14 days Inca Voyage - day by day detailed description

Day 1 - Lima
Arrival in Lima, the "City of Kings" famous for its Spanish Colonial architecture, extraordinary museums and cuisine. Lima is internationally recognized as the "Gastronomic Capital of the Americas", and its cuisine is considered among the most diverse and exquisite in the world on par with French cuisine. Upon arrival a host will meet and assist you in transferring to the hotel and in registering. 

Day 2 - Lima - Arequipa
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Arequipa. Upon arrival a host will meet and assist you in transferring to the hotel and in registering. In the afternoon you can enjoy a city tour in Arequipa. Since everything is close, you will go by foot. First you will visit a local market where you can learn about the peruvian fruits & vegetables as well as a witches market. Then you continue to the Main Square where you will visit the Compañia and the cathedral or Arequipa. Afterwards you will have a guided tour through the beautiful Monastery of Santa Catalina, built in 1580 and still home to 20 nons.  

Day 3 - Arequipa - Colca Canyon
Departure towards the highlands passing through Yura-Pampa Cañahuas and La Pulpera with good possibility of observing groups of wild vicuñas and fighting cattle. The road to the Colca Canyon reaches a high point of 13,000 feet before dropping down to the valley, an area of breath taking landscapes surrounded by terracing and snow-capped peaks. Far below, at a depth of 10,000 feet, the Colca River winds along the bottom of the canyon, the world's deepest. 

Stop en route to see petroglyphs in the Caves of Mollepunco and in the town of Callali to see natural hill formations with the appearance of enchanted castles. Continue to La Calera to enjoy the thermal baths under the stars. Overnight in Colca Canyon area. 

Day 4 - Colca Canyon
To maximize your probability of seeing condors we depart very early towards a superb natural lookout point “Cross of the Condor” from where one can watch condors wheeling across the Colca Canyon, at about an altitude of 15,000 feet. The valley also features pre-Inca ruins, pre-Inca burial grounds and archaeological remains left behind by the Collagua, the ancient inhabitants of the area. Drive further in to the canyon to observe the way of life in this remote land and to admire the impressive irrigation system and the fertile mountains terraced for farming of the Colca valley.  

Ask your guide to take you to one of the many workshops in which close to a thousand artisans, scattered throughout the towns in the canyon, turn their ancient sewing and weaving machines into paint brushes to give life to impressively intricate and colorful embroidery and shawls. Overnight in Colca Canyon area.

Day 5 - Colca Canyon - Puno
The overland trip to Puno features unique natural scenery of the Peruvian Highlands.  

Day 6 - Puno – Lake Titicaca
Boat excursion to Uros and Taquile Islands on Lake Titikaka. This full day excursion will take you to the highest navigable lake in the world to the floating islands of the Uros Indians, man-made islands by tying totora reeds. The Uros considered themselves Lords of the Lake; they hunt wild birds and maintain traditional fishing methods. The men have developed an extraordinary skill in weaving reeds; producing houses, boats and handicrafts, and the women are expert knitters. 

Continuing to Taquile where a native community of about 400 families still lives with the traditions and high principals of the Incas. Taquile is a very important site on Lake Titikaka for its archeological remains, the sacred and ceremonial sites, the festive activities and their rituals. Taquile is characterized by its friendly inhabitants, who maintain their customs and traditional clothing. They distinguish themselves by their detailed, fine, and colorful textiles with symmetrical decorations and symbols that reflect their way of life and Andean beliefs. Lunch is included. 

Day 7 - Puno - Cusco
Bus journey through the Peruvian Andes from Puno to Cusco - Today one of South America's most extraordinary overland trips takes you by coach to Cusco passing through striking highland scenery and picturesque Andean villages. Brief stops at Raqchi to see the remains of the remarkable temple of Viracocha, considered by the historians an important Inca construction, and at the town of Andahuaylillas, a showcase of the colonial art in Peru, sometimes called "the Sistine Chapel of America". Lunch is included. 

Day 8 - Cusco
Tour of Cusco and Nearby Ruins – Visitors are caught up in the excitement of touring the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, a delightful combination of Inca and colonial architecture. The tour visits important landmarks such us Cusco's Cathedral, Plaza de Armas and Koricancha “The Temple of the Sun”. This tour of the oldest continuously inhabited city in the western hemisphere also includes the nearby ruins of Kenko, Puca-Pucara, Tambomachay as well as the Sacsayhuaman fortress, an imposing example of Inca military architecture. 

Day 9 - Cusco - Sacred Valley
Full Day Excursion to the Pisac Indian Market and the Ollantaytambo Fortress - Morning departure for a drive through the fertile countryside of the Urubamba Valley to the colonial village of Pisac where an Indian Market takes place Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Other days you will tour the religious nucleus and archaeological site of Pisac. During your visit to the bustling marketplace you will have the opportunity to bargain with the natives for many different types of Peruvian handicrafts and jewelry.  

Day 10 - Sacred Valley
Continue to the Ollantaytambo archaeological complex, the Incas built it as a fort that included a temple, agricultural terraces, and an urban area. There are two distinct sectors: The religious and worship zone, and the residential area. Ollantaytambo was an important administrative center with probable military functions if one considers the walls and towers. There are also traces of ancient roads and aqueducts. The town of Ollantaytambo is called a "Living Inca Town" since the inhabitants maintain very old practices and customs. Lunch is at a beautiful country estate on the shores of the Urubamba River.  

Day 11 - Sacred Valley - Machu Picchu
Morning train ride through the sacred valley of Urubamba to the "Lost City of the Incas," Machu Picchu. Perched 8,200 feet above the valley, it was hidden by mountains and semi-tropical jungles for 400 years until discovered by Hiram Bingham of Yale University in 1911. Archaeologists believe that the Inca "Virgins of the Sun" took refuge from the Spanish Conquistadors here. Guided tour of the ruins upon arrival. Lunch is at the Orient Express’ Sanctuary Lodge located just a few steps from the Inca citadel. 

Day 12 - Machu Picchu - Cusco
Free morning to enjoy one of the most incredible sights on earth, the sanctuary of Machu Picchu. Take as much time as you need to study these magnificent ruins, hike the steep stone-paved trail of Huayna Picchu, the pyramid-shape mountain above Machu Picchu for a breathtaking view of the site, or stroll to the Inca Bridge a secret entrance used by the Inca's army or walk toward the Inca Trail to find the historic Intipunku or Sun Gate. Afternoon return train ride. 

Day 13 - Cusco
Wandering through this lovely city, exploring the astonishing narrow streets of this tile roof colonial town will be your unforgettable experience. You will find something astounding at every turn. Great buys are the traditional Peruvian handicrafts, alpaca-wool sweaters and rugs, ponchos, pottery, gold and silver jewelry, leather goods, etc.  Because there are such a variety of products, we strongly suggest that when you like any particular item, you should buy it - you may not find the same item in other store. Many visitors to Cusco return home wishing they had a free day to discover this imperial city on their own, a free day in Cusco is a MUST!

Day 14 - Cusco - Out
Transfer to the airport for your departure to Lima and your connecting international flight. Arrive home full of great memories of the rich tradition of Colonial Lima and the mystical Land of the Incas.