Explore the modern and colonial city of Lima on a half-day tour of one of the most exciting cities in Latin America. Lima was founded in the 16th-Century by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro and is known as the “City of Kings”. It is a bustling city full of intense life.
The center of the viceroyalty, you will observe all the main attractions of downtown Lima and explore the Larco Museum where you will discover the gold and jewels of old Peru.
Start at the Love Park in Miraflores for a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean, and continue on to the Huaca Pucllana, ceremonial center of Lima culture. Later you will visit San Isidro, the financial center of the city, and take a walk in Olive Grove park.
Visit the main square of Plaza Mayor, where the Government Palace and Town Hall are located. You will also visit the Cathedral to view the handsome colonial façade and beautiful art work inside, if open. Other major attractions include the Convent of San Francisco, built in the 17th-Century and home to the mysterious catacombs.
A highlight will be the Larco Museum, set in an 18th-Century mansion built on top a pre-Colombian pyramid of the 7th-Century. Observe the myriad treasures exhibited at one of the world’s most prestigious museums for gold and silver.
Don’t miss the warehouse and the exclusive collection of pre-Colombian erotic ceramics, one of South America’s most popular attractions.
At the end of the tour you will have a broad knowledge of the capital of Peru setting you up for further exploration, or giving you a comprehensive overview if you are pushed for time.
You will have the remaining day as free time.
Depart Lima this morning by flight to Cusco in the Peruvian Andes. This ancient capital of the Inca Empire is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the western hemisphere, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Upon arrival, transport to your hotel in this historic city and spend the rest of the day acclimating to the altitude. Or, attend the optional Half Day tour of Cusco’s most unique Inca ruins.
Optional: Cuzco City Tour
13:15 See this magical city, capital of the Inca Empire (15th Century) on a tour that includes the Main Square, the cathedral, Santo Domingo monastery, the legendary Korikancha temple and a stop at San Cristobal for a panoramic view of the city. Then, in the outskirts you will see the Inca ruins at Sacsayhuaman, an impressively designed fortress built of huge stone blocks, Qenqo ceremonial and ritual center, the amphitheater where sacrifices were held and Tambomachay a temple dedicated to a water cult. Return to Cusco and a brief stop at Plaza Regocijo and the Main Square to visit the cathedral, the principal church of the Diocese of Cusco. At the end of the visit, transport to your hotel
We will leave Cusco (3350m/10990f) at 5:30 am by a tourist bus heading for the Sacred Valley
of the Incas. Inca Trail Depart point Before we reach our starting point of walk, km 82, we will make a short break in Ollantaytambo for those wishing to eat breakfast. The official beginning of the Inca Trail is called km 82. Here we will meet the rest of the group and take care of the registration facilities. After crossing the Rio Urubamba (2200m) we will start the legendary Inca Trail. The first day the trail is easy to walk and is a good warm up for the following days. In Miskay we’ll have lunch at a small river bank while getting some information about the archeological complex of Llactapata. After that, we will continue our hike to Wayllabamba (3100m/10170f) and ascend to Yuncachimpa (3300m/10826f), the camp site we will spend the night in. From here we have a great view of the mysterious Nevado de Verónica.
Level of difficulty: moderate
Hiking time: 6-7 hours
Total distance: 11km approx.
The second day is the ‘Free-Hike-Day’; that means that everybody should walk in his/her own pace – of Sayac Marcacourse you will meet during the small breaks or see each other while beating the stairs. Early in the morning the trail first leads through the Valley of Llulluchapampa (3850m/12631f). The first 3km are steep – enjoy the humid woodland and the water sounds. From Llulluchapampa follow the way for 2-3 hours until you reach the highest point of this section, the Warmihuañusca Pass (Dead Woman Pass) (4200m/113780f). This climb is known as the most difficult part of the Inca Trail. After a short break at the summit, you continue your hike down with a long and steep descent to the river Pacaymayo (Sunrise River) towards the Runkurakay pass (3050m/10007f) until you reach our camp site called Chaquicocha at (3650m/11975f). Here you can relax your body from the tough day while enjoying an amazing view from the mountains.
Level of difficulty: challenging
Hiking time: 8-9 hours
Total distance: 15 km approx.
The third day is the most beautiful one. You can notice a change in the eco-system while walking to Wiñaywaynathe tropical forest of Wiñaywayna. We will pass two small lakes at the top of the second pass (3950m). It’s a gentle climb through beautiful cloud forest and a small Inca tunnel before the third pass (3700m) offers a grand view over the Rio Urubamba Valley. The nearest settlement is named Phuyupatamarca/”Town above the clouds” (3600m/11811f). A well preserved site with long chain Inca baths where one can enjoy impressive ancient engineering. We pass another Inca Tunnel before visiting the ruins of Wiñaywayna/”Forever young” (2650m/8694f). The Inca stairs change into a zigzag trail until you reach a red-roofed white building, our last camping site, and also a location with hot water (S5) and bottled drinks.
Level of difficulty: normal, unforgettable (easy)
Hiking time: 5-6 hours
Total distance: 10 km approx.
After our breakfast at 4:30 am, we will head out – equipped with our flashlights – to the Inti Punku (Sun GMachupicchu viewate) to get the first glimpse of Machupicchu and watch the sunrise over Machupicchu and Huayna Picchu. The last triumphal descent will take you almost one hour before we visit the citadel of Machupicchu (2400m//7874f) around 8.00 am. You can enjoy its spiritual charm during a guided tour (about two hours) that will help you to understand the meaning and ancient use of the different buildings. After this tour you will have enough time to explore the archeological site on your own (i.e. go to the Inca Bridge, explore the variety of buildings or climb Wayna Picchu for an amazing panorama picture). A bus takes you down to Aguas Calientes. Here you can soak away your aches and pain in the town’s hot springs (S10). We will leave Aguas Calientes in the afternoon.
Level of difficulty: normal, unique (easy)
Hiking time: 2-3 hours
Total distance: 7 km approx.