Day 1: Lima, Peru
You are met at the airport and escorted across the street to your hotel for check in.
Day 2: Jaén, Chachapoyas
An escort gets you to the right domestic airport terminal for your flight to Jaén, where you are met by a driver. You’ll stop for a traditional lunch along the way to Chachapoyas, and enjoy dinner tonight at your lodging.
Day 3: Revash, Leymebamba
Discover the treasures of the Mausoleums of Revash, and the Museum at Leymebamba. The outdoor mausoleums look like little houses. They are built into high limestone cliffs, constructed of rock and adobe and painted pink and cream. The Museum at Leymebamba contains an impressive array of daily and funerary objects, including more than 200 mummies.
Day 4: Karajia Sarcophagi and Quiocta Caverns
A cool hike takes you uphill to the mysterious Karajia Sarcophagi. The 8-foot-tall figures look a little like the moai of Easter Island, with bodies. A detour into Quiocta Caverns reveals pottery shards and stalagtites. In the afternoon, meet a potter who still uses ancient tools and historical methods.
Day 5: Kuélap Fortress
Your whole day is devoted to exploring the carefully restored Kuélap Fortress, which some people call “the Other Machu Picchu.” This mountaintop fortress is actually larger, and is considered the largest stone ruins in the New World. An eye-popping 20-minute cable car ride to the site saves you hiking an immense valley.
Day 6: Gocta Falls
A drive of about an hour gets you to the trailhead for Gocta Falls. A guide leads you on the approximately two-hour hike through tropical forest to the falls, which are the third highest in the world. Enjoy great birding on the way! The waterfall was a local secret for a long time and has only recently made it onto the tourist map.
Day 7: Lima
Transfer back to Jaén for a flight to Lima.
Day 8: Lima
Enjoy a guided city tour. You might enjoy a special “foodie” experience—Lima has been named the World's Leading Culinary Destination many years in a row.
Day 9: Cusco, Sacred Valley, Moray Terraces, Maras
Fly to Cusco and descend in elevation to the Sacred Valley to help you acclimate. The day includes explorations at Moray Terraces (which may have been a 15th century “agricultural research station”) and Maras salt pans, which are still used exactly as they were in the time of the Incas.
Day 10: Rafting, Pumamarca Ruins
Switch gears a bit with some whitewater rafting this morning, then get back into the Incan groove with a leisurely afternoon hike to Pumamarca Ruins, a hillside fortress with commanding views.
Day 11: Chinchero, Huchuy Qosqo, Lamay
This is a big hiking day (all downhill), with a trek from Chinchero to Huchuy Qosqo ruins—a spectacular route to an important archaeological site. End the day walking down to the town of Lamay.
Day 12: Machu Picchu, Huayna Picchu
Catch the train to bucket list Machu Picchu! Explore Machu Picchu, then get a fabulous perspective by hiking a trail around the top of the mountain, past ancient altars, staircases, and tunnels, for a spectacular view overlooking Machu Picchu.
Day 13: Sacred Valley, Ollantaytambo, Cusco
Catch the train down to Ollantaytambo to explore those famous ruins, then head back to Cusco.
Day 14: Cusco
There is much to discover (and many layers) in the ancient city, once the capital of the Inca Empire. Like the Koricancha Temple, once the center of Cusco. When the Spaniards arrived, they destroyed most of the temple and built a church on the site. And the Sacsayhuaman ruins, a fascinating walled complex on the outskirts of the city.
Day 15: Tranquil Tipón ruin, departures home
Wind down at the tranquil, water-based Tipón ruin, one of the lesser visited sites in the Sacred Valley—even though they are among the most impressive, with terraces, fountains, and water channels. This afternoon, transfer to the airport for connections home through Lima.
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