Inca highlights holiday in Peru

Description of Inca highlights holiday in Peru

This is an excellent adventure holiday which introduces you to the culture and heritage of modern and ancient Peru. It is an active itinerary for those of us who like to get out and do some trekking in this spectacular mountain scenery. Travel to the heart of the Inca empire and trek on the ancient mountain paths many of which were originally used by the Incas!

In Cusco, high in the Andes, your brush with Incan culture begins. This is the historical capital of the Incan Empire. Even today you can see walls made of huge interlocking granite stones which were carved so precisely that no mortar was needed to keep them together. And many of the city’s buildings are built on the foundations of Inca buildings, such as Korikancha and the cathedral. But you don’t just come here for the fascinating past, you also come for the vibrant and colourful present. Cusco is a bit of a ‘mecca’ for travellers, and is an exciting place to be. Enjoy the bars and restaurants, watch the Quechuan people go by in indigenous dress, and even bump into the odd llama. The shopping here is excellent too, so be warned!

About an hour’s drive out of Cusco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas was probably called this because of its great fertility. The Urubamba Valley (as it is officially known) was the bread basket of the area, and actually still is. You can still see people working the terraced hillsides which have been farmed like this for hundreds of years. It is a very scenic area with lots of small traditional villages. This is where we will start three days of high altitude trekking, passing through small communities and getting the most amazing panoramic views of the moutain ranges and the Sacred Valley below. The trekking section ends at Ollantaytambo which was one of the Inca’s last strongholds, and today it retains superbly preserved ruins.

But of course the jewel of Incan heritage is the famous ruins of Machu Picchu. A tour of the ancient city will undoubtedly be one of the most unforgettable parts of your holiday. Arriving by train at the small town of Machu Picchu (formerly called Aguas Calientes) at the foot of the mountain on which Machu Picchu itself stands, you then take a zig-zag bus journey up to the ruins. Enjoy the spectacle of this magical set of ruins in this dramatic mountain landscape, explore the city with a guide to get all the history and hearsay, then come back and just wander around and soak up the magical atmosphere.

Your last stop is Lima. This is a busy modern city, but has an interesting historical quarter which is well worth exploring if you have the time. Miraflores with its mix of trendy bars and shops is a popular place to hang out and watch the world go by, before you return home.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1: Day flight from UK to Lima (if selected). Arrive Lima. Transfer to hotel.
Day 2: Fly to Cusco. Transfer to hotel. Free afternoon with optional activities.
Day 3: Free morning. Afternoon tour of Cusco and nearby ruins.
Day 4: Day at leisure with optional trip to Chinchero, Maras and Moray.
Day 5: Head for the Sacred Valley and start the trek - 5 to 6 hrs hike.
Day 6: Second day of trek - about 6 hrs hike.
Day 7: Third day of treking - about 7 hrs hike.
Day 8: Take the morning train from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu.
Day 9: Free morning with optional return to Machu Picchu. Afternoon train to Cusco.
Day 10: Day at leisure with optional biking or white water rafting.
Day 11: Fly to Lima. Optional city tour then connect with flight to UK (if selected).

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made between January and November to suit your requirements
Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travellers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Inca highlights holiday in Peru

The basic itinerary of this trip is supported by some wonderful additional experiences which can be added on. The Cusco home cooking trip is a half day experience where you can go shopping with a local chef in the local market, then go back to his house to learn how to cook a Peruvian meal, which you then enjoy with your chef-tutor. Not only does this bring you close to the local community, but you share in Peruvian culinary skills and traditions.

The weavers tour is a fabulous chance to see traditional Andean lifestyles in remote Sacred Valley villages. In Andean homes here weaving is still a very strong part of traditional life. An outside appreciation of local skills and crafts has a very positive impact on local culture.

The partner we work with on this trip has strong conservation ethics, and they are linked to a local charity which supports forest conservation. They protect and add value to the biological and cultural heritage of Peru, creating jobs for and with the participation of the very people who find themselves at the cutting edge of biodiversity destruction. This pioneering approach to ecotourism run by the local people of Peru has created thousands of sustainable jobs principally by systematically showcasing Peru’s most attractive animals and plants in a way that was never conceived of before. Half of the 26,000 tourists who visit the rainforests of southern Peru each year now pay more and stay longer in the rainforest to enjoy close-up views of macaw clay licks, Tapir clay licks, Giant Otters, or Andean Cocks of the Rock. These four compelling attractions were not options for tourism prior to this work. In effect, we have used the scientific data flowing from our basic and applied biological research to generate wealth and jobs.

Every booking with this company brings funds to a charity which supports grassroots projects in various countries. The charity backs children’s orphanages, wildlife conservation and health centres amongst other things.

To help with carbon offsetting but also backing poverty alleviation and improve environmental biodiversity, we automatically plant trees on behalf of every client that travels with us. Currently this is done in a very degraded area of northern Malawi, where we plant quick growing exotic trees to provide firewood to the local population so that they don’t chop down the indigenous forest.

The company gives written guidelines to every traveller on how to travel sensitively with regards to local people, and as regards to environmental responsibility. This includes all policies relevant to each trip. No overseas guides are used on any trip run by them, all local guides are used – often supplemented by indigenous guides too where suitable.

This company has a Porter Policy in place to protect against exploitation of porters. This includes checking that porters are properly fed and clothed for the purpose, are paid properly and are generally not exploited in this work.

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