Colours of Peru - 14 days
Arrive at Lima and transfer to your hotel. Guide assistance is included.
Tonight there will be a pre departure meeting. Please meet in the hotel reception at 19:00.
Lima, the capital of Peru, sits on the country's arid Pacific coast. Founded in 1535, its colonial centre is well preserved, but today Lima is a bustling metropolis and one of South America's largest cities. The city is home to the various museums including the MuseoLarco that houses a collection of pre-Columbian art and the Museo de la NaciC3n, tracing the history of Peru's ancient civilizations. Lima is known as the "gastronomical capital of the Americas", encompassing specialties from ceviche and traditional coastal cooking to refined global fare. It even boasts several of the top restaurants in the world.
Lima City Tour
Spend some time touring Lima, the Colonial 'City of Kings'. Visit a number of well-known sites including the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Plaza de Armas, and the Catacombs located beneath the San Francisco Convent. This is a chance to appreciate Lima's magnificent Colonial architecture as well as vignettes of its pre-Colombian past.
Lima to Puno via Sillustani
Transfer to the airport for your outward flight from Lima.
On arrival at Juliaca airport you will be transferred to your hotel in Puno, stopping on the way to take in the pre-Inca burial ground of Sillustani. Here you can wander through the remarkable tombs built from volcanic stone, known as Chulpas which reach heights of up to 12 metres. Overlooking the beautiful lake Umayo, Sillustani is considered to be one of the most important necropolises in the world.
Puno lies on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. It is the largest city in the Southern Altiplano and an important agricultural and livestock (llamas and alpaca) region. It sits at an altitude of over 3,800 metres and is a picturesque hillside city and a melting pot of the Aymara and Quechua culture.
Uros and Taquile Islands
At 7:00 am you will be met and transferred to the port where you will board a fully equipped speedboat with on board service to head to Taquile Island. Disembarking at a secluded part of the island, we explore a scenic and less touristy area of Taquile Island (exclusive). Enjoy a pristine sandy beach where you will have plenty of time to relax and feel the serenity of Lake Titicaca. We then hike along a pre-Inca trail with spectacular landscapes of the island, visiting families of weavers to learn about their textile art and symbolism. In 2005, "Taquile and its Textile Art" were proclaimed "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO. After 3 hours on Taquile, we leave the island for the short 25 minute journey to the community of Santa Maria-Llachon, on the tip of the Capachica Peninsula. This is a picturesque off the beaten track destination. We are welcomed by the small Quechua speaking community and introduced to an intensive cultural experience, observing the traditions of the community and participating in an ancient ceremony to learn about their magical world.
Then experience the preparation of "Pachamanca", a traditional way of cooking meat, fish and potatoes using underground ovens, and one of the main dishes of Peruvian cuisine. Enjoy these delicacies in a small, but scenic restaurant. For the more adventurous there is an optional kayak along the coast of Llachon. After lunch we leave Santa Maria and 35 minutes later we arrive at a remote area of the National Reserve of Lake Titicaca to explore UrosCcapi. These are considered to be the last authentic floating islands, less commercial and little visited. The Uros are descendants of one of the oldest cultures in South America. There are optional tours in reed boats before we depart back to Puno at 15:25 pm.
On arrival back into Puno at 16:30pm, you are transferred to your hotel.
*Please note that between the months of January and March the ceremony of "Pachamama" will be subject to weather conditions.
Puno to Cusco by Bus
Transfer to bus or train station for outward journey from Puno. After breakfast you will be driven across the Altiplano to Cusco. On this fantastic journey you will travel accompanied with an English speaking guide. This drive will take you through sleepy Andean villages, past spectacular snow-capped mountains, sheer cliffs and rampaging rivers. Stops along the way include the atmospheric towns of Pucara and Andahuaylillas, and the pre-Inca ruin of Raqchi. Arrive in the famous city of Cusco in the early evening. The bus drive takes around 10 hours. Includes lunch.
Cusco, set at an altitude of 3,400 metres in the Peruvian Andes, was once the capital of the Inca Empire. It is known for its Spanish colonial architecture and Incan remains. Narrow, cobble-stoned streets lined by Inca walls stretch out from the main plaza in every direction. Many of the colonial buildings were built on top of Incan foundations and the stonework is unparalleled in its precision and beauty.
Cusco City Tour
Take a sightseeing tour through Cusco, the heart of the Inca Empire. Visit the fascinating Qorikancha Temple of the Sun, the 12-Angled Rock, and the Cathedral, built on the ruins of an Inca Palace. From here head to the archaeological remains located around the city, including the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo the giant rock, the ancient site of PucaPucara and finally the Water Temple of Tambomachay.
Sacred Valley Full Day Tour
Today, explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas. This fertile river valley was home to many important sites for the Incas, both strategic and religious. The first stop is the village of Pisac, with its famous market. There is free time to wander the colourful market stalls before a typical Andean lunch at a local restaurant. Continue your journey along the River Urubamba, to Ollantaytambo. The town, which is dominated by a giant Inca fortress, is perhaps the best surviving example of Inca town planning and was the scene of a rare Inca victory over the invading Spanish. At the end of the tour you will be transferred to your hotel in the Sacred Valley. Includes lunch.
Tonight we enjoy dinner in the Sacred Valley.
Transfer from hotel in to Ollantaytambo Train station. This morning travel by train from Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley to AguasCalientes. You will be astonished at your first view of Machu Picchu, a stunning display of ancient architecture with incredible surroundings. Enjoy a guided tour of the ruins and monuments such as the Main Square, the Circular Tower, the Sacred Solar Clock, the Royal Quarters, the Temple of the Three Windows and the Cemeteries. Tour includes guided group tour, and return bus from AguasCalientes village. Please be aware that your tour of Machu Picchu does not include an entry permit to Huayna Picchu (the iconic hill behind the Machu Picchu ruins). If you want to climb Huayna Picchu then you need to pre-book your permit. Please contact your sales consultant if you would like to do this.
This afternoon travel by train from AguasCalientes to Ollantaytambo. Transfer from the Ollantaytambo train station in the Sacred Valley to Cusco.
Cusco - Day at Leisure
Day at leisure to acclimatise to the altitude and spend wandering the cobble-stoned streets of the ancient Inca capital. With treasures around every corner, Cusco is a wonderful city to explore on foot. Vibrant markets and stores give the traveller a plethora of shopping opportunities set amongst fine Inca and Spanish colonial architecture. The UNESCO World Heritage city is lined with history and ancient monuments, a truly enthralling city to spend time in.
Cucso to Puerto Maldonado
Transfer to the airport for your outward flight from Cusco. You will be met at Puerto Maldonado Airport to transfer by land and a two and a half hour boat journey to Refugio Amazonas. Pass the Infierno Community and arrive into the Tambopata National Reserve, a 1.3 million hectare conservation unit. From Refugio, venture out at night, on the search for caiman, spotting the red reflection from their eyes.
Note: Rooms at Refugio are in Traditional Category (Twin beds). Room Upgrade to a Comfort Category (Double Bed) at additional Costs. Ask your travel advisor for more details.
After breakfast venture out onto the lake by canoe or catamaran, looking for wildlife such as hoatzin, caiman, horned screamers, macaws and rare otters. Back on land, a thirty minute walk from the lodge will take you to the 25 metre scaffolding canopy tower, complete with staircase. Enjoy excellent views from the tree tops, sighting toucans, macaws and raptors. After lunch you will visit a farm to learn about local agriculture and Amazonian crops before an ethnobotanical tour to learn about medicinal procedures of the region. In the evening, Refugio staff offer lectures covering conservation threats, opportunities and projects in the Tambopata National Reserve.
Witness the audio and visual spectacle of a clay lick, watching vibrant coloured macaws and parrots feast on clay. Later, a short hike will bring you to a beautiful brazil nut forest where you can learn about the whole nut process from collection through transportation to drying. In the afternoon, there will be a further clay lick visit, this time to see mammals. Wild rain forest pigs show up in herds of up to twenty to eat clay, alongside deer, guan and parakeets. After dinner you have the option of a night hike when most mammals are active.
Puerto Maldonado to Lima
After breakfast, return to Puerto Maldonado for your departure flight. Depending on airline schedules, this may require dawn departures. Arrive at Lima and transfer to your hotel.
Tonight enjoy a farewell dinner with your fellow travellers in a local restaurant.
Transfer to the airport for onward destination
Transfer to the airport for your outward flight from Lima