TO HIKE THE ONE DAY ON THE INCA TRAIL ON THIS TOUR, YOU NEED TO SIGN UP BY JANUARY 28TH, 2013
$3795 (includes one internal flight)
Peru is almost as large as Alaska and is divided into three distinct geographical zones: the desert to the west, the altiplano (high planes) of the Andes, and the jungle, accounting for 2/3 of Peru. You rely on us to choose the gems when designing a trip and that is why we’ve chosen the Andean region. The Quechuan (pronounce ketchewan) people, the land and the culture here have remained intricately entwined despite 500 years of plundering by the Spanish. Marisol, our adventure guide, is deeply proud of her Inca heritage and her knowledge makes the complex stone formations come alive. She’s an experienced trail guide and knows how to help if anyone suffers from the effects of altitude. Our trip is especially designed to help us acclimate gradually to the high elevations. We ride horses, raft the Urabamba, sea kayak on Lake Titicaca and explore ruins in the Sacred Valley. The highlight for most all of us will be our one-day hike on the Inca Trail bringing us in through the Sun Gate for the first breathtaking view of Machupicchu. Soak in hot springs under the Southern Cross, shop for brightly colored handicrafts, and photograph volcanoes, llamas, trapezoid doorways and ancient terraces. You’ll be fascinated by the people of Uros living on islands, in houses and on boats all made of reeds. Andean Peru is the quintessential travel experience – exotic and unusual yet safe and responsive to traveler’s needs. A Latin American success story, Peru’s economy is vibrant and their democracy stable. If you have extra time, our inbound operator can organize unescorted post-tour travel for you to the Amazon and to the Nasca Lines in the desert.
Words cannot adequately describe the rush of feelings as I walked through the Sun Gate and saw the ruins of Machu Picchu for the first time. The fact that nine women traveling together can bond so easily is really a ‘wonder of the world!” Debra H, NY
I had a grand time in Peru – horse riding was a rip! When you gave the crippled man your walking sticks it is a moment I will never forget. Diane C, NY
This was a trip of firsts for me. First eating of alpaca, ostrich and guinea pig (sorry Twinkle!). First time on a horse, kayaking and rafting. Peru was a dream come true! Crista S, OH
Our 2009 tour group folk dancing with the locals on Tequile Island, Lake Titicaca
Airfares are NOT INCLUDED in Canyon Calling trips. It is your responsibility to get yourself to the assembly point of a trip and home afterwards. There are many reasons for this policy including ladies wanting to use their air miles, people wanting to go early or stay on after the trip, some wanting to drive etc. Jane at Jane’s Travel in Phoenix has helped our customers with booking their flights for the last 15 years. You can contact her at 480.941.5311 or email her at email@example.com Internal flights are included in trip prices when they fall inside a tour like in our Costa Rican, Peru, and Hawaii Islands trips.
Saturday Assemble at Lima Airport between 8:00pm and midnight when flights arrive from Miami, Atlanta, Toronto and Houston. Our group will be met at the airport by our guide Vanessa and transferred by taxi to our hotel in the Miraflores section of Lima.
Sunday Lima is a huge, culturally diverse city of 8 million people so we pick out the gems to visit on our morning tour of the city. First stop is the 16th century Cathedral forming one side of the main square. It houses Francisco Pizarro’s remains – he was the Spanish conqueror who founded Lima. A short walk brings us to the San Francisco Convent with frescos of Assisi, a Moorish dome, a Last Supper painting with guinea pig on the menu and underground catacombs. Transfer to the airport for an early afternoon flight to Arequipa. Quick lunch at the airport. We stay is at a delightful hacienda with gardens and courtyards only six blocks from Plaza de Armas. Altitude 7700’. Dinner at a nearby restaurant.
Monday Locals consider themselves Arequipans first and Peruvians second and their Spanish heritage is especially evident on Sunday mornings. After breakfast in our garden we’ll visit the neoclassical Cathedral adjacent to palm trees on the prettiest square in Peru. A walking tour of the Santa Catalina Convent, a 425-year old city within a city, exposes us to archways, chapels and huge paintings, and is still home to thirty semi-cloistered nuns. Ringed by snow-sprinkled volcanoes, Arequipa, with its white sillar buildings, gleams in the desert sun. We’ll lunch at a local restaurant and then depart for the four-hour journey to Colca Canyon. This route takes us over a 16,000’ pass. We cross the Aguada Blanca and the views along this route are stunning. You’ll see llamas, alpacas and the rare vicuna grazing in the Salinas National Reserve and pass Mismi, Chucura and Huaracante volvanoes. Closer to Chivay, ancient stone terraces are built on all sides of the canyon and the brightly-clothed locals working the fields still dressed as they have for centuries. Dine at our beautiful hotel and enjoy an early evening soak in La Calera natural hot springs before dinner. Elevation 11,900’
Tuesday This morning we drive to La Cruz del Condor - the best place in the world to see the sacred Andean Condor. These magnificent birds, the largest in the world with wingspans of 11’, soar for hours in the thermals without flapping their wings. We’ll see pre Inca hanging tombs and tiny local villages. Enjoy a box lunch at a marvelous viewpoint. In the afternoon we cross the high desert to the village of Llachon on the shores of Lake Titicaca. We eat and sleep with a local family at a home-stay and are cozy in our beds beneath piles of blankets.
Wednesday It’s an early launch this morning for our sea-kayaking adventure across to Taquile Island in the middle of Lake Titicaca. The 5km journey across calm blue water takes about 2.5 hours supported by a motorized vessel the whole way. Leaving our kayaks at the beach on Tequile, we hike up to the main square past terraced fields and small villages. We lunch watching men knitting, dressed in Bolivian-like dress. There are opportunities to purchase handicrafts. Descend back down to our motorboat and travel two hours to an amazing cultural experience on the reed islands of Uros. Descendants of the locals fled persecution on shore and built homes on floating islands of reeds. Their homes and boats are all built of reeds also. They share their lives with us, how they cook, harvest fish and where they educate their children. We even take a ride in one of their boats. Transfer to our hotel in Puno at 12,400’. Dine at an excellent restaurant nearby.
Thursday Sleep in today! After a lazy breakfast we’ll meet Marisol, our guide for the rest of the trip. A wonderfully scenic five-hour journey down across the high-country from Puno delivers us to the beautiful orange tile-roofed city of Cusco. Stops along the way include ancient Inca sites like Raqchy Temple, a buffet lunch and also a stop at the colonial church at Andahuaylillas whose huge gold altar collapsed in a recent earthquake, but is now restored. Transfer to our hotel near the square. Dinner this evening is at an unusual restaurant!
Friday After breakfast at the hotel we’re picked up for a white water rafting trip on the upper Urabamba River. It’s a two-hour ride to and from the river and very scenic and interesting as we drive through Peruvian villages. We’ll enjoy two hours of great fun in grade 3 and 4 rapids. A picnic lunch is served to us at the river take out. Back in Cusco we meet up with Mari, our guide for the rest of the trip. Drive down into the Sacred Valley and check into our hotel with surely the most beautiful gardens in Peru. There is one more treat before dinner! Mari will lead us on an exploration of the Inca fortress at Ollantaytambo. Second only to Machpicchu in beauty and importance, it offers amazing views and a taste of what is in store for tomorrow. Dine at our hotel.
Saturday Early breakfast at 6.15am and walk to the train station to catch the train to km.104 km on the Cusco – Machupicchu railroad. Here we begin our five hour hike up to and onto the Inca Trail. We visit the Chachabamba ruins at 7052’ and then climb four hours to Wiñaywayna ruins 8692’. On the way up we will have magnificent views of the Urubamba River valley, the Choquesuysuy ruins on the other side of the river and a beautiful waterfall. The orchids are lush in this tropical region. We’ll eat a picnic lunch on the trail. One last hour of hiking along a trail of flat stones on the edges of cliffs in highland jungle brings us to the Sun Gate of Intipunku. The view of Machupicchu as you come through the Sun Gate is one of those indelible travel memories to be treasured. Descend to the bus and it will take us down to our hotel at Agues Calientes and a well-earned shower. Dinner will be at a restaurant near our hotel.
Sunday Catch a bus this morning back up to Machupicchu. Mari will deliver an in-depth description of the importance of this wonder of the world to her Incan ancestors. The backdrop of soaring jungle-covered peaks is mimicked by stone formations. The spiritual vibrancy is impossible to miss. Windows track the sun during the summer and winter solstices. We can plainly see how the Incas worked so successfully with nature but the essential element of Machupicchu is that much of its reason for existence remains a mystery. Return to Aguas Calientes for a buffet lunch before catching an early afternoon train back to Olllantaytambo and overnight at our favorite hotel.
Monday After breakfast we’ll transfer to a ranch near Pisac to ride the beautiful Peruvian Peso horses. These sure-footed horses with their special gait are a treasure of Peru. This is a four hour ride through the Andean countryside, along rivers and past traditional villages, feasting on stunning views of the Cordillera Vilcanota. A gourmet lunch will be provided at a beautiful picnic spot in a eucalyptus glade. Transfer to our hotel back in Cusco. Our farewell dinner will be at a traditional restaurant.
Tuesday After breakfast we’ll visit the splendid baroque Cathedral built in 1550. Then it’s on to Koricancha, the Inca’s Sun Temple. This is Mari’s home-town and her love for these ancient building shines through. Lunch in town and there’s time for final shopping. Transfer to Cusco airport where the tour ends. The group will travel on a 4.30pm flight arriving Lima airport 5.50pm to connect with late evening US bound flights.
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