7. Cusco: 8 Day Machu Picchu and Puno Southern Treasures Tour
Day 1: Arrival in Cusco
Be collected when you arrive at the airport in Cusco and driven to your lodge in the charming historic district of Cusco. Your lodge will be the 3-star Ayni Cusco Hotel or similar. Spend the first day resting and acclimatizing to the altitude of approximately 3,400 meters (11,000 feet). Later, meet your expedition group at 5 PM.
Day 2: Sacred Valley tour of Chinchero, Moray, and the salt mines
Begin your adventure at an important ancient site for the Inca on the high plains of Chinchero. Visit the picturesque colonial church and a local textile center. Learn about the ancient science of weaving from the artisans themselves.
Continue through the rolling hills to the enigmatic circular terraces of Moray. Learn about how they served as an experimental agricultural center to cultivate the best Andean crops at different temperatures.
Near Moray, make a stop at the town of Maras to visit the ancient salt mines. Discover the natural art of salt harvesting straight from the land. In the afternoon, travel to Ollantaytambo and board the train to Aguas Calientes. Stay overnight at the 3-star Golden Sunrise Hotel or similar.
Day 3: Machu Picchu
Rise early for breakfast then ascend to the citadel Inka of Machu Picchu - recognized by UNESCO as one of the seven wonders of the world and a World Heritage Site.
Take a 2 to 3-hour tour of the site with a guide who will teach you about the site and answer any questions. Return to Aguas Calientes for lunch then stay overnight at the 3-star Golden Sunrise Hotel or similar.
Day 4: Pisaq and Awanancancha
Travel to Ollantaytambo and continue to the town of Pisaq. Discover the engineering of the Incas as the mountainsides are full of terraces and buildings on steep hillsides and high peaks. Journey to the top of this mountain for the best views of the Sacred Valley below.
Later, return to the town of Pisaq and visit the local artisan market to see all kinds of products including weavings, musical instruments, and souvenirs. Return to Cusco and on the way stop at the weaving center, Awanacancha.
Meet the Andean species of camels including alpaca, llama, vicuña, and guanaco. Learn the science of weaving to appreciate the hand-made art of the Andean women. Stay the night at the 3-star Ayni Cusco Hotel or similar.
Day 5: Cusco
Enjoy free time to explore Cusco. You can spend the day in the city independently or book a day tour such as the city walking tour, horse riding in Saqsayhuaman Park, or ziplining in the Sacred Valley. Stay tonight at the 3-star Ayni Cusco Hotel or similar.
Day 6: Puno
In the morning, go to Puno, then stop at Andahuaylillas - one of the best examples of the fusion between Catholic and Andean religions. Visit Raqchi, an Inka temple dedicated to the god Wiracocha, creator of the universe.Next, see La Raya at the midway point on your journey and the highest point on the road at 4,335 meters above sea level. The impressive views here allow you to admire the rugged altitude full of tall snow-capped peaks and herds of llamas, alpacas, and vicuñas.Continue to Pucara, one of the oldest and most important ceremonial centers of the high plains, which is well known for its lithic structures and tombs. Stay tonight at the 3-star Puno Qalasaya Hotel or similar.
Day 7: Uros and Taquile Island
Depart at 7:30 AM from your hotel to the dock or main port. At 7:45 AM, begin your trip to the floating islands of Uros, the National Reserve of Lake Titicaca.See the beautiful panoramic view as your expert guide teaches you about the floating islands, then sail for 2.5 hours to Taquile Island. On the way, see the mountain chain, the royal mountain range.
After your 2 hour visit, enjoy a delicious typical lunch, then purchase some of the crafts. Return to the city of Puno at 5 PM and stay at the 3-star Puno Qalasaya Hotel or similar.
Day 8: Puno to Juliaca to Lima
Take a brief transfer from Puno to the neighboring city of Juliaca. Upon your arrival in Lima, you will be assisted to your international connecting flight or accommodation.