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EXPLORING THE ANDES

FAMILY TOURS | EXPLORING THE ANDES

ITINERARY

Days: 10
Location: Cusco & Puno – Titicaca Lake
Activities: Exploring ruins, sea kayak and interaction with local people
Activity Level: Basic – traditional tours

 

This itinerary is designed for those families who want to visit in a unique and traditional way the magical corners of Peru; combining scenes of great natural beauty and important archaeological remains, in addition to the opportunity to interact with local people. For this trip, Terra Explorer Peru, has chosen the most outstanding experiences to share as a family, at the departments of Cusco and Puno, which are interconnected by one of the most spectacular train trips of the Andes. Walk around the enigmatic city of Cusco, the incredible ruins of Machu Picchu, and colorful markets. Sail on the waters of Lake Titicaca and share two days with the inhabitants of the island of Taquile, will make a unique experiences for the whole family,  bringing us together to those corners of the world where we can still get the feeling we’re frozen in time.

 

Day 1: Lima-Cusco

Cusco is one hour flight away from Lima city. At Cusco airport you meet your tour guide and will be transferred to your hotel. The rest of the morning is free to rest and let your body acclimatize to the 3000 meters over sea level on which lies Cusco city. On the afternoon we walk along the ancient and little narrow cobbled streets that connect Cusco to the traditional neighborhood of San Blas, where the most renowned craftsmen put their creations on display. Hotel: Cusco Meals: Not included.

 

Day 2:  Sacsayhuamán – Awanacancha – Pisac – Valle Sagrado

On our way to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, we visit the impressive ruins of Sacsayhuaman, Inca fortress and ceremonial centre built by Inca Pachacutec, with impressive stone blocks, fitted side by side with an unimaginable precision. Then we continue our route towards Awanacancha, Andean textile center, where with the help of the local skilled weavers, will learn old techniques of weaving and dyeing. Afterwards we meet and have the opportunity to feed different types of camel and learn all about them. Then we continue to the town of Pisac for lunch and visit the colorful and famous market, which has the largest number of local artisans. Finally we arrive to our hotel in the Sacred Valley. Hotel: Sacred Valley Meals: B

 

Day 3: Sacred Valley – Moray and Salt reservoirs – Sea Kayak

In the morning we head towards Huaypo, a beautiful lagoon perched on the heights of the Andes. Its waters provide communities and cultivated fields around the area; and reflect the hills and mountains surrounding it. For about an hour and a half, we paddle around the lagoon in sea kayaks, a ride that allows us to appreciate the nature around in all its dimensions. On the banks of Huaypo, our chef will be waiting with a delicious outdoor picnic! In the afternoon, we learn more about agriculture during the empire visiting the Inca ruins of Moray, ancient experimental and agricultural center; and afterwards the salt mines of Pichingoto, impressive conglomerate of over three thousand terraces where salt is stored since the Inca time till today. Hotel: Sacred Valley Meals included: B+L

 

Day 4: Sacred Valley – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes

In the morning we drive to the town of Ollantaytambo, located opposite to the majestic ruins of the same name. Ollantaytambo is known as the only Inca town still alive, as the local people still maintain their costumes, live at the old stone houses of their ancestors and their water channels keep running, just as they did at the time of the Incas. We walk through these ancient streets and visit one of these local families, to watch closely and learn more about how ancient Peruvian lived on the Andes. After lunch we head to the station to board the train that will take us to the village of Machu Picchu, where we spend the night and rest to be ready for the next day exploration of the Inca Citidel. Hotel: Machu Picchu Town Meals Included: B

 

Day 5: Machu Picchu – Cusco

Today we visit very carefully Machu Picchu citadel. Upon our arrival we have a complete guided tour of the site and then free time to explore by ourselves. Optionally, you can climb to the top of Huayna Picchu, from where we can appreciate the citadel in a unique way, from a different angle, with a breathtaking view of the surrounding mountain peaks and the great canyon of Urubamba. In the afternoon, we take a bus to the town of Aguas Calientes to board the train that will take us back to Cusco. Hotel: Cusco Comidas: B

 

Day 6: Cusco – Puno

Today we depart towards the city of Puno, situated on the shores of Lake Titicaca, on a spectacular train ride called “Andean Experience”. Throughout the 12 hours of the journey, we will have the opportunity to admire the beautiful landscape around us, the magnificent Andes Mountains, rivers and herds of vicuñas and alpacas grazing. Terra Explorer Team will pick you up from the train station of Puno for the transfer to your hotel. Hotel: Puno Meals: B + L

 

Day 7: Puno – Taquile Island

Today we travel through the waters of the Titicaca Lake, the highest navigable lake in the world. So, we arrive to Taquile, an island occupied since pre-Inca times, whose people have kept their traditional dress, native language (Quechua) and unique social and political organization through time. It must be noted that local people from Taquile are very skilled weavers; art techniques and designs have been preserved since pre-Hispanic time and was recognized by UNESCO in 2005, as a cultural heritage of humanity. In the port of Taquile, Hector Huatta, local person from the island and great friend of Terra Explorer Peru, will welcome us and guide the crew t to his house (hosting), telling the most interesting stories and revealing some of the secrets kept at this magical island. On the afternoon we visit Taquile center. Hotel: Hector’s Rural House Meals: B + L + D

 

Day 8: Taquile

Today we have the whole day to enjoy the peace and beauty of the island, its arable land and the infinite horizons of blue. Also, we will enjoy the company of Hector’s family, who will open the doors of their home for us, this represents a unique experience that will give us the opportunity to learn more about the Andean culture and how the population of the island lives nowadays. They prepare a “huatia”, which is the cooking of native potatoes with the heat of the stones, as their ancestors did. They will also teach their skills as weavers and some simple techniques that we could learn. In the afternoon, optionally, we can do a walk around the island. Hotel: Hector’s Rural House Meals: B + L + D

 

Day 9: Taquile – floating island of Uros – Puno

Today we say goodbye to Taquile and Hector’s family to board on the motor boat that will take us to visit the floating islands of Uros, whose inhabitants descend from one of the oldest towns in America, and whose way of life is one of the more individuals on the planet; here the houses, the rafts and islands are made of Totora (plant fiber that grows in the lake). By the end of the day a boat will take us to the port of our hotel on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Hotel: Puno Meals: B + A

 

Day 10: Puno – Lima

Transfer from the hotel to the airport at Juliaca – Puno. Meals: D

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Testimonials

“Our family has used Terra Explorer Peru twice in the past and only have wonderful things to say. Patty, Piero and the rest of the staff, work together to ensure all needs are met from the time of inquiry until the trip is finished. Their sense of humor and attention to fine details made our vacation with three young children successful and enjoyable”.

Louisse E.