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As on all Southern Crossings tours, you´re taken care of from beginning to end – airport transfers and domestic flights are included!

 

Biking the Inca Empire

8 days: US$2725 per person
12 days: US$3250 per person
with Cloud Forest add-on

Domestic flights and porters included
4 passenger minimum – Discount for groups of 5 or more on this tour!

Bike the land of the Incas and visit Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Our trip includes massive downhills, cross-country adventures and uphills if you want them. And a support vehicle is of course always on hand.

Day 1: Arrive Lima. City tour if time allows.

Day 2: Cuzco area biking and walking tour.

Day 3: Sacred Valley – downhills, markets, ruins and the train to Machu Picchu.

Day 4: Full day Machu Picchu guided visit.

Day 5: Cross-country to Moray Inca Terraces and Maras Salt Pans.

Day 6-7: Lares Valley two-day bike excursion – stunning views and thermal baths!

Day 8: Departure day OR beginning of Cloud Forest Adventure.

Day 9-11:  Nature walks, cloud forest lodges and many miles of all kinds of biking terrain. Return to Cuzco evening of Day 11.

Day 12: Early morning flight to Lima. Intl. flights may depart any time after noon.


 Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Lima anytime today and private transfer to your hotel. If arriving during the day, your hotel will be in the neighborhood of Miraflores, with good artesan 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, as well as the impressive Cathedral in the Plaza and the beautiful San Francisco church. You also get a chance to take in some beautiful views of the coast at Parque de Amor.

Lima City Tour – Option 2: Larco Museum & Huaca Pucllana (upon request). Let us know if you would prefer this tour over the Cathedral Tour (or both for an extra fee). We could also plan a tour of the Huaca Pucllana at night if you have time in Lima. The site is lit up until midnight and looks amazing!

The Larco Museum is housed in an 18th century viceroyalty-era mansion. Surrounded by beautiful gardens, the Larco Museum is a stimulating and inspiring space in which visitors can enjoy and learn more about the fascinating history of ancient Peru. The cultures gallery provides a clear and captivating narrative account of more than 5000 years of pre-Columbian Peruvian history. Visiting the Larco Museum with their more than 45,000 meticulously catalogued archaeological objects, is a unique experience.

The Archaeological Complex “Huaca Pucllana” was an Administrative and Ceremonial Center of the Lima Culture, a society that developed at the Peruvian Central Coast between 200 AD and 700 AD. Located in today’s district of Miraflores the “Huaca Pucllana” was built around 500 AD. “Pucllana” is one of the most important ancient monuments in Lima. Based on the “Huaca Pucllanas” architecture and found objects, it is believed that the complex was the heart of development of the “Lima Culture” and served as a ceremonial and administrative center.

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.

Day 2

Today we fly over the Andes to Cuzco, old capital of the Inca Empire. Our tour of the area today will begin high above Cuzco at the site of our first Inca ruin. After a visit to each of the four sites we will explore today, we’ll begin our first, mostly downhill, ride through the open valleys and eucalyptus groves above Cuzco. We’ll visit the massive Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman before cruising down to Cuzco’s main plaza. Here we’ll end our first biking Cusco excursion and explore downtown Cuzco’s colorful sites and sounds on foot.

Day 3

This morning we’re off to the Sacred Valley, and then on to Aguas Calientes, just below Machu Picchu, on the evening train. Fifteen hundred feet lower than Cuzco, the warm and fertile Sacred Valley was of immense strategic and agricultural importance to the Incas. We’ll visit two sites today: Ollantaytambo and Pisac. First we’ll set off on another long, beautiful downhill through the Andes to Pisac, a small village with a great handicrafts market. After shopping and bargaining for Andean goods, we’ll climb by van over 323m / 1000ft up to the imposing Inca complex. After a tour of the ruins, we’ll bike back down on an insanely fun set of paved switchbacks. Then on to Ollantaytambo, Ollantaytambo is the only Inca village still inhabited in the present day. 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. Finally we board an evening train to Aguas Calientes, below Machu Picchu, where we’ll spend the night.

Day 4

Sunrise at 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 Machu Picchu tour, take your time and enjoy this magnificent place. 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 in the evening to Ollantaytambo, where we’ll spend the night.

Day 5

Today offers off-road excitment, culture and spectacular scenery. On this route, situated less than an hour away from Cuzco, we will visit the impressive terraces of Moray (an ancient Inca agricultural experimentation area) and the Maras Salt Pans. Today we’ll not only cycle up and downhill through defined paths, but we will feel the excitement of following very fast and fun downhill single tracks towards the Sacred Valley. A picnic lunch will be served in a nice spot, overlooking beautiful scenery. In the evening we will dine and camp beside the Urubamba River.

Day 6

It’s the beautiful Lares Valley today with thermal baths at the end! Our transportation picks us up early in the morning to take us on a 3 hour trip to the highest point on the way between Cuzco and the Lares Valley Depending on how fit we feel today, we will be driven all the way to the mountain pass, or do some uphill cycling to reach it on our bikes. Once on the pass, we begin what will be a relaxing day of dirt road downhill. From time to time we will find some fun shortcuts to bike through. A light picnic lunch will be served in a nice spot overlooking the river.Once in Lares we have plenty of time to relax in the thermal baths. A great warm dinner is served at night to finish the day.

Day 7

After a healthy breakfast we pack up camp and the private bus will take us back to the Mountain Pass. Once again the Mountain Pass is the departure point of our biking ride, but this time heading to the Sacred Valley. The ancient Inca trail and a quick flowing narrow stream lead us on our way down. Without even noticing it, we’ll go into a small hidden canyon where we can appreciate a few Chulpas (pre Inca tombs) hanging from the walls. The path leads us to the native community of Totora, where we can decide between following a narrow single track offering breathtaking views of the Sacred Valley, or just continue riding on the wide dirt road to the town of Calca. We return to Cuzco in the afternoon for an included celebration dinner party with a free buffet and drinks!

Day 8

Morning flight to Lima for those only doing the eight day trip. International flights may depart any time after 3pm from Lima. If you are staying for the four-day add-on, this day begins with a beautiful ride throughout the mountains towards the cloud forest beyond the Sacred Valley. The cycling trip goes along a downhill dirt road with a few up-hills, leading us to the town of Paucartambo. On the way we’ll visit ancient cave paintings. On arrival in Paucartambo we can rest and enjoy a light energizing lunch. Afterwards, we continue on the private bus to Ajanaco mountain pass (3,810m / 11,810ft). Depending on how we feel at this point, we have the chance to ride our bikes again and pedal the last 20km / 12.5miles of flat terrain to the camping site at Tres Cruces (3,789m / 11,745ft).

Day 9

Today we get up before dawn to see the fabulous spectacle of the sunrise which comes up between the clouds of the forest and reaches our feet. After a hot breakfast we take our bikes and start to pedal on what will be a day of down-hill on dirt roads. You will be surprised by the extreme change in scenery as it gradually changes into the dense vegetation of the jungle. At about noon we enjoy a picnic lunch in the middle of the forest. A couple of hours later we arrive at the lodge in the cloud forest where we can take a shower. Today we will pedal a total of 48km / 30miles, taking roughly 4.5hours. During the afternoon we can walk around the area and see some of the many species of animals and plants living there.

Day 10

Today we begin the day very early with a short walk. If we are lucky we may see the cock of the rock, Peru’s national bird. After breakfast we take the bicycles and get back on the dirt road, which through a combination of descents and flat ground takes us to Pilcopata, where we have the chance to get in the bus, or continue biking all the way to Atalaya. At this point we take a short boat ride to the lodge where we can take a refreshing shower. During the afternoon we can walk along the jungle paths and observe some of its incredible flora and fauna. Today’s total journey is 70km / 44miles, which will take us around 6 hours.

Day 11

In the morning we are taken back to Atalaya, where the bus is waiting to drive us back to Ajanaco, which will take about 4 hours. From this point we ride, descending on a dirt road, to Paucartambo. After lunch we continue by bus to Cuzco. This will be a total of 25km / 16miles riding, taking roughly 2 hours.

Day 12

Early morning flight to Lima. International flight may depart any time after 3pm.

Is this trip for me?

Biking the Inca Empire! is an eight or twelve day tour which includes several mountain biking excursions through various terrains, day hiking, walking around ruins and on city tours and some camping. While no biking experience is required, one should be in good physical shape and not suffer from any heart or respiratory conditions. As always, a certain patience is required for the inconsistencies and occasional delays of developing-world travel.

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 ripped off by airport taxis!

What’s included in the trip

8-day tour:
  • Private airport pickup at the beginning of trip and drop off at end of the trip
  • Southern Crossings bilingual guides
  • Domestic flights, Lima – Cuzco, Cuzco – Lima
  • Five nights of 3 star hotel accommodation, two nights of camping
  • Two one-day private biking excursions, one private three-day biking excursion, including private bilingual guide, bike, helmet, gloves, transportation, meals while on excursions, and camping gear (tent, sleeping mat, sleeping bag)
  • Four wheel drive vehicle support, mechanic and First Aid on all biking excursions
  • All entrance fees while on excursions
  • Two breakfasts, five lunches and two dinners while on biking excursions
  • Breakfast every morning with your hotel stay
  • Private Machu Picchu excursion, including private bilingual guide, round-trip Backpacker train fare, transportation to/from ruins/Aguas Calientes, and day entrance to the Machu Picchu sanctuary including Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain
  • Private Lima & Cuzco city tours
  • Private Sacred Valley excursion
  • The Cuzco Visitor’s Ticket, which includes entrance to the ruins in and around Cuzco and the Sacred Valley, and many churches and museums in Cuzco
  • Farewell dinner in Cuzco!
  • 24 hour customer support line while on tour
12-day tour, includes all of the above plus:
  • Private Four day / three night Peruvian cloud forest bike excursion, including private bilingual guide, transportation, bike, helmet, gloves, all meals while on excursion, one night camping  (tent, sleeping mat, sleeping bag).
  • Two nights of lodge accommodation, one night of 3 star hotel accommodation, one night camping
  • Three breakfasts, four lunches and three dinners while on biking excursions
  • Breakfast every morning with your hotel stay

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.

Extra accommodation

We will gladly arrange additional accommodation for you before or after your trip:
In Lima/Cuzco/Machu Picchu: $150 double/$130 single

Extra activities

Add extra activities such as river rafting, horseback riding, 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!

Accommodation Upgrades

This tour includes 3 star hotels. We would be happy to give you an upgrade to four or five star. We can then work it into your custom itinerary.

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

Travelers may wish to receive hepatitis vaccinations and should be current on all other standard vaccinations. The rainforest area of Peru (approx. 3500 ft. and below, east of the Andes) is a malarial and yellow fever zone. The yellow fever vaccination is reccomended and travelers may wish to take malarial prophylaxis. Please consult your physician or local health department for more information.

Things to bring

One should come prepared for outdoor activity at temperatures ranging from 35° to 85° Fahrenheit / 2° to 30° Celsius, and for extremes of sun and the possibility of rain. A recommended list of things to bring:

  • Passport and, if necessary, visa
  • ATM card (notify your bank you will be travelling to Peru)
  • Airline ticket and Travel Insurance Policy
  • Photocopies of airline ticket and documents
  • Wearable pouch for documents and money
  • Sturdy backpack or suitcase
  • Smaller, comfortable day pack
  • Hiking boots and/or riding sneakers, comfortable and worn-in
  • Sandals or flip-flops
  • Rain poncho or jacket
  • Waterproof pants
  • Sun hat
  • Hat for cold weather
  • Warm clothing for cold weather (think layers)
  • Gloves
  • T-shirts
  • Socks (thin wool or biking socks are best), undergarments
  • Camelback or Nalgene refillable bottle (optional)
  • Flashlight and/or head lamp
  • Sunscreen (biodegradable & eco-friendly)
  • Insect repellent (biodegradable & eco-friendly)
  • Lip balm
  • Earplugs
  • Alarm clock or watch
  • Sanitizing hand wipes or gel
  • Camera / Camera batteries
  • Reading material
  • Toiletries

It is best to bring from home such items as prescription meds, eyewear and care, unusual film and camera batteries. Please bring any used batteries back home to recycle!

Climate

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:

Cuzco Area: days are warm if sunny, slightly chilly if cloudy. Nights are chilly in Cuzco.
Lima: warm to hot days, cool evenings, almost never any rain.
Cloud Forest: hot and humid year-round with mild evenings. Always the chance of clouds and rain. We recommend light clothing (in weight and in color) that fully cover arms and legs to avoid mosquito bites.
Machu Picchu:lower and warmer than Cuzco, with rain possible all year round.

Baggage

For your international flights, please check with your airline. Within Peru, you are allowed 23 kilos (46 lbs) of checked baggage, as well as one carry-on and another small, purse-like item. The carry-on size regulations are the same as international carry-on size regulations.

Money guide

The unit of currency in Peru is the nuevo sol. Automatic cash points are available in Lima and Cuzco. Visa, MasterCard, Plus, and Cirrus are the most common usable types of cards. Traveler’s checks (American Express is best  but you may be charged 5-8% to cash) or a Visa or MasterCard for cash advances are also options. Do not bring Money Grams or International Money Orders, as they are extremely difficult to exchange. Banks and exchange houses are available in Lima and Cuzco. For currency, U.S. dollars are recommended and most easily exchanged. Please note that cash must be untorn. It can be older-looking, but even the slightest tear on an edge will make it un-changeable. Acceptable bills come out of the ATMs in country. Expect to spend about US$3-10 on a meal, US$2 on a beer, water or soft drink in Peru. Artisan market prices are usually lower than people expect. Alpaca sweaters, for example, run between $5 and $30.  Currency Converter