Anywhere you go in the world, there tends to be a well trodden path created by many tourists who...
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Empire of the Inca
Transport - Minibus/small coach, in country flight, on foot and train, (raft).
Accommodation - Hotels (9nts), camping (3nts), basic hotel (1nt).
Meals - 13 breakfasts, 4 lunches & 3 dinners.
We often have multiple itineraries so please check to see which itinerary is suitable for you, by selecting the relevant tab.
Your trip starts in Lima. Please check into your hotel and meet your tour leader in the hotel reception at 14.00. Hotel – 1 night
This morning you transfer to the airport and fly to Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. At this altitude the sun is very hot in the daytime but temperatures at night can drop below freezing in the winter months of June, July and August.
Hotel - 1 night (B)
A short drive to the port brings you to the shores of the lake. At this altitude (3850m), the air is thin and clear and the glistening icecaps of a cordon of Andean peaks seem close. You sail to Amantani via the floating reed islands of the Uros Indians. The life of the Uros is based on the tortora reed, which grows in the lake and is used to construct their houses and boats. You spend around four hours sailing between islands and marvelling at the views across this vast body of water. The island of Amantani has six tiny villages and carefully maintained terraced fields where life continues much as it has done for centuries. It is well worth climbing to the island’s highest point for sunset. Spending the night in a village house affords a very special insight to the lives of the islanders. Rustic village house - 1 night (B)
Taquile Island & Puno
Travelling by boat you cross over to Taquile Island where you glimpse an age-old way of life with rich traditions of weaving, music and dance. The local style of dress echoes that worn in colonial times. The beautiful weaving and knitting here is famous and available for sale in the crafts co-operative. Boarding the boat you make the pleasant return trip across the lake to Puno. Hotel - 1 night (B)
An early start today as you take a shared tourist bus across dusty altiplano, dotted with llama, alpaca and the simple adobe dwellings of local herders. Once over the pass at La Raya (4321m) the scenery changes. The fertile valleys are still worked by beast or groups of industrious villagers; their timeless agricultural methods prove the value of the knowledge of long ago. You have the opportunity to stop at several places of interest along the way including La Raya pass and the Inca ruins of Racchi and Pucara (about seven hours drive). Alternatively you may prefer the option of making this classic journey by rail (additional cost) taking you through the same spectacular scenery in the comfort of Orient Express carriages. In the evening you arrive in Cusco, the seat of Inca rule for some 500 years. Hotel - 2 nights (B)
A walking orientation tour this afternoon reveals more of Cusco’s historical and archaeological treasures. The imperial city was laid out in the rough shape of a puma. Today, its orderly streets bear witness to the extraordinary skill of Inca stonemasons; many are still lined with precisely interlocked stonework which serves as the foundation for later buildings from the colonial era, creating an atmospheric pastiche of contrasting architectural styles. With your local guide, you explore the inner city on foot.
The Sacred Valley
You spend this morning exploring the vast fortress of Sacsayhuaman. The skillfully constructed outer walls consist of massive blocks of stone, the largest weighing over 350 tonnes. Close by you also visit some of Cusco’s outlying Inca sites – Q’enqo, Puka Pukara and Tambo Machay. A short drive of about 30 minutes brings you to Pisac where the local Thursday market fills the main plaza with bustle and brightly-coloured costume. Sitting high above the town perch the ruins of Pisac with sweeping terraces and spectacular views. After a 40-minute drive through the heart of the valley you arrive in Yucay your base for the next two nights.
Hotel - 2 nights (B)
The Sacred Valley
The Sacred Valley was the heartland of the Inca Empire; full of farmer’s fields, mountain views and quiet rural charm; you have the whole day to enjoy its delights. There is plenty to do in the valley; you can take to mountain bikes for a stunning ride from Chinchero via the Inca ruins of Moray before descending past the salt pans of Maras; alternatively you can explore on horseback or go white water rafting on the Urubamba River, stretch your legs with some stunning walking or relax and enjoy the peace (all optional). (B)
Minibus to Pachar (Sacred Valley). Follow the Huarocondo Gorge a short way upstream to our trailhead at the village of Raphcca, (2,900m). Visit the little-known Inca ruin of Corimarca, high above the Soccma Valley. Camp here, or at a spacious set of Inca terraces a short distance up valley. Approx. walking 5hrs. Distance 5km.
Camp - 3 nights (BLD)
Ascend through meadows and puna to the pass of Chancachucu (4,400m). In clear weather this section of the journey offers dramatic panoramas of every major peak in the region: Ausangate, the Qoyllur Rit’i range and the Cordillera Urubamba. Cross the pass with views of the glaciers of Verónica to camp at Q’euñacancha. Approx. walking 7hrs. Distance 9km. (BLD)
Continuing along the Chancachucu Valley, follow the broken remains of an Inca water channel. The stream plunges through Punkuyoc, a narrow ravine enclosed by vertical cliffs. The narrow trail zig-zags steeply down open, grassy slopes, offering spectacular views of the Camicancha Valley. Enjoy lunch near the well-preserved Inca complex of Choquetacarpo and camp near Cachicata village. Approx. walking 7hrs. Distance 11km. (BLD)
Machu Picchu (2,400m)
After an early breakfast, walk to Ollantaytambo then on by train to Aguas Calientes, your base for visiting the famous ruins of Machu Picchu, which you will see with the group tomorrow – Overnight at Aguas Calientes. Approx. walking 1.5hrs. Distance 4km. Basic Hotel - 1 night (BL)
Machu Picchu & Cusco
Rising early this morning your group has Machu Picchu ruins largely to itself before the train brings in day-visitors from Cusco. Today you'll meet up with the rest of the group who have been on the classic Inca Trail.
The magnificent lost city, rediscovered by American archaeologist Hiram Bingham in 1911, stands on a high saddle dominated by the jungle-clad peak of Wayna Picchu. You have time to make the vertiginous climb to its summit for dramatic views of the city spread out below or simply just wander the myriad of steps and stairways of the site, revealing as they do a vast complex of immense structural, historical and archaeological worth. Later in the day you catch the train back to Cusco. Hotel - 1 night (B)
The trip ends in Cusco. (B)
Save 5% on the Inca Trail
Save 5% off this trip when you book 6 months in advance.
* Prices shown on Dates/Prices page are before discount. Discount is applied in checkout (step 3).
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