A Vacation Revelation in the Andes
A comprehensive 11-day journey showcasing the most fascinating historical sites of Lima, Cusco and Lake Titicaca, and featuring either the world’s most famous trek, the classic four-day Inca Trail, or the Lares Valley hike en route to Machu Picchu. Breathtaking beauty, the hike of a lifetime, and a dose of inspiration that will stay with you long after you’ve returned home.
Prices available upon request
Hotel & Expedition Train to Cusco
Hotel & Vistadome Train to Cusco
Hotel & Hiram Bingham Train to Cusco
Day 1: City Lima International Airport Arrival
We meet you on your arrival at Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima and transfer you to your selected hotel.
Day 2: Lima City Tour
Take the morning to rest and relax. In the afternoon, around 2 pm, you embark on a city tour with our private guide and driver to take in the most important and attractive sites in Lima, the “City of Kings.”
The tour includes visits to Huaca Pucllana, an adobe pyramid structure in the heart of the seaside district of Miraflores. We take a walk through the historic center: following Paseo de la República, and taking in the colonial architecture of the Plaza San Martin, and the Plaza de Armas, surrounded by grand buildings like the Government Palace, the Cathedral (housing the tomb of Pizarro) the Archbishop’s Palace, and the Municipal Palace. We pass through old streets with colonial mansions, and Lima’s intricate wood-carved balconies.
Next stop is a visit to the Convent and Church of San Francisco, which hold the oldest collection of colonial art in the Americas, with an exquisitely carved chorus, a library of ancient manuscripts, and the Sacristy with paintings by Zurbarán and Rivera. The grand courtyard of the main cloister is decorated floor-to-ceiling in blue and white Sevillian tiles, depicting scenes from the bible that dates back to the 16th Century. Moroccan-style arches lead us to the Catacombs, a subterranean crypt from the colonial period, where the bones of 25 thousand colonial-era Lima residents are entombed.
The tour continues through the most traditional residential areas of the city: San Isidro, the Central Park of Miraflores and down to the cliff-side shopping complex of Larcomar, a symbol of modern Lima. (B)
Day 3: Lima / Cusco – City Tour and Surrounding Archaeological Sites
We transfer to Lima’s airport early in the morning for the flight to Cusco. On arrival we transfer you to your selected hotel. We recommend you take the rest of the morning to acclimatize to the altitude and have a light lunch in or near the hotel.
In the afternoon we start to explore the city of Cusco on a tour, in which your private guide will explain the history and significance of our Inca culture and vast changes that took place with the Spanish Conquest.
You will visit the main plaza, the Cathedral, and the Temple of the Sun or Koricancha.
We then visit the ruins on the outskirts of the city, stopping at the Inca ritual site of Quenqo, the water temple of Tambomachay, the customs house of Puca Pucara and the impressive Fortress of Saqsaywaman, built strategically on the hill above city of Cusco. It’s famous for its enormous stone blocks, assembled with incredible precision to form the imposing external walls of the complex. Some of the stones stand 9 meters tall and weigh more than 350 tons.
We then return you to your hotel. (B)
Day 4: Cusco / Sacred Valley of the Inca
In the morning We take a guided excursion through the Sacred Valley of the Inca, along the Urubamba River, to visit the extensive Andean arts and crafts market in the town of Pisac. We have lunch at a local restaurant.
In the afternoon we pass through the towns of Calca and Urubamba on the way to the Fortress and Citadel of Ollantaytambo, built to guard the northwest entrance to the Sacred Valley and protect the Empire from possible invasions by the people of the jungle. We have the opportunity to walk through the stone alleyways of the city and get an idea of what life was like in a military, religious and cultural center at the height of the Inca Empire. For the Inca, Ollantaytambo’s placement at the head of the Urubamba and Patakancha rivers valleys made it a formidable stronghold in battle. The fortified town’s fortress stands on a cliff surrounded by broad, steep terraces.
On the way back to Cusco we stop at the picturesque town of Chinchero, where we visit the ruins of a royal hacienda built for Tupac Inca Yapanqui. You’ll admire the well-preserved Inca wall in the main plaza, and visit the beautiful colonial church with intriguing frescos painted on its portico, all built on Inca foundations. We return you to your hotel in Cusco. (B/L)
Days 5 — 8: Choose your route to Machu Picchu
Day 5: Cusco – KM 82 – Huayllabamba – Lluncachimpa
In the morning we leave Cusco (altitude 3350m.a.s.l.) in a private van or bus. On the way we pass cultivated fields and towns that have maintained their ancient traditions and customs, all surrounded by craggy peaks and glaciers. We enter the Sacred Valley of the Inca at KM 82, where we gather to start walking the classic Inca Trail. We stop at the town of Miskay for lunch and to hear a brief description of the archaeological complex of Llactapata. We then continue to the town of Huayllabamba at 3100m.a.s.l. Finally we complete a climb up the valley to our campsite at Lluncachimpa at 3300m.a.s.l. Walking time: 6 hours. (B/L/D)
Day 6: Lluncachimpa – Llulluchapampa – Pacaymayu – Chaquicocha
Dawn is the best time to start climbing through the enigmatic valley of Lluncachimpa (3300m.a.s.l.) through Lluchapampa at 3850m.a.s.l. to reach the highest point of the trek named Paso de Warmihuañusca or “Dead Woman’s Pass”. From here we take in impressive views of the Veronica Range and the remnants of the Inca trail running through the mountains. After a short rest we descend to the deep valley of Pacaymayu at an altitude of 3500m.a.s.l. We have another climb to Runcuracay at 3950m.a.s.l., then descend to the archaeological site of Sayacmara. We finally arrive at our campsite in Chaquicocha at 3650m.a.s.l. Walking time: 7 hours. (B/L/D)
Day 7: Chaquicocha – Wiñayhuayna
Today we have a beautiful day’s walk through the middle of a tropical forest, known as Yunga. We also stop at some of the most important archaeological sites along the Inca Trail. We visit the sites of Phuyupatamarca (3600m.a.s.l.) and finally Wiñayhuayna (2650m.a.s.l.) our last campsite.
Walking time: 5 hours. (B/L/D)
Day 8: Wiñayhuayna – Machu Picchu – Cusco
After we’ve enjoyed a very early breakfast, around 5:00 am, we’re guided by torchlight to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku) at 2780m.a.s.l, where we can experience the sunrise over Machu Picchu and the peak of Huayna Picchu. Machu Picchu (2400m.a.s.l.) stands in all its glory, leaving us breathless, and we descend to explore the Lost City of the Inca. After our guided tour and lunch, we return to Cusco. (B/L)
Day 5: Cusco – Thermal Baths of Lares – Huaca Wasi
Around 7:00 in the morning we take our bus to the Valley of Lares. During the journey we pass archaeological groups and artisans’ markets in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. We enter the province of Calca (2940m), the place where we start our climb to the pass of Huaca Casi (4400m). We then descend to the town of Lares (3250m.a.s.l.). The main attraction of Lares is the thermal pools with temperatures between 28 and 34°C. We then enjoy lunch and begin walking to the town of Huacawasi (3600m.a.s.l.) where we camp for the night. Traveling time: 4 hours. Walking time: 3 hours (prepare for cold weather). (B/L/D)
Day 6: Huaca Wasi / Abra Ipsay / Patacancha
After breakfast we start our climb up to the pass of Sipsay at 4400 meters, which takes about 4 hours. We visit some families who live above 4000 meters, and who continue to respect the ancient customs and traditions of the Andes. Andean people continue to use ancient techniques that are passed down from generation to generation, in their agriculture and in their textile designs and colors inspired by Andean gods and symbols. After the pass we descend to Paracancha at 3650 meters, where we camp for the night. Walking time: 7 hours in cold weather. (B/L/D)
Day 7: Patacancha / Willoq / Pumamarca / Ollantaytambo / Aguas Calientes
Another spectacular day where we visit villages like Willoq (3400m.a.s.l.) and Punamarca (3200m). Ollantaytambo (2850m.a.s.l.) is considered the last Inca citadel, where we can see inhabitants still living in houses and walking along stone cobbled streets built by the Incas. From here we take our train to the town of Aguas Calientes at 2050 meters above sea level. We spend the night in a hostel. (B/L/D)
Day 8: Aguas Calientes / Machu Picchu / Cusco
It’s recommended that visitors arrive at Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas early in the morning. We take a bus to Machu Picchu (2400m) where professional guides give a presentation and explain the complex, describing the amazing style and construction techniques that work in harmony with the citadel’s spectacular natural surroundings. After the tour you have free time to explore more of Machu Picchu at your own pace. Later we return as a group to Aguas Calientes, and take a return train to Ollantaytambo, and a bus back to Cusco. (B/L)
Day 9: Cusco – Puno
Early in the morning (7:30 am) our tour bus leaves for the city of Puno, 3,860 meters above sea level. During the journey we pass the Lake of Wacarpay, offering spectacular views of snow capped mountains reflected in its tranquil waters. Near the lake we visit the Pre-Inca citadel of Pikillacta, Quechua for “City of the Thumbs”, one of the most impressive sites built by the Wari culture, consisting of more than 700 structures, with walls almost 12 meters high.
We continue to the picturesque town of Andahuaylillas, where we visit the temple of Saint Peter of Andahuaylillas, also known as the Sistine Chapel of the Americas, for its rich colonial artworks and painted murals that cover the walls, arches, entrance ways and ceilings. Further on we stop at Archí, where we visit the spectacular Inca sanctuary built by the Inca Pachacútec, dedicated to the great Inca god Wiracocha. It has a grand central wall made of stone, with other walls built with adobe bricks. Around the temple you’ll find a multitude of ancient buildings that were used as houses or storerooms. About 70 kilometers, or 43 miles, later we pass through the Ranch of La Raya, where we can spot herds of vicuñas and llamas.
We then travel along the Collao plateau, stopping at the town of Ayaviri an important cattle and textile center, where we visit the temple of Kalasaya, belonging to the ancient Pucara culture. We stop for a buffet lunch in a rustic rural setting where we can sample the culinary delights of the region. We arrive in Puno in the afternoon, and then transfer you to your selected hotel. (B/L)
Day 10: Puno – Lake Titicaca – Floating Islands of Los Uros – Taquile
Early in the morning we start an unforgettable boat tour around Lake Titicaca. Our first stop is the Floating Islands of Los Uros, where people have lived since pre-Inca times. These Andean natives have built their own islands out of reeds, stacking on new layers to form floating structures dozens of meters deep. The vegetable fiber used is Scirpus Totora, from the papyrus family. They also use this material to build their houses and boats. We continue to Taquile, inhabited by quechua speakers who have developed, over generations, an efficient and original social system, and their own weaving techniques to produce magnificent textiles. After lunch at a local tavern on Taquile we walk around its hillsides and archaeological sites. In the evening we return you to Puno, and your hotel. (B/L)
Day 11: Puno – Lima
On the way to the airport in Juliaca we detour to visit the burial towers of Sillustani. The famous cylindrical stone structures were first built by the Aymara people to entomb their high priests, and were then used by the Inca to bury their nobles. Umayo Lake, in front of the “chullpas” only adds to the beauty of the site. We also have the chance to observe native birds of the region.
After the flight to Lima we take you to your selected hotel to relax for the day as you wait for your international flight. At the appropriate time we transfer you back to the airport. (B)
(B) Breakfast, (L) Lunch, (D) Dinner
- Airport transfer in and out in each City
- City Tour Lima in private service
- City Tour Cusco + Ruins in private service
- Sacred Valley excursion + lunch in private service
- Inca Trail with meals
- Train ticket + entrance fee
- Bus ticket Cusco – Puno
- Full Day Uros Island + Taquile
- Tour Sillustani in private service
- Accommodation in Lima, Cusco and Puno + breakfast
- Non-itinerary meals
- Tips or services not described at the itinerary
- Peruvians and/or legal residents of Peru subject to IGV
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