Inca Trail & Titicaca (12D)
The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu tour is a world-class trek, showcasing the Inca’s advanced architectural and engineering skills, that culminates in the beautiful and haunting ruins of the famed ‘lost city’ of Machu Picchu. This adventure combines the Inca Trail tour with our Lake Titicaca tour. First we start with our Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu tour then from Cusco we travel across the legendary “Altiplano” via train to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca (12,000 feet). Lake Titicaca has sustained Andean cultures for centuries and is the mythical birthplace of the Inca culture and it’s creators. During this journey, we will have the opportunity to visit the floating Uros islands as well as picturesque Taquile Island. This Peru tour will keep you active and engaged.
*Note – Inca Trail to Machu Picchu trek is restricted to 500 persons per day.*
Inca Trail & Lake Titicaca (12 Day)
DAY 1: ARRIVE LIMA
Arrival and transfer to your hotel. If you arrive early, we can arrange optional tours to museums or to visit the city and surroundings sites.
DAY 2: LIMA – CUSCO
Morning departure for flight to Cusco (10,856 ft.), center of the Inca Empire. Airport pickup and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax, allow yourself the necessary time to acclimatize to the altitude, and feel the history and culture of this amazing Andean city. (B)
DAY 3: CUSCO
After breakfast you will have a morning guided walking tour to visit the historic sites of Cusco, the colonial Cathedral and the impressive Temple of the Sun (Koricancha). We then transfer to the nearby fortress of Sacsayhuaman with its megalithic stone terraces; Kenko, with its carved stone surfaces and subterranean altars; the small fortress of Puka Pukara that protected the royal capital from attacks and the water temple Tambo Machay. Late afternoon transfer to your comfortable hotel in Cusco. (B)
DAY 4: CUSCO – SACRED VALLEY
Sacred Valley Accommodations
Full day guided excursion to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Our first stop will be the picturesque town of Pisac, with a visit to the ruins above the town and a stop to check out the daily market.* After lunch, we continue down the Urubamba valley to reach the charming town of Ollantaytambo (9,185 ft.). Here we will have plenty of time to explore the town and the impressive Inca fortress that towers nearby. The Urubamba valley was an important agricultural area in Inca times, as manifested by the many Inca remains dispersed throughout the valley. Overnight in Sacred Valley. *Due to its popularity, there is a market at Pisac every day, with the largest market day being Sun, as well as Tue & Thu. (B,L)
DAY 5: SACRED VALLEY – PISKAKUCHO – PATALLACTA
Up early for the morning bus ride to Piskakucho (Km 82), where we disembark to begin our trek. After meeting our porters we begin the trek, crossing the Urubamba River by bridge. Continuing on our way along the winding path, between the sloping banks of the Urubamba River, we can observe the Vilcanota mountain ranges and see Mount Veronica (18,745 ft.). In the afternoon, we visit the Patallacta (8,800 ft.) archeological complex and the Q’ente platforms. Overnight Patallacta camp. (B,L,D)
DAY 6: PATALLACTA – LLULLUCHAPAMPA
Our route takes us through the narrow Cusichaca valley, whose slopes show the clear imprint of an ancient culture and its agriculture practices. Later we pass the small indigenous community of Huayllabamba (9,025 ft.). Along the trail, up this narrow hanging valley, we begin to see a cloud forest that harbors the Queñua tree, a rare forest to be found in the Andes. From here the trail ascends steeply to Llulluchapampa (12,300 ft.), a large pampa below the first pass. Here we have a breathtaking view of Mt. Huayanay. Overnight Llulluchapampa camp. (B,L,D)
DAY 7: LLULLUCHAPAMPA – PHUYUPATAMARCA
Slow and steady is the rule of the day as the trail ascends steeply towards Warmiwañusca pass (13,680 ft.), the highest point on the trek. From the pass, the trail descends to the Pacaymayo River and then climbs slowly up past the ruins of Runkuraqay. From here we cross a lower pass to the ruins of Sayacmarca (12,628 ft.). We continue our way along a marvelous section of Inca engineering to finally reach the beautiful ruins of Phuyupatamarca (12,000 ft). Overnight Phuyupatamarca camp. (B,L,D)
DAY 8: PHUYUPATAMARCA – MACHU PICCHU
Machu Picchu Accommodations
After continuing along a buttress and passing Phuyupatamarca ruins, the flag stoned trail winds sharply down into the cloud forest to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna (8,855 ft.), located along the same watercourse as Phuyupatamarca, with well restored Inca ruins. After a two-hour walk through a cloud forest covered Inca Trail, we arrive at Machu Picchu (7,800 ft.) through the Intipunku, the door of the sun. Hike down to a great viewpoint for photos, and continue down (via bus) to nearby Aguas Calientes. Overnight Aguas Calientes hotel. (B,L)
DAY 9: MACHU PICCHU – CUSCO
Early morning bus ride brings us to the ruins for incredible photos and the opportunity to climb the famous peak of Huayna Picchu (8,900 ft/2,720 m), beautifully situated, overlooking the Machu Picchu ruins. Afterwards we have a guided tour of the ruins (3 hrs approx)*. The rest of the day can be dedicated to exploring this extraordinary site at your leisure. The mid-afternoon Vistadome train returns us to Ollantaytambo, where a private vehicle is waiting for the 1.5 hr transfer to Cusco. Overnight Cusco hotel. (B)
*Climbing Huayna Picchu (permit required) – Only the first 400 people who purchase permits are allowed to climb the peak, per day (subject to change by park administration at any time). Two opportunities for 200 people (400 total) are offered per day (7am or 10 am).
DAY 10: CUSCO – PUNO
7am: Morning transfer to train station for a full day ride over the “altiplano” (high planes) to Puno along the shore of Lake Titicaca. You will travel onboard the Andean Explorer - Luxury coaches, including dining cars and an open-air observation-bar car, all decorated in exquisite elegance and style, cannot fail to charm and delight. Onboard dining features an excellent three course lunch followed by coffee served in the observation-bar car. *The train option is only available: Mon/Wed/Fri (Apr-Oct)/Sat. (B,L)
*If scheduling does not permit passenger to take the train then the transfer can be done via a comfortable tourist class bus. Overnight Puno hotel. (B,L)
DAY 11: PUNO – LAKE TITICACA – PUNO
8am - 12:30pm: Leaving from the dockside at Puno harbor at 9am, we travel by boat via the famous floating Uros Islands to the tranquil setting of Taquile Island, a community of male weavers and spinners in a Mediterranean-like setting. Afternoon return to Puno. (B,L)
DAY 12: PUNO – LIMA – HOME
Transfer to airport for departure flight to Lima or Arequipa. Along the way, we visit the burial ruins of Sillustani. (B)
Key: (B)reakfast (L)unch (D)inner
Physical Requirements: Involves moderate to strenuous trekking/hiking at high elevations (above 10,000 ft.) and in varying temperature conditions. Good walking/aerobic fitness is required.
Note: Any physical activity at high altitude can be a challenge. It is the traveler's responsibility to best evaluate their physical ability to meet the stated Physical Requirements.