This is an extraordinary trip encompassing the highlights of Peru’s diverse cultural past. After exploring Lima, we take a spectacular flight across the Andes to Cusco, the former Inca capital of Peru. During our time in the Sacred valley we visit some of the enthralling citadels, fortresses and temple ruins, including the site at Ollantaytambo.
Our spectacular train ride to Machu Picchu allows us to explore these remarkable ruins before returning back to Cusco. We then cross the vast high altitude plains of Peru on a classic railway journey to the shores of Lake Titicaca and visit the reed islands of the Uros Indians. Our trip concludes in Lima.
You will be met at the airport and transferred to the group hotel where you are free to rest or just wander around Miraflores, the area of Lima where our hotel is located. Some of Lima's best galleries, shops and restaurants are found in this area. Founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1535, Lima is the oldest capital in South America, with a superb combination of Spanish Colonial and 19th century European architecture.
FLIGHT ACROSS THE ANDES TO CUSCO
Early morning wake-up call for spectacular 55-minute flight across the Andes to Cusco set at (3,400m) 11,200'. If possible try and get a seat on the left side of the aircraft as some of the best views of the Andes can be seen during the last 20 minutes of the flight. You'll be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel for an initial briefing and then a few hours of rest, essential to initiate successful acclimatisation. In the evening you'll have a longer briefing to discuss aspects of the itinerary. (B)
TOUR OF THE CITY AND NEARBY RUINS
Every alleyway we enter or corner we turn brings another surprise or enigma in the form of the superbly constructed Inca walls or the more architecturally extravagant colonial churches and palaces. The city, once capital of the extensive Inca Empire, has seen many changes since Francisco Pizarro's men took the city with such apparent ease in November 1533.
We also take a short drive to visit the monolithic walls of Sacsayhuaman, spectacularly set above the city. In the afternoon you may have time to explore some of the central parts of the city and a chance to look at some of the great varieties of local craft work on sale in open air stalls and shop. B
DRIVE AND WALK DOWN INTO THE SACRED VALLEY OF THE INCAS
We leave Cusco and head towards the Chinchero Plateau from where we get impressive views of three mountain ranges. En route you will see the remarkable Inca Salt Pans below Maras. At the Sacred Valley we have lunch where we can savour dishes made with locally grown produce. The rest of the day is free to enjoy this spectacular valley. (B)
TO MACHU PICCHU
One of the highlights is the train ride to Machu Picchu. On arrival at Machu Picchu we have time to thoroughly explore these remarkable and truly enigmatic ruins. After a professionally led tour of the site you can explore the rest of this amazing ruin. In the late afternoon we take a bus down to Aguas Calientes, to spend the night. (B)
AT MACHU PICCHU AND RETURN TO CUSCO
After breakfast those who wish to can travel by bus back to the ruins to spend the morning exploring, and perhaps walking up the famous Inca Trail to the ‘Gateway of The Sun’ (Inti Punku). Mid-afternoon we depart from Machu Picchu for the spectacular train ride back to Ollantaytambo and our drive to Cusco.(B)
TREK UP THE VALLEY BETWEEN SALKANTAY AND HUMANTAY
Early in the morning we have a wake-up call with a cup of tea brought to our tent. A relatively early start to the day's hiking begins just after breakfast. Up to the lunch spot will involve about 3 hours of hiking steadily gaining altitude. We stop for lunch at Salcantaypampa 13,600 (4,150m), set at the foot of an enormous glacial moraine.
Two or three more hours of steady hiking after lunch brings us to Ichupata 14,400' (4,400m), set on the flanks of the great 20,574' (6,271m) peak, Salcantay ('The Maker of the Skies') which dominates the skyline for most of the trekking days. This camp tends to be fairly cold because of its proximity to the Salcantay Massif, but since our pack animals and cooks will have set out earlier, we should find the camp already set up and a fresh pot of tea awaiting our arrival! BLD
ORIENT EXPRESS TRAIN TO PUNO
We depart early in the morning for the 8 to 10 hour long railway journey to Puno, set on the shores of Lake Titicaca at (3,820m) 12,530'. The journey has been described as one of the last remaining classic train journeys of the world. (It was one of the featured sections of the BBC series "Great Railway Journeys of the World"). These days the train belongs to the Orient Express Company and it is a luxurious journey. (BL)
VISIT LAKE TITICACA - UROS ISLANDS
Puno is a typical high Andean town, set on the shores of the lake and located on the great altiplano that stretches all the way to La Paz. There will be an opportunity to cruise Lake Titicaca – the highest navigable lake in the world – and visit some of the unique floating ‘tortora’ reed islands of the Uros Indians. The afternoon is free to relax in Puno and explore its streets and markets. B
DRIVE TO JULIACA AND FLY TO LIMA
Morning drive to Juliaca airport and flight to Lima. Trip concludes. B
Accommodation is on a twin-share basis throughout in good quality 3 to 4 star hotels
Internal Flight Lima/Cusco - Juliaca/Lima approximate cost is USD238
Meals as indicated in the itinerary below (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
All guide fees and entrance costs are included on all sections mentioned in the trip itineraries (including Machu Picchu National Park entry)
Professional bilingual leaders
Cost of laundry and alcoholic beverages (except wine on last trek day)
Excess baggage costs
Meals not indicated in the itinerary
Original passport (student + ISIC card valid)
Cash in small denominations
Hat or cap
Medium back pack for the way
Rain coat or ponchos
Bottle of water (water to drink the first day)
Sun blocker with high protection factor
Additional storage memory