Day 1 - Welcome to Lima
Take a direct BA flight to Lima, arriving same day in the evening. You will be met at the airport by your tour guide who will take you to your hotel and given a walking introduction to the local area (30 minutes). It is also an opportunity for our guide to provide advice, explain your programme, answer any questions you may have; and to make suggestions about where to go, restaurants, and places to visit that may be of particular interest to you.
Day 2 - Lima City Tour
Lima is known as the "City of Kings" and has an interesting and attractive historic centre containing valuable examples of colonial and republican architecture. The commercial and administrative centre of the Spanish empire in South America, bringing a period of prosperity to the city.
You have a tour exploring both colonial and modern districts of the city. Following an earthquake in 1746, the city was elaborately rebuilt and today's wide streets, vast plazas and old houses with ornately carved balconies are a legacy of this period. You will visit the Museo Arqueologico Rafael Larco Herrera in the suburb of Pueblo Libre, which showcases remarkable chronological organised galleries providing an excellent overview on 3000 years of development of Peruvian pre-Columbian history. It also features the finest gold and silver collection from Ancient Peru and the famous erotic archaeological collection.
Day 3 - City Tour & Santa Catalina Convent
Leaving Lima in the early morning, travel by plane to Arequipa, Peru's second largest city, set in a rich green valley at the foot of the mighty El Misti Volcano. The buildings in the centre have been built almost exclusively of the volcanic material 'sillar', a white, porous rock, giving Arequipa its nickname of 'The White City'.
Your guide and transport will meet you at your hotel for a delightful city tour which visits the church of La Compania and other colonial buildings, including the Plaza de Armas and the Cathedral. The Santa Catalina Convent once held some two hundred nuns and is a maze of colourful alleyways and rooms, providing a fascinating insight into the way the nuns once lived.
Day 4 - Colca Canyon
Scenic drive to the Colca Canyon, passing majestic volcanoes and the stunning mountain landscapes on a desert plateaux. We drive to the Cruz del Condor and walk along the top of the canyon, condors soaring above. Stay for one night at a local hotel in the Canyon.
Day 5 - Inca terracing
We walk past the extensive Inca terracing and through the villages of Cabancay, Chivay & Mara, whose local ladies still dress in their traditional embroidered dresses and hats. In the afternoon continue by road over the Altiplano to Puno, on the shore of Lake Titicaca, staying for 2 nights.
Day 6 - Flight to Juliaca & Tour of Uros Islands
Full Day boat trip to the floating Uros Islands, followed by the rocky island of Taquile.
Day 7 - Journey to Cusco
Journey by bus (Tourist) or private vehicle (First) to Cusco. This is an unforgettable journey across the Andean altiplano, offering dramatic landscapes throughout. On arrival in Cusco, you will be met by our representative and taken to your hotel in the Sacred Valley, staying for 3 nights.
Days 8-9 - Full Day Tour of the Sacred Valley
Enjoy our extensive, special Full Day tour of the Sacred Valley. Begin by visiting the market at Chinchero, where locals come to barter and sell local produce and handicrafts. Also visit a local weaving collective, to learn the traditions of weaving by hand on a back-strap loom. Next you will proceed to Moray, thought to have been an open-air crop laboratory of the Incas, followed by the pre-Inca salt pans of Maras. After lunch, visit the stunning fortress town and ruins of Ollantaytambo. This large archaeological complex is believed to have been a significant agricultural, administrative, social, religious and military centre. The town itself is geometrically perfect; with straight streets, trapezoidal doors, and Inca drainage systems. Finally we travel to the colonial town of Pisac, built on the ruins of an Inca citadel and located at the entrance to the immensely fertile Urubamba "Sacred" Valley. Here you can see the bustling market, and watch the sunset over the mountains from the ruins.
Days 10-12 - Ancient Inca Trail
Transfer to the start of three days trekking the ancient Inca Trail through cloud forests and jungle, past old Inca ruins and running streams, both up and down imposing valleys. We spend three nights under canvas, with all meals, guide, sleeping bag, equipment and porters provided.
Day 13 - Guided tour of the site
On the forth day early morning we arrive at the awe-inspiring sanctuary of Machu Picchu itself for a guided tour of the site. Return to Cusco in the afternoon on the Vistadome train.
Day 14 - Tour of Cusco
Beginning in the main square of Cusco we visit the cathedral, built by the Spanish on Inca foundations and with an unusual local variation of the painting of the Last Supper. We also visit Qoricancha, the Temple of the Sun, part of which survived having a Colonial church built on top of it. From the city centre we travel into the mountains above Cusco to visit the archaeological sites of Sacsayhuaman, Puca Pucara and Kenko. The mighty fortress and complex of Sacsayhuaman was built with massive stones, some weighing over 100 tons, and which all fit together like a jigsaw, without mortar.
Day 15 - Flight to Lima
Morning to explore Cusco, before boarding afternoon flight to Lima to connect with the overnight flight, arriving on Day 16.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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