CLASSIC INCA TRAIL AND THE BEST OF PERU (17D/16N)
Machu Picchu, the Wonder of the World, awaits you! On this tour, you’ll get there via the Inca Trail, plus you’ll also visit Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. The inhabitants of the islands here will be delighted to share their stories and culture with you.
DAY 1 LIMA
You’ll arrive at the international airport in Lima (the majority of flights arrive at night between 8pm and 2am). Our team will be waiting with a private vehicle to take you to the hotel of your choice. Depending on your itinerary, you’ll visit some of the most important museums in the city. (Optional)
DAY 2 LIMA – ICA
Early in the morning, we depart for Ica, an approximately 4 hour trip. You’ll have the rest of the day to relax and explore this enchanting paradise located between sand dunes and the water of the Pacific Ocean.
DAY 3 ICA – NAZCA – PARACAS
The Nazca Lines can only be truly appreciated from the air. We will observe these awe-inspiring zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figures drawn in the dark, red earth from a private airplane. Afterwards, we’ll have lunch in one of the best restaurants in the area, where you can sample the best traditional Peruvian food. Later, we’ll take you to your hotel in Paracas where you’ll spend the night.
DAY 4 PARACAS – LIMA
Today we’ll visit the Paracas National Reserve, a slice of land and ocean protected by the Peruvian state and home to many plants and animals. We’ll travel by boat to the Ballestas Islands, home to many animals such as the Humboldt Penguin, sea lions, and many amazing birds and species of fish. After your visit, we’ll return you to Lima to take your flight back home.
DAY 5 LIMA – PUERTO MALDONADO – JUNGLE LODGE SANDOVAL POSADAS
Early in the morning, we’ll take you to the Lima airport to catch your flight to the city of Puerto Maldonado. There, your guide will join you and accompany you to the city’s reception center before heading to the port. From there, we’ll travel 1.5 hours on the Tambopata river to reach the lodge.
You’ll be greeted by the lodge staff, who will show you around and explain the program for your two-day stay. After some relaxation time, we’ll begin the first excursion to the canopy tower and walkway system to explore the forest 30m above ground. This is an excellent place to observe the wildlife next to the Tambopata river.
After this short trip, we’ll return to the lodge to enjoy a delicious dinner and all the services there.
DAY 6 JUNGLE LODGE
After breakfast, we’ll walk down to the pier and take a 20 minute boat ride to the zone known as “Tres Chimbadas.” We’ll continue observing jungle wildlife here and perhaps even go fishing. After lunch, we’ll visit a botanical garden where an indigenous shaman will reveal the secrets of the local plants to us and explain their traditional uses.
In the afternoon, we’ll return to the lodge to eat dinner and take a night time jungle tour. This is the best time to observe the local wildlife.
DAY 7 PUERTO MALDONADO – CUSCO
After breakfasting in the lodge, we’ll take the river back to Puerto Maldonado and take our return flight to Cusco, the former capital of the Inca Empire. Upon your arrival, the Land of the Inkas team will be waiting to greet you. During the trip to the center in a private vehicle, the guide will give a brief introductory talk about the city. You’ll have the rest of the day free to acclimatize, relax and enjoy the exceptional atmosphere in Cusco, home to the some of the most amazing history and culture in South America.
You’ll have the afternoon free to rest and adapt to the altitude.
DAY 8 CUSCO
On the third day, we’ll visit the most important tourist sites in the city and its surroundings. This is an opportunity to try new things and to learn about the history of Cusco and the daily life of its people. Our destinations today include churches, museums and archeological sites. In the afternoon, we’ll visit the fortress of Saqsaywaman and the complexes of Qenqo, Pucapucara and Tambomachay. All of these were highly important sites in the Inca religion and are located close to Cusco. After our explorations, we’ll return you to your hotel to spend the night.
DAY 9 CUSCO – SACRED VALLEY
We’ll continue our excursion by heading out to the Sacred Valley, which awaits us with its warmer climate. The town of Pisac is our first stop. All along the road out to the ruins there, you can see remains of Inca agricultural activity. You’ll take in the sweeping panoramic views of the Andean mountains and visit the towns of Calca and Urubamba. After lunch, our journey continues towards Ollantaytambo, whose layout still shows signs of Inca planning, with its cobbled streets and Inca fort. We will spend the night in a hotel here.
DAY 10 SACRED VALLEY – HUAYLLABAMBA (CAMP)
We’ll get up early today and head for Km 82 in bus, the start of our Inca Trail adventure. We’ll meet our porters here for the first time, our companions for the entire trip. We’ll cross the Urubamba River over a hanging bridge and then start along the rugged trail. We’ll be able to see the Vilcanota range and the snowcapped Mt. Veronica. We’ll then follow the Cusichaca (“Bridge of Joy”) River along a narrow path to the village of Huayllabamba, our campsite for the night.
DAY 11 HUAYLLABAMBA – PACAYMAYO (CAMP)
We’ll get an early start today and continue along a narrow gorge. We’ll walk through a leafy forest full of quinua plants, an edible species high in nutrients and protein which is revolutionizing cooking across the world. From here, the path ascends to wide plains and continues up to the high point of the trail known as “Dead Woman’s Pass” (“Warmiwañuska” in Quechua). After this steep climb, we’ll rest and catch our breath for a moment, then descend to Pacaymayo to camp for the night.
DAY 12 PACAYMAYO – PHUYUPATAMARCA (CAMP)
This part of the Inca Trail has the majority of the ruins. We’ll visit the ruins of Runkuracay, then climb up to the second highest point on the trail before taking a much-deserved break in the community of Sayacmarca. We’ll then walk a little farther to get to our campsite at Phuyupatamarca.
DAY 13 PHUYUPATAMARCA – MACHU PICCHU
We’ll leave Phuyupatamarca for the ruins of Wiñay Wayna and pass by a section of cloud forest before arriving at the Sun Gate (“Intipunku”). This famous landmark is a welcome sight for all weary adventurers, for it means that you have nearly arrived at your destination of Machu Picchu. After visiting the ruins, we’ll bus down to the nearby town of Aguas Calientes where you can soak your tired bones and muscles in the hot springs there before retiring to your hotel.
DAY 14 MACHU PICCHU – CUSCO
We’ll return to Machu Picchu early today to enjoy the ruins in all their splendor. You can choose to summit either Machu Picchu Mountain (meaning “Old Mountain” in English) or Huayna Picchu (“Young Mountain”). If the idea of climbing one more mountain doesn’t appeal to you, you can choose to descend to the Moon Temple. In the afternoon, we’ll catch the train back to Ollantaytambo and then continue on in a private car to the textile market in Chinchero. At the market, you’ll be shown the process of making alpaca wool textiles and have the opportunity to buy some before we return to the hotel in Cusco.
DAY 15 CUSCO – PUNO
A private bus will pick you up from your hotel. The itinerary and travel times for your journey to Puno depend on which option you select: bus, train or plane.
- By bus: the best way to enjoy the splendid views and tourist attractions along the way. You’ll see the fertile valleys of the Vilcanota River and La Raya (the high pass between the departments of Cusco and Puno), plus the high Andean plains common to this part of Peru. You’ll have time to visit the colonial church in Andahuaylillas with its famous works of art, the temple of the creator god Viracocha at Racchi, and the artisan town of Pucara.
- By train: the Andean Explorer train will whisk you from Cusco to the city of Puno. You’ll see many of the same sights as you would on the bus, including the high Andean plain of the Vilcanota Plateau, but without the various stops.
- By plane: you’ll arrive at the Juliaca airport and be taken by bus to your hotel in Puno, a mere 45 minutes across the plains of Juliaca.
DAY 16 LAKE TITICACA
In the morning, your boat departs from the shore of Lake Titicaca. A 25 minute boat ride will bring you to the floating Uros Islands. These are stable, man-made islands constructed from a local reed known as “totora” which has been used for centuries by the people here to make houses and boats.
After spending 2.5 hours visiting different islands, we’ll arrive at Taquile Island for a visit to the native community there. We’ll have time to learn about the local customs and to admire the excellent textiles produced by their master weavers.
In the afternoon, we’ll return to Puno and your hotel.
DAY 17 PUNO – SILLUSTANI – JULIACA – LIMA
We’ll leave Puno to visit the Sillustani ruins. This archeological site is composed of 90 conical towers called “chullpas,” made of large stone blocks carved from volcanic rock. They were built to house the remains of the nobility and elites, including priests and rulers, whose bodies were worshipped afterwards in a “cult of the dead.” Our visit to the Puno area ends here, and we’ll drive you to the Juliaca airport to fly to Lima and onwards back home.
*In case you want to visit any additional sites, you can add extensions on to your original package. If you choose an extension, we’ll organize the connection to your next destination. Someone from the Land of the Inkas team will accompany you to ensure that you make your connection and that everything goes smoothly.
- A bilingual guide for all the tours described in the itinerary.
- All flights within Peru.
- All ground transportation during the trip.
- The entrance costs for all the tours/sites mentioned.
- All hotels (Double beds, with continental breakfast)
- All the meals mentioned. (The guide will carry a first aid kit)
- An additional room can be obtained at the client’s request.
- Transportation (e.g. international flights) to and from Peru.
- Lunch and dinner in cities (aside from those specifically mentioned)
- Hiking boots and personal equipment.
- Personal costs (tips and gratuities, alcoholic beverages, travel/medical insurance, medical costs, laundromat charges, airport taxes, etc.)
- Av. La Cultura N° 1318 Wanchaq, Cusco.
- +51 84 233451 (Cusco)
- +51 1 2241816 (Lima)
Our hours are in Peruvian time (GTM -5)