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Get acquainted with the wonders of the Incas in this exhilarating introduction to Peru. Embrace cultures past and present in the hills surrounding Cuzco and delight in the amazing views of the Sacred Valley as you travel by rail to Machu Picchu. Taking the train will allow you lots of time to explore ruins, museums and markets. With years of experience, we employ the best local guides, so that you’re free to enjoy the beauty of the region.
Day 1 Arrive Lima
Arrive in Lima at any time. As your fellow travellers are arriving at various times throughout the day, there are no planned activities other than a group dinner and info session. Check into our hotel and enjoy the city. Look in the hotel lobby for notices on when and where the group meeting will occur.Note: If you have pre-booked the Peru Culinary Theme Pack, your Lima cooking class will be Day 1 and the Cuzco cooking class will be on Day 6. As this pack does not include extra on-trip time in Lima, it is necessary to bundle it with a pre-trip stay.Please note that hot water shortages and power outages can be fairly common in Peru (even in upgraded hotels and private homes). We appreciate your patience and understanding that these occurrences are outside of our control.Peru is frequently referred to as the 'Land of the Incas'. It is true that the Incas formed the greatest empire on the continent and left mysterious cities such as Machu Picchu. However, it is important to remember that the Incas were the only the last in a long series of Peruvian civilizations spanning several thousand years and the ruins of many of these earlier civilizations can also be visited. Peru is made up of three main geographical areas: the Andes, the Amazon and the desert coastal area. On this trip we concentrate on the Andes region of south-central Peru, and the ancient Inca capital of Cuzco.Known as the City of Kings, Peru’s capital city Lima was founded by Francisco Pizarro on the Day of the Three Kings (Epiphany) in 1535. The Plaza de Armas is the heart of old Lima, and it is here you find the Cathedral, Government Palace and Archbishop’s Palace. The Cathedral dates back to the 1700s and houses the remains of the conquistador Pizarro. To get a feel for colonial Lima, take a cab to the Plaza de Armas and watch the changing of the Palace Guard in the afternoon. Walk the streets surrounding the Jirón de la Unión for great examples of Spanish-colonial architecture and to get a taste for life in a large South American city. An optional city tour visits many of the city’s highlights.There are many fine museums in and around the city, including the Museo Rafael Larco Herrera, which houses an equally impressive collection of pottery, mummies and textiles from the Paracas and Nazca cultures. The more affluent districts of Miraflores, Barranco and San Isidro, which are on the coast, offer good nightlife and cafés all within walking distance. Limeños (Lima’s residents) are friendly, and the city is filled with excellent restaurants; seafood lovers in particular should be sure to try a ceviche, for which Lima is well known.
Day 2 Cuzco
Fly to Cuzco and start exploring the capital of the Inca empire.Cuzco is the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city, and the hub of the South American travel network. The city attracts travellers who come not just to visit a unique destination but also to experience an age-old culture very different from their 20th century way of life; one could easily spend a week just in and around the area. Inca-built stone walls line most of the central streets and you don't have to go far to see other major Inca ruins. It is a city steeped in history, tradition and legend.Every year Cuzco attracts thousands of travellers who come to delve into its noble but tragic past. It is the perfect base for optional explorations around the city and area as well as a range of outdoor activities. Relax and explore this fascinating city, and take time to acclimatize to the high altitude.Cuzco’s numerous colonial churches are one of the city’s most common sights. The Cathedral was started in 1559 and took 100 years to build; it is also one of the city’s greatest repositories of colonial art. Immediately in front of the entrance is a vault containing the remains of the famous Inca historian, Garcilaso de la Vega. Also worth visiting are the churches of La Compañía, La Merced and San Francisco. While most ruins are just outside of the city, the main ruin within is that of the Coricancha, once the Inca Empire's richest temple. Today the ruin forms the base of the colonial church of Santo Domingo. During Inca times this temple was literally covered with gold, but within months of the arrival of the first conquistadors this incredible wealth had all been melted down. It is left to the individual imagination to envision the magnificence of the original structure. There are several good museums in Cuzco, including the Archaeological Museum, which also houses a small art museum, the Regional History Museum and the Religious Art Museum. Our best advice for exploring Cuzco is to wear a comfortable pair of shoes, arm yourself with a city map and set off to explore!Approximate Distance: 572kmEstimated Travel Time: 2.20 hours
Day 3 Sacred Valley / Ollantaytambo
Travel with our local guide through the Sacred Valley of the Incas. An important source of food for the Inca, the Sacred Valley is a lush agricultural region that continues to supply the city of Cuzco with much of its produce. Visit the impressive Pisac ruins and the colourful artisan market (market days only). The day trip finishes in the picturesque village of Ollantaytambo, site of another large Inca ruin. Here we catch our breath and prepare for the hike ahead.Ollantaytambo is one of the best examples of an Inca town. The town and fortress of Ollantaytambo are strategically situated overlooking the beautiful Urubamba River Valley. This major ruin site is known as the best surviving example of Inca urban planning and engineering. It is admired for its huge steep terraces guarding the Inca Fortress and for being one of the few places where the Spanish lost a major battle during the conquest. Approximate Distance: 95kmEstimated Travel Time: 2.30 hours
Day 4 Aguas Calientes
Board a morning train that winds through the spectacular Urubamba Valley to the end of the line: the village of Aguas Calientes, a frontier town nestled in the hills beneath Machu Picchu. Enjoy the rest of the day taking advantage of the hikes and hot springs in the area.*Please note: those who have pre-booked and purchased the "1-day Inca Trail" hiking option will disembark the train at km 104 to begin the trek. The trail rises steeply up into the mountains and will take hikers past the archaeological sites of Wiñay Wayna and Inti Pata, where the local guide will provide insights into the fascinating culture of the Incas en route to the trek's culmination at Machu Picchu. Enjoy a packed lunch along the way and reach the Sun Gate in the late afternoon with a chance for a preliminary exploration of Machu Picchu before the guided tour on Day 5.Transfer by bus from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes to rejoin the group and spend the night in a hotel. If time permits, take an optional visit to the nearby hot springs to soak the sore muscles.Ollantaytambo to Aguas CallientesApproximate Distance: 30kmEstimated Travel Time: 4.15 hoursThose taking the 1-day Inca Trail option:Approximate Distance: 15kmEstimated hiking Time: 5-6 hours
Day 5 Machu Picchu/Cuzco
Early wakeup early to take the bus up to the historic spiritual centre of the Incas, the "Lost City" of Machu Picchu. Tour the ruins with our expert guide, explore on your own or hike up spectacular Wayna Picchu to get away from the crowds. In the evening return by train to Ollantaytambo or Poroy and will then be transferred by van to Cusco.Machu Picchu is both the best and the least known of the Inca ruins. It is not mentioned in any of the chronicles of the Spanish conquistadors and archaeologists today can do no more than speculate on its function. The local Quechua farmers in the area knew of Machu Picchu for centuries, but it was not until an 11-year-old boy led the American historian Hiram Bingham (who was in search of Vilcabamba) to the site on July 24, 1911, that the rest of the world became aware of its existence. At that time the site was covered in thick vegetation, and Bingham and his team returned in 1912 and 1915 to clear the growth. Over the years, much work has been done on excavating and studying the site. Despite these efforts, many unanswered questions remain.Aguas Callientes to CuzcoApproximate Distance: 118kmEstimated Travel Time: 3.15 hours
Day 6 Cuzco
Enjoy a free day in Cuzco to explore the many sights, museums and restaurants that the city has to offer. Active options include rafting, biking or simply relax and enjoy the city.Note: If you have pre-booked the Peru Culinary Theme Pack, your Cuzco cooking class will be today and the Lima cooking class will be on Day 1. As this pack does not include extra on-trip time in Lima, it is necessary to bundle it with a pre-trip stay.
Day 7 Cuzco / Lima
Transfer to the airport and fly back to Lima for a free final evening on the town.
Day 8 Lima
Exploring ruins and bargaining at local markets in the Sacred Valley, taking in the views from the train to Machu Picchu, learning about the history of the Incas
Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. On truck trips in Africa, aboard the expedition ship Explorer or our Galapagos yachts, while trekking in remote regions etc. food is included, plentiful and made of fresh local ingredients. The above information applies to G Adventures group trips. For Independent trips please check the itinerary for details of meals included. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Public bus, boat, train, plane
Public bus, boat, train, plane
Hotels (7 nts).
I've taken a number of trips with G Adventures and have always been a happy customer.
I got to see so much of Israel; cities, historic & religious sites, seas, countryside, desert, and mountains. Moving at a relatively fast, but doable pace with stops and breaks, we got to see a lot of Israel which made the vacation still more varied, interesting and enjoyable. The experiential component of the vacation e.g. eating lunch at a family\'s home, staying at a Bedouin camp, and floating in the Dead Sea was a big plus, and aided in getting a feel for the people and the culture. Lastly, a relatively small tour group, a nice tour group and tour guide made it a still more enjoyable experience.
Trip of a lifetime, amazing service and a great adventure!
The trip was great! Our CEO was especially wonderful. The trip was fast-paced and challenging both physically and emotionally but was one of the best experiences of my life. Well done G-Adventures!
I prefer to travel independently whenever possible, but there are certain spots in the world where an organized, group tour works better due to concerns such as local transportation or safety. Recently, I was able to get a bit of time away from my client and did not have time to plan an individual journey. I elected to visit a spot or two that would work best on a tour. After scouring sites for potential trip(s) that would fit into the time I had available, I chose two handled by G Adventures (a company that I did not know previously due to my choice to usually travel independently). One trip was to Jordan (Explore Jordan tour) and the other was to India (Golden Triangle tour). I was highly pleased with the Explore Jordan tour, but disappointed by the Golden Triangle tour. As I sit here and write this review and ask myself the reason, I can say that it was the difference was primarily because of the tour guide (or CEO, as G Adventures calls them).
The Explore Jordan tour guide exhibited strong leadership, was well being organized and professional, and he handled changing situations very well. It was Ramadan during the time of my trip which means that hours and conditions varied, often with no advance notice, and he was able to successfully navigate the rough landscape to the pleasure of the tour participants. He also was presented with a couple of unique "challenges" that almost seemed like plants to see how a tour guide could handle them. I am pleased to say that the CEO succeeded with flying colors. Since I am not a veteran of many organized group tours, I admit that I took his accomplishments a bit for granted.
I gained an increased appreciation for our previous CEO after completing the Golden Triangle tour and seeing a tour guide who lacked the leadership capabilities of our previous one, seemed less than prepared, and took minimal interest in helping tour participants with the optional activities. The tour participants, who were veterans of organized group tours, spoke rather highly of G Adventures, so I do hope that preponderance of G Adventures tour guides are similar to my previous experience.
As far as other things on the trip, I found the Grand Palace Hotel to be lacking in consistent attentiveness of the staff. Some of the staff (mostly the younger staff members) were quite good, but others could not have cared less about the guests. Hotel Petra Moon was quite decent and the location was excellent. Ramada Dead Sea scheduled a rather loud and late event that was very much of a sound intrusion (read, no way of sleeping through it), but once I finally reached the manager on duty, I was able to get my room changed. The time spent at the Rahayeb Desert Camp was a highlight, but it is in the desert and there is not air conditioning in the tents (or anywhere else), which is just something of which to be aware. Due to Ramadan, we were not able to get into the National Museum in Amman, and the CEO was able to substitute a visit to Little Petra for us. I am very appreciative of this and would strongly encourage G Adventures to figure out how to make Little Petra a part of the regular itinerary. The time spent at the various locations was adequate, or at least as adequate as the number of days in the trip would allow. If I had it to do again, I would have figured out how to add a second day at Petra. But that is a me thing, and nothing against G Adventures. There was one shopping stop during the trip. I know that many organized tours have way too many "merchandise opportunities" so I am grateful that there was only the one stop, which was of a reasonable length and was at a location that helped the local people in Jordan. I am not much of a person for local foods, so I brought a good amount of things in my suitcase and kept myself fed well enough. While the taste of local cuisine is truly appreciated by most people on an organized tour, I did wish that there were a few more choices that would meet my palate.
If anyone is doing the Explore Jordan trip, I would encourage them to get into Amman a bit early so that they can add a tour of the so-called "Desert Castles." They are the main sites in Jordan (except Kerak Castle) that are not part of the Explore Jordan tour. It only takes about 6 hours to do, and is well worth it. The tour does not include the Roman Theater either, and it is also worth a look if time allows. But you will get a good view of the Roman Theater from above when the tour goes to the Citadel, so you will not feel cheated for not visiting it. Jordan exists in a tough neighborhood of the world, but I found the Jordanian people to be good folks and felt safe most of the time that I was there. As with anything today, you always need to be careful, but I would not avoid visiting Jordan because of the wars in a couple of its neighboring countries (but keep aware of events after I write this review, as things can change quickly). An upside for those visiting Jordan today is that, because of the state of that corner of the world, tourism numbers as very depressed. That means for someone visiting Jordan, there is not the crush of tourists that you would find elsewhere.
From start to finish the trip was excellent..The Tour operater G Adventures was fabulous..Our guide was the best ..He did everything for us..Will definitely book with you guys again
One of the best tours I ever had. Thank you,
Small group, great activities, mix of culture, history, fiesta, varied food, hotel was very nice, great breakfasts, good location in city center, When we changed planes in Mexico City we had to get luggage and go on sky train to get tickets on AeroMexico recheck luggage and had difficulty finding good directions to do this. It took quite a while and help from fellow tourists. Never had to do this in traveling all over the world.
I've been traveling with g adventures, but in this specific trip I had problem with my room/roommate. I had an 23 hr flight from San Francisco to Budapest. I arrived in Budapest at 1am. By that time all I wanted is to get to my bed and get some sleep. But for some reason there was another person sleeping in my bed when I got to my room. The CEO of g adventures said this 2 people can't room together already but they decided to do it anyway. So I was left with no bed. I had to wake the CEO and had him to talk to my roommate and get that person out of my bed. Then I have to ask for clean sheets which the hotel didn't have. So we had to get the some sheets. From where that guy is supposed to be sleeping and then I had to do my own bed.
By choosing G Adventures, the service and the hassle free is above exceptional.
G Adventures offered us a comprehensive tour that covered everything we wanted to see.
Excellent guide and good value.
My whole experience was beyond my expectation. Our tour guide made my experience to Japan most memorable. It was the best way to experience Japan in a small size group tour. Thanks for your constant dedication to each and everyone in the group. Thank you for the unforgetable experience, for answering our questions, accommodating our concerns, and for making us feel at home just by being around you. You are such a great guide and we are so greatful GAdventure chose you for our group.
It was a great trip! The tour director was very helpful. Though the accommodations could have a little bit better.
It's simple: You refer your friends, family, and anyone to us and when they book you will receive an American Express gift card worth up to $200 in the mail for simply referring.Read More