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 filled 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. 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 stretch your legs with a delightful hike in the hills above Cusco. First, you will visit the impressive site of Sacsayhuaman. Huge stone ramparts surround a beautiful grass amphitheater here, a sight not to be missed! Once the scene of fierce battles, it now hosts the annual re-enactment of traditional Inca ceremonies such as Inti Raymi and Warachikuy. On Sundays, you typically see families from Cusco head up here to play, fly kites and dig traditional huatias, a method of cooking potatoes in the ground.
Next up on your excursion, is the Inca water temple of Tambo Machay lying at 3700m (12,000 feet) followed by a special picnic lunch. A trail through the fields leads you to the intricately carved Inca Temple of the Moon. From here, a beautifully preserved section of the royal Inca Trail leads you down into the old San Blas district, home to the city's artists and finally into the Plaza de Armas. Admire the impressive cathedral there, before making your way to Qoricancha temple, once home to life sized statues in solid gold. (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 to the local bus station in good time to board the comfortable tourist bus to Puno. This eight hour transfer will take you traveling across the high plain of the 'altiplano', which is notably one of the most spectacular bus journeys in the world. Throughout the entire ride you can look out the window and marvel at the splendid views of Andean peaks.
In order to break up the journey and make it worth your while, you will stop off at a number of fascinating sites along the way. From archaeological sites and the impressive Inca ruins of Rachi and Pucara, to the church at Andahuaylillas with its amazing 17th century paintings, you won't miss out on a thing! There are also fantastic geographical highlights, such as the high pass of La Raya, where you can admire panoramic views of the lovely snow-capped Andean peaks. The high grassland at this pass is home to all the camel-like creatures of Latin America - namely llamas, alpacas and vicunas. En route, you will also stop to visit an inn, where you will enjoy a filling buffet lunch that is included in the journey.
Upon arrival 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.)
The Puno region features Lake Titicaca that gives you the feeling of being at the top of the world. The infinite skies are mirrored in the deep blue of the lake, and the horizon seems to bend as if it’s the edge of the world. The people of the region descended from the most notably ancient Andean ethnic groups, the Aymara and Quechua. The floating islands of the Uros Indians are also of great interest. The islands are built layer over layer of tortora reeds, a prolific plant that grows in the shallows of Lake Titicaca. This National Reserve, is home to over 60 species of high altitude birds including Flamingos, and Vicuña can be seen grazing along its tranquil shores. Mysterious Inca burial tombs known as chullpa circle the lake, and the nearby town of Puno is the main port of Lake Titicaca, and while its climate is stark, Puno is a place of rich history and tradition.
Our tour starts by driving 3 hours in a motorboat from the dock in Puno to the Uros Islands. The Uros is a group of 40 small floating islands made of packed totora (reed) located inside the Titicaca National Reserve, where the inhabitants of the lake, the Uros, share the same traditions as their ancestors, maintaining their customs and idiosyncrasies, but specially the systems of communal life.
Then, we will continue towards 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. Finally, our tour ends with a visit to the Amantaní Island on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca. Similar to the Taquileños, the inhabitants of Amantaní are also known for their textiles, as well as their ceramics. Most of the inhabitants live in houses of adobe.
Enjoy the evening at a homestay on the island. (This service is on a group basis.)
After we have our breakfast, we go of Amantani island to Taquile Island for one hour aproximately. when we arrived we visited the tow of Taquile are numerous pre-Inca and Inca ruins and Inca terracing. The island is narrow, only about 1 km wide, and 6-7 km long. There is a cooperative shop on the island that sells exceptional woollen goods which are not cheap but of very fine quality. you will have the opportunity to buy beautiful handmade weavings and collages depicting the life on the islands. The inhabitants on some islands have built small ‘museums’ with stuffed birds inside, or lookout towers to get a better view. For a dollar or so you can usually take a 10 minutes ride on the lake in a traditional reed boat. All in all it makes for an interesting visit since there’s nowhere else quite like it in the world.
Transfer to the Hotel
(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 offers 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, as well as a charming public area to read or chat and enjoy the beautiful views the hotel provides. The property is located close to the historical downtown, but away from the hustle and bustle, creating a serene getaway that is still convenient and accessible. It is only four blocks away from the 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 historic hotel, located in the Ollantaytambo train station little more than an hour away from Machu Picchu and the city of Cusco. While you are at El Albergue you may spend your days visiting the Inca and Pre-Inca archeological sights of Ollantaytambo, Pisaq and Moray, river rafting and mountain biking, and enjoying the beauty and culture of the Andes. With 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 the early 20th century hotel. Step outside and catch the train to the spectacular ruins of Machu Picchu.
Smart and contemporary are the defining elements of this hotel, amidst the commercial village of Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes), from where you can admire and interact with the quaint folksy town and get a different perspective. The hotel is efficient, playful and people friendly; it welcomes a wide range of guests expecting an uncomplicated visit. Turn into an amiable and healthy environment after your enlightening visit to Peru’s most distinguished destination, the Machu Picchu Archaeological site.
Tierra Viva Puno Plaza Hotel is located in Grau Street, at the historic center of the city. This strategic location allows our guests easy access to several of the city´s main attractions, such as the Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral and the Dreyer Museum. The hotel is also next to Lima Street, the city´s most commercial and cosmopolitan street, where travellers may enjoy the best restaurants, popular art stores and artistic bars and peñas in Puno.
This is a special program for those who desire to know, understand and experience the best of the Lake Titicaca region. This journey will take you to visit the Uros community, where you can admire and observe the various little islands floating on the lake. From there, you will venture out to the Amantani Island, a charming Andean community. Here, it is possible to climb to the summit of one of the hills at sunset, to marvel at an incredible light show. During your cultural experience you will also learn to dance to Andean music with the local islanders and spend the night in a rural house provided by a native family.
*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.