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Inca Heartland Tour Active Itinerary

In-depth Itinerary

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 Arequipa (B) A midday flight takes us to ‘The White City. Vying with Lima as Peru’s most important city, Arequipa’s city center can be visited on foot. Free afternoon sightseeing at you leisure. Plazas, markets, and churches are all found in Arequipa’s remarkable historic center.

Day 3 Arequipa (B) This morning you will have the opportunity to enjoy a general overview of the city on a 3-hour city tour.

Begin with Yanahuara Belvedere look out plaza and the neighborhood of Carmen Alto followed by a visit to the Plaza de Armas and its Cathedral, the cloisters of La Compañia Church and the Church and Square of San Francisco. Last, but not least we visit the extraordinary Santa Catalina convent, which is built from white volcanic lava and dates from the 16th century.

The afternoon is free to explore the city. Arequipa’s vibrant atmosphere will no doubt keep you busy for the rest of the day. If you dare, see the best-preserved mummy in South America, Juanita the ‘Ice Maiden’.

Then at dusk we will seriously indulge in some of Peru’s richest spice and flavor, as Arequipa has some of the finest cuisine in the country.

Day 4 Colca Canyon El Oasis Trek (B,L,D) After an early breakfast, we will set off overland some 5 hours to reach Chivay, the capital of the province of Colca. During which we will climb through the National Reserve of Pampa de Cañahuas at approximately 3,800m. With some luck we’ll get glimpses of alpacas, llamas and vicuñas. The area is know as Ring of Fire due to the numerous volcanoes in the region, many of which can be appreciated form short distances. We’ll make out the Chilca Mountain Range while also seeing volcanoes Mismi (source of the Amazon River), Hualca Hualca, Sabancaya, Ampato, Chachani, Misti and Ubinas.

Our highest pass will be an astounding 4900m above sea level, but just for a quick panorama. Then we’ll continue down to Chivay, capital of the Colca Valley. After a break in Chivay to buy water and supplies we continue to the village of Cabanaconde where we commence our decent into the mighty canyon. Then, it’s 4 hours down to our basic accommodation with local family or camping, in the inviting oasis at the base of the canyon.

*Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
*Today’s walking distance approximately 8-10 km

Focus: Ancient indigenous agricultural techniques.

Day 5 Colca Canyon, Corporaque (B) After some time to enjoy the sub-tropical oasis we start our hike out of the gorge. Ascending approximately 1000m(3300 ft) to the village of Cabanaconde will take close to 6 hours. We then visit Tapay look out point to appreciate our accomplishment. Next is a stop at Cruz del Condor. With some luck, here you will be able to appreciate the famous Andean Condors in magical flight as they soar well above the depths of the impressive canyon. Then an optional hike takes us along the rim of the canyon, in search of local wildlife including the Andean Cara-Cara or (a local Raptor), Viscachas (Andean rabbits) and much more.

Accommodation at the fabulous the Mamayachi near the village of Corporaque, set in the Colca Valley. We’ll have the opportunity to soak in the natural hot springs, hike to the surrounding villages or simply relax in the fabulous surroundings of the Canyon.

In many ways Colca Canyon was left untouched, even after the Spanish Conquest. Its isolation and distance from Arequipa allowed local indigenous customs and traditions in Colca Canyon to survive in peace more so than in other parts of Peru.

*Included: Breakfast
*Today’s walking distance approximately 8-10 km

Day 6 Maca / Yanque / Puno (B) Explore the local communities of Maca and Yanque, two typical villages seemingly lost in time. We’ll stop in Chivay to buy water and supplies. Our crossing through the Ring of Fire continues, stopping to enjoy a lunch pick-nick and wine at 4,000 meters above sea level. Inhale the thin, clean air of the Andes in spectacular settings that reinvigorate your being. This is why you are here!!! With some luck we’ll get glimpses of the Viscacha (Andean Rabbit) and the Andean Flamenco.

Puno is what many Peruvians consider both a 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 7 Quechua Home Stay Amantani Island, Lake Titicaca (B,L,D) Today we set off  for an overnight excursion on Lake Titicaca, considered by many as the cradle of Peruvian civilization. From Puno we’ll travel 20 minutes to a small community near the Capachica peninsula. Here, we receive a short water safety course before boarding our sea kayaks for an unforgettable paddling journey across the highest navigable lake in the world. Small communities and herds of livestock dot the landscape as we draw near our destination, Amantani Island.

Our first destination is a cultural treasure chest. Taquile is an island famous for its textiles, weavings and simplistic lifestyle. Here there are no roads, only paths.  We’ll spend 2 hours hiking to the summit of Taquile Island before enjoying lunch overlooking the Lake Titicaca. The island culture offers a glimpse into their ancient traditions and customs

After lunch we head back to the boat and make the 1-hour trip by motor boat to Amantani. Take a step back in time as we arrive to Amantani(Qechua roots).

Arriving to Amantani we met up with our family for the night, stepping back in time as they take us into their simple traditional mud brick homes. The island culture offers a glimpse into their ancient traditions and customs and this rural homestay will open your eyes to the true beauty of this place and the people that have inhabited the lake for thousands of years.

This evening we’ll summit the island (4150m / 13,200 ft) for sunset on a 1½ hour trek. Later, take part in a local fiesta with music, dance and plenty of atmosphere.

The locals are very friendly and produce souvenirs representing life on the Lake. You can support them by buying a souvenir if you choose.

Day 8 Taquile/Puno (B) We’ll start with an early wake up call to enjoy a spectacular sunrise over Lake Titicaca. Have breakfast with your family before saying ‘adios’ and boarding our boat to our first destination, the neighboring island of Taquile.s

Thought to a cultural treasure chest by locals, Taquile is an island famous for its textiles, weaving and simplistic lifestyle. Here there are no roads, only paths. No dogs, just sheep and cows.  We’ll spend 1.5 hours hiking to the summit of Taquile Island before enjoying a detailed explanation of Taquile’s culture, history and tradition, followed by lunch overlooking  Lake Titicaca. Our lunch will include local favorites, trout or kingfish. Then head back to Puno with a visit to the floating islands of the Uros Community (Aymara roots).

*Note: 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 generation will object

Day 9 Cusco (B) After breakfast you’ll be collected from the hotel and private transfer to the Puno bus terminal. As your overland journey continues through the high plateau, enjoy one of the most beautiful journeys on earth, and without a doubt in Peru.  We’ll cover 400km, go over mountain passes at 4,334m (14,222ft) above sea level, travel through some of our favorite local indigenous villages and Approximate arrival in Cusco is 3:00pm. Have the afternoon and evening free to spend at your leisure.

Day 10 Sacred Valley of the Incas, Ollantaytambo (B) One of the most amazing days of the tour takes us on a spectacular rafting excursion 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.

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 trek ahead.

Day 11 Lares Valley Trek to Machu Picchu Calca / Totora Canyon- Lares hot springs / Huacahuasi (B,L,D) Departure from Ollantaytambo at 07:00 am. We journey back through the Sacred Valley of the Incas to Calca, then head north toward The Lares Valley. From here you’ll be treated to beautiful views of the famous Sacred Valley of the Incas and the ornamental terraces of Pisac. After passing Machacancha hot springs we will start an easy hike for 2-3 hours through an old Inca road of Totora Canyon, which is ideal for acclimatization to the altitude. Stunning views of the snow capped Vilcanota mountain range. Your guide points out an abundance of local flora and Andean medicinal plants along the trail such as Molle, Retama, Muña, Marku, Kuñuco etc. Then our private transport will take you to Lares Hot Springs to relax and enjoy lunch. After lunch we will walk for 3 more hours to Huacahuasi (3,700m), where we will make our first camp. Warm clothes are a must, as below zero temperatures are not uncommon.

*Included: Lunch, Dinner + Camping facilities
*Today’s walking distance approximately 8 km

Day 12 Huacahuasi / Ipsaychocha Pass 4,400m / Ipsaycocha Lake (B,L,D) Breakfast around 6:00am as we start walking around 7:00am. We will stop for a short visit of Huacahuasi community, where your local guide will give you some insight into local Andean background. Learn about ancient customs and traditions, ancestral farming secrets, food preservation and most of all local weaving techniques. If you’ve carried gifts or school supplies for the children now is the time.

We continue will climbing around Sondor Mountain and over the first pass (4440m) and after a short decent we have lunch

We resume our hike upstream 3-4 hours until we make Ibsaycocha pass the second pass of the trip at 4300m. From here the views are again fabulous and for the first time we have a clear view of mount Veronica standing at 5682m. We then begin the descent to Ipsaycocha Lake to make camp.

*Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner + Camping facilities.
*Today’s walking distance approximately 11 km

Day 13 Patacancha / Willoq / Ollantaytambo / Aguas Calientes (B,L,D) Today you’ll have ample opportunities for some spectacular photos. The gentle downhill path is covered in Andean flora, and animals such as llamas and alpacas are fairly commonplace. If we’re lucky, we might even catch a glimpse of Andean geese, Andean cara caras (Andean Raptor) or the famous Andean Condor. We will feel welcomed by the warm Quechua people, whose homeland we have the rare opportunity to see firsthand.

After approximately 4 hours hiking we’ll arrive to the village of Willoq where lunch will be waiting. After lunch, our private van will take us to Ollantaytambo to board the local tourist train for a picturesque journey to Aguas Calientes (2 hours). We check into our hostel for the night, get a hot shower and a real bed! The willing can enjoy the local hot springs and shopping before dinner.

* Included: Breakfast, Lunch, 1 night hotel accommodation
*Today’s walking distance approximately 8 km

Day 14 Aguas Calientes / Machupicchu / Cusco (B) Up before dawn for breakfast, then complete your journey on a 1-hour walk, or catch the bus 25 minutes up to the Citadel of Machu Picchu. Join our local guide for a detailed interpretation of the site without the pressure of day-trippers that arrive at midday. Then take advantage, as you’ll have plenty of free time for exploring further. Optionally, climb Wayna Picchu peak, providing the chance to see Machu Picchu and its surroundings from a more exclusive angle. Or hike to the Temple of the Moon, Inca Bridge or the Sun Gate. Others may choose to meditate, write in their journal or simply take it all in. Return to Aguas Calientes generally around 1:00pm for lunch and at 4:00pm we catch our return train to Cusco arriving approximately 9:00pm

*Train departure times quoted here are not guaranteed and may vary according to season and availability.
*Included: Breakfast, Entrances, guided tour & round trip bus to Machu Picchu,
*Today’s walking distance approximately 5 km

Focus: Machu Picchu practical explanations and theories

Day 15 Cusco (B) Today is a free day in the Incan Imperial Capital. We recommend a stop by the Incan Archaeological Museum located just around the corner from your hotel. Then, time permitting, visit the recently opened ‘Casa Concha’, which houses hundreds of pieces removed from Machu Picchu by Hiram Bingham in 1912 and recently returned in 2011 (Centennial Anniversary of Machu Picchu’s scientific discovery) to Peru by Yale University in the United States.

Also worth a visit is the colorful local market at San Pedro and the bohemian neighborhood of San Blas, full of artists, craftsmen and street vendors, both only minutes from the hotel. Or, visit nearby ruins of Sacsayhuaman and Tambomachay on horseback. More active options include river rafting, motorcycle tours and mountain biking.

Day 16 Depart Day Lima (B) Adventures to Peru services end today after a quick flight back to Lima and your ongoing international connection. We can arrange a later flight date out of Cusco or additional post tour accommodation in Lima or Cusco upon client request. Contact Us if additional planning is necessary.

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