Ultimate Inca Trail
Day 1 - Arrive in Lima (No Meal)
Lima may be the political capital of Peru, but when it comes to gastronomy, it is one of the capitals of the world! Food is certainly going to be a theme during your stay in Lima that's for sure. On arrival in this culinary paradise, your private guide will be waiting at the airport to transfer you to the hotel for check-in.
Unearth the city's treasure trove of fantastic restaurants and bars at your leisure. Restaurants Astrid & Gaston or Central are just two of many in the city which regularly rank among the top 100 in the world. Lima has some of the best eateries and food markets in Latin America which you can explore while also taking in the history behind the streets which house them.
Overnight in Lima
Day 2 - Explore the City of Kings & Chocolate Workshop (B)
Get on Lima's good side, and pay particular attention to its three historical periods: Pre-Hispanic, Colonial and Contemporary in private service. Starting in modern Lima, you will visit the modern suburbs of San Isidro and Miraflores, you will see the Financial Center, the San Isidro Golf Course and the Olive Grove Park. Also, you will go by the Huaca Pucllana, a pre-Inca pyramid-shaped temple that has miraculously survived the expansion of modern civilization. Then, you will enjoy a nice view of the Pacific Ocean, driving down the Miraflores coastline, along a cliff-top road overlooking the ocean. The tour then shifts to Colonial Lima to visit the city's recently beautifully restored historical center, designated by Unesco as Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 1991. Take in the Plaza Mayor, the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, the Archbishops Palace, the City Hall, and the Desamparados Train Station. Then, you will visit the San Francisco Monastery and its famous underground crypts are known as the Catacombs, and at the end of the tour, you will be dropped off at your hotel. Free time to have lunch.
If you are a chocolate lover this is the perfect group excursion for you. You shall make your way to the ChocoMuseo in Miraflores, where on a 2-hour workshop you will learn how to make your own chocolate. This is a hands-on activity, starting from the cocoa tree to the finished product passing by every step of the whole chocolate-making process. On top of being a delicious treat, chocolate has a fascinating story and is surrounded by infinite surprising facts. Included: Group excursion with English speaking chef, Ingredients and Chocolate/cacao tasting.
Overnight in Lima.
Day 3 - Arrival in Paracas (B)
Leaving Lima behind, you will continue your journey by public bus to Paracas, the drive is approximately 4 hours long. Depending on the time of day, traffic, and time of your departure, you'll be met by your private transfer vehicle with Spanish speaking driver/assistance who will make sure to get you to bus terminal 1 hour prior with plenty of time for check-in and boarding. Upon arrival, you will be taken by private transfer to your hotel, with Spanish speaking driver/assistance. The bus ticket is included in this connection as 1st Class partial bed service, if available. Services of this class offer better seating comfort, equipped with rows of individual seats, soft cushioning, arm and footrests, reclining backrests, and support for your legs when the seat is in a reclined position.
After settling in at your accommodation in Paracas, the rest of the afternoon and evening is free to spend at your leisure. The town of Paracas is relatively compact so finding your way around will be no trouble at all. Stop off at the small Paracas History Museum which features interesting artifacts from the Inca and pre-Inca civilizations. We highly recommend watching the sunset casting oranges and reds across the Paracas Bay before sitting down to enjoy the lively restaurants serving up some of the best seafood in Peru on Paracas' waterfront. The surrounding region is known for producing the best Pisco in Peru. As the national drink, make a toast to your time in Paracas with a Pisco Sour...be warned, although they are sweet and smooth they pack quite a punch, so drink them with caution!
Overnight in Paracas.
Day 4 - Island wildlife (B)
Early today, you will take a small group boat ride to the famous Ballestas Islands. This is one of Peru's most diverse areas of wildlife where you will be surrounded by sea lions, Humboldt penguins and a wide variety of migratory birds. The islands are off-limits to visitors in order to protect the wildlife that lives there and their habitats. You'll take a boat ride around the islands approaching very close to the shore from where you'll have great views of a wide range of wildlife, including pelicans, penguins, cormorants and sea lions. While traveling to the Ballestas Islands, make sure to marvel at the Candelabra; a mysterious and huge geoglyph that stands watch above the Ica coastline. Arriving back on dry land, you will be accompanied back to your hotel. Private transfer towards the bus station to take a public bus towards Nasca. Arrival and transfer to your hotel.
Overnight in Nazca.
Day 5 - The Mysterious Nazca to Arequipa (B)
Morning at leisure to discover Nasca by your own.
Private transfer to the bus station in order to take a public bus towards Arequipa, late arrival and private transfer to your hotel.
Overnight in Arequipa.
Day 6 - Day at leisure (B)
Day at leisure to discover Arequipa by your own.
Overnight in Arequipa.
Day 7 - Into the Colca Canyon (B)
After an early breakfast in Arequipa, today involves traveling almost 100 miles where your journey will take you up a further 6562 ft. above sea level. As you leave Arequipa in group service, it won't be long before you get an idea of the range of landscapes ahead of you. The huge El Misti Volcano, flanked by the third largest volcano, the Chachani Volcano and the Pichu Pichu Volcano is quite the leaving party as you bid farewell to the White City.
The beginning of the journey to the Colca Canyon is dotted with small traditional villages where you can see the brightly colored clothing typical of this region. The road then keeps going up and up and up some more! You'll stop for a short break at a traditional Andean community where we recommend that you drink some mate de coca (tea made with coca leaves) that helps to fight the symptoms of altitude sickness. Entering the altiplano, you will be treated to views of serene lakes with migrant birds and llamas, alpacas, guanacos and vicuñas wandering through the Peruvian Andes. After this amazing trip, you will arrive in the friendly town of Chivay where you can have lunch, buy some snacks and drinks and walk around a bit before going on to the hotel. Due to the altitude of Chivay at almost 12,000ft. above sea level, it's important that you drink a lot of water and take it easy. Luckily for you, the beautiful scenery and fresh air make just sitting on a rock and admiring your surroundings an enjoyable activity in itself. You'll soon arrive at your accommodation where the rest of the afternoon and evening are free to spend at your leisure.
Overnight in Colca Canyon.
Day 8 - Colca Canyon & on to Puno (B)
Leaving early in the morning, you will head to the famous El Mirador (the Lookout) at Cruz del Condor. Situated high on a cliff at the deepest point of the canyon, which in itself is cavernous and is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the United States, the Cruz del Condor offers fantastic views of both the canyon and the immense Andean Condors flying over the abyss below. With the largest wingspan of any land bird as well as being one of the world´s longest living birds, the Inca's believed the Andean Condors to be immortal. The Condors are generally at their most active in the morning, so the earlier you get there, the more likely you are to see them and have this magical moment to yourself with fewer people around.
It is the time to hit the road again as you make your way to the town of Puno at Lake Titicaca. On the way, you will stop off at the traditional village of Pinchollo and the Andean community of Maca where you will be able to explore some of the local handicrafts and soak up some more valley views. You will then continue along the winding roads before reaching the small village of Yanque which has one of the most beautiful churches in all of the Colca Valley.
Your journey to Puno will take you right across the endless highland plains where you will be treated to stunning views of Peru's diverse landscape. Upon arrival to Puno, the rest of the evening is free to spend at your leisure and you can go to sleep dreaming about what lies ahead in the next part of your Peruvian adventure.
Overnight in Puno.
Day 9 - Day at leisure (B)
Day at leisure to discover Puno by your own.
Overnight in Puno.
Day 10 - Arrival to Cusco (B)
Private transfer from your hotel to the bus station. Leaving Puno and Lake Titicaca behind, you'll start your journey by a comfortable touristic bus to Cusco. The drive is approximately 10.5 hours long and you'll stop off along the route at some of the most beautiful and authentic locations. Stopping at the once great pre-Hispanic city of Pukara, characterized by its huge pyramids, you'll visit the litic Museum where several artifacts of this period can be admired. The village is also known for its traditional ceramics known as Torito de Pukara. Following your tour of Pukara which will last around 35 minutes, you'll board the touristic bus and head towards your next stop at La Raya. At 14,222ft (4,335m) above sea level, this marks the highest point of the route and is here where the Vilcanota River otherwise known as, the Sacred River of the Inca is born and flows down through the mountains before joining the Amazon River. The tour lasts around 10 minutes before continuing your journey to the fascinating archaeological complex of Raqchi. Stare in amazement at the monumental size of Raqchi and its temple, which has walls reaching up to 49ft (15m) and is unique in the Inca Empire. The tour of Raqchi lasts for around 40 minutes and then you'll continue to the last stop before arriving at Cusco, Andahuaylillas. This charming 16th Century village has a beautiful Main Square with the Church of San Pedro de Andahuaylillas; the pride of the town and its people. It is one of the most beautiful Baroque churches built under Spanish influence in the Americas and is often referred to as the Sistine Chapel of the Americas. Your tour of Andahuaylillas will last for about 25 minutes before the touristic bus will take you to the final destination of the Capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco. Arrival and private transfer to your hotel.
Overnight in Cusco.
Day 11 - Day at leisure (B)
Day at leisure to discover Cusco by your own.
Overnight in Cusco.
Day 12 - The Sacred Valley of the Inca (B)
After being picked up from your hotel, you will head to the northwest for Moray, enjoying the Andean landscape and observing daily life in the fields. You will have a short stop at Qorimarca for a view of the Eastern chain of Andes. Your guide will explain the geology of this area and cultural aspects related to agriculture crafts, health, education, and local traditions. You will also have the opportunity to enjoy the landscape of the Sacred Valley from the Machu Qolqa viewpoint. Afterward, you will visit the famous circular terraces of Moray. The layered terraces are carved into an immense earthen bowl, with each layer having its own microclimate, according to depth. Some theorize that the Incas used these terraces as a laboratory to determine optimal conditions for growing crops. Then, you will head to the town of Maras. You will visit the main street of this colonial town to observe the lintels of the doors of street adorned with Baroque motifs and basically the coats of arms of families of that time. The tour continues at the Maras salt flats, that perch on the edge of an overhanging cliff and command spectacular views of the Andes and the Urubamba River below, giving you excellent opportunities for some stunning photos. The extraordinary salt rocks that may be filled with water depending on the season you visit, starkly contrast with the vibrant green background. Afterward, you will make a stop for lunch and in the afternoon you will visit the Inca town of Ollantaytambo, which has original Inca houses, streets and the fortress towering above the village. And Maras, where you will find the 'Salineras', a wonder of hydraulic engineering and a must for photographers. The saltpans are set on overhanging cliffs and command spectacular views of the Andean mountains and the Urubamba River below. Hidden behind several layers of lush green mountains, these snow-white salt pans will stun you with their beauty, as they reflect the sun like white gold. At the end of the tour, you will be dropped off at your hotel.
Overnight in Sacred Valley.
Day 13 -Vistadome Train to Machu Picchu (B)
After breakfast, you will walk down to Ollantaytambo train station, where you will be taking the Expedition train towards the town of Aguas Calientes. The citadel of Machu Picchu is by far the most important tourist attraction in the Sacred Valley. Discovered in 1911 by the American explorer Hiram Bingham, this stronghold, overlooking the deep canyon of the Urubamba River, is considered to be one of the most extraordinary examples of landscape architecture in the world. In ancient times, when the Inca was considered to be a descendant of a god, this fortress was considered his palace above the clouds, where only the chosen ones could live. Every trip to Peru should include this destination and World Wonder. At Aguas Calientes, you'll board a bus for a 20-minute ride to the sanctuary of Machu Picchu, where you'll have a guided tour to explore this magnificent sample of Inca architectural perfection. The guided tour takes you to the citadel's main square, the Circular Tower, the Sacred Solar Clock, the royal rooms, the Temple of the Three Windows and the cemeteries. After the tour, you'll have some free time to walk around the citadel before taking the bus back down to Aguas Calientes. In the afternoon you will take your Expedition train back to Poroy station. Private transfer towards your hotel in Cusco
Overnight in Cusco.
Day 14 - Leaving Cusco (B)
Private transfer towards the airport to take a flight back home.
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