1: Machu Picchu
Recently voted one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu is - rightly so - the most famous archaeological site in South America. 2011 marked 100 years since it was opened up to the outside world by Hiram Bingham in 1911. This Inca citadel is not only famous for its size and importance but also for its setting. Nestling high up in the Andes and perched on a precipice keeping a watchful eye on the Urubamba river, Machu Picchu inspires a sense of awe in all those who visit.
There are different ways to experience Machu Picchu, whether you trek there or get the train up the mountain. However, we do recommend you spend at least one night at the local town of Aguas Calientes. An overnight stay means you will have the morning after to take a second look around and the last thing we would want would be for you to return to Cusco, only to feel like you needed more time!
2: Amantani Homestay: Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca is one the most stunning lakes in the world and a must see for the majority of visitors to Peru. We believe that the best way to experience Lake Titicaca is by staying with a local family, learning about the communities and cultures that call Lake Titicaca home. It is also important to travel a little further that most other tourists, giving you a chance to experience an authentic culture
The Amantani Experience is perfect for those wanting to see a different side to Lake Titicaca whilst also still experiencing the classic floating reed island of Uros and the Island of Taquile.
Because of a more distant location, tourism on the island of Amantani has not developed in the same way as on other, more popular islands. The main difference is that home-stays have remained a more authentic cultural experience on Amantani island and they are able to welcome you with much appreciation and sincerity
For years, the local people from Amantani have been struggling for getting better treatment and payment from travel agencies. Our Amantani Experience helps them to receive a fair payment for their cooking and lodging services.
3: Families of the Incas
This short program will immerse you into the lives of families who still live in the Inca heartland. You will have a rare opportunity to meet these families that still work this incredible land, and stay with a local coffee farmer, Alejandro. You will learn about the coffee making process, the different harvests, flavors and qualities and the hard work of the coffee farmers that have been farming these slopes for many generations.
Comfort is not a problem as the families you will be staying with have traditional lodges with comfortable beds and hot water and their cooking is delicious. This experience also allows you the opportunity to walk on a spectacular Inka Road past impressive valley drops, with great vistas and beautiful flora along the way.
4: Cusco & the Sacred Valley
Cusco is often seen as a gateway to the famous archaeological site of Machu Picchu, yet it is a magnificent destination in itself. The quirky town is worthy of a day’s wandering and makes a great base for exploring the stunning Sacred Valley. We suggest a stop in Cusco and the Sacred Valley either side of a visit to Machu Picchu.
In common with most of this region, the Sacred Valley formed an important part of the ancient Inca empire. It was their garden and market place and of course in true Inca style it is spectacularly beautiful. The Sacred Valley follows the Urubamba river and is lined by terraced mountainsides virtually unchanged since they were farmed by the Incas themselves. The valley is also home to modern Andean trading markets as well as examples of ancient Inca ones. It is a great place for exploring Peru in unexpected ways such as on mountain bike or horse back.
Lying in the heart of the Andes, it is no wonder Peru has some of the best hiking in Latin America with a variety of trails to suit almost everyone. For those looking to keep the connection with the ancient Inca Culture there several treks around the Cusco region and for more serious Mountain treks you have the Huaraz region of the Southern Andes. Whether you want to explore hidden archaeological ruins or scale snow-capped peaks, Peru has a trail for you. Peru’s most famous trek is of course the legendary Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Whilst this is an amazing trek, you do need to book months in advance and if you can’t plan that far in advance there are now plenty of amazing alternatives such as the Salkantay, Lars and Choquequirao Treks.