Curated exclusively for National Geographic
Delve into the jungles of the Andes for a Machu Picchu experience that goes beyond the legendary ruins. From your base within the cloud forests below the site, explore the Andes on foot, spot exotic birds and orchids, and learn about the rare spectacled bear—and efforts to preserve it. Then join a guide to discover the incredible Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Your experience at the lodge will be tailored to your interests. The sample itinerary below was designed for National Geographic travelers and can be customized as you wish.
Arrive by train in the pedestrian-only village of Machu Picchu Pueblo, and make your way to the lodge, tucked into the cloud forest at the edge of the village. Get settled in your whitewashed adobe casita, then spend the rest of the day acquainting yourself with the lodge and its three miles of trails winding through the misty forest. Dine tonight in the glass-walled restaurant, where views of the Urubamba River and the surrounding mountains set a dramatic scene for fine fusion cuisine.
Help yourself to a buffet breakfast featuring fresh produce and ingredients from the lodge’s organic farm or savor quinoa pancakes or eggs made to order. Then set out for the Historical Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, opting to join a lodge guide (additional cost applies) on a half-day tour or explore on your own. After a 30-minute bus ride up the mountainside, enter the site, wandering amid the ruins and pondering the mysteries hidden here. Discover the site as you choose, hiking to the Inca Bridge or the Sun Gate, or taking time to linger with your camera to catch the play of light and clouds on the ruins. Back at the lodge this afternoon, unwind at the UNU Spa, where massages, hot stone treatments, and other therapeutic treatments draw on local botanicals and Andean culture. Step into the Andean sauna, housed in a thatched eucalyptus hut. Reflect on this mystical place over a gourmet dinner paired with panoramic views of the cloud forest.
After breakfast, join an Inkaterra Explorer Guide on a private visit to the lodge's Andean Bear Rescue Center. Learn about the rare species’ behavior and survival challenges as you observe them with local researchers and discuss rescue and rehabilitation efforts. Visit the property’s tea plantation to learn how organic tea is grown and processed. This afternoon, opt to return to Machu Picchu, or join a guided walk through the orchid garden to examine some of the lodge’s 372 native orchid species in their natural habitat—a world record according to the American Orchid Society. Enjoy a final dinner in the glass-walled restaurant.
Rise early to watch birds at an optimal time of the day. On a guided group excursion, head to the river observatory, where you might spot the sought-after torrent duck and white-capped dipper, followed by a visit to the tanager feeding area. Along the way, keep an eye out for the iconic Andean cock-of-the-rock, the golden-headed quetzal, and some of the 18 different hummingbirds that have been identified on the grounds. Enjoy a final stroll on the lodge’s nature trails before staff escorts you to the train station for your ride home.