From the sacred lake we travel north to the hub of the greatest empire the Americas have ever seen - Cusco, the Inca capital. The city we see today is the result of the imposition of one culture on another, with the remains of Inca palaces and temples forming the foundations of Spanish churches and mansions. Beyond the Sacred Valley of the Incas we hike the famous Inca Trail on our pilgrimage to the Lost City of Machu Picchu. Our journey ends with four days in one of the most bio diverse areas on Earth, as we explore the rain forest in search of macaws, giant otters and other exotic fauna.
Day 1: Lima. Reception at the international airport of Lima and transfer to the hotel. Free day for optional visits and overnight in Lima.
Day 2: Lima - Pisco - Nazca (Ballestas Islands). We start early with a 3 hour bus ride along the Pan-American Highway south to the village of Pisco. From the seaport we continue by boat, passing by the famous Candelabro on our way to the Ballestas Islands. Here we have ample time to observe the rich flora and fauna with its penguins, sea lions and diversity of seabirds. After some free time for lunch in one of the beach restaurants we continue by bus on a panoramic road towards the village of Nasca where we arrive late afternoon in our hotel. Includes: (B).
Day 3: Nazca - Arequipa (Nazca Lines). The morning is dedicated to the exploration of the mysterious Nasca Lines (discovered by Maria Reiche). We appreciate this marvel from a bird's perspective in a spectacular 1 hour flight by small aircraft. In the afternoon we visit the Chauchillas Cemetery from the Nasca Culture and have some free time to visit the Museum of Maria Reiche or relax at the pool before our night drive to Arequipa. The bus ride of approximately 8 hours (9:00 p.m.- 5:00 a.m.) leads us southwards on the Pan-American Highway and we have a comfortable bus with declinable seats. On arrival in Arequipa transfer to the hotel for resting. Includes: (B).
Day 4: Arequipa (Free Day). Free day in Arequipa (2325 m) for resting, shopping or optional visits. This beautiful white city (due to its volcanic rock constructions) has a lot to offer. We recommend a visit to the Santa Catalina Convent or one of the many museums. Overnight in Arequipa. Includes: (B).
Day 5: Arequipa - Colca Canyon. We start early our long, scenic bus ride to the Colca Canyon - at 3400 m probably the deepest one in the world. During our drive we enjoy some spectacular views of volcanoes, agricultural terraces and wild alpaca and vicuña herds. We stay overnight at one of the cozy lodges in the canyon. Includes: (B).
Day 6: Colca Canyon - Puno. We travel early morning to the famous vantage point of Cruz del Condor from where we have the best view down into the canyon in order to observe the majestic flight of the condors rising with the morning thermals. We have plenty of time to enjoy the valley before we continue our drive through the andes towards Puno, where we arrive late afternoon in our hotel. Includes: (B).
Day 7: Lake Titicaca - Uros and Amantani Islands. After breakfast we start our visit of the highest navigable lake in the world with the fascinating floating reed islands of the Uros. From here a 2 hour boat ride brings us to the traditional island of Amantani where we stay with the locals, learning more about their ancestral traditions and daily life. In the late afternoon we can enjoy the breathtaking sunset over Lake Titicaca from the top of the island. On a clear day we will even be able to see the distant peaks of the Cordillera Real in Bolivia. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: Lake Titicaca - Amantani - Taquile - Puno. After a traditional breakfast we say goodbye to our hosts and continue by boat for about 1.5 hours to the neighboring island of Taquile, whose inhabitants still live as their ancestors did. We have ample time to explore the island, visit the community with its handicraft center and have lunch before we return by boat to Puno in the afternoon. Transfer to the hotel and overnight. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 9: Puno - Cusco. An 8 hour panoramic bus ride brings us over the highlands to the former capital of the Incas: Cusco. During the trip we enjoy our lunch and visit different tourist attractions like the colonial church of Andahuaylillas and the Inca temple Raqchi (dedicated to Viracocha). Arriving in Cusco transfer to our hotel for overnight. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 10: Cusco (Free Day). Free day in Cusco for optional visits, shopping or resting. In the late afternoon we visit the Centre of Native Art to appreciate tipical music and dances of the region. Overnight in Cusco. Includes: (B).
Day 11: Inca Trail - Cusco - km 82 - Huayllabamba. Early morning bus ride to the start of our hike at km 82 from where we follow an easy path along the Urubamba River towards the first archaeological site at Llaqtapata (2650 m). After a rest we continue into the side valley of Cusichaca where we enjoy a delicious lunch. In the afternoon we follow the Cusichaca Creek on a soft uphill to our first camp at the village of Huayllabamba (3000 m). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 12: Inca Trail - Huayllabamba - Pacasmayo. After an early breakfast we start our long and steep climb up to Warmiwañusca Pass (4200 m) which is the highest point on our hike. The ascent leads through different ecological levels that offer a variety of orchids and birds (many endemic to the area). From the summit we can view the second pass, the ruins of Runcuracay and our camp down in the valley which we will reach after a 2 hour descent. On a clear day the camp offers fantastic views towards the glaciers of Mount Veronica. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 13: Inca Trail - Pacasmayo - Wiñaywayna. Today is the most diverse day of our adventure. We start in the morning with the climb up to the second pass at Runcuracay (3900 m) that offers fantastic views of the Vilcabamba Range with its glaciers, weather permitting. A 2 hour descent brings us to the fascinating archaeological site of Sayacmarca. After exploring this beautiful construction we continue - now on original Inca stone path - through high cloud forest with its lush vegetation, offering glimpses of waterfalls, valleys, canyons and glaciers like Salkantay. In the afternoon we arrive at the last high pass, Phuyupatamarca (3600 m), from where a long and steep descent (over Inca staircases) leads us towards the archaeological site of Wiñaywayna, considered one of the most beautiful sites in the area due to its location and architecture. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 14: Inca Trail - Wiñaywayna-Machu Picchu-Aguas Calientes. After breakfast we say goodbye to our Quechuan porters and start the hike through high cloud forest with its diverse flora and fauna towards the famous Sungate or Intipunku. From here we can enjoy the first and best view of the Lost City of the Incas: legendary Machupicchu (2400 m). We enjoy this enigma in a guided tour and have enough free time to explore the site individually or do some hikes before we descend to Aguas Calientes in the afternoon. Here we can choose to relax in the natural hot springs and stay overnight in a comfortable hotel. Includes: (B).
Day 15: Machu Picchu - Cusco. Free day for optional visits of Machupicchu. Afternoon train ride back to Cusco, transfer to the hotel and overnight. Includes: (B).
Day 16: Cusco - Puerto Maldonado- Posada Amazonas. Morning transfer Htl-Apt. for half hour flight Cusco-Pto.Maldonado. Reception and transfer to the riverport from where we continue by boat to the Posada Amazonas. During our trip we may see bird species typical of the river or forest edge. Arriving at Posada Amazonas we receive a short orientation of the lodge and the Eseja Ecotourism Project. If time allows us we embark on an afternoon activity, like a visit to a local farm. A video about Tambopata will be displayed after dinner. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 17: Posada Amazonas. We will be up at dawn for a visit to the Tres Chimbadas oxbow lake taking a long, easy canoe ride around it, looking for Giant River otters, turtles, hoatzins and wading birds. We return to the lodge for lunch. In the afternoon we hike a short trail to the 35 meter tall observation tower. This tower is strategically located inside the forest. Easy to climb, with a wide stairway and railing, makes this forest observation a great experience for everybody. Dinner at Posada Amazonas. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 18: Posada Amazonas. After an early breakfast we visit a small parrot clay lick. From the blind, constructed next to this lick, photographers can take good pictures of these wonderful birds. Dozens and sometimes hundreds of small parrots and parakeets congregate here on clear days to eat clay. After lunch, we visit a local community ethno-botanic centre, where we can learn everything about the local culture and their millenary interaction with the forest. We return to Posada Amazonas for dinner and overnight. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 19: Posada Amazonas - Puerto Maldonado - Lima. After an early breakfast, we return by boat to the city of Puerto Maldonado, transfer to the airport for the national flight Pto.Maldonado-Lima and international connections. Includes: (B).
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South America Peru Local Culture Cultural Journey Archeology/History