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Value Peru: Sacred Valley of the Incas to Lake Titicaca

Day 1

Arrive in Lima. Airport assistance.
 

You will be met at the airport and escorted to your hotel just a few steps from the airport.

Day 2

Fly to Cusco; guided tour of the city and Sacsayhuamán temple fortress.
 
Cusco
Return to the airport for the one hour flight to Cusco.

The name Cusco derives from the Quechua word for navel, indicating its location at the centre of the Inca Empire. Today its many impressive original Inca walls display extraordinary craftsmanship, while the bustling squares are dotted with ornate baroque colonial churches. It’s a vivacious city, where shoeshine boys and postcard sellers jostle for your attention in cobbled streets lined with handicraft shops and cafés. In the evening, the town centre fills with people flocking to the many restaurants, bars and cafés.

Today take a guided tour of the city. You visit Q’oricancha, once the principal Inca Sun Temple, with extraordinarily intricate stonework, and then explore the colossal zigzag walls of Sacsayhuamán, brooding on a hillside above Cusco. The first conquistadores to see this temple fortress were awestruck; centuries later it is still an extraordinary and imposing sight.

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Cusco

Day 3

Day at leisure in Cusco.
 
Los Ninos treet children

Day at leisure to explore Cusco.

If you are staying during the week then there is the opportunity to visit a charity set up by a Dutchwoman, Jolanda van den Berg, to fund the provision of daily hot meals, warm showers, medical/dental care, homework and sports lessons for 500 extremely disadvantaged children in Cusco. There is no charge and no request for money; donations are accepted from anyone who wishes to contribute to the project's continuing success.

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Los Ninos treet children

Day 4

Guided exploration of the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
 
Sacred valley
A guided tour exploring the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The drive takes in several of the villages and temple fortresses that pepper the valley. You visit the artisan market in Pisaq village, dominated by the terraces and fortress high above. Continue along this picturesque, patchwork valley to the fortress/temple of Ollantaytambo. The snow-capped Andean cordillera forms a stunning backdrop. The village sits sitting strategically at the gateway to the Amazon basin.

The fortress, the colonial grid plan and the Inca foundations are still intact and there are wonderful views down over the sloping hillsides and into the fertile valley.

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Sacred valley

Day 5

At leisure in the Sacred Valley.
 
sacred valley

At leisure in the Sacred Valley. You can go horse riding, biking or walking. Alternatively relax in the tranquil countryside.

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sacred valley

Day 6

By road and train to Machu Picchu, guided tour of the site.
 
Machu Picchu

By road back to Ollantaytambo to board the train (1.5hrs) to the ruins of Machu Picchu. As the river Urubamba enters its narrow gorge between thickly-forested granite hills, there is room only for a single track, which hugs the right bank and passes through hamlets that are no more than a collection of shacks beside the railway. Close to the foot of the mountain on a saddle of which the citadel was built is the lively village of Machu Picchu dedicated to serving the many visitors with artisan markets, bars and restaurants.

The majestic ruined city, reclaimed from tropical cloud forest, is reached by minibus up a sinuous road, or on foot up a near vertical rocky path. The American explorer Hiram Bingham discovered it in 1911, by which time it was completely buried beneath jungle vegetation. It is set on a ridge spur amid forested peaks and above a roaring river canyon. You will have a guided tour of the ruins and there is time later to take one of the many trails within the site itself, such as the hike to the vertiginous Inca Bridge, carved into a cliff edge; or wander amongst the stone buildings and llama-dotted grassy ledges, soaking up the atmosphere.

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Machu Picchu

Day 7

Return by rail and road to Cusco.
 
machu picchu

There’s the opportunity to return to the site of Machu Picchu. Getting up early and taking the first buses up to the Machu Picchu is well worth it... The site is virtually empty and the early morning mists swirl around the surrounding mountain tops. There’s an option to climb the torturously steep Huayna Picchu mountain (must be booked in advance); alternatively enjoy the thermal baths or walks in the village below. Return to Cusco by rail and road.

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machu picchu

Day 8

Day at leisure in Cusco.
 
Moray
At leisure in Cusco.

Cusco is a compact city, easy to explore on foot independently. You are at leisure to discover the colourful markets, the many churches and museums, and to wander the attractive narrow streets.

There are optional excursions in the surrounding region, including a trip to Maras and Moray, about an hour’s drive from Cusco, should you wish to venture outside of the city. Moray is a system of ancient agricultural irrigation paths which now form circular depressions in the earth, with wonderful views into the Sacred Valley and in the shadow of the snowy peak of Mount Veronica. From here it is a short walk to the salt pans at Maras, circular pans of glistening white carved into the mountainside. Feeling you’d like to be active? White-water rafting, cycling and horse riding are on offer.

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Moray

Day 9

By coach to Puno on Lake Titicaca.
 
Andahuayillas church
By public coach (tourist service) to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca.

The lonely road follows the fertile Urubamba valley, through fields of crops and livestock and adobe villages, up to a windswept grassy plain framed by jagged mountains. During the 9hr hour journey there are short stops at: Andahuaylillas, where the town's ornate, baroque 17th-century church has beautiful frescoes and an impressive gilded altar; Huaro, Raqchi, here the Temple to Viracocha is the largest roofed building ever built by the Incas: this is one of Peru's most stunning Inca sites; and Pucará, famous for its pre-Inca ruins and local pottery, where you visit the little museum.

There is a short stop at la Raya, with a backdrop of snow-capped peaks, and a buffet or three course lunch is served at Sicuani. There is an English-speaking guide, refreshments and a toilet on board.

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Andahuayillas church

Day 10

By boat to Taquile Island; overnight with a family at Luquina Chico.
 
Taquile ladies
Take a boat trip to the remote and tranquil island of Taquile with its stunning views of Lake Titicaca. Around 1,500 Quechua-speaking indians continue to live in this remote community and many still wear the traditional hand-woven dress. The island, 7km long, is devoid of roads and vehicles, its terraced hills scattered with pre-Inca ruins.

Continue by boat to the indigenous village of Luquina Chico on the Chucuito Peninsula. This community-based tourism initiative has strict controls over visitor access and a visit allows you to spend time with locals and learn more about their way of life. During the afternoon, walk along the lakeshore and enjoy the scenery.

Overnight with a family in the village.

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Taquile ladies

Day 11

Return to Puno.
 
Uros islands

After breakfast with the family there is time to go for a walk or rent a sailboat before a restaurant lunch. In the afternoon, visit the floating Uros Islands, constructed and reconstructed from layers of tortora reeds by the Uros indians over several centuries. Today no pure-blooded Uros remain, but the islands are still home to several hundred inhabitants.

Although the islanders now earn a living mainly from tourism, their unique way of life continues to be totally 'interwoven' with the tortora reeds - their boats, houses and even the football pitch are all made from this material. Afterwards, return to Puno.

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Uros islands

Day 12

Visit Sillustani ruins, fly to Lima and connect with international flight home.
 
Sillustani
En route to Juliaca airport you will visit the ancient burial ground of Sillustani, 32 km from Puno. The site lies on top of a small hill overlooking Lake Uyamo, and is most notable for its chullpas - the funerary towers where the Aymara-speaking Colla people buried their nobility. Although not built by the Incas - the engineering involved in the construction is regarded as far more complex than that seen in much Inca construction - most date from the period of Inca occupation.

The most impressive of the towers, of which there were thousands, are 12m high and are scattered throughout the area. A closer look at those still standing reveals some interesting carvings of reptiles and mammals.

Transfer to airport for flight to Lima, connecting with international flight home.

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Sillustani

Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today.

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We would be delighted to create a truly personalised trip which perfectly matches your wishes and requirements.

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Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today. Value Peru: Sacred Valley of the Incas to Lake Titicaca

  • Nazca Lines + Paracas 3 days from £700pp

    Travel to the Paracas Peninsula and explore the bird-smothered Ballestas Islands by boat. Fly over the Nazca Lines for a bird’s eye view of the giant symbols and lines carved into skeletal desert rock by the pre-Columbian Nazca people.

    Day 1: From Lima, travel by public coach south to Paracas (3.5hrs) on the Panamerican Highway, which follows the contours of the coastal cliffs, carving a lonely path through bleak desert scenery. The severity of the sparsely populated landscape is relieved by tiny oases producing dates or maize and rickety fishing villages. Your modern hacienda-style hotel, La Hacienda Bahia Paracas, overlooks Paracas Bay.

    Day 2: Embark on a private motor-launch tour of the Ballestas Islands, which comprise one of the most important wildlife areas of Peru. The arches and caves - the result of wind and tide erosion - provide shelter for thousands of seabirds: albatrosses, cormorants, boobies, pelicans and the odd Humboldt penguin. The coves and surrounding waters are also visited by sea-lions, the mournful cries of which mingle with the screeches of the birds in a cacophonous symphony of sound.

    Later, board a light aircraft for a 90min flight to and over the Nazca Lines. This series of giant geometrical figures, animals and insects was etched into the desert floor by the Nazca people over a period of several hundred years. The interpretation of the lines puzzles scientists – do they comprise an astronomical map, calendar or astrological symbols? The rocky, wind-contorted desert scenery seen from the air is as startling as the lines themselves.

    Day 3: Return to the city of Lima to continue your holiday or to the airport for your international flight.

    UK clients arrive home the following day

    Breakfast daily.

  • Bogota 3 days from £383pp

    Founded in 1598, the effervescent capital Bogotá sits on an upland Andean plateau. It’s a city of striking contrasts; skyscrapers and colonial single-storey houses, fast highways and cobbled lanes with chaotic traffic and the occasional mule cart.

    There are humble homes clinging to the mountain-sides and affluent tree-lined residential boulevards; crowded alleys and green, wide and shady parks; a cultured middle class jostling with workers and their families from all over Colombia.

    The night scene is lively with music clubs, bars and cafés spilling out on to the pavements.  You can’t really understand Colombia without a visit to this agreeable city.

    Day 1:  Plaza de Bolivar is a good starting point for your guided city tour, with its statue or the Liberator, baroque cathedral and a clutch of  government buildings. It’s in the heart of the Candalaria district which is the literary and artistic heart of Bogotá with theatres, libraries and universities. Here, many of the the original Spanish colonial buildings with their heavy tiled rooves, wrought iron grills and carved wooden doors have been restored. It’s a pleasure to stroll through the cobbled lanes.  On the fringe of this district is the Museo de Oro, one of the best collections of gold artefacts on the continent, beautifully displayed.

    Day 2: Just 90mins' drive from Bogotá the little town Zipaquirá’s fame lies in the subterranean salt cathedral - an enormous church built within a mountain at site of a salt mine. This unique place of worship has a magical feel, with high ceilings, carved pillars and huge stone statues. After your visit, you continue to the crater lake Guatavita, was a sacred place for the Muisca indians and is steeped the mythology of El Dorado. The excursion lasts about eight hours.

    Day 3: Continue your holiday or transfer to Bogotá airport for your international flight.

  • Galapagos on land - Finch Bay 4 days from £645pp

    How do you round off a busy holiday in Ecuador, Peru or Colombia? You might think a trip to the Galápagos Islands a trifle ambitious – not to say costly. And a cruise may well be. But if you have a few days to spare you can stay at a congenial hotel on one of the larger, more interesting and varied islands, Santa Cruz, where in addition to a wide array of the famous trusting Galápagos wildlife, you can experience the verdant volcanic highlands, the white sand beaches and the shops and restaurants of the laid-back capital Puerto Ayora.

    The property has a beautiful setting at Punta Estrada, across the bay from the town.

    Day 1: Fly from the Ecuadorian mainland to Baltra in the Galapagos Islands. Transfer to your hotel Finch bay, on the outskirts of Puerto Ayora.

    Days 2,3: You have two full days where your wishes are catered for individually. The hotel organises an impressive choice of activities and excursions including snorkelling, diving, sea kayaking, mountain biking, hiking and day trips by boat to surrounding islands. We recommend a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station which is home to 11 species of tortoise.

    Day 4: Depart for the Ecuadorian mainland and connect with your international flight.

    Breakfast only.
    NB: the cost of flights from Ecuador, Peru or Colombia to the Galápagos Islands are not included in the price.

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Peru: Sacred Valley of the Incas & Lake Titicaca Tour

12 days from £1,768pp

Price excludes international flights at the beginning and end of the trip

 

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