Welcome to Lima, the "City of Kings", the modern expansive capital city of Peru. Upon arrival at the airport in Lima, you will be transferred to your hotel.
Day 2: Tour Lima, City of Kings
Your local guide will meet you for a welcome briefing at a pre-arranged time over breakfast. Then you will begin your tour of Lima with a visit to the historical centre, where you will see attractions like the Cathedral, the Viceroyalty of Peru, the main palaces of Lima's Plaza Mayor (Main Square), the Government Palace, the City Hall, and other important monuments. Later, you will visit the Convent of San Francisco, a seventeenth-century architectural complex that includes a church, a convent and a square. The facade of the church, characterized by its Corinthian columns, has an image of the Immaculate Conception painted on it that was carved in stone. You will also see the catacombs, found in a dark chamber under the church. After visiting the centre of Lima, you will head to the modern section of this great metropolis to visit the district of Miraflores, including stops at the shopping area called Larco Mar, which was built on a spectacular cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the traditional “Parque del Amor” (Love Park).
Well-known for its beautiful plazas and colonial buildings, as well as its ceviche and the famous Pisco Sour, Lima has a lot to offer. Tonight, we want to take you off the usual tourist trail and show you where the locals go for a good night out! We will start in the neighbourhood of Miraflores in the center of Kennedy Park, which has been a meeting point for Limeños for centuries. After a brief introduction to the city, we'll hop on public transport and make our way to the trendy Barranco area for our night tour of Lima. This district is full of tradition and history, boasting pretty streets and small colonial squares. Immersed in the classic architecture and general trendy vibe, we’ll wander Barranco in search of local flavours!
We'll pass by the public library, the love-inspiring traditional bridge of sighs, romantic boulevards and great ocean views too. As this is an evening tour, we’ll be meandering and mixing with locals on their night out, keeping pace with them and living the local experience.
Time to eat! We’ll walk a few blocks to a dynamic area known for its abundance of restaurants where you may choose from traditional classics such as anticuchos (beef hearts), picarones (small donuts), and a butifarra sandwich. Oh and of course there'll be ice cold beer on hand. You’ll become an expert in Peruvian snacks as you sample the most popular ones.
And the cherry on top of your Lima night tour will be our final stop in a vibrant local bar, where you can try our famous Pisco sour! Feel free to spend the rest of your evening in this atmospheric bar, where there’s often live music or friendly locals to chat with.
Day 3: Fly to Cusco to Tour Historic Centre
You will be transferred to the airport with lots of time to check in for your flight to Cusco.
Arrive in Cusco, historic heartland and former capital of the Incan Empire. As you fly into the Andes and catch your first glimpses of Cusco, you will be amazed at the stunning beauty of this city, once the capital of the Inca Empire. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the undisputed archaeological capital of the Americas and the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city, Cusco is the gateway to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Machu Picchu and a variety of other Inca sites in the region.
Your local guide will welcome you at the airport and will transfer you to your hotel. En route he will explain all of the activities the following day has in store.
After settling into your hotel room in the historic centre, the day is yours to independently explore the city’s rich and complex history on foot. As you wander the streets and side alleys of the city you will witness the famous Inca stonework that provided the foundations for many of Cusco’s colonial and modern buildings. This will offer you the time to acclimatize to the city's 3450-metre high (11,150 ft) altitude at your own pace, and explore the many Baroque churches and ancient temples that dot the city.
Day 4: Markets & Ruins of Cusco
In the morning, you will have a guided walking tour of the most characteristic places in the centre of Cusco, vibrant examples of the mixture of Inca and Spanish cultures. On the way you will see the Stone of Twelve Angles at the Inca Roca Palace, on Hatun Rumilloc Street. You will visit the most sacred Inca building “The Temple of Qoricancha”. Qoricancha was 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, you will visit the heart of the city, “the Plaza de Armas”, surrounded by colonial arcades and four churches. Next you will 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, offering a great place to purchase some souvenirs. Finally you will enjoy a delicious lunch in a nice local restaurant.
Day 5: Travel through the Sacred Valley
You will be picked up from your hotel after breakfast to travel through the Sacred Valley to visit the most important places in the valley. Your first stop will be at the traditional markets and archaeological site of Pisac, where you will be able to appreciate the impressive terraces of the Inca period. Continuing along the journey through the Sacred Valley, you will stop for a buffet lunch at a restaurant in Urubamba. After lunch you will head to enjoy the incredible fortress and ruins at Ollantaytambo. After visiting the archaeological site in Ollantaytambo, you will head to your hotel in this wonderful little village.
Day 6: Majestic Machu Picchu
You will be picked up early this morning to be delivered to the Ollantaytambo train station where you will board the “Voyager” train towards Aguas Calientes, a modern little town close to the sanctuary of Machu Picchu. The train ride to Machu Picchu is one of the most beautiful journeys visitors can experience in this country. After passing the Sacred Valley of the Incas the train starts to descend gradually along the edge of the Urubamba River, until it finally reaches the cloud forest. After just under two hours, you will have arrived in the town of Aguas Calientes, where you will be to 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. Upon your arrival, you will get into the archaeological zone of Machu Picchu and the tour guide will show you the most important sectors of this great Inca City, such as the great Intiwatana (solar clock), the Sun Temple, the urban sector, the agricultural sector among others.
Machu Picchu was long thought to be legendary. Then in 1911, the explorer Hiram Bingham stumbled upon its remains. Machu Picchu sits at 2,430 m above sea-level, in the middle of a tropical mountain forest, in an extraordinarily beautiful setting. It was probably the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire at its height, with its giant walls, terraces and ramps that seem as if they have been cut naturally in the continuous rock escarpments. After the tour, you will return to your hotel In Aguas Calientes.
Day 7: Machu Picchu Take Two
In the morning, take the bus back up the winding road to Machu Picchu. Weather very much dicates the look and feel of the beautiful site - both sun and misty clouds are beautiful - your best chance of seeing both are to go at two different times of day.
On your second visit to the ruins you'll have free time to explore and take any photos you may have missed yesterday. Explore more of the extraordinary architecture of the many temples, palaces and living quarters, where the mortar-free design is particularly earthquake resistant and the stones are so precisely cut that to this day not even a knife fits between them. In the afternoon, you will return by bus and train to Cusco, where you'll spend the night.
Day 8: Free Day in Cusco
Today is free to explore the many sites around Cusco, such as the local archeological site called Sacsaywaman, or a variety of other options. This free day allows you to relax between two days of travel. We will be happy to make recommendations and help you to figure out how to make the most of this day.
Day 9: Lovely Lake Titicaca
Today we will leave Cusco and head through the highlands of Peru to the town of Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca, where you will be staying for the next two nights. The drive will take between six and seven hours, plus stops for food, washroom breaks, and photo opportunities
Day 10: Visit the Uru People
Today, you will visit and navigate across Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. Today you will get the full experience of the lake with a full-day tour by boat to visit the Uru people and Taquile Island. The lake contains numerous islands whose inhabitants continue to live traditionally as their ancestors always have. The floating islands of the Uru people is a small community that has lived on these reed Islands for decades. Centuries ago the small indigenous Uru tribe conceived of the islands as a way to isolate and protect themselves from rival tribes, the Collas and the Incas. The Uros harvested the reeds in the shallows of the lake, bundled them together tightly and built floating island platforms complete with reed houses and canoes. After spending some time in the Uru community on one of the floating Islands, you will continue towards Taquile Island, approximately one hour away by boat. With only about 2,200 people living on the island, Taquile is known for its people’s kindness, as well as their ancestral skill of weaving, their pre-Columbian construction, and the island’s lovely countryside. On the island you will find find handwoven textiles and clothing, which are regarded among the highest-quality handicrafts in Peru. Later in the afternoon, you will return to Puno by boat.