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- Sampling the culinary delights of Peruvian cuisine
- Cycling in the Sacred Valley and Lima
- Wandering the cobblestone streets of colonial Cusco
- Soaking in the astonishing views of Machu Picchu
- Hiking the Salkantay Trek*, the gateway to Machu Picchu (please note that you may replace this trek with the Inca Trail or Lares Trek
- Exploring the highest navigable lake in the world, Lake Titicaca
- Trekking to Rainbow Mountain
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Lima, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Salkantay Trek, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca
Welcome to Lima – the City of Kings and the bustling gateway to Peru! Lima is an ethnic melting pot, featuring pre-Hispanic, colonial and modern elements. Lima was inhabited by pre-Columbian groups centuries before it was founded by Spanish Conqueror Francisco Pizarro in 1535 on the day of the Three Kings (Epiphany). Limeños (Lima’s residents) are friendly, and the city is filled with excellent restaurants; seafood lovers in particular should be sure to try a ceviche, for which Lima is well known.
As today is arrival day, there are no prearranged activities.
Overnight: Miraflores Hotel
(Morning) Culinary Journey through Lima shared services (Time TBD)
Awaken your senses to the world-class cuisine of Peru with a culinary tour through its bustling bazaars and iconic restaurants, discovering all of the cities gourmet secrets as you go. Surquillo Market is the perfect place to start, with a kaleidoscope of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other local produce piled high amid the flurry of haggling vendors and buyers. There’s an astounding variety of native ingredients here, be it from the coast, Sierra or rainforest, all emanating fragrant aromas and promising a feast for the eyes too. Don’t hesitate to try some of the delightful fare that’s on offer, well-worth relishing for a taste for what’s to come!
The next part of this foodie experience takes place in Bolivariano, a traditional restaurant in Pueblo Libre which was built as a finca in 1780, with beautifully restored original features serving as a delightful backdrop to the delicious meal which will be enjoyed here today. The cookery class is both enjoyable, delicious and insightful, offering the chance to learn the insider tips behind a classic Peruvian fish ceviche, along with a masterclass in Pisco Sour mixology to top it all off. The final stage of the tour unfolds at one of Miraflores’ most famous restaurants, with sweeping views of the ocean to accompany a delectable menu of traditional plates and desserts, showcasing the very best of Peruvian cuisine and rounding off an all-encompassing gourmet experience in the process.
(Afternoon) Exploring Miraflores and Barranco by Bicycle (shared services)
A cycle ride through two of Lima’s most outstanding residential districts is a delightful way to spend a leisurely morning or afternoon, led by an expert guide who will shepherd lucky cyclists to the cultural hotspots of Miraflores and Barranco. After a safety brief and equipment check, set off behind your leader and begin this exciting circuit, whizzing past locals going about their day-to-day business as you do. Feel the wind in your hair while pedaling past grand mansions that were once home to notable writers, painters and musicians; with these neighbourhoods having long been the stomping ground for all manner of artists and bohemian types. Pass by cultural centers, parks, boulevards, boutiques, art galleries, workshops, street food stalls, charming corner cafes and bars, seemingly plucked straight from yesteryear. A particularly special element of this biking tour is witnessing the impressive street art splayed on the walls in Barranco, not to mention spellbinding views across the bay from the Malecon, hugging the cliffs above the Pacific Ocean. Between all the action, a well-deserved stop is taken at La Bodega Verde, for a delicious light bite, rounding off this exciting two-wheel adventure.
Overnight in Lima.
B / L
Day 3: LIMA TO CUSCO
Transfer to Lima’s airport for your flight to Cusco. Arrival, meet, and transfer to your hotel. Take it easy today in order to adjust to the altitude – drink coca tea, eat light, avoid alcohol.Cusco was the foremost city of the Inca Empire and is now the undisputed archaeological capital of the Americas, as well as the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city and the most visited tourist attraction in Peru. Cusco (Qosqo in Quechua) was the capital of the mighty Inca Empire from the 13th century until 1532 when the Spanish conquistadors arrived. The Inca had incredible foresight in regards to city planning and Cusco beautifully exemplifies this. Cusco was planned as an effigy in the shape of a puma, the Inca god of lightning. Afternoon at leisure.
Overnight in Cusco.
Day 4: CUSCO DAY AT LEISURE
Breakfast. The day is at leisure.
Here are a few suggestions for your free time in Cusco:
• Explore the artistic neighbourhood of San Blas and shop for antiques
• Visit the spectacular Sacsaywaman Ruins (above Cusco)
• Learn more about the Incas in Cusco at Qoricancha
• Visit the gorgeous Pre-Colombian Museum, Museo Irq’i Yachay and/or the Popular Art Museum
• Learn how to make Peru’s signature cocktail – the Pisco Sour
• Cusco Planetarium is a nifty way to learn more about the Inca worldview
• Take a weaving or salsa class
• Pamper yourself at a spa
Overnight in Cusco.
Day 5: CUSCO TO SACRED VALLEY OF THE INCAS WITH CYCLING
Full day excursion: Biking to Chinchero, Moray, and Maras Salt Mines
Full support guiding trip. Off-road circuits through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Agriculture fields, Andean terraces, and villages. There is an opportunity to watch the local Andean people in their daily work.
After picking you up from your hotel we will transfer you to Cruzpata on Maras’s plateau, where we will start our mountain bike adventure enjoying lovely views of impressive Andean peaks, many cactus plants, and Andean villagers on their daily activities, optional visit of the Inca experimental agricultural terraces of Moray.
A picnic lunch will be provided here. Then we will proceed on a dirt road to Maras, where we will stop and visit the Salt mines. Return to the hotel.
Overnight in Sacred Valley
B / L
Day 6: SACRED VALLEY OF THE INCAS
Visit to the Sacred Valley: Pisac Market, Ollantaytambo
This morning, we will continue the trip toward the Sacred Valley and soon reach Pisac, a beautiful place where Incan and Colonial influences have reached a perfect balance and created the unique way of life of the local inhabitants. We will get a chance to explore this quaint town, famous for its artisan markets where we can find extraordinarily fine jewelry and ceramic and textile craftwork.
Afterwards, we will visit one of the last remaining Incan towns, Ollantaytambo, which was once fiercely guarded by a massive fortress. We will discover the large archaeological complex of what used to serve as a wayside inn for royal delegations on long journeys. Surviving structures here include multiple walls and towers that were used to protect the citadel from possible invasions.
Overnight in Sacred Valley.
Day 7: SACRED VALLEY / MOLLEPATA / SAYLLAPATA / SALKANTAY PAMPA
Early in the morning we will depart from Urubamba to the town of Mollepata by private transportation, travelling for about 4 hours. The tour will take a northwest direction, crossing the Pampas or Yawar Anta Pampa (Pampa de la Sangre), known for the fierce battle developed between the Incas and Chancas for control of the city of Cusco. We will continue our journey to Mollepata, where we will stop for breakfast and take a short break.
Then we will continue our journey throught Cruz Pata at 3200 meters to finally reach Soraypampa 3800 meters, the starting point of the trek, where we meet our wranglers and horses. After a short introduction, we start our hike towards the base of Mt. Salkantay 6271 meters, crossing Salkantay pampa, and then starting a 2 hrs. steep ascent to Soyroccocha, just next to the impressive glacier of Salkantay 4200 meters. Continuing uphill, we reach the Abra Huayracmachay 4600 meters the highest mountain pass in the program where, besides enjoying stunning views of the surrounding glaciers and the snow-capped peaks of the Vilcabamba Range with the south face of Salkantay towering above us, we may also observe chinchillas and condors in their natural habitat. From this point, we start descending towards a more tropical climate and into the so-called cloud forest. A long though easy descent brings us late afternoon to our first campsite at Andenes 3500 meters.
B / L / D
Maximum altitude: 4600 M
Minimum Altitude: 3500 M
Distance traveled: 18 km
Approximate time of walk: 8 to 9 hours.
Day 8: ANDENES / CHAULLAY / LA PLAYA / LUCMABAMBA
Today we continue our hike with an easy downhill walk along the Salkantay River, enjoying the increasingly lush vegetation, passing waterfalls, passion fruit, and coffee plantations. The arid Highland landscape begins to transform into a cloud forest filled with trees and bromeliads. After 1:45 hours we arrive at Chaullay, and after another 45 minutes to the town of Collpapampa. From Collpapampa, the Salkantay River becomes the Santa Teresa River.
After a rest, we continue our descent to the banks of the Totora River, then passing the waterfalls at Coripacchi, the settlement at Wiñaypoko, the bustling small town of La Playa, and finally our second camp at Lucmabamba 2100 meters. On the way, we can see plantations of banana, coffee, and avocado, as well as exuberant local flora. We enter the spectacled-bear territory and we will probably be accompanied by flocks of parrots as we descend. At dinner, we can enjoy a glass of wine by the light of the camp-fire.
Note: La Playa is not a remote campsite – for those that want to get away from the crowds you should talk to your guide about camping at Lucmabamba.
Maximum altitude: 3500 M
Minimum Altitude: 2100 M
Distance traveled: 20 km
Approximate time of walk: 7 to 8 hours.
Day 9: LUCMABAMBA / LLACTAPATA / HIDROELECTRICA / AGUAS CALIENTES
After breakfast, we will begin our walk, where we will see the remains of an Inca Trail. Continuing east along an ascending path, with the direction Llactapata, we will continue to see plantations, bananas, avocados, etc, and a beautiful view of the valley of Santa Teresa.
After climbing for 3 – 4 hours to the highest point of Llactapata at 2700 meters, we will enjoy free time to relax and watch the mountain of Machu Picchu (Inca city) and some of these archaeological sites. Then we will descend for 2 hours to the Hydroelectric Power Station (1870 m), where we will have the last lunch with all our staff. Later we will take our train to Aguas Calientes for a period of 45 minutes. In Aguas Calientes, our walkers will be staying in a hostel and may set out to explore this picturesque town, which offers, apart from its hot springs, many bars, cafes, Internet kiosks, etc.
Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel in Aguas Calientes.
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Accommodation: Hotel in Aguas Calientes
Maximum altitude: 2700 M
Minimum Altitude: 1870 M
Distance traveled: 12 km
Approximate time of walk: 6 to 7 hours.
Day 10: AGUAS CALIENTES / MACHU PICCHU / OLLANTAYTAMBO / CUSCO
Early in the morning, at 5:30am we will move to the bus station of Aguas Calientes, to take the touristic bus that leads to the sacred citadel of Machu Picchu. This short bus ride takes only 30 minutes and covers an unpaved track, very steep and winding through a jungle and mountain properties with breathtaking views. Finally we will arrive to Machu Picchu, where our guide will tour the most important sectors of this beautiful citadel. The walkers will have free time to explore the city on your own to your taste. Around 13:00 hours we will take the bus back to Aguas Calientes. In the afternoon we return to the station to catch the train to Ollantaytambo and then transferred to a tourist bus to return to the city of Cusco.
Maximum altitude: 2400 M
Minimum Altitude: 2000 M
Distance traveled: 0 km
Approximate time of visit: 3 hours.
Day 11: CUSCO DAY AT LEISURE
Day is at leisure
Overnight in Cusco.
Day 12: CUSCO TO RAINBOW MOUNTAIN
Full Day Rainbow Mountain (regular services) – *please note we only recommend this trip between June and Aug
We leave around 4 am from Cusco. To start, our trip heads towards Puno, and we travel on an asphalt road section of the altiplano through the fertile Vilcanota Valley. We will turn off after 2 hours and 30 minutes onto an unpaved road, stopping at the picturesque village of Checacupe.
We arrive at Pitumarka town for a brief stop: we can buy some basic refreshments here before continuing through to the village at Kairahuiri. We’ll have an early breakfast and then begin a walk of about two and a half hours towards Vinicunca Pass. At this point, our breathing will become more and more labored as we gain altitude. Once we arrive at the top of the pass, there may be some cold gusts of wind so please ensure that you are wrapped up warm and that your head is covered with a woolly hat.
You will be rewarded for your efforts when you finally see the amazing Vinicunca, with its colorful layers of rock sediment: turquoise, orange, brown, and red! In addition to the great views of the coloured mountain itself, you will have impressive views of the snow-capped Apu Ausangate, when the day is clear.
The return hike downhill will be a lot quicker than the ascent, and should take around 2 hours. There will be plenty of beautiful scenery to feast our eyes upon along the way.
We’ll have a lunch back at Kairahuiri, say good-bye to our local crew, and then head back to Cusco in our private transport. We will embark on the 3hours drive back to Cusco and drop you off at your Cusco hotel. Approximate arrival time is between 5 and 6 pm.
Overnight in Cusco.
Box breakfast / box lunch
Day 13: CUSCO TO PUNO
Transfer to Puno bus station.
Cusco / Puno by regular tourist bus
After breakfast, you will be transferred by a regular tourist bus to Puno, along the way, you will visit to the district of Andahuaylillas with its Baroque church, known as the “Sistine Chapel of South America”, then Raqchi, which includes the ruined Temple of Wiracocha and finally you will pay a visit to Pucara, where you will visit the ruins of the Pucara culture and its museum.
Lunch is included en route.
Arrival, meet and transfer to your hotel.
Overnight in Puno.
B / L
Day 14: PUNO TO TAQUILE ISLAND OVERNIGHT
Boat excursion to Uros & Taquile Islands (Overnight in Taquile)
Enjoy an extraordinary journey across the world’s highest navigable lake, Lake Titicaca. Travel to legendary places where time seems to have stood still. The first stop will be t Uros floating islands. These are a peculiar grouping of around 40 small islands made totally of totora, a natural reed that grows around the lake. The cheerful inhabitants will invite you to get to know their traditional lifestyle and customs.
We will continue our voyage across the placid waters of the lake until arriving to the picturesque Taquile Island, a peaceful place where old Quechua traditions live in perfect balance with modernity. Discover a landscape distinct from the other islands thanks to the Incan terraces filled with local flowers and crops. The rich colors of the clothing worn by the local inhabitants will amaze you; admire their beautiful hand-made fabrics. Most importantly, enjoy the unbelievable hospitality of the islanders, known as Taquileños, who will make your visit to the island a memorable one.
During the overnight, there is an Andean religious ceremony included and folk music or an outdoor session in order to observe a beautiful view of the sky and its constellations.
Room accommodation is provided by the islanders who were specially trained in order to provide a minimum comfort to our guests.
Before making your way back to Puno, you will have lunch at a local home.
**Type of vessel: Standard boat
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Day 15: TAQUILE ISLAND TO PUNO TO LIMA
In the morning, activities with the local inhabitants on Taquile.
Lunch is included this day, then return to Puno where you will be transferred to Juliaca’s airport.
Arrival in Lima, meeting service and walking transfer to the airport hotel.
Overnight in Lima at Airport Hotel.
Day 16: RETURN FLIGHT
Breakfast. As your hotel is within walking distance to the airport, you will be responsible for getting yourself there in time for your flight.
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LIMA: Htl 3 * – Allpa: Standard + BB
CUSCO: Htl 3 * – Abittare: Standard + BB
VALLE SAGRADO: Htl 3 * – La Casona de Yucay: Premium + BB
MACHU PICCHU: Htl 4 * – El Mapi by Inkaterra: Superior Deluxe + HB
PUNO: Htl 3 * – Xima Puno: Standard + BB
LIMA: Htl 4 * – Costa del Sol Wyndham Airport Hotel: Standard + BB
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All transportation services for the duration of the standard detailed itineraries
Activities as per itinerary
Entrance fees to archaeological sites and other points of interest.
14 nights of accommodations (double/twin)
Guided bilingual activities and excursions, except for scheduled times marked at leisure.
Meals as per itinerary
International & domestic flights (quote available from firstname.lastname@example.org)
Meals not mentioned above
Services and activities not mentioned above
Mandatory travel insurance (click HERE for more info or contact email@example.com)
Expenses of personal nature
Any additional not specified in the program
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Date: THIS CUSTOM TOUR IS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST. Recommended between May and September. Please note that this tour is fully customizable and can be adjusted to best suit your travel needs.
A 20% non-refundable (unless cancelled by us) deposit is required at time of booking to reserve your place. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more booking information, Terms & Conditions and an invoice.
Full payment is due 60 prior to departure