Day 1: Lima
Upon arrival in Lima, you will make your way to the Hotel Costa del Sol Ramada which is the building in front, across the road. On check-in you will need to provide reception with your passport, immigration entrance slip and a credit card to cover any incidentals.
Day 2: Lima/Cusco
This morning, you will be transferred to the airport to board the flight to Cusco, high in the Andes near 11,000 feet. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your local hotel. Enjoy an afternoon walking tour of the ancient city. The beautiful historic centre was declared a World Heritage Site in 1983 with Inca and colonial architecture evident all around. Later in the day your guide will give you a full briefing for the adventure ahead. Stay overnight in Cusco. (B)
Day 3: Pisac Market & Ollantaytambo
Spend the morning visiting the ruins of Cusco. Cusco was the head of the Incan Empire and was built in the shape of a puma. The city itself is the puma’s body, and the enormous Sacsayhuaman ruins represent the head and teeth. The largest and most impressive of Sacsayhuaman’s original rocks are still in place, though only about 20% of the entire site remains today. Then make your way to the Sacred Valley, including the picturesque market at Pisac. Pisac is famous for its traditional Sunday market where locals barter for food, clothing, animals, and other supplies. It is open everyday, and you can always find many souvenirs of local textiles and crafts, no matter what day of the week you visit. Then, continue down the Urubamba Valley to Ollantaytambo. Ollanta, as it is also called, is remembered as one of the few places that the Spanish lost a major battle during their conquest. It is 200 steps straight up the stone stairway to the top of the huge Incan fortress, which offers great views. The unfinished temple at the top was still being built when the Spanish eventually conquered the area. This is also a good site to see Incan city planning: each cancha (block) had one entrance to the central courtyard, from which individual homes were entered. Stay overnight in Ollanta. (B,L)
Day 4: Ollanta/Machu Picchu
After breakfast, take the 1 ½-hour Vistadome train ride from Ollanta to Machu Picchu, the “lost citadel” of the Incas. From the station at Aguas Calientes it is another 30 minutes (5 miles) by bus up to the entrance of the site. Enjoy a guided tour of the ruins this afternoon with time afterwards for individual exploration. Be sure to read about Machu Picchu in advance to fully appreciate your guide's expertise. Stumbled upon by accident in 1911, it remains a mysterious site, as there are no Spanish records, Incan legends, or oral histories which describe its exact purpose.
Elegant ornamental stonework hints at the possibility of Machu Picchu's importance as a ceremonial center. Stay overnight in Aguas Calientes (upgrade to the Sanctuary Lodge for additional charge, if available). The elevation at Machu Picchu is 7,900 feet. (B,D)
One-Day Inca Trail Trek Option: For those with some interest in light trekking, we can offer the one-day Inca Trail Trek. Take the train towards Machu Picchu, and disembark at kilometer marker 104 to cross the hanging bridge to the Chachabamba site. After a brief visit, begin a 3-4 hour ascent to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna, an important ritual site. The Inca Trail cuts across the ridge above Machu Picchu to finally reach the Gate of the Sun (Intipunku) for your first awe-inspiring glimpse of Machu Picchu. Total hiking time is about 6 hours. Bookings must be made at least 90 days in advance. There will be an additional charge for the Inca Trail permit, entrance fee, and transportation needed for the Inca Trail Trek option. Please call for more details.
Day 5: Machu Picchu/Cusco
Rise early and explore the ruins at your own pace. You will have the option to climb the steep path to Huayna Picchu for a spectacular view of the ruins. This afternoon, take the 4-hour ride back to Cusco on the Vistadome train through the spectacular scenery of the Urubamba Valley. You will be met at the station and transferred to your local hotel. Stay overnight in Cusco. (B)
Day 6: Cusco/Lima
This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Lima. (B)