Reach new heights on this South American adventure from Macchu Pichu to La Paz

Ecuador and Peru are home to a stunning array of landscapes, indigenous villages, attractions and history. You’ll see something new every day – whether you’re trekking among ruins at Macchu Pichu, spotting sea lions on the Ballestas Islands, looking for Nazca Lines in the Peruvian Desert, sampling fresh empanadas in Cusco or simply sitting back and watching the alpacas graze in Chivay. Take interactions with this beautiful land’s humble and proud people, throw in some truly incredible food, add some jaw-dropping scenery and you’ve got the right mix for the trip of a lifetime.

This trip requires Inca Trail Permits. View permit availability here.


Start
Quito, Ecuador
Finish
La Paz, Bolivia
Countries
Ecuador, Peru
Style
Basix
Theme
Explorer
Code
GGRQC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Set into the foothills of the Pichincha Volcano, Quito is one of the most attractive cities in South America and a great place to kick of your adventure

  • Hike through the Amazon rainforest and sample fruit, chocolate and if you’re brave enough, tree worms in a local indigenous farming community

  • Seeing the enigmatic Nazca Lines is an incredible experience, whether they’re the work of ancient civilizations or something more supernatural

  • Whether you trek the classic Inca Trail, the Quarry Trail or take the scenic train route, the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu are a majestic destination, no matter how you get there

  • Through a vast Andean valley lies the Colca Canyon, home to the mighty Andean condor. See these magnificent beasts go about their morning routines at sunrise

  • The floating islands of Uros on Lake Titicaca are a marvel of concept, construction and history. Take a boat tour on the lake and spend the night with a local family in a traditional island community

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip involves a lot of travel on local buses, including some long stints. Bus travel can be tiring and conditions can be basic, but it’s also a great opportunity to relax, rub shoulders with the locals and enjoy the scenery. There is also an overnight bus to Cuzco, which ensures you will enjoy maximum time at your destinations.

  • You’ll be staying in some very basic group accommodation with shared facilities, especially along the Inca Trail, in the Amazon and on Lake Titicaca (where there are drop toilets and no showers). This is all part of the adventure of being among nature.

  • We’ll be experiencing a mix of hot and cold climates, so pack accordingly and bring layers.

  • Due to the high altitude in many places, the sun is unusually strong and it’s easy to get burnt, especially when out on the water in Lake Titicaca. It’s important to wear sunscreen and other sun protection, and always drink plenty of water.

  • This trip involves a lot of hiking and walking (especially along the Inca Trail, which can be challenging) so requires a moderate level of fitness. There are a few different trail options to suit your interests and physical capabilities. Please bring durable footwear suitable to hiking. See the ‘What to Take’ section of the trip notes for more information.

  • Due to the high altitude of many of places we visit, the air is thinner and some people can suffer altitude sickness. Some people aren’t affected at all, but if you are, be sure to drink plenty of water and don’t push yourself too hard. If possible, arrive into Quito a few days early to allow yourself time to acclimatise.

  • Before your trip: Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatising to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor.

  • During your trip: While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly. Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience:

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  • Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information about altitude sickness.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Welcome to Quito, Ecuador. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

After this important meeting, join your leader on a walking tour of the historic centre of Quito. Stroll through Plaza Grande (main square) and by the Archbishop's Palace. From here, walk about 800 metres uphill to reach the Basilica del Voto Nacional. Time permitting, you may wish to spend more time exploring this church and its views from the top towers. Finally, walk to La Ronda Street and pass by La Compania de Jesus (Church of the Society of Jesus) and San Francisco churches. At the end of the walk, your leader will recommend a local restaurant on La Ronda Street for an optional group dinner.

Quito is located 2,800 metres above sea level, where it’s common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender or fitness. Please refer to the ‘Is This Trip Right For You?’ and ‘Health’ sections of the trip notes for important information about altitude sickness before and during your trip.

Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for the meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Included Activities
  • Leader led walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Basilica del Voto Nacional - USD2
  • Compania de Jesus - USD4
  • La Ronda - Free
  • Equator Monument Entrance fee - USD3
  • Cotopaxi National Park - Hiking Tour - USD95
  • Ballet Folklorico Ecuatoriano de Jacchigua - USD40
  • Antisana Trek Full day from Quito - USD120
  • Quito City Tour by Night (Optional) - USD35
  • The Equator Line - USD55
  • Quito Market Discovery Urban Adventure - USD99
  • Quito Sweet & Culinary Experience - Urban Adventures - USD103
  • Condors and Culture in Otavalo Urban Adventure - USD156
  • Old Town & Gastronomic Urban Adventure - USD99
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today will be an early start, as the group will be on the move by 7 am. Catch a local bus from Quito Central Station to Tena, which will take around five hours. There’s no toilet on-board, but the bus will stop for one toilet break during the journey. From Tena, travel by private vehicle to Misahualli and then by boat to your lodge for the next two nights - arriving by 1.30 pm. Lunch isn’t included today and, depending on travel times, you may pick up some snacks, have lunch at a local restaurant in Misahualli or hold on for fresh fish at the lodge.

In the afternoon, your local hosts will introduce you to the local community and take you on a walk around the farm. Use this opportunity to try some fresh fruit and, if you’re feeling brave, tree worms. Finish the afternoon making chocolate dessert from scratch. With the help of the host, you’ll roast, grind and conch chocolate beans into your own chocolate sauce.

Notes: Accommodation at the lodge is basic and it consists of a bed and linen. Bathroom facilities are shared and showers are refreshingly cold.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
In the morning after breakfast, travel by canoe for 45 minutes to the starting point of today's hike. The trek is relatively easy and, depending on the group’s pace, should take around three to four hours. During the hike, visit a protected private reserve with flourishing sections of secondary and primary forest. This is also a great opportunity to spot an array of insects and birds that inhabit this precious ecosystem. Throughout the walk, you’ll come to understand the importance of the jungle to the local community as your guide provides in-depth knowledge and history.
Included Activities
  • Amazon Jungle - Activities
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Breakfast will be served at around 7 am today in the lodge. Afterwards, travel back to Tena the same way you arrived and then catch a local bus to Banos (approximately three hours). You should arrive into the city of Banos around midday, with the rest of the day free to do as you wish. Situated in a valley of waterfalls and hot springs, perhaps use your free time soaking in the city's natural baths or go for a hike to the powerful falls of Pailon del Diablo (Devil's Cauldron).
Optional Activities
  • Baños bike rental per day - USD6
  • Steam Baths - USD8
  • Entrance fee Pailon del Diablo waterfall - USD2
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today, you'll have a full day to explore Banos and take advantage of some of the optional activities. Perhaps rise early to watch the sunrise over the mountains near to the hot springs. After breakfast, venture to Nuestra Senora del Agua Santa (Church of the Virgin of the Holy Water) and see the intricate murals that depict numerous stories about the virgin. If you have time, stroll around the local artisan markets to pick up a memento of the city. If your trip falls on the weekend or during the holidays, be prepared for carnival-like festivities that take place all over Banos.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Use your last morning in Banos to see anything you think you may have missed. In the afternoon venture back to Quito by local bus, which usually takes around five hours. You should expect to arrive at the hotel around 6 pm, with your evening then free. Freshen up and possibly head out for dinner in the city. Ceviche is the speciality in most seafood restaurants or you could even try the Ecuadorian street food star of roasted guinea pig.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Early this morning, head north out of Quito by local bus to the famous Otavalo Market (approximately 2-3 hours). This day trip will give you ample amounts of time to peruse Ecuador’s most important Indian markets. Villagers from the surrounding countryside descend on the town once a week to sell everything from handmade goods to livestock, fruit and vegetables. Pick up some souvenirs, practice your bargaining skills (halve the price then work your way up) and take plenty of colourful photos (ask for permission when necessary). Head back to Quito in the late afternoon for one last night in town. Perhaps venture out for a final dinner with the group and share your stories of the trip.
Included Activities
  • Otavalo Market day trip
  • Village Tour Otavalo
Optional Activities
  • Quito Market Discovery Urban Adventure - USD99
  • Quito Sweet & Culinary Experience - Urban Adventures - USD103
  • Condors and Culture in Otavalo Urban Adventure - USD156
  • Old Town & Gastronomic Urban Adventure - USD99
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today fly from Quito to Lima and begin the Peruvian leg of your adventure. You will need to book your own flight - please ensure you let us know the flight details no later than 15 days prior to the beginning of the trip.

While Peru's capital officially began life in 1535, when Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro founded the city, settlements had been scattered through the valley since before the Incas. Lima was in its prime during the Spanish colonial days and much of the city's attraction now lies in its well-preserved historical centre.
Included Activities
  • Lima - Leader-led walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Lima - Archaeological Museum - PEN15
  • Lima - Museo de la Nacion - PEN10
  • Lima - Banco Central de Reserva Museum - PEN5
  • Lima - Pachacamac Tour (30 km from downtown) - USD37
  • Lima - Museum of the Inquisition visit - Free
  • Lima - Gold Museum - PEN35
  • Lima Discovery - Urban Adventures - USD34
  • Lima Night Bites & Sights - Urban Adventures - Free
  • Lima Home Cooked - Urban Adventures - USD79
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning your leader will take you on a walking tour of downtown Lima, including the city's historical centre. Flanked by streets of ornate mansions, palaces and churches, Plaza Mayor is the best place to start any exploration of Lima. Take a walk through the old streets to get a feel for colonial life. On one side of the plaza is the Cathedral of Lima, which houses the remains of Lima's founder, Francisco Pizarro. The afternoon is then free to explore the city on your own. In the evening, possibly head to one of Lima's many seafood restaurants to try one of the nation's favourite dishes, ceviche.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today, travel by taxi or minivan to Lima's bus station and take a local bus to Paracas (approximately four hours). The bus will stop three or four times before reaching its destination, so you'll be able to stretch your legs and use the bathroom. The small fishing town of Paracas is the gateway to the Islas Ballestas and the Paracas National Reserve. The area is also the birthplace of Peru's national drink, the Pisco Sour. For some local food specialities head to the Plaza de Armas and try some tejas, which are small sweets made from nuts and dried fruits. In the evening, experience the nightlife of Paracas.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning you can choose to visit the Islas Ballestas, which will be at an additional cost. There are lots of optional activities available during this visit, including spotting wildlife such as penguins, seal lions and flamingos from a speedboat. The Ballestas are part of the Paracas National Reserve and sometimes known as the 'Galapagos of Peru' – so expect unspoiled coastlines, flourishing vegetation and wildlife such as pelicans and red-footed boobies. After you return from the islands continue onto Nazca, which takes around three hours.

The Nazca Lines are enormous designs inscribed into the desert. Who drew them, how and why is unknown, but most scientists believe the Nazca people created them about 2,000 years ago. These enigmatic wonders are best seen from the air, as the area and inscriptions are so vast. For an additional cost, head up in a small four/six seat plane for a 30-minute flight over all 26 impressions. Planes turn sharply from one side to another to facilitate viewing from both sides of the plane. While plastic bags are provided on board, this flight is not recommended for those with a weak stomach. In the early evening, drive to your hotel for the night.

Notes: While it's impossible to guarantee the safety of air operations, your leader can only assist you to book this activity through companies Intrepid assesses are safer to fly with. Your leader is specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting booking this activity through any other operators.
Optional Activities
  • Ballestas Islands - Guided tour - PEN57
  • Nazca - Flight Over the Nazca Lines - USD100
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Early in the afternoon travel from Nazca to Arequipa by local bus (approximately nine hours). Standing at the foot of El Misti volcano and exuding Spanish colonial charm, Arequipa vies with Cuzco for the title of Peru's most attractive city. As you’ll be arriving into the city quite late, perhaps grab some food at one of the city's cafes and relax before tomorrow’s adventures.
Optional Activities
  • Arequipa - Santa Catalina Monastery - PEN45
  • Arequipa - Juanita Museum - PEN20
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is a free day to explore Arequipa. After breakfast, perhaps start your day at Monasterio de Santa Catalina for a glimpse into a bygone way of life. The 16th-century convent has a unique history, having once only accepted women from high-class Spanish families. From here, call by the Juanita Museum and take a look at the ‘Ice Maiden’, the Incan mummy of a young girl who died in the 1440s. During your walk around Arequipa, you'll come to understand why it’s referred to as the ‘White City’. Built out of the pale volcanic rock, the old buildings shine brightly in the sunshine. While away the rest of your day in the cafes and restaurants on the main plaza.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
In the morning, venture out by minivan to Chivay (approximately five hours). Stop to take pictures along the way, as you're likely to see llamas, alpacas and vicunas. After around two hours of driving, you'll have the chance to try some coca tea from local tea stalls. After a third stop at Patapampa (the highest place of the trip at 4,800 metres above sea level), descend to Chivay town. In the afternoon, your local guide will organise a short trek through the spectacular Colca Canyon, before finishing at the local hot thermal baths. Choose to spend your evening soaking in the baths, dining on llama steak or listening to live Andean music at a pena (music hall).

Notes: Accommodation in Chivay is in a very basic hostel. While there are en suite toilets, there's no heating (you can request extra blankets) and some rooms can be noisy.
Included Activities
  • Colca Canyon - Guided tour
  • Colca Canyon -Guided tour
Optional Activities
  • Colca Canyon - La Calera hot springs - PEN15
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Early in the morning, take an optional walk into the canyon to witness the morning routine of the Andean condor. This is an amazing opportunity to see the world's largest flying bird in predator mode. There will be a short walk around the area (approximately 45 minutes) before you return to Chivay. In the afternoon travel back to Arequipa, which takes around five hours. Enjoy a free evening to do as you wish.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Use your last day in Arequipa to get under the skin of the city. For a bit of culture, stroll down to Casa Museo Villalobos for a look at the extensive art collection that’s housed there. If you’re looking for something a bit more hands-on, there are regular cooking classes in the city. For more ideas on what to do, please speak with your trip leader. This evening at about 8 pm, take an overnight bus to Cuzco (approximately 6-7 hours). The bus has comfortable reclining seats and a toilet on-board.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
The overnight bus usually arrives into Cuzco between 5:30- 7 am this morning. After dropping your luggage off and having breakfast, your leader will take you on an orientation walk around downtown Cuzco, the local San Pedro market, the main square and past the 12 Angled Stone. The city is the continent's oldest continuously inhabited city and was the home of the Incas for two centuries, before the Spanish built their first capital here. Take the time to acclimatise to the city's altitude, which is 3,450 metres above sea level (please see ‘Is This Trip Right For You?’ and ‘Health’ sections for more important information). For lunch perhaps go to Yanapay Restaurant at 415 Calle Ruinas, which uses its profits to support local children.

This evening we will have a briefing in preparation for the Inca Trail which begins tomorrow.
Included Activities
  • Cuzco - Orientation Walk
Optional Activities
  • Cuzco - Full Boleto Turistico Pass, which gives you access to 16 archaeological sites in/around Cuzco (Transport & guides are not included) - PEN135
  • Cuzco - Cathedral Visit - PEN25
  • Cuzco - Coricancha Archeological Site, guided tour - PEN15
  • Cuzco - Half Boleto Turistico Pass, which gives you access to selected archaeological sites in/around Cuzco (Transport & guides are not included) - PEN75
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Depending on your pre-arranged travel arrangements, during the next four days you may: hike the Classic Inca Trail, hike the Inca Quarry Trail or stay in Cuzco for another two days before taking the train to Aguas Calientes. While away from Cuzco, the bulk of your luggage will be stored at your hotel. If you’re hiking the Inca Trail or the Inca Quarry Trail, the evening before you leave Cuzco you'll receive a small duffle bag to carry your clothes in for the next four days (5 kg maximum).

Your team of porters will carry these bags for you, together with the food and equipment for the trail. Please note that you won't have access to these items until the end of each day, as the porters will always be ahead of the group. If you’re travelling to Aguas Calientes by train, you'll be able to leave most of your luggage at the hotel in Cuzco and only travel with the necessary items for the next few days.

Route 1 Classic Inca Trail:
Today travel by minivan to the 82 km marker and meet your crew of local porters, cook and guide. The first day includes uphill trekking to the campsite, which is at 3,100 metres above sea level. On the way you’ll see the ruins of Llactapata, which was burnt to the ground by the last Inca emperor to discourage Spanish pursuit down the trail. In the evening, set up camp while the cook makes dinner.

Notes: The Inca Trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people, but please come prepared, as the trail is 45 km long and often steep. Each day's journey generally consists of seven hours of walking (uphill and downhill), with stops for snacks and lunch. Trekking usually begins at 7 am (except on the fourth morning) and you reach the campsite around 5 pm. Accommodation on the trek is camping (three nights). Double tents (twin-share) and foam camping mats will be provided. The porters will set up the tents while the cook prepares meals.

Route 2 Quarry Trail:
Make an early start today and drive to Choquequilla, a small ceremonial place where Incas worshipped the moon. Drive to the starting point of the trek, Rafq'a, and meet the horsemen who join us on the hike. After an hour’s walk, reach the small community of Socma. Carry on to the Perolniyoc cascade lookout, an opportunity to stop for photos and a food break. Continue to the campsite, which is 3,700 meters above sea level. You should reach the campsite around lunchtime. After lunch, set off to explore the Q'orimarca archaeological site, which once served as a checkpoint to the Incas.

Notes: The Quarry Trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people. The hike is 26 km long in total and its highest pass is at 4,450 meters above sea level. Throughout the trek, horses will carry your gear and camping equipment. The first two nights are spent camping and the third night you will stay at a simple hotel. Double tents (twin-share) and foam camping mats will be provided. The porters will set up the tents while the cook prepares meals.

Route 3 Train:
For those travellers disinterested in hiking the trail or who are unable to, spend two extra nights in Cuzco before travelling by bus to Ollantaytambo. From here take a train through the winding Urubamba Valley to the town of Aguas Calientes where you’ll spend a third night.

Please note: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Quarry Trail only.
Included Activities
  • Trekking
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Route 1 Classic Inca Trail:
This is the most challenging day of the trek, as we ascend a long steep path (approximately five hours) to reach the highest point of the trail. Colloquially known as 'Dead Woman's Pass', Warmiwanusca sits at a height of 4,200 meters above sea level, providing amazing views of the valley below. The group will then descend to the campsite in the Pacaymayo Valley at 3,650 metres.

Route 2 Quarry Trail:
This is the most challenging and rewarding day of the hike. A three-hour walk takes us to the top of the first pass of Puccaqasa (approximately 4,370 meters high). After enjoying picturesque views of the valley, it’s a short walk before stopping for lunch. Afterwards, make the two-hour hike to Kuychicassa, the highest pass of the trek at 4,450 meters. From here, descend to the sacred site the Incas called Intipunku (Sun Gate), with views of the Nevado Veronica mountain. Head to the campsite, which is only a stone’s throw away at Choquetacarpo.

Route 3 Train:
Today, perhaps use your free day indulging your inner foodie in the eateries of Cuzco. Head to lunch at the arty Fallen Angel restaurant, and if you still have room for dessert, the ChocoMuseo offers tastings and chocolate-marking workshops.

Please note: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Quarry Trail only.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Route 1 Classic Inca Trail:
Start the day with a climb through the Pacaymayo Valley to Runkuracay pass (3,980 metres). Enjoy views of the snow-capped mountain of Cordillera Vilcabamba before descending for around 2-3 hours to the ruins of Sayacmarca. Continue over the trail’s third pass to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca (3,850 metres), also known as 'Town Above the Clouds'. Start the two-hour descent down the Inca steps, which takes you to the final night's campsite by the Winay Wayna archaeological site.

Route 2 Quarry Trail:
Today’s hike will all be downhill. The first stop is the incomplete Kachiqata quarry, where the Incas were intercepted by the Spanish. Around midday, come to the end of the trek. Explore the cobbled streets of Ollantaytambo before taking the short train journey to Aguas Calientes. This is where you’ll meet up with the travellers in your group who didn't hike. Visiting the natural hot springs in town is a soothing way to spend the late afternoon. Spend the night in a comfortable hotel before tomorrow’s visit to Machu Picchu.

Route 3 Train:
In the morning take the three-hour train to the town of Aguas Calientes, which is nestled in the hills at the foot of Machu Picchu. For those who want to, there’s time to visit Machu Picchu independently before the guided tour the next day. If you’d like to do this, please advise your group leader at the welcome meeting at the start of the trip. Otherwise, you might like to while away the afternoon in the natural hot springs of Aguas Calientes.

Please note: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Quarry Trail only.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Route 1 Classic Inca Trail:
The day starts before dawn with breakfast at 4.30 am. Say farewell to the porters as they descend to the train station and then begin hiking by 5.30 am. The walk to Intipunku (the Sun Gate) takes around two-and-a-half hours. Weather permitting, enjoy unforgettable views over the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ as the sun rises (and before it’s packed full of tourists).

Route 2 Quarry Trail:
Depending on weather conditions, take a bus at 5:30 am along the winding road to Machu Picchu (30 minutes). At Machu Picchu, join up with the travellers in your group who hiked the Classic Inca Trail. If skies are clear, enjoy a spectacular sunrise over the ancient city from the Sun Gate, before going on a guided walk around the ruins.

Route 3 Train:
In the morning usually between 5:30 - 6:30 am we take one of the first buses up to Machu Picchu. The city was built around 1440 AD as a country retreat for Incan nobility, but there’s evidence that the land had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Take a guided tour around the ruins of temples, palaces and living quarters, and enjoy some free time afterwards to wander around on your own before we head to Ollantaytambo for the night.

Notes: Due to Intrepid's internal safety policy, our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking trips to the mountaintop ruins of Wayna Picchu.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Known as Wilcamayo to the Incas, this fertile valley has long been the main source of food for the high Andes. Venture to a community in the valley to learn about the local lifestyle. If your visit coincides with market day (Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday), spend time browsing the stalls in search of hand-painted beads or warm ponchos.

In the afternoon we make our way back to Cuzco.
Included Activities
  • Sacred Valley - Local community visit and lunch
Optional Activities
  • Ollantaytambo - Archeological site - PEN70
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Today enjoy free time to relax, shop or explore more of Cuzco's sights. Perhaps head to a cafe on the Plaza de Armas, or for those seeking an active adventure, try mountain biking in the hills surrounding Cuzco. In the evening, you might like to head out for dinner with the group for your final night in Cuzco.
Optional Activities
  • Cuzco - Mountain biking - USD35
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
In the morning travel by local bus for six hours through the Altiplano plateau to Puno. The town is known as the folklore capital of Peru and is famous for its traditional dances. If you're lucky, your visit might coincide with an evening parade, when the streets fill with costumed dancers and musicians. Once you're settled, go on an included visit to the pre-Incan burial ground of Sillustani.
Optional Activities
  • Puno - Sillustani archaeological site - USD10
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Puno sits on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. Today take a tour of the lake by slow motorboat, stopping off to visit the Uros floating islands. The Uros people built these islands to isolate themselves from rival tribes in ancient times. They're built completely from multiple layers of totora reeds, which grow in the shallows of the lake. In the evening, enjoy a homestay in a local community on one of the lake’s non-floating islands. Your homestay is in a mud-brick house, with shared drop-toilets but no shower. It can get quite cold here. The homestay will provide plenty of blankets, but remember to pack thermals and plenty of layers. Help your host family with their daily activities or perhaps play a game of soccer in the village with the local kids.
Included Activities
  • Lake Titicaca - Boat tour & Homestay
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
In the morning board the boat for a visit to Taquile Island, which is a great place to pick up some locally knitted goods. On the island knitting is strictly a male domain, while women do the spinning. An hour’s uphill trek brings you to the main area of the island. Explore the local markets before descending the 500 steps back to the boat. Return to Puno (approximately three hours) and enjoy a free night to do as you wish.

Puno is the hometown of Kusimayo, a terrific local organisation that works towards improving the living condition of children and adults affected by poverty and malnutrition in this part of the world you have now come to know so well. Take a look at this short video for more information on this wonderful project: https://vimeo.com/154422813
Kusimayo is supported by the Intrepid Foundation which means you can donate to this project and your donation will be match dollar for dollar by the Intrepid Group. Please donate through our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/kusimayo/
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel by comfortable local bus to Desaguadero (just over seven hours) and cross the border into Bolivia. You'll be asked to leave the bus to proceed through Peruvian migration. The group will then walk across a bridge, submit passports at the Bolivian migration office and reboard the bus for La Paz. Approximately 30 minutes after crossing the border, there's another stop where the army will check your documents again. The journey to La Paz takes around eight hours in total. In the evening, perhaps head out for an optional group dinner.

Notes: Don't forget that Bolivia's timezone is 1-2 hours ahead of Peru.
Optional Activities
  • La Paz - Visit to the 'Witches Market' - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your 'Essential Peru' adventure ends today, as there are no more activities planned. You're free to leave the accommodation at any time.

If you have some more time in La Paz before flying out, take a walk around the city's famous Mercado de Hechiceria (Witches' Market). Browse the weird and wonderful stalls selling everything from aphrodisiac potions to dried frogs and llama foetuses. If that’s not for you, there are plenty of markets selling goods made of alpaca wool, leather and other traditional materials.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

26 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners

Transport

Public Bus, Plane, Canoe, Boat, Train, Private Vehicle

Accommodation

Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nights), Homestay (1 night), Hotel (20 nights), Lodge (2 nights), Overnight bus (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Leader led walking tour
  • Amazon Jungle - Activities
  • Otavalo Market day trip
  • Village Tour Otavalo
  • Lima - Leader-led walking tour
  • Colca Canyon - Guided tour
  • Colca Canyon -Guided tour
  • Cuzco - Orientation Walk
  • Trekking
  • Sacred Valley - Local community visit and lunch
  • Lake Titicaca - Boat tour & Homestay

Dates & availability

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Important notes

INCA PERMITS
Inca Trail permits are sold on request basis only. Once deposit is paid and passport details provided, Intrepid will endeavour to secure a permit for you.

If Inca Trail permits are unavailable by the time you book, you can opt to hike the Inca Quarry Trail https://www.intrepidtravel.com/en/inca-quarry-trail  instead.

The Inca Trail closes in February to allow cleaning and restoration works. If the trek portion of your trip starts in February you will be automatically booked to hike the Inca Quarry.

Should you choose not to hike at all, please let us know in writing at the time of booking so alternative arrangements can be made. Without this prior warning, local fees may apply.

QUITO-LIMA FLIGHT
The Quito to Lima flight on day 8 is not included in the tour price.
Please consider booking international flights with Lan so you can book this flight on an airpass. Contact us for more information.
**Airport transfers are included for these flights, however we must have flight information, no later than 15 days out from departure**

ITINERARY CHANGE
Departures from 1st March 2016
As of March 1st 2016 The Sacred Valley visit and overnight in Ollantaytambo be following the Inca Trail.
After the Machu Picchu tour we will travel to Ollantaytambo where we will spend the night. The following day before returning to Cusco there will be an included Sacred Valley tour.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.