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2015 Escorted Christmas Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Tour

Lima - Cuzco - Sacred Valley - Huayllambamba - Machu Picchu - Puno (14 days / 13 nights )
Enjoy a unique experience of trekking the Inca trail and arriving to Machu Picchu on Christmas Eve. The tour then continues south to Lake Titicaca and to the highest navigable lake in the world. Choose from 3 star to 5 star deluxe hotels.
Escorted Christmas Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
December 16: Lima

Arrival in Lima. Reception and transfer to the hotel of your choice.

December 17: Lima (B & L)

After breakfast, full city tour of modern and colonial Lima, declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1991. Tour in an air conditioned bus with a bilingual guide. The tour includes a visit to the Cathedral, Main Square, San Francisco Convent and its Catacombs, and the residential areas of San Isidro and Miraflores. Lunch at the internationally acclaimed Rosa Nautica seafood restaurant, strategically located on a pier and extending into the Pacific Ocean. After lunch, a visit to the GoldMuseum. Originally from a private collection, the museum houses numerous gold, silver and copper artefacts from several pre-Hispanic cultures. The most precious piece in the collection is the solid gold Tumi (ceremonial knife) belonging to the Lambayeque culture (350AD). Return to your hotel. Free evening.

December 18: Lima – Cuzco (B)

After breakfast, flight to Cuzco, reception and transfer to the hotel of your choice. Free day to acclimatize to the high altitude.

December 19: Cuzco (B)

Free day to explore the city.

December 20: Cuzco - Sacred Valley (B & L)

Full-day excursion to Urubamba, the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Visit the village of Pisac, founded during Colonial times. On Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays the Indians barter their products, and artisans from all over the area sell their woven alpaca wool blankets and ponchos, engraved gourds, antique reproductions and jewellery. On Sundays, it is also the meeting place for the local Mayors of the region, who come dressed in their traditional costumes, to attend morning mass. After buffet lunch at the Tunupa Restaurant, a visit to Ollantaytambo, the only Inca town which is still inhabited. Explore the ruins above Ollantaytambo before returning to Cuzco via the traditional market town of Chinchero. Return to your hotel.

December 21: Cuzco - Huayllambamba (B, L & D)

After an early morning breakfast, you will be transferred to Chilca by bus, where you will meet the Quechua porters before crossing over the turbulent Vilcanota River. With magnificent views of Nevado Veronica (5,900m/19,000ft) we will continue the expedition admiring the Llactapata archaeological site, and stopping at the Huayllabamba river for lunch. We will visit the archeological sites of Patallacta, Qente, and the valley of Cusichaca and the magical Polylepsis forest. Today the hike will last approximately 7 hours. Camp and dinner at 3,800 meters. Overnight on the trail.

December 22: Huayllambamba - Pacaymayu (B, L & D)

Today is one of the most demanding days of the trip as we gain a lot of altitude. We will see outstanding views east to the Huayanay peaks and west into the rugged Vilcabamba Range. After breakfast, we will climb up through the first pass at 4,200 m/13,750 feet at Warmiwanusqa. Passing 3 ecological areas such as the Yunga, Quechua and Puna. we will climb 1000 metres in 5 hours. Today camp and dinner near Pacaymayu. Overnight on the trail.

December 23: Pacaymayu - Winaywayna (B, L & D)

After breakfast, we will trek down through the valley of Pacaymayu to the famous archaeological sites of RunquraqayWe will continue to the second pass and the restored town site of Sayaqmarka ("Town in a Steep Place") and explore the Sayaqmarka Ruins. The Inca Trail in this section is a white granite roadway, traversing a thickly forested mountainside. We will then descend to the magnificent archeological Phuyupatamarka ("Cloud Level Town") and have lunch. Descent to Winaywayna where a visit of the ruins and dinner will conclude the day.

December 24: Winaywayna – Machu Picchu (B)

Early morning wake up at 4:30 a.m. for breakfast and to begin the trek to be the first at the archaeological site of Machu Picchu for the sunrise. We will descend rapidly from cloud forest into high jungle habitat. Orchids and hummingbirds are commonly seen along this spectacular section of the trail high above the river. We will arrive at Intipunko "Gate of the Sun" to observe the sunrise over Machu Picchu from an elevated vantage. Guided visit of the most spectacular ancient city in the world. This fabulous city contains houses, temples, warehouses, a large central square; and all connected by narrow roads and steps that are surrounded by terraces cut into the mountain side. After the tour, free time to enjoy this spiritual wonder. Accommodation at the hotel of your choice.

December 25: Machu Picchu (B & L)

Opportunity to return to the sanctuary for a more personal appreciation of the Eighth wonder of the world. Christmas lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge Hotel located in front of Machu Picchu. Return in the afternoon by train to Cuzco and transfer to the hotel of your choice.

December 26: Cuzco (B & D)

Afternoon guided visit of the four ruins nearby; the Sacsayhuaman Fortress overlooking the city of Cuzco, a pre Inca architectural masterpiece; Kenko, a rock sanctuary whose main attraction is the monolithic altar representing a puma, the red Fortress of Puca-Pucara and Tambomachay, a beautiful fountain fed by a spring forming a series of basins continue to the city of Cuzco; the Main Square, the Cathedral and the Koricancha or Temple of the Sun. Dinner and folkloric show in the evening.

December 27: Cuzco - Puno (B & L)

Spectacular first class train journey aboard the Inca Explorer across the stunning altiplano to Puno. Lying on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, Puno is also the folkloric capital of Peru. Accommodation at the hotel of your choice.

December 28: Islands of Lake Titicaca (B & L)

Full day excursion to the islands of Uros and Taquile. Uros, a group of islands made entirely of tortora reeds is home to a small community dating back to a pre-Inca culture. The inhabitants of Taquile are more closely related to the Aymara people of Bolivia than the Quechua Incas of Peru. Basic lunch on the island prepared by the local inhabitants. Return to Puno and your hotel. Farewell dinner at the Libertador hotel.

December 29: Lima

After breakfast, transfer to Juliaca airport for the return flight to Lima.

End of services.

What is Included:

Accommodation in twin/double rooms at recommended hotels with private bathroom, including breakfast and 3 night’s camping on the Inca Trail.
All transfers, tours and excursions as per itinerary with local English speaking guides. All meals as per itinerary.
Flight tickets: Lima – Cuzco, Juliaca - Lima
Train tickets: Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu) – Cuzco in Vistadome class, Cuzco – Puno on the First Class Orient Express.
All entrance fees and tips

What is Not Included:

International air tickets and associated taxes.
Meals not specified on the itinerary.
All domestic flights require a US$6.00 charge (airport tax), payable at the airport.
Personal expenses such as telephone bills, laundry expenses, beverages, etc.
Insurance against theft, loss, illness and/or accident.
Baggage porterage and other extras not specified