Cultural Highlights of Peru

tours / Adventure

Highlights

  • Sacred Valley and the village of Ollantaytambo
  • Detailed exploration of Cusco the former capital of the vast Inca Empire
  • Rail journey to Machu Picchu
  • 2 visits to Machu Picchu
  • Lake Titicaca and floating Uros Islands

Tour description provided by World Expeditions

This extraordinary touring adventure encompasses the highlights of Peru's diverse and rich cultural past. We commence in the current capital of Lima and explore the Spanish colonial city before taking a spectacular flight across the Andes to Cusco, the former capital of the vast Inca empire. From here we make forays into the Sacred Valley of the Incas, the unique ruins of Ollantaytambo and the famous site of Machu Picchu. We then cross the vast high altitude plains on a classic railway journey aboard the Orient Express to the shores of Lake Titicaca, where we visit the reed islands of the intriguing Uros Indians. Our trip concludes on arrival back into Lima.

What's included

  • 10 breakfasts
  • Airport transfer on day 1 and day 11
  • Expert bilingual guide
  • Medical kit
  • Comfortable well located hotels
  • Private air conditioned transportation
  • Sightseeing and site entrance fees as listed (including machu picchu np entrance fee us$50)

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Lima
You will be met at the airport and transferred to the group hotel where you are free to rest or just wander around Miraflores, the area of Lima where our hotel is located. Some of Lima's best galleries, shops and restaurants are found in this area. Founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1535, Lima is the oldest capital in South America, with a superb combination of Spanish Colonial and 19th century European architecture.
Day 2 Flight across the Andes to Cusco.
Early morning wake-up call for spectacular 55-minute flight across the Andes to Cusco set at (3,400m) 11,200'. You'll be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel for an initial briefing and then a few hours of rest, essential to initiate successful acclimatisation. In the evening you'll have a longer briefing to discuss aspects of the itinerary.
Day 3 Cusco & Chincero Market
After breakfast we drive for one hour to the Sunday Market at the town of Chinchero 3750m (12,300ft). Once the agricultural centre of the empire and still renowned for its traditional weavings.
Day 4 To the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
The following morning we drive (2 hours) from Cusco into the Sacred Valley of the Incas for lunch. During our time in the valley we visit some of the enthralling citadels, fortresses and temple ruins, including the site at Ollantaytambo. The valley follows the course of the famous Urubamba River, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon. We'll also be able to visit some of the small markets in the valley so you’ll have the opportunity to do some ‘tourist shopping’, selecting from a variety of expertly made craft work, including alpaca sweaters and hats, ceramics, weavings and traditional Andean instruments. The evening is spent at our hotel in the heart of the valley.
Day 5 To Machu Picchu
From our hotel, we drive to the railway station at Ollantaytambo where we take an early morning train to Machu Picchu. Today we start early to thoroughly explore these remarkable and truly enigmatic ruins. After a professionally led tour of the site we’re free to wander around the rest of the amazing sights. We then take a late afternoon bus down to Aguas Calientes, where we spend the night.
Day 6 At Machu Picchu and return to Cusco
Without a doubt the best time to view Machu Picchu is at dawn before the crowds arrive on the train. We drive up to the ruins in time for the opening and savour the views and the atmosphere as the light changes as the sun rises. We have the rest of the morning to explore the ruins at our own pace and perhaps walk up the famous Inca Trail to the ‘Gateway of The Sun’ (Inti Punku) for the best view of Machu Picchu. During the afternoon we descend from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes railway station, and embark on the afternoon train which slowly winds its way through the Andean countryside to Ollantaytambo where we transfer to our vehicle for the drive back to our hotel in Cusco.
Day 7 After breakfast we take a tour of the city and nearby ruins.
Every alleyway we enter or corner we turn brings another surprise or enigma in the form of the superbly constructed Inca walls or the more architecturally extravagant colonial churches and palaces. The city, once capital of the extensive Inca Empire, has seen many changes since Francisco Pizarro's men took the city with such apparent ease in November 1533. We also take a short drive to visit the monolithic walls of Sacsayhuaman, spectacularly set above the city. In the afternoon you may have time to explore some of the central parts of the city and a chance to look at some of the great varieties of local craft work on sale in open air stalls and shop.
Day 8 In Cusco
Today is a free to explore Cusco or enjoy a leisurely day reading or writing postcards in many of the cafes that surround Plaza de Armas.
Day 9 Bus from Cusco to Puno
We depart early in the morning for the 8 to 10 hour bus journey to Puno set on the shores of Lake Titicaca at 12,530' (3,820m). The journey by first class tourist bus crosses the dramatic Altiplano via altitudes of up to 4300m. The journey is bleak and barren, and out of nowhere local Indians appear.
Day 10 Visit Lake Titicaca - Uros Islands
Puno is a typical high Andean town, set on the shores of the lake and located on the great altiplano that stretches all the way to La Paz. There will be an opportunity to cruise Lake Titicaca – the highest navigable lake in the world – and visit some of the unique floating ‘tortora’ reed islands of the Uros Indians. We’ll also visit the impressively built pre-Inca burial towers or ‘chulpas’ at Sillustani near Lake Umayo, an hour’s drive from Puno.
Day 11 Drive to Juliaca and fly to Lima
Morning drive to Juliaca airport and flight to Lima. Trip concludes.