Llamas and alpacas

The Quechua people have used llamas as pack animals for centuries. On your Llama Trek Private Journey, hike to remote Inca ruins surrounded by snow-capped Andean peaks, with your own private guide, cooks, and camp staff.

Photo by Bill Abbott

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Hidden Inca Trail Private Journey route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $3995  
Length: 9 days
Arrive: Cusco, Peru
Depart: Cusco, Peru
Lodging: 4 nights in beautiful hotels and haciendas, 4 nights full-service deluxe camping, including overnight at Machu Picchu
Meals: All meals except 2 dinners, 2 lunches
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level: Strenuous hiking, 6-8 hours a day at elevations to 13,650 feet
5

Highlights

  • Trek a hidden Inca Trail through the Andes
  • Enjoy a spectacular Inca mountain realm virtually to yourself!
  • Incomparable Machu Picchu, “Lost City of the Incas”


Everything was perfect. Thanks for an absolutely fabulous adventure!Jo V.—San Carlos, CA

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

Venture into the heart of the mysterious world of the Incas on a spectacular trek that offers the utter solitude of a hidden Inca realm! The terrain and scenery on our Hidden Inca Trail trek is very similar to that of the famous Inca Trail, but here you’ll have the trails all to yourself. Revel in views of ice-clad peaks and turquoise mountain lakes, visit traditionally dressed Quechua herders in their beautiful and remote villages, and enjoy pampering by our experienced camp staff. And the grand finale? Exploring magical Machu Picchu!

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-2
Cusco and Highland Inca Ruins

On a privately guided tour, explore Cusco, where the streets are flanked by intricate Inca-built stone walls recalling the city’s fascinating past. Hike amid the important Inca ruins overlooking Cusco, including the imperial baths at Tambomachay and massive Sacsayhuaman fortress. In the beautiful Sacred Valley, discover the stupendous ruins of Pisac, whose Inca-built terracing sweeps around the mountain spur on which the ruin is perched. Hike past the largest known Inca burial site, explore the temple complex, and visit the modern village below, which has excellent artisan shops and a lively market.

Days 3-6
Trekking an Inca Trail

The Incas were an extraordinary people who built their cities on knife-edge precipices above sacred valleys. Masters of stonework, they built thousands of miles of trails connecting these cities and fortresses, the most famous of which led from Cusco, the heart of their empire, to Machu Picchu, the mysterious city in the sky. Our extraordinary trek affords you the pleasures of hiking in unspoiled Andean countryside along an original section of this famous Inca trail. Our trek takes you up a beautiful canyon between high granite walls festooned with tumbling waterfalls and tiny orchids and bromeliads, all framed by spectacular views of ice-clad Mt. Veronica (20,275’), past small settlements populated by Quechua villagers with their herds of llamas, across the broad plateau of Huallanay Pass (14,900’), with its incredible views of Salcantay, Huallanay, and other peaks of the Cordillera Vilcabamba, and alongside several small pristine lakes where Andean geese and black ibis are often spotted. Along the way you’ll explore isolated Inca ruins, including Paucarcancha (10,500’), an archaeological site that was probably an ancient gateway to Machu Picchu. From the village of Huayllabamba (9,600’), the unique experience and solitude of your route will be even more appreciated as you see the crowds coming in the opposite direction along the standard Inca Trail. Your last night’s camp is on the beautiful Urubamba River, right in front of the spectacular Veronica Glacier, with the comforts of a hot shower, fireplace, and even a rustic sauna! On tonight’s menu: a pachamanca, a traditional Peruvian-style barbecue.

Days 7-8
Stunning Machu Picchu

At the lofty sanctuary of Machu Picchu, perched in an incredible mountain setting high above the Urubamba River, explore the haunting ruins of staircases, altars, temples, and fountains of this marvelous city on a privately guided tour. So well hidden in the jungle-covered ramparts of the Cordillera Vilcabamba that the Spaniards never knew of it, this “lost city” allows a vivid experience of the Inca world. Return to Cusco on the late afternoon train on Day 8.

Days 9-10
Cusco

Explore enchanting Cusco, with its Inca-paved streets, colonial mansions, sidewalk cafés, and artisan galleries. Depart on Day 10.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:

What the Trip is Like

This trip is Level 5, moderate to strenuous, according to our trip grading system. Most hiking is between 8,000 and 12,000 feet, and the maximum elevation reached is 14,900 feet. You will cover about 6 to 8 miles per day (6-7 hours of hiking each day). Trail conditions can be primitive, and there is a good bit of up-and-down (often 2,000 to 3,000 feet of elevation gain and subsequent loss per day). You should be prepared for five days of hardy outdoor living. We expect each participant be in excellent health and physical condition. We recommend that you make a special effort to get in top physical condition for the trip.

GETTING IN SHAPE
You must make a concerted effort to get in top physical condition for the trip by engaging in regular exercise well beyond your normal routine. We recommend you do aerobic exercise that causes you to break a sweat for at least 30 minutes, at least three times a week, over the course of a couple of months prior to the trip.

To accelerate your conditioning, try walking faster than 1.5 miles per hour, walking on steeper inclines, and using your gym’s stair-climbing machines. As you progress, practice these walks with your loaded daypack (full water bottle, camera gear, jacket). Walks are also a great way to break in your hiking boots. The object is to improve your overall level of fitness and aerobic capacity and get your legs and lungs in shape for the Andes.

A TYPICAL TREKKING DAY WITH WILDERNESS TRAVEL
Hiking distances on trek are normally measured in hours, not miles, since maps aren’t really accurate enough to assess how far we walk up and down winding mountain trails. An average day’s walk is seven or eight hours. With rest stops and photo stops, few people walk faster than one mile an hour in a mountainous region. Some hiking days are shorter than others, and some days are more difficult than others due to altitude gain and loss.

On a typical trek day, wake-up is around 7 am, when a cup of hot tea or coffee and a basin of warm washing water are brought to your tent by one of the camp crew. After packing up our duffels and having breakfast (often pancakes, oatmeal, eggs, or something similar), we set off on the trail while the crew strikes camp and the porters shoulder their loads. The crew passes us by midmorning to get ahead and prepare our lunch.


Most groups tend to spread out over the trail, taking photos, stopping to rest, and enjoying the scenery. We ask you not to hike ahead of the leader because trails are often not well-marked. If you feel breathless during a long ascent or wobbly during a long descent, by all means stop until you feel restored.

You will typically hike for three or four hours in the morning, then stop for a leisurely lunch of an hour or more at a scenic spot on the trail. Lunch is a picnic, perhaps chicken salad, potato salad, guacamole salad, or macaroni salad, along with fruit, cheese, bread, and chocolate bars for extra energy. After lunch, you will hike for another three hours or so until you reach the next night’s camp. The porters and crew pass you in mid-afternoon and usually have camp set up by the time we arrive. At camp, there is late afternoon tea (or coffee or cocoa) and a snack such as popcorn, cookies, or crackers, which hit the spot after a long day on the trail. Before dinner, there’s free time to read or relax. Temperatures drop quickly as the sun drops behind the peaks, and it’s easy to get chilled after exerting yourself for several hours, so have a few extra layers of clothing ready. It gets dark fairly early (around 6:30 pm). Dinner, served in a dining tent with table and chairs, is delicious hot soup followed by a substantial main course and a dessert. After dinner, you can chat away the evening in the dining tent or read by flashlight until bedtime.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

When to go

April to December

For our Private Journey trips, you choose your own group and your preferred dates—there are no set departure dates. Private Journeys are available to groups as few as two people or as large as you like. Contact us for availability, questions, or to book your adventure!

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2014

First Class Option

$3995 per person (with 4 people)
$4295 per person (with 3 people)
$4495 per person (with 2 people)
Single supplement: $595

Deluxe Option

$4695 per person (with 4 people)
$4895 per person (with 3 people)
$5295 per person (with 2 people)
Single Supplement: $1310

Internal airfare: $475 (subject to change)

Note: Some of the hotels on this trip may apply Christmas/New Year holiday surcharges. Please call us for details.


Prices are not guaranteed until services are confirmed.
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Trip Cost Includes:

  • English speaking private guide
  • Accommodations in hotels based on double occupancy, as described, and in top quality tents on tre
  • All meals except 2 dinners, 2 lunches
  • Land transportation as noted in the Full Trip Brochure
  • Entrance fee to Machu Picchu
  • Airport transfers
  • Private guided tours per itinerary

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, any activities described as optional, airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to staff, additional hotel nights made necessary by airline schedule changes or other factors, pre-trip expenses such as medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, or passports and visas; and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20% of trip cost
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

More than 90 days prior to departure: $250 per person
46-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Casa Andina Private Collection—Cusco

Casa Andina Private Collection—Cusco (First Class Option)

Days 1 to 2 (2 nights),
Days 8 to 9 (2 nights), Cusco, Peru

Just three blocks from the Plaza de Armas in the heart of old Cusco, this charming hotel is a renovated colonial manor house. It features a series ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Hotel Monasterio

Hotel Monasterio (Deluxe Option)

Days 1 to 2 (2 nights),
Days 8 to 9 (2 nights), Cusco, Peru

A 16th century monastery that is now an elegant hotel, the Monasterio has a stunning historic ambiance, with several inner courtyards, a chapel, ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Hidden Inca Trail Camps

Hidden Inca Trail Camps

Days 3 to 6 (4 nights), Hidden Inca Trail, Peru

We make hiking and camping in the Andes as comfortable as it can get! On the trail, you are accompanied by our experienced team of trail guides, and ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel (First Class Option)

Day 7 (1 night), Aguas Calientes, Peru

Located in Aguas Calientes below the Machu Picchu ruins, this hotel is spread over 12 acres of lush cloud forest. The rooms are comfortable ...
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Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge

Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge (Deluxe Option)

Day 7 (1 night), Machu Picchu Ruins, Peru

You can’t get closer to the Machu Picchu ruins than this! With only 31 rooms, this Orient Express property is famously set right at the gate ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Extension Accommodations

If you would like to view the accommodations offered with our extensions options:

Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:

Peru

Amazon Rainforest Extension: Reserva Amazonica

Exploring Waterways and Nature Trails

Cultural Adventures, Wildlife & Natural History
3 days  -  Level 1

Arequipa and Colca Canyon Extension

Colonial Splendor and Natural Wonders

Cultural Adventures, Wildlife & Natural History
4 days  -  Level 2

Lake Titicaca Extension

Mystical Birthplace of the Incas

Archaeology, Cultural Adventures
3 days  -  Level 2

Client Comments

Everything was perfect. Thanks for an absolutely fabulous adventure! Jo V., San Carlos, CA
The scenery, hiking, Machu Picchu, and other ruins were astonishingly wonderful—we had a really fantastic time. Kathy N., Hastings On Huston, NY