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Cusco – Sacred Valley of the Incas – Machu Picchu – Titicaca Lake
Our most popular holiday in Peru. This compact tour packed with some of must-see destinations, discover the natural and historical highlights and cultural treasures of the Andean highlands. Meet the colonial-era in Cuzco. Explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas and visit a local market and the impressive Ollantaytambo fortress. Stay overnight by the bottom of the spectacular Incan city of Machu Picchu and take a boat ride on beautiful Lake Titicaca, high in the Andes. Return home with incredible memories of the panoramas and people of Peru.
Note: This tour is made for at least 8 passengers as a private tour.
Dates for closed groups available during the whole year, on request.
Arrival to the Velasco Astete airport , transfer to the hotel *** . Aclimatization for the altitude of 3400 m. above sea level. Free activities and in the evening walking tour with local guide to the downtown of Cusco. Overnight in Cusco.
Breakfast. Contact with Andean culture by visting the Temple of the Sun, Qoricancha, Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo, the fortress of Pucapucara and the Water temple of Tambomachay. Overnight in Cusco.
Included: Bus and tour guide – entrance tickets for the archeological sites
Duration: From 9.00 to 13.30 or at 13.30 to 18.00.
After breakfast, we will spend a magical day in the beautiful Sacred Valley of the Inca. By the end of our day, we will understand why this Andean basin was the spiritual home of the Inca. We will barter with locals in the Pisac Market, scale the top of the Ollantaytambo fortress for a view of the surrounding valley, and marvel at the snow-capped peaks of the Andes. We will also enjoy specialties of Peruvian cuisine at a restaurant in Urubamba. In returning to Cusco we visit Chinchero. Overnight in Cusco.
Duration: 8.30 am to 7.30 pm.
Breakfast or breakfast box. We will pick you up from the hotel at agreed time and take you to the station in Ollantaytambo where you’ll board the train to Aguas Calientes. On arrival, check in in the hotel. Optional visit to Thermal Baths in Aguas Calientes or individual activities. Overnight in Aguas Calientes.
Breakfast. Taking a bus to Machu Picchu and visiting the archaelogical site with a guide for approximately 2 hours, after it free time in Machu Picchu.
After free time, at agreed time we will take a bus back to Aguas Calientes for lunch. Free activities in Aguas Calientes.
Breakfast. Short walk to the train station in Aguas Calientes and departure at 8.00h to Ollantaytambo. Taking a bus to Cusco. Arriving to Cusco at app.12.30h. Free time for lunch. The panoramic drive from Cuzco to Puno. The 6-7-hour drive into the Altiplano area, along dreamy Indian villages. In this area, we will be able to see llamas and alpacas graze on the immense plateaus and plains. Our private touristic bus arrives to Puno at night . Transfer to a hotel**** in Puno. Overnight in Puno.
Breakfast. Discovering and exploring the waters of Lake Titicaca, birthplace of Inca mythology, home to shoreside and island communities where life is conducted as it has been for centuries, and refuge for Andean wildlife and many species of resident and migratory birds. Early in the morning, at agreed time, transfer to Puno dock, travel by boat to the floating-island homes of the Uros people, stepping ‘aboard’ their man-made islands, built with tightly bound reeds, to learn about how they try to maintain their traditions and way of life. Cruise to Taquile Island, where a fairly strenuous walk inland is rewarded with a visit to local craft shops, a traditional Taquile lunch and the opportunity to learn more about the people and cultures of the lake. Cruise back to Puno to spend a second evening in this bustling, colourful town.
Breakfast. Transfer to the airport in Juliaca. End of services. At the Juliaca airport you can catch the flight to Lima with connecting flight to the final destination.
Passport and visas
Your passport should be valid for six months after the date of your scheduled return home. Full passport details are required at the time of booking. Delays to provide this information may result in booking fees or changes to your itinerary.
Visa’s are not required for citizens of most countries in America and Western Europe. However, it is the responsibility of the individual traveller. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time. Also remember to check whether a transit visa is required on route to join this trip or on the way home.
Make sure you have Travel Insurance and that you are adequately covered for Cancellation, Curtailment and Medical Insurance prior to your holiday departure. Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. When travelling on a trip, you won’t be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank’s name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Medical and health information
You need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. Peru is a country where many cities are at an altitude of over 10,000 feet (3000 meters) – Cusco (11,000 ft / 3350 m), so that your body will need to adapt to the lack of oxygen. Altitude sickness can translate into the following symptoms: fatigue, headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, dizziness, insomnia. For people suffering from cardiovascular or breathing problems, we would highly recommend to consult a specialist doctor before traveling. No special vaccinations are needed in order to enter to Peru.
Summer time in the northern countries / from April to October -6 hours’ time difference with the United Kingdom; -1 hour’s difference with New York (EDT) and +2 hours’ time difference with the California (PDT).
Winter time in the northern countries / from November to March -5 hours’ difference with the United Kingdom, no time difference with New York (EDT) and +3 hours’ time difference with California (PDT).
When to Visit Peru
You can visit Peru all year round, but May to September is a good time to go to these trip. Be warned, Machu Picchu is usually closed for maintenance in February. In the Andes, the months from December to March correspond to the humid season. It therefore rains regularly, but it’s not exactly a monsoon!
The rest of the year, the weather is dry and sunny, but with colder nighttime temperatures, especially between June and August. Traveling to Peru from December to February or even in March, will allow you to enjoy your tour in the lowest tourist season (more availability, better prices, less tourists in all the popular sites), in summer on the coast, and pleasant nighttime temperatures in the mountains. However, the risks of rain in the Andes will be much higher.
Food and dietary requirements
The ability to experience local food, whether it’s from a street vendor, a home stay, or a restaurant, is a huge part of travelling. Peruvian cuisine is rated among the best in the world and is currently experiencing a period of flourishing self-confidence and great popularity overseas. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants during your trip. There will be times that meals will be provided for you, if you have any allergies or food preferences, i.e. vegetarian, please let us know your diet requirements before your trip starts.
Guinea pig (cuy) is the traditional dish most associated with Peru, and you can find it in many parts of the country, especially in the mountain regions, where it is likely to be roasted in an oven and served with chips. It’s likely however, that you may encounter more burgers and pizza than guinea pig, given that fast food has spread quickly in Peru over the past two decades.
Snacks and light meals
All over Peru, but particularly in the large towns and cities, you’ll find a wide variety of traditional fast foods and snacks such as salchipapas (chips with sliced sausage covered in various sauces),anticuchos (a shish kebab made from marinated lamb or beef heart) and empanadas (meat- or cheese-filled pies). These are all sold on street corners until late at night. Even in Peru’s villages you’ll find cafés and restaurants that double as bars, staying open all day and serving anything from coffee and bread to steak and chips, or even lobster. The most popular sweets in Peru are made from either manjar blanco (sweetened condensed milk) or fresh fruits.
In general, the market is always a good place to stock up – you can buy food ready to eat on the spot or to take away and prepare – and the range and prices are better than in any shop.
Beer and wine
Most Peruvian beer – except for cerveza malta (black malt beer) – is bottled lager almost exclusively brewed to five percent alcohol content, and extremely good. Traditional Peruvian beers include Cristal, Pilsen and Cusqueña. Wine (vino) with one or two exceptions it is not that good. Among the better ones are the Tipo Familiar label– not entirely reliable but only around S/8 a bottle – and, much better, Tabernero or Tacama Gran Vino Reserva (white or red) from about S/25–45 a bottle.
A couple of rules
Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment.
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
We like to call them “Leaders” and not “Guides” because they are essentially your well traveled, experienced friends! While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. Our Leaders main goals are to ensure everyone on the trip is having the best time possible. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. They know the trip locations well, and have great relationships with all our contacts in each destination. Not to mention they are all extremely fun and easy going people who continue to showcase the essence of what makes us Eco Explorer!
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you’ll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it’s deemed necessary due to safety concerns. While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
Our holidays are renowned for being friendly, fun experiences, and our small groups frequently include a significant number of single travellers. You’ll feel very welcome amongst people who share a passion for seeing the world on foot and the outdoor life.
Minimum group sizes
As with all group tour operators, we require a minimum number of participants to operate each holiday. Should this number not be reached, the holiday will not be commercially viable and we reserve the right to cancel the holiday. This will be done reluctantly and an offer of a suitable alternative holiday will be provided wherever possible.