Lakes, Indians and Ruins
This tour includes all of the Cusco highlights of our ‘Majestic Cusco’ tour (Machu Picchu, Colonial Cusco, Inca Ruins, Sacred Valley) with extra days exploring the Lake Titicaca Region.
Lake Titicaca is the largest navigable lake in the world and separates southern Peru from Bolivia. Two full days are spent on the Lake itself to visit the incredible floating Uros Islands, as well as the islands of Amantani and Taquile. A real highlight for many is the indigenous family homestay which provides a great opportunity to share a glimpse of the traditional local way of life.
||Welcome to Lima the 'City of Kings'. Upon arrival you will be met at the airport and privately escorted to your hotel.
||Lima - In the morning (or afternoon) your sightseeing tour explores Miraflores and San Isidro, the modern districts of Lima and its historic centre, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The tour includes a visit of San Francisco, the city's most visited church (1674). Its underground tunnels lead to catacombs that served as cemetery until 1808 and still contain bones and skulls. Our next stop is at the Larco Herrera Museum. The collection allows the understanding of 3,000 years of the Peruvian pre-Columbian history in an intuitive way. Its masterpieces are considered worldwide icons of pre-Inca art and have been displayed in the world's most renowned museums.
Lima to Cusco–
transfer to the airport for your flight to Cusco. An early morning flight brings you to the Inca capital of Cusco. Upon arrival, proceed to the hotel to have a welcome coca tea. This should help you to relieve altitude sickness. The remaining of the morning is free to relax, and slowly acclimatize. In the afternoon, your comprehensive city tour includes the beautiful Koricancha or Sun Temple, the Cathedral as well as the Fortress of Sacsayhuaman, a most remarkable Inca building, the amphitheatre of Kenko. This is followed by a visit to Puca Pucara, a strategically located 'red fortress' that dominates the entire area before visiting Tambomachay, with its two distinctive aqueducts that to this day continue to provide clean water to the area.
||Cusco to Sacred Valley - This morning you will be picked up from your hotel for your tour to the Sacred Valley. We make a stop in ’Awana Kancha (weaver's palace in Quechua)’, a breeding centre of South American camels (guanacos, llamas, alpacas and vicunas). Artisans will demonstrate weaving and dyeing ancient Andean techniques from 12 communities still in use today. Continue with the visit of the Pisaq market. Originally a place where people from remote communities used to barter their products, Pisaq has evolved to one of South America's most famous souvenir markets. Make sure to sample some 'empanadas' baked in traditional clay ovens. On route you will also visit the ruins of Pisaq, a site set high above a valley by patterned fields and rimmed by vast terracing. The stonework and panoramas at Pisaq's Inca citadel are magnificent. In the main ruins you will find temples of the sun, moon, rain, rainbow, and stars, as well as a few Inca crosses rising from the ground. The cross represents the different levels of existence: The lower level signifies the underworld, and snake god; the higher level, human existence, represented by the jaguar or puma god; and the highest level, the celestial plane, represented by the condor. Afternoon visit to the fortress of Ollantaytambo where the Temple of the Sun (formed of six gigantic monoliths, whose total weight exceeds 50 tons) and the Terrace of the Ten Niches stand out.
||Sacred Valley to Aguas Calientes - transfer from your hotel in the Sacred Valley to Ollanta train station (only transportation). The train ride takes you through the Sacred Valley of the Incas up to Machu Picchu (unescorted). Upon arrival a small coach takes you up the steep roads to the entrance of the citadel. For centuries Machu Picchu remained undiscovered by the Spaniards and has only been found in 1911 by the American explorer Hiram Bingham. During a guided tour you will experience the uniqueness of the location and the genius that went into its construction, making this Inca site one of the seven new wonders of the world. Accommodation in Aguas Calientes.
||Aguas Calientes to Cusco –
Morning at leisure OR optional second visit to Machu Picchu (at extra cost). In the afternoon, return by train from Aguas Calientes to the station of Poroy (or Ollanta) (unescorted). Arrival and transfer to your hotel (only transportation)
||Cusco - Day at leisure.
||Cusco to Puno - transfer to the bus station. A ten-hour bus trip (OR optional train ride at extra cost) takes you through picturesque Andean landscapes dotted by small villages and herds of llamas and vicunas. Your final destination is Puno, however you make three important stops along your way: the first one is Andahuaylillas known by its baroque church dating from the 17th century. Your bus will climb to La Raya Pass (4,335 m/ 14,172 ft) to enjoy a panoramic view of the snow-capped Andes. Then your tour continues to Raqchi to visit the Viracocha Temple. This was the only Inca temple featuring cylindrical columns covered by fine clay layers. Lunch will be served in a typical restaurant in Sicuani. Upon arrival to Puno, transfer to your hotel
||Lake Titicaca – Our excursion by boat starts with a visit to the Uros islands. After the stopover in one of these floating islands we sail to Amantani Island (approx. 2 1/2 hours). We disembark at midday in Amantani. One of the hill tops of Amantani is topped by 'Pachatata' archaeological site and this afternoon we explore it. In the evening experience some typical dances performed by the islanders.Due to the high altitude (3.800 m) visitors require a certain level of fitness for the hikes on the islands and to the home-stay. Be aware that accommodation there is very basic (shared bathroom without shower), without any electricity or heating. After sunset temperature can drop down to 4 °C (39°F) therefore it can be very cold at night.
||Puno - In the morning on our way back to Puno we visit Taquile Island (1-hour boat drive from Amantani). About 300 families live on this island famous for its weaving. Taquile inhabitants still live under the old Andean laws: Ama Sua (Do not steal), Ama Quella (Do not lie), and Ama Lulla (Do not be lazy). As you hike from the pier to the main square our guide will explain you traditions, lifestyle and details of Taquile weaving technique - one of the finest in the region. After lunch you start your trip back to Puno.
||Puno - At proper time, transfer to Juliaca’s airport for your international connection flight.
NOTE: Peru Rail has introduced new baggage allowance limits of just one piece of hand luggage per person up to 5kg in a bag of maximum total linear dimension of 157cm.
Past Clients Feedback
“Thank you for an unforgettable trip that we will truly never forget. The highlight for us of course was Machu Picchu, but we were pleasantly surprised at how wonderful the other visits were too! 10 out of 10.” (Bernie Adler, UK)
AVAILABILITY: This tour is available throughout the year.
START DATES: flexible to start on any day of the week that you prefer to travel.
- Accommodation on twin/double basis
- Homestay with local family on Isla Amantani
- Meals as listed in itinerary
- Activities as listed in itinerary
- English-speaking guide (on private tours except Cusco which is a group tour)
- All airport transfers
- Entrance fees to all visits in the itinerary
- Train & Bus tickets
- Single Supplement ($360 Regular, $580 Comfort)
- Optional train from Puno to Cusco (instead of bus - approx $212 per person)
- Optional 2nd entrance fee to Machu Picchu (approx $101 per person)
- Meals and activities not listed in itinerary
- International flights
- Domestic flights in Peru
- Airport taxes
- Personal Expenses