The Perfect Journey I
7 Days / 6 Nights
1: Arrival in Cusco
Today you will enjoy a short but spectacular flight over the snowcapped Andes to the oldest inhabited city in the hemisphere, Cusco, at an elevation of 11,440 feet. Upon arrival a host will meet and assist you in transferring to the hotel and in registering.
The rest of the day is at leisure to relax and acclimatize to altitude. (B)
2: Pisac Market and Ollantaytambo Archaeological Complex
Full Day Excursion to the Pisac Indian Market and the Ollantaytambo Fortress - Morning departure for a drive through the fertile countryside of the Urubamba Valley to the colonial village of Pisac where an Indian Market takes place Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Other days you will tour the religious nucleus and archaeological site of Pisac. During your visit to the bustling marketplace you will have the opportunity to bargain with the natives for many different types of Peruvian handicrafts and jewelry.
Continue to the Ollantaytambo archaeological complex, the Incas built it as a fort that included a temple, agricultural terraces, and an urban area. There are two distinct sectors: The religious and worship zone, and the residential area. Ollantaytambo was an important administrative center with probable military functions if one considers the walls and towers. There are also traces of ancient roads and aqueducts. The town of Ollantaytambo is called a "Living Inca Town" since the inhabitants maintain very old practices and customs. Lunch is at a beautiful country estate on the shores of the Urubamba River. (B,L)
3: Moray, Maras and Pisac Archaeological Complex
Moray, Maras Salt Pools and Ollantaytambo Archaeological Complex - Pass through unspoiled and picturesque Andean communities on your way to the Incan agricultural experimental center of Moray, famous for its sunken amphitheater, made up of four circular terraces, which appear to fade away into the earth like an artificial crater. The site was apparently an Inca agricultural research station filled with fertile earth and watered by complex irrigation systems, designed for experimenting with crops at various altitudes.
Continue to the impressive Maras salt pools formed by water emerging from a lake inside a mountain in the Urubamba Valley. An amazing view of evaporating ponds for the extraction of salt. Learn about ancestral techniques, which are still used, in agricultural, irrigation and salt-recollection tasks, as well as in Andean festivals and rites. Lunch is included.
Lunch is served at Hacienda Huayoccari - The most noticeable aspect of the house is its sensational setting, dominating the Urubamba valley in the midst of the highland crags and vegetation through which the river flows. Above it, on the very mountain top within sight of heaven are two lakes, which seem to seethe on a rainy night. With magnificent views of the Urubamba River, the Casa-Hacienda has the magical ability to make us forget the reality of life. Today's lunch will be a remarkable event.
Afternoon visit the Inca archeological remnants of Pisac known as Inca Pisac, which lie atop a hill at the entrance to the valley. It features an irrigation system, an astronomical observatory, and a solar clock and calendar (Intiwatana). The hillside is lined with agricultural terraces constructed by the Inca and still in use today. With military, religious, and agricultural structures, the site served at least a triple purpose. Besides a country estate, it is thought that Pisac defended the southern entrance to the Sacred Valley, while Choquequirao defended the western entrance and the fortress at Ollantaytambo the northern. (B,L)
4: Machu Picchu with overnight stay
Morning transfer to Ollantaytambo Station for train ride through the sacred valley of Urubamba to the "Lost City of the Incas," Machu Picchu. Perched 8,200 feet above the valley, it was hidden by mountains and semi-tropical jungles for 400 years until discovered by Hiram Bingham of Yale University in 1911. Archaeologists believe that the Inca "Virgins of the Sun" took refuge from the Spanish Conquistadors here. Guided tour of the ruins upon arrival. Lunch is at the Orient Express' Sanctuary Lodge located just a few steps from the Inca citadel. (B,L)
5: Machu Picchu Free Day
Free morning to enjoy one of the most incredible sights on earth, the sanctuary of Machu Picchu. Take as much time as you need to study these magnificent ruins, hike the steep stone-paved trail of Huayna Picchu, the pyramid-shape mountain above Machu Picchu for a breathtaking view of the site, or stroll to the Inca Bridge a secret entrance used by the Inca's army or walk toward the Inca Trail to find the historic Intipunku or Sun Gate. Afternoon return train to Cusco. (B)
6: Free morning and afternoon city
Wandering through this lovely city, exploring the astonishing narrow streets of this tile roof colonial town will be your unforgettable experience. You will find something astounding at every turn. Great buys are the traditional Peruvian handicrafts, alpaca-wool sweaters and rugs, ponchos, pottery, gold and silver jewelry, leather goods, etc. Because there are such a variety of products, we strongly suggest that when you like any particular item, you should buy it - you may not find the same item in other store. Many visitors to Cusco return home wishing they had some free time in Cusco to discover this imperial city on their own, a free morning in Cusco is a MUST!
Tour of Cusco and Nearby Ruins - Visitors are caught up in the excitement of touring the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, a delightful combination of Inca and colonial architecture. The tour visits important landmarks such us Cusco's Cathedral, Santo Domingo Church, Plaza de Armas and Koricancha "The Temple of the Sun". This tour of the oldest continuously inhabited city in the western hemisphere also includes the nearby ruins of Kenko, Puca-Pucara, Tambomachay as well as the Sacsayhuaman fortress, an imposing example of Inca military architecture. (B)
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight. (B)
|Included: All airport-hotel-airport transfers, All listed tours and excursions, All tours are guided by licensed bilingual tour guides, All transportation needed (bus, train, boat) for the operation of the itinerary, All entrance fees to places visited, Hotel accommodation at indicated hotels, Meals indicated in the itinerary, Baggage handling at airports and hotels, Hotel taxes and service charge, 24-hour emergency phone numbers.|
|Not included: Peru international airport departure tax : $31.00, Peru domestic airport departure tax : $7.40 each city, Expenses of personal nature such as phone calls, laundry, bottled water, etc, Tips to tours guides, waiters and bellboys, Services not listed in the itinerary.|
|2012 Rates per person: Available upon request|