Day 1 Lima Arrive in Lima at any time. A representative from Adventures to Peru will greet you at the airport and private transfer to your hotel. There are no planned activities today so check-in and enjoy the city. This afternoon you are free to explore colonial and modern Lima, with visits to the Government Palace, cathedral, Plaza de Armas and the Archaeological Museum. Or hang around the bustling commercial districts of and Miraflores and Barranco.
Day 2 Puno / Lake Titicaca (B) A morning flight takes us up to Puno on the shores of spectacular Lake Titicaca. The afternoon is free to explore the plazas, churches and markets of this lakeside town.
Puno, a city of 150,00 inhabitants, is considered by local populations as a linguistic, cultural and political border. To the south toward Bolivia the Aymara people and language are dominant. To the north, the better-known Quechua is the dominant tongue. Fortunately, you will see both.
Day 3 Amantani Island Lake Titicaca (B,L,D) After breakfast, our local guide will take to the floating reed island’s of the Uros (Aymara roots) and then on to Amantani Island (Qechua roots) by motor boat. The Uros people are a specific cultural group apart from the Incas. They are more sensitive and protective. We ask that visitors always proceed with respect. Please ask before snapping pictures, as some of the older generations will object
The locals are very friendly and produce souvenirs representing life on the Lake. You can support them by buying a souvenir if you choose.
After the Uros, we will take a step back in time as we arrive to Amantani. The island culture offers a glimpse into their ancient traditions and customs. A rural home stay will open your eyes to the true beauty of this place and the people that have inhabited the lake for thousands of years. All local food and beverages included.
Today’s focus: Andean views of life, death and marriage; Origins of The Sacred Lake
Day 4 Puno (B) We’ll start with an early wake up call to enjoy a spectacular sunrise over Lake Titicaca before visiting the neighboring island of Taquile. Famous for textiles and weavings Taquile is a cultural treasure chest. We’ll spend an hour hiking to the summit of Taquile Island before enjoying lunch overlooking the Lake Titicaca. Our lunch will include local favorites, trout or kingfish, before heading back to Puno.
Day 5 Cusco (B) After breakfast our overland journey continues through the high plateau. Our full day overland journey through the majestic Andes will astound you. We’ll cover 400km, go over mountain passes at 4,334m 1(4,222ft) above sea level, visit some of our favorite local indigenous villages and sample some of the best local roast lamb available. Approximate arrival in Cusco is 5.00pm.
Day 6 Ollantaytambo (B) One of the most spectacular days of the tour takes us through the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Once an important source of food for the Inca, the Sacred Valley is a lush agricultural region that continues to supply the city of Cusco with much of its produce. As it is 600m lower than Cusco, temperatures are on average 5 degrees Cº higher in the Sacred Valley.
Our travels will bring us through the major archaeological sites of Pisac and Ollantaytambo. At Pisac, an optional two hour or 5km hike will allow us to fully appreciate the Incan city nestled high in the Andean range. Later, the colorful artesian market at Pisac will no doubt be a highlight for those in search of unique souvenirs.
The day trip finishes in the picturesque village of Ollantaytambo, location of another large Inca site. This major ruin is known as the best surviving example of Inca urban planning and engineering. But more than that, Ollantaytambo is a living breathing Inca City. Here we catch our breath and prepare for the hike ahead.
Focus today: Inca stone working techniques, 3 Peruvian blessings: Coca leaf, Andean Maca, Potato
Days 7-9 Inca Trail (B,L,D) The 4-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is physically challenging but worthwhile, and within the ability of most reasonably fit travelers. Go for it. As an old college professor once said, “The saddest words ever coined by mouth and pen, what might have been.” Harold Mueller, San Diego State University.
NOT HIKING? Those passengers not interested in the hike spend 2 days in Cusco, then travel by train to Aguas Calientes, where they overnight. Next morning they take the bus to the Machu Picchu entrance and rendezvous with the hikers at the ruins. If you decide not to do the hike we need to know prior to your departure in order to obtain train tickets. Please advise your Adventures to Peru contact as soon as you know you will not hike. Also note that portions of the Inca Trail will be closed for general maintenance during the month of February each year. Also, closures may occur at various times throughout the year due to weather or other conditions beyond our control. During these periods, any tour affected will take an alternate route along the Urubamba River.
The Inca Trail is exceptional; however it is important to be prepared! It is a 43-km (25 mile) hike, with 3 high passes to be crossed, one of which reaches an elevation of 4200m (13776 ft). The trail is often steep, and it may rain even during the dry season. The temperatures at night may fall below zero, so it is important to come prepared. If you do not wish to bring a sleeping bag or inflatable Thermarest mattress, they will be provided to you before the hike.
Our local crew of porters, cook and guide will look after us well for the duration of the hike. You can be sure there will be no shortage of food, and we’ll guarantee superb quality.
Porters carry the majority of the gear for the hike, so those passengers doing the hike only carry a small daypack with water, rain gear, snacks, a camera and personal items. As you walk the trail that linked this ancient empire, admire breathtaking views at every step as we move from high plateau areas to dense cloud forest. Depending on the season, you may see a great variety of flora, including miniature and large orchids, and fiery rhododendron bushes.
Day 7 Inca Trail (B,L,D) Day one of the Inca Trail is considered ‘the easy day’. We’ll depart Ollantaytambo early for Piscacocha at km 82 where we begin our walk in the footsteps of the Incas. Take in the scenic views of the Urubamba River and Vilcanota mountain range as we hike 7km northeast along the Urubamba River Valley. We will then detour and make our way up the Huallabamba Valley in route to lunch and then 3 more hours to our first campsite at Ayapata (3300m).
Day 8 Inca Trail (B,L,D) Day two takes us along a steep path to Warmiwañusca, or Dead Woman’s Pass. At 4198m (13769 ft) above sea level, this pass is the highest point of the trek. Then a steep decent takes us to the valley of Pacaymayo for lunch. Following lunch, we will summit the second pass of the hike, which is at 3998m (13113 ft). With some luck we’ll enjoy superb views of the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcabamba. After a visit to the serine ruins of Sayacmarca, we will pitch our tents for the night at Chaquicocha (dry lake) in hopes of crystal clear views of the Salkantay range at dawn the next morning.
Day 9 Inca Trail (B,L,D) On day 3, the trail goes through some beautiful cloud forest on the gentle climb to the third pass, where you will walk through a causeway and a tunnel, both original Inca constructions. The highest point of the third pass is at 3700m (12136ft). On clear days you are rewarded for all this work with beautiful views of the Urubamba Valley below. Soon you reach the mysterious ruins of Puyupatamarca, or the ‘Town above the Clouds’, at about 3650m (11972ft) above sea level.
We camp for the final night close to Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young) ruins, a grandiose terraced hillside site, with panoramic views of the valley below and just a short hike from Machu Picchu. On the final day of the hike we climb the steps to the Sun Gate overlooking the peaks that surround Machu Picchu. There is no way to describe the feeling of the first views of Machu Picchu, as the mist rises off the mountains early in the morning and the famous ruin appears in front of you.
Day 10 Cusco (B) An early morning start from Wiñay Wayna takes us to the steps of Intipunku, or the ‘Sun Gate’. See Machu Picchu in all its glory and discover Machu Picchu on a 2 hour guided tour. Then, free time at site to explore, rest, meditate or simply chill out in the ruins. Climb Wayna Picchu (Young Peak not included), hike to the Moon Temple or venture to the Inca Draw Bridge! There is no shortage of things so see and do in Machu Picchu. Lunch in Aguas Calientes, soak in the thermal baths before an afternoon train to Cusco and transfer to your hotel.
Focus: Machu Picchu practical explanations and theories
Day 11 Cusco (B) One free day in Cusco is never enough. But we’ll do our best to discover Cusco’s enchanting network of narrow streets and white wash mud-brick walls, all built atop Incan stone foundations. A true amalgamation of cultures! Explore the many markets, churches, museums, plazas and first-rate restaurants, all at your fingertips while exploring the city center on foot. Or, visit nearby ruins of Sacsayhuaman and Tambomachay on horseback. More active options include river rafting, motorcycle tours and mountain biking.
Day 12 Amazon Jungle (B,L,D) Fly from high in the Andes to Puerto Maldonado, deep in the lowlands of the Amazon jungle. Travel by motorized canoe to our isolated lodge in the Tambopata Candamo Rainforest Area, which holds the world record for the most bird sightings in one area.
Listen for howler monkeys in the tropical forest canopy above and spot macaws perched high on the riverbanks. After we arrive at a small portage, we’ll hike through the jungle to our own Amazon Jungle lodge. The lodge itself combines native architectural style and materials with low-impact eco-friendly technology. Rooms are simple but comfortable, with mosquito netting for individual beds, flush toilets, showers (no hot water), and kerosene lamps for lighting (no electricity in bungalows). Local community members make up the majority the lodge staff, including multilingual Naturalist Guides. Here you have the opportunity to learn from them not only about the area’s rich flora and fauna, but also about their extensive practical uses for medicinal plants and other forest plant resources, through traditional techniques for building, fishing, and hunting.
After lunch, we’ll head out on a rainforest trail in search of macaws and other rainforest dwellers that come out in search of food in the late afternoon. Then, later that night, we’ll venture out on an Amazon night walk, probing the forest for the nocturnal creatures we normally hear but don’t see.
Day 13 Amazon Jungle (B,L,D) A pre-dawn departure will get us up and into the forest at the crack of dawn. Our local nature guide will show the way to one of the Oxbow lakes in the vicinity. This area is teeming with life – we’ll look for giant otters, capuchin monkeys, caiman, snakes, spiders and many other jungle animals on our boat trip and various hikes around the area. During our voyage you will have the chance to see bird species typical of the river or forest edge such as Black Skimmers, Pied Lapwings, Capped Herons, Jabiru Storks, Roadside The area is renowned for its diverse plant and animal populations and include over 1,300 bird species (including 32 parrot species – 10% of the world’s total), 200 mammal species including 4 species of primates, 90 frog species, 1,200 butterfly species and 10,000 species of higher plants—all protected within the reserve. Some of the more famous residents are the Harpy Eagle, the prehistoric looking Hoatzin, tapir, peccary, jaguar, ocelot and playful river otters who live in the area’s oxbow lakes. Additionally, we can see hawks and several species of kingfishers, swallows, and flycatchers.
Focus: Medicinal plants, endemic animals, indigenous tribes, hunting, deforestation, locally sponsored preservation projects.
Day 14 Lima (B) Fly to Lima for the last stop on our journey. Finish up last minute shopping and one last night in the capital.
Day 15 Departure Day Lima (B) Adios amigos! Adventures to Peru services end today. Adventures to Peru will reconfirm your outgoing flight. Transfer to the airport for your international flight out of Peru.