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Walk in the footsteps of the Incas and live it up on this fantastic 11-day adventure from Contiki! Explore modern Lima and ancient Cusco, head to the Colca Canyon, lunch with locals at Lake Titicaca, road trip across the Andean landscapes of the great Sacred Valley… end at magnificent Machu Picchu!
DAY 1/LIMA. Your adventure begins in Peru’s vibrant capital, Lima! Steeped in pre-Columbian and Spanish colonial history yet buzzing with modern metro vibes, cafes and restaurants, quaint but lively, craft markets, extensive bike path and Pacific Ocean cliff-side views. You can visit its famed Historic Center with its baroque churches and underground cemetery, and hit the bohemian district of Barranco where a stroll over the Bridge of Sighs is a must. Lima is a great place to try ceviche, Peru’s official seafood dish.
DAY 2/AREQUIPA. You fly south from Lima to the “White City” of Arequipa, Peru’s second-largest city that lies in the shadow of four majestic Andean volcanoes. A tour of Arequipa will include its UNESCO World Heritage Plaza de Armas and sampling local specialties like racoto relleno (stuffed hot peppers) and chupe de camarones (crayfish chowder).
DAY 3-DAY 4/COLCA CANYON. Ready for an epic natural masterpiece? We pass through Salinas and Aguada Blanco National Reserve. After a journey through windswept landscapes that includes stops for coca tea, you arrive at Colca, one of the world’s deepest canyons. Spend the next morning at the canyon searching for the mighty Andean condor that boasts a three-metre wingspan. Back on the road, we head to the high plains of Peru and Puno, located on the shores of Lake Titicaca. After freshening up at a cozy hotel, you can hit the town for a spot of dancing!
DAY 5/PUNO: We take a boat ride to Taquile Island (one of the most culturally intact communities in Peru), meet local weavers and stop for lunch. Then head to Uros Islands (floating islands made from reeds) where we visit a fish farm and museum. (The community survives by selling textiles and totora reed boats to tourists, so come prepared!) We overnight back in Puno.
DAY 7/CUSCO. …and the entire next day exploring Cusco! Shop for artisan jewellery and woodworks, roam cobblestone streets, stroll the San Pedro markets. Dinner is an ensemble affair.
DAY 8/The SACRED VALLEY. We head from Cusco to Peru’s Sacred Valley, along route stopping at a llama farm, meeting weavers and artisans, seeing agricultural terraces and the salineras (salt mines). You will get a guided tour of the Pisac and Ollantaytambo ruins (the circular Pisac ruins date back to the 1400s). Ollantaytambo is base camp for those taking the trek to Machu Picchu the next day, but a treat in itself with artisan shops, cafes and the roaring Urubamba River.
DAY 9 & 10/AGUAS CALIENTES or INCA TRAIL TREK. With just 3.5 hours on foot and six km to cover, the enchanting site of Machu Picchu that awaits makes it worthwhile. You’ll see Wayana Picchu (Little Peak), the iconic peak you’ve seen in every picture, ever! For those not trekking the Inca Trail, enjoy the surrounding mountains of Aguas Calientes in the morning, then hop the train to the town itself that is the gateway to the site. You meet up with your trekking compadres and spend the evening hyping each other for the next day’s big event: exploring Machu Picchu! Built around 1450 at the height of the Inca Empire, the mountaintop citadel is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
DAY 11/Depart Cusco to fly home, but not after a last morning breakfast together!
- Phone: 866.532.0355
- Length: 11 days
- Price: $2,130
- 10 nights accommodation
- 14 meals: 10 breakfasts, 3 dinners, l lunch
- Local guides and drivers, team managers
- All transport
- About 20 experiences (with options to add)