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This 12 day holiday to the amazing South American country of Peru is definitely one for the history and nature lover. Exploring locations such as Lima, Arequipa, Colca, Puno, Cusco, and so many more places will make for an unbelievable holiday in a much desired part of the world.
Arrive into Lima International Airport and be met by your guide who will transfer guests to the hotel where a much needed rest can be had, before a full day touring around Lima the following day. The city of kings and UNESCO stronghold city has the church of San Francisco and beautiful mix of baroque and Mudejar styling. Lima is one of the most welcoming cities in the world.
Explore the altiplano and pass along the Rio Vilcanota during the 10 hour train journey up to the highest point on the line at 4,321 metres. Eat the 3 course lunch on-board the train whilst looking out of the windows at the awe inspiring scenic views of the desert, forest, and sea below.
Travel on to Cuzco, where you will hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, camping for 3 nights along the ancient trail before spending a night near the ruins of Machu Picchu.
On arrival you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel for a good rest.
Overnight at the hotel.
Morning flight to the city of Arequipa (1 hour 25 minutes) set in a beautiful valley before the magnificent backdrop of a trio of imposing volcanoes. Founded in 1540, Arequipa is an elegant city filled with colonial grandeur, many of its dazzling churches constructed from the white volcanic sillar that litters the landscape. In the afternoon, tour the city, taking in something of its grace and charm and visiting the remarkable Santa Catalina Convent, a quite astonishing complex of cobbled streets and elegant buildings that were only opened up to the public in the 1970s and provide a rare insight into a far from impoverished holy order. Return to the Hotel and overnight in Arequipa.
Leaving this morning head towards the remote Colca Valley, passing a landscape peppered with unspoilt Cabana and Collagua villages and pre-Columbian terraces, where llamas, alpacas and a variety of birdlife punctuate our journey to the town of Chivay. Arrive in time for lunch and leisure afternoon. Overnight in Colca
Twice as deep as the Grand Canyon and home to Andean condors, the Colca Canyon is spectacular in the extreme. Carved by the Rio Colca it lies at a lofty 3,500 mt above sea level at Chivay and an early start sees us visiting the spectacular majesty of this natural wonder. The canyon presents a tableau of plunging gorges set before the slopes of Sabancaya, one of the most active volcanoes in the Americas and, after exploration of the area and lunch at the hotel, continue through the majestic Andean landscape en route to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Overnight in Puno.
The highest navigable lake on the planet, Titicaca sits on the ‘altiplano’, the high barren plateau that extends across Peru and Bolivia. Lying at over 3,800 mt above sea level this immense lake has been the home to Aymara and Quechua tribes for centuries. This morning a boat ride is included to visit the Aymara Indians and their floating reed islands. The lake has long held deep significance for the indigenous people, its sacred waters believed to have been the birthplace of the legendary founders of the Inca race, the mythical ‘Children of the Sun’. After the Uros Islands we continue to Llachon, a less-visited Quechua community, where we learn something of another traditional way of life by the lake. Return to Puno this afternoon, where we pay a brief visit to the Yavari, a Victorian steamship built in England, dissembled and transported by mule across the Andes.
Lunch included. Return to the Hotel and overnight in Puno.
This morning board the ‘Andean Explorer’ to Cusco, crossing the high altiplano and passing along the Rio Vilcanota. During this 10 hour, highly scenic journey, a three course lunch is served on board and a stop at La Raya, provides an opportunity to take in the local vendors selling an array of locally made rugs and clothes at the highest point on the line (4,321 mt). On arrival in Cusco, meet and transfer to your hotel. Overnight in Cusco.
Full day tour of the beautiful Sacred Valley of the Incas, visiting the towns of Pisac and their famous market and the ruins at Ollantaytambo. This mighty fortress enjoys the rare honour of being the setting for one of the only defeats inflicted on the Spanish conquistadors by the Incas, when Hernando Pizarro was forced to flee back to Cusco after failing to breach the citadel in 1536. Lunch is included in one restaurnat in Scared Valley. Overnight in Cusco.
Transfer from the hotel to Km. 82 in which we will meet our porters and equipment. We start our trek escorted by the porters going trough semi-arid terrain along the Urubamba river with magnificent views of snow capped mounts, until we arrive, after about 3 hours at Llactapata, where there is an extensive archaeological site in a beautiful natural setting. Here we leave the Urubamba and set off up the Kusichaca river to our camp in the vicinity of the Huayllabamba where is our first camp site.
We'll start the day, early in the morning, with a hearty breakfast, and then hike up to the highest point of the Inca Trail. Here, we can literally see the various ecological zones and microclimates, which make up the area, mapped out in front of us. We will cross the Warmiwañusca pass at 4,200 meters/13,780 feet above sea level. After lunch we will continue on to the Pacaymayo campsite, where we will enjoy dinner and a well-deserved rest.
This day begins with a nutritious breakfast and then a 45-minute hike up to the second highest pass on the Trail (3,850 meters/12,631 feet above sea level); also along the way we will visit the Runcuracay Archeological site. During the day's hike, we will also visit the Sayacmarca and Phuyupatamarca archeological complexes. After lunch we will head to the Wiñaywayna ruins, where we will spend our last night on the Trail.
After an early breakfast, we begin the final leg of the trek to the lost city of Machu Picchu. First, we will hike to Inti Punku ("Sun Gate"), where we will take in an inspiring and panoramic view of the Machu Picchu citadel. After a short hike down to Machu Picchu, certainly the highpoint of the trip with one of the greatest sights on the continent – Machu Picchu. The sight of Machu Picchu nestled amongst rugged forested mountain is indeed an unforgettable sight. You will enjoy a tour of the ruin and spend the night here so that you can explore Machu Picchu, afternoon train back to Cusco. Transfer to your hotel. Overnight in Cusco
Free at leisure until appropriate time, transfer to the airport to take your flight back to Lima.
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