Active Peru

Duration: 9 days

Highlights: Lima, Cusco, Urubamba, Machu Picchu.

A 9 day soft adventure itinerary visiting Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.

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Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive Lima

On arrival at Lima International Airport this evening, you will be transferred to your hotel.

The city of Lima was founded by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro on January 5, 1535, the eve of the Epiphany of the Magi – from which it derived its evocative original name of La Ciudad de los Reyes or “The City of Kings”. It is a city of rare fascination and unexpected pleasures. Lima has decaying colonial splendour and the teeming vitality of an oriental bazaar; melancholy cloudy winters and warm breezy summers; impoverished urban sprawl and quiet elegant corners among ancient buildings where the night air is scented with jasmine.

Overnight: Miraflores Park Hotel

Meal Plan:

Day 2 - Lima - Cusco - Urubamba

This morning you are transferred to the airport for your flight to Cusco, an Andean community and former ancient capital of the Inca Empire.

Upon arrival in Cusco, you are met and transferred to the Urubamba Valley to the local village of Pisac, known for its famous colourful market. This bustling market attracts tourists from all over the world to try their hand at bartering for local sweaters, ponchos, wall hangings, jewellery and goods.

Continue to your hotel for check-in and lunch.

After lunch, continue on to the fortress of Ollantaytambo, a formidable stone structure that climbs massive terraces to the top of a peak. It was the valley’s main defense against the Antis and was the site of the Incas’ greatest victory against the Spanish during the wars of conquest. Constructed of rose-coloured granite, this huge installation was once a thriving complex of baths, temples and military barracks. Below the fortress lies a complete Incan town, also called Ollantaytambo, still inhabited and with its original architecture and layout preserved.

Overnight: Sol y Luna Hotel

Meal Plan: B,L

Day 3 - Urubamba

This morning your full day tour starts with a visit to Chincheros, a town of Inca origin. Its colourful, well attended Sunday fair draws countryfolk once a week from all corners and heights of the valley to exchange their products.

Continue with a 2-3 hour hike which offers an opportunity to enjoy both the archaeological and aesthetic qualities of the Sacred Valley. The hike begins at the picturesque town of Maras, 67 km north of Cusco. The town itself has a colonial feel, and the nearby salt mines present excellent photographic opportunities. From there you will hike the 7 km to Maras, a fascinating archaeological site comprising a series of concentric agricultural terraces, some as deep as 150 m, while enjoying the magnificent views this part of the Sacred Valley offers.

Following this activity, you will enjoy a served picnic lunch in the picturesque town of Maras.

After lunch return to your hotel. Rest of the day will be at your leisure. Relax or choose between the activities offered by your hotel such as mountain biking and trekking.

Overnight: Sol y Luna Hotel

Meal Plan: B,L

Day 4 - Urubamba

This morning after a transfer down into the valley, you will join rubber rafts of eight people for a rafting experience. Following a safety and familiarisation briefing, start your river run that lasts around 1.5 hours. On the river see a world behind the scenes of Andean life - a timeless parade of shepherds, schoolchildren and farmers.

Enjoy a picnic lunch in the country.

This afternoon your tour starts with a coffee or tea and a briefing about the tour, horses, safety, and riding methods. There are horses for all abilities. Please advise your riding level before booking so we can prepare the right horse for you. This 2-3 hour ride will give you the unique experience of riding in one of the most fascinating regions of the Andes, the Sacred Valley. There are many places to visit including the salt pans of Salinas, the old village of Pichingote, the lively market town of Urubamba, or the wonderful farmland and the Quechua communities of the valley, while becoming familiar with our beautiful Peruvian Paso Horses.

Overnight: Sol y Luna Hotel

Meal Plan: B,L

Day 5 - Urubamba - Machu Picchu

This mornng you will take the train at the station in Ollanta and follow the ever-narrowing gorge to the Urubamba River. Here you will start your half-day hike along the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. As you approach Machu Picchu, the valley turns into a canyon and vegetation changes to that of a cloud forest.

Past the Chachabamba ruins, a three hour ascent through highland grasses and small valleys brings you to Wiñay Wayna. From here, a winding trail though the cloud forest, which cuts across a ridge, brings you at last to the door of the sun, Intipunku, with a spectacular view of the citadel below, and the original entrance to Machu Picchu.

During the six hour hike, you will be served a picnic lunch.

For those who prefer the traditional route to the ruins, you can continue on the train with a guide, you will be rejoined by the hiking group at Machu.

Overnight: Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge

Meal Plan: B,L,D

Day 6 - Machu Picchu - Cusco

This morning you may rise early and enjoy a walk through Machu Picchu at sunrise, something which many believe to be the highlight of a visit to Machu Picchu.

This morning accompanied by your guide, explore the city's ruins, and feel its pulse as you visualise the lives of the priests, craftsmen and servants who inhabited this seemingly uninhabitable citadel. Excavations at the site have revealed skeletons, artifacts and woolen clothing, but no gold. The same precision of assembled stones exists here as in other Incan sites. Overlooking the raging Urubamba River and discovered in a hidden tangle of vines and trees atop the mountain, the city of Machu Picchu will forever hold its secret of its destruction - the Incas left no written record.

Afternoon you will join your train to Cusco, where a representative will be waiting for you to transfer to your hotel in Cusco.

Overnight: Monasterio Cusco Hotel

Meal Plan: B,L

Day 7 - Cusco

This morning, enjoy a city tour which includes the Cathedral on the Plaza de Armas and Santo Domingo, a Dominican church and convent built upon the foundations of the Koricancha, or the "place of gold", the Incas’ principal religious building dedicated to the worship of the sun.

After seeing the sights of the ancient city, your visit will take you to the ruins of Sacsayhuaman, a true testimonial to Incan architectural skills. Compiled of massive stones (one weighs 125 tons) you are challenged to try to slip a piece of paper through the cracks in between these blocks, cut and fitted together with incredible precision without a single drop of mortar to hold them in place. This ancient fortress where the greatest battle between the Spanish and Incas took place overlooks the red-tiled roofs of Cusco and the breathtaking countryside surrounding the city. Also visit Qenqo. “The Labyrinth”, an Incan shrine dedicated to Pachamama (Mother Earth) and the small fortress of Puka Pukara.

Overnight: Monasterio Cusco Hotel

Meal Plan: B

Day 8 - Cusco - Lima

Morning transfer to airport for your flight to Lima. On arrival, you will be met and taken to your hotel.

This afternoon you embark on a city tour beginning with a visit to Plaza Mayor, the official centre of the city and the original site on which Lima was founded. Continue on to the historic Cathedral, built in 1534 and an architectural marvel. From the Cathedral, walk past the Presidential Palace where the soldiers guarding the palace offer an excellent photo opportunity, then onto the church of San Francisco and its library collection of fine paintings and frescoes. From the historic centre, you travel through modern Lima and visit the fascinating Archaeological Museum, showcasing the progression of Peru’s various early civilisations – from the Chavin in 1200 BC to the Incas.

Overnight: Miraflores Park Hotel

Meal Plan: B

Day 9 - Depart Lima

Morning transfer to airport for your international departure flight.

Overnight:

Meal Plan:

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