Train To Machu Picchu (Superior)15 days & 14 nights, Escorted Discovery Group
Escorted Discovery Group
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Lima, Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Puno, Cusco, Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is perhaps the most breathtaking archaeological site in the world. Yet Peru also offers a wealth of other magnificent ancient, colonial and scenic sights. Staying in good hotels with great character and with some free time to relax, this tour reveals Peru's many wonders, including Cuzco and Arequipa, the Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca and, of course, Machu Picchu.
Day 1Arrive Lima
You will be met and taken to your hotel.Casa Andina Private Collection - Miraflores - 2 Nights
This tour begins with an early morning visit to Surquillo local market in Miraflores. Here, you can see many types of fresh fish, as well as a variety of produce from the coast, the highlands and the jungle. You can try different fresh fruit from the coast, highlands and rainforest.Casa Andina Private Collection - Miraflores (B)
Continue to Lima's colonial center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Between its foundation in the 1500s up to the 1900s, Lima was the chief city of Spanish South America and known as the 'City of Kings'. You will visit the magnificent 17th-century San Francisco Monastery with its cloisters and catacombs, an architectural masterpiece. A short stroll leads to heart of the old city and the Plaza Mayor main square, surrounded by yellow edifices, the Government Palace and the imposing and grand cathedral. You will also visit Casa Solar de Aliaga, a superbly preserved colonial mansion that has been occupied by 16 generations of the same family since 1535. Don Jeronimo De Aliaga was one of the 13 commanders to arrive with Pizarro and was given land around the main square to build his house when Lima was founded. The mansion is decorated with ornate antiques and fine furnishings and it is easy to get a feel of the history of the family.
End your tour with a visit to one of the oldest traditional taverns in the city, Cordano's, where you can taste Peru's famous pisco sour.
Day 3To Arequipa
You will be collected at your hotel and taken to the airport, to board the flight to Arequipa.Libertador - 2 Nights (B)
Upon arrival, you will be met and taken to your hotel.
The tour begins in the elegant Plaza de Armas, beautifully laid-out with gardens, palm trees and a fountain, and continues to the 17th-century La Compania church. The church is renowned for its florid Andean style facade and its gilded main altar, typical of the height of the Peruvian baroque. Also of interest is the sacristy's ceiling, which is covered with miniature paintings and carvings of crimson and gold.Libertador (B, L)
You will then visit the 16th-century Santa Catalina convent, which was opened to the public in 1970 after 400 years as a cloister. A walled city within the city, the convent is made up of a maze of cobblestone streets with spacious patios, gardens, kitchens and slave quarters. Entrance requirements at the convent were among the strictest in Peru. Novices, daughters of aristocrats, had to prove Spanish origin and come up with a dowry of at least 1,000 gold pesos. Once home to up to 500 nuns, now about 20 still reside in one section of the convent, while the remainder has been left as a magnificent museum.
The tour concludes with a visit to the Juanita mummy museum. Juanita (also known as the 'Ice Maiden') was discovered on the top of Mount Ampato, near Arequipa, in 1995 by Johan Reinhard. She was 12 to 14 years old when she was sacrificed and is believed to have died about 500 years ago. She has been preserved in a glass box at sub zero temperatures along with displays of amazingly well preserved clothes, jewellery and weavings that provide a vivid insight into the past. Other equally interesting and well preserved locally found mummies are kept in the museum and are periodically exhibited. Juanita is not guaranteed to be on display as she is often taken away for research or for preservation. However, other mummies and all the artifacts remain so the museum is well worth a visit at any time.
Day 5To Colca Canyon
The journey to the Colca Canyon takes approximately 4 hours, passing the spectacular El Misti volcano.Aranwa Colca (B, L)
Continue across the altiplano, stopping along the way at different areas of interest, including villages and churches. There will be a stop at a local restaurant for 'mate de coca' and lavatory facilities. Please ensure that warm clothing is taken for this part of your journey, as the Colca Canyon is cold at night. A bathing costume is also recommended for the hot springs nearby.
Day 6To Lake Titicaca
Early this morning (approximately 6:00 am), drive to Condors' Cross, the observation point from which condors may be spotted and where the magnificent natural spectacle of the Colca Canyon is spread out before you.Libertador Lake Titicaca - 2 Nights (B, box lunch)
Drive from Colca to Puno, a journey of approximately 6 hours, including stops.
Day 7Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca has many floating islands which are inhabited by the indigenous Uros people. For hundreds of years the livelihood of this 'water tribe' has been based on the benefits of the totora reed, which grows densely in the shallower areas of the lake. They use these to build their homes, boats and even the floating islands they live on, compressing them into virtually rigid surfaces, which drift around on the lake currents. The Uros people live by fishing and raising domestic fowl and they travel between their islands in tiny reed boats.Libertador Lake Titicaca (B, box lunch)
The tour continues to Taquile Island, situated about 28 miles from Puno, with expansive views of the great lake, and inhabited by Quechua-speaking communities. Taquile is just 0.6 miles wide and around 4 miles long, but home to Inca and pre-Inca ruins and Inca terracing. Through the generations, the islands' inhabitants have developed an efficient social system and a fine handweaving technique. Farmers, fishermen and weavers wear distinctive outfits.
Visit the quieter southern side of the island, from where there are views across to Bolivia on a fine day. The locals will demonstrate their traditional way of life, ancient weaving techniques and music. Lunch will be provided from fresh local ingredients.
Day 8Luxury train to Cuzco
You will be collected at your hotel and taken to the station in Puno.Belmond Andean Explorer (B, L, D)
This morning board the Belmond Andean Explorer train in Puno for a 2-day / 1-night journey to Cuzco.
This scenic journey follows in the footsteps of the Incas, from the shores of Lake Titicaca to the ancient city of Cuzco. The first half of the journey passes through the gentle rolling Andean Plains, where vicunas and alpacas may be seen. The journey then climbs up to over 13,780 feet above sea level at La Raya, the highest point on the route where a stop is made after lunch. Here, you can see the snow-capped peaks rising to 17,716 feet. The last part of the journey is dominated by magnificent Andean mountains, towering over the deep valleys of the meandering Huatanay river. In the evening a three-course dinner will be served in the dining car.
Day 9To the Sacred Valley
After breakfast you will disembark the train.Casa Andina Private Collection Sacred Valley - 2 Nights (B, L)
Drive to the Sacred Valley visiting a weaving demonstration en route.
The picturesque Andean village of Chinchero lies to the north-west of Cuzco and the drive offers magnificent views across the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Situated at 12,139 feet above sea level, Chinchero has a well-preserved Inca wall in the main square and a colonial country church that has interesting frescoes on the portico. Today, you will visit a local textile center, where traditional weaving techniques have remained virtually unchanged for centuries. The center arranges private demonstrations during which you can watch weavers from local villages display their skills. You will have the opportunity to watch as wool is carded, spun and dyed. Finally, you can learn about the different techniques used to create ponchos, fajas (belts), and mantas (shawls). You can also find textiles of the highest quality for sale.
Continue to your hotel, a journey of approximately 45 minutes.
Day 10Sacred Valley
Ollantaytambo is a small town built around a superbly preserved Inca fortress. The fortress guarded the entrance to this part of the valley and protected it from possible invasion from the lower jungles. The central part of the ruins is the Intihuatana group of temples and rock outcrops, which reveal the most magnificent Inca masonry. The design and foundations of the majority of the buildings in the town also date from the Inca era, when Ollantaytambo was a strategic military, religious and agricultural center.Casa Andina Private Collection Sacred Valley (B)
Day 11To Machu Picchu
You will be collected at your hotel and transferred by road to Ollanta railway station, a journey of approximately 40 minutes.Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel (B, box lunch, D)
Take a spectacular journey by narrow gauge railway through the Sacred Valley of the Incas to Machu Picchu.
All carriages on the Vistadome service feature large panoramic windows, a new suspension system, air conditioning and heating. Large comfortable leather seats with fold away tables allow passengers to relax and enjoy the magnificent scenery along the way. Complimentary snacks and drinks are provided on board.
On arrival at the station in Aguas Calientes, you will transfer by shared bus to Machu Picchu.
The Incas left legends of forgotten cities and treasures, the most incredible of which is Machu Picchu. It lay hidden from the world until its rediscovery by the American explorer Hiram Bingham in 1911. The site consists of more than 200 buildings of perfectly chiselled unmortared stone, as well as baths, temples, altars and houses constructed in terraces and connected by stairways carved from solid rock. Enjoy a guided tour of the ruins and have time to explore on your own.
Note: When travelling to Machu Picchu it is mandatory to take a smaller overnight bag due to baggage restrictions on the train. Therefore you would need to leave the bulk of your luggage this morning (to be transferred straight to Cuzco) and pack an overnight bag for your stay in Aguas Calientes.
Day 12To Cuzco
Morning at leisure. Excursions that can be booked locally include bird watching or a visit to the Aguas Calientes hot springs (payable locally).Casa Andina Private Collection Cuzco - 3 Nights (B)
Optional Excursion: Further visit to Machu Picchu
This morning, you will have time to explore these mysterious ruins on your own (second entrance ticket to Machu Picchu is included).
You may wish to hike to Intipunku (Sun Gate), which is located on a flank of the Machu Picchu mountain and offers great views over the site. The hike between the citadel and Intipunku takes about 1 hour in each direction.
If you revisit the citadel, we advise that you take the bus down from the ruins no later than 1.5 hours before your train departure time.
Optional Excursion: Further visit to Machu Picchu with Huayna Picchu
This morning you will have time to explore these mysterious ruins on your own and hike up Huayna Picchu. The second entrance ticket to Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu is included.
Your entrance ticket for Huayna Picchu is for the hike starting at 7:00 am / 10:00 am. Please arrive on time or your ticket will be automatically cancelled and is non-refundable. The hike to the summit of Huayna Picchu (8,923 feet above sea level) takes approximately 1 to 1.5 hours. The main trail is a steep climb up uneven pathways and Inca steps, at times exposed, and is not suitable for persons with a fear of heights. Please take particular care in wet weather as the paths and steps may be slippery.
If you revisit the citadel or hike the surrounding mountains we advise that you take the bus down from the ruins no later than 1.5 hours before your train departure time.
Optional Excursion: Further visit to Machu Picchu with Machu Picchu Mountain
This morning, you will have time to explore these mysterious ruins on your own and hike up the Machu Picchu mountain, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the Machu Picchu citadel. The second entrance ticket to Machu Picchu is included.
The hike between the citadel and the summit of the Machu Picchu mountain (9,842 feet above sea level) takes about 3 hours for a round trip. The hike is regarded as intermediate level and a good level of fitness is recommended. A guide can be prebooked for an additional fee.
If you revisit the citadel or hike the surrounding mountains, we advise that you take the bus down from the ruins no later than 1.5 hours before your train departure time.
This afternoon, board the Peru Rail (Vistadome) train from Machu Picchu to Poroy station.
You will be met at Poroy station on the outskirts of Cuzco and taken to your hotel, a journey of approximately 20 minutes.
Begin your tour with a visit to Loreto Alley, an impressive part of the old town with its remarkable Inca walls. Continue to the Santo Domingo Monastery which was built in the 17th century on the foundations of the Qoricancha Temple of the Sun, using original materials. Excavation is unearthing more of the five chambers of the temple, revealing some of the best Inca stonework to be seen in Cuzco.Casa Andina Private Collection Cuzco (B)
After this, you will visit San Blas with its beautiful colonial church, which houses an impressive pulpit. Stroll through the many handicraft shops and native art galleries in the small square where many local crafts can be found, such as earthenware, paintings, ceramics, sculptures, wood carvings and textiles. Roam the old quarter which dates back to the 16th and 17th centuries.
Return to Cuzco's old town, passing through Hatunrumiyoc Street with its famous 12-angle stone. The heart of Cuzco, as in Inca days, is the Plaza de Armas. On the northern side of this, a visit will be made to the magnificent cathedral, built in the early 17th century on the site of the Inca Palace of Viracocha. The high altar is made of solid silver and the altar retablo behind it is a masterpiece of native woodcarving. In the sacristy are paintings of all the bishops of Cuzco and a painting of Christ attributed to Van Dyck. Much venerated is the crucifix of El Senor de las Temblores, the object of many pilgrimages and viewed all over Peru as a guardian against earthquakes.
Day at leisure or take optional excursions.Casa Andina Private Collection Cuzco (B)
Excursions that can be booked locally include visits to the nearby ruins of Sacsayhuaman, the pre-Columbian Art Museum or the Awanakancha llama farm (please note: some optional excursions or museum visits require an additional tourist tax that our local agents must purchase in advance; please enquire with our local agents on arrival in Lima).
Day 15Depart Cuzco
You will be collected at your hotel and taken to the airport.(B)
Generally, road travel in Latin America is reasonably good, however conditions vary greatly between the modern capital cities and the more remote areas. When traveling off the beaten track, roads are frequently narrow, bumpy, pot-holed and have stretches which are not paved, or which are under reconstruction. In Costa Rica, northern Chile and Bolivia particularly, conditions are very dusty and / or bumpy, and the road journeys tend to be quite strenuous. Road conditions change throughout the year and heavy rain and extreme weather patterns can affect journey times. Types of vehicles vary according to the country visited and the numbers on a tour: on escorted groups, transport will usually be in the form of a European-style coach or, for smaller groups, may be by mini-bus. On individual journeys, transport will generally be by sedan car. In destinations where conditions require it, off road driving will be in 4 x 4 vehicles.
Internal Flights / Delays / Insurance: Many countries within Latin America have their own air pass and, wherever possible, our tours will be constructed with the appropriate air pass, which will minimize the costs of the internal flight. Please note that the majority of air passes have restrictions; therefore if you require an itinerary with full flexibility, please contact your tour consultant who will advise the additional cost to provide you with a more flexible ticket. Please also note that in certain cases we may not be able to book internal flights under an airpass. In this event a supplement may be payable.
Because of increased air traffic, government restrictions and/or changing weather conditions, flight delays have become more commonplace. These delays can cause problems with your holiday arrangements, and additional costs may well be involved. This may be in the form of added accommodation costs, transfers and/or onward tickets. If this should occur, everything possible will be done to minimize the inconvenience. Cox & Kings will endeavor to ensure that arrangements go as smoothly as possible. As services are paid for in advance any services missed due to delays and/or schedule changes are non-refundable. Please also bear in mind that many international flight tickets are non-changeable and non-refundable. The insurance policy offered by Cox & Kings is designed to mitigate the costs and effects of such delays in certain circumstances and we strongly advise that you are insured against such eventualities.
Flight Amendments: Flights on these tours are in general quoted separately and use special airfare. These have certain conditions, which normally restrict changes of date, route and airline. Any such change made after a ticket has been issued will normally necessitate the purchase of a new ticket at the passenger’s expense.
Airport Departure Taxes: Most cities in Latin America levy a departure tax for passengers departing on international flights, which have to be paid in local currency or the equivalent in US dollars. Other cities within a country may also levy a small charge for departures on domestic flights. Occasionally, taxes may be included on your ticket and we will advise you accordingly. Since there is no standard charge between countries, and taxes are subject to change, it is not possible to list the taxes in this brochure. We will advise you of the current charge with your final documents, and our local agents will confirm the amount payable on arrival. Please ensure you keep enough local currency or US dollars to cover these taxes.
During some itineraries, it may be necessary to depart for excursions or transfers to the airport very early in the morning, sometimes before dawn. This is normally either due to the flight schedules within Latin America, or in order for us to maximize the opportunities for sightseeing during your tour. A number of flights to Latin America arrive / depart early in the morning and, while we will endeavor to schedule your tour with a flight which arrives / departs at a reasonable time, sometimes there is little or no alternative and early check-in / check-out times may be required.
Accommodation standards vary dramatically throughout Latin America. In the larger cities, the hotels we use are fully modernized and have excellent facilities, unless you choose to opt for the more colonial style property, where facilities may be limited. In some smaller cities and more remote areas, we try to offer the best hotels available. However, these may be quite simple - sometimes small colonial-style properties, in which rooms may vary in size - and often have relatively basic facilities. Please note, all rooms reserved on your tour are standard; however, if you wish to upgrade your room (e.g. to a lake or falls view, deluxe or suite etc.), please speak to your tour consultant, who will be able to advise you about the options and the applicable supplements.
Check-in & Check-out Times: For all group and individual tours, hotel check-in / out time is normally 3:00 pm, but this does vary between hotels.
Jungle Lodges & Remote Areas: Accommodation in some wildlife lodges in the Amazon rainforest, are not comparable to the better properties found in parts of Africa and Asia. Accommodation is often reached via narrow and unpaved roads, or by boat, and can be a long way from other civilization. Even when you travel off the beaten track with Cox & Kings, you can be sure that your accommodation is the best available; however sometimes the best hotel may be the only hotel, which may be very modest. In these cases, we feel that the inconvenience of such accommodation is outweighed by the experience of staying in these more remote areas.
Currency: Peruvian Sol
Official Language(s): Spanish
Peru offers a superb combination of stunning scenery, fascinating history and colorful local culture. It is a place where the Inca culture feels very much alive, in the wonderfully preserved remains and in the Quechan language and colorful weavings of the Andean people. It also has more than its fair share of unforgettable sights, from the mysterious Nazca lines to colonial cities and pre-Colombian sites.
What To See
First on the list for any visitor to Peru must be the magical Machu Picchu, high up in the Andes and a scenic train journey from Cusco. The industry of the Incas amazes elsewhere as well, with the precise masonry at Sacsayhuaman near Cusco, and the agricultural terraces in the Sacred Valley. Cusco retains a magical atmosphere with its clash of Incan and Spanish colonial architecture. The whole of this region is set against a backdrop of lush green mountains, and is what sets Peru apart from any other Latin America country.
When To Go
In the Andes region, the green season lasts from November to March, though January and February are the wettest months. The rain is not constant or regular but there can be heavy downpours. In the dry season, between April and September, days can be sunny and warm while spring and autumn can be quite mixed, with plenty of sunny days but chance of rain. Nights are cold year round, due to the altitudes. The coast has a dry climate all year round. Cool winds from the coast produce an almost ever present mist, called 'Garua'. Temperatures remain warm throughout the year, although the low cloud can often give the feeling of light drizzle.