This fascinating tour includes six top destinations: the fascinating “White City” of Arequipa, the famed Colca Canyon, home of the soaring Andean condor, the famous Lake Titicaca including a Quechua family home stay, the Imperial Inca Capital of Cusco, the archeological wonders of the Sacred Valley, and the finale, Peru’s premier attraction, Machu Picchu. The blend of sights and terrains combine some of Peru’s top natural and manmade wonders into one fascinating adventure vacation.
Day 1: Lima
Day 2: Arequipa
Day 3: Arequipa / Colca Canyon
Day 4: Condors
Day 5: Arequipa / Puno
Day 6: Puno / Lake Titicaca Home stay
Day 7: Puno
Day 8: Puno / Cusco
Day 9: Sacred Valley / Ollantaytambo
Day 10: Aguas Calientes / Machu Picchu
Day 11: Machu Picchu / Cusco
Day 12: Cusco free day
Day 13: Departure day – flight to Lima
DAY 1: Lima
Arrive in Lima at any time. Our representative will greet you at the airport and private transfer to your hotel. There are no planned activities today so check-in and enjoy the city, although there is an optional walking tour or city tour in a van. This afternoon you are free to explore colonial and modern Lima, with visits to the Government Palace, cathedral, Plaza de Armas and the Archaeological Museum. Or hang around the bustling commercial districts of and Miraflores and Barranco.
DAY 2: Arequipa
A midday flight takes us to ‘The White City’. Competing with Lima as Peru’s most important city Arequipa’s city center can be visited on foot. Free afternoon sightseeing at you leisure: Plazas and its Cathedral; markets, and churches are all found in Arequipa’s remarkable historic center. Last, but not least we visit the extraordinary Santa Catalina convent, which is built from white volcanic lava and dates from the 16th century. If you dare, see the best-preserved mummy in South America, Juanita the ‘Ice Maiden’.
Then at dusk we will seriously indulge in some of Peru’s richest spice and flavor, as Arequipa has some of the finest cuisine in the country. (B)
DAY 3: Colca Canyon
After an early breakfast, we’ll set out on an overland drive to the Colca Canyon, one of the deepest in the world – 3182m. After a scenic 5 hours we’ll reach Chivay, the capital of the province of Colca. During our venture we’ll climb through the National Reserve of Pampa de Cañahuas at approximately 3,800m. With some luck we’ll get glimpses of Andean Ducks, Geese, Viscachas (Andean rabbit), Alpacas, Llamas and Vicuñas. The area is known as Ring of Fire or Valley of the Volcanoes due to the numerous volcanoes in the region, many of which can be appreciated form short distances.
Our highest pass will be an astounding 4900m (16,000ft) above sea level, but just for a quick panorama. Then we’ll continue down to the Colca Valley. Accommodation at the fabulous the Mamayachi near the village of Corporaque, set in the Colca Valley itself. We’ll have the opportunity to soak in the natural hot springs, hike to the surrounding villages or simply relax in the fabulous surroundings of the Canyon. (B)
DAY 4: Colca Canyon
Today we are off to Cruz del Condor. With some luck, here you will be able to appreciate the famous Andean Condors in magical flight as they soar well above the depths of the mighty canyon. Then an optional hike takes us along the rim of the canyon, in search of local wildlife including the Andean Cara-Cara or (a local Raptor), Viscachas (Andean rabbits) and much more.
We will spend the day in and around the valley before arriving to Cabanaconde, a local village found deep in the canyon. In many ways Colca Canyon was left untouched, even after the Spanish Conquest. Its isolation and distance from Arequipa allowed local indigenous customs and traditions in Colca Canyon to survive in peace more so than in other parts of Peru. This will be evident as we, together with our local guide, spends 3 days and 2 nights examining just how these people live. (B)
DAY 5: Arequipa - Puno
We’ll continue our journey through the Ring of Fire, enjoying a lunch pick-nick and wine at 4,000 meters above sea level. Inhale the thin, clean air of the Andes in spectacular settings that reinvigorate your being. This is why you are here!!! With some luck we’ll get glimpses of the Viscacha (Andean Rabbit) and the Andean Flamenco.
Puno is what many Peruvians consider both a cultural and political border. To the south toward Bolivia the Aymara people and language are dominant. To the north, the better-known Quechua is the dominant tongue. Fortunately, you will see both. (B)
DAY 6: Amantani Island, Lake Titicaca
After breakfast, our local guide will collect you from the hotel in route to the Puno port. We’ll board our motorboat and go directly to take us to the floating reed islands of the Uros culture (Aymara roots). Here, we’ll visit a couple of islands, learn some about the history, culture and why they continue to live on water. Following Uros, we board the boat again and on to Amantani Island(Qechua roots). The Uros people are a specific cultural group apart from the Incas. They are more sensitive and protective. We ask that visitors always proceed with respect. Please ask before snapping pictures, as some of the older generation will object
The locals are very friendly and produce souvenirs representing life on the Lake. You can support them by buying a souvenir if you choose.
After the Uros, we will take a step back in time as we arrive to Amantani. The island culture offers a glimpse into their ancient traditions and customs. A rural home stay will open your eyes to the true beauty of this place and the people that have inhabited the lake for thousands of years. All local food and beverages included. (B, L, D)
DAY 7: Puno
We’ll start with an early wake up call to enjoy a spectacular sunrise over Lake Titicaca before visiting the neighboring island of Taquile. Famous for textiles and weavings Taquile is a cultural treasure chest. We’ll spend an hour hiking to the summit of Taquile Island before enjoying lunch overlooking the Lake Titicaca. Our lunch will include local favorites, trout or kingfish, before heading back to Puno. (B)
DAY 8: Bus ride: Puno – Cusco
After breakfast our overland journey continues through the high plateau. Our full day overland journey through the majestic Andes will astound you. We’ll cover about 400km, go over mountain passes at 4,334m (14,222ft) above sea level, on the way visit some of our favorite sites which are shown below. Approximate arrival in Puno is 5:00pm
PUKARA: It is the most important and oldest ceremonial center of the Altiplano, preceding to tiahunaco, characterized by a series oh echelon platforms ceremonial center. It's also possible to appreciate interesting litosculptures, trails or tomb stone of intriguing personage that seems to show evidence of a brave civilization. Here is where it was discovered the origins of the Andean culture in the Altiplano.
LA RAYA: Media point in the rout of Cusco - Puno. It is the highest part, it has 4335 meters above sea level, we can appreciate beautiful landscapes, llamas and vivuÃ±as, geographic union between two cultures quechua and aymara, we can see the Altiplano arid and dry union with the quechua zone with rivers and valleys.
RAQCHI (Temple of Wiracocha God): To 121 Km of Cusco, it was an Inca church of monumental dimensions: 100 meters of length by 26 meters of wide and 14 meters of height; the temple is divided in two naves and each nave shows basics of 11 giant columns. The bases of the church are bulit perfectly carving stones continued with adobe. It is aprpreciated besides qolqas or granary places of military order, religious, Inka between others.
ANDAHUAYLILLAS: It is named the "Sixtine Chapel of America" and in some sense the comparison examples of the Andean popular religious art. The church of Andahuayliaas is a jewerly of the mestizo baroque architecture that developed in Cusco. Its nave presents profuse decoration, especially in the celling decorated with carved panels which are a recover with pan de oro (type of gold decoration). (B, L)
DAY 9: Sacred Valley
One of the most spectacular days of the tour takes us through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, once an important source of food for the Inca, the Sacred Valley is a lush agricultural region that continues to supply the city of Cusco with much of its produce. As it is 600m lower than Cusco, temperatures are on average 5 degrees Cº higher in the Sacred Valley.
Our travels will bring us through the major archaeological sites of Pisac and Ollantaytambo. At Pisac, an optional two hour or 5km hike will allow us to fully appreciate the Incan city nestled high in the Andean range. Later, the colorful artesian market at Pisac will no doubt be a highlight for those in search of unique souvenirs.
The day trip finishes in the picturesque village of Ollantaytambo, location of another large Inca site. This major ruin is known as the best surviving example of Inca urban planning and engineering. But more than that, Ollantaytambo is a living breathing Inca City. Here we catch our breath and prepare for the train journey ahead. (B)
DAY 10: Aguas Calientes
This morning we’ll make our way to the train station in Ollantaytambo and board the train to Aguas Calientes traveling northeast through the lush Sacred Valley of the Incas. Arrive at Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu village, check into your hotel and enjoy the atmosphere. Aguas Calientes is about 30 minutes from Machu Picchu, which you’ll visit tomorrow morning. Today you’ll have free time to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere, soak in the hot thermal springs, hike, shop and explore the village. (B)
DAY 11: Machu Picchu / Cusco
After breakfast a predawn start takes us by local shuttle to Machu Picchu. Enjoy the ruins in virtual solitude for the first hour until sunrise. Make the hour-long hike up to the ‘Intipunku’ or Sun Gate. See Machu Picchu in all its glory and discover Machu Picchu on an expert 2-hour private guided tour. Then, free time at site to explore, rest, meditate or simply chill out in the ruins. Climb Wayna Picchu (Young Peak 2 hrs, not included), hike to the Moon Temple (2 1/2 hrs), or venture to the Inca Draw Bridge! There is no shortage of things so see and do in Machu Picchu. Generally we’ll have lunch in Aguas Calientes although it is your choice, afternoon train to Ollantaytambo and transfer to your hotel in Cusco. (B)
DAY 12 Cusco
Today is a free day in the Incan Imperial Capital. We’ll do our best to discover Cusco’s enchanting network of narrow streets and white wash mud-brick walls, all built atop Incan stone foundations. A true amalgamation of cultures! Explore the many markets, churches, museums, plazas and first-rate restaurants, all at your fingertips while exploring the city center on foot. Or, visit nearby ruins of Sacsayhuaman and Tambomachay on horseback. More active options include river rafting, motorcycle tours and mountain biking.
Also recommended is stop by the Incan Archaeological Museum located a block from the Plaza de Armas. Then, time permitting, visit the recently opened ‘Casa Concha’, which houses hundreds of pieces removed from Machu Picchu by Hiram Bingham in 1912 and recently returned in 2011 (Centennial Anniversary of Machu Picchu’s scientific discovery) to Peru by Yale University in the United States.
Also worth a visit is the colorful local market at San Pedro and the bohemian neighborhood of San Blas, full of artists, craftsmen and street vendors, both only minutes from the hotel. (B)
DAY 13: Flight to Lima
Fly to Lima for the final stop on our journey. Our services end today after a quick flight back to Lima and transfer to the airport for your ongoing international connection. We can arrange a later flight date out of Cusco or additional post tour accommodation in Lima or Cusco upon client request. (B)
End our services
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