Machu Picchu (left), and Ollantaytambo (right)
Machu Picchu (left), and Ollantaytambo (right)
Lima Mountains (left), Cusco (top right) and Sacsayhuaman (bottom right)
Lima Mountains (left), Cusco (top right) and Sacsayhuaman (bottom right)

Sacred Land of the Incas

14 nights from £2,399 per person

Overview

‘Sacred Land of the Incas’ brings you an exciting 14-night South American adventure taking a heady mix of big city delights, lush tropical rainforests and ancient Incan ruins, all set amongst some of the most breath-taking landscapes the continent has to offer.

Starting in Lima, Peru’s elegant Capital you’ll immediately feel this tours contrast as you head deep into the interior of the Peruvian Amazon. Marvel at the profuse flora and fauna on display as you explore this wonderful ecosystem. Moving on to the elevated Cusco with its charming centre you’ll then head for the Sacred valley and the evocative village of Ollantaytambo. You now have three Inca trail options that all lead to the incredible Incan ruin of Machu Picchu. Enjoy the serenity Lake Titicaca and its Uros Island before finishing your amazing tour in the vibrant Bolivian city of La Paz (INT-GGSQ)

Highlights

  • Explore the colonial delights and elegant architecture of downtown Lima
  • Visit the magical Machu Picchu the mother of all Inca cities
  • Experience the unspoilt splendour of the lush Amazon Jungle
  • Trek the Inca Trail
  • Stroll the cobblestone streets of Cusco
  • Marvel at the floating reed islands of Uros
  • Enjoy an authentic homestay on the shore of the immense Lake Titicaca
  • Take in the bustle of the vibrant Bolivian capital of La Paz
     
Whats included?
  • Flights & taxes
  • Accommodation
  • Transfers
  • Checked baggage
  • ATOL protection
  • In resort assistance & 24 hour contact centre
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Day 1

Lima

Today your journey to the revered land of the Incas begins. Teeming with Amazon forests and teeming with wildlife, Peru boasts an ancient indigenous culture with hidden cities dating back millennia. Having arrived into Lima and transferred to your hotel you’ll then meet with your tour leader, a very important part of the arrival formalities, from where you can start exploring this amazing city. Jump on public transport to the downtown area for a guided walking tour where you’ll witness the delights of the city’s historical centre. Take in the elegant architecture of the colonial palaces, mansions and cathedrals that run along the avenues and streets. Following the tour you can stroll at leisure or perhaps visit the fascinating Museum of the Inquisition for some background to the country’s more recent past. Other options include biking, cookery or night-time guided tours.  

Day 2

Amazon Jungle

Today you’ll start your journey into the country’s interior and the forests of the Peruvian Amazon. Head out early for Lima airport for your three-hour flight to the Amazon gateway town of Puerto Maldonado. Lodge staff will meet you upon arrival and make the transfer to their office. Here you’ll pack a small duffle bag with the essentials required for two days in the jungle whilst also storing your remaining luggage, before heading down to the water by private vehicle. From the dock, you’ll board motorised canoe and begin your journey deep into the awaiting jungle. After a three-hour cruise and having enjoyed a packed lunch onboard, you’ll reach the Madre de Dios region and arrive at your eco-lodge accommodation. Settle and relax into your thatch-roofed lodge before receiving a short briefing and orientation walk of the immediate area. Soak up with the incredible sights and sounds of the jungle as you familiarise your self with your jungle surroundings.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 3

Amazon Jungle

Prepare for a truly memorable experience as you spend the day exploring the depths of the Amazon jungle. Your day begins with a guided half-day trek led by local experts on the area’s ecosystem. Learn how the plants that grow here are put to practical and medicinal use as your guide outline how the indigenous people have studied and used them for thousands of years. Look out for rainbow coloured macaws and stunning butterflies as you hear the chattering of monkeys and howls of the various species of local peccaries. The region is also home to an amazing variety of other fauna including the curious Capybara, giant otters and wading Jabirus, so be sure to keep an eye out for these fascinating creatures. Heading back to the lodge, you’ll take lunch and then relax before venturing out on a night excursion seeking a glimpse of the jungle’s nocturnal inhabitants. This night-time tour may take place on day two depending upon which lodge you are staying at.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 4

Cusco

Departing the wonders of the Peruvian Amazon you’ll transfer back to Puerto Maldonado before taking the short flight to the man-made delights and elevated climes of Cusco. Taking some time to adjust to the lofty 3,450 metre altitude you’ll then join your leader on a fascinating orientation walk. Wonder at the mix of ancient, Spanish colonial and contemporary architecture as you wander the Plaza de Armas, 12 Angled Stone and San Pedro market. You’ll also get to experience the significant ancient Inca temple of Qoricancha, part ancient and part colonial baroque, highlighting the blended history of the city. Your tour concludes with a visit to the Chocomuseo savouring the flavour of the local hot chocolate. The rest of the day is yours to relax or to further explore before heading out for dinner at one of the many local establishments – your guide can make some great recommendations.   

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 5

Sacred Valley / Ollantaytambo

Head out on a private bus through the verdant terraces of the Sacred Valley of Peru’s Andean highlands to the ancient village of Ollantaytambo. En-route you will stop for lunch, enjoying interaction with local villagers who still practice local Inca customs and traditions. Once arrived into Ollantaytambo you are free to explore the main square with its adjacent archaeological park or hike the terraces for a bird’s eye view out over the valley. Great restaurants are in abundance and you have the chance to savour the local delicacies such as quinoa and alpaca stew.

Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch

Day 6

Inca Trail / Inca Quarry Trail / Train

Your tour for the next four days offers exciting three options: hiking the Classic Inca Trail, hiking the Inca Quarry Trail or remaining in Cusco for a further two days before taking the train to Aguas Calientes. For those hiking the bulk of your belongings will remain in Cusco at the hotel and you’ll be given a small five kilo capacity duffle bag to hold your clothing and essential items. Porters will carry these bags on the trails along with the necessary camping equipment and food. For those travelling by train to Aguas Calientes you’ll also be able to leave most belongings at your hotel during the train excursion.  

Route 1 – Classic Inca Trail Head out by minivan from Ollantaytambo to the 82-kilometre marker which marks the head of the Inca Trail. Here you’ll meet your team of local porters along with your cook and guide for the trip and trek up to the campsite set 3,100 metres above sea level, with views of key Inca sites, including Ollantaytambo, Huillca Raccay and Llactapata with picture perfect views of the snow-capped Veronica Peak. In the evening sit back and relax as you enjoy a freshly cooked camp side meal.

Route 2 – Inca Quarry Trail Heading out early you’ll make your way to the ancient Inca temple of Choquequilla with its mysterious altar, used in ancient times to worship the moon. From here you will drive to Rafq’a the starting point for your trek. Walking for an hour will bring you to the tiny community of Socma followed by the Perolniyoc cascade lookout – a perfect photo location and ideal for a food break. Carry on up to the campsite, set 3,700 metres above sea level, arriving here at around lunchtime. More exploration awaits after lunch with a hike to the ancient Inca checkpoint of Q’orimarca.

Route 3 – Train Having spent another overnight in Ollantaytambo and following breakfast the next morning you’ll leave on the short drive to the famous market town of Pisac. Browse for souvenirs or maybe try some local fare – try a delicious and distinctly Latin Empanada. Arriving back into Cusco in the afternoon your guide will take you to the San Pedro market. Here you’ll stock up on food items for the planned picnic the following day.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 7

Inca Trail / Inca Quarry Trail / Train

Route 1 – Classic Inca Trail Today’s five-hour hike marks the most challenging day of the trek with an ascent up along a steep trail as you reach the highest point of the expedition. Commonly known as ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’ Warmiwanusca sits imposingly at 4,200 metres above sea level and boats incredible vistas back across the valley beneath. Descending to 3,650 metres you’ll reach the Pacaymayo Valley campsite, your base for the night.

Route 2 – Inca Quarry Trail Without doubt today presents the most challenging and yet rewarding part of the trek. The three-hour hike to Puccagasa pass which offers spectacular views from its 4,370-metre summit from where you’ll take short walk to enjoy lunch close by. From here it’s a two hour hike up to the highest pass on the expedition at 4,450 metre – Kuychicassa.  Now moving lower, you’ll reach the sacred ancient Inca site Inti Punku (Sun Gate) which offers spectacular views of the snow-capped Veronica Mountain. Close by and to end your days hike you’ll reach your campsite at Choquetacarpo.  

Route 3 – Train Taking a taxi to Tambomachay, situated close to Cusco you get the chance to explore this fascinating archaeological site, from where you’ll head back down to Cusco on foot. Along the way are more archaeological site to admire including Qinquu Quengo, Saksaywaman and Puka Pukara. Relax or maybe enjoy some afternoon shopping or a visit to local art galleries and workshops.  

Meals included: Breakfast (Lunch & Dinner for those taking the Inca Trail and Inca Quarry Trail options)

Day 8

Inca Trail / Inca Quarry Trail / Train

Route 1 – Classic Inca Trail The day begins with a hike up through the Pacaymayo Valley to the Runkuracay Pass. Set at 3,980 metres the pass offers incredible views of the majestic snow-capped Cordillera Vilcabamba mountain range. Descending for around two to three hours you’ll reach the ancient ruins of Sayacmarca. Crossing the trail’s third pass you’ll arrive at the steeply terraced ruins of Phuyupatamarca sitting at 3,850 metres. Heading down from the ‘Town above the clouds’ you’ll reach your campsite for the final night situated at the Winay Wayna archaeological site.

Route 2 – Inca Quarry Trail It’s all downhill today – but in a good way, as you pass the Kachiqata quarry, never completed during the Spanish conquest of Peru. The trek ends back in Ollantaytambo at around midday with time to explore the village’s cobbled streets before jumping aboard a train for the nearby Aguas Calientes. Here you’ll get the chance to enjoy a soothing natural hot spring and appreciate a comfortable hotel bed for the night.  

Route 3 – Train Drive to Ollantaytambo from where you board a train for the journey to Aguas Calientes through the winding and scenic Urubamba Valley.  Set amid the cloud forest the town sits at the foot of Machu Picchu. Enjoy your afternoon relaxing in a natural hot spring from which Aguas Cailentes takes its name.

Meals included: Breakfast (Lunch & Dinner for those taking the Inca Trail and Inca Quarry Trail options)

Day 9

Inca Trail / Inca Quarry Trail / Train (Machu Picchu)

Route 1 – Inca Trail The last leg of your Inca Trail trek is also the most spectacular as you venture to Machu Picchu. Breakfast before dawn is followed by the start of your hike at 4.30 am to the checkpoint form where you will begin the final stage of your Inca Trail expedition. Walking to Inti Punku (the Sun Gate) takes around two hours, thirty minutes from where you will wonder at the truly spectacular across the ‘Lost City of the Inca’ entering Machu Picchu via the Sun Gate.

Route 2 – Inca Quarry Trail Leave by bus at 5.30am in the morning for the 30-minute journey along the twisting road towards Machu Picchu. Joining the Inca Trail group at Machu Picchu you enjoy spectacular views, weather permitting, across the ancient city before venturing through the Sun Gate at Inti Punku and taking a guided tour of the ancient ruins.

Route 3 – Train Board an early bus at 5:30am and to the ancient Incan ruined city of Machu Picchu. Enjoy a guided tour of the ruins including palaces, temples and living quarters. Enjoy some free time at the site before returning with the group to Cusco.  

Having enjoyed the opportunity for limitless photo opportunities and returned to Cusco you can freshen up, savour a well-deserved Pisco sour before heading out to enjoy the last night of your Inca Trail tour at leisure.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 10

Cusco

Enjoy the day relaxing, heading to the shops or continuing your exploration of the sights in this fascinating city.  Take a break at one of the cafés near the Plaza de Armas or grab one of the delicacies at San Pedro market. Alternatively, for the more active, try mountain biking in the hills surround the city. Other optional activities include; visit to Coricancha Temple, Pisco Making experience, Art Trail workshop and stand up paddle boarding.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 11

Puno

Leave the delights of Cusco behind and head on an exciting a six-hour journey by public transport, through the breath-taking landscapes of the high altiplano. Puno, set on the vast, peaceful banks of the famous Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake sitting some 3,800 metres above sea level. Puno is a fusion of cultures with strong Aymaran, Quechuan and Andean influences to be seen all around. You’ll have the option to visit the fascinating pre-Incan cemetery at Sillustani This evening you might try a local specialty such as local sourced Peruvian trout.  

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 12

Lake Titicaca Homestay

Commence a leisurely tour of the lake aboard a motor boat make a stop at the famous floating Uros Islands. Constructed out of layers of totora reeds, harvested from the shoreline waters, these floating islands were built by the Uros people as protection against the encroaching Incan tribes-people. Learn more of this communities fascinating history before heading ashore to experience contemporary lakeshore life in a local community homestay. Participate in the family’s daily activities before enjoying an authentic local dinner.  

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 13

Puno

Following breakfast, you will take one-hour trip by motor boat to Taquile Island, popular for its sophisticated hand knitted textiles and other local wares. Watch the locals, men knitting and women spinning, as they create these intricate pieces and be sure to pick up one by way of a souvenir. Trek inland for an hour and you arrive at the main centre of the island where more handicrafts are on offer. Returning to Puno by boat the rest of the day is free to further explore the town and maybe enjoy a refreshing local beverage at a local bar or café.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 14

La Paz

Swapping the tranquil beauty of Lake Titicaca for the vibrant sight and sounds of La Paz, across the Peruvian Border into Bolivia. Upon arrival into La Paz you ‘ll take a fascinating walking tour to explore and experience the city’s colonial architecture and browse the bustling local markets. Also available is an optional tour of the pre-Columbian ‘Tiwanaku’, featuring the imposing ‘Gate of the Sun’.   

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 15

La Paz

Your incredible Incan adventure come to and end today. As you leave for you flight home, reminisce on the amazing places, sights and sounds you have just experienced.

Meals Included: Breakfast

  • International Flights, domestic flights
  • 14 nights’ accommodation – Hotel (8 nights), Basic camping (3 nights), Jungle Lodge (2 nights), Homestay (1 night)
  • 14 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches & 6 Dinners
  • Activities as outlined in the itinerary
  • Transfers as detailed in the itinerary (Boat, Bus, Canoe, private minibus, private vehicle)

Karen Andrews
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