Peru Inca Heritage Tour (Family)
This itinerary offers you a glimpse into the once-mighty Inca Empire and today’s Quechua culture all while moving your feet on some light family-friendly hikes. This tour starts and ends in Cusco, the former capital of the great Inca Empire. Here we will wander through the atmospheric cobblestone streets, explore the ancient ruins of the nearby Sacred Valley, and taste the local flavors of Peruvian food. Our trip culminates at the mythical Machu Picchu.
- Day 1Arrival to CuscoBrief city orientation in Cusco. Acclimatize!
Cusco was the historic capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th until the 16th-century Spanish conquest and the Incas deemed this spot the belly button of the world. Cusco sits at 3,400 m above sea level, or 11,154 feet.
After lunch, we’ll visit the top floor of the Regional History Museum as well as San Pedro Market before stopping into the Centro de Textiles to learn about traditional weaving. In the evening we’ll see traditional dancing at Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo. Later in the week, we can return to the market to explore in smaller groups, buy souvenirs, drink fresh juice, etc.
- Day 2Cusco City Tour & SacsayhuamanMorning: Breakfast at hotel. Cusco city Walking Tour:
Wander around the cobblestone streets of Cusco, a city of ancient beauty, Inca ruins, and colonial buildings. During our city tour we’ll visit Plaza de Armas and Cusco Cathedral. We’ll stop to explore the fantastic Qoricancha, the Sun Temple, an Inca religious site dedicated to their Sun God.
Cusco is a beautiful city with well-preserved colonial architecture, evidence of a rich and complex history. The city itself represents the center of indigenous Quechua culture in the Andes, and just walking the streets here, you’ll see the layers of history. Spanish colonial buildings have been built atop Inca walls lining the squares, while the modern tourist nightlife sets a modern pace.
Walk up above Cusco to tour Sacsayhuaman. Be amazed by the stonework of Sacsayhuaman, the towering Incan fortress towering over Cusco city.
Sacsayhuaman is a citadel situated on a steep hill that overlooks the historic Inca capital, Cusco. Sections were first built by earlier cultures but complex was expanded and added to by the Inca from the 13th century onward. The three-tiered walls of the Sacsayhuamán complex are a marvel of engineering with some of the biggest blocks ever found in Incan construction fitted together so tightly, mortar was not even necessary.
The site witnessed a bloody battle in 1536 between Inca leaders and the Spanish conquistadores. Here, Francisco Pizarro's son was killed as he charged the main gate in a surprise assault.
- Day 3Community HomestayMorning: Breakfast at hotel. Leave for Sacred Valley.
On the way to our homestay community, we’ll stop at Awana Cancha to see llamas, alpacas, and traditional weaving demonstrations.
The afternoon will be filled with community homestay activities in a village in the mountains above Pisaq with the community.
- Day 4Sacred Valley: Pisac, Moray, & SalinerasMorning: Depart homestay for Pisac.
The Pisac Ruins are reputed to be the second most sacred site in Peru aside from Machu Picchu. The citadel, now in ruins at the entrance to this gorge, once controlled a route which connected the Inca Empire with Paucartambo, on the border of the eastern jungles. These ruins above Pisac town are believed to have served military, agricultural, and religious purposes. There are still-functioning fountains, baths, and water channels which date back to at least the Inca times, if not earlier. Enjoy the incredible views from this site.
Travel to Ollantaytambo, stopping at the awesome terraced agricultural circles of the Inca at Moray. Following that, we’ll walk among the fascinating and photogenic salt mines of Salinera. Beautiful views of the Andes today among the field of quinoa. Lunch buffet in Urubamba.
Moray is thought to have been an Inca agricultural laboratory, consisting of four platforms amphitheaters or overlapping concentric circular stones and a depth of 150 meters, like rings that are expanding as they ascend.
At Salineras, a spring of warm, salty water was diverted into thousands of pools, where sunlight evaporates the water and leaves a thin crust of salt. Today, a collective of 260 salt miners from the nearby villages continue to work the mines.
Arrival in Ollantaytambo and check into accomodation. Dinner at local restaurant in Ollantaytambo.
- Day 5Ollantaytambo RuinsMorning: Visit Ollantaytambo Ruins
Ollantaytambo protected the strategic entrance to the lower Urubamba Valley. The temple area, located at the top of steep terracing, helped to provide excellent defenses. Stone used for these structures was brought from a quarry high up on the opposite side of the Urubamba river - an incredible feat involving the efforts of thousands of workers. The complex was still under construction at the time of the Spanish conquest and was never completed. After Manco Inca was defeated by the Spanish at Sacsayhuaman following the unsuccessful siege of Cusco (1536) he retreated to Ollantaytambo. Francisco Pizarro's younger brother Hernando led a large contingent there to capture Manco Inca. The Spanish ended up retreating and Ollantaytambo became the only place ever to have resisted attacks from the Spanish. However, their victory was short-lived when the Spanish returned with four times their previous force. Then Manco Inca retreated to his jungle stronghold in Vilcabamba and Ollantaytambo fell into the hands of the Spanish.
Afternoon: Optional hike to the granaries, shopping at the local market, and free time.
Important: Tonight repack small pack for 1.5 days, including Machu Picchu.
- Day 6Travel to Machu Picchu by TrainMorning: Breakfast at hotel. Possible morning hike to quarry. Leave big luggage behind.
- Day 7Dawn Ascent to Machu PicchuMorning: Very early start! Breakfast at hotel.
Hike up the steep and strenuous path to Machu Picchu ruins (1-1.5 hrs) in time for sunrise. Spend all morning at MP. Be mesmerized by the holy grail of Inca sites. Wander through the stone structures and listen to the stories they tell. Be prepared for seriously impressive views.
The “Lost City of the Inca” sits perched atop 300 meter-high cliffs. There is still speculation as to the original purpose of Machu Picchu and to its name as well. These ruins were known to locals for generations but were never recorded by the Spanish. But history took a turn in 1911 when a young Yale archaeologist, Hiram Bingham, was lead to Machu Picchu by a local.
It was believed that Manco Inca and his followers retreated here following their unsuccessful rebellion against the Spanish in 1537 and Bingham thought he found “Vilcabamba”, or the “lost city of the Inca”. However, historians today are certain he was incorrect. There is evidence that the real Vilcabamba was still farther into the jungle at Espiritu Pampa.
Take bus down to Machu Picchu Village. Buffet lunch before catching the scenic train (and then van) back to Cusco. Approx 5 hours total travel time. Evening: Dinner in Cusco.
- Day 8Cusco and Flight homeMorning: Late start. Breakfast at hotel.
Enjoy a group chocolate-making class!
Visit remaining museums and free time for last minute shopping.
Packing List for Peru Inca Heritage trip (recommended)
- Weather in the high elevations of Peru in April can be cool at night and warm during the day. Expect rain. Here is a guide for how to pack for a trip to Peru.
- Cash (ATMs are not uncommon to find, but it’s always a good idea to carry some cash)
- Remember to pack light; we’ll be using public transportation and you have to carry your own bags.
- Cusco is situated at 3,399 meters (11,152 feet) above sea level, and many will be flying in from near sea-level. Some people have difficulty at this elevation. Please pack altitude sickness medication if you think you’ll need it.
The accommodation will mostly be mid-range guesthouses, near or equivalent to 3-star hotels.
We will utilize a variety of transportation on this trip, from city bus in Lima to a domestic flight, to scenic trains, to private vans for touring the Sacred Valley.
This trip will be led by a local English-speaking guide.
The trip is aimed at both independent travelers and families with children older than 8 years old. Activities are family-friendly and focus on Inca history, archeology, local food, outdoor activities, and hiking. You know your child best, but we think children older than eight will get the most out of this trip. Please contact us for more questions regarding this.
If 3 or more family members join the tour, save $200 per person. Use coupon code: family3
If 4 or more family members join the tour, save $300 per person. Use coupon code: family4
Our trip provider: This is an exclusive Unquote Travel tour.
Cancellations and Refunds
If you must cancel your reservation for a tour and/or its extension, we will refund your payment, less the following fees per tour and/or extension:
|Days Prior to Trip Start Date||Trip Cancellation Fee Per Person|
|31 – 60 days||50% of trip price|
|0-30 days||100% of trip price|