in the Footsteps of the Incas

Peru
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From the cloud forests of the Andes to the birthplace of the sun at Lake Titicaca, this journey through Peru's altiplanos and the famous floating Uros Islands traces the ancient past of the Incas. Visits with local weavers, corn farmers, and expert photographers infuse this Peru tour with captivating culture.

Departure dates

From 15/07/2024 to 12/12/2024

What's included

An expert Travel Director and professional Driver.
Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted.
All porterage and restaurant gratuities.
All hotel tips, charges and local taxes.
Breakfast daily and up to half of your evening meals.
Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras.
Audio headsets for flexible sightseeing.
Luxury air-conditioned coach with Wi-Fi in most countries or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys).
Tickets for a ride aboard the Vistadome train to Machu Picchu.
A Trafalgar bonus all Intra-Air Flights: Lima to Cusco, Cusco to Juliaca and Juliaca to Lima, including porter service at all airports.
Optional Experiences and free time.
On occasion, hotels of similar standard and location may be utilised.
Amazon Rainforest: Discover the Amazon’s otherworldly realm of aguajales rainforest swampland during your MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience and learn how vegetation has adapted to the exotic species that are drawn here.
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Itinerary / more information

  • Day 1 Arrive Lima The Capital of the New World extends a warm welcome on your epic voyage through the iconic and unexpected highlights of Peru. Meet your local host on arrival and transfer to your hotel in the upscale shopping district of Miraflores. This evening, you'll join your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception at 6 p.m.
  • Day 2 Lima Sightseeing Start your city tour taking in the highlights of Lima. Visit Casona San Marcos, where you'll enjoy a snack from a local vendor and learn more about the fascinating history of this ancient building from Local Specialists. During a short workshop, learn to play the "caj?n" percussion instrument and get an introduction to the basic steps of "musica negra", a dance that originated in Chincha (near Paracas). Continue to the Main Square of Lima for more views and history. Choose to join a walking tour of Miraflores with a local expert highlighting the popular Larcomar shopping centre. End at Kennedy Park for additional exploration on your own or walk back to your hotel.
  • Day 3 Lima - Cusco - Sacred Valley (2 Nights) Dive Into Culture Stays With Stories We board a morning flight to Cusco, the gateway to Peru's treasured Sacred Valley, where you'll enjoy a Peruvian lunch with sweeping views of the Sacred Valley. Then we'll Dive Into Culture and meet a Shaman who will perform a special ceremony welcoming you to Peru. Tonight, you'll check in at your Stays With Stories along the banks of the Vilcanota River, on the grounds of an old 17th-century colonial hacienda. It is great for morning birders and afternoon walks in the gardens.
  • Day 4 Sacred Valley Connect with Locals Connect With Locals over a Be My Guest experience, learn about the culture surrounding the production of Giant White Corn. Our hosts will demonstrate the differences between traditional farming techniques and the newer technologies used today. Revel in the romance of the local Marinera dance. The marinera is the best-known couple dance on the coast of Peru. It is characterized by the use of handkerchiefs, steps of great elegance and rhythmic music similar to the Aragonese jota, the zamacueca and the Chilean cueca, but with its own Peruvian identity that flaunts the Hispano-indigenous-African miscegenation. For the same reason, over the years Andean and highland versions have emerged. This evening, meet Local Specialist, Peter Frost, a writer, photographer and independent scholar who has explored the Andes and Amazon for 47 years, locating and investigating the previously unknown Inca and pre-Inca site of Qoriwayrachina. He currently resides in Peru and works as an accompanying expert for National Geographic Expeditions.
  • Day 5 Sacred Valley - Machu Picchu Connect with Locals Visit the mystical Incan stronghold of Ollantaytambo with a Local Specialist, en route to Machu Picchu, a village in the Sacred Valley, set on the Urubamba River amid majestic mountains. It's known for the Ollantaytambo ruins, a massive Inca fortress with large stone terraces on a hillside. Then, ascend to the Lost City in the Clouds aboard the Vistadome train (light snack included), travel by where the Inca Trail starts, where you can view hikers and porters along the way. Here you will delve into the mysteries of this once-great civilisation, joining your Local Specialist for an exploration of the temples, palaces and terraces whose construction defy imagination. Visit the iconic great Temple of the Sun, the House of the Priest, the Sacred Plaza and the intricately carved Intihuatana, most likely used as a sundial centuries ago. After returning to our hotel we will Connect With Locals and learn how to prepare an authentic Ceviche and pour the perfect Pisco sour.
  • Day 6 Machu Picchu - Cusco Dive Into Culture The ruins of Machu Picchu beckon yet again and we enjoy one final opportunity to reconnect with its story, spending some time on our own to explore the hill-top fortress. Next, we'll journey back to the Sacred Valley by train, stopping en route to Cusco to MAKE TRAVEL MATTER(R) and learn about the natural dyeing techniques used by native weavers. Visit the Pisac handicraft market followed by sampling the sweet flavours of chicha, savouring the favourite drink of the Andes. Then a Stays With Stories tonight, in what was once an old, colonial Hacienda located in the historic centre of Cusco.
  • Day 7 Cusco Sightseeing Begin your day at the ruins of the UNESCO-listed Incan Sacsayhuaman fortress overlooking Cusco. Admire the massive, sacred stonework before your Local Specialist guides you through Cusco's colonial centre. During your city tour, visit the shop of the social project Mantay, a housing and education project for underage mothers to live here and learn a craft or trade. Later, you'll join another Local Specialist who will reveal insights into the nearby 13th-century Incan settlement of Qoriwayrachina. The afternoon is free to join an optional experience including a visit to the Chocolate Museum, Cusco off the beaten track or the greenhouse and salt wells of Maras and Moray.
  • Day 8 Cusco - Juliaca - Lake Titicaca Fly to Juliaca and meet a Local Specialist to learn about daily life on the Peruvian altiplano. After an included al fresco lunch, visit Sillustani, a pre-Incan burial ground on the shores of Lake Umayo where striking chullpas (stone tombs) are scattered across the landscape, inviting you to step back in time. Then travel via Puno along the shores to Lake Titicaca, the birthplace of the sun. Here you'll Dive Into Culture visiting the home of V?ctor Coila, his wife Mariluz, and their two daughters for a meal of quinoa bread, potatoes with cheese and authentic chaco sauce.
  • Day 9 Lake Titicaca Excursion Connect with Locals Dive Into Culture Connect With Locals as you cruise the deep blue waters of Lake Titicaca, passing floating islands constructed by the Uros people. Next, in the midst of South America's largest lake lies Taquile Island, where we'll MAKE TRAVEL MATTER(R) and embark on a private tour to gain insights into the tradition of knitting and weaving for which the local villagers - men and women - are renowned. Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO. This experience aligns with UN's Global goal 10, reduced inequalities. Enjoy a lunch here and learn more about the islanders' unique way of life upon islets make of totora reeds, which grow in the lake, and are attached to sticks driven into the bottom of the lake. Tonight, we indulge in a Regional Dinner at our favourite local restaurant in Puno.
  • Day 10 Lake Titicaca - Juliaca - Lima Dive Into Culture This morning we return to Lima, enjoying an afternoon at leisure after our flight. Enjoy time on your own to explore the capital of Peru, settled on the country's arid Pacific coast. We'll join a Local Specialist this evening, visiting one of Lima's most renowned museums after dark - the Larco Museum. Admire the pre-Columbian artefacts that reveal insights into the cultures of ancient Peru. Then, sit down to a gourmet Farewell Dinner filled with Peruvian flavours as you overlook the museum's beautiful gardens.
  • Day 11 Depart Lima For now it's time to say a fond hasta luego to Lima and transfer to the airport for your flight home, or consider extending your stay in Lima. Dining Summary
  • 1 - Welcome Reception
  • 10 - Breakfast
  • 4 - Lunch
  • 1 - Dinner
  • 1 - Regional Dinner
  • 1 - Farewell Dinner Be My Guest Sacred Valley: Connect with Locals over a Be My Guest experience lunch, learn about the culture surrounding the production of Giant White Corn. Our hosts will demonstrate the differences between traditional farming techniques and the newer technologies used today. Dive Into Culture Lima: Dive into the rich history of Casona San Marcos, an ancient building in Lima now part of the property of a university. Learn to play the "caj?n" (meaning "box" or drawer") box-shaped percussion instrument played by slapping the faces with the hands, fingers, or sometimes implements. Continue your musical discovery trying the basic steps of "musica negra", a dance that originated in Chincha (near Paracas) that is popular during over the Christmas season. Over your lesson, try a snack from a "pregonero", a vendor who specializes in selling a typical snack through boisterous advertising in the city streets. Sacred Valley: We'll Dive into Culture and meet a Quechua Shaman who will perform a ceremony welcoming you to Peru. Sacred Valley: This evening, meet Local Specialist Peter Frost, a writer, photographer and independent scholar who has explored the Andes and Amazon for 47 years, locating and investigating the previously unknown Inca and pre-Inca site of Qoriwayrachina. He currently resides in Peru and works as an accompanying expert for National Geographic Expeditions. Lake Titicaca: Visit the home of V?ctor Coila and his wife Mariluz, and their two daughters, Luz Mery and Carla Mercedes. Join the family to try quinoa bread, potatoes with cheese, and chaco - a sauce made with a kind of clay used in cooking and medicine. Iconic Experience Lima: Take in the highlights of Lima, the 'City of the Kings,' including a panoramic view of the ancient districts. Join a local specialist for a visit to the UNESCO-listed Historic Center. Learn how before it was destroyed by earthquakes in the mid-18th century, observing how the historic buildings display a collaboration between local craftspeople and others from the Old World. Then drive along the coastline as you learn more about the fascinating history of Peru's capital city. Machu Picchu: Learn how to prepare an authentic Ceviche and pour the perfect Pisco sour. Cusco: Visit the mystical Incan stronghold of Ollantaytambo with a Local Specialist. These famous ruins are a massive Inca fortress made of large stone terraces stretching out across a hillside. Walk among the stone platforms, the sun temple of six monoliths and the Princess Baths fountain - the Ba?o de la Nusta at the base of the ruins flowing from carved stone into a pool. Over your exploration, learn how the old town is an Inca-era grid of cobblestoned streets and adobe buildings. Machu Picchu: Soak in every moment of your Machu Picchu tour in style as you descend to the Lost City in the clouds aboard the Vistadome train. Travelling the Inca Trail, you'll traverse dramatic landscapes with a panoramic view of the soaring peaks, river, and ruins. Sit back and relax as you enjoy this multi-sensory journey complete with background music, an informative audio commentary highlighting interesting sites, and an included light snack. Machu Picchu: Take a shuttle to the top of the mountain where you'll meet your local specialist for a guided hike of Machu Picchu. You'll learn about Machu Picchu's history and the use of each section of including ceremonial, storage, agriculture, temples, astronomical, and observatory as well as the possible reasons why the Incas left Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu: The ruins of Machu Picchu beckon yet again and we enjoy one final opportunity to reconnect with its story. Journey to take in the ruins at sunrise spending some time on your own to explore the hill-top fortress. Soak in every moment at this iconic site, making stops at points of interest while your guide shares their insights on the archaeological sites. Cusco: Join your Local Specialist for a guided walk through Cusco's colonial centre, including the nearby 13th century Incan settlement of Koricancha. Here in Cusco's Golden Temple of the Sun dedicated to the Sun God Inti, view the trapezoidal and irregular shapes and rounded edges. Note how the stones fit together and were built simply by placing them on top of each other without using any mortar. This staggered placement also enables them to withstand earthquakes. Cusco: Begin your day at the ruins of the UNESCO-listed Sacsayhuam?n fortress overlooking Cusco. With zig zagging walls and ruins of giant stones, see how the shape and harmony of the landscape is similar to Machu Picchu. Stroll through this Incan architecture of sacred buildings such as residential buildings, towers, shrines, warehouses, roads and aqueducts. And while you may not be able to take in the grand scale, the complex design is based on the shape of the head of a puma, a sacred animal in Inca spirituality. Sillustani: Enjoy lunch alfresco next to Lake Umayo on your way to Sillustani, a pre-Incan burial ground on the shores of Lake Umayo. Join a local specialist and explore its towering chullpas (above ground tombs) that cast long shadows across the landscape. Then cruise the deep blue waters of South America's largest lake - Lake Titicaca, the birthplace of the sun - through floating islands made of entirely reeds by the Uros Indians. Lake Titicaca: We cruise the deep blue waters of Lake Titicaca with a Local Specialist, discovering its floating islands constructed from reeds by the Uros Indians Lima: Join a local specialist for a tour of the Rafael Larco Herrera Museum which houses the largest private collection of pre-Columbian Peruvian art in the world. You'll also explore the extensive collection of Peruvian gold and silver from ancient times. Learn the history of the museum founded by Rafael Larco on July 28th, 1926 in Trujillo followed by in 1958 when Larco moved his collection to Lima to a unique colonial residence built on top of a VIII century pyramid. MAKE TRAVEL MATTER(R) Cusco: During your city tour on the outskirts of Cusco, visit the shop of the social project Mantay, a housing and education project for underage mothers who come to live here and learn a craft or trade. The children are taken care of while the mothers are working, and your visit supports both the family's livelihood. You'll also receive a hand-crafted gift that will further support your visit. Lake Titicaca: Arrive at Taquile Island, where we'll embark on a private tour to gain insights into the tradition of Textile Art for which the local villagers-men and women-are renowned. Learn more about the culture of the people living on the island and enjoy a traditional lunch. Must-see Highlights Explore Lima and Cusco with a Local Specialist, learn about giant white corn, and watch a local Marinera dance performance Visit the outdoor market at Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Machu Picchu, Sacsayhuaman ruins, the Uros Islands, and enjoy a Casona San Marcos Experience Scenic Cruise on the Lake Titicaca Scenic Drive through the Sacred Valley Scenic Train Ride to Machu Picchu aboard the Vistadome train Cusco: Enjoy the flavours of chicha, a Peruvian corn beer. Hear about how chicha is brewed by the local indigenous women and its history dating back to the time of the Incas as a favourite drink of the Andes. Learn about the two types of chicha, alcoholic sour chicha de jora made from fermented jora corn and the non-alcoholic, sweet chicha morada. Trafalgar Difference Sacred Valley: Aranwa Sacred Valley Hotel & Wellness is built along the Vilcanota riverbank, on the lands of an old 17th-century colonial hacienda.
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