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Inca Heartland

8 days: US$1750 per person
Domestic flights included

This eight-day adventure in Peru takes us to Lima and Cuzco, to the Sacred Valley, and to the world-famous ruins of Machu Picchu. This tour is for those who wish to delve a little deeper into the Inca homeland and their fascinating remains.

Day 1: Arrive Lima. City tour today or upon your return.

Day 2: Flight to Cuzco. City and ruins tour.

Day 3: Free day Cusco.

Day 4: Sacred Valley excursion.

Day 5-6: Machu Picchu tour, then free time at the site.

Day 7: Flight to Lima, free day or city tour.

Day 8: Departure day.


What’s included in the trip

  • Private airport pickup at the beginning of trip and drop off at end of the trip
  • Southern Crossings bilingual guides
  • All other internal transport – (excluding transport to optional restaurants, bars, sights and excursions)
  • Domestic flights – Lima-Cuzco, Cuzco-Lima
  • Seven nights of 2-star hotel accommodation
  • Breakfast – included with all hotel stays
  • Group Machu Picchu excursion – including bilingual guide (one day), round trip train fare, transportation to/from ruins/Aguas Calientes, and two-day entrance to the Machu Picchu sanctuary including Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain
  • Group Sacred Valley excursion
  • Group Cuzco city tour
  • Group Lima city tour
  • Cuzco Visitor’s Ticket – which gives entrance to the major ruins, churches and museums in and around Cuzco
  • 24-hour customer support line while on tour

What’s not included

International flight to/from Lima, pre- & post- tour accommodation, visas, vaccinations, personal insurance, meals except where specified above, drinks, laundry, souvenirs, tips while on optional excursions and other items of a personal nature. Medical travel insurance is not included through Southern Crossings, cancellation insurance is advisable.

Detailed trip itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Lima and transfer to your hotel. If arriving during the day, your hotel will be in the neighborhood of Miraflores, with good artisan markets and restaurants, and you’ll have an included city tour in the afternoon. The city tour lets you explore the wonders of the colonial capital, you visit the famous Plaza de Armas, the national reserve bank museum as well as the impressive and beautiful San Francisco church. You also get a chance to take in some beautiful views of the coast at Parque de Amor. If arriving late at night, you’ll be close to the airport for a bit more sleep before your next day’s flight, and you’ll have your city tour of Lima upon your return.

The tour begins with a panoramic view of the “Huaca Pucllana” a magnificent ceremonial and archeological center built in the 4th century A.D. and considered a “sacred village” by the Inca and pre Inca people. We then visit the historical center of Lima, where you will see more than fifty monuments and Colonial edifications, such as the Paseo de la República, the San Martín Square, the Main Square, the Government Palace, the Archbishop’s Palace, the Cathedral Basilica, and the City Council Palace. Next we head to the Museum of the Banco Central de Reserva, where we will find the “Treasures of Perú” Collection, a fine selection of objects made of gold, ceramics and textiles from different pre-Columbian cultures. We will visit the monumental San Francisco Convent, which displays the largest collection of religious art in America. Our highlight will be the visit of the underground vaults, known as “Catacumbas” or Catacombs. We will also visit traditional residential areas of Lima and Larcomar.

Overnight in Lima.

Day 2

A short flight brings us to the famous Inca city of Cusco. After checking into your hotel, we set out to explore the incredible capital of the Inca Empire. We head to the picturesque Plaza de Armas to the cathedral to see the colonial influence in the city, and we can admire the stunning architecture of the church and also the native influences subtly woven in into the artwork. Onwards to Qoricancha church, where the colonial and Incan architectures are on display side-by-side directly contrasted with each other. Afterwards we make our way above the city to the imposing fortress of Sacsaywaman where we can marvel at the incredible stonework and architecture of the Inca civilization. We head back to Cusco in the late afternoon.

Day 3

Free day in Cusco. Over the course of today there is the opportunity to visit Cusco’s excellent Inca Museum, retrace the steps of the conquistador Pizarro and the Inca rebellion that almost retook Cusco, take walks to little known Inca sites above town, have lunch by the plaza and generally take in the splendor and beauty of this fascinating region. We can organize an extra activity today upon request. Overnight in Cusco.

Day 4

This morning we’re off to the Sacred Valley, a short and scenic ride from Cusco. Fifteen hundred feet lower than Cusco, the warm and fertile Sacred Valley was of immense strategic and agricultural importance to the Incas. We’ll visit two sites today: Pisac and Ollantaytambo. Pisac is a beautiful Andean town with a great handicrafts market. After shopping and bargaining for Andean goods, we’ll head up to the imposing Inca fortress/temple above the town. Then in the early afternoon, we’ll head down the valley to Ollantaytambo, the only Inca village still inhabited today. Peer through ancient, trapezoidal doorways into courtyards where life has changed little in 500 years, then explore the huge ruins which loom above the town. Overnight in Ollantaytambo.

Day 5

A beautiful early morning train journey across the high plain above Cusco then down the Urubamba Valley to majestic Machu Picchu. Known as one of the greatest architectural achievements in the world, this historic sanctuary is considered one of the seven manmade wonders of the world. After a guided tour, take time for independent exploration of this magnificent site. We will spend a night at the village below Machu Picchu and also come back the next day for more exploration. This allow you plenty of time at the ruins as well as time for some beautiful day hikes in the surrounding mountains on day 6.

Day 6

Sunrise at Machu Picchu! Today is a great day for independent exploration. During peak visiting hours (10-2), try a hike on one of the surrounding Inca trails on Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. Return by train and car to Cusco in the afternoon.

Day 7

After a morning flight to Lima, it’s a free day or an included city tour, depending upon your itinerary. For your free time in Lima we are always happy to recommend activities or make restaurant reservations. Just ask!

Day 8

Departure day. Private transfer to the airport is included today. International flights may depart any time today, or on Day 7 if you have less time.

Extra activities

Add extra activities such as river rafting, horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, climbing, zip lining, surfing and free days to your custom itinerary. Ask about these options and we’d be happy to add them to your quote. If you have any special requests or interests like birding, cooking or crafting that you would like to explore please let us know!

Extra accommodation

We will gladly arrange additional accommodation for you before or after your trip:
In Lima/Cusco/Machu Picchu: $85 double/$75 single.

Accommodation Upgrades

This tour includes 2-star hotels. We would be happy to give you an upgrade to three-, four- or five- star. If you would like to select a specific hotel let us know your preference. We can then work it into your custom itinerary.

Joining the tour

On all Southern Crossings tours, you are met at the airport by one of our representatives (holding a Southern Crossings placard), who will accompany you to our joining hotel. No bargaining or being awundled by airport taxis.

Single Person Supplement

If you plan to travel alone, a single person supplement will be included in your quote.

Is this trip for me?

Inca Heartland is an eight-day tour which includes walking in various ruins and on city tours. As always, a certain patience is required for the inconsistencies and occasional delays of developing-world travel.

Pre-trip planner

Required documents

All travelers to Peru are required to have a passport valid for at least six months from date of entry. Visas are not required for E.U., U.S., Canadian, Australian or New Zealand passport holders. For other nationalities, please consult the nearest Peruvian embassy or consulate. An onward ticket and proof of funds may also be required at entry and should be available to show to immigration. Traveler’s checks, currency, or a bank statement, from the bank or printed off the internet, are sufficient for proof of funds.

Required immunizations

No immunizations are required of travelers to these areas of Peru. Travelers may wish to receive hepatitis vaccinations and should be current on all other standard vaccinations. No areas visited on this trip are malarial or yellow fever zones. Please consult your physician or local health department for more information.


Rain is possible at any time of year, especially in high mountains and cloud forest, and one should always be prepared. The climate in sites we will visit is as follows: Cusco and the Sacred Valley: days are warm if sunny, slightly chilly if cloudy. Nights are cold in Cusco. Machu Picchu: similar to Cusco but a bit warmer and with more chance of rain. Lima: warm to hot days, cool evenings, almost never any rain.