Machu Picchu Discovery (Lima, Cusco, Aguas Calientes)
Journey back to the time of the Inca with a visit to the iconic ruins of Machu Picchu. High in the Andes, during this trip to Peru you’ll feel the indisputable energy of Machu Picchu’s stone temples, tombs, homes, ceremonial baths and plazas. Spiritual seekers often come here to perform rituals, and visitors from around the globe come to experience this uniquely sacred place.
Evidence of ancient civilizations and the once glorious Incan Empire remains in the archaeological sites throughout Peru. Other remarkable sites include Ollantaytambo, Moray and the ruins at Pisac in Peru’s Sacred Valley.
The majestic Andean sierra is defined by tall peaks, high plateaus and deep gorges and valleys. Several of the world’s highest peaks are found in this region, as well as Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake with fascinating sites such as Taquille and the Uros floating islands.
The mysterious Nazca lines in the deserts of southern Peru are shallow designs made in the ground by the Nazca culture between 400 and 650. Many depict animals like fish, llamas, monkeys and birds that are best viewed by air.
ROUTE OF THE INCA: PERU TO BOLIVIA
11 Days/10 Nights Departs from Lima
Day 1 Arrive Lima: Begin your journey in Lima, Peru’s coastal capital city founded by the Spaniard Pizarro in 1535. Lima, with its historic buildings and museums, offers visitors an introduction to the colonial history of Peru. Airport greeting and transfer to Miraflores (suburb of Lima) to your selected hotel. (Accommodations, Lima)
Day 2 Lima: After breakfast, you will be picked up for a half-day city tour of Lima. The three-hour sightseeing tour offers the best of modern and colonial Lima in this trip Peru. It includes visits to the Government Palace, The Plaza Mayor, City Hall, and the 17th century San Francisco Monastery, followed by a drive through the modern suburb of San Isidro, with a stop at the pre-Inca pyramid of Huaca Huallamarca. Afternoon at leisure to explore, or arrange an optional tour. (Breakfast, Accommodations, Lima)
Day 3 Sacred Valley: Transfer to the airport for an early morning flight (departure from Lima will be between 6:00 – 7:30 am; the flight time is 75 minutes) to the ancient imperial capital of Cuzco. Situated at an altitude of 11,200 ft., Cuzco reflects both the Incan and Spanish cultures. Airport greeting and transfer by minivan to your hotel in the Sacred Valley. Experience an unforgettable view as you cross over the mountain from Cuzco and drop down into the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The road follows the meandering Urubamba River and passes through rich agricultural lands and picturesque villages. Enroute you will have a private excursion to Pisac Market and the Incan ruins of Ollantaytambo, including lunch. Late afternoon arrival at your selected hotel. Overnight. (Breakfast, Lima; Lunch, Ollantaytambo; Accommodations, Sacred Valley)
Day 4 Arrive Machu Picchu: After breakfast, transfer to the Ollantaytambo Train Station to board the Vistadome trainto the village of Aguas Calientes in the valley below Machu Picchu. There you will board a bus that will take you up the switchback road to the legendary “Lost City of the Incas”. Enjoy a guided tour of the Ruins, followed by lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge. Rest of afternoon at leisure to explore the ruins, before returning by bus to Aguas Calientes. (Breakfast, Sacred Valley; Lunch, Accommodations, Machu Picchu)
Day 5 Machu Picchu: Morning at leisure to return to Machu Picchu. The bus departs from the Puente Ruinas station every 10 minutes, beginning at 5:30 am. Mid-afternoon return to Ollantaytambo Train Station. Continue to Cuzco by bus, arriving in the early evening. Transfer to your selected hotel. (Breakfast, Machu Picchu; Accommodations, Cuzco)
Day 6 Cuzco: Morning at leisure. Afternoon city tour of Cuzco includes a visit to the Koricancha Temple and the Cathedral, followed by a visit to the nearby fortress of Sacsayhuaman, Kenko, Puca-Pucara and the Tambomachay ruins. After the tour, explore the city on your own. Cuzco is a city of plazas and colonial buildings with red tile roofs. Walk the City’s ancient cobblestone streets, lined with the massive stone walls that are an Incan legacy. (Breakfast, Accommodations, Cuzco)
Day 7 Arrive Puno: Puno is situated on the shores of Lake Titicaca with an altitude of 12,400 ft. Puno and the surrounding area are believed to be the legendary birthplace of the founders of the Inca empire, as well as the cradle of civilization of the Aymara Indians. Puno is also the gateway for exploring Lake Titicaca, one of the world’s highest navigable lakes. Upon arrival in Puno, transfer from the train station to your selected hotel for overnight. (Breakfast, Cuzco; Accommodations, Puno)
Day 8 Lake Titicaca: After breakfast, transfer from your Puno hotel by bus to Juli Harbour. Visit the Church of Juli, and a local Indian market, before boarding a hydrofoil on Lake Titicaca. Visit Moon Island and the ruins of Inak Uyu, the Sun Virgins’ Temple. Here the most beautiful Incan maidens gathered to become the wives of the Inca nobles. Continue to Sun Island where you will visit Pilcocaina Sun Temple and enjoy a llama trek on Inca trails. Visit the Inca Staircase and Sacred Fountain to taste the sacred water believed to give eternal youth and happiness.
Enjoy lunch at “Uma Kollu” restaurant. Afternoon hydrofoil cruise to the Taquina Straits where you will see fishermen in their Titicaca reed boats, with a stop at Quewaya Island, one of the Urus Iruitos Floating Islands. The Urus-Iruitos culture dates back to 5000 B.C. There are currently 32 families participating in the Quewaya Sustainable Tourism Project where the local community produces vegetables in greenhouses. Here you will have a superb view of the Royal Range of the Andes.
In the evening, visit the “Mystic World of the Kallawayas”. The Kallawayas are the native healers of Bolivia. They believe that you have first to heal the soul in order to heal the body. Meet “Tata Benjo” who will read your future as he casts his sacred coca leaves. After your busy day, relax and enjoy a candlelight dinner. Overnight Inca Utama Hotel and Spa. (Breakfast, Puno; Lunch, Uma Kollu; Accommodations, Utama Hotel and Spa)
Day 9 Lake Titicaca: Morning hydrofoil cruise to Pariti Island. A new archaeological discovery on Lake Titicaca, the Aymara Empire which governed from 850 BC to 1300 AD, selected this island for important ceremonies and transcendental meetings. A new local museum displays fine Tiwanaku ceramic pieces from that period. Continue by motorboat through Totora Reed canals to KALAUTA ISLAND. Visit the Island’s Chullpas-Burial Towers- and stone village.
Return to Huatajata to the Inca Utama Hotel. A special attraction at the hotel is the Andean Roots Cultural Complex, a living museum set up to preserve the local traditions and culture of the Andean people. It is a unique interpretation center that includes the Altiplano Museum (with its state-of-the-art audio system), the nativechapel, a botanical garden, and an artisan and fishing village where you can observe traditional techniques. There is also a museum dedicated to the culture of the Urus Chipaya civilization, where you will see the mud igloos and floating islands of this civilization dating back to the last glacial period. Lake Titicaca is known for its reed boats, and you may be able to meet the Limachi Brothers, builders of RA II, and Tigris, the reed boats Thor Heyerdahl used in his expeditions. There is a full size replica of the RA II here.
If you feel like pampering yourself, you can arrange optional treatments at the Kallawaya Natural Spa, which offers a sauna, Jacuzzi, gym, coca cream massages, and other natural medicine treatments for stress and relaxation. After dinner, visit the Alajpacha Observatory for a memorable cosmic experience. Overnight Inca Utama Hotel. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Accommodation, Inca Utama)
Day 10 La Paz: Morning visit to the pre-Incan ruins of Tiwanacu, once an important ceremonial center. During the height of this civilization it was believed that it was a major population center with a highly advanced culture. Continue to La Paz for an afternoon city tour, including a visit to Moon Valley with its interesting rock formations, as well as a visit to the Indian Market. Overnight at Presidente Hotel. (Breakfast, Inca Utama; Lunch, Accommodations, Presidente Hotel)
Day 11 Depart La Paz: Transfer to airport for flight home. (Breakfast, Presidente Hotel)