salkantay Trail Peru. Here you have some time to relax, stretch your legs, get last-minute supplies and sit down for a nice cup of coffee in one of the local restaurants. We will also meet our support staff here, who will pack everything for the trek and load the equipment onto horses. At about 9:00 am we will continue on to Soraypampa, the starting point of the trek.

From Soraypampa (3,800 m / 12,467 ft) we trek to Soyroqocha (4,200 m / 13,779 ft). The trek takes about four hours along a gentle incline. During the hike you will have breathtaking views of the «invincible» and majestic Salkantay and other snowcapped mountain peaks. Lunch will be at noon and afterwards we will hike three more hours to our camp at Soyroqocha, a beautiful small lake in the mountains. Your tents will be ready and waiting as well as a delicious dinner that will round off an amazing first day on the Salkantay Trail Peru.

Distance covered: 5 km (3.1 miles)
Time: 3 to 4 hours
Lowest elevation: 3,800m (12,467 feet)
Highest elevation: 4,400m (14,435 feet)
Level of difficulty: Moderate
Sights: Mount Salkantay, Apurimac River Valley, Humantay Lake

Day 5: views of mount Salkantay and a long downhill trek  (second day of trek)

On day 2 you wake up to a stunning view of the gleaming snow-covered Salkantay Mountain. After a hearty and nutritious breakfast, we will start our trek towards the Salkantay Pass (4,600 m / 15,091 ft), which takes 40 minutes.  The Salkantay Pass is the source of two rivers which flow into the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. After spectacular views of the peaks of Mount Salkantay and Mount Umantay, we will hike down to Huayraqmachay, where we will have lunch and you can take a nap if you like. In the afternoon we hike down to Qollpapampa (3,100 m / 10,170 ft) where we will camp for the night. On the way the scenery will change from golden grasslands to cloud forests and finally to the edge of the jungle.

Distance covered: 16 km (9.9 miles)
Time: 8 to 9 hours
Lowest elevation: 3,100m (10,170 feet)
Highest elevation: 4,600m (15,091 feet)
Level of difficulty: Demanding
Sights: Mount Salkantay, Mount Umantay

Day 6: Jungle hike (third day of Salkantay Trail Peru)

Day 3 is much easier day and starts with a hike through the tranquil cloud forest. We will hike for about five hours following the stream of Lluskamayo, with the prospect of seeing orchids, various bird species, and magnificent waterfalls along the way. The hike ends at La Playa town (2,050 m / 6,725 ft) where we will stop for lunch.  You will have the afternoon to relax, go in the river, take a shower or have a cold beer.

Distance covered: 13 km (8 miles)
Time: 5 to 6 hours
Lowest elevation: 2050m (6,725 feet)
Highest elevation: 3100m (1,926 feet)
Level of difficulty: Moderate
Sights: Lluskamayo River, Collpabamba town, Hot Springs

Day 7: Llaqtapata Inca ruins AND THE FIRST SIGHT OF Machu Picchu (fourth day of trek)

Today you will see the lost city of Machu Picchu in the distance. After an early breakfast, we start our hike ascending towards the Llaqtapata Inca ruins, where we will have a glimpse of the most spectacular ancient city of the world, Machu Picchu. Your guide will introduce you to the history and culture of the Incas and the ancient wonder of the world. Thereafter we will descend for about three hours down to the hydroelectric power station that provides electricity to Cusco. At the train station we will take the train to the town of Aguas Calientes where we will have dinner at a local restaurant and stay at a hostel for the night.

Distance covered: 13 km (8 miles)
Time: 6 to 7 hours
Lowest elevation: 1800m (5,905 feet)
Highest elevation: 3100m (10,170 feet)
Level of difficulty: Moderate
Sights: Llaqtapata Inca Ruins, Machu Picchu

Day 8:  Machu Picchu tour (fifth day of Salkantay Trail Peru)

Day 5 starts early when we pick you up from your hostel and take you to the bus station for a 30 minute drive to Machu Picchu. Make sure to either have breakfast at 5am or pack one, so that you arrive at the citadel in time to witness a magnificent sunrise. We will then have a two hours guided tour of the most important sites in the citadel, after which you will have time to explore on your own. You can enjoy Machu Picchu’s spiritual setting by relaxing or discover the heights of Huayna Picchu.

After spending the day in Machu Picchu, the bus will take you back to Aguas Calientes to collect your luggage. From there you will take the train to Cusco, and then be transported back to your hotel.

Inclusions & exclusions

Inclusions on the Heart of the Incas + Sankantay Trail Peru

  • Transport to and from your hotel in Cusco and in all the tours
  • Meals on the Heart of the Incas + Sankantay Trail Peru
  • Entrance tickets to Machu Picchu and for all the attractions to be visited (does not include Huayna Picchu)
  • Horses to carry all the equipment for the the trek (food, tents, chairs, table, etc)
  • Emergency horse in case we need it
  • Cook
  • Boiled drinking water from day 3 onwards
  • Trekking guide and guide for all the tours mentioned, knowledgeable in history, tradition, fauna and flora
  • First aid kit, carried by your guide
  • Equipment (sleeping tent, dining tent, kitchen tent, table, chairs, air mattresses)
  • Duffle bag if needed
  • Round-trip bus tickets from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes
  • Train tickets from Aguas Calientes to Cusco (expedition)
  • One night hostel accommodation in Aguas Calientes (if you prefer a hotel instead, we can arrange it at an additional cost)
  • Four night hotel in three in Cusco and one in Machupicchu town

Exclusions on the Heart of the Incas + Sankantay Trail Peru

  • Sleeping bag for the Heart of the Incas + Sankantay Trail Peru (can be rented from us)
  • Tips for muleteers and guides
  • Huayna Picchu tickets
  • Airfare
  • Airport taxes


The Machu Picchu tour includes tickets for the Expedition train for the 3 stars, and Vistadome train for 4 and 5 star packages.

Prices with hotels

Occupancy 2 star 3 star 4 star 5 star
Double / triple $ $ $ $
Single $ $ $ $

NOTE: All the prices may vary according to your preferences and availability. Please contact us for more information to give you the best advice. we will do all to give you the best price for great service.

Hotels in Cusco

2 star 3 star 4 star 5 star
Tika Wasi San Blas boutique Andean wings boutique Aranwa boutique
Cusco B&B Casa andina San Blas Casa Andina Private Collections Palacio Nazarenas

Hotels in Machu Picchu

2 star 3 star 4 star 5 star
Terrazas del Inca Andina luxury hotel Sumaq hotel Pueblo hotel

Tika Wasi 2*

Tika wasi meaning House of the flowers in Quechua, has been in the business for over fifteen years. We offer our guests unforgettable experience amidst. Our colorful gardens and views from our terrazes as well as a harmonious mix of modern and Colonial infrastructure. With this, one can enjoy the services of the modern world without losing the local charm. TIka wasi is also dedicated to the continuous betterment of its quality of services, business, savvy, environmental care and social responsibility. We hope to meet and exceed all of your expectations and do so through the practice of responsible tourism in the hostel and with each of our collaborators and providers as well.

restaurant wifi laundry
Restaurant Wi-Fi Laundry

Cusco B&B 2*

The Cusco B&B is a new hotel ideally located in the center of Cusco. It features all of the modern amenities of a large hotel but provides quality service and personalized attention so that you feel right at home.

We are a family run Bed & Breakfast that features 7 beautifully furnished rooms in the heart of Cusco. Our goal is that while you are in Cusco we will be your home away from home! We are located in the center of Cusco, right across from the famous local San Pedro Market, and we are also only 3 blocks away from the main Plaza de Armas. When you arrive we will make you feel right at home from the very beginning. You will be welcomed by our friendly staff and after check in we will escort you to your room where you can settle in and relax. As locals from Cusco, we are happy to answer any questions that you have about our beautiful home. Cusco is amazing city and we want to make sure that you have a wonderful time while you stay with us!.

wifi luggage-storage
Wi-Fi Luggage Storage

San Blas boutique 3*

Casa San Blas started as an idea of a boutique hotel with highly personalized service in one of the most magical, mystical tourism and world cities, Cusco. To make this idea a reality, bought, restored and remodeled colonial house from the 18th century to accommodate the idea of ”home in Cusco » . Built in 2003, Casa San Blas was the first Hotel Boutique in Peru, creating a new category of personal service and comfort, which to this day remains a leader in its field. Through decorated in earthy tones and rustic furniture found in all the privacy and charm of the hotel, we also want to provide an environment that inspires comfort, warmth and relaxation personified. Likewise, in our design of Boutique Hotel, we have integrated elements of Peruvian culture, such as fabrics handmade in a traditional way, shown throughout our rooms and suites. With the comfort of our guests in mind as a priority, we have also built a terrace balcony on the third floor of the hotel to allow magnificent views of the city of Cusco, both day and night. In addition, we chose to locate our hotel in the historic neighborhood of San Blas, home of the most emblematic artisans of Cusco, to fully immerse our guests in the unique syncretism of the Inca and Spanish culture.

restaurant wifi luggage-storage massage
Restaurant Wi-Fi Luggage Storage Massage

Casa Andina Classic Cathedral 3*

With a strategic location in the heart of Cusco, Casa Andina Classic Cathedral, has been designed to express the local flavor with all the facilities and services. It has an unmistakable local style.

wifi luggage-storage
Wi-Fi Luggage Storage

Andean wings boutique 4*

Andean Wings Boutique Hotel is the premier accommodation in Cusco, situated two blocks from the Plaza de Armas in the heart of the ancient city. This fully restored, sixteenth century colonial gem blends style, luxury, comfort and an unforgettable experience, with five-star amenities and unrivalled personalized service.

Our seventeen rooms and suites are uniquely styled with local antiques and original art works (all available for purchase) offering modern comforts like decadent Jacuzzi bathtubs.

Our mission is to ensure both our guests and employees feel at home, making every moment you spend with us, unforgettable.

Let us help plan your itinerary and make all the arrangements for your day trips, adventures, Inca Trail treks, or visits to the historical Incan sites of Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo, Pisac, Urubamba and more. And at the end of a busy day, indulge yourself at our reinvigorating Six Pumas Spa.

Join us for a Pisco Sour and Peruvian fusion cuisine at Mandela’s, our in-house restaurant and tapas bar. Our menu provides the perfect mix of innovation and tradition – all prepared using natural, local produce.

Allow us to create an unforgettable experience for you. We also cater for specialty tours, one-of–a-kind weddings, special events, anniversaries or just a romantic getaway for two.

restaurant wifi luggage-storage massage laundry
Restaurant Wi-Fi Luggage Storage Massage Laundry

Casa Andina Private Collections 4*

Casa Andina Private Collection Cusco is located in a beautiful eighteenth century house, recently remodeled, with 5 stately colonial courtyards, only 4 blocks away from Cusco’s Main Square.

restaurant wifi luggage-storage massage laundry
Restaurant Wi-Fi Luggage Storage Massage Laundry

Aranwa boutique 5*

Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel is the essence of luxury and comfort in the heart of the Inca city. A colonial mansion built in the sixteenth century, houses many paintings of the Cuzco school, colonial sculptures and carvings that transport us to the greatness of the time. It offers elegant rooms equipped with intelligent oxygen system and radiant floor.

The hotel is located in San Juan de Dios 255 near Plaza Exhilaration two blocks from the Plaza de Armas of Cusco.

restaurant wifi luggage-storage massage laundry room-service spa
Restaurant Wi-Fi Luggage Storage Massage Laundry Room Service Spa

Palacio Nazarenas 5*

Located In a quiet square behind the main square of Cusco, the former palace and convent emerge after years of restoration to become one of the most exclusive hotels in the city.

Inca stone walls, the courtyard of the cloister and the old fountain witness a noble past. But suffice to delve further to discover the contemporary Cusco – a fabulous spa, outdoor pool first city and a stylish restaurant offering the best of local cuisine.

This intimate hideaway has just 55 suites, each enriched with oxygen and its own bar stocked with the best ingredients for your butler can prepare delicious drinks and cocktails.

restaurant wifi massage laundry room-service spa swim-pool
Restaurant Wi-Fi Massage Laundry Room Service Spa Swim Pool

Hotels in Machu Picchu

Terrazas del Inca 2*

Terrazas del Inca Bed & Breakfast is located in the heart of Machu Picchu town, on the banks of the Aguas Calientes River. It is far from the noise of the main street, and in a peaceful place where you will find it very easy to relax. The rooms are fully equipped with everything you will need.

wifi laundry luggage-storage
Wi-Fi Laundry Luggage Storage

Andina Luxury 3*

Andina Luxury Hotel is situated just 200 meters from the train station and boasts 31 fully-equipped with Internet, an LCD cable television, and air-conditioning.

Each accommodation features wooden furnishings, a large bed covered with comfortable bed linens, and some rooms provide breathtaking views of the river. Andean art adds the finishing touch to the room.

restaurant wifi laundry room-service spa swim-pool
Restaurant Wi-Fi Laundry Room Service Spa Swim Pool

Casa Andina classic Machu Picchu 3*

Hotel Casa Andina Classic Machu Picchu is strategically located in the heart of Machu Picchu towns, near major attractions and local restaurants with comfortable rooms and practices in a secure, central and affordable hotel.

restaurant wifi laundry luggage-storage
Restaurant Wi-Fi Laundry Luggage Storage

Sumaq hotel 4*

SUMAQ. – Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel is a family hotel with extensive experience in the luxury hospitality of the country. Experience makes Sumaq a dedicated entirely to hotel guests.

In it’s exclusive service binds its privileged location that is immersed within the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu, its main tourist attraction.

The train station of Aguas Calientes is just a ten minute walk. Our guests are transferred and left by the buses that go to Machu Picchu on your doorstep.

restaurant wifi luggage-storage massage laundry room-service spa
Restaurant Wi-Fi Luggage Storage Massage Laundry Room Service Spa

El Mapi hotel – Inka Terra 5*

Step into the smart, contemporary and cozy confines of el MaPi, amidst the hustle and bustle of Machu Picchu Pueblo (formely Aguas Calientes). Where you can admire and interact with the quaint atmosphere; you can welcomed along with other global guests expecting an unfussy. Down-to-earth break. Relax in a pleasant and wholesome ambience after your enlightening visit to Peru’s most distinguished destination, the Machu Picchu arqueological site.

restaurant wifi luggage-storage laundry room-service
Restaurant Wi-Fi Luggage Storage Laundry Room Service

Additional tours

  • South valley: Tipon, Pikillaqta and Andawayllillas
  • Salt mines: Chinchero, Moray and Salineras
  • Walking tour: Streets, the local market of San Pedro, the Temple of the Sun (Qoricancha)

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    What to bring

    What to bring for the Heart of the Incas + Sankantay Trail Peru

    • Original passport (if you have acquired a new one after you made your booking, bring both)
    • Down sleeping bag (can be rented from us)
    • Clothes (trekking boots, warm fleece jacket, few t-shirts, socks, sun hat, warm underwear, light long pants, gloves, rain jacket)
    • Toiletries (toilet paper, wet wipes, personal towel)
    • Sunscreen SPF 35+ recommended
    • Head lamp
    • Sunglasses
    • Camera with spare batteries (batteries run down faster at high altitudes)
    • Binoculars
    • Book to read (you will have some spare time at every camp to read your favorite book)
    • Trekking poles (recommended especially for the steep descents, can be rented from us)
    • Bug repellent



    Secure your Inca Trail spot for the season 2020 and join us for this amazing adventure of life time.


    Useful information

    Things you should know before knowing our city.