An Andes Adventure

...crackling lightening over the skies of Cusco...

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LIMA – CUSCO FLIGHT
Early morning transfer from the hotel to the airport for a short but spectacular flight over the snowcapped Andes to the oldest inhabited city in the hemisphere, Cusco, at an elevation of 11,440 feet. Upon arrival a host will meet and assist you in transferring to the hotel and in registering. Tour of Cusco and Nearby Ruins – Visitors are caught up in the excitement of touring the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, a delightful combination of Inca and colonial architecture. The tour visits important landmarks such us Cusco’s Cathedral, Santo Domingo Church, Plaza de Armas and Koricancha “The Temple of the Sun”. This tour of the oldest continuously inhabited city in the western hemisphere also includes the nearby ruins of Kenko, Puca-Pucara, Tambomachay as well as the Sacsayhuaman fortress, an imposing example of Inca military architecture
DAY
6
PISAC MARKET AND OLLANTAYTAMBO ARCHAEOLOGICAL COMPLEX
Full Day Excursion to the Pisac Indian Market and the Ollantaytambo Fortress – Morning departure for a drive through the fertile countryside of the Urubamba Valley to the colonial village of Pisac where an Indian Market takes place Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Other days you will tour the religious nucleus and archaeological site of Pisac. During your visit to the bustling marketplace you will have the opportunity to bargain with the natives for many different types of Peruvian handicrafts and jewelry. Continue to the Ollantaytambo archaeological complex, the Incas built it as a fort that included a temple, agricultural terraces, and an urban area. There are two distinct sectors: The religious and worship zone, and the residential area. Ollantaytambo was an important administrative center with probable military functions if one considers the walls and towers. There are also traces of ancient roads and aqueducts. The town of Ollantaytambo is called a “Living Inca Town” since the inhabitants maintain very old practices and customs. Lunch is at a beautiful country estate on the shores of the Urubamba River.
DAY
7
SACRED VALLEY – MACHU PICCHU – SACRED VALLEY
This morning travel on the Vistadome train through the Sacred Valley to the Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu. Perched 8,200 feet above the valley, it was hidden by mountains and semi-tropical jungles for 400 years until discovered by Hiram Bingham of Yale University in 1911. Archaeologists believe that the Inca “Virgins of the Sun” took refuge from the Spanish Conquistadors here. Enjoy a guided tour of the ruins upon arrival. Lunch is at the Orient Express’ Sanctuary Lodge located just a few steps from the Inca citadel.
DAY
8
CUSCO – PUNO
This first class and spectacular rail journey aboard the “Andean Explorer” travels south to the beautiful city of Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca. On the journey the train makes a gentle climb to higher and cooler, altitudes. The first half of the journey is dominated by the magnificent Andean mountains, which tower over the deep valleys of the meandering Huatanay River. It then reaches the gentler, rolling Andean Plains, where vicuña and alpaca can be seen. The glass-walled observation car of the Andean Explorer provides the perfect opportunity to view the beautiful scenery. The journey is broken by a scenic stop at La Raya, which is also the highest point on the route. Train journey includes a three-course lunch. A Breakfast Menu, along with various snacks and a continuous Restaurant and Bar service is available at an additional cost. Late afternoon arrival in Puno
DAY
9
UROS AND TAQUILE ISLANDS ON LAKE TITICACA
Enjoy a boat excursion to the Uros and Taquile Islands on Lake Titicaca. This full day excursion will take you to the highest navigable lake in the world to the floating islands of the Uros Indians, man-made islands by tying totora reeds. The Uros considered themselves Lords of the Lake; they hunt wild birds and maintain traditional fishing methods. The men have developed an extraordinary skill in weaving reeds; producing houses, boats and handicrafts, and the women are expert knitters. Continuing to Taquile where a native community of about 400 families still lives with the traditions and high principals of the Incas. Taquile is a very important site on Lake Titicaca for its archeological remains, the sacred and ceremonial sites, the festive activities and their rituals. Taquile is characterized by its friendly inhabitants, who maintain their customs and traditional clothing. They distinguish themselves by their detailed, fine, and colorful textiles with symmetrical decorations and symbols that reflect their way of life and Andean beliefs. Lunch is included.