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Food

  • All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 3 dinners are included in the price of the tour.  Peruvian cuisine has developed a reputation for its flavours and originality and it’s well worth trying out a few of the local delicacies. Amongst these are ceviche (a spicy dish of seafood or fish marinated in lime juice), lomo saltado (a Peruvian take on a beef stir-fry) and various hearty soups such as the delicious quinoa soup. Other dishes include roasted cuy (guinea pig), alpaca steak, and to drink, the national beverage: Pisco Sour. Drinking water is provided. The tap water in Peru is not safe to drink; boiled and filtered drinking water is provided on the trek and elsewhere your leader will buy large water containers for you to refill your bottle from. Hotel breakfasts are normally simple buffet-style affairs, usually including bread/toast and jam, cereal, sometimes eggs or a cooked dish, sometimes fruit, tea/coffee and fruit juice. Regrettably, we cannot guarantee that wheat/gluten-free products will be available for breakfast in all locations - if you have an intolerance you may wish to bring your own breakfast food. Where lunch and dinner are not included we'll visit a variety of cafes and restaurants. During the Inca Trail (or Moonstone Trek) hearty breakfasts are served and good quality cooked lunches and dinners are provided, and usually consist of soup or a starter, a main course with meat/fish and some form of carbohydrates, followed by a dessert. Some snacks between meals are also provided. Drinking water (boiled and filtered) is provided in the mornings and at lunch during the trek so that you can refill your bottles. Bed tea/coffee is brought to your tent each morning and juice or hot drinks are provided with all meals during the trek.

Activities

  • Walking & Trekking
  • Point-to-Point
  • 1

    Start Lima; optional walking tour of Lima's colonial centre.

    Our trip starts in Lima today. The group flights are scheduled to arrive in the morning. A group arrival transfer is provided and free transfers are also available for any flight, as long as you have supplied Exodus with your flight details in advance and have requested a transfer. There will be a noticeboard in the hotel reception with details of where and when the group welcome briefing will be held today. Time allowing, there is the option to take a walking tour of Lima's colonial centre this afternoon, replete with Spanish churches and colonial architecture. *Hotel El Tambo 1 (or similar)* * *

  • 2

    Drive south to Paracas and sail to the wildlife-rich Ballestas Islands; on to Ica.

    We set off very early this morning (around 05.30am) and drive south from Lima until we reach the port of Paracas (4-5 hours' drive). Here we take a boat to the Ballestas islands, a national park that contains one of the highest concentrations of marine birds in the world. There are sea lions, numerous species of birds and the Paracas Candelabra, a curious pre-Inca design on the hillside, only recognisable from the sea. The boat trip lasts around 2 hours, and once we're back on dry land we drive for around an hour to Ica, in the heart of Peru's wine-growing region. *Hotel Villa Jazmin (or similar)** *

  • 3

    To Nazca; Nazca Lines viewing platforms; optional scenic flight.

    At the Huacachina oasis just outside Ica, there are high sand dunes where we may have time to try 'sand-surfing' (optional). We arrive at Nazca in the afternoon with time to visit the viewing platforms close to the Nazca Lines. These are one of the world's great archaeological mysteries, consisting of enormous drawings and patterns etched in the desert sand. Afterwards, for those who wish there is the chance to do a scenic flight over the Nazca Lines (optional). *Hotel Casa Andina (or similar)** *

  • 4

    Head high into the Andes to Abancay.

    We turn inland from the coastal desert today, climbing high into the Andes on today's long but spectacular drive. Vicuñas (a smaller wild relative of the llama) can be seen along this road, as this area is Peru's largest vicuña reserve. Flamingos are usually sighted at high Andean lakes near the road. This region has only recently become easily accessible to tourists due to an upgrade of the Abancay/Chalhuanca road. The altitude here can make physical exertion difficult (the highest point we reach today is Negro Nayu at approx. 4600m). It is recommended to rest in the evening after the 12-hour drive. We overnight a couple of hours before Abancay on the road to Cuzco. *Hotel Tampumayu (or similar)** *

  • 5

    Continue to Cuzco (3400m); afternoon free to acclimatise.

    We set off towards Cuzco this morning, stopping to visit the unique Inca Saywiti stone and Tarawasi ruins. The glaciated summits of the Vilcabamba Mountain range and the descent into the Apurimac River valley demonstrate the dramatic contrasts of the Andes Mountains, and we should expect stunning scenery throughout today's 5-6 hour drive. *Hotel Koyllur Inn (or similar)** *

  • 6

    Free day in Cuzco to explore the many Inca ruins and Spanish churches.

    The city has a multitude of attractions both in and around the city, both active and historical, and today is free to explore the city and its surroundings. An optional visit to the Sacred Valley of the Incas and the Pisac ruins is available, as is the option to try paddle-boarding on a high altitude lake on the plateau just outside the city. *Hotel Koyllur Inn (or similar)*

  • 7

    Start Inca Trail trek from km82; walk along Urubamba River, climb to Huayllabamba.

    Those who are doing the Moonstone Trek will join a separate transfer to the trailhead. The Classic Inca Trail is a tangential branch part of a 45,000km road network linking the whole empire to Cuzco. It was built in the 15th Century to reach Machu Picchu but was abandoned soon after the Spanish conquest. American adventurer, Hiram Bingham travelled along the trail when he came across Machu Picchu in 1911. The trail opened to the public in 1970. We leave Cuzco early and drive for roughly two hours to Ollantaytambo; our last chance to buy any items needed for the trek. From here we veer off the road and follow a track beside the river (45 minutes) to the start of the Inca Trail at Piscacucho, commonly known as Km82. After greeting our trekking crew, we show our passports at the checkpoint and begin the Inca Trail trek. The trail runs alongside the Vilcanota River beneath the impressive snow-capped Nevado Veronica, passing through cactus gardens and fields of corn until we reach the enormous Inca ruins of Llactapata, where we continue up a side valley to camp near the hamlet of Huayllabamba. *Full-service Camping - Huayllabamba Camp*

  • 8

    Cross Dead Woman's Pass (4215m), then descend to Pacaymayu.

    This is the longest and most strenuous day. A long climb (largely up stone staircases) takes us first through an area of cloud forest to the meadows of Llulluchapampa, then over the Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman's) pass, at 4215m the highest point on the trek. After quite a long, steep descent we camp in the scenic valley of the Pacamayo River (3600m). *Full-service Camping - Pacamayo Camp*

  • 9

    Over Runcuray Pass (3800m) to ruins of Sayajmarca and Phuyupatamarca.

    Another easier climb, past the ruins of Runquracay, takes us over the Runquracay Pass (3800m). From now on the Inca Trail becomes a clearly defined path made of flat boulders. We pass the ruins of Sayajmarca and suddenly enter rainforest; the trail passes at one point through an Inca tunnel. We camp at a quiet site on the ridge above the Inca ruins of Phuyupatamarca (3600m) to benefit from the views of sunset and sunrise. *Full-service Camping - Phuyupatamarca Camp*

  • 10

    The trek ends with the iconic view of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate.

    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 Wayna, we have an undulating walk through cloud forest high above the river to Inti Punku, the Sun Gate. From here we get our first full sight of Machu Picchu itself, with Huayna Picchu rising behind. Traditionally busy with groups of trekkers clamouring for photos, we plan our arrival at Inti Punku later in the day so we can enjoy unobstructed views of the magnificent ruins. Passing around the edge of the ruins, we exit the site and descend to Aguas Calientes for a well-earned rest, a shower and a comfortable bed for the night. Our trekking permits allow us one entry into the site, which we use for our tour tomorrow. There is usually time for an optional visit to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes, however, in recent years they have become over-crowded and the water quality can suffer as a result. We will be reunited with those who have been on the Moonstone Trek at the hotel this afternoon. *Hotel Inti Punku El Tambo (or similar)*

  • 11

    Guided tour of Machu Picchu; return to Cuzco by train and by road.

    In order to beat the day-trippers arriving from Cuzco and reach the ruins as early as possible, a very early start is required to queue for Machu Picchu; only government-registered buses can make the 30-minute drive up the winding road to the site entrance and during high season (May-October) queues can be hours long.  Machu Picchu is one of the architectural and engineering marvels of the ancient world and what makes it all the more dramatic is its mountain backdrop of staggering immensity. The Spaniards never found it; the Incas left no records of it, and so Machu Picchu remained a great enigma, a city lost for centuries in the jungle until it was rediscovered in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham.  Having been trialled in 2017, new regulations for visiting Machu Picchu will be fully enforced for 2018; of the three possible visiting slots, we will purchase the morning slot from 06:00 until 12:00 (unless unavailable), you will be limited to a maximum of four hours within the site and must be accompanied by a guide. There will also be three set routes to follow around Machu Picchu; Exodus selects the most comprehensive route.  We catch an afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo (1hr 30 mins) and continue by private bus to Cuzco (2hrs 30 mins). *Hotel Koyllur Inn (or similar)** *

  • 12

    Drive across the altiplano to Lake Titicaca (3800m), visiting Inca sites en route.

    Today we travel for 8-10 hours by private coach along the Vilcanota River and onto the altiplano, the high plains separating the Andes from the jungle. Although it is quite a long drive, it is interesting and often spectacular. There are scheduled stops at interesting sites along the route to help break up the day and all along the route we get a feeling for the immensity of the Andean landscapes. A packed lunch is included today. This afternoon we arrive into Puno (3,800m) on the shores of Lake Titicaca. *Hotel Casona Plaza (or similar) *

  • 13

    Day trip to floating reed islands of Uros and Taquile.

    A full day on the lake today as we visit both the island of Taquile and the floating islands of the Uros Indians. First, we take a boat to the floating island of Uros. The Uros have been living on rafts of reeds for centuries, and although many have now moved to the mainland there are still a couple of thousand who remain on the islands which are anchored close to Puno. A reasonable amount of their income is now provided by strictly regulated tourism, but they also still fish the lake and engage in barter with communities on the mainland in order to obtain essential daily items. Afterwards, we continue on to Taquile Island, home to a community known for their remarkable weaving and traditional lifestyle. The panoramic views of the lake from the island are incredible, and it is often possible to see the snow-capped peaks of the Cordillera Real in the distance. There’s the option to eat lunch on the island, before we return to Puno. *H**otel Casona Plaza (or similar)*

  • 14

    Transfer to Juliaca; fly to Lima.

    Today we transfer to Juliaca Airport and fly back to Lima. *Hotel El Tambo 1 (or similar)* * *

  • 15

    End Lima.

    The tour ends after breakfast today.

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