Explore Lake Titicaca, a geographic landmark at the crossroads of the Andes and the Andean plateau and the world's highest navigable and South America's largest lake. Visit Machu Picchu and wander through village markets where ancient traditions live on in the hearts of the Andean people. Explore the important Inca ruins of Sacsayhuamán, Pisac and Ollantaytambo, and spend time in the lost city of Machu Picchu on this Peru tour. Experience the witches' market in Cusco, bargain over tapestries in Pisac, and walk off the beaten path in the rural Andes. This easy paced 9 day Peru trip is perfect for anyone with a sense of curiosity and adventure.
Follow your guide through Machu Picchu, learning the mysteries of the Inca
See the floating islands of Lake Titicaca, constructed using totora reeds
Visit Maras and Moray as you make your way through the Sacred Valley
Discover how Inca and Colombian traditions blend together as you tour Cusco
Arrive to Lima on the flight of your choice today. After picking up your luggage and clearing customs, walk across the street to the comfortable and conveniently located Wyndham Costa del Sol Hotel. Settle into your room and rest up after your travels. You have an exciting trip ahead, filled with ancient ruins, local markets and the beautiful Andes Mountains!
Andean history comes alive in Cusco. Quechua-speaking descendants of the Incas fill the streets and markets, colonial churches sit atop bases of smooth stonework laid centuries before the Conquistadors, and campesinos (Peru's rural farmers) in colorful dress move busily back and forth across the plazas.
Walk across the street to the airport in Lima for your domestic flight to Cusco. A driver meets you at the airport in Cusco and takes you to your hotel to drop your luggage and rest. In the afternoon, you'll explore Cusco's largest open market and the adjacent witches' market on a walking guided tour of the city. Visit the Temple of Koricancha, considered the most important Inca Temple of Cusco, and walk to Cusco’s main Plaza de Armas, to visit both the Cathedral built over the ruins of the Sunturwasi temple. After tasting a few unique local foods, visit the Center for Traditional Textiles in Cusco, a local organization committed to preserving the region's weaving traditions (If visiting the Sacred Valley on Sunday, you will visit their center in Chinchero instead). Watch weavers demonstrate their craft and learn about the history and processes of Peru's most well-known art form.
This morning, journey into one of the most beautiful areas of Peru. The Sacred Valley often becomes one of the highlights of your trip and you will soon see why! You'll test your bargaining skills with the locals while visiting one of the great textile markets in the area. You may also hike to the inspiring ruins of Pisac or take a short walk through the countryside to the seldom-visited town of Maras, where pre-Columbian salt mines still operate today. Visit the Inca agricultural terraces of Moray, thought to have been a nursery to experiment with and modify different varieties of crops. Eventually, you will make your way to the living Inca city of Ollantaytambo where you can relax for the night.
Day 4: Ollantaytambo Ruins | Train to Machu Picchu
In the morning, visit the under-rated ruins of Ollantaytambo before the larger groups of tourists arrive. During the Inca Empire, Ollantaytambo served as a royal estate and later a refuge after the Spanish conquered Cusco. The ruins feature expansive terraces, giant building blocks and well-preserved architecture. Even the town itself is still laid out as it was during the Inca empire, allowing its visitors to glimpse the history which still exists within its boundaries.
Board the train late this morning and follow the Urubamba River as it tumbles its way towards the Amazon and the sacred city of Machu Picchu, Peru. After checking into your hotel and enjoying lunch in Aguas Calientes, enter Machu Picchu and begin exploring this amazing site - the former retreat of Inca kings. Walk along ancient canals that still bring water from the high mountains to the baths used by Inca priests. As visitors, you are welcomed to respectfully dip your hands in the cool water. After walking amongst the massive complex of ruins, receiving a guided tour of Machu Picchu, you'll return to the village of Aguas Calientes (located at the base of Machu Picchu). Enjoy one of many excellent local restaurants or end your day soaking in the hot springs after exploring one of the most magical archaeological sites in the world.
Today you can return to the ruins at Machu Picchu for further exploration. Depending on your preference in permits, return early with the hope to watch the sunrise at Machu Picchu or arrive in time to hike to the top of Huaynapicchu for incredible views of the entire area. Other options within the citadel include the ability to walk the relatively easy routes to the Sun Gate or the Temple of the Moon. Alternatively, just walk among the vast expanse of ruins and listen to the spirits of the city's past inhabitants. (This basic re-entry permit is included in the cost of this tour. Further permits may require additional costs.)
Once you've had your time in the ruins, return to Aguas Calientes to catch an afternoon train toward Cusco. Settle into your hotel or ask your guide for a culinary recommendation in Cusco.
Today is free to relax and explore with your guide or on your own. You can visit the churches and surrounding ruins, such as the enormous Sacsayhuamán ruins that overlook Cusco (these ruins showcase building blocks the size of pickup trucks). You can also wander through the bustling Plaza de Armas in the heart of Cusco, shop for love potions in the local markets, or people watch from the cafes and restaurants that line these lovely streets. For those bursting with energy, horseback riding, mountain biking, or even whitewater rafting (Class III-IV) can be arranged. The evening is yours to take in some of Cusco's varied and exciting nightlife. Live folk music and excellent food abounds in Cusco!
A luxury-class bus takes us 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. 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.
Transfer to the lacustrine port of Puno, where a boat takes you to the floating island of the Uros. The Uros are an ancestral society that populates a series of artificial islands built with totora plant, a type of reed which grows in Lake Titicaca. There they build their houses, also from totora. After a journey of an hour and a half, continue on to the island of Taquile. This island was part of the Inca Empire and its inhabitants speak quechua. Once there, receive a briefing about the island. Have a tasty lunch and start your return to Puno.
Kate was great to work with in the planning stage. She was prompt, helpful, and efficient. Our tour guide, Edwin, was knowledgeable and passionate. We were very happy to have traveled with Adventure Life, it made the trip easy and a true pleasure. We could concentrate on enjoying the experience rather than the details of travel.