Trip Style: Cultural – Archeological
Peru does not have one climate. Because Peru is close to the equator, the seasons are hardly effected by changes in the state of the sun. However there can be observed some differences between the months November to April and April to November. Due to very diverse landscape that Peru has, there are several distinct climate zones. The climate depends on the geographical location, altitude and sea currents, so we can divide Peru in three climatical zones:
Access to Lima – via air transport
From Cusco: 1h20 minutes
From Arequipa: 1h25 minutes
From Puno: 1h40 minutes
Access to Lima – via land transport
From Cusco: 21h30
From Arequipa: 16h00
Lima is the capital and the largest city of Peru. With a population approaching 9 million, Lima is the most populous metropolitan area of Peru and fifth largest city in the Americas. It is one of the most interesting and challenging cities in South America with a huge archeological, historical and cultural past. Most of its treasures might be well hidden, but are worth being discovered!
The Nazca lines are series of ancient geolyphs located in the Nazca desert in southern Peru. They were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. The high, arid plateau streches more than 80 kilometers between the towns of Nazca and Palpa on the Pampas de Jumana about 400 km south of Lima.The hundres of individual figures range in complexity from simple lines to stylized hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys, fish, sharks, orcas and lizards.
Arequipa is well known for its glistening white buildings made from sillar, a white volcanic rock, which gives its nickname ¨The White City¨. Arequipa is the second largest city in Peru and is surrounded by 3 volcanoes; El Misti, still active at 5822m, the higher and extinct Chachani 6075m and Pichu Pichu 5571m. The Incas highly respected these volcanoes since the melt water from the snow-capped peaks form the headwaters of the mighty Amazon River, thousands of kilometers away. Most people visit Arequipa to take a tour to the Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons formed by enormous seismic fault between the Coropuna (6425m) and Ampato (6325m) volcanoes.
Puno is located on the shores of Lake Titicaca and the mountains surrounding the city. The city is known as a jumping-off point for Lake Titicaca Tours. Puno is Peru´s folkloric capital due to its wealth of artistic and cultural expressions, particularly dance.
Lake Titicaca is on the border of Peru and Bolivia and also the largest lake of South America. It is notable for a population people, who are living on the 42 self-fashioned floating islands called Uros. These islands are definitely worth visiting as well as Island Taquile.
Cusco is a city in southeastern Peru near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. In 1983 the historical capital of the Inca Empire was declared by the World Heritage Site. Today the city is a jumping-off point for the Inca trail and famous Inca site Machu Picchu. Cusco got his name in a very special way; legend tells that in the 12th century, the sun god Inti looked down on the earth and decided that people need more organizing, so he created his first Inca Manco Capac, and his sister-wife, Mama Oclla. They came to life on Isla del Sol (Sun Island) way over Lake Titicaca with a long walk ahead of them. Inti gave Manco Capac a rod and told him to settle in the spot where he could plug it into the ground until it dissapeard: this would be the navel of the earth, Qosq´o, in the Quechua language, Cusco.
The Sacred Valley of the Incas or the Urubamba Valley is a valley in the Andes of Peru, close to the Inca capital of Cusco and the ancient Machu Picchu. The valley was formed by the Urubamba River. The star attractions are the lofty Inca citadels of Pisac and Ollantaytambo. Pisac is known for its craft market, by far the biggest in the region. You can visit the market daily but the official market days are Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Ollantaytambo is an archeological site and dominated two Inca ruins.
Machu Picchu is a 15th century Inca site located 2.430meters above sealevel. It is also called ¨Lost City of the Incas¨ and declared by the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style, with polished dry-stone walls. In 2007 Machu Picchu was voted one of the ¨New Seven Wonders of the World.
We will depart at 07h30 am from Arequipa, driving 160 km to the town of Chivay, capital of the province of Caylloma. At the beginning of our excursion we will enjoy majestic views of the Misti, Chachani and Pichu Pichu volcanoes before approaching the National Reserve of ¨Pampa Cañahuas¨, where our transportation will make a short stop to observe wild vicuñas in its natural habitat.
At this point we will be about 3,400 meters above sea level. Moving on we will arrive to ¨Pata Wasi¨, an Andean community at the opposite border of the reserve. To prevent the altitude sickness we will have an original Andean ¨Mate de Coca¨ drink or another hot drink in a rustic restaurant on the road (service of bathrooms are here available). Continuing on the road we will pass ¨Tocra¨, a high plain at more than 4,500 meters, where we will observe lakes with migrant birds and get pictures of the ¨Altiplano¨with its llamas and guanacos. The highest point of our tour will be ¨Pata pampa¨ located at 4,820 meters, where we´ll observe the volcanos Ampato, Sabancaya, Hualca-Hualca, Mismi (the source of the Amazon River) and the ¨Cordillera de Chila¨. When we are getting close to the town of Chivay (3,651 meters) we will start to wonder at the spectacular multicolor view of the terraces of the Colca Valley. After this exciting day we will bring you to your hotel.
In the morning you will be picked up at your hotel and will be transported to the port where you take a boat and go to the Islands of the Uros. During the visit of the floating reed islands you will learn about the traditional way of living and the Uros culture, you also get to know how the islands are built. You get the opportunity to take a ride in one of the famous ¨totora-boats¨. Afterwards you will go on to Taquile Island where you have lunch. The island is famous for its ¨knitting men¨. Enjoy the spectacular view over Lake Titicaca before you return to Puno in the afternoon.
Early in the morning you will be picked up and will be transferred to Puno bus station to take the bus to Cusco. The journey will take about 10 hours and includes an English speaking guide, entry tickets to attractions on the road and a buffet lunch. You will pass Pukara (museum), Raqchi (ancient Inca temple), La Raya (highest point with 4800 meters) Andahuaylillas and will arrive in Cusco in the late afternoon. When you arrive in Cusco you will be taken to your hotel.
Today you will enjoy a full day tour of the Sacred Valley. The Sacred Valley is as magical as its name suggests; a winding trail lush, green slopes lining the Urubamba River. Discover everything from colorful markets to fascinating architectural remains. You will visit Chincheros where the colorful local people with typical customs looks awesome. Its settlers live in almost intact Inca constructions, in the same place where their ancestors lived and formed the largest and most prosperous civilization in America. This afternoon we continue to the town of Ollantaytambo, one of the oldest continuously occupied settlements in the Americas. Climb the steep stone steps up to the imposing fortress at the top of the mountain for breathtaking views down the valley, and admire the huge monoliths that form the Temple of the Sun. Finally you will be taken to the train station. On your arrival to Aguas Calientes your guide will meet you and will give you some details for the next day.
After breakfast your guide will meet you at your hotel and will go with you to Machu Picchu, our tour guide will give you a guided tour (approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes) visiting the Inca Terraces, The Agricultural Sector, The Urban Sector, etc. Then you will be able to have plenty of time to explore this mysterious city by yourself.
Things to do:
In the afternoon, you will take the bus down to the town of Aguas Calientes in order to catch the train back to Cusco. When you arrive back in Ollantaytambo or Cusco´s train station we will pick you up and take you to your hotel.
Today your guide will meet you at your hotel and will take you to the airport, so that you will be able to take your flight back.