Peru Express

Peru Express

Machu Picchu-Lake Titicaca-Colca Canyon

Fantastic tour of Peru's best attractions for those with little vacation time! Guide: Marek

Day 1:           Flight to Lima

Departures from USA in the afternoon or evening with arrivals into Lima in evening or early morning next day. Airport pick up by guide and transfer to hotel in city center Lima/Miraflores, welcome drink and overnight stay.

Day 2:           Tour Lima / Flight to Arequipa

After breakfast, we will begin touring Lima with a private guide. Start with the "Park of Love" located on the Pacific coast and then the famous Archaeological Museum to get acquainted with the rich history of Peru. Afterwards, we will have a buffet lunch with a huge selection of typical Peruvian healthy products. Then we will go to the center to see the colonial city center with the "Plaza de Armas" (the market square) and the President's Palace, the Railway Station and the Cathedral with the Francisco Pizarro sarcophagus. In this square, we find traces of Poles. Directly from the center, we will go to the airport to fly to Arequipa for an evening departure. Upon arrival, welcome by the local guide and transfer to the hotel in the city center for the night. (B,L)

Day 3:             Tour Arequipa / drive to Chivay/Colca Valley

From the morning, we will start a tour of Arequipa (2,346m), known as the "White City", built from the white stones of the nearby majestic volcano “El Misti” whose streets were designed by Polish engineer, Ernest Malinowski. Among others, we’ll see colonial Cathedral, the Church of La Compania and the famous St. Catalina Convent, a remarkable relic of Spanish colonial times which lay inside the city in mystery for nearly 400 years.

At noon, with a private guide we will start the drive to Chivay - the capital of the Colca Valley.

The route will lead through the altiplano at 3,500 - 4,000 m. and the "Agua Blanca" nature reserve. Upon arrival in Chivay (3.630m), check into the local hotel. Next, we will drive the Avenida Polonia to the hot springs of La Caldera to enjoy a relaxing bath. We will also see a commemorative plaque dedicated to Polish canoeists, on which is written: "From this place on May 13, 1981, the Polish Academic Kayak Expedition CANOANDES'79 set off, which discovered and acquired for Peru and the World the deepest canyon of the Rio Colca Land." Dinner and overnight at the hotel. (B,D)

Day 4:           Colca Canyon - Cruz del Condor - Cabanaconde - Sangalle

Very early in the morning after breakfast at the hotel, drive down the Rio Colca Valley to the beginning of the canyon. The entire valley is filled with terraced fields with a system of earth water channels built in pre-Inka times. The beginning of the Colca Canyon named "Cruz del Condor" is the place from which we will observe the famous Great Condors, flying high above. Continue to the village of Cabanaconde (3,350m), where we will stop for a moment at the local hotel to change and leave the main luggage. Around 11:00am (with boxed lunch and handy backpack) we will start a 3-hour (optional) descent to the bottom of Colca Canyon to the Sangalle oasis. Accommodation in bamboo bungalows sleeping on bunks with mattresses and bedding. To wash water from the stream, lighting by candlelight/lanterns, and swimming in the pool with lukewarm water. After a short rest, we will begin descent to the Colca river, to the place from which on May 18, 1981 Polish canoeists began their historic rafting trip. A modest dinner with hot tea. Overnight at the bottom of the deepest canyon in the world in a hotel with a million stars.

Note #1: Those who will not go down to the bottom of the canyon will stay at the hotel in Cabanaconde under the care of a local pilot and go hiking along the edge of Colca Canyon.

Note #2: Those who after going down to Sangalle decide that they prefer to go on the mule next morning, must report it to the guide so that he can book such a mule. The cost of renting a private mule is $20 to $25.

Day 5:          Colca Canyon/Sangalle - Cabanaconde - Puno

Wake up at 4:30 in the morning and after drinking coffee / tea, we will start walking out of our camp (2,200 m above sea level) to Cabanaconde. After a 3-4 hour climb on a steep trail, we will reach our hotel in Cabanaconde. Time to freshen up and breakfast, afterwards we start a 5-6 hour drive to Puno (3.810m). Upon arrival, check into hotel on the shore of the lake. Dinner and overnight at the hotel. (B,D)

Day 6:           Puno - Lake Titicaca - Uros - Sillustani

After breakfast, a boat trip to the famous Uros Indians, living on the floating reed islands on Lake Titicaca. The Uros people are probably the only community in the world that lives on the islands they built, surviving from fishing and hunting birds.The plants used to make their island, homes, boats, etc. called tortora reeds.

We continue with crossing the lake (2 hours) to reach Taquile Island. The natives living there today uphold old traditions in farming and weaving. Here, men and women have equal roles, knitting and farming. We'll have lunch with local products. Return to overnight at hotel in Puno. (B,D)

Day 7:          Drive: Puno - Cuzco

After breakfast, we will start a day trip to Cuzco through the Sacred Valley of the Urubamba River. Initially, we will drive along the lake to Juliaca on the road that was designed and built in 1878 by two Polish engineers, Władysław Kluger and Edward Habich. After crossing the La Raya pass 4,313m. we will enter the Cuzco Region.

We will eat lunch in a tourist restaurant and after a short rest we will go further in Raqchi village, see the ruins of the powerful monastery of God Wirakocha and stone granaries from the Inca empire. We continue the journey of Andahuaylillas, where in the local church there is a unique chapel with rich sculptures and paintings, called the "Peruvian Sistine Chapel". We reach our hotel in the city center in the afternoon. Dinner (on your own) and check into hotel in the city center. (B,L)

Day 8:           Cuzco Free day for optional tours

1. RAINBOW MOUNTAINS - all day optional excursion starts at 5:30 am with departure from the hotel with breakfast and lunch. Return around 8:00 pm. Cost for a group of at least 10 people:

2. Participation in the INTI RAYMI celebration of the Inca festival (if confirmed). Departure from hotel at 8am and return around 5pm. Lunch box. Beginning in Koriquancha Square, then in the main square, and finally in the ruins of the Sacsayhuaman fortress.

Day 9:   Cuzco - drive to Aguas Calientes via Pisac - Ollantaytambo

After breakfast at the hotel, we will start exploring the historical Cuzco - the former capital of the Inca Empire called "Qosco". In the colonial center, we will see the Qorikancha Cathedral and temples where the monastery was built. Outside the city, we will see the ruins of the Sacsayhuaman and Qenko fortress. We continue to Pisac, where we will see the famous market and then go along the Urubamba valley to the historic town of Ollantaytambo. After visiting the ruins of the famous fortress of the same name, we will take a 1.5-hour train to the Aguas Calientes station at the foot of Machu Picchu. Dinner and overnight at a local hotel. (B,D)

Day 10: Machu Pichu - Cuzco

Early morning trip to Machu Picchu (2,400m) and start a walking approach to Inti Punku - the Sun Gate, to see the sunrise over the ruins of this mysterious city. Sightseeing with local guide from the entrance to the so-called watchtower, from where there is a magnificent view of the city ruins. Then, we will go through all the city's sectors, admiring its unique architecture and the whole constructions on the side of the mountain. A moment of free time for independent exploration-contemplation of this extraordinary place. At noon, take the bus to Aguas Calientes railway station to continue our return journey by train to Ollantaytambo where we will eat dinner and then by bus we get to our hotel in Cuzco in the evening. Check into our hotel. (B,D)

Day 11: Cuzco city tour - flight to Lima - departing flight

In the morning, free time for independent sightseeing of Cuzco and last souvenir shopping. In the early afternoon, transfer to the airport in Cuzco and fly to Lima. After arriving and picking up baggage, we will move to the international part of the airport to check-in for overnight flights to the USA or Europe. (B)

Day 12:  Arrive USA/Europe

Morning arrivals to NYC-JFK/Newark. Afternoon flights to Europe & Warsaw.

 ***End of the program***

Abbreviations: B - Breakfast, L - Lunch, D – Dinner



Optional trip: Nazca Lines & Ballesta Isles (2d/1n)

Day 11:          Transfer to hotel in Lima

Transfer from the airport to your hotel in Miraflores/Lima. 

Day 12:        Transfer to Ica

Early morning transfer south along the Pacific to Ica. We will then travel by boat to the Ballestas Isles, known as the Peruvian Galapagos where colonies of sea lions and exotic birds can be found. Accommodations at the 48 Las Dunas hotel in Ica. (B,D)

Day 13:         Flight above Nazca Lines / Return to Lima for return flight

First thing today we transfer to the local airport. We will fly by small planes over the Nazca Lines, mysterious formations over 2,400 years old, taking shapes of various animals and geometric figures which can only be seen from above. After lunch we will drive up the Pan-American Highway straight to the airport in Lima. Evening flight back to the USA. (B, L)

Day 14:        Arrive USA/Europe

Morning arrivals to NYC-JFK/Newark. Afternoon flights to Europe & Warsaw.

Abbreviations: B - Breakfast; L - Lunch; D - Dinner

Machu Picchu

A pre-Columbian 15th-century Inca site located 2,430 metres (7,970 ft) above sea level. It is situated on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru, which is 80 kilometres (50 mi) northwest of Cusco and through which the Urubamba River flows. Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). Often referred to as "The Lost City of the Incas", it is perhaps the most familiar icon of the Inca World.

The Incas started building the "estate" around AD 1400 but abandoned it as an official site for the Inca rulers a century later at the time of the Spanish Conquest. Although known locally, it was unknown to the outside world before being brought to international attention in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham. Since then, Machu Picchu has become an important tourist attraction.

The Inca Empire

The Inca Empire (Quechua: Tawantinsuyu) was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The administrative, political and military center of the empire was located in Cusco in modern-day Peru. The Inca civilization arose from the highlands of Peru sometime in the early 13th century. From 1438 to 1533, the Incas used a variety of methods, from conquest to peaceful assimilation, to incorporate a large portion of western South America, centered on the Andean mountain ranges, including large parts of modern Ecuador, Peru, western and south central Bolivia, northwest Argentina, north and north-central Chile, and southern Colombia into a state comparable to the historical empires of the Old World.

The official language of the empire was Quechua, although hundreds of local languages and dialects of Quechua were spoken. The Inca referred to their empire as Tawantinsuyu which can be translated as The Four Regions or The Four United Provinces.

There were many local forms of worship, most of them concerning local sacred "Huacas", but the Inca leadership encouraged the worship of Inti—the sun god—and imposed its sovereignty above other cults such as that of Pachamama. The Incas considered their King, the Sapa Inca, to be the "child of the sun."


Cusco is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cusco Region as well as the Cusco Province. In 2007, the city had a population of 358,935 which was triple the figure of 20 years ago. Located on the eastern end of the Knot of Cusco, its altitude is around 3,400 m (11,200 ft).

Cusco was the site of the historic capital of the Inca Empire and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1983 by UNESCO. It is a major tourist destination and receives almost 1.5 million visitors a year. It is designated as the Historical Capital of Peru by the Constitution of Peru.

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca is a lake located on the border of Peru and Bolivia. It sits 3,811 m (12,500 ft) above sea level, making it the highest commercially navigable lake in the world. By volume of water, it is also the largest lake in South America. The lake is located at the northern end of the endorheic Altiplano basin high in the Andes on the border of Peru and Bolivia. The western part of the lake lies within the Puno Region of Peru, and the eastern side is located in the Bolivian La Paz Department.

Five major river systems feed into Lake Titicaca. In order of their relative flow volumes these are Ramis, Coata, Ilave, Huancané, and Suchez. More than 20 other smaller streams empty into Titicaca, and the lake has 41 islands, some of which are densely populated.

Colca Canyon

The Colca Canyon is a canyon of the Colca River in southern Peru. It is located about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of Arequipa. It is more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the United States at 4,160 m., and it is promoted as the "world's deepest canyon." The south wall of the Canyon is 3,200 m above sea level, while the north wall is 4,200 m. The Canyon is 120 kilometers long. The Colca Valley is a colorful Andean valley with towns founded in Spanish colonial times, and still inhabited by people of the Collaguas and the Cabanas cultures. The local people still maintain ancestral traditions and continue to cultivate the pre-Inca stepped terraces.

The first successful conquest of the canyon took place in 1981 by the Polish student organization "Bystrze". Among the brave were Andrzej Pietowski, Piotr Chmielinski, Jerzy Majcherczyk (raft captain), Jacek Bogucki (filmmaker) and Zbigniew Bzdak (photographer). The conquest took place during the kayaking expedition Canoandes '79, with their achievements being published in the 1984 edition of Guiness Book of World Records (Colca Canyon was illustrated on the cover). The young Polish adventurers named a few parts of the canyon, confirmed by the Geographical Institute in Peru, including the John Paul II Waterfalls, Canyon of the Poles / Chocolate Canyon.

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