Day 1: Lima
Arrive Lima. Reception at the airport and transfer to the Melia Lima Hotel. Rest, relax, and enjoy the city.
Day 2: Lima - Cusco B
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Cusco (1 hour). Arrive Cusco and transfer to the 3* Casa San Blas Hotel. Use this morning to acclimatize. Your hotel is within walking distance from the plaza, and is surrounded by cafes, artisan markets, museums, and nice walkways. Spend this day at leisure exploring your environment. In the afternoon (around 1 pm) enjoy a guided visit of the four ruins nearby on horseback; the Sacsayhuaman Fortress overlooking the of Cuzco, a pre Inca architectural masterpiece; Kenko, a rock sanctuary whose main attraction is the monolithic altar representing a puma, the red Fortress of Puca-Pucara and Tambomachay, a beautiful fountain fed by a spring forming a series of basins continue to the city of Cuzco. Accommodation at the 3* Casa San Blas Hotel.
Day 3: River Rafting the Urubamba River - Pisaq B,L
After breakfast, we will enjoy the spectacular mountain setting of Ollantaytambo, the ruins set on the edge of town, before transferring to our put-in is at Panchar, some 10 minutes from Ollantaytambo. After a briefing in techniques and safety, start of the rafting on class III and IV rapids for 4 hours. Picnic lunch by the banks of the river before returning to Ollantaytambo around 15:00.
After lunch, enjoy a visit to the famous Pisac market. Visit the village of Pisac, founded during colonial times and set at the foot of a hill crowned by the remains of an Inca city. On Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, in the main square, Indians barter their products and artisans from all over the area sell their woven alpaca wool blankets and ponchos, engraved gourds, antique reproductions, jewellery, etc. On Sundays it is also the meeting place for mayors from all the villages in the region, dressed in their traditional costumes to attend morning mass. Accommodation in the very Sacred Valley itself at the Pakaritampu Hotel overlooking the Ollantaytambo ruins.
Day 4: Mountain Biking to Moray and Maras B,L
After breakfast, we depart by private vehicle to just outside Chinchero where we will start our mountain bike ride, totaling over 22 miles on back roads and trails. We first ride back roads for about an hour, climbing several hills, witnessing scenes of rural Andean life, before arriving at the Inca site of Moray. This is a fascinating, unique ruin; a fabulous amphitheatre of terracing that was used as an agricultural experimental site by the Incas by taking advantage of the microclimates produced by the varying altitude to breed new varieties of their crops. After retracing our route briefly, we leave the back roads and transition to a two track road that later becomes a walking trail. The route is mostly flat and downhill, with one steep and fairly technical downhill followed by a short but steep uphill. Those who would prefer to ride in the support vehicle are free to do so.
After riding for about 45 minutes we reach the village of Maras, where we will rejoin our support vehicle on the town plaza for a picnic lunch. We get back on our bikes for a mostly downhill ride to the salt pans of Maras. The salt pans are an unforgettable site—people from Maras have diverted a salt-laden spring coming out of the hillside, evaporating the water to collect salt, as their ancestors have done for centuries. We will walk among the salt pans, witnessing a scene largely unchanged from Inca times.
From the salt pans we have a final technical bike ride, downhill into the Sacred Valley town of Urubamba. On this half hour section there are a few rocky drops that can be ridden or walked. There is also the option to take the support van along another route. People of all ages have done this tour, andyou can walk your bike anytime, as well as ride in the support vehicle should you be tired. Arrival to the Urubamba for the transfer to Ollantaytambo and accommodation at the 3* Pakaritampu Hotel.
Day 5: Inca Trail B,L,D
After an early morning breakfast, you will be transferred to Chilca by bus, where we will meet the Quechua porters and have breakfast. Crossing over the turbulent Vilcanota River, with magnificent views of Nevado Veronica (5,900m/19,000ft) we will continue the expedition admiring the Llactapata archaeological site, and stopping at the Huayllabamba river for lunch. We will visit the archeological sites of Patallacta, Qente, and the valley of Cusichaca and the magical Polylepsis forest. Today the hike will last approximately 7 hours. Camp and dinner at 3,800 meters. Overnight on the trail .
Day 6: Inca Trail B,L,D
Today is one of the most demanding days of the trip as we gain a lot of altitude. We will see outstanding views east to the Huayanay peaks and west into the rugged Vilcabamba Range. After breakfast, we will climb up through the first pass at 4,200 m/13,750 feet at Warmiwanusqa. Passing 3 ecological areas such as the Yunga, Quechua and Puna. we will climb 1000 metres in 5 hours. Today camp and dinner near Pacaymayu. Overnight on the trail.
Day 7: Inca Trail B,L,D
After breakfast, we will trek down through the valley of Pacaymayu to the famous archaeological sites of Runquraqay and continue to the second pass and the restored townsite of Sayaqmarka ("Town in a Steep Place") and explore the Sayaqmarka Ruins. The Inca Trail in this section is a white granite roadway, traversing a thickly forested mountainside. We will then descend to the magnificent archeological Phuyupatamarka ("Cloud Level Town") and have lunch. We will then begin the decent to Winaywayna where a visit of the ruins and have dinner will conclude the day.
Day 8: Inca Trail - Machu Picchu B,L
Early morning wake up at 4:30 a.m. for breakfast and to begin the trek to be the first at the archaeological site of Machu Picchu for the sunrise. We will descend rapidly from cloud forest into high jungle habitat. Orchids and hummingbirds are commonly seen along this spectacular section of the trail high above the river. We will arrive at Intipunko "Gate of the Sun" to observe the sunrise over Machu Picchu from an elevated vantage point. We continue down to the royal road and at last the "Lost City of the Incas". A guided tour of the marvelous citadel, visiting the Main Plaza, the Royal Quarters, the Temple of Three Windows, the Circular Tower and the Sacred Sun Dial and Burial Grounds. After the guided tour, we can enjoy an afternoon of self-exploration and discovery. Accommodation at the 3* Inti Inn.
Day 9: Machu Picchu - Cusco B
Enjoy a free day in Aguas Calientes. Feel free to re-enter the ruins if you are up for it (re-entry tickets not included). Or simply relax and enjoy the small, quaint town. Another way to spend your day is to try a hike. For the fit adventurer looking for a challenge, you can climb Putu Kusi, a mountain that sits straight across from Machu Picchu. This hike (2 hours) is full of beautiful vegetation and includes lengthy ladder climbs, those who are afraid of heights should take this into consideration. The other option is a rather easy hike, 4 hours, to the Mandor Pampa. This hike includes traveling though the local cloud forest and arriving at a beautiful waterfall. There is plenty of vegetation and small animals to check out along the way. In the late afternoon head to the train station for your return ride to Cusco. Arrival and transfer to the 3* Casa San Blas.
Day 10: Cusco - Puno - Lake Titicaca B,L
Transfer to the railway station for the wonderful trans-altiplano Inca express. Lunch onboard the "Orient Express" of Peru. Along the route, there shall be plenty of opportunities to see alpacas and vicuñas in their natural habitat along with the marvellous scenery of the altiplano. A stop at the highest point, La Raya, 4319m, will also be made. (Alternatively, you may fly to Juliaca and then transfer to Puno). Reception and transfer to the Eco Inn, on the shore of Lake Titicaca. Free day to acclimatise to the 3800m setting of Puno.
Day 11: Kayak Lake Titicaca B,L
After early breakfast, transfer to Llachon before we don our kayaking jackets, spray skirts, and life vests and receive a brief kayaking lesson for our paddle along the peninsula and across the channel to Isla Taquile. Kayaking the clear blue water of a huge lake sitting at 12,500 feet is an unforgettable experience. We will pass village life on the shores of the peninsula, then as we head across the channel to Isla Taquile we gain our first views across the full distance of the lake. The total distance is about five and a half miles, and in our stable sea kayaks we will take our time and perhaps take a break on the water for a snack. Upon reaching Isla Taquile, we will walk about 20 minutes, less than a mile, to have our lunch. After lunch we board our kayaks for a short kayaking adventure around the island of Taquile, affording fabulous views of the hills and mountains surrounding the highest navigable lake in the world—all the way into Bolivia--and a unique view of the island. Rejoin the support boat for a ride back to the lakeside city of Puno. Arrive Puno and transfer to your hotel, the Eco Hotel located on the very shore of the Lake.
Day 12: Puno - Juliaca - Lima B
After breakfast, head towards Juliaca, and an excursion to the Silluastani towers. The pre-Inca Sillustani funeral towers lie next to the Umayo Lake and form part of one of the largest and most important necropolis in the world. Used by both the Altiplano civilisation and the Incas and their wives"Collas" to honour their dead and in preparation for the after-life. They were abandoned when the first Spanish arrived. With over ninety chulpas (tombs), all built from volcanic rock, those for the Incas can be easily recognised by their finer detail. Transfer to Juliaca airport for the flight back to Lima. Arrive and transfer to your international flight home.
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