Peru has been home to many civilisations, most notably the Incas, whose ancient cities and fortresses are still being discovered across this fascinating region. Women have always played an important role in Peru’s ancient stories. There is the tale of the ´amazon woman´, which has exists for many years. It is believed that these battling warrior women fought ‘as ten men’. They were probably native males wearing palm-hats. However the ‘amazon woman’ story illustrates the force and the strength of women in the native Peruvian societies.
This all women’s trip is very popular. More women are traveling alone, as well as with friends. This is a great safe trip to join on your own or with another friend or a group of friends. The homestays, craft and cultural visits give you a window into local life for the Peruvian women.
What`s included: 3 local flights, 4 days Inca trail, hotels and breakfast, most entrances.
MIND: Make sure you book this trip at least 3 months in advance to ensure your reservation for the 4 days Inca trail. If this is not possible, we will walk the 5 days Salkantay trek, just as beautiful, following old Indian paths to Machu Picchu.
Start in Lima, free afternoon.
The trip starts in Lima. Check-in at our hotel in the early afternoon. The morning is free for you to explore the local area, exchange money or visit Lima’s many museums until our rooms become available. Stay at the hotel.
Fly to Puerto Maldonado; river expedition deep into the jungle to Tambopata Reserve; guided jungle walks from lodge. An early start today, for the flight via Cusco to Puerto Maldonado, a jungle town. We will take a boat to our jungle lodge in the Tambopata Reserve (3 hours). On the way we may see caimans (alligators), river turtles and a wide variety of bird life.
Jungle exploration. The next two days are spent exploring the forest, rivers and lakes surrounding the lodge, on foot and by boat. Although a lot of the wildlife tends to hide in the dense foliage, we can expect to see a wide variety of birds, including herons and egrets, jacanas, macaws and the almost prehistoric-looking hoatzin, as well as several species of monkey, reptiles and insects. With a little luck, we may even spot the giant otters, which live in the lakes of the Amazon basin.
Jungle exploration, workshop jungle jewelry in the afternoon. A further day of jungle exploration. In the afternoon you will have a workshop making jungle jewelry. You will make your own, 100% natural necklace from colorful jungle seeds.
Fly to Cusco, free time to relax and explore city. A dawn start is required for the boat trip back to Puerto Maldonado. This will enable us to capture memorable views of the sunrise over the river. Look out for the early morning wildlife, which is particularly active at this time. Howler monkeys are frequently heard, as they stake out their territories. After our flight to Cusco, there is usually time for an afternoon tour of the city. At 3300 meters (10826.8 feet). Cusco is an extremely high city and you may find yourself slightly short of breath upon arrival. Stay at the Puma Hotel close to the center with a beautiful view on the ancient city (or likewise hotel).
Optional visit to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Women’s textiles visit and free time for sightseeing. After breakfast we start with a guided tour in the Cusco textiles center with demonstration of the fabulous traditional women of weavery. This traditional weaving is done with 100% organic textiles. Today this practice needs to be supported in order to preserve it or it may disappear. The rest of the day is free for you to spend as you wish.
The Inca Capital is amongst the most attractive cities all of in South America, with many interesting buildings, museums and sites. To help acclimatise, take an optional walking tour of the Inca capital and the nearby ruins of Sacsayhuaman and Qenco, which overlook the city. Alternatively, there is the opportunity for an optional full day tour of the Sacred Valley, including the fortresses of Pisac and Ollantaytambo.
Today is the start of the Inca Trail trek. Start your Inca Trail and trek from KM82 to Huayllabamba. Transfer by bus to trailhead at Piscacucho, on the Vilcanota River. Hike along the Vilcanota River beneath the impressive snow-capped Nevado Veronica through cactus gardens and fields of corn to the enormous Inca ruins of Llactapata. Then continue up a side valley to camp in the hamlet of Huayllabamba.
Climb over ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’ and descend to camp. This is the longest and most strenuous day, with over a 1000 meters (3280.84) of ascent. A long climb takes us first through an area of cloud forest, to the meadows of Llulluchapampa, and then over the Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman) pass, at 4215 meters (13828.74), the highest point on the trek. After quite a long, steep descent we camp in the scenic valley of the Pacamayo river at 3600 meters (11811.02 feet).
Trek over Runcuracay Pass and camp at Phuypatamarca. This is another easier climb, past the ruins of Runcuracay. It takes us over the Runcuracay Pass at 3950 meters (12959.32 feet). From this point on, the Inca Trail becomes a clearly defined path made of flat boulders. We pass the ruins of Sayajmarca and suddenly enter the rainforest; the Trail passes at one point through an Inca tunnel. We camp in a spectacular setting on the ridge above the Inca site of Phuyupatamarca at 3650 meters (11975.07) to enjoy the views of the sunset and sunrise.
Descend Inca steps to Winay Wayna and Machu Picchu. From the ridge we embark on the infamous Inca steps: a two kilometre stone staircase taking us rapidly downhill amid a panoramas of overwhelming immensity, with the peaks of the Vilcabamba range above, and the river, thousands of metres below. After visiting the attractive ruins of Wiñay Wayna, we have an undulating walk through cloud forest, high above the river to Inti Punku, the Inca Gate of the Sun. From here on we get our first and sudden full sight of Machu Picchu itself, with Huayna Picchu rising behind. Passing around the ruins, we descend to the river and Puente Ruinas for a well-earned rest, and possibility of a shower at our basic campsite.
Visit Machu Picchu; guided tour of site; return to Cusco by train. We return early for a tour of the ruins at their quietest and most evocative (before the day trippers arrive from Cusco). After free time to explore individually, we board the train in the afternoon. The ride follows the rapids of the Urubamba River, enters the Sacred Valley, and then climbs onto Cusco.
Bus across Altiplano to Puno, on shores of Lake Titicaca – a spectacular drive with scheduled stops to visit some of the most interesting sites. Today we take a bus ride across the Altiplano, the high plains separating the Andes from the jungles. Although it is quite a long drive (10 hours including stops), it is quite interesting and the views are spectacular. There are scheduled stops along the route to visit some of the most interesting sites, which helps break up the day. We get a feel for the immensity of the Andean landscapes. We arrive in the evening at Puno, a high, chilly town on the shores of Lake Titicaca.
Stay at the city lake hotel or likewise.
Excursions on and around Lake Titicaca; sail to Amantani Island where we spend the night in a native homestay. We explore Lake Titicaca, visiting the descendants of the Uros Indians, who live on islands of floating reeds and produce some fine textiles. Though the altitude here at 3850 meters (12631.23 feet) can be tiring, the air is very clear and the lakeside views are magnificent, with the snow-capped peaks of the Andes towering in the background. We spend the night on Amantani Island where we experience a homestay with the local villagers. This really allows us to see what life is like for the women in an isolated island community. Don`t forget to buy some of the refined hand knitted chullo`s.
Morning boat trip to mainland, evening flight to Lima. We take a boat back to Puno, and spend some time exploring the peninsula before flying back to Lima (from nearby Juliaca airport). Depending on the flight taken, we may have some free time for shopping and sightseeing, including an optional visit to the Gold Museum. Flight times do vary and some groups will not arrive into Lima until late afternoon or early evening.