Peru holiday, Tambopata & Inca Trail

Description of Peru holiday, Tambopata & Inca Trail

The Bahuaje-Sonene National Park and the adjacent Tambopata National Reserve protect habitats ranging from the Andean highlands around the rivers' head waters through some of the last remaining intact cloud forests to the lowland rainforests of the Amazon basin.

Over 1,300 bird species (including 32 parrot species - 10% of the world's total), 200 mammal species, 90 frog species, 1,200 butterfly species and 10,000 species of higher plants are protected within these reserved areas.

You will stay at Sandoval Lake Lodge which is located on the high bluffs overlooking Sandoval Lake within the protected Tambopata National Reserve.

Sandoval Lake is an oxbow lake formed generations ago by the shifting waters of the Madre de Dios River, and it has evolved into a mature lake environment attracting myriad species of wildlife and flora.

Set in high Andean mountains at 3320m, Cusco is an attractive town which draws people from all over the world. Built on the foundations of an Inca city, you can still see intricate Inca masonry and buildings as you walk through the town. The huge cathedral dominates the main square which is also flanked by many shops selling alpaca jumpers, jewellery and many other crafts, textiles and artworks It is the favourite city of most visitors to Peru, as the mixture of ancient history, traditional Andean culture and a relaxed atmosphere makes it a charming place to stay for a few days.

After two days acclimatising to the altitude and exploring Cusco and its surroundings, the Inca Trail beckons.

Your bilingual guide picks you up at your hotel in Cusco for the 2 hour ride by private bus to the small Andean town of Chilca and on to the trailhead at Piscacucho. Here we will meet our porters and camp staff. As our porters load the heavy gear, we head off down river alongside the rushing Vilcanota river, through pretty cactus gardens with magnificent views of the Wakaywilca snowpeak to our right. We arrive at the Inca town of Llactapata and spend some time exploring this site before continuing up the Cusichaca valley to the hamlet of Huallaybamba where we camp for the night within view of the river.

After breakfast, we continue up through remnant cloudforest, ascending steadily to the head of a valley below the high pass of Warmiwanusca. If the weather is clear we'll get spectacular views of the Huayanay snowpeaks as we climb steadily over the pass (4200m)and down to treeline in the Pacaymayo Valley.

Today a steady 1-2 hour climb takes us over the second pass where we pick up our first signs of paved Inca road, as we climb an impressive carved stairway to the minor ruins of Runkurakay. Continuing up the Inca stairs we cross the pass and descend to the spectacular ruins of Sayacmarca for lunch. After lunch there is a gentle climb over the third pass to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca. The trail then descends via some of the finest, intact paved Inca road known, passing through moss-laden cloud forest down steep Inca stairs to Wiñay Wayna. The site was discovered in the 1940's and rivals Machu Picchu in splendour.

From here it is 2 hours through tree-fern laden cloud forest to Inti Punku (the sun gate) where we get our first awe-inspiring view of Machu Picchu, hopefully coinciding with the rising sun. We linger here, then wander down to Machu Picchu itself.

Machu Picchu, the famous lost city of the Incas, is one of the most evocative places in Peru. It is perched on a mountain ridge 600m above the Urubamba River which winds spectacularly through the valley below. The mountainside is clad in thick jungle cloud forest, often covered in mists which are quickly burnt off by the powerful equatorial sun. Constructed from precisely sculpted granite blocks carefully joined with the projecting exposed stone of the surrounding mountain, the site may well be the finest architectural achievement of the new world. Your guide will tell you the story of the rise and fall of the ancient civilisations of the Andes, the tragic end of the Incas, and the unresolved mystery that this 'lost city' remains.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1:(SAT): Fly to Lima. Transfer to hotel.
Day 2:Fly to Puerto Maldonado, then travel to Sandoval Lake Lodge. (FB).
Day 3-4:At Sandoval Lake Lodge. (FB)
Day 5:Depart for Puerto Maldonado, fly to Cusco and transfer to Sacred Valley. (B).
Day 6:Visit Pisac market then hike from Moray to the Sacred Valley. (B).
Day 7-9:Inca trail trek. (FB).
Day 10:Reach Machu Picchu. Explore, then back to Cusco. (B,L)
Day 11:Morning tour of Cusco and the nearby Inca sites. (B)
Day 12:Fly to Lima in the morning. Day use of hotel. Gold Museum and city tour. Transfer to airport. (B).

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Departure information

This trip can be tailormade between April-December to suit your budget , interests & requirements
Holiday type

Avoid disappointment - book your Inca Trail holiday in time

In the last few years, the Peruvian government has imposed increasing restrictions on tourism on the Inca Trail in order to protect it from overuse. The aim is to minimise ecological impact and erosion, mainly by having limited access and improving the quality of the operators. There are now only a very limited number of trekking permits available - 500 per day (around 200 for travellers and the rest for staff) - and they are being issued on a first-come-first-served basis. In order to avoid disappointment we recommend booking well in advance (up to a minimum of 3 months in peak season), unless you are extremely flexible over your travel dates.

Tailor made holidays

This trip can be tailor made to create a unique holiday for your individual requirements by travel experts with intimate knowledge of the destination. It is a more luxurious trip that will suit those who enjoy immersing themselves in new cultures and environments before relaxing in comfort. As this trip can be tailor made it would be helpful if you could you provide the following information: rough budget per person (stating with or without flights), your address and postcode, contact phone number, preferred date of travel, length of trip, number of passengers, preferred countries and areas within those countries, specific interests & type of accommodation.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Peru holiday, Tambopata & Inca Trail

Sandoval Lake Lodge is owned and run by a non-profit conservation group and indigenous brazil nut collectors. The Inca Trail trek is run in accordance with APTAE (Peruvian ecotourism association) guidelines in terms of the fair treatment and payment of porters and other camp staff. Our partners on the ground in Peru are pro-active in all aspects of wildlife conservation and fair treatment of all staff.

We were voted most responsible tour operator by UK NGO Tourism Concern. On average 75% of the cost of your trip with us - excluding flights - remains in the destination.

Flights are automatically carbon offset through The Travel Forest, which plants 10 indigenous trees on your behalf (currently in northern Tanzania). Whilst the primary motivation for planting the trees is to offset carbon emissions, the project also works as a poverty alleviation and environmental improvement scheme.

Reviews of Peru holiday, Tambopata & Inca Trail

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 03 Nov 2008 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Visiting Machu Picchu - simply breathtaking!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

You can never have too many changes of clothes for the jungle...

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

A fantastic experience to see some wonderful sights. We learned so much and everyone was friendly and welcoming.

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