What makes this trip special
An 18 day journey with expert bilingual local guides that takes you to the heart of the Inca Empire and onto visit some of the most remote and pristine islands in the Galapagos. The first part of the journey explores in depth some of the most spectacular corners of the Inca Empire, from Cusco, to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, to the glorious mountain stronghold of Machu Picchu and onto Lake Titicaca, where it all began. Here you have the chance to stay as guests of the community on the island of Taquile in the heart of the lake. From here you head to Ecuador and onto the Galapagos Islands where you have 6 days cruising between the islands experiencing some of the most spectacular and intimate wildlife experiences on earth.
- Experience Galapagos and Peru, two of South Americas top destinations
- 6 days cruising Galapagos on board one of the best yachts
- Expert bilingual Galapagos National Park guide and a bilingual specialist guide throughout the Peru portion of the trip
- Explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas
- See the sun rise over the majestic Machu Picchu
- Cross the dramatic and beautiful high Andes region
- Spend a night as a guest of the Taquile community on Lake Titicaca
18 Days from £5041 per person, based on 2 people sharing and excluding flights
Arrive Cusco – Sacred Valley
You will be met at Cusco airport by your bilingual guide and will set off down to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Urubamba. The Urubamba Valley was sacred to the Incas for many reasons; one key one being that it had an agreeable climate and fertile planes, a rare combination in the high Andes. By having the first stage of your visit to the Peruvian Andes here, it gives you plenty of time to adjust to the altitude. Your guide will take you to your hotel, your home for the next 3 nights
Sacred Valley – Pisac and Ollantaytambo
his morning you will be picked up by your private guide and taken to Pisac, a village above which lies a majestic Inca fortress overlooking the valley, filled with wonderful examples of Inca stonework and engineering. Time to explore here, before you head off for lunch together guide. In the afternoon you will head back towards Ollantaytambo with your guide. As well as exploring its magnificent Inca ruins which were a major fortress and the last stronghold of the Incas as they fought off the Spanish Invaders, you will also visit the town itself, an exquisite traditional community and living Inca village that retains the stonework, narrow streets and family courtyards of its original Inca plan. (B,L)
Maras and Moray
Today together with your guide a chance to explore more in depth the Sacred Valley and visit the two small towns that lie in the middle of the valley, Maras and Moray which provide the perfect chance to get off the beaten track and get more intimate with Incan history. The salt flats of Maras are a true hidden beauty of the Sacred Valley and have been used for salt extraction since Inca times. After lunch you then head to visit the experimental agricultural terraces at Moray. Different levels of terraces are carved into a huge bowl. The terraces supposedly have varied microclimates, depending on how deep they are and are thought to have been used by the Incas to discover the optimal conditions for their crops. Returning to Ollantaytambo and your hotel in the afternoon. (B,L)
This morning, you will take the train to Aguas Calientes and then on to Machu Picchu. So well hidden in the jungle covered ramparts of the Cordillera Villcabamba that the Spaniards never knew of it, Machu Picchu affords a glimpse into the Inca world and is one of the most stunning archaeological sites on earth. Together with your guide you will take the train towards Machu Picchu from the station at Ollantaytambo. The train journey itself today is quite something through really beautiful scenery winding through the Sacred Valley and then when you arrive at Aguas Calientes, the small town close to Machu Picchu. Then together with your private guide you will have chance to explore the ruins in depth. You will have lunch together at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, we will purchase a second entrance for the afternoon visits so you have some time to explore on your own and soak up the ruins once the day crowds have dispersed. (B,L)
Machu Picchu – Cusco
This morning you are on your own (we have purchased a 3rd entrance for you) and if you wish you can go across to Machu Picchu in time for the sunrise and chance to explore more the ruins at our own pace and soak up the amazing setting. A shuttle bus (the same that you took the previous day with your guide runs every 15 minutes from the town to the ruins, so you can just hop on that bus). A third entrance to the ruins is included, and then in the afternoon you will return to Aguas Calientes to take the train back to Ollantaytambo where you will be met by our driver and taken back to Cusco, your home for the next 3 nights.
This morning one of the top local guides will meet you at your hotel and take you on a private tour of the city of Cusco the ceremonial heart of the Inca Empire. Cusco was inhabited by ‘proto-Incas’ as early as the 12th Century AD and was completely rebuilt in the early 15th Century by Pachacuteq, the Inca warrior-King and stood as the heart of the Incan kingdom. Inca walls remain the foundations of many of the city’s colonial buildings. You will also visit Saqsayhuaman, the monolithic Inca fortress overlooking Cusco, and the temple and amphitheatre at Kenko. Saqsayhuaman has some of the most impressive Inca walls in existence, built of hundreds of perfectly fitted stone blocks that weigh up to 130 tonnes each. The site is often called a fortress but more likely it was a sanctuary and temple to the sun. (B)
Cusco – free day to explore on your own.
Today you have the day to explore Cusco on foot on your own a really beautiful city that is perfect for walking and exploring on your own. (B)
Cusco - Altiplano – Puno
Today you will travel by coach throughout the day across the altiplano with the Inka Express, which will take you across the spectacular scenery of the altiplano, making strategic stops along the way to visit sites of interest with a bilingual guide, and also including a buffet lunch at Sicuani. Visits today include: The Raqchi Inca remains, the world’s largest Inca temple ruins. Central to the ruins is the Temple of Wiracocha, which is 300 feet long — the length of a U.S. football field — by about 80 feet wide and 60 feet high, with Inca stonework covering the first 13 feet high and adobe the rest. The site is thought to have been inhabited from 200 BC, but undoubtably the main attraction are the structures dedicated it the Inca Wiracocha. Very few tourists visit this site as it is out of the way, but makes a great strategic stop on todays journey. Checacupe site with its Inca rope bridge and the Andahuaylillas Church, described as the Sistine Chapel of the Andes because of the beauty of its mural painting. Built by the Jesuits in the 16th Century over a pre-Colombian sacred site. The journey will take all day. Upon arrival to Puno, you will be met by one of our local guides and taken to your hotel.
The mighty Lake Titicaca straddles the border of Bolivia and Peru and is the world’s highest navigable lake, at 3,830m above sea level. The snow-capped Andes, often cloaked in an ethereal mist, are a spectacular backdrop against the electric blue waters. The Andean people refer to the lake as "The Sacred Lake" and legend has it that the first Inca rose from its depths and went out to found the Inca Empire. The Andean people refer to the lake as "The Sacred Lake" and legend has it that the first Inca rose from its depths before he founded the Inca Empire. You will be picked up from the hotel and taken to the port where you will set off to visit the Uros floating islands. You then continue on to Taquile, home to pre-Inca ruins and amazing views of the lakes and where traditional beliefs and ways of life still predominate. The handicrafts here are exceptional quality and everyone in the community is seemingly either weaving, knitting or spinning You will have lunch in one of the local restaurants and then your local guide will accommodate you at one of the guest houses in the island (whilst this is a fantastic experience, we understand perhaps this option isn’t for everyone, and we have an alternative staying in a beautiful hotel on an island in the lake, with the community stay it will be basic services, no running water or electricity) You will stay tonight as the guests are one of the families giving you a unique chance to see how this fascinating and truly unique community lives, upholding their traditions and habits in a modern world. The quietness, the landscape and the authenticity of the people and lack of modern conveniences is a liberating experience. It really is as if time has stood still here! ****** Please note that the services will be very basic here, it is a really wonderful experience, but not for everyone so we may need to consider alternatives for your Lake Titicaca part of the trip. (B,L)
Lake Titicaca - Puno
After breakfast you will have the chance to continue exploring the island and observing the gentle pace of daily life here, or you could walk down to one of the beaches in the southern part of the island. Departing for Puno early afternoon, approximately a 3 hour boat journey, back to the dock from where you will be taken back to your hotel.
Transfer to Juliaca for Flight to Lima
This morning you will be picked up from the hotel and taken to the airport in Juliaca for your flight to Lima where you will be met and taken to your hotel for the night.
Lima – Guayaquil
Today you will be picked up from your hotel and taken to the airport for your flight to to Guayaquil on the coast of Ecuador. Upon arrival to Guayaquil you will be met by one of our team of guides and taken to your hotel for the night. Overnight Guayaquil (B)
Guayaquil – Galapagos to start your cruise
This morning you will be picked up from the hotel and taken to the airport for your flight to Galapagos. Upon arrival to the Galapagos Islands you will be met by your bilingual Galapagos National Park guide and will be taken to board your yacht, and begin the cruise. Galapagos Cruise: The following 6 days you will be cruising gently between the Galapagos Islands experiencing some of the most pristine and intimate wildlife encounters on earth.
Galapagos – Guayaquil – onward flights
Today on the last day of your cruise you will have an early visit in Galapagos before being taken to the airport for your flight back to mainland Ecuador and onward flights home.
El Mapi Hotel
Inkaterra Pueblo Hotel
Casa Andina Private Collection Valle Sagrado
Tambo del Inca
Miraflores Park Hotel
Grande Hotel Guayaquil
Hotel del Parque