Highlights of Peru - Machu Picchu, Inca Trail & Rainbow Mountain (Extended) [Pioneer Exclusive] - Awesome Experiences

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Highlights of Peru - Machu Picchu, Inca Trail & Rainbow Mountain (Extended) [Pioneer Exclusive]Peru

From £2,487 per person for 9 nights (based on 2 adults sharing)*
See all the country’s must-do sites and treasures, on this adventure with a trek to Machu Picchu along the famous Inca Trail at its heart. Along the way, you’ll hike through unforgettable Andean scenery towards Rainbow mountain.

Perfect for:

Fitness Level 3Must-do Outdoor Experiences Pioneers ClubExtraordinary & Secret Places
Summary

Peru 

Walking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is the stuff that bucket lists are made of; a once in a lifetime experience. Nothing can compare to your first glimpse of this mysterious lost city high in the clouds, a sight you will never forget. Beyond this ancient wonder, you’ll visit the technicolour hills of Rainbow Mountain and spend time on the islands of the vast Lake Titicaca, where life has remained unchanged for centuries.

    AWESOME ELEMENTS INCLUDED IN THE TOUR PRICE:

  • Follow the Inca trail to the unforgettable ruins of Machu Picchu
  • Visit the most important temple of the Incan world, Cusco’s Temple of the Sun 
  • Camp under star-speckled Andean skies as you hike towards Rainbow Mountain
  • Step back in time in Ollantaytambo, the ‘Last Inca Village in Peru’, visiting a home that's been in the same family for generations
  • Take in incredible views of the Peruvian Andes, from the panoramic windows of the Vistadome train 
  • Cruise across vast Lake Titicaca by boat, visiting the time-travel islands of Uros and Taquile

Highlights Summary

You’ll start your trip in cosmopolitan Cusco, taking in the spirit of this sacred city. With plenty to explore from - Inca temples to impressive cathedrals - you’ll have a sight-packed first day. After acclimatising to the altitude you’ll journey into the photogenic, ruin-strewn landscapes of the Sacred Valley, experiencing ancient and modern life existing side by side.

Then it’s time for the moment you’ve been waiting for: after the three-hour Inca Trail trek through waterfall-scattered forest towards the Inca Gate of the Sun, you’ll lay eyes on the mist-shrouded ruins of the enigmatic Machu Picchu for the first time. After spending the night in Aguas Calientes you’ll have a full day basking in the magic of this ancient wonderland. Then you’ll journey onwards to Rainbow Mountain, camping in the Andes along the way, before travelling onwards to Lake Titicaca, which the Incas believed was the birthplace of the sun. This vast piece of water is the largest lake in South America and the highest navigable lake in the world. You’ll spend the day visiting the reed-woven Uros Islands, where people have maintained their traditional ways of life for centuries, and Taquile, where the residents still speak the ancient Inca language of Quechua.  


Please click the Full Itinerary tab for the full daily itinerary, details of what's included and information about children and solo travellers. 

During peak seasons, the availability of Inca Trail permits is limited. If unavailable, please consider the Surreal Peru itinerary. 

Please click here for more similar Peru experiences

Seeking different dates? Take a look at our Non-Pioneer Highlights of Peru experience here.


BOOK ONLINE below now, or CALL 0208 432 0885 9am - 5pm Mon - Fri for assistance with booking 

Please use your unique Pioneers Club code (sent by email) at checkout to confirm your 20% discount.

Please have your passport and Debit/Credit card to hand. International flights are not included.


GETTING THERE

Typical return Economy flights from London cost around £800 per person and take 20 hours. Please check the current prices and availability using the ‘Search for Flights’ link below and ensure that your flight arrival and departure times and dates align with the start and end dates and airport locations shown on the Experience itinerary. Please do not book flights until your Experience booking is confirmed.

For this particular experience, we have found that the best option is normally to book a multi-stop flight from London - Cusco - Juliaca - London.

Experience start point: Cusco (CUZ). Arrive any time.

End point: Juliaca (JUL). Leave any time.

Search for flights to Cusco

Map
Full Itinerary

See below for your hotel options

You will get a choice of hotel options for the duration of your experience:

Classic ★★★

Classic hotels provide mid-range accommodation (minimum three-star rated), with comfortable rooms and private facilities. We’ve selected these hotels based on positive client feedback.

Premium ★★★★

Premium hotels are typically upper mid range (usually four star), with more amenities than our classic choices. They all have comfortable rooms with private facilities and have received good client feedback.

Deluxe ★★★★★

Deluxe hotels are luxury hotels with excellent facilities and service, usually categorised as 4.5 or 5 star. Clients rate them extremely highly.

When booking an experience, please remember that the hotel category you select is for the whole tour. The table below displays the hotels listed for each category. Please note that the actual hotel selection will be driven by availability at time of booking.


Click on the accommodation names to find out more from the hotel websites:

Classic: Premium: Deluxe:
Suenos Del Inka Hotel Novotel Cusco Palacio del Inka
Hotel Casa Andina Standard Machu Picchu Hotel El Mapi by Inkaterra Hotel Libertador Lago Titicaca 
Hotel Hacienda Puno Hotel Sonesta Posadas del Inca Puno Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

Itinerary

Day One

Arrive and Acclimatise

You’ll arrive in Cusco, ready for your private hotel transfer. Then it’s time to acclimatise to this seductive city, 3,399m above sea level. Packed with ancient temples, colonial mansions and grand cathedrals, the former Incan capital is the perfect place to start an adventure.

Overnight in Cusco

Meals included: None

Cusco


Day Two

Into the Inca Empire

Time for a morning foray into Cusco’s fascinating history, on a guided walk that takes in its most famous monuments. You’ll start in the grand main square of the Plaza des Armas, visiting its cathedral before wandering down tiny alleys and past high Incan walls on your way to the most important temple of Inca times: Coricancha, the Temple of the Sun.

The afternoon is free for further exploration. You might like to take an optional excursion through the Incan ruins dotted around Cusco. The adventure starts at the old citadel of Sacsayhuaman, which has spectacular views down towards the city. Then you’ll visit the mysterious temple of Qenqo, carved from a single monolith and thought to be the site of grizzly death rituals. Finally, it’s time to see the calm, fortress ruins at Puka Pukara and the aqueducts and waterfalls at Tambomachay, believed by some to be a spa resort for the ancient Incan elite (see Extras tab).

Overnight in Cusco

Meals included: Breakfast

Sun Temple


Day Three

Village Life

Journey into the lush green landscape of the Sacred Valley, to find out about life outside the city, both ancient and modern. The first stop on your day-long adventure will be Moray, where a mysterious pattern of circular terraces (thought to be an Incan agricultural laboratory) blends beautifully into the surrounding foothills.

Moray

After that, visit the spectacular terraced salt flats at Maras, which have been harvested since pre-Incan times. Situated at the mouth of a ravine, they’re a holiday must-snap. In Maras village, you’ll spend time with a local family who will teach you the art of decorating Peruvian ceramics during a private workshop: you’ll leave with your own ornament as a souvenir. Your final stop on the excursion will be the village of Ollantaytambo, occupied since the 13th century and nicknamed the ‘Last Inca Village in Peru’. Life continues largely unchanged in its cobbled streets and squares. You’ll visit the fortress ruins that climb into the mountains above the village (where the Incans defeated the conquistadors in battle). Then you’ll get an insight into daily life here, spending time in a typical Ollantaytambo home that’s been occupied by the same family for generations.

Salt Flats

Overnight in Cusco

Meals included: Breakfast


Day Four

Walk Through the Clouds to Machu Picchu

You’ll take a car to Ollantaytambo, ready to board the fast train to the Machupicchu Park. After checking documents with the rangers, it’s time for a three-hour Inca Trail trek past tumbling waterfalls, rare orchids and mountain birds, towards the steeply terraced ruins of Wiñaywayna, 9514 feet above sea level. You’ll break for a packed lunch here and have time to explore the ruins and their museum, as well as Inti Punku, the Inca Gate of the Sun, from where you’ll get your first glimpse of the incredible site of Machu Picchu. After that, you’ll cross the rainforested ridge towards one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of modern times. Once there, you’ll have time to learn more about the city and explore its many monuments, before taking the bus down to Agua Calientes, your home for the night. 

Overnight in Aguas Calientes

Meals included: Breakfast; packed lunch; dinner

Winaywayna


Day Five

Exploring a Lost City

Having got your bearings yesterday, you’ll board an early morning shuttle bus to Machu Picchu for a guided exploration of the site. You’ll find out about its discovery by Hiram Bingham, as well as the theories on the mysteries surrounding how and why it was built. You’ll also adventure through its main plaza, Temple of Three Windows, Circular Tower, sacred sundial and burial grounds. After your morning’s exploration, you’ll leave your guide and board the Vistadome train from Aguas Calientes to Poroy station in Cusco. The train has panoramic windows, allowing passengers incredible views over snow-capped mountains which segue to green-swathed foothills, tiny villages and forgotten ruins. Upon arrival in Cusco, you’ll be transferred to your hotel.

Overnight in Cusco

Meals included: Breakfast

Machu Picchu


Day Six

Towards Rainbow Mountain

Leave Cusco after breakfast, on the 83-mile journey towards Vinicunca, known as Rainbow Mountain thanks to its undulating patterns of bright colour, caused by the erosion of its surface. As the drive takes you up into the Andes, you’ll stop at the picturesque stone village of Checacupe, then climb to 3,600m to buy supplies in Pitumarca, the last village with shops before you begin your trek. From here, the route follows an unpaved path upwards towards Quesoyoni (4,376m), where you’ll meet the horsemen who will accompany you on your hike. Once the horses are loaded up, it’s time to start walking: following a stream uphill past herds of llama and alpaca towards Anantapata, where you’ll find amazing views of nearby Ausangate Mountain. You’ll have lunch here, before a two-hour climb to the Anantapata Pass, with snow-capped views of the Vilcanota mountain range from 5,010m up. Then it’s an hour’s downhill hike to your campsite home for the night.

Overnight in Surine Qocha (4,795m)

Meals included: Breakfast; lunch; dinner

Ausangate Mountain


Day Seven 

Bright and Beautiful

You’ll continue your hike this morning, breakfasting early in order to reach beautiful Vinicunca after an hour and a half’s walk. Swirled with candy-like patterns of turquoise, orange, brown and red, it’s a stunningly surreal sight – especially with the snowy peak of Ausangate as a backdrop. There will be plenty of time to take pictures and savour the atmosphere, before a downhill hike through the grassy Kairahuire valley, stopping for lunch at 4,350m. Then you’ll continue your descent down to Quesoyoni, ready for the drive back to Cusco.

Overnight in Cusco

Meals included: Breakfast; lunch

Rainbow Mountain


Day Eight

Towards Lake Titicaca

Leave Cusco for the final time, on the long bus journey to the city of Puno, on the shore of Lake Titicaca. You’ll break up the journey with plenty of stops, accompanied by the tour-bus guide. First, at the sleepy town of Andahuaylillas, you’ll see the ‘Sistine Chapel of the Americas’, an intricately-decorated 16th-century church that’s packed with murals and gold leaf. Then you’ll visit Raqchi, home to the country’s only surviving adobe Incan ruins. Finally, in the enchanting little town of Pukara, you’ll have lunch at a local restaurant, shop for the town’s famous ‘Toritos de Pucara’ pottery and see the pre-Incan treasures of the Museu Litico de Pucara. Upon arrival in Puno, you’ll be transferred to your hotel, ready to explore Lake Titicaca in the morning.

Overnight in Puno

Meals included: Breakfast; lunch

Scistine Chapel of Peru


Day Nine

Life on the Lake

You’ll be picked up at your hotel and taken to Puno’s dock, ready for a day-long boat trip on Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake. First stop is the Uros Islands: these manmade reed islands, floating within the Titicaca National Reserve, are named after the builders who have lived here for centuries, maintaining their traditional way of life and living in small houses that they also weave from the reeds. Next, you’ll head for the island of Taquile, whose inhabitants still speak the Incan language of Quechua. You’ll notice their colourful clothing, made using weaving techniques that are central to their culture and practiced by everyone. You can buy some garments for yourself, or simply savour the uniqueness of the unspoiled landscape: there are no roads, only agricultural terraces and paved walking paths that criss-cross the countryside. On clear days, you can see as far as Bolivia from the highest point in the island, at almost 4,050m. After your boat trip, you will be transferred back to your hotel in Puno.

Overnight in Puno

Meals included: Breakfast; lunch

Lake Titicaca Boats


Day Ten

Altiplano Adventures

There’s the chance to see the pre-Incan cemetery of Sillustani on your way back to the airport. In a dream-like setting on the shore of Lake Umayo, backed by the wild emptiness of the Altiplano, these funerary towers stand sentinel high above the water. There will be time to explore, before driving onwards towards Juliaca and the airport.

Meals included: Breakfast


Overall meals included: 9 Breakfasts; 5 lunches; 2 dinners

What's included:

  • Private English-speaking guides unless stated otherwise
  • Private transfers, trains tickets and internal flights, unless stated otherwise
  • Meals as listed
  • Mandatory taxes and service fees
  • Entrance tickets and permits unless stated otherwise
  • Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
  • Excursion to Rainbow Mountain
  • Boat excursion on Lake Titicaca

What's not included:

  • International flights to/from the start/end point of our experiences
  • Optional extras listed
  • Tips for guides, drivers, hotel and restaurant staff
  • Any visa, customs, airport taxes or similar charges before or after the tour
  • We cannot guarantee the included hotel breakfast for early departures
  • Drinks during meals unless stated otherwise
  • Personal expenses, such as laundry


For Home Office travel advice to this country, read more here

If you intend to travel solo, please click here

Children: This experience is not recommended for children under 12. Children aged 8 and older can go under parent's responsibility.

Note: This trip includes a trek to Machu Picchu. If you’d prefer not to do this, please see the Surreal Peru extended itinerary or the shorter Cultural Peru itinerary. If you're looking for a shorter version of this itinerary, please see Classic Peru.


BOOK ONLINE below now, or CALL 0208 432 0885 9am - 5pm Mon - Fri for assistance with booking

Please use your unique Pioneers Club code (sent by email) at checkout to confirm your 20% discount. 

Please have your passport and Debit/Credit card to hand. International flights are not included.


GETTING THERE

Typical return Economy flights from London cost around £800 per person and take 20 hours. Please check the current prices and availability using the ‘Search for Flights’ link below and ensure that your flight arrival and departure times and dates align with the start and end dates and airport locations shown on the Experience itinerary. Please do not book flights until your Experience booking is confirmed.

For this particular experience, we have found that the best option is normally to book a multi-stop flight from London - Cusco - Juliaca - London.

Experience start point:Cusco (CUZ). Arrive any time.

End point: Juliaca (JUL). Leave any time.

Search for flights to Cusco

Extras

Awesome Experience bonuses

Many of our experiences have optional features available at an added cost. Please see below for available extras for this experience. Please continue to checkout to select any optional extras and to see pricing information.

Optional Extras

To customise your experience, you can select any of theses extras at an additional cost during the basket stage.

Optional Excursion through Incan Ruins

The adventure starts at the old citadel of Sacsayhuaman, which has spectacular views down towards the city. Then you’ll visit the mysterious temple of Qenqo, carved from a single monolith and thought to be the site of grizzly death rituals. Finally, it’s time to see the calm, fortress ruins at Puka Pukara and the aqueducts and waterfalls at Tambomachay.

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