Classic Peru Trek
The group flights form London depart this morning and arrive in Lima this evening. Those on group flights will be met at Lima airport and transferred to the start hotel.
Early start for the flight to Puerto Maldonado, a small jungle town, then by river (3-4 hours, depending on the river) to the jungle lodge in the Tambopata Reserve. On the way we may see caimans (alligators), river turtles and a wide variety of birdlife
Day 3 - 4
We take a short boat ride down river to the trailhead. Here we embark on a tiring longer trail (15km round trip) which leads to a spectacular hidden lake, requiring the crossing of streams and swampy ground, past the giant lupuna trees (kings of the jungle) which abound in this part of the forest. On the walk you are introduced to more aspects of the forest and its animals. At the lake itself it is possible to spot the elusive black caiman and giant otters. For those who would prefer, it is possible to organise a shorter walk and afternoon visit to a local farm.
A dawn start is required for the boat trip back to Puerto Maldonado, giving memorable views of the sunrise over the river. Lookout for the early morning wildlife, which is particularly active at this time. Howler monkeys are frequently heard, as they stake out their territories. Fly to Cuzco. There is usually time for an afternoon tour of the city. At 3300m Cuzco is an extremely high city and you may find yourself short of breath on arrival.
We have a free day in Cuzco today. The Inca Capital, though small enough to be easily manageable, is among the most attractive cities in South America, with many interesting buildings, museums and sites. To help acclimatise, take an optional walking tour of the Inca capital and the nearby ruins of Sacsayhuaman and Qenco, which overlook the city. Alternatively there is the opportunity for an optional full day tour of the Sacred Valley including the fortresses of Pisac and Ollantaytambo. This tour can be combined with a visit to the Rainbow Centre (see Responsible Tourism section below). For the more adventurous you can also choose to go on an optional day of rafting in the Valley on Grade II-III rapids (river conditions depend on the season).
Day 7 - 10
From the ridge we embark on the infamous Inca steps: a two kilometre stone staircase taking us rapidly downhill amid a panorama of overwhelming immensity, with the peaks of the Vilcabamba range above, and the river thousands of metres below. After visiting the attractive ruins of Wiñay Wayña, we have an undulating walk through cloud forest high above the river to Inti Punku, the Inca Gate of the Sun. From here we get our sudden first full sight of Machu Picchu itself, with Huayna Picchu rising behind. Passing around the ruins we descend to the river and Aguas Calientes for a well-earned rest, a comfortable hotel room and hot shower.
We return early for a tour of the ruins at their quietest and most evocative (before the day trippers arrive from Cuzco). After free time to explore individually, we then board the train in the afternoon (though its timings are somewhat erratic and the journey will probably be partly in the dark). To speed up the journey we take a private bus from Ollantaytambo back to the comfort of our hotel in Cuzco, and the chance to try one of the many restaurants in Cuzco and enjoy a Pisco sour!
Today we take a bus ride across the altiplano, the high plains separating the Andes from the jungles. Although it is quite a long drive (10 hours including stops), it is interesting and often spectacular. There are scheduled stops along the route to visit some of the most interesting sites which helps break up the day and we get a feeling for the immensity of the Andean landscapes. We arrive in the evening at Puno, a high, chilly town on the shores of Lake Titicaca.
We explore Lake Titicaca, visiting the descendants of the Uros Indians, who live on islands of floating reeds and produce some fine textiles. Though the altitude here (3850m) is tiring, the air is very clear and the lakeside views can be magnificent, with the snow-capped peaks of the Andes towering in the background. We visit Tequile Island before returning to Puno.
We should have some free time in Puno before our visit to the Sillustani ruins and then fly to Lima (from nearby Juliaca airport). Depending on the flight taken, we may have some time free for shopping and sightseeing, including an optional visit to the Gold Museum. Flights times do vary and some groups will not arrive into Lima until late afternoon or early evening.
There is free time in Lima this morning before those on group flights are transferred to the airport this afternoon for the flight back to London.
The group flights arrive in London this afternoon.
Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best alternative arrangements possible that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.
There are 4 days walking with full porterage, at a maximum altitude of 4150m, average 3050m. Though not without its difficulties (in particular the ascent and descent of the first pass, known as the Dead Woman's Pass!) this trek is certainly possible for anyone in a good state of health and fitness, but we would not recommend it as a beginner's trek to anyone who is totally unused to walking.
You should be aware that the size of Peru means that this trip involves some long drives, particularly the one from Cuzco to Puno, and you should be prepared for this. The buses used are comfortable and the scenery is outstanding. There will be several stops along the way to help break up the journey.
Note: This trip spends considerable time at altitude.
This trip has comfortable hotels and other upgraded elements. Local tours are included, and we stay in a hotel near Machu Picchu on the last night of the Inca Trail trek. The rainforest lodge features are solar heated showers and each room has a porch with hammocks for relaxing in the evenings.
(Grade B) - Difficulty ratings explained
Breakfast only in hotels, full board in jungle and on trek.
Day 1 - Fly to Lima.
Day 2 - Fly to Puerto Maldonado; river expedition deep into jungle to Tambopata Reserve; guided jungle walks from lodge.
Day 3 - 4 - Jungle exploration.
Day 5 - Fly to Cuzco; afternoon city tour included.
Day 6 - Optional visit to Sacred Valley of the Incas; time for sightseeing or rafting.
Day 7 - 10 - Inca Trail trek from Km82 to Machu Picchu.
Day 11 - Visit Machu Picchu; guided tour of site. To Ollantaytambo by train, bus to Cuzco.
Day 12 - Bus across altiplano to Puno, on shores of Lake Titicaca - a spectacular drive. Scheduled stops along the route to visit some of the most interesting sites help break up the day.
Day 13 - Excursions on and around Lake Titicaca: day trip to Taquile Island and return to Puno.
Day 14 - Visit Sillustani Ruins and fly to Lima.
Day 15 - Guided tour of colonial and modern Lima. Evening depart.
Day 16 - Arrive London.
8 nights hotels, 3 nights rainforest lodge, 3 nights camping
Easily reached by a 25-minute flight from Cuzco, the Tambopata River is endowed with an astonishing variety of wildlife even by Amazonian standards - over 500 bird and 1000 butterfly species have been identified. We stay in a comfortable yet rustic lodge, sleeping in individual bungalows with private bathrooms.
The lodge, some three hours up river by motorised canoe, has an extensive trail system. The lodge is included in the Inca Trail & the Amazon Rainforest and Classic Peru trips (TPJ & TPR respectively), and can be added as a three-day extension to any of the Peru treks. Please see individual Trip Notes for details.
4 days point-to-point walking with full porterage. Altitude maximum 4200m, average 3050m.
Min. 5, max. 16, plus leader and appropriate local staff. Minimum age 16.
|Sat 21 May - Sun 5 Jun 2011|
|Sat 9 Jul - Sun 24 Jul 2011|
|Sat 20 Aug - Sun 4 Sep 2011|
|Sat 1 Oct - Sun 16 Oct 2011|
|Sat 28 Apr - Sun 13 May 2012|
|Sat 2 Jun - Sun 17 Jun 2012|
|Sat 7 Jul - Sun 22 Jul 2012|
|Sat 18 Aug - Sun 2 Sep 2012|
|Sat 6 Oct - Sun 21 Oct 2012|