Center of the Inca Universe
The Inca world, past and present
Explore the very best of Lima, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and Cusco
Welcome to Perú!
Every visit to Peru begins in Lima—the culinary capital of South America—and the repository of some of the finest Incan and pre-Columbian art collections. After a brief taste of Lima, you’ll continue to the heart of the Incan Empire to witness spectacular remnants of this one mighty civilization.
Each day your private expert guide will share with you the history, legends and lore of the Incan civilization as you visit both ancient ruins and contemporary villages where daily life has changed little in the nearly 500 years since the fall of the Incan empire.
A variety of hikes and cultural activities can be customized to suit the interests and abilities of you and your companions.
Hotels for this adventure are among the finest in Peru. These too may be customized to suit your needs.
Your luxury accommodations have been selected for their authenticity, comfort and unparalleled standards of hospitality. You will enjoy private vehicles and dedicated guides throughout your journey with experiences that can be tailored to your interests.
More about your accommodation options: Lima | Sacred Valley | Machu Picchu | Cusco
Day 1 (Wednesday) | Arrive in Lima, Peru
Fly from your home city to Lima, Peru. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to the hotel for check-in and overnight.
Hotel: Hotel B or similar
Day 2 (Thursday) | Lima
Lima is a large city with a population of over 9 million in its metropolitan area. It also has flower gardens, great plazas, huge cathedrals, elegant colonial homes, fine museums, surfing, hopping nightlife, some of the world's finest restaurants, and excellent hotels. You tour historic Lima, including the Plaza de Armas where you'll see elegant carved wooden balconies and colonial architecture.
You visit the National Museum of Archeology, Anthropology and History which has one of the largest collections of Pre-Hispanic art and relics including exceptionally well preserved mummies. From here you proceed to Museo Larco to see an impressive collection of pottery plus gold and silver artifacts.
You'll lunch at the charming Larco Museum café. Located on the museum's terrace, the café is the perfect place to enjoy the Peruvian and international gastronomy in a magical and welcoming atmosphere.
You return to the hotel and have free time to explore the nearby galleries and shops. Dinner is on your own this evening.
Hotel: Hotel B or similar, BL
Day 3 (Friday) | Pisac, Sacred Valley of the Incas
A quick flight over the snow-covered Andes brings you to Cusco, your gateway to the Sacred Valley. Your first stop on the way to Urubamba Valley is at the fountains of Tambo Machay outside of Cusco. After a scenic ride through rich fields of quinoa and amaranth, you descend into the scenic Urubamba Valley, cross the river and drive high above the valley floor to explore the ruins of the Inca Fortress of Pisac.
After the visit to the Fortress, there is a short stop to explore the typical, indigenous village of Pisac. If you are inclined, you may hike down from the Fortress through the terraces to the village where we will meet you.
Hotel: Hacienda Urubamba or similar, BLD
Day 4 (Saturday) | Chinchero Market - Maras - Moray
This morning, you’ll climb out of the valley to a very scenic 12,000-ft. plain en route to the indigenous market at Chinchero. There will be time to visit the market before you view a weaving demonstration orchestrated by Nilda Challañaupa, the founder, and director of The Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco. This organization is dedicated to preserving ancient textile designs and weaving techniques from all over the Andes. Some designs are more than 2000 years old and were thought to have been lost. Textiles created at the Center may be available for purchase.
You’ll enjoy lunch at a private Restaurant with magnificent views and visit the ancient archeological sites of Maras and Moray
Hotel: Hacienda Urubamba or similiar, BLD
Day 5 (Sunday) | Ollantaytambo - Train to Machu Picchu
You begin the day with a visit to the spectacular temple-fortress and village of Ollantaytambo, a site that is little changed from the days of the Incas. You’ll catch a morning train in Ollantaytambo for one of the most breathtaking rail journeys in the world. The rail line follows the river down the impressive Canyon of the Vilcanota to the foot of Machu Picchu.
Your accommodations are at the lovely riverside Machu Picchu Pueblo, a short stroll from the Aguas Calientes train station. Following check-in, you will board a bus and head up to the archeaological site of Machu Picchu. It is an amazing ride including 22 switch backs.
You start your exploration of Machu Picchu with an orientation stroll around the site. This will give a rough sense of the layout of the ruins. After lunch you will enjoy an extended guided walking tour.
Hotel: Machu Picchu Pueblo; Sanctuary Lodge by request, BLD
Day 6 (Monday) | Full day at Machu Picchu, optional mountain hikes
As the site opens at sunrise, you'll have an early breakfast and catch the bus up to the ruins. Mist often shrouds the major peaks and floats onto the valley. The rising sun casts a golden glow into this fantasy land; it is not to be missed at this hour.
There is an optional (weather-dependent) challenging hike up Machu Picchu Mountain—a 5-6 hour round trip scenic workout! It's a steady climb, gentle stairs all the way up. The view of the site is awe inspiring. Your camera will give you astounding images. It's one of the most spectacular picnic sites you may ever enjoy.
There's another optional hike up a steep trail, hidden in crevasses and bushes that leads to the top of Huayna Picchu+, the slender granite peak that appears in every photo of Machu Picchu. On top, the view of Machu Picchu, the archeological site, the surrounding valleys and snow capped peaks is truly breath taking. The climb is impressive and requires no more than 1.5 - 2 hours, even if you are a very slow hiker. It is a challenging hike, not for everyone, but the reward of reaching the summit is one of the greatest views in the world! The descent is relatively quick and easy, but steep, and leads straight to lunch!
After lunch you'll have the option for further guided exploration of the ruins or you may also hike up to the Sun Gate overlooking Machu Picchu, explore the Inca Bridge.
Hotel: Machu Picchu Pueblo; Sanctuary Lodge by request, BLD
Day 7 (Tuesday) | Machu Picchu, train to Cusco
This morning, you'll board the morning train to Ollantaytambo where you transfer by van to Cusco—the Center of the Inca Universe (alt. 11,200 feet). Inca means "ruler," or "king" - an equivalent to the Roman Caesars.
After check-in, you begin your walking exploration of Cusco, walking along streets where the Incas and later the Spaniards walked.
In the course of the day you will visit Coricancha, the partially restored Temple of the Sun at the center of the Inca Universe, where the gold-covered walls were stripped by the Conquistadors. Along narrow cobblestone streets, you pass walls of stone so precisely fitted that they remain in superb condition centuries later, even after many earthquakes. You may look into the University, churches and shops that face onto the Plaza de Armas.
Hotel: El Monasterio del Cusco or La Casona, BLD
Day 8 (Wednesday) | Cusco, Sacsayhuaman
You visit the bustling Cusco "Mercado Central", a traditional market were you will get a sense of the daily rhythm of Cuzqueño life. From open air stalls, everything from coca leaves, carrots, rubber boots, jeans, padlocks, beef, live chickens and ducks, to cuys, Band-Aids, and a range of familiar and unfamiliar fruits and vegetables are sold -sometimes for cash, sometimes in the traditional manner-barter.
Later you view an archbishop's private collection of colonial and Indian art. After lunch you will visit the Inca Historical Museum for a fine overview of the history of the Inca Empire from its beginning to its demise.
In the late afternoon you will venture up to Sacsayhuaman to explore the spectacular ceremonial and "parade" grounds used by the Incas for major celebrations, pageants and sporting events. Inti Raymi, the Incan "Festival of the Sun," is still celebrated here on June 24. Cusco fills with colorfully dressed, chicha-drinking Indians from villages all over the Andes, who come for this week-long festival of folk-dance competitions, pageantry and renowned debauchery.
You will be treated to a special ceremony with plants and herbs conducted by a shaman before your return to Cusco.
Hotel: El Monasterio del Cusco or La Casona, BLD
Day 9 (Thursday) | Cusco via Lima home or to onward adventures
You will be met and transferred back to the airport approximately 2 hours prior to your flight’s departure time.
Dates & Prices
Center of the Inca Universe operates round. All prices are per person, double occupancy unless otherwise specified.
2019 Departures | Scroll down for 2020 departures
|Apr 24 - May 2||$7495|
|May 1 - May 9||$7495|
|May 8 - May 16||$7495|
|May 15 - May 23||$7495|
|May 22 - May 30||$7495|
|May 29 - Jun 6||$7495|
|Jun 5 - Jun 13||$7495|
|Jun 12 - Jun 20||$7495|
|Jun 19 - Jun 27||$7495|
|Jun 26 - Jul 4||$7495|
|Jul 3 - Jul 11||$7495|
|Jul 10 - Jul 18||$7495|
|Jul 17 - Jul 25||$7495|
|Jul 24 - Aug 1||$7495|
|Jul 31 - Aug 8||$7495|
|Aug 7 - Aug 15||$7495|
|Aug 14 - Aug 22||$7495|
|Aug 21 - Aug 29||$7495|
|Aug 28 - Sep 5||$7495|
|Sep 4 - Sep 12||$7495|
|Sep 11 - Sep 19||$7495|
|Sep 18 - Sep 26||$7495|
|Sep 25 - Oct 3||$7495|
|Oct 2 - Oct 10||$7495|
|Oct 9 - Oct 17||$7495|
|Oct 16 - Oct 24||$7495|
|Oct 23 - Oct 31||$7495|
|Oct 30 - Nov 7||$7495|
|Nov 6 - Nov 14||$7495|
|Nov 13 - Nov 21||$7495|
|Nov 20 - Nov 28||$7495|
|Nov 27 - Dec 5||$7495|
|Dec 4 - Dec 11||$7495|
|Jan 22 - Jan 30||$7795|
|Jan 29 - Feb 6||$7795|
|Feb 5 - Feb 13||$7795|
|Feb 12 - Feb 20||$7795|
|Feb 19 - Feb 27||$7795|
|Feb 26 - Mar 5||$7795|
|Mar 4 - Mar 12||$7795|
|Mar 11 - Mar 19||$7795|
|Mar 18 - Mar 26||$7795|
|Mar 25 - Apr 2||$7795|
|Apr 1 - Apr 9||$7795|
|Apr 8 - Apr 16||$7795|
|Apr 15 - Apr 23||$7795|
|Apr 22 - Apr 30||$7795|
|Apr 29 - May 7||$7795|
|May 6 - May 14||$7795|
|May 13 - May 21||$7795|
|May 20 - May 28||$7795|
|May 27 - Jun 4||$7795|
|Jun 3 - Jun 11||$7795|
|Jun 10 - Jun 18||$7795|
|Jun 17 - Jun 25||$7795|
|Jun 24 - Jul 2||$7795|
|Jul 1 - Jul 9||$7795|
|Jul 8 - Jul 16||$7795|
|Jul 15 - Jul 23||$7795|
|Jul 22 - Jul 30||$7795|
|Jul 29 - Aug 6||$7795|
|Aug 5 - Aug 13||$7795|
|Aug 12 - Aug 20||$7795|
|Aug 19 - Aug 27||$7795|
|Aug 26 - Sep 3||$7795|
|Sep 2 - Sep 10||$7795|
|Sep 9 - Sep 17||$7795|
|Sep 16 - Sep 24||$7795|
|Sep 23 - Oct 1||$7795|
|Sep 30 - Oct 8||$7795|
|Oct 7 - Oct 15||$7795|
|Oct 14 - Oct 22||$7795|
|Oct 21 - Oct 29||$7795|
|Oct 28 - Nov 5||$7795|
|Nov 4 - Nov 12||$7795|
|Nov 11 - Nov 19||$7795|
|Nov 18 - Nov 26||$7795|
|Nov 25 - Dec 3||$7795|
|Dec 2 - Dec 9||$7795|
Supplements, inclusions and exclusions
Single supplement: 2019: $1975 | 2020: $2275
Price upon request
Sanctuary Lodge Upgrade (Machu Picchu)
$890 per person additional
Roundtrip airport transfers as specified in itinerary
All hotel/lodge accommodations (double occupancy, unless Single purchased) as specified in itinerary
All meals as specified in itinerary
All non-alcoholic beverages
All guides, activities, tours, entry fees and sightseeing arrangements as specified in itinerary.
Exclusions (costs subject to change without prior notice)
Not included are any airfare, airport taxes and fees
Tips for guides (at your discretion)
Other items of a personal nature
Insurance coverage for trip cancellation-interruption, travel accident, travel delay, baggage delay or baggage theft (we recommend you obtain coverage for these items), medical or hospitalization expenses.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I go?
Peru's winter season (May to October) brings mild temperatures to the coast, and clear skies to the highlands, although it gets quite chilly in the evenings in June and July. See more »
What will I see?
Center of the Inca Universe showcases the best of Lima, The Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and Cusco. You’ll have a balance of culture, history, and a chance to stretch your legs. The itinerary can also be completely customized to suit your specific interests. Just ask our experts. See more »
How can I be sure this trip is right for me?
While Lima is at sea level, Cusco and the Sacred Valley are at significant elevation (up to 12,000'), so we recommend a moderate level of fitness. For those choosing the more active walks and treks, we recommend additional preparedness. Good balance, health and proper footwear are essential for the most enjoyable adventure. See more »