Peru: Multi-Sport & Trek
Arguably one of our best trips in a series of acclimation activities in the Sacred Valley with a famous lodge-to-lodge trek to Machu Picchu.
Experience a physical and spiritual journey with awe-inspiring terrain, local heritage, and world class lodging on NOC’s Peru Multi-Sport & Trek.
The Multisport Adventure in Peru is one of the longest excursions offered at the NOC, simply because of the boundless opportunities to connect to the Andean heritage, iconic landscapes of Machu Picchu and Sacred Valley, and nine different ecozones as you traverse the landscape. To truly enjoy this experience, our experts crafted this trip for acclimation to the terrain.
Experience trekking in the majestic Andes with elite guides, rafting, zip lining, and exploring the Sacred Valley along bike trails or by horseback. Our journey includes hiking along the Salkantay Inca Trail and a personalized visit and tour to the legendary Mayan ruins of Macchu Picchu via non-commercial routes of the locals.
This spectacular lodge-to-lodge tour will have you spending the days connected to the land; mind, body, and spirit, but each night you’ll stay in the most comfortable beds in the region at chic mountain lodges that seem to appear out of the mist as you make your way along the trails. Experience intriguing archaeological areas, unique terrain and adventures, spectacular accommodations, chef-prepared meals, hot tubs, even optional massages daily.
There is nothing like immersing into the Andean heritage, traditions, and culture of this region from a physical and spiritual level. These paths and sites have been maintained and cherished by the Incans for centuries, and together we’ll honor the heritage that makes these trips possible. The NOC and the lodges we work with support several environmental and social initiatives that maintain the natural integrity and improve quality of life in the region.
- Arrive Lima, overnight and transfer to Cusco next morning
- visit Sacred Valley, Pisac Market and many ruins
- Mountain bike to the salt mines of Maras and visit the archaeological wonder of Moray
- Shuttle to Salkantay Lodge in the Soraypampa Valley and spend the afternoon relaxing before dinner beneath the towering peak of Salkantay, the most sacred peak in Inca mythology and at 20,500 feet
- Trek up the Rio Blanco Valley circling Humantay Peak across from the Salkantay and take in views of snow-capped peaks of the Vilcabamba Range and overnight at the Wayra Lodge
- Hike downhill above the Salkantay River, through increasingly verdant scenery to the Colpa Lodge at the confluence of three rivers
- Continue down to the Santa Teresa River Valley, through more populated rural areas with coffee plantations and orchards
- Continue our trek towards Llactapata pass for a distant but one-of-a-kind view of Machu Picchu and a visit to the Llactapata Ruins
- Begin our final descent to the Vilcanota River and the town of Aguas Calientes and overnight at the Machu Picchu Pueblo Lodge
- Revel in a full-day guided tour of Machu Picchu then transfer by train back to Cusco for a farewell dinner and a final night at the center of the Inca Empire
- Experienced professional guides
- Chartered transportation between destinations
- Expedition equipment
- All meals, select wines and accommodations
- Taxes and permits
We pride ourselves in running a laid-back and adaptable schedule. Every trip is different depending upon the group, trip length and time of year. The following is an example of what your adventure might entail.
Today you arrive in Lima, Peru and transfer to the Wyndham Airport hotel where you’ll stay the night.
After breakfast (time TBA) we cross the road to the domestic airport terminal and take a 1-hour flight to the otherworldly city of Cusco. Upon our arrival, you are met by your NOC guide and taken to your home for the night, the El Mercado hotel. After checking in to our rooms, we will depart for a short outing around the city while your body adjusts to the altitude. The tour stops include visiting the Cathedral and Koricancha temples. Later we will enjoy a welcome dinner a few blocks from your hotel.
Today we will travel to the Sacred Valley of the Incas situated 2000 feet below Cusco. En-route we will will visit Sacsayhuaman, Awanacancha and the incredible Pisac Market and ruins to peruse some of the local arts and crafts. Tonight we will stay in the Sacred Valley at Inkaterra Hacienda Urubama, a National Geographic “Unique Lodges of the World” property. Overnight in Sacred Valley.
Get ready for epic mountain biking today as we visit the Maras Moray ruins with a few delights along the way. By now you’ll be adjusted to the high altitude and this is a great day to get moving and see the sites at the same time. Overnight in Sacred Valley.
After another delicious breakfast, we will enjoy a morning horseback trek through some of the Sacred Valley’s most pristine countryside. We’ll rest for lunch in a Colonial House and make our way back to Cusco in the afternoon. This evening we join our NOC tour leader for a group orientation and discussion of the following morning’s plans. Overnight in Cusco.
A 7 am departure leads us onward to the Salkantay Lodge & Adventure Resort (SLAR) in the valley of Soraypampa. On the way, we take a short break to visit the Inca ruins of Tarawasi near the town of Limatambo (approx. 1.5 hrs from Cusco). After leaving Limatambo, we pass through the mountain village of Mollepata where we stop for a brief coffee siesta before climbing a twisting mountain road to Marcoccasa (30 minutes from Mollepata by car). Here, we begin our ascension to Soraypampa on an enduring route termed the “Camino Real” (Royal Path). This is a good time for us to climatize as we enjoy a mellow yet grand 4-hour hike to the lodge. (Hiking level: moderate). Optional: if we opt not to trek we can be transported to the lodge in the vehicle.
The lodge takes its name from the imperial peak at the head of the valley – the “Salkantay”, the 2nd most sacred peak in Inca mythology and, at 20,600 ft (6,270 m), the highest in the region. After a warm welcome by the amiable staff, we are shown to our rooms and have plenty of time to freshen up or soak in the hot tub since the first afternoon is spent at ease adjusting to the altitude. An evening discussion by the fireplace is followed by aperitifs and dinner.
The choice of activities today hinges upon each guest’s preference and level of acclimatization. The most popular activity at Soraypampa is a half-day hike (3-4 hours. Hiking level: moderate to challenging) to a glacial lake where the more adventurous can take a brief swim! This hike is excellent for getting used to the altitude and as a first immersion into high-mountain trekking. In the afternoon, we’ll opt for warmer waters with a soothing soak in the outdoor hot tub. In the evening, our guide will brief us on gear prep and the itinerary for the next four days. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are taken at the Lodge.
This is the big day: so begins the four-day trek to Machu Picchu. We start out early on our hike up the Rio Blanco valley, circling Humantay Peak across from the Salkantay. The highest point on the trail is a pass at 4,600 m (15,000 ft); here we stop to take in views of the frosted peaks of the Vilcabamba Range and the south face of Salkantay towering above us. We’ll keep a lookout for Andean condors, often visible in this area. From the pass we descend toward the Wayra Lodge (Wayra: “the place where the wind lives”), our destination for the evening. A hot lunch is taken on the way. Dinner and overnight at the Lodge. (Hiking time: 4-6 hours. Total excursion time for day: 5-7 hours. Hiking level: challenging)
Following the long first day of challenging terrain, we savor a leisurely breakfast at Wayra Lodge. We then head further downhill, above the Salkantay River, through increasingly lush forest. Upon arrival at our next lodge, we are treated to a “Pachamanca”-style lunch (subject to availability; traditional underground stone cooking).
The Colpa Lodge is located in an open bluff at the confluence of three rivers. The outdoor hot tub in this lodge has prominent views of emerald mountains and a local town far in the distance. Dinner and overnight at the lodge. (Hiking time: 3-4 hours. Hiking level: moderate).
After an early breakfast we head down the Santa Teresa River Valley, through more populated rural areas with coffee plantations (one of the best organic coffee regions in the world!), bananas, granadillas, and orchards. We rest along the river for a hot picnic lunch. After another hour of trekking, a private vehicle arrives to deliver us to the “Llactapata Inca Trail” (30-minute drive). From the head of the trail it is a short climb (30 min.) to the Lucma Lodge, set in an avocado orchard. We arrive in time to explore the small village of Lucmabamba and – if we’re lucky – meet with members of the local community. (Hiking time: 5-6 hours. Total excursion time for day: 6-8 hours. Hiking level: moderate to challenging in length, not terrain.)
Another early morning caps off our last day hiking in the Incas. We head uphill for 2-3 hours towards Llactapata pass (2,700 m/8,900ft), where we come upon a distant yet grandiose view of Machu Picchu from the southwest. This is a rare view that most visitors don’t see. An added bonus are the Llactapata Ruins, which have recently been restored. Lunch is provided at the observatory, still in view of Machu Picchu. We then begin our final descent to the Aobamba River through lush bamboo forests, more orchards and coffee plantations (2-3 hour descent). Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu are a short (30 minutes) scenic train ride away. (Total hiking time: 4-6 hours. Hiking level: moderate to challenging). We then arrive in Aguas Calientes to check-in to our hotel for the night.
We have a quick breakfast at the hotel and then make our way to the bus station for the ride up to Machu Picchu (30 min). A complete guided tour of Machu Picchu will be provided (2 hours). We will have additional time after the initial tour to explore the site on our own, since there is a lot to see and do. In the afternoon we will take the train to Ollantaytambo (1.5 hrs), where a private vehicle will be waiting to take us to Cusco (1.5 hrs). Upon arrival in Cusco (approximately 7-8pm) we will be dropped off at our hotel. Overnight at Cusco hotel.
Transfers to the airport for flights to Lima. Evening flights home.
This trip utilizes 4 beautifully maintained mountain lodges that are one of a kind. They have been designed with traditional Incan building techniques and mesh perfectly with the surrounding environment.
At the end of each adventure day you will enjoy hot showers, locally sourced gourmet meals, select wines, massages, outdoor spas and specially tailored service from local staff in our intimate 6-room lodges.
All our guest rooms are finely outfitted with down comforters and amenities. The eco-minded architecture effortlessly mixes traditional heritage with modern convenience.
Indulge in our creative menus, which provide a refreshing take on the region’s most iconic dishes. All our offerings are locally sourced – from organic coffee blends to healthy snacks.
For many, the first word that comes to mind when thinking of Peruvian history is “Inca”. Certainly, the Inca civilization is the most studied and well recognized of South America’s pre-Colombian cultures, but Peru’s first inhabitants were nomadic hunters who migrated across the Bering Straight and into the Americas about 20,000 years ago.
Domestication of the llama, alpaca and guinea pig began by about 4000 BC and around the same time people began planting seeds and learning simple horticulture methods. Various forms of the Andean staple, the potato, began to be grown as a crop around 3000 BC and weaving and fishing took their first form. Between 2000 and 1000 BC ceramics began to develop from basic undecorated pots to sculpted, incised and simply colored pots of high quality. Horticulture improved dramatically with the development of irrigation as agricultural terraces began to be constructed in the highlands.
Between the initial years of civilization in Peru and the rise and fall of the Inca Empire, many cultures shared in the development of weaving, pottery, agriculture, religion and architecture. But for all its greatness, the Inca Empire existed for barely a century. Beginning in the 1430s, the Inca conquered most of the cultures in the area stretching from southern Colombia to central Chile. Like the Wari before them, the Incas imposed their way of life on the peoples they conquered and created magnificent cities with impressive urban developments. Thus when the Spanish arrived, most of the Andean area had been politically united by Inca rule.
Peru is unequaled in South America for its archeological wealth, and many experts find Peru’s ancient sites and cultures as exciting as those of Mexico, Egypt and the Mediterranean. Learning about and visiting these centuries-old ruins is one of the highlights of the Peru Multi-sport. This archaeological exploration begins in the city of Cusco, the center of the Inca Empire with a city tour rich in Inca and Spanish Colonial heritage and to the ruins of Sacsayhuaman, Kenko, and Tambomachay. In the Sacred valley we make stops at Ollantaytambo, Moray and Pisac and an unforgettable visit to Machu Picchu.
Peru is multi-cultural society, with one part containing predominately white and mestizo middle and upper classes, and the other made up of mostly the poor Indian “campesinos”. Ninety percent of the population is Roman Catholic, and soccer and bullfighting are among the most popular pastimes.
Traditional Andean music is popularly referred to as “musica folklorica” and is frequently encountered at street fairs and fiestas. The most representative wind instruments are quenas. Although string instruments were introduced by the Spanish musica folklorica groups make use of the charango, a tiny 10-stringed guitar with the box traditionally made of an armadillo shell. Percussion instruments include drums made from hollowed-out tree trunks and stretched goatskin and rattles of goat hooves.
Peruvian crafts are based on pre-Hispanic necessities such as weaving, pottery, and metallurgy. Today, beautifully colored woven cloth is seen in traditional ponchos, belts, rugs and tapestries. Pottery and jewelry are based on ancient designs; rituals and heritage are available for purchase or barter along with woven goods throughout the Andean highlands.
Peru lies in the tropics just south of the equator and can be divided into three distinctly different geographical regions: the Pacific coastal strip, the Andes Mountains and the Amazonian lowlands. On the coast, the capital city of Lima and the world-class Pacific surf are mainly desert, extending south to the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on earth.
Second only to the Himalaya, the Andes rise to over 18,000 feet just miles from the Peruvian coast with year-round glaciers over 15,000 feet. Between 9,000 feet and 13,000 feet lie agricultural lands that support half of Peru’s population. This rugged Andean landscape boasts dramatic jagged ranges separated by deep, vertical canyons rewarding you with incredible mountain scenery that sets the backdrop for much of our Peru Multi-Sport.
The eastern slopes of the Andes are cloaked in green cloud forest receiving abundant rainfall as they drop into the fabled Amazon basin. Over half of Peru lies within the vast wilderness of the Amazon basin which is penetrated by few roads and supports less than 5% of the country’s population. However, there are thousands of animal and bird species that call the remote jungle home, making Peru one of the most biologically diverse nations on the planet.