Arrive Lima and overnight.
An early morning flight brings you to the Inca capital of Cusco. After settling into your hotel, you can tour Cusco's largest open market and the adjacent witches' market, where natural medicines and charms for curing heartache and other afflictions are sold. Travelers will also have the opportunity to visit the Center for Traditional Textiles in Cusco, a local organization committed to preserving the region's weaving traditions. Watch weavers demonstrate their craft and learn about the history and processes of Peru's most well-known art form. The evening is yours to take in some of Cusco's varied and exciting nightlife.
Drive past terraced fields of corn, potatoes, and quinoa as you travel to the Vilcanota section of the Upper Urubamba River. After your safety briefing, you’ll put in on the Urubamba River, which winds from the snowcapped Andes to the Amazon jungle. The Vilcanota section offers challenging class III-IV rapids between the months of January and April and exciting class IV-V from April to November. For those looking for less extreme Peru adventures, other stretches of the river offer class II-III rapids year around. After your raft trip, enjoy a picnic lunch along the riverbank. This afternoon, return to Cusco, where you can explore the monasteries, cathedrals and Incan ruins of Cusco on your own or with your guide.
Today, rise early for your journey to the village of Chinchero. Chinchero is a town made up by several communities and whose main income comes from textiles and tourism here we can partake in a weaving demonstration, learn about indigenous medicinal plants and see the ancestral way of life of Andean People. Afterwards, ascend to Allpachaca, at 12,000 feet elevation, to begin your biking tour. You will ride for 3-4 hours, past beautiful Piuray Lake and the local farms and villages until you reach the community of Tauca (12,660 feet). After lunch, get settled into your community campsite where you will be spend the night. In the evening feel free to talk a walk around the community and maybe meet some of the locals.
After breakfast, begin your horse-assisted trek to the Queñua Sundur Valley. Along the way, visit several archeological sites rarely visited by outsiders including Kinsa Salayo and Huchuy Qosqo. Enjoy sensational views of the Sacred Valley and the Urubamba Mountains with their impressive glaciers. Tonight camp near Huchuy Qosqo, known as "Little Cusco". Your guides will set up camp and make dinner you relax and enjoy the ruins of Huchuy Qosqo. Today's hike totals 8 miles in length.
Rising early, explore the ruins of Huchuy Qosqo with your guides. This "Little Cusco" is inaccessible by public road, making it one of the least visited major ruins in the area. After exploring the ruins, you hike to Lamay (approximately 3 miles), descending into the Sacred Valley. On the trail to Lamay you will see towering Andean peaks and smaller ruins in the distance. Our driver will be waiting for us at the end of the trail for a last lunch before taking you to the train station in Ollantaytambo.
The train follows the Urubamba River as it tumbles its way towards the Amazon and the sacred city of Machu Picchu. You arrive to Machu Picchu Pueblo (formerly called Aguas Calientes) to relax, enjoy dinner (the trout fillets are delicious), and prepare for your Machu Picchu tour tomorrow.
Wake early to watch the sunrise over Machu Picchu. Today your guide will begin to unravel the mysteries of this sacred site, explains the care that went into its construction. Though no one knows the full significance of the ruins at Machu Picchu, recent archaeological excavations have uncovered a series of caves that may have been the site for religious ceremonies portraying the Incas’ creation story. These caves suggest that Machu Picchu may have been a “huaca”, or sacred spot, worshiped as a point where man emerged from the ground. This evening, you’ll return to Cusco by train.
This morning a luxury-class bus takes you from Cusco to the shores of Lake Titicaca. Along the way, enjoy optional visits to the "Sistine Chapel" of Peru and a pre-Incan site, as well as a huge lunch featuring traditional Peruvian cuisine. Entrances to the sites are additional (around $10 per person), but the lunch is on us!
Arrive at mystical Lake Titicaca in the early afternoon. Legend has it that the first Inca rose out of its azure waters. Transfer to your hotel and explore on your own this afternoon.
Depart this morning with your guide to the the floating islands of the peninsula of Capachica to Llachon, a small community of Aymara farmers where visitors are always welcome. Here you will practice our kayaking skills before launching from the beach. There is no better way to appreciate the mysticism of the area than with a silent two hour kayak trip over the crystal waters of this sacred lake.
After your kayak adventure, continue on to Ticonata Island where you will stay at the EcoVillage, a community run tourism project where you stay in replicas of the pre-Inca homes that existed in this area. This hidden corner of Lake Titicaca provides the chance to experience the tranquility of nature and Andean culture. Take a hike around the island to visit ancient ritual sites and a small musuem. Your guide will help translate the stories about the daily life and the traditions of this remote island on your Lake Titicaca tour.
Today continue on by sailboat for a two-three hour cruise to Amantani Island, a quiet island known for its hilltop ruins that honor Pachamama and Pachatata (Mother and Father Earth). Here you meet your host families whose generosity is apparent with their open arms (and open doors to their homes) and smiles, a highlight for most on Peru holidays. Explore this island with your guide and then settle in to share a short day in the lives of the Aymara. Enjoy a breath-taking sunset over Lake Titicaca.
After breakfast and bidding farewell to your host family, return to Puno by motor boat with stop at the floating islands of the Uros People. Peru's floating islands are built using the buoyant totora reeds that grow along Lake Titicaca, and these reeds are interwoven to make homes, boats, and crafts. A ride in a traditional reed boat can be arranged with a local fisherman. Return to Puno, afternoon is free to explore on your own.
Catch your flight to Lima and prepare for your red-eye flight home! International flights should leave no earlier than 5 PM.
$535 single supplement