A Note on Altitude: If you are joining in Cuzco, we strongly recommend arriving at least 24 hours before the trip begins to allow additional time to acclimatize. A Note on our Community Trek: From July 2016, we have renamed our flagship Community Trek, The Wild Andes Trek, we feel this sums it up pretty well - trekking in the remote, pristine mountains of Peru. The only thing that's changing is the name - Dragoman's commitment to genuine,responsible tourism remains at the heart of the trek and the route remains the same, so rest assured by opting for this trek you are supporting communities and protecting the environment. Border information: If you are joining in Cuzco, you will most likely enter Peru at Cuzco Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (IATA code: CUZ). There will be an important group meeting at 10:00a.m at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting. There will be a further meeting this evening for our Wild Andes and Classic Inca Trails, where we will have a full detailed briefing from our local trekking guides about the next few days! The rest of today will be free to explore the wonderful city of Cuzco, discover its many historical gems, or to take part in number of optional activities near the city. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Cuzco before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Cuzco. In Cuzco we will stay in a good colonial hotel. Hotel for the night: Hotel Cahuide Hotel Cahuide Calle Saphi No. 845 Cuzco Peru Tel - + 51 8422 2771 About Cuzco: The Inca Empire was the largest empire in the pre-Columbian Americas - the civilization arose in the early 13th Century under the leadership of the first Inca ruler Manco Capác, founding the city of Cuzco as their capital. The civilization thrived in the area until 1438, when the new leader Pachacuti embarked on a massive campaign of expansion and used military conquest and peaceful assimilation to incorporate a massive portion of western South America under his control - at its largest, the Inca Empire stretched all the way from southern Colombia through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, northwest Argentina, all the way down to central Chile. In 1526, the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro first entered Inca territory from his expedition through Colombia. After quickly determining that it was evidently a civilization of great wealth and power, he quickly received royal permission to conquer the empire - he decisively kidnapped and later executed the Inca ruler Ayahualpa in 1533 and installed their own puppet ruler, Manco Inca Yupanqui. The new leader quickly turned on the invaders and briefly took control of Cuzco for the Incas again, until the Spanish finally pushed them back permanently from the city. The remnants of the civilization formed a Neo-Inca state centered around Vilcabamba in the mountains above Lima until the Spanish invaded them completely in 1572, ending the last major resistance to their rule in Peru. Any adventure tour to Peru naturally centered around the stunning city of Cuzco - it is world-famous as the gateway to the spectacular ruins of Machu Picchu and the various Inca trails through the Peruvian highlands. However, the city is a fantastic destination in its own right, and many of its buildings still retain some of the original Inca stonework as part of their structure. This unique and intricate stonework was an ingenious construction method that prevented damage from earthquakes - examples of their amazing building techniques can still be seen in and around Cuzco, including the famous 'twelve-sided stone', now part of the logo of Cuzco's native Cusqueña beer! A good place to start your explorations is the majestic main plaza, surrounded by cobbled streets lined with attractive colonial buildings. Head up the hill into the neighborhood of San Blas and you will discover another hidden square with a quiet laid-back feel. All the streets are lined with shops, bars and restaurants, from small local cafes to five star dining experiences. There are also some fantastic museums and historical sites in and around the city, showcasing the wonderful history and culture of the Incas.
These four days will be spent either trekking in the Andes, on our pioneering Wild Andes Trek, on the Classic Inca Trek or for those not wishing to hike, free time to explore and a guided tour of the Sacred Valley on our Train package. Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek Leaving Cuzco early in the morning, we visit the ruined temples of Sacsayhuaman for a fascinating tour of the site. We then head on to Chinchero, a small Quechua-speaking village in the Sacred Valley. Here we will see a traditional weaving demonstration that has been unchanged for a thousand years, and explore their beautiful archaeological ruins. We will drive to a stunning viewpoint for a picnic lunch, and then visit the Quillarumiyoc temple (the Temple of the Moon). We will start our trek from here in the afternoon, heading by foot to Zurite where we have a picturesque stay in a colonial house. Tonight we will enjoy a traditional dinner and get a taste of the local village lifestyle. Approximate walking distance: 8km, Estimated time: 4hrs, Meals provided: Lunch and Dinner Option 2 - Classic Inca Trek This morning we go for a guided tour of the Sacred Valley, followed by a visit to the market town of Pisac, where we will have lunch. We then head to Ollantaytambo, where we will explore this impressive archeological site. Tonight we stay in a comfortable hotel. There is no trekking today. Meals provided: Lunch, Dinner, Snacks Option 3 - Train Package You will leave Cuzco with your fellow passengers who will be trekking the Wild Andes Trek. You will visit the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, followed by a beautiful scenic drive over mountains and through valleys, via the ancient city of Pisac and on to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. After lunch you will head back to Cuzco where you will stay at our nice, centrally located hotel for a further 3 nights. These hotel nights will be booked for you by your Tour Leader. Meals Included: Lunch INCLUDED ACTIVITIES. Visit the incredible remains of the Inca temples of Sacsayhuaman and the Sacred Valley on a guided tour: Included in kitty Take a guided tour of the fantastic Inca temples at Ollantaytambo: Included in Kitty Options for the treks from Cuzco (please see the bottom of the Trip Notes for more details): Included in Kitty Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek Hike on unspoiled Inca Trails through the stunning remote Andean scenery away from other tourists, on our exclusive Wild Andes Inca Trek. If you choose this option you will get a small refund from kitty. Option 2 - Classic Trek Trek the Classic Inca Trail up the Royal Inca Road. Your kitty has been budgeted to accommodate for this option as it is the most costly of the 3 options. Option 3 - Train Package (non-trekking option) Relax in Cuzco and take the train to Machu Picchu without trekking. If you choose this option you will get a substantial refund from kitty. Important note: You must advise us at the time of booking if you wish to book the Classic Inca Trail or the Train Package (non-trekking option), otherwise you will automatically be booked onto our Community Trek. About Sacred Valley: The valley of the Urubamba river is more often referred to as "The Sacred Valley". In the Peruvian highlands close to the Inca capital of Cuzco, the valley extends from the small market town of Pisac to Ollantaytambo, nestling at the foot of the Andean mountain ranges that are home to the magical lost Inca city of Machu Picchu. Together with Machu Picchu itself, the Sacred Valley was a cradle of the Inca Empire and the area is littered with archaeological sites including the magnificent ruins of Pisac with its famous terraced fields, the old temple complex of Sacsayhuaman and the remarkably well-preserved Inca city of Ollantaytambo. Together with the temperate climate, lively markets, sleepy Andean villages and stunning surrounding landscape, the rich history of the area makes it a truly bewitching place. About Inca Trail : When people talk about "The Inca Trail", they are usually referring to a particular trekking route that follows a ancient pathway that leads to Machu Picchu. However there are a huge number of Andean Trails that crisscross the Urubamba Valley and surrounding mountain ranges, many of which are genuinely remote and rarely used by western tourists. On our Dragoman tours that travel via Cuzco we offer you the choice to trek either the Classic Inca Trail or our unique alternative, the Community Inca Trek, which is exclusive to Dragoman. The Classic Inca Trail The Classic Inca Trail route usually starts at Kilometre 82 of the Cuzco-Aguas Calientes railway, taking in Abra Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman's Pass, 4,200m) and the ruins of Phuyupatamarca and Wiñay Wayna en route, eventually arriving at the Sun Gate above Machu Picchu early in the morning after 3 days of trekking. This route is still extremely popular as it is seen by many as the original Inca Trail, and it is also probably the best trek to choose if you're really interested in history and archaeology, because of all the smaller Inca sites it passes along the way. Unfortunately, due to its own popularity, the Classic Trail is always very busy, with around 500 people starting the trek every day - due to there being restrictions on camping areas, the campsites are often very busy with other trekkers as well. Nevertheless it is still an awesome trek, passing through some stunning scenery from snow-capped peaks to abundant cloud forests, and the sense of achievement you'll have when you catch your first sight of Machu Picchu is something you'll never forget. Please note that the Classic Trail is always closed for maintenance during the entire month of February each year. The Community Inca Trek Dragoman's Community Inca Trek is a unique trekking route where you'll hike through pristine unspoilt Andean scenery, walking ancient Inca Trails and pass through local communities as part of our pioneering community-based tourism project, Tarpuy Yachay. This trek is all about getting away from the overcrowded thoroughfares of the Classic Inca Trail and getting out into the real Andes - not to mention being part of a project with provides a genuine, direct benefit to the host communities we travel through, by supporting education, income generation and environmental sustainability projects. The trek itself is about the same as the Classic Inca Trail in terms of length and difficulty, taking three to three and a half days and ascending to about 4,700m when you cross the highest pass. The scenery out here is truly magnificent, spectacular mountain peaks, verdant hillsides dotted by isolated villages and the odd llama and alapaca, you are unlikely to see another tourist here. Although you won't trek into Machu Picchu via the Sun Gate as on the Classic Trail, you will arrive to Machu Picchu well rested after a night in a comfortable hotel and ready to get the most out of the tour of this magnificent site.
Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek Zurite to Amaruwatana After a hearty breakfast we leave Zurite and head to wards Amaruwatana camp. The walk will take us through Qenteqentiyoc (the Hummingbird Temple), where we will visit and admire this archaeological Inca site. We will then follow the ancient path all the way to the top of our first pass at 4,400 metres, where we will have a dramatic view of both the Vilcabamba and Vilcanota mountain ranges. From here we start walking down on the way to our first camp in the Sambor Valley where we will spend the night camping. Approximate trekking time: 7-8hrs, Distance: 13km, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Option 2 - Classic Inca Trek Ollantaytambo to Wayllabamba After breakfast, we catch a bus to the Railroad 82km marker, the start of the Classic Inca Trek, here we are joined by our crew of local porters and cooks. We will cross the bridge over the River Urubamba and following a trail along the left-hand shore of the river, we enjoy stunning views of the snow-capped Mount Veronica (5830m.) and the Inca archaeological remains at Llactapata. Continuing through lush farmland and woodlands, we gradually climb for approximately 5 hours to our first campsite at Wayllabamba (3000m./9840ft.) Approximate trekking time: 5-6hrs, Distance: 12km, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks Option 3 - Train Package Dragoman Today is a free day for you to enjoy Cuzco, with its museums, churches, incredible colonial architecture, beautiful restaurants and a vast array of shops, selling textiles and handicrafts.
Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek Amaruwatana to Ancascocha We have an early start this morning, trekking for approx. 2 hours to reach the top of our second pass at 4,700 metres. From here we have fantastic views of the rock formations below us, and if we're lucky we may spot Andean ibises, cascaras, eagles or foxes up here! After descending for approx. 2 hours, we arrive at a stunning highland valley with a glacial river named Kenqo Mayu (Zig-zag River) flowing down it - which makes an idyllic stop for lunch! After lunch we will continue trekking downhill following the ancient trail, which leads us to our campsite in the Ancascocha area. Approximate trekking time: 6-7hrs, Distance: 10km, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Option 2 - Classic Trek Wayllabamba to Pacaymayo This is the most challenging of the trek as we ascend a long steep path (approx 4 hrs) to reach the highest point of our trek, Warmiwañusca, or Dead Woman's Pass, at a height of 4,200 m (13,779 ft), before descending to the Pacaymayo Valley (3,650 m above sea level - 2 hrs downhill). Depending upon local conditions, you might camp here today, or may need to continue further up and down. We might cross the first and second passes on this day. From the second pass, Runkuracay (3,980 m above sea level - 90 min uphill) we can enjoy views of the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcabamba before descending to the ruins of Sayacmarca (2 hours downhill). From here it is only a few more minutes to the Chaquicocha campsite (3,620 m above sea level). Approximate trekking time: 6-7hrs, Distance: 11km, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks Option 3 - Train Package Today is a free day for you to enjoy Cuzco, with it's museums, churches, incredible colonial architecture, beautiful restaurants and a vast array of shops selling textiles and handicrafts.
Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek Ancascocha to Ollantaytambo T Today we will descend the narrow Silque Canyon, allowing us to observe the tall granite walls on its sides which are populated by a large variety of orchids and bromeliads, filling the environment with magnificent colours when they bloom. After crossing many little bridges we will reach the Camicancha area, where we stop at a magnificent volcanic viewpoint looking to wards the Snow-capped Mt. Veronica. From here, it is only a short trek to Chilca, where out trail ends. We'll be picked up by our vehicle and head to Ollantaytambo, taking a well-earned shower and rest at our hotel. In the afternoon we will have an included guided tour around the incredible archaeological site of Ollantaytambo and its world-famous Temple of the Sun. Approximate trekking time: 5hrs, Distance: 12km, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Option 2 - Classic Inca Trek Pacaymayo to Winay Wayna Today we continue over the third pass and soon reach the beautiful ruins of Phuyupatamarca, the 'Town above the Clouds' (3,850 m above sea level – 90 min uphill). Start descending real Inca Steps (2 hrs) to reach our final night's camp by the Wiñay Wayna, or 'Forever Young' ruins (2,750 m above sea level), with panoramic views of the valley below. Approximate walking time: 8 hours, Distance: 16km, Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks Option 3 - Train Package After being picked up from your hotel in the morning you will be driven to the fortress city of Ollantaytambo and our hotel for the night, the Tunupa Lodge. Here you will rejoin the Community Inca Trekkers and your tour leader who will be arriving from their trek this afternoon.
Option 1 - Wild Andes Trek Ollantaytambo – Machu Picchu – Cuzco Today we will have an early start to catch the train to the small town of Aguas Calientes. From there, we will take a bus up the winding mountainside to the legendary ruined city of Machu Picchu - one of the world's most iconic sights! We have a guided tour with our expert local guide and plenty of time to freely explore this magical place. In the afternoon we will head back to Ollantaytambo and then on to Cuzco, where we return to our joining hotel at the end of a long but phenomenal day! Meals provided: Breakfast Option 2 - Classic Trek Winay Wayna to Machupicchu Today we wake early for a short final hike to Machu Picchu, we climb the steps to the Sun Gate to watch the ruins emerge from the mist below. As with the community trek our guide will show us the most important constructions as well as explain the history and the mythology of this magnificent place. There is some free time to explore the ruins further at your own pace or maybe if you haven't experienced enough steps and trekking, why not visit the Inca Bridge. Or you can just chill out and watch the hummingbirds or vizcachua. In the afternoon we head back down to Aguas Calientes and take the train back to Ollantaytambo and return to Cuzco for a well-deserved rest. Approximate walking time: 2 hours, Distance: 4km, Meals provided: Breakfast, Snacks Option 3 - Train Package After an early breakfast and walk to the train station, your stunning 2 hour train ride to Aguas Calientes begins. The journey takes you through several different micro-climates, past Inca terraces, lookout posts, ancient river bank reinforcements and small towns. You will get a glimpse of different temples and the beautiful Mount Veronica (5,750m). Passing through 8 tunnels, the train journey finally comes to an end in the busy pueblo, Aguas Calientes. From here you take a local bus that winds up the mountainside for about 30 minutes until you arrive at the entrance to Machu Picchu (2,400m), the awe inspiring 'Lost City of the Incas'. The guide will take you around the immense, mystical ruins for about 2 to 2 ½ hours, explaining the rich history of the ancient site. Afterwards, you will have time to explore on your own before returning down the mountain to Aguas Calientes. In the afternoon you will catch a train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo and a private transfer will take you back to your hotel in Cuzco. Meals provided: Breakfast INCLUDED ACTIVITIES Explore the phenomenal and iconic Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World - take a guided tour and have plenty of time to freely explore before returning to Cuzco : Included in Kitty About Machu Picchu: Machu Picchu is a world-famous 15th-Century Inca citadel perched 2,430m above sea level on a mountain ridge above the Sacred Valley. One of the historical highlights of the world and a phenomenal icon of Peru, the ruins have been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1983 and was voted on of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007. Machu Picchu was most likely built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472), and is thought to have been built in around 1450 but abandoned after the Spanish conquest in the 1530s. Although the city remained known about by the local Quechua people, it was undiscovered by the Spanish during the colonial period and remained unknown to the outside world until American historian Hiram Bingham discovered it and brought it to international attention in 1911. Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style with intricately-designed dry-stone walls built without mortar - it has three primary structures: the Inti Watana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. Most of the outlying buildings have been reconstructed and restored, and the iconic steep mountain of Huayana Picchu looms over the site. The city consists of more than 200 buildings, from houses to temples, storage buildings and public spaces. It's fascinating to be able to gaze down on the city from above and imagine how it would have looked during the height of the Inca empire. A visit to Machu Picchu is a major highlight of any adventure tour to Peru. A genuinely magical place, catching your first glimpse of the Inca city through the early morning mist is definitely a moment you’ll never forget.
Today is a free day to relax after the treks, further explore the historical city of Cuzco, and take part in some optional activities around the city. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES Visit some of the fascinating museums in Cuzco,including the Textiles Museum, the Chocolate Museum, the Casa Concha, and the Museo Inka : PEN 20 Take an incredible trip out on various mountain bike routes in the highlands surrounding Cuzco : USD 125 Take an excellent free walking tour around Cuzco with a local guide, getting a fascinating insight into the history of the city and the life of the locals : Free Freely explore the site of Koricancha and Santo Domingo neat the city centre, a jarring juxtaposition of a Spanish colonial cathedral built on top of the walls of an ancient Inca Sun temple : PEN 10 Head out for an exhilarating white-water rafting trip on the Urubamba River near Cuzco : USD 45 Take part in a Peruvian cooking class in Cuzco, learning how to make a variety of local dishes : USD 79 Take a Spanish class in the beautiful city of Cuzco (suitable for all levels) : PEN 20
Today we will drive south to the small village of Raqchi. Here we will stay at a home stay as guests of the local villagers in their traditional family homes. The houses are very clean and have basic facilities. This afternoon we will visit the Inca ruins of the Temple of Wiracocha at Raqchi, and then see a pottery demonstration at a local artisan centre. This evening the villagers will invite us to take part in a traditional Quechua religious ceremony, and we'll have some lively music from some of the village's musicians. Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!). INCLUDED ACTIVITIES Stay at an incredible Quechua home stay with local families in Raqchi, taking part in a traditional religious ceremony and visiting a community crafts project in the village : Included in Kitty Take a guided visit to the ruins of the Inca temple of Wiracocha in Raqchi : Included in Kitty About Raqchi: Raqchi is a small village situated 100kms southeast of Cuzco, famous as being the site of the only surviving temple of the ancient Inca creator deity Wiracocha. It is a special place for us as it is where we have one of the best local home stay experiences to be found in the world - on our Dragoman trips we stay here as guests of the local families in their traditional houses, a fantastic way to get a real insight into how people live here and to learn about their culture and customs. There is often the chance to participate in some of the ceremonial and spiritual aspects of village life, and there is always plenty of singing and dancing as we get to know our new Peruvian families. The village is also well known for its talented craftsmen and women, and there will be the chance to buy some of the beautiful hand-made and intricately decorated pottery that is made here.
Today we will drive through the stunning landscapes of the Peruvian highlands to the small town of Chivay, where we can have an optional trip to the nearby hot springs in the evening. In Chivay we will stay in a local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES Visit the La Calera thermal springs near Chivay : PEN 15 About Chivay: The rural town of Chivay is the gateway to the magnificent Colca Canyon - one of the largest canyons in the Americas, which at a maximum depth of 3,270m is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the USA. As well as boasting some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in Peru, the Colca Canyon is famous as being one of the best places in the world to spot the mighty Andean Condor - this stunning bird is one of the largest in the world with a wingspan of around 2.5m, and the Colca Canyon provides a perfect natural habitat for them so it is very common to see them as they swoop around the canyon walls.
This morning we will head out on a short drive to some of the best viewpoints along the spectacular Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world! The canyon is famous for its resident condors, and we will spend a good amount of time at the viewpoints to give ourselves the best chance of spotting them. We will also visit a couple of local communities on the way back to Chivay. After lunch in Chivay, we will drive to the beautiful ‘White City’ of Arequipa. In Arequipa we will stay in a good local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours INCLUDED ACTIVITIES Visit the phenomenal Colca Conyon and search for the native Andean Condors that fly through its spectacular scenery : Included in Kitty About Arequipa: Situated on the Peruvian Altiplano, Arequipa sits at almost 3,500m above sea level and is the second largest city in the country. Set against the stunning backdrop of the snow-covered volcano El Misti, salt lakes, thermal springs and high-altitude deserts, the landscape of the area around Arequipa truly unique. It's possible to arrange mountain-biking and rafting trips in the area as day tours from the city The city itself is very beautiful, full of stunning colonial buildings built out of the soft white volcanic rock that is found in the area. As a university town, there is always a lively buzz about the place and there are plenty of good bars and restaurants to discover. No trip to Arequipa would be complete without paying a visit to Juanita in the Museo Santuarios Andinos. Sometimes known as the "Ice Maiden", Juanita is the mummy of a young Inca girl aged about 11-14 at the time of her death in approximately 1450 CE - she was discovered near to the summit of Mount Ampato in 1995 by two climbers, her body frozen and well-preserved in the low temperatures and high altitude. Arequipa is also famous for the Santa Catalina Convent, which is almost a city within a city in the centre of the town. Not only are the buildings of the convent stunningly beautiful, with brightly painted walls and shady courtyards, it also has a fascinating history which you can learn about on a guided tour.
For the next two days ( Day 11 or 12) we will enjoy free time to independently explore the colonial city of Arequipa, or to take part in some optional activities in and around the city. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES Visit Arequipa's Museo Santuarios Andinos, home of the famous mummy of 'Juanita' mummy - the frozen remains of an Inca girl that was sacrificed on a nearby mountain over 600 years ago : PEN 20 Freely explore the beautiful monastery and convent of Santa Catalina, an incredibly photogenic 'city within a city' in Arequipa : PEN 35 Head out for an exciting morning of white-water rafting on the Chili River near Arequipa : USD 35 Take a 'Reality Tour' of Arequipa, a walking tour with an alternative focus on the daily lives of the local people and contemporary issues facing modern Peru : PEN 40 Take a fascinating cooking class in Arequipa, learning how to create some iconic Peruvian cuisine and taking a tour of the nearby food markets : PEN 90
For the next two days ( Day 11 and 12) we will enjoy free time to independently explore the colonial city of Arequipa, or to take part in some optional activities in and around the city. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES Visit Arequipa's Museo Santuarios Andinos, home of the famous mummy of 'Juanita' mummy - the frozen remains of an Inca girl that was sacrificed on a nearby mountain over 600 years ago : PEN 20 Freely explore the beautiful monastery and convent of Santa Catalina, an incredibly photogenic 'city within a city' in Arequipa : PEN 35 Head out for an exciting morning of white-water rafting on the Chili River near Arequipa : USD 35 Take a 'Reality Tour' of Arequipa, a walking tour with an alternative focus on the daily lives of the local people and contemporary issues facing modern Peru : PEN 40 Take a fascinating cooking class in Arequipa, learning how to create some iconic Peruvian cuisine and taking a tour of the nearby food markets : PEN 90
Today we will continue our drive and head all the way downhill to the Pacific coastal resort of Puerto Inca, where we camp at a well-equipped campsite on the beach. Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours. About Puerto Inca: Puerto Inca is situated on the Peruvian Pacific coast, nd was once the Inca port that supplied the city of Cuzco with supplies of fish. It is a great place to relax on the beach, enjoying scenic views of the ocean and a dip in the swimming pool!
This morning we head north to the world-famous village of Nazca, the location of the mysterious Nazca Lines. We will have an included visit to the nearby ancient sites of the Chauchilla Cemetery and the Cahuachi Pyramid, thought to have once been the religious centre of the Nazca civilization. In the afternoon, we will have the opportunity to take an optional 30-minute flight over the Nazca Lines in a small aircraft - this is by far the best way of seeing the figures, and we use a local operator with an excellent safety record. The Nazca Lines are a series of figures, lines, and geometric shapes that were etched into the ground of the desert plateau over a thousand years ago by the ancient Nazca culture, and their purpose is still unknown to this day. In Nazca we will camp at a well-equipped campsite. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES See a section of the famous Nazca Lines from the viewing tower built by the archaeologist Maria Reiche : PEN 3 Take a scenic flight over the mysterious Nazca Lines, to get the best possible view of the world-famous figures : USD 130 INCLUDED ACTIVITIES Visit the incredible ancient Nazca sites of the Chauchilla Cemetery and the nearby Cahuachi Pyramid : Included in Kitty About Nazca: Nazca is home to the famous and mysterious Nazca Lines, enormous geometric designs and petroglyphs inscribed on the ground of the desert on the arid high plateau between Nazca and Palpa - some of the figures are over 200m across in size. Many of the lines form stylised depictions of animals, such as monkeys, spiders and hummingbirds, as well as trees and other designs. Archaeologists believe the Nazca Lines were created between 500 BCE and 500 CE by the Nazca culture - although scholars are unsure as to their exact purpose, but they almost certainly has religious significance to the Nazca. The designs are simply shallow lines made in the ground by removing the reddish pebbles and uncovering the grey ground beneath. The Nazca Lines were discovered in 1927 by Peruvian archaeologist Toribio Mejia Xesspe, and later famously studied by the German archaeologist Maria Reiche. You can view the lines from a viewing tower or take a flight in a small plane to see them from above. Close to the town are the sites of the ancient Nazca city of Cahuachi and the Chauchilla Cemetery, where you can see the tombs of people of the ancient Nazca civilisation. It is something of an eerie sight to see the skulls, bones and even hair of the dead, preserved in a remarkable state thanks to the dry desert air.
Today we continue north, stopping at a viewing platform to get a glimpse of some of the Nazca Lines. We will arrive at the stunning desert oasis town of Huacachina, where we have the option to head out for an evening of sand boarding and dune bugging and the further option to camp out under the stars in the deserts. For those that do not wish to participate in the optional camping in the desert, in Huacachina we will stay in dorm accommodation in the village itself. Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES Head out for an exhilarating dune buggy ride and sand boarding trip into the sand dunes of Huacachina, followed by a camp out around the fire and under the stars in the beautiful deserts : USD 60 About Huacachina: Huacachina is a sparkling oasis nestled in the deserts near Ica in northern Peru - an area that is more reminiscent of the Sahara than South America! The picturesque lagoon is surrounded by palm trees and towering sand dunes and creates a tranquil oasis in the dusty coastal desert. The small town here has become a popular destination for travellers due to its incredible sand boarding and dune bugging opportunities.
Today we will drive the short distance to Paracas and board one of the local boats for an included trip to the Ballestas Islands to view its incredible array of resident wildlife and birds. After lunch, we will continue north to arrive at the chaotic Peruvian capital of Lima. In Lima we will stay in a comfortable hotel in the city's historical center. Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours. INCLUDED ACTIVITIES Take a boat trip to the Ballestas Islands, and see their colossal colony of resident seals and seabirds : Included in Kitty. About Lima: Lima is Peru's buzzing and busy capital city, and the second largest city in the Americas behind São Paulo! Despite its colossal size and chaotic areas, if you explore the capital's streets, parks and plazas you'll discover a real gem of a city. Lima was founded by the infamous Conquistador Francisco Pizarro in 1535 and was originally the administrative centre for Spain’s Vice royalty in South America, making it the continent’s most important city for nearly three centuries. It became a city of great wealth financed by the massive quantities of gold and silver that were mined in the area, and became the capital of independent Peru after its liberation from the Spanish in 1821. There are many museums in Lima showcasing the finest artefacts from the country's many ancient civilizations, and you can visit the finely preserved catacombs at the Church of San Francisco. There are many excellent restaurants in the city and a thriving nightlife in the lively district of Miraflores. About Ballestas Islands: The Ballestas Islands are a series of rock formations in the turbulent waters of the Pacific just off the coast of Paracas. Sometimes referred to as the "poor man's Galapagos", the islands have an abundance of wildlife, including Humboldt penguins, Blackish oyster catchers, cormorants and Peruvian boobies living alongside vast colonies of sea lions, all noisily crowding the Ballestas coastline and jostling for space. The wildlife is fantastic to see on a boat trip around the islands. The startling biodiversity around the Ballestas Islands and the Paracas National Park is the result of two merging currents in the Pacific - the warm northern waters of El Niño and the cooler waters of the Humboldt. The climatic conditions produced by the combination of these two currents create the perfect environment for a proliferation in the number of plankton and phytoplankton, the core constituents in the diet of fish.
Border information: if finishing in Lima, you will most likely exit Peru at Lima Jorge Chavez International Airport (IATA code: LIM). Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Lima. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES Visit Lima's famous Museo del Oro (Gold Museum), containing over 7000 pieces of gold, silver and gilded copper from a number of Peru's different pre-Columbian cultures : PEN 33 Visit the beautiful Baroque cathedral of San Francisco in Lima's historical centre, and explore the morbidly fascinating catacombs underneath : PEN 7 Visit the excellent Museum of the Nation in Lima, which has numerous exhibits highlighting many of the pre-conquest civilisations and an outstanding photo exhibit on Peru's Internal Conflict of the 1980s and 1990s : PEN 9 Explore the bohemian areas of Barranco and Miraflores on a cycling tour of Lima : USD 35 See the incredible 'Magic Water Circuit' in Lima's Parque de la Reserva, an astounding evening display of water, music, light, images, and laser effects across 13 huge water fountains : PEN 4 Explore the Rafael Larco Herrera Museum in Lima, containing the largest private collection of pre-Colombian art in the world : PEN 30 Take a cebiche and pisco sour class at one of the top restaurants in Miraflores, a lively district of Lima : SD 40