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Check-in at London Gatwick for your direct flight to Lima, where you will be met and driven to your hotel. The cultural and business centre of Peru, Lima is a wonderful introduction to the country with its baroque churches, impressive colonial architecture and world-renowned museums. On the second day a private tour with an expert guide will acquaint you with the city’s 2,000-year-old history and colonial heritage, with visits to the old cathedral and church of San Francisco.
Stay: Two nights in an Alcoba room at the B Arts Boutique – including breakfast
Today you will make the short flight to Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, where your Andean journey begins. You will stay at El Mercado Tunqui which is Mountain Lodges of Peru’s property in the heart of the city.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Cusco is nestled in a green valley high in the Andean mountains and is home to some truly remarkable colonial architecture and relics left over from the Inca Empire. A private tour will show you the spectacular Inca ruins in the surrounding countryside, including the temple of Kenko, the Red Fortress of Puca Pucara and the mighty Sacsayhuaman fortress. In the evening you’ll meet the trip leaders for a briefing before the trek.
Stay: Three nights in a junior suite at El Mercado Tunqui – bed & breakfast
Mountain Lodges of Peru Trek
Days 6 – 7: Today the Mountain Lodges of Peru Trek begins. You will be picked up by your guide and, after visiting the Inca ruins of Tarawasi, head to Marcoccasa to begin your first trek. You will travel along the old ‘Camino Real’ route towards Soraypampa, a fantastic opportunity to acclimatise and soak up some beautiful scenery. On arrival at Salkantay Lodge you will enjoy a warm welcome from the staff before being shown to your room. The next day you can choose to relax at the resort or enjoy a half-day hike to a glacial lake.
Stay: Two nights at Salkantay Lodge
Day 8: Today you start the four-day trek to Machu Picchu, which kicks off with a hike up to the Rio Blanco valley. At the highest point of the trek (Salkantay Pass, 4,638m) you will be rewarded with marvellous views of the snowy peaks of the Vilcamba Range. From here you will begin your descent to Wayra Lodge, keeping your eyes peeled all the while for the majestic Andean condor.
Stay: One night at Wayra Lodge
Day 9: After breakfast you continue your descent along the Salkantay River through enchanting forest scenery down to Colpa Lodge. The lodge is beautifully located at the confluence of three rivers in the midst of lush green mountains. Upon arrival you will be greeted with a delicious “Pachamanca” style lunch and have the option of exploring a nearby orchid trail.
Stay: One night at Colpa Lodge
Day 10: On day ten you will trek through the Santa Teresa River Valley, passing through more populated rural areas and orchards. After lunch by the river, a vehicle will take you to the head of the newly restored “Llactapata Inca Trail”, from where you will make the easy trek to Lucma Lodge. En route you will visit an organic coffee plantation to see how the coffee is grown, harvested and processed.
Stay: One night at Lucma Lodge
Day 11: The final day of the trek will see you head up towards Llactapata pass where you come upon a distant but quite special view of Machu Picchu from the southwest, a view few travellers ever get to glimpse. Your final descent will be to the Aobamba River through bamboo forests and more coffee plantations. You will then board a train for a scenic ride to the town of Aguas Calientes, where you will check into the award-winning Machu Picchu Inkaterra Hotel for a celebration dinner.
Stay: One night at Machu Picchu Inkaterra Hotel
The next day you will take a bus up to Machu Picchu, where you will enjoy a two-hour guided tour of the site, followed by four hours to explore at your leisure. Walking amongst the temples, staircases, palaces, fountains and tiered terraces of this mountain-top monument, surrounded by soaring green mountain peaks, is an experience you will never forget. You will return to Cusco by train for your final night in the city before journeying home.
Stay: One night in a junior suite at El Mercado Tunqui – bed & breakfast
Cusco – Lima – Fly home
Today you will be taken to the airport to catch your flight to Lima, from where you will fly back to London.
It has been wonderful to discover that there remain places like this in the world, where one can find peace amid wild nature. This has been the highlight of our stay in Colombia and we look forward to telling our friends about it.- ZA, Colombia