Take a 2-day Inca trek to Machu Picchu through the fairy tale landscape of the Andes. You will also discover the Inca capital, Cusco, as well as Lima, Arequipa, Colca Canyon and Lake Titicaca.
Take a 2-day Inca trek to Machu Picchu through the fairy tale landscape of the Andes. You will also discover the Inca capital, Cusco, as well as Lima, Arequipa, Colca Canyon and Lake Titicaca.
Comprehensive package of excursions:
Join us on an adventurous tour to Peru, where amazing natural experiences, impressive Inca ruins and beautiful colonial gems await you.
The tour starts in Lima, where you will see both the modern district and the city’s UNESCO-listed historic centre with the Church and Convent of San Francisco, built during the colonial era.
You will then fly to Arequipa, also known as the “White City” because of its beautiful white buildings built from volcanic rock. You will see the famous colonial Monastery of Santa Catalina and enjoy the view of the three surrounding volcanoes: Misti, Chachani and Pichu Pichu.
From Arequipa, the tour takes you to incredible nature experiences in Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world. The barren highland landscape is home to alpacas, llamas and the majestic condor, to name but a few animals.
Before heading to Cusco, the ancient capital of the Incas, you will visit Lake Titicaca, where traditional indigenous communities still uphold ancient traditions.
An exciting historical mix of relics from the colonial era and Inca ruins awaits you in Cusco. The highlight will undoubtedly be your 2-day trekking adventure along the ancient Inca trails through the enchanting landscapes of the Andes to the most famous Inca ruin of them all: Machu Picchu.
Today, you will leave the UK and head to Peru with connecting flight(s) along the way.
On your arrival at Lima airport, you will be met by a representative of our partner in Peru, who will drive you to your hotel. The drive from the airport to the hotel takes around 1 hour and along the way you will be given information about your tour and answers to any questions you may have.
The rest of the day is yours to do as you please.
Today, you will be going on an exciting half-day guided tour of Lima, which takes you both to the modern district and the historic centre of the city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Peruvian capital was founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro following the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire, and the buildings in the city’s historic centre therefore also bear characteristics of the colonial era.
You will be picked up from the hotel and head to the vibrant central square of the city, Plaza Mayor, which is adorned with flowers in red, white and yellow, tall palm trees and a fountain with the city’s guardian angel placed at the top. The historic square is surrounded by beautiful colonial buildings, including the Government Palace, the the Archbishop’s Palace and Lima’s impressive cathedral, where Pizarro’s earthly remains rest.
The tour continues to the Church and Convent of San Francisco, the entrance of which is adorned with fine mosaic tiles from Seville. Housing more than 25,000 ancient texts – some from before the conquest – the church library is world famous. Beneath the church are impressive catacombs with skulls and bones placed in such a way as to form geometric figures.
You will then visit the San Isidro district with its beautiful parks such as the lovely Parque El Olivar, followed by the modern district of Miraflores with its beautiful gardens, squares, boulevards and cosy cafés and restaurants.
Before the guided tour comes to a close, you will also visit the Lima Art Museum, where you gain an insight into Peruvian history before the Spanish conquest, as the museum houses an extensive collection of pre-Columbian jewellery and crafts.
The rest of the afternoon and evening are yours to do as you please.
You will be picked up from your hotel in the morning and driven to Lima airport, from which you will fly to the elegant colonial city of Arequipa. On your arrival at Arequipa airport, you will be picked up and driven to your hotel.
The city lies at the foot of the three volcanoes: Misti (5,822 metres), Chachani (6,057 metres) and Pichu Pichu (5,664 metres), which help give the city its unique atmosphere. Arequipa is also known as “The White City”, as nearly all of its old buildings are built exclusively from white volcanic stone.
After checking in at the hotel, you will go on an exciting guided tour of the city, which takes you to see the city’s many grand mansions and colonial buildings. You will visit the beautiful central square, Plaza de Armas, with its decorative old lampposts, fountain, palm trees and the city’s magnificent white cathedral.
Afterwards, you will visit the large Monastery of Santa Catalina, which is Arequipa’s most famous attraction. The monastery was founded in 1580 by a rich widow named María de Guzmán and later extended. The monastery was exclusively for the city’s upper class citizens, and during the colonial era it was customary for the second eldest daughter of rich families to be sent to the monastery, never to come outside the walls again. At one time, more than 400 nuns lived here. It was not until 1970 that the monastery opened its doors. Nowadays, nowhere near as many nuns live at the monastery, and they are free to leave Santa Catalina as they please.
Before heading back to the hotel, you will also visit Yanahuara square, which is a great place to take photos of the impressive volcanoes.
Early this morning, you start by checking out of your hotel before heading for the fascinating, deep gorge, Colca Canyon. The canyon is one of the deepest in the world, with a depth of approx. 3,400 metres, which is about twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the United States.
On the way, you cross the spectacular plateau called Altiplano, which is characterised by its dry, barren landscape with open expanses. In several places, you will be driving at an altitude of over 4,000 metres. You will also pass several small villages where you will have the opportunity to see the local shepherds with their llamas and alpacas. After a few hours’ drive, you will reach the town of Chivay, which is located in the Colca valley and serves as an entrance to Colca Canyon. The landscape around the town is dominated by stunning mountainsides and the Sabancaya (5,976 metres) and Ampato (6,288 metres) volcanoes.
After the long bus ride, it’s time for a spot of pampering, so you round off the day with a visit to Chivay’s hot thermal baths, which are naturally heated by the volcanic activity in the area.
It’s an early start this morning, as you’ll be heading for Mirador Cruz del Condor, which is a wonderful vantage point from which to look out over one of the deepest parts of Colca Canyon. The vantage point is named after the condors, which like to hover over the canyon, displaying their wingspan of up to 3 metres. Standing here, looking out over the impressive canyon, is quite an indescribable experience.
After the magnificent nature experience near the top of the canyon, you will go for a short walk in Colca Valley, where you will be able to see ancient pre-Columbian agricultural terraces that date right back to the 11th century and which are still used today.
You will then return to Chivay, where you will have lunch before driving to the city of Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca, one of the world’s largest and highest lakes. The lake covers an area of around 8,340 km2 and is located at an altitude of around 3,810 metres.
Lake Titicaca had an important historical significance for the Incas, as the founder of the Inca Empire, Manco Cápac, is said to have risen from the lake to found the Inca Empire to the north of Cusco, where he became the first ruler. In Puno, Manco Capác and the founding of the empire are celebrated annually, and you will also see a statue of Manco Cápac in the city.
Today, you will be going on a full-day excursion on Lake Titicaca, which is located on the border between Peru and Bolivia. The shores and islands of Lake Titicaca are inhabited by various indigenous peoples who speak either Quechua or Aymara.
First, you sail out to the Aymara-speaking Uro people, who live on floating reed islands in Puno Bay, where houses and boats are built from reeds from the lake. The Uro people have survived on a combination of hunting and fishing, and you will gain an insight into their daily lives and learn about their culture.
The next stop is the island of Taquile, where you will spend time with the local Quechua-speaking people and also gain an insight into their daily life and culture. You will probably find that the two island communities have very different traditions. Afterwards, the guide will take you on a walk up to the island’s highest point, from which you can enjoy a magnificent view of the immense Lake Titicaca.
You will be sailed back to Puno in the afternoon and have the rest of the day to do as you please.
Puno is known for llama and alpaca farming, making this a great place to purchase woollen goods.
Today, you will be embarking on a long, but eventful trip. You will be picked up from your hotel and driven to Puno bus station, where a bus is waiting to drive you to Cusco, the capital of the Inca Empire and today a thriving multicultural city with impressive colonial buildings and intriguing Inca ruins.
On the way, you cross the Altiplano plateau, where you will have the opportunity to see vicunas, which belong to the camel family and are related to the alpaca and the llama. There are several stops along the way, when you will be given a guided tour of ancient ruins and monuments.
The first stop is the impressive Pucará ruins, also called Kalasaya, which consist of more than 9 pyramids and were built by Pucará’s inhabitants more than 2,000 years ago. You will then pass Abra La Raya, which is the highest point on the route at 4,338 metres. From here, you head down through a scenic valley brimming with crops such potatoes and maize. The next stop is at the Raqchi Inca complex, where you will see the ruins of the great Wiracocha Temple, which is one of the largest archaeological Inca complexes. The last stop before Cusco is the famous colonial church, Andahuaylillas. The church is better known as the “Sistine Chapel of the Andes” due to its impressively colourful and detailed frescoes and ceilings.
Lunch (included) is enjoyed at a restaurant en route. After arriving and checking in at your hotel in Cusco, you can go out and enjoy dinner at one of the city’s many wonderful restaurants.
Today, you will have time to relax in the morning before heading off on an exciting half-day guided tour of Cusco and its surroundings in the afternoon.
On the tour, you will visit the city’s central square, Plaza de Armas, which the Incas called Haucaypata or “place of the Warriors” and where many of the important events throughout Cusco’s history have taken place. Cusco Cathedral is also located here, built during the colonial era using stones from the Sacsayhuamán Inca complex on top of the former Inca palace, Viracocha, and a wonderful mix of the Incas’ fine stonemasonry and Spanish Renaissance architecture.
The street next to the cathedral leads you to what was once one of the most important temples of the Inca Empire: Koricancha. This once magnificent sun temple was built without mortar, and each individual stone fits perfectly into its structure. Today, Koricancha forms the foundation of Santo Domingo Church, which was built on top of the temple during the colonial era.
You then proceed to Q’enqo, which is an Inca shrine whose name means ‘maze’ or ‘zigzag’ and is characterised by its carvings in a zigzag pattern. The site is dedicated to the worship of Pachamama (the Incas’ ‘Mother Earth’), and you will see an underground space with altars and water channels carved into the massive rock and a tall boulder which is said to resemble a puma.
Further along the same road is the Inca Puka Pukara ruin, the function of which remains a mystery. Some archaeologists claim that the site once served as a fortress that guarded the route to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, while others believe it served as a hunting lodge and repository for the Inca nobility. The site may well have been both, as it has stairs, terraces, storage rooms, large walls and a great view of the area.
A little further north, you arrive at Tambomachay, which the Incas built to worship water, which was an important element for them. Due to the site’s Quechua name, which means ‘resting place’, it is also believed to have served as a spa resort where the noblemen of the Empire came to recuperate. It’s a civil engineering masterpiece, consisting of a series of aqueducts, canals and waterfalls, which still run through the rocks to this day.
The last stop of the day is at the impressive Inca military complex, Sacsayhuamán, which enjoys a scenic location with an amazing panoramic view of Cusco. The complex is a prime example of the Incas’ formidable architectural skills with its impressive double walls built of solid stones of up to 4 metres, which are cut to a perfect fit. The magnificent military complex is considerably smaller today than it was originally, as the Spanish destroyed the complex after their conquest of Cusco and used many of the stones to erect new Spanish buildings in the city.
The tour then heads back to Cusco, where the evening is yours to do as you please.
Today, you will be going on an excursion to the Urubamba Valley, the Sacred Valley of the Inca. You will start out by visiting the Indian market in Pisac, where you will be able to buy everything from Peruvian wool sweaters and colourful bags to lovely dolls and jewellery. Pisac is also known for its ruins, located on a mountain high above the city. The ruins lie at the top of impressive agricultural terraces and is built of smaller stones than those in Sacsayhuamán, but with the same precision – and the view from the top is absolutely incredible!
After lunch, you head to the charming town of Ollantaytambo, which is also located in the Urubamba Valley. Ollantaytambo is one of the only towns in Peru that still has its original Inca walls and street grid with old, long stone walls and narrow cobbled streets. The town is best known for its magnificent Inca fortress of the same name, which consists of large, steep terraces, baths, temples and military installations. This is also where the Incas managed to defeat the Spanish in 1536, albeit temporarily.
Afterwards, the tour returns to Cusco, where the rest of the day is yours to do whatever you please. As you’ve got a very early start the next morning, it might be a good idea to go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep.
Hiking in the Andes is a truly amazing experience, and today sees the start of your unforgettable 2-day adventure, walking in the footsteps of the Incas along the world-famous Inca trails. The Inca trail, you’ll be walking is part of the extensive Inca trail network, which stretches all the way from Mendoza in Argentina to the Ecuador–Colombia border. You will walk along paths used by the Incas hundreds of years ago, and on the way, you’ll come across impressive Inca ruins, all with their own intriguing history. The trail takes you through breathtaking landscapes surrounded by snow-capped mountain peaks, green valleys and gushing rivers.
At around 5 am, you will be picked up from your hotel and driven to Ollantaytambo, where you will take the train to the KM 104 station at the start of the Inca Trail. You set course for the Chachabamba Inca ruin at an altitude of 2,170 metres. It’s a really scenic hike, crossing the Urubamba River and taking you through the valley of the same name.
Then starts the ascent to Wiñay Wayna at an altitude of 2,650 metres, which is one of the largest and best preserved complexes along the Inca Trail. Set on a green mountainside, the ruins consist of old buildings, towers and impressive agricultural terraces up the mountain. The magnificent complex is surrounded by the lush, dark green cloud forest and affords a beautiful view of the mountains and the Urubamba River in the valley below.
The tour then continues to the Sun Gate, Inti Punku, where you get your first glimpse of Machu Picchu as you watch the sun set over the fabled Inca city, the Urubamba Valley and the surrounding mountains. You really get a sense of the mystery and history of the area while standing in this very special place.
The tour then heads to Aguas Calientes, where you spend the night. Aguas Calientes is a small town located on the Urubamba River, not far from the Machu Picchu ruin complex. The town is known for its hot springs, which it is is named after.
Distance: Approx. 12 km
Hike duration: Approx. 6–8 hours
Level of difficulty: Moderate
Transport time from Cusco to KM 104 (bus + train): approx. 3.5 hours
You will be picked up from your hotel early in the morning and driven by bus back to the legendary ruin complex, Machu Picchu, which has also been named one of the new seven wonders of the world. The ruin complex sits on a steep, green ridge in the Urubamba Valley and is framed by the fairy-tale cloud forest, green mountains and snow-capped peaks further out on the horizon. You will go on a guided tour here, when you will discover the narrow terraces on the steep mountainside and areas with temples, small buildings, prisons and burial sites as well as gain an insight into the Incas’ fascinating culture and history
American explorer Hiram Bingham is said to have been the first to discover Machu Picchu, on 24 July 1911. This is not entirely true, however, but it is thanks to him that the world became aware of the fairy-tale Inca city. The Spanish never discovered – or got to loot – Machu Picchu, so the complex has a special cultural significance and is considered sacred.
Machu Picchu was built in the mid-15th century during the heyday of the Inca Empire but was abandoned less than 100 years later, most likely due to a smallpox epidemic. Before it was abandoned, the city housed senior officials, priests, servants and virgins, who were chosen to devote their lives to the Sun God. It was a magnificent city with temples, homes, streets, fountains and aqueducts, through which water still flows down to the many agricultural terraces on both sides of the mountain.
There will be time to explore the area on your own after the guided tour.
A bus will then take you back to Aguas Calientes, where you will have time on your own before heading back to Cusco. You might like to eat lunch in the town or relax in the hot springs. Remember to bring your swimwear!
In the afternoon, you will take the train back to Cusco. Your guide will let you know the precise time after the Machu Picchu tour. On your arrival in Cusco, you will be driven to your hotel.
Distance: Approx. 4 km
Hike duration: Approx. 2–8 hours
Level of difficulty: Easy – Moderate
Transport time from Aguas Calientes back to Cusco (train + bus) approx. 3.5 hours
Today, there are no planned excursions, so the day is at your disposal. Perhaps you would like to head out and buy some final souvenirs, or just take a stroll around this gorgeous, historical city.
If you would like to experience even more of the magical Andes Mountains, we recommend purchasing an excursion to the magnificent Rainbow Mountain. This mountain is just one of the many beautiful, rainbow-coloured mountains just outside of Cusco, whose colours are due to the mountains’ combination of colourful minerals. It is a truly unique experience to see a mountain in so many wonderful colours.
The time has come to say goodbye to Peru. Today, you will be picked up from your hotel and driven to the airport, from which you will fly to the UK, with connecting flight(s) along the way.