For travelers with adventurous hearts, this itinerary sees you exploring Peru by plane, car, train, bus and boat across some of the most stunning landscapes in South America. Begin by learning about the Ancient Inca from your base in Cusco, then venture into the Sacred Valley of the Inca. Enjoy a day-long hike into Machu Picchu on a shortened Inca Trail program, and spend another full day exploring this legendary place. After, journey by bus to the highest habitable lake in the world, Lake Titicaca. Here, you'll escape the crowds, and spend two full days on Amantani Island, spending a night with a local family in their home, and experiencing life on the lake.
After some time to get settled and comfortable into your hotel, will be introduced to this beautiful city with an orientation tour of the highlights and hidden treasures. This short walking tour is a great way to get your bearings and will also help you to adjust to the altitude. The impressively historic city center was declared a World Heritage Site in 1983 with Inca and colonial architecture evident every where you look. Later in the day today, your guide will give you a full briefing for your journey ahead, so get excited! (This service is on a group basis.)
Cusco is a beautiful city with well preserved colonial architecture, evidence of a rich and complex history. The city itself represents the center of indigenous Quechua culture in the Andes, and by merely walking the streets one sees the layers of history. Spanish colonial buildings erected directly atop Inca walls line the square, while the modern tourist nightlife flourishes in their midst. The city is surrounded by a number of ruins, the most impressive being Sacsayhuaman, the site of the 1536 battle in which dozens of Pizarro's men charged uphill to battle the forces of the Inca. Nowadays, Cusco is known for its indigenous population--often seen on the streets in traditional clothing--and its substantial tourist-fueled night life.
Today, you will be taken on a half day group guided tour of the city, including some of the nearby Inca ruin sites. Cusco is a city with a wealth of history and splendor. As you wander through the streets, you will be guided through centuries of traditional culture and unique architecture. There is something to be admired in every direction you look, and a story to be told at every street corner. During your exploration, you will have the opportunity to discover the many highlights and hidden gems of Cusco. Although the modern travelers and vibrant night life can now be recognized in the city, Cusco is still known for its indigenous population--often seen on the streets in traditional clothing, maintaining it's colonial charm.
Your tour will then head out of Cusco, to visit the main Inca ruins in the Cusco valley, visiting Tambo Machay, Puca Pucara, Kenko, Sacsayhuaman, as well as some lesser known ruins. These impressive sites serve as a great introduction to Inca history, and by walking around them, you will continue to acclimate to the high altitude. (This service is on a group basis.)
A great day to enjoy the amazing ruins, markets and scenery of Peru is with our one-day Sacred Valley tour. This trip leaves early in the morning and is suitably flexible to your needs.
Our first stop is the picturesque Andean village of Pisac. The village is famous for its local market and superb artisan stalls throughout the week. Time can be spent shopping or, for the more energetic, visiting the extensive Inca ruins at the top of the hill. Old Pisac ruins have much to explore with a circular hike along a well-defined Inca trail through royal buildings, look-outs, terraces, tunnels and irrigation channels before returning on another good trail to the bus. We may also visit a traditional bakery to try freshly baked bread and learn about the guinea pigs of Peru.
Afterwards we take a short journey along the river which brings us to Urubamba for a delicious lunch. In the afternoon, we visit the Inca fortress town of Ollantaytambo: this was the site of the last big battle between the Incas and Spanish before the remaining Inca rebels fled into the jungles of Vilcabamba. In this lovely, well-preserved village and ruins you can still feel the true magic of the Incas. The hill-top, Inca sun temple displays some of the finest stonework in the area. The site was unfinished and some magnificent stones still lie un-erected, providing important clues to the building methods.
Today is the day you reach Machu Picchu. Built over 500 years ago this is one of new seven wonders of the world. And rightly so. Words do not do it justice.
You take an early train to start your hike along the Inca Trail. A few hours climbing brings you to the beautiful Inca terraces of Wiñay Wayna where you enjoy a box lunch lovingly prepared for you by our cook. A further gentle two hours, a final set of steps, you pass through the old Incan gateway, turn to your left and there it is. Machu Picchu unfolds before your eyes.
Tonight you spend the night in the town below, perhaps enjoy the medicinal waters of the hot springs, but above all dream about tomorrow and your chance to explore fully the ruins of Machu Picchu.
A 20 minute bus ride brings you back to Machu Picchu. Arriving before the crowds your guide will show you around and explain just how the Incas managed to build with such precision and such beauty, on such a remote hilltop.
From altars used for human sacrifices, temples carved in the shape of condors through to stones used to tie the sun, this is a history lesson everyone will enjoy. If you are really lucky you may even see Paddington Bear.
After a fantastic day, in a fantastic place, you board the train to sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery on your journey to Cusco.
Our private vehicle will meet you at your hotel and transport you in comfort to Cusco bus station.
After an early breakfast this morning, you will be transferred from your hotel in Cusco to the local bus station, where you will board the comfortable tourist bus to Puno. This eight hour transfer will take you on an extraordinary journey through the high plains of the 'altiplano', one of the most spectacular bus routes in the world. Sit back, relax and get lost in the splendors outside your window, as you wind through majestic Andean peaks.
In order to make the most of this long transfer, you will stop at a few fascinating sites along the way. From the impressive Inca ruins of Rachi and Pucara, to the magnificent historic church at Andahuaylillas, you won't miss a thing! You can also look forward to a variety of geographical highlights, including the high pass of La Raya, where you can admire panoramic views of the snow capped Andean peaks. The high grassland at this pass is home to the iconic creatures of Latin America - llamas, alpacas and vicunas. In the afternoon, you will stop at an inn, where a delicious buffet lunch will be served. Once you have eventually arrived in Puno, you will be met at the bus station by your driver and transferred directly to your hotel. This evening, you are free to explore the city and relax at your leisure. (This service is on a group basis.)
Puno is a sprawling city of humble buildings, known best as the primary transit point en route to Lake Titicaca. Rich in history, tradition, craft and skill, there is no where else in the world like Lake Titicaca. The infinite skies are mirrored in the deep blue shades of the lake, and the horizon seems to bend, as if it’s the edge of the Earth. The lovely local people descend from ancient Andean ethnic groups, the Aymara and Quechua. The floating islands of the Uros Indians feature one of the area's most fascinating treasures, built by layers of tortora reeds, a prolific plant that grows in the shallows of the lake. Mysterious Inca burial tombs that circle the lake also entice travelers, as well as the impressive variety of high altitude bird species that can be identified in the National Reserve.
This morning you will be met at your hotel in Puno and transferred to the pier where you'll embark on a motor boat ride to Amantani Island. Along the way you'll have the opportunity to experience the culture and unique landscapes of Lake Titicaca.
After 3 hours cruising you will arrive at Uros Island. Your guide fully explains the local history, traditions and agricultural methods as you visit the amazing floating reed islands of Uros. You will have the opportunity to explore the area in a traditional reed raft (optional). You'll then continue the journey onward to Amantani Island. Amantani Island, located facing the Capachica peninsula 37km (23 miles) from the city of Puno. Amantani offers a wide variety of artisan produce such as ceramics, carved stone work and beautiful stone floorings created by the locals themselves. Archeological ruins include the temples of the Pachamama and Pachatata, built for earth payment ceremonies that date from pre-Inca times. These ceremonies are still performed today and along with the other ancient customs of the island make Amantaní an enigmatic place, distinct and different from the rest of the world.
Upon arrival on Amantani Island you will be assigned to a native family for your traditional homestay. After enjoying a local style lunch prepared by your host family, you'll set off a 2 hour afternoon hike which will take you to one of two peaks on the island (4,120m) for a spectacular view of the lake and surrounding area. You'll also have the opportunity to visit either the Pacha Mama or Pacha Tata temples. Enjoy your time exploring these ancient ritual sites, and learn more about the cryptic messages they hold. After enjoying an amazing sunset over the lake you'll enjoy dinner with your host family. While the accommodation is fairly basic, the experience of staying with a family is truly amazing and a great chance for a unique cultural exchange. Enjoy the evening at a homestay on the island. (This service is on a group basis.)
After breakfast say farewell to your host family and depart Amantani by motor boat making your way back to Puno. After navigating the lake for approximately 1 hour you'll make a stop at the neighboring island of Taquile. Taquile, whose Quechua name is Intika, was part of the Inca Empire and has a number of Inca ruins. The island was one of the last locations in Peru to capitulate to Spanish domination during the Spanish conquest of Peru. It was captured for Carlos V and eventually passed to Count Rodrigo of Taquila, who inspired the island's current name. The Spanish forbade traditional dress and the islanders adopted the Spanish peasant dress that they are known for still using today. On arrival you'll set off on a 1 hour hike leading you to the main square. Explore the surroundings, visit the handicraft cooperatives, and enjoy lunch at local restaurant.
At 1:00 PM you'll make the final boat journey back to Puno. Arriving back at the pier around 4:00 PM, you'll be met and driven to your Puno accommodations. (This service is on a group basis.)
Today, you will be picked up at your hotel in Puno and transferred to the airport. (This service is on a private basis.)
Located in a beautiful residential area, Casa Esmeralda by Ananay Hotels, offers a quaint, yet elegant boutique concept that meets the needs of all guests. The property emphasizes a personalized service experience and the welcoming warmth that only a place like Cusco can offer. Casa Esmeralda is a beautiful house with 18 rooms, 3 gardens, a cozy family room and a charming public area, perfect for reading, relaxing and enjoying the beautiful views from the hotel. The property is located close to the historical downtown, but far enough away from the hustle and bustle, that you are guaranteed a serene getaway, that is still convenient and accessible. It is only four blocks away from the famous Koricancha Temple and fifteen minutes walking from the Main Square.
Originally opened in 1925 under the name of hotel Santa Rosa, El Albergue is a beautiful and historic hotel property. It is located at the Ollantaytambo train station, just a little more than an hour away from Machu Picchu and the city of Cusco. With many activities in the area, you can keep busy during your stay visiting the Inca and Pre-Inca archaeological sights of Ollantaytambo, Pisaq and Moray, river rafting, mountain biking, and enjoying the beauty and culture of the Andes. Featuring only 16 rooms, special detail is given to each and every one, resulting in an elegantly rustic style. Beautiful gardens visited by hummingbirds are engulfed by the aroma of fuchsia, passionflower, peaches and avocado trees, which all adorn this early 20th century hotel. Step outside your door and catch the train to the spectacular ruins of Machu Picchu after your stay.
Step into the smart, contemporary and cozy confines of El MaPi, amidst the picturesque Machu Picchu Pueblo. Discover an efficient, lively and friendly atmosphere, which will welcome you into a wondrous escape from real life worries. The flowing lobby creates a sense of vitality. Lofty ceilings, panoramic windows and an open air cafe, allow natural light to filter between tall eucalyptus dried branches, creating a lovely and relaxing ambiance. Make the most of your enlightening visit to Peru’s most famous destination, the Machu Picchu archaeological site, with the perfect home away from home at El MaPi.
Tierra Viva Puno Hotel Plaza is located on Grau Street, within the historic center of the city of Puno. This ideal location offers easy access to several of the city's main attractions, such as the Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral and the Dreyer Museum. The property is also next to Lima Street, which is Puno's most commercial and cosmopolitan street, where you can enjoy the best restaurants, popular art stores and artistic bars. Tierra Viva Hotel Puno Plaza combines a modern design of spacious and luminous areas, with a decoration that introduces you to the Andean Plateau’s culture.
This is a special experience for those who desire to know, understand and experience the best of the Lake Titicaca region. After a journey to visit the Uros community, you will venture out to the Amantani Island, a charming Andean community. You will be welcomed into a homestay here, for an extraordinarily unique opportunity. During this cultural experience, you will learn to dance to Andean music with the local islanders, and catch a glimpse into their traditional day to day life. You will be spending the night in a rural house provided by a friendly native family.
*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.