Day 1. LIMA
Arrival in Lima, reception at the airport and transfer by private car to your hotel.
Day 2. LIMA
After breakfast, a guided visit of colonial and modern Lima, including the cathedral, dating from 1654, the main square, which still houses the original bronze fountain built in 1650, and the San Francisco Convent and its catacombs. Known as the city of the kings, Lima was founded in 1535 by Pizarro and rebuilt in 1991, the same year that UNESCO declared it a world heritage site. We shall then visit"Casa Aliaga said to be the oldest colonial mansion in South America. The Aliaga House has been owned and occupied by the same family since Francisco Pizarro granted the land to Jerónimo de Aliaga in 1535. An impressive wooden staircase in the tree-shaded courtyard leads up to the elaborate rooms, many of which are decorated with colonial furnishings. We shall then visit Barranco for lunch at the Al Grano restaurant before visiting the adjoining private museum, called the Palacio de Osma. The museum focuses on colonial Peruvian art from areas that were among the most distinguished cultural centers of the day, including Cusco, Arequipa, and Ayacucho. Return to your hotel. Free evening.
Day 3. LIMA - CUZCO
After breakfast, morning transfer to the airport for the flight to Cuzco. After the hour long flight, arrival to Cuzco, reception and transfer to your hotel.
Free morning to take a leisurely walk around the ancient capital of the Incas or to acclimatize to the high altitude setting. After lunch (not included), a private, guided walking tour of the city of Cuzco; including the Main Square, the Cathedral and the Koricancha or Temple of the Sun. A visit to the Inca Museum before returning to your hotel. Free evening.
Day 4. CUZCO
After breakfast, a tour of the ruins surrounding the Inca capital including the Sacsayhuaman Fortress overlooking the city 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. After the tour lasting about two and half hours we will have lunch at the La Casona del Inca, situated in the hills above Cuzco with a beautiful view of the city. After lunch free day to relax and enjoy the city.
Day 5. URUBAMBA -PISAC - OLLANTAYTAMBO
After breakfast, excursion to the beautiful Urubamba, the Sacred Valley of the Inca situated between Pisac and Ollantaytambo. The Sacred Valley is an exceptionally fertile valley that was and still remains the larder of Cuzco. Visit the village of Pisac, and visit the ruins above the town. This site attracts few visitors. Transfer to the Alhambra restaurant. After lunch, the trip continues to Ollantaytambo and transfer to the Pakaritampu Hotel. Late afternoon visit to the ruins above Ollantaytambo, the only Inca town that was not defeated by the Spanish. Return to your hotel for a briefing on the up and coming Inca Trail.
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Day 6. OLLANTAYTAMBO - WAYLLABAMBA
After an early morning breakfast, you will be transferred to Chilca by bus where you will meet with your Quechua porters and prepare for the Inca Trail with a session of yoga from your personal instructor. After some relaxing, breathing and stretching techniques, you will be ready to embark on the four day trek that awaits you. You will cross over the turbulent Vilcanota River, with magnificent views of Nevado Veronica (5,900m/19,000ft) and continue along the trek admiring the Llactapata archaeological site, and stopping at the Huayllabamba River for lunch. All meals are in very large dining tents with outstanding three course meals freshly prepared by your chef. After lunch, we will visit the archeological sites of Patallacta, Qente, and the valley of Cusichaca along with the magical Polylepsis forest before continuing the hike. To help us focus on the true nature of our trek, our destination and our very location, our personal porters will be playing the Quena, or ancient Andean flute. We also encourage to talk with our porters to learn a little about their ancient customs and ways or life. Our hiking today will last approximately 7 hours. Upon arriving to our campsite, we shall enjoy relaxing massages and a warm shower to help sooth away any aches and pains. Dinner before listening to the intriguing stories and legends from our Quechua porters. Overnight camping on the trail.
Day 7. WAYLLABAMBA - PACAYMAYU
An early start today as this is the most demanding day of the entire trek and we shall gain considerable altitude. We will see outstanding views to the east of the Huayanay peaks and to the west of the rugged Vilcabamba Range. After breakfast, we shall begin the climb up through the first pass at 4200 m/13,750 feet at Warmiwanusqa. Passing 3 ecological zones such as the Yunga, Quechua and Puna, we shall ascend 1000 metres in 5 hours. Our porter's enticing music will help us to marvel at the views rather than the difficult ascent. Lunch will be taken before the final two sections of ascent. Upon reaching the summit of Dead Woman's Pass, we shall celebrate our achievement by paying homage to the Apus or mountain gods, before descending into camp. Massages and a warm shower before a welcoming dinner near Pacaymayu. More secret myths will unfold tonight as the porters explain the significance of the Apus, or mountain gods. Overnight camping on the trail.
Day 8. PACAYMAYU - WINAYHUAYNA
After breakfast, we shall begin the ascent of the second pass, although still demanding, this is easier than the previous day's ascent. A visit to the famous archaeological site of Runquraqay. We will continue on to the restored town site of Sayaqmarka ("Town in a Steep Place") and explore the Sayaqmarka Ruins, admiring at the same time the fabulous cloud forest which is now all around us. The third pass of the Inca Trail in this section is a long white granite roadway, with some ascents and descents traversing a thickly forested mountainside. We will finally descend to the magnificent archeological site of Phuyupatamarka ("Cloud Level Town") where a fine lunch will await us. After lunch, we will then begin the decent to Winaywayna, an outstanding Inca complex built into the mountainside. A visit of the ruins before our last massage and trail shower. After relaxing, we shall enjoy dinner carefully prepared by our chef. We shall also meet with our porters for the very last time and exchange thanks and talk about the ancient paths upon which we have trekked for the last few days. Overnight camping on the trail.
Day 9. WINAYHUAYNA - MACHU PICCHU
Early morning wake up at 4:30 AM for breakfast and to begin the final trek to Intipunku, and the first site of the archaeological complex of Machu Picchu. 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 will then continue down to the royal road and at last the "Lost City of the Incas". We then immediately begin our tour of Machu Picchu. Built by the Inca Pachacutec, and comprising stone blocks fitted with masterful precision, Machu Picchu harmoniously blends into the mountain landscape. There are many theories as to the origins behind Machu Picchu but three of the most popular ideas include a temple to the sun, a fortress against the jungle inhabitants and a sanctuary for the Incas. This fabulous city holds houses, temples, warehouses, a large central square and all connected by narrow roads and steps, which is surrounded by terraces cut into the mountain side which were used for agriculture. We shall visit 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, you can enjoy an afternoon of self-exploration and discovery. Lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge before a free afternoon for a more personal appreciation. Trip down to Aguas Calientes and accommodation at a selected hotel. Free evening.
Day 10. MACHU PICCHU - CUZCO
After breakfast, we shall return to the Machu Picchu complex for a very different tour of the site; this time with a Shamanic guide. We shall also experience the ancient offering to the Pachamama or mother earth, within the grounds of the Sanctuary. Lunch at Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge before returning to Aguas Calientes for our Vistadome train to Cuzco. Reception and transfer your hotel. Accommodation for your last night in the Inca capital.
Day 11. CUZCO- LIMA
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the return flight back to Lima and your connecting return flight home.