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Adventure Tours   >   South America Adventure Tours   >  Journeys: Inca Explorer

Journeys: Inca Explorer Adventure Tour

South America

  • Peru

Experience the breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural heritage of Peru as we travel to the country's renowned archaeological sites as well as lesser known wonders. Discover the timeless local traditions of Lake Titicaca, wander the halls of a colonial-era convent in Arequipa, and delight in views of the Sacred Valley from the train to Machu Picchu. Traverse Peru's coastal desert, and soak up the charms of vibrant Cusco, the former capital of the Inca Empire.


Meals Included  

14 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 1 dinner


Minimum Age  

You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.


International Flights  

Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.


Max Pax  

Max 16, avg 12


Arrival Complications  

We don't expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.


What to Take  

Most people automatically assume that the weather is hot in South America, but because of the higher altitude in the Andes, the temperature can feel quite cold, especially at night. We recommend the use of a duffel bag or backpack, whichever is easiest for you to carry. A good size daypack is also essential.


Optional Activities  

Aguas Calientes
- Hot Springs Visit (6USD per person)
- Butterfly House Visit
- Mandor Gardens Visit

Inca Trail
- 1-Day Inca Trail Hike

Cusco
- Cusco Cooking Class
- Inka Museum (10PEN per person)
- Cusco Cathedral Visit (40PEN per person)


Health  

Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.

Please note your Adventure travels to high altitude. This is medically defined as anything over 8,000 feet (2,440 meters). Most people can travel to 8,000 feet with minimal effects. However, everyone reacts to altitude differently and altitude sickness can on set with some people irrespective of fitness and age. For details on how to best prepare and what to do in the unlikely event you are effected on your Adventure, please consult your physician.


Transport  

Private van, plane, train, boat, walking.


Finishing Point Instructions  

If you would like to book an airport Departure transfer for your tour, please contact our Sales Team or your Travel Agent in advance of travel.


Visas and Entry Requirements  

All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. It is your own responsibility to have the correct travel documentation. Visa requirements for your trip will vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. We keep the following information up to date as far as possible, but rules do change and sometimes without warning. While we provide the following information in good faith, it is vital that you check the information yourself and understand that you are fully responsible for your own visa requirements.

Visa information specific to your destination and nationality can be found in our Important Pre-Departure Information page here


Spending Money  

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.


Money Exchange  

The currency in Peru is the Nuevo Sol (PEN).

Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances. Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards. While ATMs are widely available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work in Latin America. Check with your bank.

You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies.

Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money, a combination of US dollar cash and cards is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don't want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.

We do not recommend bringing travellers cheques as they are very difficult to change in country.

CURRENCY EXCHANGE TIP: Please be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than 100USD (or equivalent).

As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com


Newsletter  

Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from G Adventures, subscribe at www.gadventures.com/newsletters/

Stay current on how our company invests in our global community through our foundation - Planeterra. Sign up for Planeterra's monthly news to learn more about how to give back and support the people and places we love to visit.


Meals  

Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. On truck trips in Africa, aboard the expedition ship Explorer or our Galapagos yachts, while trekking in remote regions etc. food is included, plentiful and made of fresh local ingredients. The above information applies to G Adventures group trips. For Independent trips please check the itinerary for details of meals included. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.


Laundry  

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.


Safety and Security  

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:


www.gadventures.com/travel-resources/safety/


Travel Insurance  

Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.


Itinerary Disclaimer  

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.


Group Leader Description  

All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders, a G Adventures representative, or an expedition team. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it's the best of both worlds.


About Accommodation  

Please note that hot water shortages and power outages can be fairly common in Peru (even in upgraded hotels and private homes). We appreciate your patience and understanding that these occurrences are outside of our control.


Trip Specific Safety  

Care should be taken when wandering around on your own in central Lima, as some areas can be dangerous and pickpockets are daring.


What's Included  

Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Arequipa Cooking Class, Arequipa
Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Traditional Andean Experience, Urubamba
Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Cusco Planetarium, Cusco
Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Lake Titicaca Community Home Lunch, Lake Titicaca
Your G for Good Moment: Parwa Community Restaurant the Sacred Valley, Lamay
Your G for Good Moment: Parque de la Papa (Potato Park), Pisac
Your Foodie Moment: Pisco winery visit and tasting, Paracas
Your Hands-On Moment: Pachamanca, Nazca
Your Discover Moment: Cusco. Arrival transfer. Ballestas Islands boat trip. Visit the Chauchilla cemetery and potter's workshop in Nazca. Arequipa city tour including the Santa Catalina Convent. Guided boat tour of Taquile and Uros Islands on Lake Titicaca. Sacred Valley and Ollantaytambo ruins guided tour. Scenic train and guided tour of Machu Picchu. Internal flights. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.


Local Flights  

All local flights are included in the cost of your tour unless otherwise noted. It is important that we have your passport information at the time of booking in order to process these tickets. Internal flight tickets are issued locally and will be given to you prior to the flight departure.


Solo Travellers  

We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.


Tipping  

It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected - though not compulsory - component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $5-10 USD per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.

Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.


Group Leader  

CEO (Chief Experience Officer) throughout, local guides.


Important Notes  

1. MACHU PICCHU REGULATIONS
Current and correct passport details are required at time of confirmation. For more details please see the following page . Please also note that regulations have been implemented for all visitors to Machu Picchu which require that different circuits be followed within the site as a way to relieve crowding. The new circuit-based entrance tickets are available on a first come first serve basis. We will do all that is possible to get everyone traveling in a group on the same route, but be aware that it is possible that members of the same group might be visiting Machu Picchu on a different circuit and not be together during this visit. Rest assured that regardless of the circuit you will enjoy the beauty and grandeur of the site.

2. LAST MINUTE BOOKINGS
Last minute bookings of this trip when choosing the 1-day Inca Trail option will be on an "on request" basis only. To make a booking request of a tour which includes the Inca Trail, G Adventures requires your full name, date of birth, nationality and passport number.

3. EXTRAS
Looking to add to your experience? Check out our Extras! Specially designed for travellers with unique interests, Extras are optional add-ons to your G adventures trip that make your adventure more you-centric. Extras must be booked prior to departure, please see details in our optional activities field and ask your sales GCO or travel agent about booking.

4. All travellers are required to pay the tax on domestic flights in Peru. Foreign travellers are exempt form this, and proving you are indeed a foreign traveller can be done by providing us with your international ticket number (ITN). Travellers who do not submit international ticket numbers at least 30 days prior to Day 1 of their tour will be required to pay the domestic tax on all included flights.

5. ACCOMMODATION NOTE:
Please be aware that properties we stay in with only two stories may not have elevators installed and climbing the stairs with your luggage will be necessary.

6. There may be some departures of this trip that will operate in reverse. All inclusions and destinations visited remain exactly the same, just done in a different order, as per the following: Day 1 - Lima, Days 2-3 - Puno, Days 4-5 - Cusco, Day 6 - Urubamba, Day 7 - Aguas Calientes, Day 8 - Machu Picchu/Cusco, Days 9-10 - Arequipa, Days 11-12 - Nazca, Day 13 - Paracas, Day 14 - Lima, Day 15 - Tour ends in Lima.


Accommodation  

Hotels (14 nts).


My Own Room  

Please note that if you have booked the "My Own Room" option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops


Packing List  

Documents:
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
• Visas or vaccination certificates (With photocopies)

Essentials:
• Toiletries (required) (Shampoo, bodywash, soap, etc.)
• Binoculars (optional)
• Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
• Cash, credit and debit cards
• Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
• Ear plugs
• First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal)
• Fleece top/sweater
• Footwear
• Hat
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Moneybelt
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Shirts/t-shirts
• Sleepwear
• Small travel towel
• Sunglasses
• Swimwear
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket

Health & Safety:
• Hand sanitizer (required)
• Face masks (Clients will be only be required to wear a face mask where it is mandated by local regulations.)
• Pen (Please bring your own pen for filling out documents.)
• Quick Covid Test/Antigen Test (optional)

Light Hiking:
• Hiking boots/sturdy walking shoes
• Hiking pants (Convertible/Zip-off and quick dry recommended)
• Sleeping bag liner/sleep sheet

Smart Dress:
• Smart outfit (For evenings out)

Warm Weather:
• Sandals/flip-flops
• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
• Sturdy water shoes/sandals
• Sun hat/bandana
• Swimwear


A Couple of Rules  

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.


Highlights  

Encounter unique wildlife in Paracas National Park and the Ballestas Islands, learn about Arequipa's renowned regional cuisine with a cooking class by a local chef, explore the Cusco Planetarium, walk through ancient ruins and local villages in the Sacred Valley, take in stunning views on the train to Machu Picchu, visit the Luquina community and have lunch on Lake Titicaca


Group Size Notes  

Max 16, Avg 10.


Emergency Fund  

Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!


Emergency Contact  

Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

AIRPORT TRANSFER 
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:

Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change or flight cancellation within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, please call the emergency contact number to advise of your new arrival flight information. If you do not, we will not be able to rearrange your arrival transfer and you will need to make your own way to the starting hotel at your own expense. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel. 

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office Lima, Peru.
During office hours (Weekdays, 9-6pm Local Time): +51 1 241 1650 or 01 241 1650 (from mobile within Peru) or 241 1650 (from payphone within Peru)
After hours Emergency number: +51 99 758 2712, (WhatsApp Available)

If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below which will connect you directly with our Sales team who will happily assist you. Hours of operation by region can be found here.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999


Dossier Disclaimer  

The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.


Itinerary Notes  

1. There are new Health & Safety Protocols for National Geographic Journeys tours. Please see here for full details and up-to-date requirements as they may change.


Joining Instructions  

For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.

An arrival transfer is included when you arrive on Day 1, or if you arrive up to three days prior provided that you have booked your pre-accommodation through National Geographic Journeys in our joining hotel. Due to customer experience and quality considerations, all services related to the tour must be continuous.

Our driver will be waiting for you with a National Geographic Journeys sign, and they will be waiting for you outside the luggage hall. If for any reason you are not met at the airport, please call our local support line. If you are unable to make contact for whatever reason, please make your way to the joining point hotel via taxi.


Please note that day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned on this day.

Upon arrival to your Joining Hotel (note that check-in time will be in the afternoon), look for a note or bulletin board in the reception with a note from your CEO. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on day 1 (usually between 5pm and 7pm), where you will get a chance to meet your CEO and other travellers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don't see a note, please ask reception for details!

If you are arriving later and will miss the Welcome Meeting, your CEO will leave a note at reception for you with any information you may need, and with morning instructions for the next day.


Feedback  

After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at [email protected] and we will send it on to you.

Day 1 Lima

Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer is included.

Arrive in Lima at any time. On arrival you will be picked up and transferred to your hotel.

Please note that hot water shortages and power outages can be fairly common in Peru (even in upgraded hotels and private homes). We appreciate your patience and understanding that these occurrences are outside of our control.

Day 2 Lima/Paracas

Drive south to the sun-soaked coastal town of Paracas, which serves as the starting point for trips to the Ballestas Islands and Paracas National Reserve. Check in to your hotel and spend the evening at leisure, opting to enjoy fresh seafood and pisco sour-Peru's national drink.

Enjoy a drive down the coastal desert to Paracas, a sleepy fishing village that serves as the starting point for all tours to the Ballestas Islands.

There is little to do in town, but for those that love seafood and are looking to try Peru's national drink, the Pisco Sour, it's heaven.

Day 3 Paracas/Nazca

Embark on a boat tour of the impressive Ballestas Islands, a group of rocky islets that provide refuge to sea lions, marine otters, penguins, and hundreds of species of seabirds. Next, we'll visit the Tacama Winery, one of South America's oldest wineries. Learn about the history of wine production in Peru with a resident expert, and enjoy a tasting of pisco. After lunch, drive towards Nasca, stopping at the oasis town of Huacachina to view its soaring sand dunes.

The Ballestas Islands are often referred to as "the poor man's Galapagos." Home to hundreds of sea lions and many species of marine birds, including the Humboldt penguin, incredible wildlife spotting is pretty much guaranteed.

Continue south by land to Nazca with a stop to see the Huacachina sand dunes along the way.

Day 4 Nazca

The Nasca province of Peru is named for the mysterious Nasca civilization that flourished here between 200 BC and 600 AD. Venture to a Nasca cemetery in the desert to see ancient mummies, cloth fragments, and pottery; then visit a nearby pottery studio for a demonstration of traditional pottery making techniques. For dinner tonight, we'll enjoy a spread of delicious dishes cooked in the style of a pachamanca, an ancient technique of burying food in an earthen oven, lending a hand with the preparation.

Nazca is home to one of the world's greatest archaeological mysteries, the Nazca Lines. The entire desert area was also once the home for the ancient Paracas and the Nazca cultures, which preceded the Incas by more than half a millennium.

Day 5 Nazca/Arequipa

Set off on a full day drive along the coast to the beautiful, volcano-framed town of Arequipa. Settle into your hotel and enjoy a restful evening after the day's long journey.

Embark on a very long drive, which will include rest stops and lunch at Oasis Camana.

Day 6 Arequipa

Discover the sights of Arequipa, nicknamed the “white city” for its buildings made of white sillar-a type of volcanic rock. On a guided walking tour, explore the lanes of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic center, including a visit to the 16th-century Santa Catalina Monastery. Later, dig into Arequipa's renowned cuisine with a cooking class led by a chef at a picantería, a traditional lunchtime restaurant. Try local favourites such as guinea pig, stuffed spicy peppers, and chicha-a local beer typically made from fermented maize.

Peru's second most important city after Lima, Arequipa maintains a traditional colonial style and more laid back pace in comparison with the capital. Spectacular mountains surround Arequipa, the most famous of which is El Misti Volcano. Standing at 5822m (19096 ft), it has a beautiful snow-capped peak.

Day 7 Arequipa/Cusco

Fly to Cusco, once the capital of the great Inca Empire and a designated World Heritage site. Settle into your hotel and explore the charming city on your own. Opt to visit Plaza de Armas, the historic main square; venture to the 15th-century Sacsayhuaman fortress; discover a stunning array of artifacts at the Inca Museum; and more.

Every year Cusco attracts thousands of travellers who come to delve into its noble but tragic past. It is the perfect base for optional explorations around the city and area as well as a range of outdoor activities. Relax and explore this fascinating city, and take time to acclimatize to the high altitude.

Day 8 Cusco/Urubamba

Drive to the scenic Sacred Valley for a full day of exploration with a local guide. Tour the G Adventures-supported Parque de la Papa, or Potato Park, a rural Andean community working to preserve hundreds of varieties of native potato. During this exclusive experience, you'll walk through the park to learn about potato cultivation, traditional weaving, and the importance of both these practices to Andean culture. We'll also visit the fascinating Inca ruins of Ollantaytambo and Pisac, and enjoy a meal at the G Adventures-supported Parwa Community Restaurant in Huchuy Qosqo, an indigenous village.

Day 9 Urubamba/Aguas Calientes

Travel by train through the lush Urubamba Valley to Aguas Calientes, a frontier town nestled beneath Machu Picchu. The afternoon is free for optional excursions. Take a relaxing soak in the local hot springs, visit a botanical garden, or wander the handicraft stalls in town as you prepare for an early start the following day to go up to Machu Picchu.

Board a morning train that winds through the spectacular Sacred Valley to the end of the line: the village of Aguas Calientes, a frontier town nestled in the hills beneath Machu Picchu. This is the closest town to Machu Picchu, making Aguas Calientes an ideal night stop.

To best enjoy this area, take advantage of the opportunity to visit the butterfly house, botanical gardens, or hot springs. Opt for a day hike to Mandor Gardens to see orchids and a waterfall, enjoying the lush, green scenery en route.

Please bear in mind that the town has several amenities, but is also geographically remote meaning services are sometimes more basic than one would assume. As the only option for travellers visiting Machu Picchu, the development of infrastructure has happened quite quickly, much without proper planning, and the focus on providing quality service may not be up to the standards experienced in other parts of the country.

Day 10 Aguas Calientes/Cusco

This morning, embark on a guided tour of Machu Picchu-the 15th-century Inca citadel famously introduced to the world by archaeologist Hiram Bingham in the April 1913 issue of National Geographic magazine. After being taken through the temples and terraces of this awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage site, return to Cusco by train.

Rise early to take advantage of viewing Machu Picchu in the early morning light. This is the best time to view the "lost city of the Incas." Join our local guide for a detailed interpretation of the site and Inca history without the pressure of other tour groups that arrive at midday.

Later in the afternoon, return by train to Ollantaytambo or Poroy and then transfer by van to Cusco, arriving in the evening.

Day 11 Cusco

Discover the cultural treasures of Cusco on your own today, or opt for a white-water rafting, horseback riding, or mountain biking excursion. Alternatively, roll up your sleeves for a hands-on cooking class, picking out fresh ingredients at the market and learning to prepare an array of Peruvian specialities. This evening, visit the Cusco Planetarium for a presentation on the skies of the Southern Hemisphere, and learn about the vital role that astronomy played in the lives of the ancient Inca. Weather permitting, peer through the planetarium's telescopes for a dazzling look at the stars.

Take in the Plaza de Armas (main square) and explore a city steeped in tradition. There are numerous optional activities including horseback riding, mountain or motor biking, rafting, hiking or visits to Inca ruins or museums around town.

Please note if you pre-book the Cusco Cooking Class, on day 11 you will be picked up from your hotel at approx 12:30 and taken to a local market and restaurant to prepare and enjoy a traditional Peruvian meal. You will return back to your hotel around 16:00

Day 12 Cusco/Puno

Head south on a scenic drive to Puno, perched on the western shore of Lake Titicaca. The journey will take us through the Altiplano, a vast, windswept landscape of plateaus and plains that counts among the planet's most extensive highlands. Arrive in Puno, the region's commercial hub, and settle into your hotel.

The trip to Puno takes the better part of the day, and includes stark, beautiful scenery en route as you travel through the high Altiplano region.

Located at 3830m (12,566 ft) above sea level, Puno is the highest night stop on the tour. As a result the weather can be extreme with very cold nights and a strong sun during the day. You also should take some time to acclimatize to the high altitude.

Day 13 Puno

Set out to explore Lake Titicaca-one of the highest navigable lakes in the world and the second largest lake in South America. On a guided boat tour, visit the floating Uros Islands-built entirely of reeds-and step ashore Taquile Island, home to a thriving indigenous textile industry. For lunch, we'll head to the small rural community of Luquina Chico. Enjoy a traditional meal in the home of a local family while taking in sweeping views of Lake Titicaca and its picturesque isles. Later, opt for a tour of Sillustani, a fascinating pre-Inca burial site.

In the morning, board a comfortable 35-foot fully equipped speed boat to explore the lake. Stop at various islands to enjoy the lake's scenic splendor and to meet the friendly people of these communities.

Day 14 Puno/Lima

Transfer to the Juliaca airport to catch a flight back to Lima. Spend your last evening in Peru at leisure opt to explore the streets of Lima's World Heritage-listed historic center and enjoy mouthwatering Peruvian tapas.

Time for some last-minute shopping in Puno before the flight back to Lima and the final stop on the journey. Enjoy one last night out on the town.

Day 15 Lima

Depart at any time.

Details

Prices from: €2594.25

Duration: 15 Days

Travel Style: National Geographic Journeys

Trip Type: Small Group

Physical Grading: 3 - Average

Merchandising: Planeterra Project

Service Level: Upgraded



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