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Northern Peru & The Inca Trail

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Northern Peru & The Inca Trail

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Product Description

Highlights

Until 2005, the Gocta Falls sat hidden in the Andes, known only to the locals. These secret waters flow to create one of the tallest falls in the world, setting a magical scene of mist, water and flourishing rainforest. Spend a full day exploring the ruined Chachapoya fortress of Kuélap, one of the most important archaeological site of the Andes. Understand the cultural importance of Chachapoya afterlife on an excursion to visit the rock-face mausoleums of Revash and the mummies of Leymebamba. The breathtaking cascade of the Gocta Falls has to be seen to be believed – witness it from the comfort of the Gocta Lodge while sipping cocktails by the pool

Overview

Experience the icons and tucked-away treasures of Peru on this in-depth Andean adventure. Kicking things off in Lima, head north to a mountain lodge outside Cocachimba that’s tailor-made for viewing Gocta Falls, the monumental natural beauty somehow kept secret from the world until 2006. Delve into the world of the Chachapoyas, the pre-Colombian warriors of the cloud forest, visiting the fortifications, mausoleums and mummies that carry the secrets of the afterlife. Then it’s off to beautiful Cusco to hike the Inca Trail, drink in the magic of Ollantaytambo and Sacred Valley, and explore the must-see Inca site of South America, Machu Picchu. Those looking for the perfect mix of Peru’s highlights and latest nature hotspots need look no further than this stellar two-week adventure.



Breakfast Included: 13

Lunches Included: 9

Dinner Included: 7

Northern Peru & The Inca Trail 1 Northern Peru & The Inca Trail 2Northern Peru & The Inca Trail 3Northern Peru & The Inca Trail 4

 

 

Trip Dates

Start Date End Date Price Room Type Status
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Lima

Welcome to Lima, capital of Peru. This adventure begins with a 2 pm meeting at your hotel – please ask the hotel reception for more information regarding this meeting or keep an eye out for a note left on the noticeboard. Your leader will be collecting your next of kin and insurance details, so please have these ready to provide upon your arrival. Begin your adventures through Lima with an orientation walk through the Miraflores and Barranco districts, taking in splendid views of the colourful streets, lush green landscapes, quaint bridges and unhindered ocean views. Keep a camera ready for snaps of the phenomenal buildings, created with influences of authentic Peruvian republican and traditional gothic architectural styles as you wander through the flower-covered parks.

Cocachimba

After enjoying a late morning to explore the city further, depart by plane to the high jungle city of Jaen. Touch down, then embark on a 3-hour drive to Cocachimba. Yor lodge sits comfortably in the Andes and was created for the sole purpose to enjoy the views of the stunning Gocta Falls. Every bedroom is oriented towards the falls, not to mention the gardens, pools and surrounding terraces all bask under their towering glory while offering views of the rolling green canyons and roaming llamas below.

Gocta waterfalls/Cocachimba

Spend the day hiking through the Amazonian Andes on a hunt for the Gocta Falls. In May 2005, a German economist by the name of Stefan Ziemendorff stumbled upon the falls while hunting for pre-Inca ruins. The following March, Ziemendorff announced his "discovery" of the third largest waterfall in the world – the locals had already known of the falls, but due to a combination of social isolation and a somewhat more humble view of the location, they never told anyone. Conditions on the hike can vary; some times of year see the mountains cloaked in mist and rain, resulting in a cascading force emanating from the falls, whereas other times of the year result in sunshine breaking over the canyon peaks and a more wispy flow. Regardless, the sheer green from the forest surrounds combined with the height of the falls results in a memorable hiking experience, full of great photo opportunities. After returning to the lodge around midday, enjoy a free afternoon. Perhaps take some time to kick back by the pool with a beer.

Kuelap (Chachapoyas culture)/Cocachimba

Kuelap is one of the most important archaeological sites of the Amazonian Andes. It forms an architectural group of stone characterized by its monumentality, boasting a great artificial platform that sits on the crest of rock in the top of the Hill Barreta. The platform extends for a massive 600 metres (1970 feet) and has as perimeter a wall that in some points reaches 19 metres (62 feet) in height. It’s been estimated that construction on Kuelap began around the 6th-century, coinciding with the rising Chachapoyas culture before occupation of the site crumbled in the face of the Spanish Conquest in 1532. Its colossal walls and complex interior architecture are evidence of a well-organized population, which includes administrative, religious, ceremonial and permanent residences. Canals that tap into mountain springs, artistic stone carvings and towering walls all point towards a culture who had an understanding of architecture, art and military/protective interests.

Leymebamba & Revash (Chachapoyas culture)/Gocta Lodge

Spend a full day delving further into Chachapoya culture, plumbing through the depths of mausoleums and uncovering mummies of an age passed. Begin by exploring the Revash Mausoleums, a necropolis for Chachapoya’s dead. Serving as collective tombs in natural caves or excavated holes in the rocky walls, the carved faces of the Mausoleums sit high within the rock formation of Cerro Carbon. It’s been argued that these structures are replicas of ancient houses in the region, and strangely share similarities to cliff-houses of Colorado – although these are coincidental at best. Afterwards, take some time to explore the Leymebamba Museum, home to many mummies uncovered at the Laguna de los Condores site. With plenty of funerary offerings and record collecting quipus residing inside, small hints of Chachapoya history becomes more and more obvious as the day goes by.

Lima

Enjoy breakfast at the lodge, then drive back to the airport to take a lunchtime flight back to Lima. After arriving at around 3 pm, the rest of the day is yours to explore. Perhaps discover the historic handcrafts, gold and jewels of the Museo Larco, or maybe just head out for a final dinner with the group and toast a pisco sour together.

Lima

Enjoy a free morning in Lima. The second half of your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. After the meeting, go on a walking tour of downtown Lima, one of the most beautiful cities in South America, and an optional dinner with your group. Be sure to get your hands in Peru's national dish of ceviche during your stay. As there's little time spent in Lima, you may like to arrive a few days early to see the sights, including the chic suburb of Miraflores, Central Park, Lovers' Park and the National Museum. Notes: As this is a combination trip, your experience can be quite different to the other travellers. Some may start later in Cusco and everyone will choose their own route to Machu Picchu, either by train or trekking. Also, due to the high altitude of many of places we visit, the air is thinner and some people can suffer altitude sickness, regardless of age, gender or fitness. Please see the 'Is This Trip Right For You?' and 'Health' sections in the trip notes for detailed information.

Cusco

You'll say goodbye to the Lima Leader today. Take an included fight to Cusco. This flight will be unescorted, however you will be met at Cusco airport by your local leader. Welcome to Cusco, Peru. You'll have a meeting at 2 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place.Spend a little time acclimatising to the high altitude (3,450 m) and then head out on an orientation walk with your tour leader. You’ll visit the facade of Qoricancha temple, the local San Pedro market, the main square, past the 12 Angled Stone, Regocijo Square and San Blas Square. Finally you’ll visit the Chocolate museum where there will be an opportunity to sample a hot chocolate made from local cacao beans. This might be a good opportunity to purchase some gifts or souvenirs. There’s a small store where you’ll find various handicrafts and a variety of artisanal chocolate products. You might feel overwhelmed by all there is to see in Cusco, but there will be more time for you to go exploring at the end of the trip. Notes: As this is a combination trip, your experience can be quite different to the other travellers. Some will have started earlier in Lima and everyone will choose their own route to Machu Picchu, either by train or trekking. Due to the high altitude of many of places we visit, the air is thinner and some people can suffer altitude sickness, regardless of age, gender or fitness. Please see the 'Is This Trip Right For You?' and 'Health' sections in the trip notes for detailed information

Sacred Valley/Ollantaytambo

Travel by private bus through the Sacred Valley for about two hours. Known as Wilcamayo to the Incas, the valley has been a source of livelihood to the locals for hundreds of years. You’ll see maize crops covering the terraced valley walls and the sacred river beneath. For lunch, visit a community that live in the valley and learn about the local lifestyle and language. If it’s market day, you may have the opportunity to browse the local handicrafts such as beads and ponchos. Continue your journey to the town of Ollantaytambo where you’ll spend the night. If there’s time you may like to see the town’s archaeological site, which includes remnants of an Inca city and soaring views over the present-day settlement.

Inca Trail, Inca Quarry Trail or Train Option

Depending on the travel arrangements you made before the trip, during the next four days you’ll be doing one of the following: hiking the Classic Inca Trail, hiking the Inca Quarry Trail or staying in Cusco for another two days before taking the train to Aguas Calientes. While away from Cusco, the bulk of your luggage will be stored at your hotel. If you’re hiking the Inca Trail or the Inca Quarry Trail, the evening before you leave Cusco you'll receive a small duffle bag to carry your clothes in for the next four days (5 kg maximum). Your team of porters will carry these bags for you, together with the food and equipment for the trail. Please note that you won't have access to these items until the end of each day, as the porters will always be ahead of the group. If you’re travelling to Aguas Calientes by train, you'll be able to leave most of your luggage at the hotel in Cusco and only travel with the necessary items during the excursion by train. Route 1 Classic Inca Trail: Today travel by minivan to the 82 kilometre marker and meet your crew of local porters, cook and guide. The first day includes uphill trekking to the campsite, which is at 3,100 metres above sea level. On the way you’ll see the Inca sites of Ollantaytambo, Huillca Raccay and Llactapata, as well as incredible views of snow-capped Veronica Peak. In the evening, unwind at the campsite with a nourishing meal. Notes: The Inca Trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people, but please come prepared, as the trail is 45 kilometres long and often steep. Each day's journey generally consists of seven hours of walking (uphill and downhill), with stops for snacks and lunch. Trekking usually begins at 7 am (except on the fourth morning) and you reach the campsite around 5 pm. Accommodation on the trek is camping (three nights). Double tents (twin-share) and foam camping mats will be provided. The porters will set up the tents while the cook prepares meals. Route 2 Inca Quarry Trail: Make an early start today and drive to Choquequilla, a small ceremonial place where Incas worshipped the moon. Drive to the starting point of the trek, Rafq'a, and meet the horsemen who join us on the hike. After an hour’s walk, reach the small community of Socma. Carry on to the Perolniyoc cascade lookout, an opportunity to stop for photos and a food break. Continue to the campsite, which is 3,700 meters above sea level. You should reach the campsite around lunchtime. After lunch, set off to explore the Q'orimarca archaeological site, which once served as a checkpoint to the Incas. Notes: The Inca Quarry Trail is within the abilities of most reasonably fit people. The hike is 26 kilometres long in total and its highest pass is at 4,450 meters above sea level. Throughout the trek, horses will carry your gear and camping equipment. The first two nights are spent camping and the third night you will stay at a simple hotel. Double tents (twin-share) and foam camping mats will be provided. The porters will set up the tents while the cook prepares meals. Route 3 Train: After spending the night in the Ollantaytambo, leave around 9.30 am and take a short drive to the town of Pisac. Pisac is well known for its market. Here you’ll have the opportunity to shop for souvenirs and perhaps try some local Empanadas. Arrive back into Cusco in the afternoon, where your leader will take you to San Pedro Market in order to buy some things for a picnic tomorrow. Notes: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Inca Quarry Trail only.

Inca Trail, Inca Quarry Trail or Train Option

Route 1 Classic Inca Trail: This is the most challenging day of the trek as you ascend a long steep path (approximately five hours) to reach the highest point of the trail. Colloquially known as 'Dead Woman's Pass', Warmiwanusca sits at a height of 4,200 meters above sea level, providing amazing views of the valley below. The group will then descend to the campsite in the Pacaymayo Valley at 3,650 metres. Route 2 Inca Quarry Trail: This is the most challenging and rewarding day of the hike. A three-hour walk takes us to the top of the first pass of Puccaqasa (approximately 4,370 meters high). After enjoying picturesque views of the valley, it’s a short walk before stopping for lunch. Afterwards, make the two-hour hike to Kuychicassa, the highest pass of the trek at 4,450 meters. From here, descend to the sacred site the Incas called Intipunku (Sun Gate), with views of the Nevado Veronica mountain. Head to the campsite, only a stone’s throw away at Choquetacarpo. Route 3 Train: Today, take a taxi to Tambomachay, an archaeological site just outside of Cusco. From here you’ll take a short downhill walk (between one and three hours) back to Cusco. On the way, stop to admire some of the archaeological sites, including Puka Pukara, Qinqu Quenqo and Saksaywaman. Arrive back in Cusco in the afternoon and enjoy some free time to go shopping, or perhaps visit Merida, Mendivil and Olave art galleries and workshops. Your tour leader will be able to give you some suggestions or point you in the right direction. Notes: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Quarry Trail only.

Inca Trail, Inca Quarry Trail or Train Option

Route 1 Classic Inca Trail: Start the day with a climb through the Pacaymayo Valley to Runkuracay pass (3,980 metres). Enjoy views of the snow-capped mountain of Cordillera Vilcabamba before descending for around two to three hours to the ruins of Sayacmarca. Continue over the trail’s third pass to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca (3,850 metres), also known as 'Town Above the Clouds'. Start the two-hour descent down the Inca steps to the final night's campsite by the Winay Wayna archaeological site. Route 2 Inca Quarry Trail: Today’s hike will all be downhill. The first stop is the incomplete Kachiqata quarry, where the Incas were intercepted by the Spanish. Around midday, come to the end of the trek. Explore the cobbled streets of Ollantaytambo before taking the short train journey to Aguas Calientes. This is where you’ll meet up with the travellers in your group who didn't hike. Visiting the natural hot springs in town is a soothing way to spend the late afternoon. Spend the night in a comfortable hotel before tomorrow’s visit to Machu Picchu. Route 3 Train: After a drive to Ollantaytambo (about one and a half hours), catch a train through the winding Urubamba Valley to Aguas Calientes (another one and a half hours). The city is nestled in the cloud forest at the foot of Machu Picchu. For those who want a sneak peak, there is time to visit Machu Picchu independently before a guided tour the following day. Otherwise, you can while away the afternoon in the natural hot springs at Aguas Calientes. Notes: Included lunch and dinner on this day is for people trekking the Inca or Quarry Trail only.

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TRIP OVERVIEW

Trip Code: GGSTC

Group Size: 12

Start: Lima

End: Cusco

Duration: 14

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