Day 1: Lima. arrival. We meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax and get acquainted with Peru’s bustling capital city, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Day 2: Lima - Puno. Today we transfer you to Lima Airport for your flight to Juliaca. From here we drive across the stark altiplano to Puno. Along the way, we visit the ancient burial ground of Sillustani. The tombs are built above the ground and the inside of the tombs are shaped like a womb: the ancient Peruvians believed that Mother Earth created and regulated life. Upon arrival in Puno we check into the hotel and acclimatize to life at nearly 4,000 m/13,000 ft.
Day 3: Lake Titicaca. Lunch included. Today we spend the day on the world's highest navigable lake, Titicaca. First, we get the opportunity to visit the unique, man-made, floating reed islands of Uros to get an impression of how the Aymara-speaking locals have lived for centuries.
Then we make our way to Taquile Island, where time appears to have stood still. Around 350 families live here, operating a collective agricultural system dating from the 14th Century and renowned for their textiles - beautifully woven chumpis (belts), chullos (caps), and ojotas (sandals). The views of the snow-capped Cordillera Real mountains in Bolivia overlooking the lake are the icing on the cake! Upon return to Puno, the evening is free for the brave to sample some local cuisine: guinea pig (known locally as cuy) perhaps? Or maybe an alpaca steak?
Day 4: Puno – Cusco. Lunch included. After breakfast, today is spent on the jaw dropping ride across the altiplano to Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire. This drive will take us through sleepy Andean villages, past spectacular snow capped mountains, sheer cliffs and rampaging rivers. Stops along the way include the atmospheric towns of Pucara and Andahuaylillas, and the pre-Inca ruin of Raqchi. We arrive in the famous city of Cusco in the early evening.
Note: Please note that on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday it is possible to upgrade to the Andean Explorer first-class train service.
Day 5: Cusco - Sacred Valley. Lunch included. Today, we explore the "Sacred Valley of the Incas". This fertile river valley was home to many important sites for the Incas, both strategic and religious. Our first stop is the village of Pisac, with its famous market, where you can pick up a bargain! You have free time to wander the colourful market stalls before we have a typical Andean lunch at a local restaurant.
We then continue our journey along the River Urubamba, to Ollantaytambo, the best surviving example of Inca town planning and dominated by a giant Inca fortress, which was the scene of a famous victory for the Incas against the invading Spanish Conquistadors. We return to our Cusco hotel in the late afternoon.
Day 6: Cusco - Machu Picchu. After an early breakfast, we leave the hotel to take the train to Machu Picchu. After an impressive train ride of 4 hours through mountain valleys, cloud forest, and high rainforest, we reach this wonder of the world. Here the ’Lost City of the Incas’ occupies a ridge spur high above the raging Vilcanota River.
We have a guided tour of the site, as well as some free time to appreciate this amazing place. For the energetic, there is the chance to climb the emblematic Huayna Picchu (Little Mountain). At the end of the day you descend by bus to the small town of Aguas Calientes to take the train back to Cusco. Optional: Overnight in Machu Picchu.
Day 7: Cusco - City Tour. A gentle wander through the cobbled stoned streets is recommended during the morning, to appreciate fully the magnificent blend of Colonial and Inca influence on the city. During the afternoon, we have a guided bus tour of the city, visiting the Cathedral, the Rock of the 12 Angles, and Inca ruins such as Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo and Koricancha.
Day 8: Cusco – Lima. Today we transfer you to Cusco airport for your flight back over the Andes to Lima, and upon arrival in Lima, we transfer you to your hotel. This afternoon, we take you on a tour of Lima, the Colonial ‘City of Kings’, and get a first hand glimpse of its majestic past.
We visit sites such as the Cathedral and Presidential Palace overlooking the Plaza de Armas, and the Catacombs beneath San Francisco Convent. We get to see, first hand, Lima's magnificent Colonial architecture as well as vignettes of its pre-Colombian past. By the way, it would be a shame to leave Lima without sampling some of its excellent seafood.
Day 9: Lima. Airport transfer. At the appropriate time, we transfer you to the airport for your international flight.
Dependant on hotel availability and flight schedule.
Also see tour packages in:
South America Peru Local Culture Sightseeing Cultural Journey