LARES TREK TO MACHU PICCHU, SACRED VALLEY, TITICACA AND COLCA VALLEY TOUR 18 DAYS
$ 350.00 USD
Type of Service
This package includes the Lares Trek, an authentic Inca Path that leads to Machu Picchu. During this tour you visit the most important natural, architectural and archaeological sites of Peru left behind by ancient civilizations that once inhabited Peru, several of which go back to before the Incas. You will appreciate breathtaking sceneries of the Titicaca lake, the Colca Canyon, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, the former capital of the Incan Empire: Cusco, the “White City” – Arequipa and the folkloric city of Puno.
Day 01: Arrival to Lima
Arrival to the city of Lima. A Tierras Vivas Representative welcomes you at the airport holding a sheet with your name and takes you to your hotel. No activities are planned for this day.
Day 02: Flight to Cusco
A flight to Cusco and a transfer to your hotel. Cusco is the oldest continuously inhabited city of this continent as well as a hub of the South American travel network! The city attracts people from all around the world, who arrive not only to visit a unique destination, but also to experience an ancient culture that differs a lot from the modern 21st century´s way of life. One could easily spend a week just in and around this site. Inca-built stone walls line most of the central streets and it is not necessary to go far to see other major Incan ruins. This is a city steeped in history, traditions and legends!
Every year, Cusco is visited by thousands of travelers, who come to delve into its noble, but tragic past. It is a perfect base for elective explorations around the city´s surroundings as well as for a range of outdoor activities. You can relax and explore this fascinating city while taking your time to acclimatize to its high altitude.
Day 03: Sacred Valley of the Incas
Today our tour guide takes us into the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The Sacred Valley was the agricultural bread basket for the Incas, with fertile soil, excellent for growing Inca food basics, like maize and potatoes. Today it still supplies Cusco with lots of its production. We visit the majestic ruins of Pisaq as well as its current famous handicraft market. Then we stop in Urubamba, considered to be the capital of the valley, to have a buffet lunch offering Andean cuisine (not included in the tour). Afterwards, we continue to the picturesque town of Ollantaytambo with its Incan fortress before getting ready for our upcoming hike, one of the highlights of the tour!
Ollantaytambo is your first taste of what lies ahead on the Inca Trail. The town and fortress of Ollantaytambo are strategically situated overlooking the beautiful Urubamba River Valley. We spend the night in this small town before heading for the start of the hike on the next morning!
Day 04-07: Lares Valley Trek to Machu Picchu
We leave Ollantaytambo early in the morning and travel by bus through the Sacred Valley of the Incas until we get to the village of Lares. There, we enjoy local medicinal hot springs all the rest of the morning. Later on, we start our trekking upwards the Lares Valley until we reach the indigenous community of Wacawasi where we overnight.
The second day, we cross the challenging Condor´s Pass (4,100 m) offering stunning views of Mount Veronica (5,750 m)! After that, we descend slowly to the beautiful Ipsaycocha Lake, our last campsite.
On the third day, we follow a trail leading us downhill passing stunning viewpoints of Willoc. Finally, we get to Ollantaytambo again, however, this time not to look around the town, but to take an evening train towards Aguas Calientes (a town just bellow Machu Picchu). There, we spend a night in a comfortable hotel.
In the morning of the fourth day, we get ready for the long-awaited trip to Machu Picchu. Today, we hike only for two hours until we reach the entrance of this historic and spiritual centre of the Incas. There, we enter and start our guided tour, during which our Tour Guide introduces us to its history and describes us each part of the “Lost City of the Incas”!
Afterwards, we are given an opportunity to hike either the peak of Huayna Picchu or the Machu Picchu Mountain to observe the Incan citadel from another perspective.
In the afternoon, we return by train to Ollantaytambo (alternatively to Poroy), from where we are taken by van back to Cusco.
Day 08: Cusco
Today is a relaxing day so you can explore the fascinating capital of the Incas, visit its markets, buy some souvenirs, do some optional activities as well as get ready for the last night in the city!
You can explore some of many very good museums such as the Inca Museum, the Qoricancha Museum, the Archaeological Museum (which also houses a small art exhibition), the Regional Historic Museum and the Religious Art Museum.
Cusco has got numerous colonial churches too. The most important of them is the Cathedral on the main square. Its construction started in 1559 and it took 100 years to finish!! The Cathedral can pride on the biggest depository of Colonial art of the city! A vault containing remains of the famous Incan historian – Garcilaso de la Vega is just past the entrance. Other churches that are worth seeing are La Compañía, La Merced and San Francisco.
The city is also a perfect base for those more adventurous as it offers a range of optional outdoor activities such as white river rafting on Urubamba River, horseback riding around nearby archaeological sites (Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo, Tambo Machay and Puca Pucara) or mountain biking down to Maras, Moray and Salineras and perhaps visiting some Incan sites on the way.
Day 09: Sightseeing bus to Puno
Today, we take a tourist bus that takes us to each important site of the Cusco – Puno route.
First, we need to pass through Southern Valley (also called the Sun Route), where we stop in the village of Andahuaylillas to visit the famous San Pedro Church, which is called the “Sixtine Chapel of Americas” to observe the quality of its works of art! The church was constructed by Jesuits in the edge of the 16th and the 17th centuries. Its architectural structure is typical for small town´s churches while its wide walls are characteristic of colonial buildings. It is made of adobe and its facade is decorated with white painting. Two stoned columns are projected towards its main entrance. Although its architecture is relatively modest, its interior is richly decorated with amazing wall paintings!
After seeing the church, we continue towards the pre-Incan city of Pikillaqta beeing once one of the most impressive regional centers of the culture Wari!! The culture was seated in Ayacucho and its centres were occupied by Incas for many years. Today, Pikillaqta is a national archaeological park of great importance!! The word Pikillaqta is made up of Quechuan words “piki” = flea and “llaqta” = town, so that the meaning of the city´s name was the “City of the Fleas”. It does not want to say that fleas lived in the city nor that its inhabitants were lousy. The name was derived from the fact that each inhabitant lived in cramped conditions, in a very small room. Constructions of Pikillaqta consists of over 200 kanchas (apartments), 504 golgas (storages) and other constructions. The city accommodated a population of approximately 10 thousands of inhabitants!! Some investigators supposed that Pikillacta turned into a city of “mitimaes” during Incan times (“Mitimae” comes from the Quechuan word “mitma” meaning “resettlement”. So mitimaes were originally groups of families taken by Incas from their native place to loyal or conquered towns to perform political, cultural, social, and economic functions).
After this guided tour, we continue to Raqchi where we observe the Temple of Wiracocha (Incan god – creator).
Then, we go to La Raya representing the border between Cusco´s region and Puno´s region. This place is well-known for its viewpoint offering splendid views of the surrounding Andes.
Our last stop is in the village of Pucara where we visit the Lithic Museum exhibiting artefacts of an pre-Incan culture.
Finally, we reach the city of Puno, where we accommodate ourselves in a hotel.
Day 10-11: Titicaca Lake Tour
In the morning, we board our comfortable motorboat to explore Uros Floating Islands as well as Amantani and Taquile Islands laying on Titicaca Lake. We stop at the islands to view the magic of the lake’s scenery and to meet friendly people of its communities.
The lake is located at 3,830 metres above sea level resulting in extreme wheather conditions with very cold nights and strong sunshine during days. The city of Puno situated on its shores is well-known for wealth of its traditional dances, there are up to 100 different varieties, usually performed in street processions celebrating of Catholic feast´s days. Another highlight and a popular optional activity of Puno is a visit of its nearby spectacular Chullpas of Sillustani, tower-like tombs of pre-Incan culture Colla.
Titicaca Lake is the largest lake in the world above 2,000 metres and the highest placed navigable lake in the world! Our first stop on the lake are the floating islands of the Uros people. The Uros began their unusual floating existence centuries ago in an effort to isolate themselves from militant Colla´s and Incan tribes. Unfortunately, Uros´ language got extincted, so nowadays´ Uros people speak Aymara due to intermarriages with Aymara´s speakers. There are about 300 families living on the islands, however, their number has been slowly declining.
The islands are made of layers upon layers of totora reeds that grew in the shallow of the lake. When layers, which are the nearest to water, start to rot, they are replaced with fresh totora layers on the top. Totora is basically used to make everything on the islands, including real houses, boats and small model boats serving as souvenirs. A construction of a real totora boat takes up to 6 months!
After visiting the Uros Floating Islands, we continue towards Amantani Island. There, we land and our Tour Guide shows us around the island with its stunning Titicaca Lake views and friendly inhabitants with their particular folklore. We overnight in familial houses on the island to experience a bit more of the local culture.
The following day, we continue our motorboat ride after breakfast in the familial houses. Our next destination is Taquile Island, famous for its fine handwoven textile and clothing considered as the highest-quality handicraft of Peru. Taquile and its textile art was even recognized by UNESCO in 2005.
After a visit of this spectacular island and enjoying its amazing Titicaca Lake views, we return to Puno at afternoon hours. There, we transfer you from the Puno´s port to your hotel.
Day 12: Puno
Today is a relaxing day, free time to explore around Puno, visit its markets, buy some souvenirs, take some optional activities (for example, a visit of the Chullpas de Sillustani) and enjoy the last night in the city.
Day 13: Bus to Arequipa
Today, we take a tourist bus to get to the so called “White City” – Arequipa, which is the second most important and biggest city of Peru! The city is placed at 2,325 m (7,626 ft.) above sea level and is surrounded by Andean mountain range. This magnificet colonial city is absolutely worth of a visit! Arequipa´s city centre is built from a white volcanic stone called sillar. For this reason, buildings in its centre dazzle on the Sun that result in the nickname – “White City”. The highlight of the city is its Cathedral with its main square that can be viewed from one of many surrounding coffee shops. Those, who are interested in history and architecture, may take an optional visit to the Santa Catalina Convent offering a brief respite from the outside world and a unique view into bygone times and a way of life. We can also view the Misti Volcano (5,822 m/19,096 ft.) from the city with its beautiful snowcapped peak. The historic Arequipa´s centre was declared by UNESCO as a “World Cultural Heritage”!!
Day 14-15: Colca Canyon Tour
Colca Canyon is one of the world’s deepest canyons!! It is a canyon of Colca River located in southern Peru. It covers an area of about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of Arequipa. Colca Valley is a colourful Andean valley with pre-Incan roots and towns founded in Spanish colonial times. These towns are still inhabited by people of Collagua´s and Cabana´s cultures! Local people keep traditions of their ancestors as well as keep cultivating pre-Incan stepped terraces for agricultural purposes.
The canyon is home to an Andean condor (Vultur gryphus), a specie that has been in focus of worldwide conservation efforts. Condors can be seen in range as they fly along the canyon´s walls. A popular tourist stop is a viewpoint named “Cruz del Condor” (Condor´s Cross) where people watch condors soaring on warm air waves. This point is situated at 1,200 metres (3,960 ft) below the rims of the canyon.
On the way, you can aprecciate the incredible landscape of Altiplano reaching up to 4,900 metres above sea level. We stop on the way in the Aguada Blanca National Reserve where we observe beautiful South American cameloids such as alpacas, llamas, vicuñas, guanacos and some birds and viscachas as well. Later on, we get to the town of Chivay, where we accommodate ourselves in a hotel. After that, you can visit the local thermal baths called La Calera which temperature reaches 38°C!! In the evening, we have dinner at a local restaurant and then we overnight in our hotel.
The second day, we visit the Cruz del Condor to observe condors flying above the canyon. Before we get there, we make some stops along the way to view the local villages of Cabanaconde and Yanque with their colonial churches and typical clothing as well as nearby pre-Incan tombs placed in mountain walls.
Upon our visit of the Cruz del Condor, we start our return way to Arequipa, where we get in the late afternoon.
Day 16: Arequipa
Today is a relaxing day, free time to explore Arequipa, visit its markets and/or buy some souvenirs. You may visit the peaceful Santa Catalina Convent or just wander about the city centre. You also are given the last opportunity to discover Arequipa´s night life!
Day 17: Flight to Lima
Today, we take a flight back to Lima. We transfer you from the Lima´s airport to your hotel. Then you are given time off to explore the city on your own and buy some souvenirs. You can also do some optional activities. Overnight in your hotel.
The capital of Lima is also known as the “City of the Kings” as it was founded by Francisco Pizarro on the Day of the Three Kings (Epiphany) in 1535! The Plaza de Armas (main square) is a heart of old Lima. There can be found the Cathedral, Governmental Palace and Archbishop´s Palace.
Day 18: Departure
Transfer to the Lima´s airport for your international flight.
End of service.