Machu Picchu & Lake Titicaca 8 days

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QUICK OVERVIEW

Explore Inca citadel Machu Picchu & the highest navigable lake in the world: A wonderful journey through the ancient Inca capital of Cusco, the beautiful Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, then visit navigate on the highest lake in the world Lake Titicaca, walk around its beautiful floating islands.

What you need to know about our trek?

Day by Day Itinerary

Type Service: Group Tour
Itinerary: Customizable
Destinations: Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca
Activities: Trekking and Walking,Cultural and History,Multi-Activity,Family

Day 1 - International Arrival in Lima

Our representative will meet with you at International Lima Airport and escort you to your hotel.
There are no planned activities, so check into the hotel and rest up. Overnight at Lima Hotel
 
Meals Included: None


Day 2 – Lima Sightseeing Tour

Breakfast at the Hotel; morning free to relax; we recommend you to take a long rest and be prepared to begin with this unforgettable journey through our wonderful country.
At 2:30pm start your guided sightseeing tour to the most attractive and important sites in Lima, the "City of Kings". This excursion offers the best combination of the different attractions in Lima and its three historical periods: pre-Hispanic, colonial and contemporary. In Lima, there were several different pre-Columbian cultures which are dated thousands of years back. Lima was part of the Inca Empire until was founded by the Spaniard Francisco Pizarro on the 18th of January, 1535; back to Hotel - Overnight at Lima Hotel
 
Meals Included: Breakfast


Day 3 – Flight to Cusco - Cusco Sightseeing Tour

Breakfast at your hotel; transfer to the airport for your flight to Cuzco, the ancient Inca capital of the Incas. Upon arrival to Cusco; reception and transfer to your Hotel – free morning to get acclimatization
After lunch at 1:30pm; Cusco tour including the Cathedral, Koricancha, Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo, Pucapucara and Tambomachay. Our tour will beginning on to the Main Square of Cusco. You'll enter the Cathedral of Cusco and see the beautiful woodwork and colonial paintings containing extensive Incan iconography. Visit the Korikancha (Temple of the Sun) on which the Santo Domingo Convent was built. Legend says this temple was completely gold coated, which impressed the conquerors upon their arrival.
Ascend to the Archaeological Park of Sacsayhuaman and visit the Cuidadela. This is the royal house where they admired the Sun God but also worshiped younger gods. Admire this large structure and enjoy the magnificent landscape which brings peace and tranquility. Next, visit Qenqo, the old temple of the Puma. Inside you can see a sacrificial altar made of a huge stone. At Tambomachay, you'll see the sacred fountains of life and health. Pucapucara safeguarded the city gates and the Fortress of Sacsayhuaman. The tour ends with a detailed visit of the city of Cusco – Overnight at Cusco Hotel
 
Meals Included: Breakfast


Day 4 – Sacred Valley of the Tour

Breakfast at the hotel; pick up from the hotel at 8:00am for your full day tour to the impressive Sacred Valley of the Incas, explore the beautiful Peruvian countryside with a full-day tour of the magical Sacred Valley. First place, you will visit the town of Pisaq, famous for its bustling market. This native town was once where “exchange transactions” took place. In this type of transaction, customers would exchange one good for another instead of using currency. Visit the market of Pisaq where you can purchase beautifully crafted products hand-made by the locals. On Sunday, the main attraction is a mass celebrated in Quechua and conducted in Spanish. It is attended by the mayors and their attendants who play traditional musical instruments called "pututos."
Afterwards, you'll enjoy a typical Peruvian lunch (included in price) before visiting the fortress of Ollantaytambo.
Next, you will visit the impressive ruins of Ollantaytambo fortress. These magnificent ancient ruins serve as great vantage points to look out over the valley.
Originally the royal estate of Emperor Pachakuteq during the Inca Empire, this site later served as a stronghold for Manco Inca Yupanqui in the Inca´s final rebellion against the Spanish.
Stop in Ollantaytambo where you’ll take train to Aguas Calientes; upon arrival to Aguas Calientes, reception and transfer to the hotel - Overnight at Aguas Calientes Hotel
 
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch


Day 5 - Full Day Machu Picchu & Back to Cusco

Breakfast at the hotel; full day Excursion to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes, early transfer at 5:30am to the Bus Stop for the short ride (25 minutes) up to the citadel of Machu Picchu. Upon arrival, you will participate in a guided tour of the Citadel, visiting the Main Plaza, the Circular Tower, the Sacred Sun Dial (the most important preserved Intihuatana), the Royal Quarters, the Temple of the Three Windows, houses, warehouses, a large central square; and all connected by narrow roads and steps that are surrounded by terraces cut into the mountain side. After the tour you'll have time to stroll around the Archaeological Site at your leisure.
Then, you will have time to perform some of the following activities by yourself (not included in the price):
1. Climb to Wayna Picchu; for the most adventurous people, we suggest to go up the Wayna Picchu from where you can appreciate the immensity of Machu Picchu, even more amazing being high and distant.
2. Walk to Sun Gate; opportunity to walk (approx. 1 hour) up to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku)
Lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge Restaurant in Machu Picchu (included in the price)
Train back to Cusco: In the afternoon you'll return to the train station in Aguas Calientes for the trip back to Cusco - train departure to Cusco; upon arrival to Cusco reception and transfer to the Hotel
Overnight at Cusco Hotel
 
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch


Day 6 - Bus to Puno

Breakfast at the hotel; pick up from the hotel at 07:00am and transfer to the Bus Station to head off to Puno. Beautiful scenery all along the way, visit of the Raqchi and archeological sites as well as Andahuaylillas village and its famous "Sixteen Chapel" that was built in the middle of the 17th century. Lunch in Sicuani; upon arrival; reception and transfer to Puno Hotel - Overnight at Puno Hotel
 
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch


Day 7 - Lake Titicaca - Floating Islands of Uros and Taquile

Breakfast at the hotel; pick up from the Hotel at 7:30am we take a two-hour motor boat excursion on the waters of Lake Titicaca to the unique Floating "Islands" of the Uros. These ancient inhabitants of the lake, known as the Water Tribe, have built their own "islands" by periodically adding new layers of a type of reed unique to the area called "Totora". Their homes and boats are also made from this material. We continue our motorboat trip to Taquile Island, inhabited by Quechua-speaking natives who have developed efficient and unique social systems, as well as fine hand weaving techniques, down through the generations. Upon arrival at the Town of Taquile we will have a lunch. Then we will walk through the various hills and archaeological sites of this 6km long island.
In the afternoon, return to Puno - Overnight at Puno Hotel
 
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch


Day 8 – Puno Depart – Visit Sillustani - Lima International departure

Breakfast at the hotel; pick up from the Hotel and transfer to the airport and on the way visit the Sillustani tombs. These Tombs or Chullpas are characterized by their round and square bases, as well as the cornice on top. There are several figures and symbols on these tombs, the snake being the most representative. This symbolizes the influence of the jungle and not of the Andes.
Take flight to Lima then connect at home at the same airport – Lima International departure
 
Meals Included: Breakfast

Includes

  • All mentioned transport
  • Double or single room in the selected hotel with breakfast
  • Entrance to parks and cultural sights
  • Guided visits and mentioned excursions
  • English/Spanish speaking guide to accompany visits and excursions
  • All transfers
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Train tickets Expedition Class
 

Not included

  • International airfares
  • Domestic flights
  • Airport departure (US$ 30 per person for international flights and US$ 6.5 for national flights) taxes or visa fees
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Additional nights during the trip due to flight cancellations
  • Alcoholic beverages or bottled water
  • Snacks
  • Insurance of any kind
  • Laundry
  • Phone calls
  • Radio calls or messages
  • Reconfirmation of flights and items of personal nature
  • Personal equipment
  • Obligatory personal insurance and meals which are not mentioned
 

Optional Services

  • Upgrade the train to Vistadome Class: add US$ 50 per person

Peru Travel Facts

All of this combined makes Peru one of the most interesting places to volunteer in Latin America.
 
Here are some of the most interesting facts about Peru.
 
General facts about Peru
 
1) There are three official languages
 
Spanish, Quechua and Aymara are all official languages in Peru.
 
Spanish is the most widely spoken of the three, with over 80% of Peruvians speaking this language.
 
But these languages are only the tip of the linguistic iceberg in this South American country.
 

Once you travel towards the Amazon Jungle, the people local to this region speak an additional 13 languages. Impressive, right?

 
2) The capital city of Peru is Lima
 

Prior to the invasion of Peru by the Spanish, Peru was known as Tahuantinsuyo (or the Inca Empire as it is known today), and the most important city in that empire was Qosqo (or Cusco), which means navel of the world. Tahuantinsuyo was the largest empire in the Americas at that time, hence why the city was given its name.

 
In 1535, Francisco Pizarro – a sixteenth-century Spanish coloniser – established the city of Lima to serve as the seat of power for the Spanish colonists. Lima is still the capital of Peru today.
 
Today, Lima is home to a third of Peru’s population.
 

Most visitors to Peru will skip Lima in their excitement to get to Cusco and Machu Picchu. But, Lima has so much to offer to travellers, including the different architectural styles visible in the city centre.

 
3) The population of Peru is over 33 million
There are more than 33 million people currently living in Peru.
 
This population is made up of groups from different cultures and backgrounds – including the Uros people, many of who live on islands built of reeds in Lake Titicaca,  and the Mashco-Piro tribe, which lives in the Amazon rainforest.
 

These communities have inhabited the land for over five centuries.

 
Machu Picchu facts
 
Erected in the fourteenth century, Machu Picchu – a fortress built by the Incas – lies more than 2,400 metres above sea level in the Sacred Valley.
 
The Inca city was “lost” for over 400 years when Peru was invaded by the Spanish empire. It was rediscovered in 1911 by explorer, professor and archaeologist Hiram Bingham.
 

Today, Machu Picchu is a designated United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage Site.

 
1) Machu Picchu is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World
 
Intrepid travellers flock to Peru every year to tackle the Inca Trail – a well-known four-day hiking trail on the Andes mountain range that leads to Machu Picchu.
 
And why is Machu Picchu so popular? It’s  one of the places where you can see a number of great examples of Inca architecture and learn about Peruvian history.
 
In 2007, the site – often referred to as the “Lost City of the Incas” – was voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
 
2) Machu Picchu was an astronomical observatory
 
Archaeologists have learned that the fourteenth century Incas had an excellent understanding of the alignment of the stars.
 
The civilisation built each sun temple and the sacred Intihuatana stone to line up with the sun for each solstice.
 
3) No wheels were used to build Machu Picchu
 
Despite the fact that Machu Picchu is made up of many stones weighing over 23 kilograms, no wheels were used to transport these rocks up the mountain. It is believed that hundreds of men pushed rocks up the steep mountainside to build this wonder of the world.
 
Peru natural wonders facts
 
1) Peru has one of the highest sand dunes in the world
 
The Cerro Blanco sand dune is the second-highest in the world, towering over the Sechura Desert at 1,176 metres.
 
The sand dune is located 14 kilometres east of the city of Nazca, so excursions to see the dune are usually organised from there.
 
When you arrive at the dunes, you can hire a dune buggy or sandboard, and spend hours sliding down one of the largest natural wonders in the world.
 

2) Lake Titicaca is the world’s highest navigable lake

 

Located between Bolivia and Peru, Lake Titicaca has an elevation of 3,810 metres above sea level.

 
But that’s not the only thing that makes this natural wonder stand out.
 
In the 1970s Jacques Cousteau, a French conservationist, found ruins of a city beneath the surface of Lake Titicaca.
 
Today, the descendants of the Quechua people who called this lost city home, live on 120 self-made floating islands on the lake.
 
3) One of the deepest canyons in the world is in Peru
 
The Cotahuasi Canyon has a depth of more than 3,500 metres.
 
To put this into perspective, this canyon is twice the depth of the United States’ Grand Canyon.
 

4) Peru is home to the Nazca Lines

 

The Nazca Lines are a display of more than 70 giant human and animal geoglyphs – works of art made by rearranging objects within a landscape.

 
These images are scrawled across the Peruvian terrain near the city of Lima.
 
They were first brought to the public’s attention by a Peruvian archeologist in 1927.
 
Today, these lines in the desert plateau between Nazca and Palpa are considered one of the world’s greatest archaeological mysteries.
 
Some people believe that the Nazca Lines are an ancient alien landing strip, while others think it forms part of a sophisticated astronomical calendar.
 
Interesting facts about Peru’s food
 
Did you know that Peru is considered one of the top foodie destinations in the world?
 
Michelin-star chefs from many different countries fly to Lima and Cusco to learn how to master their trade.
 
Need more proof about Peru’s gastronomic clout?
 

Every year since 2012, the country has been named the World’s Leading Culinary Destination by the World Travel Awards.

 
1) You can eat over 3,500 varieties of potatoes in Peru
 
The potato is a superfood, containing almost every kind of vitamin you need. It’s birthplace? Peru.
 
With more than 3,000 types of potato grown in the country, why not sample as many as possible in between conducting English classes, conservation work or community development volunteer work in Peru?
 
2) Peru is home to one of the best superfoods in the world
 
Ever heard of the camu camu fruit?
 
It grows in the Amazon rainforest and has a higher concentration of vitamin C than any other food in the world.
 
So, if you’re feeling a little jet-lagged after arriving in Peru, stop by the local supermarket, purchase a camu camu and take a bite to give your immune system a much-needed boost!
 
3) Guinea pigs aren’t pets
 
If you’re volunteering in Peru during an important cultural festival, keep a lookout for cuy. Cuy is a traditional dish that’s made from roasted guinea pig.
 
For the adventurous eaters that try this delicacy, it’s worth knowing that guinea pig meat is an even healthier choice than llama meat – and it contains even more protein.
 
4) Pisco sour is Peru’s national drink
 
Pisco sour is a Peruvian brandy that is mixed with lemons, sugar, water, egg whites, ice and bitters.
 
It was invented in the early 1920s by an American bartender. You can also try a version of the drink called chilcano, which is made without the egg whites.
 
Peru wildlife and flora facts
 
1) Peru is home to one of the world’s largest flying birds
 
The Andean condor is native to the Andes mountain range in Peru. It has a wingspan of 3.2 metres, stands at 1.2 metres tall and can weigh up to 15 kilograms. Because of their large size, these birds like to live in windy areas like Peru’s Colca Canyon, where they can use the air current to glide for hours with minimal effort.
 
The bird features on four national shields: Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador.
 

The Andean condor is listed as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. They are under threat due to poisoning, habitat loss, illegal hunting and the wildlife trade, as well as increased competition for food by feral dog populations.

 
2) Peru is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world
 
One of the most interesting facts about Peru is that it has 90 different microclimates – climates that are restricted to a small area, and different from surrounding climates.
 
So it’s no wonder that the country is home to a wide variety of wildlife and plant species.
 
One of the best places to go to grasp the sheer range of its diversity is the Manu National Park. This park holds a biodiversity record after recording more than 1,000 species of birds, 1,200 species of butterflies, and 287 species of amphibians and reptiles in 2014.
 
Another great place to experience this is in the Yanachaga-Chemillen National Park, home to the Amazon cloud forest. With GVI, you can live and work in the park, which will give you the opportunity to experience the incredible biodiverisity found in this special place. You’ll assist in monitoring the return of certain mammals to the area, including armadillos, agoutis and ocelots. Most recently, we have even captured images of pumas and a spectacled bear in the area – a good indication that more animals are returning to the forest.
 

3) The tallest flowering plant grows in Peru

 

The Puya raimondii can grow to a height of five metres.

 
This plant takes between 80 and 150 years to flower. And, once it does, it can produce over 30,000 white blooms.
 
It’s only found in the high Andes, growing at an elevation of 3,000–4,800 metres above sea level.
 
4) The Amazon rainforest covers almost two thirds of Peru
 
Part of the Amazon rainforest, the Peruvian Amazon covers 60% of the country and is home to around 20% of all bird species in the world. You’ll also find 700 types of ferns and 7,322 different species of flowering plants, as well as roughly 180 species of reptiles, 262 amphibians, 293 mammals, 697 fish, 806 birds and 2,500 butterflies.
 
5) Three-quarters of the world’s alpacas live in Peru
 

Over 3.5 million alpacas call Peru their home. So don’t be surprised if a curious alpaca or two find their way into your picture when you visit this beautiful country.

 

Frequently asked questions!

The best way to prevent altitude sickness in Cusco is to be prepared. During your first 2 days you should take things easy. This means you shouldn’t take part in any strenuous activity. You should rest a lot and drink plenty of water. Alcohol and smoking isn’t a good idea as it can agitate you and make you feel a lot worse.

You can avoid altitude sickness by spending a few days taking it easy in Cusco before you head off on any kind of trek. Trying to do a tough activity too soon could make you very ill. You should also eat lightly and avoid alcohol to feel your best.

There’s no definite answer to this as there are many options. The Inca Trail is the most popular and needs to be booked months in advance as there are only a certain number of spots each day. The best alternative trek is considered to be Salkantay, which offers a real adventure and fantastic scenery. Inca Jungle is great for those seeking a thrill and Lares is a top option if you want a quieter and more rural experience. If you have a lot of time and want to experience two incredible Inca sites, you can opt for the Choquequirao trek.

This depends on the individual who wants to trek. The Inca Trail is extremely popular as it takes you along the real trail where the Incas once walked. However, many say that the scenery on Salkantay is more beautiful. For this reason we would say go for the Inca Trail if you’re a real history lover and like to hike well-known treks, but go for Salkantay if you want to witness stunning landscapes and a variety of different climates.

The trek isn’t dangerous. You’re with fully qualified guides all the way to make sure you always stay on track. They are there to help you if you feel sick at all along the way. The path can be uneven, but if you take it slowly, you’ll have no issues. During wet season, November to April, you’ll have to take more care when you walk to avoid slipping.

The trek is moderately challenging. This means that most people will be able to complete it if they are well-prepared. Most of the trek isn’t too challenging. It’s just the second day where you walk up to the Salkantay pass. You’ll trek for a total of 10 hours that day. What makes this trek difficult is the high altitude at which you hike and the different terrains as well as changing climate.

The Salkantay Pass sits at 4,600 masl.

Along the trail you’ll experience a lot of different climates. You’ll need to pack for the cold on the first two days. The first night will get below zero, so you need to make sure you have warm clothing and an excellent sleeping bag.

 You don’t need a permit for the Salkantay trek. You do need to pay S/10 upon entering, but this doesn’t need to be reserved in advance, meaning that there is always space available.

To prepare for trekking at high altitudes we recommend you start to prepare a few weeks before. You should start a fitness regime that includes daily stretching and exercises, particularly for your legs. We recommend taking hikes at home weekly before you come to do the trail.

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  • star rating  Based on the great reviews here, I contacted Hernan in hopes that he would guide my group of four on a Sacred Valley tour, overnight in Ollantaytambo, and then a... read more

    JourneyWithJason
    September 8, 2022

    star rating  Hernan met us at the Cusco airport and we drove through the Scared Valley the first day. Hernan is a native of the area and has the most wonderful... read more

    melrosetraveler
    August 10, 2022

    star rating  Hernan made our trip to the Sacred Valley so incredible! I reached out to him a few months before we traveled to Peru, and he suggested the itinerary (gave... read more

    T6081FGcatherinew
    July 25, 2022

    star rating  I can't recommend enough. An excellent tour guide who knows all the best places and people. He works hard to make sure your group is safe, well taken care of,... read more

    Christy N
    July 11, 2022

    star rating  Hernan is excellent. I gaurantee this will be the best tour to Quillabamba and choquequirao you can find. He is a great guide, both thorough and knowledgeable. He is one... read more

    Tayter T
    July 10, 2022

    star rating  What an amazing experience! Hernan exceeded every expectation we could have had. The hike itself was just incredible. Hernan is very well versed in the trail. ... read more

    Storyteller519049
    May 16, 2022
  • star rating  We had the best rip with Hernan and Jonathan. Hernan was our tour guide for four days through the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Hernan ensured we had a seamless... read more

    kd_moran
    April 18, 2022

    star rating  My favorite part of this whole experience was the relationship we developed with our tour guide, Hernan Hermoza. We are leaving Peru with a forever friend. Hernan... read more

    scollinsmason
    July 9, 2021

    star rating  The Best Private Guide Extraordinaire! We were nervous to go on this trip with Covid, but Hernan assured me it was safe to come, and yes - we felt... read more

    Jill D
    May 28, 2021

    star rating  How to describe Hernan, the perfect guide. When you arrive, you will meet a fantastic guide and when you leave, you will part good friends. Read all the... read more

    T8184PLrandys
    May 11, 2020

    star rating  Hernan was an amazing tour guide! My family and I travel all over the world. We have used many different tour guides. However, we have never had a tour guide... read more

    DrewKlayman
    January 16, 2020

    star rating  Hernan was able to answer every question we asked. He is incredibly knowledgable and has a great command of the English language. He was very accomadating when we were scheduling... read more

    Catherine G
    January 11, 2020