Join us for this fabulous insight into the classic sights of Peru. We’ll be based in the exciting city of Cusco with it’s vibrant markets, museums and squares. Our guides will share their intimate knowledge of this spectacular town, where you’ll get to discover everything from the coffee museum (and be your own barista) to exploring the colourful markets. Our trip encompasses some stunning bucket list items such as Rainbow Mountain and a full day hike on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. We also get the opportunity the following morning to explore this iconic location without the crowds.
Welcome to Cuzco. Upon arrival to the airport, you will be transferred to your hotel. Once you have checked into the hotel, the remainder of your first day will be free. In the evening, our guide will meet you and go over the details fore the coming days. Cuzco is a favorite destination of many visitors to Peru. As you wander the streets and side alleys of the city you will witness the perfect tapering Inca stonework that provided the foundations for many of Cuzco’s colonial and modern buildings. The city itself is the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city and was the home of the Inca Empire for two centuries before the Spanish built their first capital here. Today Cuzco is a fascinating combination of both cultures. Take the time to acclimatize to the city’s 3450-metre high (11,150 ft) altitude and explore the many Baroque churches and ancient temples that dot the city.
Included: Welcome Dinner
Today, you will explore the best of Cuzco. Start the adventure visiting the huge “Inca Ceremonial Center of Sacsayhuaman”, which overlooks the city of Cuzco. Its construction is amazing, with huge rocks perfectly fitted, it is said that it took over 10,000 workers 50 years to build it. Later, you continue visiting another important Inca site known as “Qenqo”. This is a place with subterranean passages and carved stone channels in a zigzag pattern. In its inner part there is a carved stone table where it is said the Incas mummified their dead. Afterwards you will do a short visit to the archaeological Inca sites of “Tambomachay” a temple dedicated to the God of Water and “PucaPucará”.
Afterwards, take a nice walking tour around the center of Cuzco. On the way you will see the Stone of Twelve Angles at the Inca Roca Palace, on Hatun Rumilloc Street. You will visit the “The Temple of Qoricancha”, considered the most important temple of the Inca Empire. According to archaeologists it housed over 1000 priests and attendants. It was built over an Inca palace dedicated to the worship of the Sun. Then, head to the heart of the city, “the Plaza de Armas”, surrounded by colonial arcades and four churches. Here, you will appreciate the façade of the beautiful “Cathedral” of Cuzco, built in the XVI. Finally, explore the San Pedro Market where you will find vegetables, meats, local cheeses (which you should certainly try), local chocolates, herbal medicines, and many local handicrafts. It is a great place to purchase some souvenirs. The market is also a place where many locals go to eat ‘mystery soups’. Some may be just chicken; however, the most popular amongst the locals are usually the more unusual ones like frog soups or soups that contains nose to tail of various animals.
The afternoon will be free to continue discovering the city on your own.
Today, you will explore “Palcoyo” known as the new mountain of colors. Depart from your hotel at 5:30am, driving for about 1 1⁄2 hours to Cusipata Town where we have the first stop to use toilets. Then continue the journey for 1 1⁄4 hours approx. until the community of Palcoyo (the starting point of the hike). On the way, enjoy an amazing view of the Andean landscapes, being able to see farm areas of potatoes, corn, alpaca farm as well as the “red river”, one of the most mesmerizing places in Peru.
Once in Palcoyo community, we will start hiking for about 45 minutes until we get to the viewpoint to appreciate three rainbow mountains (4900 meter-high), panoramic view of the Red Valley as well as the impressive Ausangate snow mountain (considered the highest mountain in Cuzco). Then, continue walking for 20 minutes forward the “Bosque de Piedras” (Stone Forest), a stunning rocky attraction that dazzle its visitors. Here you will spend 2 hours exploring this place. Go back to Combapata (1-hour hiking) to see a colonial bridge called Rumichaca built in 1604. Finish the tour at Checacupe village to appreciate three more bridges from different periods (Inca, Colonial and Republic times). Finally, return to Cuzco by vehicle, arriving to your hotel at 5:00pm approx.
Included: Breakfast & Boxed Lunch
Early in the morning (05:15am approx.), you will be transferred by private vehicle until the train station located in the town of Ollantaytambo. Once there, you will board the tourist train towards the Km 104, the starting point of the trek. At Km 104 after submitting passport control, you will start your full day trek to the site of Machu Picchu. On route, you’ll visit the Chachabamba archaeological complex (2150 meters high), to then embark upon an 8 km (5 miles) ascending trail, which after four hours takes you to the archaeological complex of Wiñaywayna (2650 meters high). This is an impressive complex made up of an agricultural center with numerous terraces, a religious sector, and an urban sector. On the way up you may enjoy magnificent views of the Urubamba River valley and the Choquesuysuy archaeological complex located on the other side of the river, and also of a beautiful waterfall located just a few minutes away from Wiñaywayna. You then continue and climb to Inti Punku, or The Sun Gate. This will take an hour of hiking along a trail of flat stones on the edges of cliffs in highland jungle. From this fabulous spot, you may contemplate the sacred citadel of Machu
Picchu. From Inti Punku you will descend to the back side of Machu Picchu and then will head straight to the main entrance to take the tourist bus towards Aguas Calientes, the little town close to Machu Picchu.
Enjoy dinner in a local restaurant.
Included: All meals
Early morning, you will be taken to the Machu Picchu ruins starting with a short bus ride up the steep, zigzagging road to the impressive Lost City of the Incas.
This is one of those genuinely magical places, and your first glimpse of these ruins in the mist is something to remember. The site is perched high in the Andes, surrounded by verdant cloud forest, with the river Urubamba running through the gorge far below. Hidden away on a ridge, Machu Picchu is invisible from below, so it is no surprise it remained a secret for so many years (until 1911).
Your ticket grants access to the site for 4 hours. Explore the upper terrace with your guide first, making sure to get that great portrait! You will then take a guided tour of the ruins, learning more about these 200 or so houses and temples. It is fascinating to be able to gaze down on the city from above and imagine how it would have looked during the height of the Inca empire. Catch the bus back into town and enjoy some spare time to have lunch on your own and a look around.
In the afternoon, take the tourist train back to Ollantaytambo and make the rest of the journey to Cuzco by private vehicle (2 hours).
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