Departure will be from Lima, traveling south along beautiful beaches. We'll reach Paracas National Reserve, navigate to the Ballestas Islands, visit the Huacachina oasis in the middle of the desert, watch the enigmatic Nazca Lines, ascend the Andes mountains up to 15000 feet above sea level, camp one night atop the mountains and then descend to 11000 feet when arriving to Cuzco by its magnificent entrance, the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Then we'll go to Machu Picchu, the "Lost Citadel of the Inca Empire". The tour features geography, culture, archeology, roads, mountains, costumes and locals way of living.
Everything required for the expedition to be manageable has been considered: Carefully chosen campsite spots, adequate camping facilities, good food and shelter, and of course a nice fireplace... and lot of adventure for it to be over exciting.
When first arriving to Cuzco (after initial four days of travel) there will be two options for you to take. One will be to make the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (4 days trek), the other option will be to take the three best tours available: Cuzco City Tour + Sacred Valley Tour + Machu Picchu Tour, accessing it by train.
Day 1: Lima – Chincha – Pisco - Paracas / Camping night
Our first day will point toward the Paracas National Reserve, place of beautiful beaches where sea wolves pace and migratory birds take rest. We'll pass along Canete and Chincha small towns where you'll try fine grape drink Peruvian Pisco. Our bike tour will start on the reserve's border searching for the Pacific Ocean where huge cliffs will permit beautiful sightseeing, one of them is "The Cathedral", a huge rock formation eroded with the shape from which it gets its name. At the end of the ride we'll seashore camp on a beautiful beach. (L/D).
Day 2: Paracas - Ballestas Islands - Nazca Lines / Camping night
Afternoon winds are strong and late sea tours are not permitted so we'll pick up the tents very early in the morning and go to the Chaco quay from where a sliding boat will transport us to the Ballestas Islands. A natural area full of migratory birds, sea wolves, Penguins, even the huge 14ft span tip to tip winged Andean Condor can be seen. After returning we'll travel to Nazca town, finding The Huacachina oasis on our way. Yeah! A beautiful sunny oasis full of shadowy palm trees in the middle of the desert; a natural lagoon surrounded by huge sand dunes 700 feet high.
It'll be very hot and time short so we'll hurry toward Nazca only stopping at the Ingenio desert spot to kill our thirst with crushed ice made of smashed natural fruits. Arriving to Nazca we'll stand up our tents and take the plane to sight the huge Nazca Lines. Toilet services as well as a refreshing swimming pool will be available at the campsite. Then the Sun will plunge at the desert..., it'll be time for a cup of coffee and to talk about good things of the day. (This day there will be no breakfast, preventing seasickness on our early sea tour.) (L/D).
Day 3: Nazca - Chalhuanca town / Camping night
We'll leave early after taking breakfast first. We'll almost immediately start ascending the Andes mountains reaching 11500 feet above sea level. The desert will be left at our back with its impressive moon like landscapes. We'll pass through Pampa Galeras, home of thousands of Vicunas and Alpacas, typical camel like animals much appreciated for their wool. After some hours we will arrive to small town of Puquio, where we will take a brief rest. We'll already be surrounded by huge mountains.
Restarting the trip small lagoons home of migratory birds will be seen. The road is under work, we then will pass along a military base at 13000 ft. "The Paradise" is its name. Well the truth is it is very near to Heaven. The road will show multiple options and no one signaled... yes, one has to know and we do! At the end of the day small typical local houses will show out. Temperature is very low at night. Locals many times shelter their animals under their home's roof. We will be near Chalhuanca town, where many people speak only native Quechua language. Our campsite will be near to them but far enough so as to preserve our privacy. (B/L/D).
Day 4: Chalhuanca town - Cuzco City / Hotel night
We will depart very early, traveling parallel to the White River bed. Sunlight is very intense here, taking a bath at the river may be considered. Near midday we will be arriving a bigger town, Abancay. Characterized by its very steep streets. It is almost impossible to find a flat area. It's principal avenue requires our vehicle to be engaged on first march.
People at Abancay live upon harvests. But no tractors can be found, drop by drop irrigation methods aren't known even by name. Instead ox and plows are used. Steep mountains are managed for agricultural purposes by hand made soil balconies or terraces called "andenes", just the way it has been for hundreds of years. Other peculiar nice things to observe are small farmers and animal growers houses, with their stone made corrals for cows, pigs and sheep.
When Abancay becomes distant our thirst for reaching Cuzco will increase. Astonishing landscapes, will talk about our proximity.... Finally then, we will arrive to Cuzco's principal square. There you'll step your feet on the Center of the Magnificent Inca Empire. It will be a time to rest a bit, to talk to curious locals, to admire it's enchanting architecture, and to remember all the roads left at our backs. (B/L).
Day 5: Cuzco - Huayllabamba / Camping night
We will depart on a private bus at 6 in the morning. We will leave it at kilometer 82 of the train way to Machu Picchu; our trek will start there, local porters will help us. This first day well 'have a flat easy path, we will arrive to Huayllabamba (3000 mts) near dusk, then we will camp. Waynaquente and Machuquente ruins will be passed on our way. (L/D).
Day 6: Huayllabamba - Pakaymayu / Camping night
After taking a good breakfast we will depart for a hard day. Our target will be to ascend to 4200 mts. and pass to the other side of the mountains, Warmiwayñusca is the pass name, then we will easily descend by a rocky stairway to Pakaymayu at 3200 mts of altitude. Yes, the rocky handmade stairway will help as descend 1000 mts. That's the size of Inca stairways... can you imagine how their home will be? The night will be colder than prior one. Geography and winds decide this. (B/L/D).
Day 7: Pakaymayu - Winaywayna / Camping night
Our journey this day will be extense. We will depart at dawn. Landscape will radically change greener, butterflies and flowers will start to show out. The trail base will turn from soil to fully manplaced rocks. We will ascend to Runkurakay pass (3900 mts) where ruins of a military fortress exist, we will be able to watch trail we took prior day for our descense from the Warmiwayñuska pass. Small lagoons will be at sight. We will also see important archeological constructions like Yanacocha, Sayacmarka and
Phuyupatamarca ruins. Hundreds of years have still not destroyed Inca baths near to Phuyupatamarca where water still flows; after more walking we will reach to Wiñaywayna 2040 mts which in the past was an agricultural site whose crops feeded people at Machupicchu, you will see how they managed to cultivate and irrigate at mountain inclined slopes. We will pass the night there. (B/L/D).
Day 8: Wiñaywayna - Machu Picchu
This day we will arrive to Machu Picchu. We will walk 5 km. and then start ascending by a very long, hand made, rock stairway. When this stairway ends we will have to pass last military control imposed by the Incas, the place is Inti Punku (2700 mts) which means "The Sun Entrance". But not only the control will be "suffered", landscape will show your first sight of majestic Machu Picchu citadel, most important archeological monument of the continent will be only two kilometers apart from us. At this moment we will be again on a sierra habitat, butterflies and greener places left at our backs. We will surely stop, and rest for a while, while enjoying the spectacle and taking pictures, then finally we will arrive to Machu Picchu and walk it all over until 4 in the afternoon, when we will take our train to Cuzco. Departure time is not rigid, some delay is advised. The train trip will permit us to chat for four hours, and to watch geographic changes as we ascend to Cuzco. (B).
We have fixed departures form Lima, Peru each Monday. Please ask about other departure date that fix with your available time.
Also see tour packages in:
South America Peru Outdoor: Land Rambler Camping
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