Day 1 - Join group in Lima
Depart on the daytime, direct non-stop BA flight to Lima, arriving in the evening. You will be met by your Group Tour Leader, as well as the other members of the group before being taken to our hotel. We conduct an introductory briefing and there is the opportunity to accompany the Tour Leader on a short walk. Each evening throughout the tour before dinner your Tour Leader will give a short meeting at the hotel to prepare for the following day's activities and schedule.
Day 2 - Morning tour of Lima
In the morning your Tour Leader will visit various places of interest around Lima; this includes the colonial history and the Larco Herrera Museum. After a relaxing afternoon everyone usually meets for a welcome dinner to get to know each other better.
Day 3 - City Tour of Arequipa
This morning we fly to Arequipa and transfer to the hotel. In the afternoon we have a tour of the colonial centre of Arequipa, visiting the church of La Compania and colonial buildings, including the Plaza de Armas and the grand Cathedral, before continuing on to the Santa Catalina Convent, established in 1579 and famed for its colourful maze of alleyways and rooms, which provide a fascinating insight into the way the nuns lived. There are still some 20 nuns living there today.
Day 4 - Transfer to Colca Canyon
We make an early start to travel along the Yura highway which borders the snow-capped Chachani mountain, towards Pampa Canahuas in the Salinas and Aguaga Blanca National Reserve, en-route to Colca Canyon, the world's deepest canyon and still inhabited by traditional communities who farm on pre-Inca terraces either side of the valley. We explore the local village of Callalli (Callalli's Castle) and Sibayo before arriving in Chivay and transfer to our hotel, where we will stay for 2 nights.
Day 5 - Cruz del Condor
Excursion to the Cruz del Condor, where you will have a chance to see the Andean Condor in its natural habitat.
Day 6 - Travel to Lake Titicaca
Continuing our journey overland, up the Andean mountains, across the scenic landscape of the altiplano to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca, where we will stay for 2 nights.
Day 7 - Boat Tour of Lake Titicaca
We explore the lake by boat visiting the Uros & Taquile Islands. The Uros natives set-up their home 500 years ago on islands of floating totora reeds which grow abundantly in the shallow waters of the lake. This traditional method is still used to create their boats, houses and islands. Afterwards we visit the beautiful and timeless island of Taquile, renowned for its fine weaving and vibrantly coloured clothes.
Day 8 - Inka Express Bus Journey to the Sacred Valley of the Incas
We take the small bus to Cusco, following the same route as the train, accompanied by your Tour Leader. You will make stops along the way; visiting the Pukara and unusual Raqchi ruins and also the Jesuit church in Andahauylillas. We stop for a buffet lunch in Sicuani. The journey takes approximately 8-10 hours. On arrival in Cusco we will transfer straight down to our hotel in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, where we stay for three nights.
Day 9 - Day at leisure in Sacred Valley
Today you have the flexibility to pursue your own interests or accompany the Tour Leader to visit various places of interest, there is no set itinerary but decided by the Tour Leader. Private excursions available.
Day 10 - Tour the Sacred Valley of the Inca
Starting early in the morning we visit the colourful Chinchero market which offers a fabulous insight into the local indigenous people and well-known for their woven handcrafts, and visit a workshop to meet local artisans. From here we drive to the Moray Ruins, an ancient Inca open-air crop laboratory before visiting the pre-Inca salt mines of Maras, located on a wide-open hill above the Urubamba Valley. We visit a beautiful Spanish hacienda and the fortress of Ollantaytamba, intricately designed with geometrically straight streets and Inca drainage system. From here we travel to the colonial town of Pisac, built on the ruins of an Inca citadel and located at the entrance of the Urubamba Valley, before taking a short drive up the mountain to a vantage point with spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.
Day 11 - Guided tour of Machu Picchu
Today we travel by train to Machu Picchu, on the "Vistadome" which offers a spectacular journey through breathtaking natural scenery and landscapes. We will set off early to catch the trail from Ollantaytambo Railway station, to board the train that runs from the Sacred Valley to the Aguas Calientes village located at the foot of Machu Picchu. We then travel by road up the mountain before reaching Machu Picchu, located on a majestic mountain plateau straddling the mountains edge and with steep terraces sloping downwards, it is not surprising this city was lost for 400 years. We have lunch at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge before taking a guided tour of the site to explore these stunning ruins.
Day 12 - Explore Machu Picchu & Travel to Cusco
Enjoy the morning at leisure to further explore the site. You have the flexibility of persuing your own interests or accompany the Tour Leader. You may wish to climb Huayna Picchu, offering fantastic views of the valley and a different perspective of Machu Picchu. Alternatively, a gentler climb is the Inca Trail to the Intipunku also known as "the Gate of the Sun". In the afternoon, we take the Vistadome train back to Ollantaytambo Station from where we continue our journey back to Cusco, and transfer to our hotel where we stay for 3 nights.
Day 13 - Guided City Tour of Cusco & nearby ruins
Beginning in the main square of Cusco we visit the cathedral, built by the Spanish on Inca foundations and with an unusually variation of the Last Supper. From the city centre we travel into the mountains above Cusco to visit the archeological sites of Sacsayhuaman and Qenko. The mighty fortress and complex of Sacsayhuaman was built with massive stones, some weighing over 100 tons and placed together like a jigsaw. On the return journey we stop at a fantastic vantage point with a superb view of the city and surrounding mountains.
Day 14 - Day at Leisure in Cusco
A full day at leisure in Cusco to explore the city, relax, take an optional extra excursion, or simply enjoy the surroundings and atmosphere of this magnificent city.
Day 15 - Departure
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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