Peru Trek: 17 to Infinity

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Our new 17 to Infinity Peru Trek is the perfect active trip for families with young adults in search of adventure and excitement! Traveling with other families in the same age range, you'll see what sets this culturally and ecologically diverse land apart from everywhere else.

Trek through Peru's stunning Andean landscapes, exploring fascinating Inca ruins (including, of course, the mysterious and world-renowned Machu Picchu), and meet indigenous locals who still live roughly the same way they have for centuries.

Your older teen and 20-something kids will LOVE the personal challenge involved in tackling the daunting hike up the steep trail leading to Huayna Picchu, the sacred summit overlooking the entire site of Machu Picchu. The sense of perspective and accomplishment afforded by this view is totally unequaled.

And you'll camp out and hike at the site of Qachikata, an ancient Inca quarry that once supplied the granite for some magnificent works of engineering.

2015 Dates
Dates Adult Internal Air Special
Features
04/25 - 05/03 $4,390 $400

Optional extenstion to Lake Titicaca

Call for Availability

Alumni Discount: if you are a returning Thomson guest, please subtract $500 per family from these prices

 

Price includes: All entrance and park fees; accommodations based on two to a room, trail duffel, Thermarest sleeping pad, sleeping bag with sheet liner, all community camping gear; land transportation; private bi-lingual guide throughout & area specialists; all meals except 1 lunch, bottled water & snacks in the vehicle, treated water while camping, Comprehensive Travel Insurance.

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Extensions

This trip is great in combination with one of our Galapagos adventures. International air to/from Lima and Quito not included.

Day 1 – Depart U.S. / Arrive Lima

Upon arrival at the airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel, where your Peru Family Trek begins.

Day 2 – Sacred Valley

After flying into Cuzco, we will transport you to the Sacred Valley. Cuzco is the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, where temples and buildings once shimmered in gold. The Spanish may have stripped this city of its golden architectural trademark in the 16th century, but the ruins of the Sacred Valley are still in amazing condition, and people are often actually rendered speechless when seeing the stonework for the first time.

 

Ollantaytambo transfer
After arriving to Cuzco at 11,000 feet transfer by vehicle to Ollaytantambo at 9,000 feet making it easier for your family to acclimatize to the altitude. The drive is through beautiful countryside with mountain backdrops and villages.
Ollantaytambo walking tour
Time permitting, set out to explore the archaeological site of Ollantaytambo, which is so well preserved that it serves as a veritable replica of a typical Incan community. The stone for this city was quarried at the far side of the river and its buildings include an immense temple and sacred baths. The temple area, situated at the top of a very steep terrace, was still being constructed when the Spanish conquered the region, so it remains unfinished to this day.
Train ride to Machu Picchu
This hour and a half train journey follows along the Urubamba River, providing families with awe-inspiring views of the dramatic canyons of the Urubamba Valley.
Day 3 – Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu was hidden so well in the Andes that it wasn’t rediscovered until 1911. As you look closely at how this “Lost City” was built, notice that the Incas used no mortar at all when putting together the large, heavy blocks of perfectly cut stone. That they are still standing is proof of the remarkable skill and engineering knowledge of this civilization.

 

Explore the ruins at Machu Picchu
Now one of the “New 7 Wonders of the World,” Machu Picchu is revered as one of the most exquisite and enigmatic sites on the planet. The Inca turned this spot into a small (about five square miles) but extraordinary city that is invisible from below and completely self-contained. We have a full day to explore this engineering and architectural jewel.
Hike Huayna Picchu
Experience an exciting hike up to the sacred summit of Huayna Picchu, the rocky knoll overlooking the entire site of Machu Picchu. The trail is steep, and at one point we’ll pass through a natural cave just before emerging at the summit. The view from the top is nothing short of mind-blowing.
Days 4-6 – Trek to Ollantaytambo Camp

Nestled in the northwestern end of the Sacred Valley, Ollantaytambo boasts some of the most stunning scenery in the region. Here the mountainsides reveal an incredible series of Incan stone terraces—andenes—used for agriculture.

 

Ollantaytambo train ride
Traveling by train along the Urubamba River, provides families with awe-inspiring views of the dramatic canyons of the Urubamba Valley.
Patakancha and Andean weaving demonstration
 At 12,560 feet we’ll meet some local women who will give us a demonstration in the traditional art of Andean back-strap weaving.
Qachikata quarry trek
At 9,332 feet, we’ll meet our trek crew and begin our moderate 5-hour ascent through small farms and ancient Inca stone terracing. The higher we get on our trek, the more spectacular the scenery becomes, and the Inca terracing fills the valley floor. When we reach our campsite at 11,562 feet, we can explore the massive Inca quarry works there. It’s amazing how intricate the stone work is!
Sacsayhuaman Ruins
The best known ruins outside Cuzco are the military complex Sacsayhuaman.  The massive stones weigh up to 125 tons apiece and form a double wall in a zigzag shape.  The Incan capital was laid out in the shape of a puma.  It is theorized that Sacsayhuaman formed the head of the puma and the zigzagging wall represented its teeth.  Archaeologists estimate the construction of this complex took over seven decades and the work of over 20,000 men, and is a masterpiece created by the Inca to show the world their great power and elegance.
Quarry camp hiking and exploration
Early birds have the chance to hike up to the nearby ridge, which provides breathtaking views of the Inca ruin Huayraqpunku (Gate of the Wind – 12,923’) and Nevado Veronica (18,637’) across the vast valley. Explore the quarry camp and its picturesque surroundings, with the Incan engineering marvel that is the Ollantaytambo Sun Temple in the distance.
Day 7 – Cuzco

A closer exploration of Cuzco reveals how well the Peruvians preserve, with pride, their cultures and traditions. During your walking tour of the city, stop and stand in the middle of the spacious and handsome Plaza de Armas – you’ll be at the historic heart of the entire region.

 

Koricancha
Meaning “golden courtyard” in Quechua, Koricancha—the Temple of the Sun—once glittered in gold, with golden panels covering the walls and a giant gold sun disk. While the gold is gone, the fantastic Inca stonework remains.
Lunch with a local family
We’ll transfer by van to the lively San Pedro Market, where we’ll help shop for the ingredients that will go into our traditional home-cooked lunch. After the market, we’ll head to a home in the San Cristobal neighborhood for a Peruvian country cooking lesson and hearty lunch.
Plaza de Armas and San Blas walk
After transferring by bus to Cuzco’s Plaza de Armas, we’ll continue our walking tour. Stroll through the steep, narrow streets of the San Blas neighborhood, with beautiful views of the city. We’ll visit the Hatun Rumiyoq stone and the area’s charming artisans’ shops.
Farewell dinner
Enjoy a special farewell dinner with the group on your last night in Cuzco.
Optional Night Out – Local Nightclub
For those interested in getting a taste of the local nightlife, join your guide for a night out at the club. Hang with your fellow travelers, other tourists and plenty of local Peruvians at a popular nighttime spot; talk, dance, and have a few drinks… be sure to try the national favorite – the Pisco Sour.
 
Day 8 – Cuzco - Lima

Enjoy your last morning in Cuzco in leisure. This afternoon you'll fly back to Lima.

 

Lima bike tour
Take a scenic guided bike tour of the city of Lima. We’ll explore the area around the bay, including the trendy bohemian neighborhood of Barranco, riding through streets lined with old mansions, bars and pubs, and public parks. Afterwards, we cruise through the seaside district of Miraflores, peering over the cliff edge sidewalks for a beautiful view of the surrounding ocean.
Day 9 – Depart Lima / Arrive U.S.
Hotel Costa del Sol

Hotel Costa del Sol is conveniently located in the Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima. The hotel features 130 clean, comfortable rooms, each with air-conditioning and internet access. Other highlights of the hotel include a business center, restaurant, and a gym. This hotel is chosen because of its proximity to the airport.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo

The Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, surrounded by twelve acres of beautiful cloud forest, is conveniently located just minutes from the train station. It features tile-roofed casitas (bungalows), a tea plantation, more than 100 species of birds and 250 species of butterflies. The hotel has eighty-five large, comfortable rooms – many with a fireplace and a balcony or terrace. Other highlights include an outdoor pool, hot tub, spa, jogging track, business center and high-speed internet access.

Casa Andina Private Collection-Valle Sagrado

Casa Andina Private Collection-Valle Sagrado: a mountain chalet-styled retreat with panoramic Andes views from every room and every angle. On more than 8 landscaped acres (3 hectares), it breathes an air of tranquility and relaxation. Unique among Sacred Valley hotels – most of which remain isolated in the valley, offering little for guests to do – it contains an extraordinary, full-service “Sacred Spa”, a domed Planetarium & Observatory for stargazing in the massive Southern Hemisphere sky, and gourmet restaurant and bar.

Qachikata camping

Camp at 11,562 feet, next to the ancient Inca granite quarry of Qachikata. This quarry supplied the massive stones for the building of Ollantaytambo Sun Temple. The site overlooks a vast and rugged valley, providing views of all sorts of Inca ruins and remnants of their amazing stone work and engineering ingenuity.

Hotel Libertador Palacio del Inka

The Hotel Libertador, a historical site dating back several centuries, is surrounded by magnificent Inca and colonial buildings. It is conveniently located just minutes from Cuzco’s major attractions, like the main square and the Spanish Cathedral. The hotel features 240 elegant rooms, as well as a fitness center, sauna and Jacuzzi, business center, wireless internet, restaurants and a gift shop.

Casa Andina Private Collection, Miraflores
Casa Andina Private Collection is located two blocks from the Parque Kennedy, the social hub of the attractive Miraflores neighborhood next to the ocean in Lima. It is a 20 minute drive to the city’s historical center and 40 minutes from the airport. The hotel features 148 spacious rooms, each with internet access. Other highlights include a heated indoor pool, steam room, sauna, and spa, a solarium, a gourmet restaurant, shops, and business center.

Why Peru?

See Machu Picchu, new wonder of the world
The “lost city” of Machu Picchu was so remote and so well hidden that it wasn’t rediscovered until 1911, when Hiram Bingham stumbled onto the astonishing ruins hidden in the mists and perched on a rocky ridge in the sky. No longer “lost,” your family will discover first-hand why Machu Picchu was recently voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Rich history and culture
Five hundred years ago, Peru lay at the heart of a vast empire that stretched over 400,000 square miles from northwest Argentina to southern Colombia. A legendary kingdom, this Land of the Inca came to an end when conquering Spaniards swept across South America. Today, Peruvians preserve, with pride, their rich and diverse culture and traditions.
Explore the charms of colonial Cuzco
Founded in the 11th century and capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th century through the arrival of the Spanish in the mid 16th century, Cuzco is a delightful mix of Inca and Spanish architecture. Around the city you can still see the remains of Inca buildings and foundations – many of which have proven to be stronger than buildings constructed in the present day!
Inca Trails
The roads from the Inca Empire once stretched from present-day Quito, Ecuador in the north all the way down to Santiago, Chile in the south. The extensive network of roads and trails covered roughly 14,000 miles and crossed mountain passes over 16,000 feet. To top it off, the Inca did not use the wheel or horses until the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, so these roads were used almost exclusively by people on foot and pack animals such as llamas. These roads – some of which were paved – wind through the stunning scenery and breathtaking landscapes of the Andes.
Sizable indigenous population
Throughout the history of the Americas, there have been thousands of distinct indigenous groups, tribes, and nations. Sadly, European colonizers decimated and, in some cases, eliminated the native populations of many areas and their beautiful cultures have been lost or almost lost in time. Peru, however, still has a substantial population of indigenous peoples with fascinating cultures to share and a lot to teach us. After Bolivia, Peru has the highest percentage of indigenous people of any country in South America. From the Quechua, to the Aymara, to the many different native groups in the Amazon, there is a refreshingly high diversity of languages and cultures within Peru.

Why Peru with Thomson?

Travel with families in the same age range
Families with young adults in their late teens and 20s want to travel with other families in the same range; there's just much more for them to do together and it's far easier for them to relate to and have fun with each other. So when we realized that some of our clients thought their young adult kids were too old to travel with us, it became quite clear that we needed to create a specific category of trips just for these families. It's very rewarding for young adults to rekindle that closeness with mom and dad, and to be able to come together with other families at the same stage for a more sophisticated, mature family adventure.
Camping at Qachikata quarry
Camp at 11,562 feet, next to the ancient Inca granite quarry of Qachikata. This quarry supplied the massive stones for the building of Ollantaytambo Sun Temple. The site overlooks a vast and rugged valley, providing views of all sorts of Inca ruins and remnants of their amazing stone work and engineering ingenuity.
Huayna Picchu hike  
The steep hike to Huayna Picchu is certainly a challenge, but it's one that adventurous young adult travelers love to undertake, and one that affords some spectacular panoramic views of the entire site of Machu Picchu.
 
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