An adventure that includes one of South America’s best luxury train rides. Explore the unique sites in Arequipa and the Colca Canyon as well as fascinating Inca ruins in region of Cusco including Machu Picchu, Cusco and the Sacred Valley before traveling south to Lake Titicaca where time has stood still for hundreds of years. Featuring all the finest hotels and services. This comprehensive tour leaves nothing behind!
This special tour starts in the “White City” of Arequipa. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, its historic heritage, natural scenery and cultural sites make the city a major tourist destination. Its religious, colonial, and republican architectural styles blend European and native characteristics into a unique style called “Escuela Arequipeña” – almost making you feel like you are in Europe!
One of the deepest canyons in the world, the Colca Canyon, which is more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, is our next stop. The Colca Valley is a colorful Andean valley with pre-Inca roots, and towns founded in Spanish colonial times, still inhabited by people of the Collagua and the Cabana cultures. Here, the local people maintain their ancestral traditions and continue to cultivate the pre-Inca stepped terraces. For us, it will be a great place to see the famed Condors of Peru.
In Andean belief, Titicaca is the birthplace of the sun.This largest lake in South America and the highest navigable body of water in the world is our next stop. Banner blue skies contrast with bitterly cold nights. Enthralling and in many ways singular, the shimmering deep blue Lake Titicaca is the longtime home of highland cultures steeped in the old ways.
Pre-Inca Pukara, Tiwanaku and Collas all left a mark on the landscape. Today the region is a mix of crumbling cathedrals, desolate altiplano and checkerboard fields backed by rolling hills and high Andean peaks. In this world, crops are still planted and harvested by hand. Campesinos (peasants) wear sandals recycled from truck tires, women work in petticoats and bowler hats, and llamas are tame as pets. We will take a fantastic boat ride to see the floating islands of Uros. These 80+ islands are made from reeds by the people who live on them! We will see a demonstration of how they are made and take a ride in a boat made from roads. Then it’s off to Takile Island for a locally caught trout meal, then back to our hotel in Puno.
Our journey takes us through several sacred sites on the way back to Cusco – the navel of the Incan empire.
Later on, we will have a chance to visit a very special ruin site in Ollantaytambo, and see the many temples of pink granite stone and the famous Princess’ Bath. After this, take some time to explore the spaces of Ollantaytambo on your own – the last living Incan city!
At Machu Picchu, Our amazing tour guides will lead you throughout the ancient city, wonder by wonder – special for your own private group! You will learn about ceremonies, how people lived, and how they connected with the Pacha Mama – or “Mother Earth”. Our local guide will give you inside information passed down so that you will get the real story of what happened here. After that you will have plenty of time on your own to explore and enjoy Machu Picchu, and discover the wonders of the ancient city yourself!
An added stop is in the colorful town of Chinchero – where the first Roman Catholic church was built by the Spanish before they conquered Cusco. Inhabited by local artisans, Chinchero is famous for the intricate, traditional textiles made by local women in the ancient way. We will see a demonstration of how alpaca yarn is spun, dyed, and finally – woven by the women into unique that are also for sale in their shops.
We will also have the opportunity to take part in a fully personalized city tour of Cuzco – the capital of the region. We will visit the famous local market of San Pedro. There is a huge diversity of products available. We will see the 12 square stones at Inca Roca Palace in Cusco. We will also visit the Cathedral and the Temple of the Sun. We will even have the change to enter Sacsayhuaman Temple, Tambomachay and Qenqo – famous sites around Cusco. Within Saqsayhuaman, our guide may even have a special surprise for waiting for us…