Exploring the Incan Empire from Machu PIcchu to Lake Titicaca
Click on a date to reserve your space
|Trip Length||8 days/7 nights|
|Price||From $3,495 to $3,895|
|If you have questions about this journey or would like to receive a detailed trip brochure, call 800-445-2995 or click here.|
|*Price varies depending upon departure's group size.|
Day 1 (Cusco) A driver transfers you to the Lima airport for your flight to Cusco, where you’ll be met by your guide. Following an early lunch, our guide takes us on a walking excursion through the hilly, cobblestone streets of Cusco, where ancient Inca walls are still part of the cityscape. This afternoon we drive to the archaeological site of Sacsayhuaman, just outside the city, to walk among ancient stones and climb mysterious stairwells.
Day 2 (Sacred Valley) We head straight to the Sacred Valley, an hour’s drive away, to begin our exploration at the small, traditional weaving town of Chincheros. From here we continue on to the ancient agricultural terraces of Moray, an archaeological wonder and fascinating example of micro-climate agriculture. Our next stop is the salt mines of Maras. We have the option of walking the hour-long trail to the valley floor, stopping at Pichingoto (a small collection of adobe homes built into the cliffs) along the way.
Day 3 (Sacred Valley and river float ) Our river float begins at Pachar on mellow waters surrounded by spectacular views of the mountains and archaeological remains, and continues toward Ollantaytambo with its amazing Inca terraces. The float features easy Class II with a fun Class III rapid at the finish. Lunch is at a community-owned restaurant at our take-out point. This is a great chance to enjoy Andean cuisine while supporting community projects. After lunch we drive to the Ollantaytambo fortress to walk its many stairs, corridors, and pathways and learn about its unique, incredible construction.
Day 4 (Ollantaytambo and Pisac) Markets and crafts are our focus this morning, at the famous Pisac market. From there we visit the Pisac ruins then either make the two-hour return walk or get a ride back with our driver. This afternoon we stop by a chicheria to sample some of the traditional alcoholic or nonalcoholic chicha beverage. We’ll also visit a ceramics store, getting back to our inn with time to wander the gardens before dinner.
Day 5 (Machu Picchu) After breakfast, we return to Ollantaytambo to catch the train, enjoying gorgeous scenery on the way to Machu Picchu. With Machu Picchu’s large scale and many stairs, we take four hours to explore this world wonder, walking up, down, and around the mountainous complex. Our phenomenal guided exploration is rich in information and theories on its history. If you are feeling adventurous, you may choose to hike up above the ruins to a spectacular viewpoint.
Day 6 (Lake Titicaca ) After some naturalist-led activities this morning, we catch the train back to the Sacred Valley and transfer to Cusco to catch a flight to Juliaca and Lake Titicaca. Most travelers don’t take the time to go beyond Machu Picchu, but this short flight delivers you into a whole new world, with floating reed islands, very different Inca ruins, desert homes, and the highest navigable lake in the world. On the way to Titicaca we explore the pre-Inca burial center of Sillustani, located on the banks of beautiful Lake Umayo. The saturated colors and clear air at this high-elevation site are remarkable.
Day 7 (Lake Titicaca and Taquile ) A 1.5-hour-long boat ride takes us to the island community of Llachon where we set off in sea kayaks for a paddling adventure, accompanied by a support boat. At the island of Taquile, we climb over a hundred stone stairs to the main plaza to meet villagers and learn about their communal economy. Taquileños are famous for their fine textiles, which we can peruse and purchase this afternoon before dining at a traditional restaurant on the island’s summit. We return to Puno mid afternoon with time to rest and relax before dinner.
Day 8 (Lake Titicaca and Uros, and Lima for departures home) After breakfast we board a private boat to the famous Uros floating reed islands. Inheritors of an ancient culture, these lake nomads rely on the lake resources to subsist, just as their ancestors did thousands of years ago. They live a very unique life on these floating islands of totora reed. Later this morning we transfer to Juliaca for the flight back to Lima to catch connections home.