Discover the many personalities of Peru, from Gocta Falls to Machu Picchu to the floating islands of Lake Titicaca

Uncover the many personalities of Peru on this immersive 15-day adventure combining the newfound icons of the north with the classic must-sees down south. From the captivating streets of Lima, venture to a mountain lodge near Cocachimba to soak up views of Gocta Falls, a towering natural wonder somehow kept secret from the world until 2006. Explore the nearby forts, mausoleums and mummies of the lost Chachapoyas culture, which provides a fascinating window to pre-Columbian people who believed strongly in the afterlife. Then it’s off to tackle the Inca Trail, a feat for which Machu Picchu provides a most spectacular reward. With the beauty of Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and unique Lake Titicaca also in the mix, this Peru adventure offers the ultimate experience of Peru’s awesome diversity.


Start
Lima, Peru
Finish
Lima, Peru
Destination
Peru
Style
Original
Code
GGSXC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Until 2005, the Gocta Falls sat hidden in the Andes, known only to the locals. These secret waters flow to create one of the tallest falls in the world, setting a magical scene of mist, water and flourishing rainforest

  • Spend a full day exploring the ruined Chachapoya fortress of Kuelap, one of the most important archaeological site of the Andes

  • Understand the cultural importance of Chachapoya afterlife on an excursion to visit the rock-face mausoleums of Revash and the mummies of Leymebamba

  • Discover the breath of Peru's diverse heritage, from the gorgeous Spanish colonial architecture of Lima to the Aymara and Quechuan Indian cultures of Puno

  • Marvel at the mother of all Inca cities, magical Machu Picchu. Enjoy a guided tour of the ruins and free time to explore on your own

  • Enjoy plenty of time in gorgeous Cusco, the perfect place to launch into further outdoor adventures, or simply relax and take in mountain views

  • The floating reed islands of Uros on Lake Titicaca are astounding in concept, construction and history. Take a boat tour on the world's highest navigable lake and stay with a local family there

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip involves a plenty of walking to see the sites and the Gocta Falls hike on day 3. The trip is recommended for those with a reasonable level of fitness.

  • This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information on this.

  • The facilities are basic at your homestay on Lake Titicaca. While creature comforts are few and far between while you're there, many travellers find the experience a rich and rewarding one.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2019 to 31 December 2019. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2018 - 31 December 2018

Welcome to Lima, Peru's coastal capital. The adventure begins with a 2 pm welcome meeting where you'll meet your tour guide and travel group. After this important meeting, head out for a walking tour through the vibrant Miraflores and Barranco districts. Take in splendid views of the colourful streets, lush green landscapes, quaint bridges and unhindered ocean views. Keep a camera ready for snaps of the phenomenal buildings, created with influences of authentic Peruvian republican and traditional gothic architectural styles as you wander through the flower-covered parks.
Included Activities
  • Lima - Leader Led orientation walk of Miraflores
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive in time for today's welcome 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). 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 have these on hand.
After enjoying a late morning to explore the city further, depart by plane to the high jungle city of Jaen. Touch down, then embark on a 3-hour drive to Chachapoyas. Your hotel sits comfortably in the Andes and is surrounded by lush gardens and mountain views and is only 5 minutes from the Plaza de Armas.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Spend the day hiking through the Amazonian Andes on a hunt for the Gocta Falls. In May 2005, a German economist by the name of Stefan Ziemendorff stumbled upon the falls while hunting for pre-Inca ruins. The following March, Ziemendorff announced his "discovery" of the third largest waterfall in the world – the locals had already known of the falls, but due to a combination of social isolation and a somewhat more humble view of the location, they never told anyone.

Conditions on the hike can vary; some times of year see the mountains cloaked in mist and rain, resulting in a cascading force emanating from the falls, whereas other times of the year result in sunshine breaking over the canyon peaks and a more wispy flow. Regardless, the sheer green from the forest surrounds combined with the height of the falls results in a memorable hiking experience, full of great photo opportunities. After returning to the lodge around midday, enjoy a free afternoon. Perhaps take some time to kick back by the pool with a beer.
Included Activities
  • Cocachimba - Gocta Waterfalls Hike (Half day)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Explore Kuelap, one of the most important archaeological sites of the Amazonian Andes, on a full-day excursion. It has been estimated that construction on Kuelap began around the 6th-century, coinciding with the rising Chachapoyas culture before occupation of the site crumbled in the face of the Spanish Conquest in 1532. Its colossal walls and complex interior architecture are evidence of a well-organized population, which includes administrative, religious, ceremonial and permanent residences. Canals that tap into mountain springs, artistic stone carvings and towering walls all point towards a culture who had an understanding of architecture, art and military/protective interests. It forms an architectural group of stone characterised by its monumentality, boasting a great artificial platform that sits on the crest of rock in the top of the Hill Barreta. The platform extends for a massive 600 metres (1970 feet) and has as perimeter a wall that in some points reaches 19 metres (62 feet) in height.
Included Activities
  • Cocachimba - Guided tour of Kuelap (Full Day)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning, journey about 1 hour north-west of Chachapoyas to the Karajia Sarcophagi and Quiocta Cave.

Karajia is home to a series of sarcophagi that stand up to 2.5 metres (8 feet) tall. These mysterious tombs are thought to be the fna resting place of the highest officials of Kuelap. Whilst the mummies and their worldy treasures contained within the sarcophagi have long since been taken by looters or archaeologists, they still stand in good condition, high up on ledges and cliffs with faces painted on the outside so the interred could look out over the valley below for eternity.

You will also get to visit the nearby Quiocta Cave, a series of subterranean chambers approximately 545 metres (1788 feet) underground. These caves were also used in Chachapoya culture as burial sites. There are impressive stalactites and stalagmites within the caves along with bones of the long departed and bats. We advise bringing a headlamp for this part of the tour as there is no light in the caves.
Included Activities
  • Cocachimba - Revash Funeral Buildings & Leymebamba Mummy museum (Full day)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, then drive back to the airport to take a lunchtime flight back to Lima. After arriving at around 3 pm, the rest of the day is yours to explore. Perhaps discover the historic handcrafts, gold and jewels of the Museo Larco, or maybe just head out for dinner with the group and toast a Pisco sour together.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning is free for your to continue exploring Lima at your own pace. Since this is a combination trip, there will be a meeting at 2 pm this afternoon where you will meet your new travel companions. Your tour leader will also provide more information about the next leg of your trip. Straight after the meeting, head out on a walking tour of downtown Lima, taking in the city's main sites as you the streets of the historical centre.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Lima - Archaeological Museum - PEN15
  • Lima - Museum of the Inquisition visit - Free
  • Lima - Gold Museum - PEN35
  • Lima - Museo de la Nacion - PEN10
  • Lima Home Cooked - Urban Adventures - USD74
  • Lima Coast Biking Tour - Urban Adventures - USD45
  • Lima Discovery - Urban Adventures - USD34
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
It's an early start today as you board a morning flight to Cusco, a city steeped in history, tradition and legend and the perfect base for outdoor activities and exploring Incan history. Spend a little time acclimatising to the high altitude (3450 metre) and then head out on an orientation walk with your tour leader. You’ll visit the facade of Qoricancha temple, San Pedro market, the main square, the 12 Angled Stone, Regocijo Square and San Blas Square before finishing at the Chocolate museum, where you'll get to sample hot chocolate made from local cacao beans. There’s a small store where you can browse handicrafts and artisanal chocolate products. Afterwards, enjoy free time to explore on your own and perhaps head out for dinner with the group. Your leader cn recommend some good places to eat!

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cusco - Orientation Walk
  • Cusco - Chocolate Museum Visit & Hot Chocolate
Optional Activities
  • Cusco - Full Boleto Turistico Pass, which gives you access to 16 archaeological sites in/around Cusco (Transport & guides are not included) - PEN135
  • Cusco - Half Tourist Ticket Pass, which gives you access to selected archaeological sites in/around Cusco (transport & guides are not included) - PEN75
  • Cusco - City tour - USD15
  • Cusco - Pre-Colombian Museum - PEN20
  • Cusco - Inca Museum - PEN10
  • Cusco - Cathedral Entrance Fee - PEN25
  • Cusco - Coricancha Temple entrance fee - PEN15
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
To catch our early flight, we will be leaving for the airport at 5.30 am. As such, the hotel can only provide a basic breakfast of bread, butter, jam and coffee.
Travel by private bus through the Sacred Valley (approximately 2 hours) on the outskirts of Cusco. This lush valley was known as Wilcamayo to the Incas and has long been the main source of food for the high Andes. Maize crops can be seen surrounding the river and covering the terraces carved high into the valley walls. You will visit a community in the valley to learn about local lifestyle and activities. If your visit coincides with market day you can browse the stalls in search of hand-painted beads or warm ponchos, and perhaps practice your newfound language, Quechua. Later in the afternoon, board a train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, which is nestled in the cloud forest at the foot of Machu Picchu. This extra journey ensures that we can travel to Machu Picchu as early as possible tomorrow morning.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sacred Valley - Local community visit and lunch
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Take a bus up the winding road to Machu Picchu (approximately 30 minutes). This is your chance to decide for yourself whether Machu Picchu was built around 1440 as a country retreat for Incan nobility or is an ancient astronomical observatory. Enjoy a guided visit of the incredible site (1.5–2 hours) with plenty of free time afterwards to wander around the many temples, palaces and living quarters. After taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, return to Cusco.

Note: Due to Intrepid's internal safety policy, our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking climbs of Wayna Picchu.

Visiting Machu Picchu:
According to Machu Picchu visiting regulations, all visitors must follow a pre-determined route within the site. This route must be followed in one direction only and once the guided visit commences exiting and re-entering the site is not permitted. Once the guided visit concludes, visitors must exit the site and personal exploration of Machu Picchu is not permitted.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Machu Picchu - Entrance and Guided Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Sunrise at Machu Picchu: The first bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu departs at 5.30 am. The estimated arrival time is between 6 and 6.30 am. The sun rises at Machu Picchu at approximately 5.30 am, therefore it's not possible to be there in time for sunrise.
Enjoy free time to relax, shop and explore more of Cusco's sights. Perhaps rest your weary legs at a cafe on Plaza de Armas or head to the San Pedro Market where you can find vegetables, meats, local cheeses, chocolates, herbal medicines and many local handicrafts. It’s a great place to purchase some souvenirs or pick up ingredients for a picnic lunch. The market is also a place where many locals (and daring travellers) go to eat ‘mystery soups’. Some may be just chicken; however, the most popular among the locals usually contain frog or offal. For those who can't get enough active adventure, why not try mountain biking in the hills that surround Cusco? If you've fallen in love with the Peru's national beverage, the Pisco sour, consider joining an Urban Adventure where you will learn to craft your own, a souvenir you can impress people with for years to come. Find out more at urbanadventures.com/cusco-tour-cusco-pisco-making, or ask your leader for details.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Sacred Valley - Mountain Biking - USD120
  • Sacred Valley - Via Ferrata & Zipline - PEN265
  • Cusco - Stand Up Paddle Boarding - USD75
  • Cusco - Art Trail workshop - USD59
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Bid farewell to Cusco and travel by public transport through the dramatic scenery of the high altiplano to Puno. Located on the shores of vast and serene Lake Titicaca. At an altitude of 3800 metres, Lake Titicaca is the world's highest navigable lake. Along the way there will be stops to drop off and pick up passengers, which may affect travel times slightly, but the journey should take around six hours. The long drive is worth it for the first glimpse of immense Lake Titicaca, whose seemingly endless waters stretch into the horizon. Puno is a melting pot of indigenous Aymara and Quechuan culture and traditional Andean customs, and it wears its traditions on its sleeve. If you're lucky, your trip will coincide with one of the many cultural festivals here. Perhaps ask your leader where you can get the best grilled trout tonight, a local specialty.   
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Start the day with a tour of Lake Titicaca. Sitting 3820 metres above sea level, it holds the title of highest navigable lake in the world. Hop in a motorboat and learn about the spiritual significance the lake holds for the Quechua while cruising across its waters. Stop off at Uros Titinos, floating man-made islands made entirely from reeds and home to several families. Later, head to your homestay in the Lake Titicaca region. To get a better understand of daily life, why not help your host family with some of their daily activities. Your hosts will be happy to teach you a few words of their language, Quechua. A friendly game of soccer may also be on the cards. 

Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Titicaca - Boat tour & Homestay
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Puno is home to Kusimayo, a terrific local organisation supported by The Intrepid Foundation that works towards improving the living condition of children, families and elderly affected by poverty and malnutrition in surrounding rural communities.

Check out this video if you'd like to learn more: vimeo.com/154422813
If after your time here you'd like to support this project, donations can be made through The Intrepid Foundation's website: theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/kusimayo
Depart your homestay this morning and take a bus to Juliaca airport (approximately 2 hours). In the afternoon take an included flight flight back to Lima (approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes). Enjoy a last night out with your fellow travellers in Lima.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your trip comes to an end after breakfast this morning. Departure flights can be booked for any time as there are no activities planned for today.
Optional Activities
  • Lima Home Cooked - Urban Adventures - USD74
  • Lima Coast Biking Tour - Urban Adventures - USD45
  • Lima Discovery - Urban Adventures - USD34
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

14 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Transport

Plane, Train, Boat, Taxi, Private Vehicle, Public bus

Accommodation

Homestay (1 night), Hotel (9 nights), Lodge (4 nights)

Included activities

  • Lima - Leader Led orientation walk of Miraflores
  • Cocachimba - Gocta Waterfalls Hike (Half day)
  • Cocachimba - Guided tour of Kuelap (Full Day)
  • Cocachimba - Revash Funeral Buildings & Leymebamba Mummy museum (Full day)
  • Cusco - Orientation Walk
  • Cusco - Chocolate Museum Visit & Hot Chocolate
  • Sacred Valley - Local community visit and lunch
  • Machu Picchu - Entrance and Guided Tour
  • Lake Titicaca - Boat tour & Homestay

Dates & availability

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Important notes

PASSPORT DETAILS:
Domestic airlines require passengers' passport numbers to issue their tickets. It is then very important that you provide this information at the time of booking. Delays to provide this information may result in third party booking fees.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
Single supplement only applies for first and last night in Lima. Unfortunately Gocta Lodge does not offer single supplements.

On June 30th Peruvian authorities released a new list of regulations for visiting Machu Picchu, which came into effect from July 1st. The main points impacting our visits are:
1. There is now a time limit to visit the citadel. Morning visitors must exit the site by 12pm and afternoon visitors by 4.30pm
2. Visitors must complete a designated circuit, in one direction only. Exiting and re-entering the site is not permitted and, upon completion, visitor must exit the site. There is no allowance for personal exploration of the site any longer.
Overall we support these changes as they help preserve this invaluable archaeological site. While this somehow restricts the amount of time we are now allowed to spend in Machu Picchu, we’ll do all possible to maximise your time there and make sure you have the best possible experience.

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.