Cuzco and Machu Picchu
Magnificent Machu Picchu should be on every traveller's lifetime must-see list. In colonial Cuzco, once the epicenter of the Inca Empire and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, we’ll spend a day exploring its Spanish, indigenous and natural highlights. We'll then ride the rails through the spectacular Urubamba Valley to Machu Picchu, perched dramatically on a mountain ridge. We will rediscover this archeological marvel together and fill ourselves with the energy of the surrounding ancient mountains.
The ultimate ‘SWY Spirit’ discovery journey comes after the GA Official Program with this optional tour to the magic ‘Land of the Incas’ and, of course, you’re most welcome to join us!
Day 1: Sep. 2nd
After the official farewell lunch, we will return to our hotel in Miraflores and enjoy our last free night in Lima. Peruvian exPYs will prepare several options the make the most of it on a voluntary basis. From a quiet walk around Miraflores or Barranco, to a wild pisco-sour night party with the rhythms of your favorite Latin music. It’s time to chill-out, Peruvian style!
Day 2: Sep. 3rd
Wake up very early. Breakfast at the hotel, check-out and transfer to Jorge Chavez international airport to board our one-hour-flight to the city of Cuzco. Airport pick up and transfer to our local hotel. We will enjoy some coca-tea to better adjust ourselves to the altitude of 3,400 meters (11,150ft.) above sea level. Some time to rest is also important.
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 21st Century way of life. Inca-built stone walls line most of the central streets and you don't have to go far to see other major Inca ruins. At the same time, Cuzco’s numerous colonial churches are one of the city’s most common sights.
After lunch, we will visit the archaeological sites of Sacsayhuaman (the thunder-shaped Inca fortress), Kenko (ceremonial site, amphitheater and underground labyrinth), Puca Pucara (red fortress) and Tambomachay (temple of the water).
We will then visit the ‘Catedral’ main church, which was started in 1559 and took 100 years to build, and is also one of the city’s greatest repositories of colonial art. Finally, we will walk inside the amazing ‘Coricancha’, once the Inca Empire's richest temple, literally covered with gold. Today the ruin forms the base of the colonial church of Santo Domingo. Back to the hotel, dinner together and get ready for adventure!
Day 3: Sep. 4th
We will board a morning train that winds through the spectacular Urubamba Valley down to the end of the line: the village of Aguas Calientes, a frontier town nestled in the hills beneath Machu Picchu. A local guide will provide us a detailed interpretation of the site and Inca history. We will visit the main spots inside the ruins, such as the Torreon, the three-windows temple, the Intihuatana (temple of the sun), the popular district, residential district and the royalty area, including the Monumental Mausoleum.
There will be also free time to explore on your own after our tour, and the opportunity to take your favorite shots in this unique UNESCO World Heritage Site, also awarded as one of the ‘New 7 Wonders of the World’. We will re-assemble to go back to Aguas Calientes for a late buffet-style lunch. In the afternoon we will return by train to Cusco, arriving in the evening for our farewell dinner.
Machu Picchu is both the most impressive and the least understood 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.
Day 4: Sep. 5th
Breakfast at the hotel, check out and transfer to Cusco airport to board our plane back to Lima. Optional tour finishes when we arrive in Lima airport.
Please, arrange your flight back home after 4:00pm to be covered in case of any flight delay in Cusco.
|Monday, Sep. 2nd||Free night|
|Tuesday, Sep. 3rd||Breakfast at hotel in Lima Flight to Cuzco||Lunch Cuzco City Tour||Dinner and free night|
|Wednesday, Sep. 4t||Breakfast at the hotel Machu Picchu Full day||Lunch at Aguas Calientes||Dinner and free night|
|Thursday, Sep. 5th||Breakfast at the hotel in Cuzco Flight to Lima|