Land of the Incas and home to the majestic lost city Machu Picchu, Peru is a country rich in culture, history, and nature. This Latin American country is a dream destination for adventure lovers. The dense Amazonian rainforests and the rural Andes countryside creates a perfect place for Latin America adventure travel.
Explore all highlights of Cuzco
Hike through the Inca Trail
Visit the impressive Machu Picchu
Enjoy camping under Peru's shimmering night sky
Presenting a unique combination of history and exciting scenery, the ancient Inca Trail extends its way from the great Urubamba River, across mountain passes, and through cloud forests, passing various breaking fortresses before reaching the lost city of Machu Picchu. This Latin America adventure travel is specifically designed to maximize the time spent at Machu Picchu with an early morning round of the ruins, peaceful at that hour before day trippers and other trekkers arrive.
Welcome to Peru. Your guide will meet you at the airport and shift you to the hotel. Placed amidst hills in the altiplano, the Imperial City of the Incas, Cuzco was the geographic, cultural and political heart of a vast empire which, at its zenith, extended from modern Quito in Ecuador to Santiago in Chile. After the Spanish conquerors invaded the city they started constructing on top of the Incan structures, resulting in unique architecture, a coalition of the Incan and Spanish colonial styles. On your arrival, there will be an orientation briefing in the hotel lobby this afternoon/evening. There will also be a short orientation tour around the city or you can enjoy free time to wander the cobbled streets admiring the old houses. You can also visit its impressive museums, churches, and pre-Columbian buildings, or just sit in a cafe and sample a coca-tea. It is advised to take it easy upon arrival into Cuzco and to drink plenty of water to allow your body to acclimatize to the altitude (3,400m).
Today is free for exploring Cuzco, one of South America's most attractive cities. The Plaza de Armas is a wonderful spot for people-watching. The places that worth visits include Qorikancha – the Sun Temple, situated in the Santo Domingo, Church, and monastery. The Mercado San Pedro is the area to try some local produce and there are many handicraft markets to shop for souvenirs such as alpaca jumpers and scarves. Outside the city are more Inca ruins, particularly the fortress of Sacsayhuaman where the Inca armies executed their last stand against the Conquistadores. Cuzco also makes the gateway to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. You should want to visit the sites, your leader can help arrange an excursion, including Pisac Market. If you like something more active then there are a collection of other optional activities available in Cuzco. These include paddle-boarding on a lake, mountain biking, or a blend of via Ferrata and zip-lining in the Sacred Valley. Although you may wish to postpone these until your return to the city after the Inca Trail trek. In the evening you will need to pack and keep your duffel bag ready for the Inca Trail tomorrow. Don’t forget to keep your passport somewhere accessible for the Inca Trail checkpoint.
The Classic Inca Trail is a divergent branch part of a 45,000km road network connecting the whole empire to Cuzco. It was established in the 15th Century to connect Machu Picchu but was dropped soon after the Spanish conquest. American adventurer Hiram Bingham traveled along this trail when he explored Machu Picchu in 1911. The trail opened to the public in 1970. We will depart Cuzco early and travel for roughly two hours to Ollantaytambo, our last opportunity to buy any items needed for the trek. From here we turn off the road and follow a track beside the river for 45 minutes to the start of the Inca Trail at Piscacucho, usually known as Km82. After greeting our trekking team, we show our passports at the checkpoint and start the Inca Trail trek. The trail moves alongside the Vilcanota River below the majestic snow-capped Nevado Veronica, with the view of cactus gardens and fields of corn until we reach the large Inca ruins of Llactapata, where we continue up a side valley to camp near the villa of Huayllabamba.
This is the longest and most demanding day of the trek. A long climb takes us first through an area of cloud forest to the grasslands of Llulluchapampa, then over the Warmihuanusca (Dead Woman's) Pass – at 4215m, the highest point on the trek. After quite a long, steep descent we camp in the picturesque valley of the Pacamayo River (3600m).
We begin the day with an easier climb which leads us past the ruins of Runquracay and over the Runquracay Pass (3930m). From here onwards the Inca Trail gets a clearly defined path made of flat boulders. As we leave the ruins of Sayajmarca behind our way, we suddenly land on a rainforest. The trail with pass through an Inca tunnel at some point. We spend the night at a dramatic campsite on the hill above the Inca site of Phuyupatamarca (3680m) to enjoy the views of sunset and sunrise.
In order to beat the day-trippers coming from Cuzco and crowd the ruins as early as possible, a very early start is needed to queue for Machu Picchu. Only government-registered buses can make the 30-minute ride up the winding road to the site entrance, and during peak season (May-October) queues can be hours long. Machu Picchu is one of the architectural and engineering miracles of the ancient world and what makes it all the more exciting is its mountain backdrop of tremendous immensity. The Spaniards never found it. The Incas left no records of it, and so Machu Picchu remained a famous puzzle, a city abandoned for centuries in the jungle until it was rediscovered in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham. New directions for visiting Machu Picchu are now fully implemented. Out of the three possible visiting slots, we will acquire the morning slot from 06:00 until 12: 00. you will be restricted to a maximum of four hours within the site and must be accompanied by a guide. There will also be three set routes to follow around Machu Picchu and we will select the most comprehensive route. We will catch an afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo and continue by private bus to Cuzco.
Your Latin America adventure travel ends today. We will transfer you to the airport for your home flight. Reach home safely and share your best experiences in the wonderful land of Peru.
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