From the awe-inspiring archeological and cultural treasures of the Andean highlands to the Nazca Lines on Peru's enigmatic coast, this epic adventure explores the heart and soul of the Andes. Embrace Inca culture in Cusco, sail Lake Titicaca, and trek the Inca Trail to the majestic ruins of Machu Picchu. Interact with locals from the region’s communities for an immersive experience that few get to know. With the services of a CEO (Chief Experience Officer), your accommodation and transport taken care of, this trip offers great value as it introduces the region’s main sights while providing plenty of flexibility.
Arrive at any time.
Today is an arrival day, so no activities are planned. Check into the hotel, relax, enjoy the city, and take some time to adjust to the altitude.
Travel by bus through the Altiplano, crossing the border to the Peruvian city of Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca.
The drive around Lake Titicaca and through the Altiplano from La Paz to Peru is impressive.
Guided tour of Lake Titicaca with a homestay in a small village.
In the morning, board a boat on Lake Titicaca. Head to Taquile Island for lunch in a local restaurant and the chance for some shopping in the local weaving cooperatives.
After, cruise to another village for an overnight homestay on the shores of the lake (the homestay location can vary based on community availability). This experience provides an opportunity to learn more about rural life in the Peruvian highlands and to participate in local traditions. Eat with the family, learn some Quecha and Spanish language skills, try on traditional costumes, and help out with daily chores around the village.
Visit the floating islands of Uros. Optional visit to the Sillustani burial site.
Leave the homestay families late morning, and visit the Uros Islands on the way back to Puno. A popular optional activity in Puno is a visit to the spectacular chullpas (funerary towers) of Sillustani, a pre-Inca archaeological site only a short drive away.
Travel through the high Altiplano region to Cusco.
Free time to explore Cusco. Choose to pre-book the Cusco Cooking Class. Opt for a city tour, or go whitewater rafting, horseback riding or mountain biking.
En route to Ollantaytambo, opt to take a Sacred Valley tour and visit a G Adventures-supported women's weaving co-op.
Ollantaytambo is a major Inca ruin site and your first taste of what lies ahead. For those craving more before they head out on the Trail, opt to take a Sacred Valley tour which includes not only Ollantaytambo and the ruin site of Pisac, but also a visit to a G Adventures-supported women's weaving co-op.
Depart Ollantaytambo by van to km 82 where the hike begins.
Trek through beautiful scenery, with a variety of flora that changes with the seasons, passing several smaller ruin sites like Llactapata.
Start early to climb the long steep path to Warmiwañusca, better known as Dead Woman's Pass. This is the highest point of the trek at 4,198m (13,769 ft). Most hikers reach camp by early afternoon, with ample time to rest and relax.
Cross two more passes and ruins along the way. The first pass is Runquraqay at 3,950m (13,113 ft) where, on a clear day, hikers can catch a glimpse of the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcabamba. Hike through cloud forest on the gentle climb to the second pass of the day, walking through original Incan constructions. The highest point of the pass is 3,700m (12,136 ft). On a clear day, enjoy the spectacular views of the Urubamba Valley.
At 3,650m (11,972 ft), reach the ruins of Phuyupatamarca, the "town above the clouds." Camp here or go another 1.5 hrs to the Wiñay Wayna ruins ("forever young") located at 2,650m (8,694 ft).
The final day of the hike starts pre-dawn to reach the Sun Gate before sunrise. Wake up around 03:30 and walk to the checkpoint. Catch the first views of the breathtaking ruins of Machu Picchu on a clear day. Hike down to Machu Picchu for a guided tour of the site and free time to explore. Opt to visit the Inca Bridge, if time allows.
Catch the bus to Aguas Calientes to meet any non-hiking members of your group. Eat and relax before your train back to Cusco in the afternoon.
Free day to explore Cusco or relax after the trek. If you are ready for more adventure, opt to go whitewater rafting, horseback riding or mountain biking.
Enjoy a final free day in Cusco before an overnight bus to Arequipa.
Travel from Cusco to Arequipa. Opt to visit the Santa Catalina Convent or soak in local hot springs.
Those with an interest in history and architecture may take an optional visit to the Convent of Santa Catalina, offering a brief respite from the outside world and a unique view into a bygone way of life. Other optional excursions include rafting and mountaineering.
For spicy food lovers, checking out one of the “Picanterías” is a must. Arequipa has a variety of regional food: alpaca, shrimp, pork, lots of soups, and spicy sauces.
Take a full-day tour of the spectacular Colca Valley and opt for a soak in hot springs.
Enjoy an overnight excursion to the impressive Colca Canyon - one of the deepest canyons in the world. Stop in fascinating villages and at “miradors” (scenic lookouts), where, with a little luck, spot Andean condors soaring over the majestic Andes. Other unusual animals that may be spotted in the Andean landscape include three different species of camelids: alpaca, llama, and vicuña.
Continue exploring Colca Canyon with opportunities to view condors, visit local villages, and see the old terraces. Travel back to Arequipa for the evening.
Get an early start to be on the look out for the condors flying. Travel from Chivay town to a condor viewpoint to admire these magnificent birds in the air. On the way back, stop by some local villages and viewpoints to see old terraces and sections of Colca Canyon, the deepest canyon in the world.
Explore Arequipa and opt to take a city tour. Take an overnight bus to Nazca.
Optional flight over the Nazca Lines.
Travel north to one of the world's greatest archaeological mysteries, the Nazca Lines. Very little can be seen from the ground. The best view is from a light aircraft, which can easily be arranged.
Transfer to Paracas with a stop at a winery and at the Oasis of Huacachina.
Leave Nazca and stop at the Huacachina Oasis for some optional sandboarding. Continue to visit an artisanal winery to sample some local pisco and wine. Paracas is located one hour further.
Opt to visit the Ballestas Islands in the morning before travelling to Lima for a final night. Be sure to try some ceviche and a Pisco Sour.
Depart at any time.
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Trip Name: Andean Discovery (Northbound)
Duration: 21 Days
From Price: $2,336
Supplier Tour ID: JLM.G/225553
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