Recommended Optional Experiences. The Nazca Lines, Machu Picchu and so much more...
Desert Dune Buggy and Dune Surfing Tour.
Optional Add-In 2-3 hours.
It may not match people’s image of the land of the Incas, but Huacachina is Peru’s very own desert oasis. Not far from the town of Ica, after travelling through the arid coastal desert of southern Peru, you arrive in the lush green that surrounds the lagoon and find the palm trees backed by the colossal sand dunes waiting to welcome you to this little piece of paradise.
This picturesque spot is an excellent place to break up the journey from Lima to Nazca. It offers guaranteed sunshine, dune-buggies, sandboarding and nearby wineries to visit. With a perfect year-round climate away from the coastal mists which plague southern Peru during the British summer, Huacachina is an excellent place to relax and soak up some sunshine for a couple of hours.
The Oasis of Haucachina, is sacred lagoon, ringed by palm trees and hidden among massive sand dunes, and draws sand-boarders and dune-buggy riders from all over the world. We offer a fast and fun optional sand buggy trip out across the huge dunes. We board powerful V8 powered Dune buggies for 8 persons, and strap ourselves into the harnesses. With an expert driver we traverse the dunes at high speed with thrilling jumps and dips, and fantastic views across the Atacama desert. The driver will stop at the top of some of the largest Dunes of over 100ft high, and unload your sand surf boards, for you to try out (optional) fun Dune Surfing for 2 hours, before heading back to the Oasis for a relaxing lunch overlooking the oasis. Just the incredible scenery makes this a must.
Nazca Lines by light aircraft 2 hours.
Optional Add-In from Nazca Airstrip.
Early morning we leave the Majoro Hacienda, and drive to the small airstrip, to check in for our 50 minute flight. You will take a four passenger Cessna for an thrilling flight that offers incomparable views of the desert landscape, while the pilot banks steeply over each of the “animals” so that you get a great view out of the side windows while he lets you know what’s around over the intercom. A must do for any visitor to Peru
They were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, and the area stretches more than 50 miles (80km) between the towns of Nazca and Palpa, 248 miles (400km) south of Lima.
They were made by removing the reddish-brown iron oxide-coated pebbles that cover the surface of the Nazca desert and exposing the light-coloured earth beneath. The mystery about why they were created has been debated for decades. One theory is that the geoglyphs are connected in some way to water. For example, a triangular geoglyph at the bottom of the Cerro Blanco mountain runs along the water veins inside the mountain, while the condor geoglyph is linked to local legend, which states that when the condor flies over the mountain, ‘great rains follow’. Similarly, the ‘hummingbird’ geoglyph only appears in the summer following heavy rainfall.
Some 700 geoglyphs are thought to have been drawn by the ancient Nazca people between the first and sixth centuries. In general terms the Nazca Lines fall into two categories: the first group, of which about 70 have been identified, are said to represent natural objects, such as animals, birds and insects. A second is made from lines and more basic shapes such as spirals, triangle and rectangles.
Experts believe the Nazca used to dance along the lines of the geoglyphs when they prayed for rain - and many of the same images appear on Nazca pottery.
The huge images, which include hundreds of animals and complex mazes in the Nazca desert, can only clearly be seen for the air giving rise to a number of explanations as to who the Nazca Lines were intended for!
‘They are one of the most impenetrable enigmas of archaeology by virtue of their quantity, nature and size, as well as their continuity,’ said UNESCO.
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, 2 days/1 Night (good fitness level required)
We leave Cusco early morning to catch the famously scenic Machu Picchu train to km 104, where we disembark to join the Inca trail. This is a good alternative to get to know part of the famous Inca trail to Machu Picchu, and we begin our trek at a moderate altitude of 2,500 meters. Walking through a tropical rainforest, we will start to hike up for about 4 hours, and the terrain becomes more challenging as we go.
A professional bilingual guide will escort us, and we will carry only a small daypack during the trip. You will see magnificent views of the glacier Veronica, across the Vilcanota River, and will pass through a waterfall in the cloud forest.
After a rest and lunch stop to enjoy the scenery, we press on to reach the spectacular ancient ruins of Winay Wayna (Forever Young). Late in the afternoon, we will arrive to the iconic Inti Punku (Gates of the Sun), at Machu Picchu, and the original entry to the mysterious "Lost City of the Incas". After exploring the ruins of Machu Picchu, we will take a bus down to Aguas Calientes, where we spend the night at the Casa Andina Hotel.
The next day, we take the steep and spectacular hike up to the sugar loaf shaped Huayna Picchu for stunning views of Machu Picchu, and the Urabamba river below. We descend to Aguas Calientes late on day 2 to take the train back to Cusco to re-join the rest of the overland group.
For more about Machu Picchu, please click onto our designated Machu Picchu page…
Machu Picchu by luxury Vista Dome Train & Belmond Sanctuary Lodge Lunch (full day)
Dont miss a superb tour to Machu Picchu as part of your package via Vista Dome train, as it’s an unmissable part of Peru. Alternatively, if you are a keen walker, you can take our optional 2 day / 1 night guided Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu and add that into your holiday.
On the Vista Dome package, we catch the early train from Cusco to Machu Picchu, possibly the most iconic site of the whole trip. Machu Picchu is a majestic 15th-century Inca site and your view will take your breath away. Located on a ridge between the Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu mountains it sits 7,970 feet above sea level and overlooks the Urubamba River hundreds of feet below.
Machu Picchu lay hidden from the world for such a long time because its location is so remote. The nearest town is Aguas Calientes which is located down in the valley. Close to Machu Picchu as the crow flies, it takes a bus about 20 minutes to climb the steep zigzagging track that connects with the “lost city in the clouds”. There are no roads that connect Aguas Calientes to the outside world, so the only way in is by train. This is no ordinary rail journey. The Vista Dome service has large panoramic windows in the roof allowing you to enjoy the deep forested gorge that flows towards the Amazon basin, and take in spectacular mountain scenery on one of the world’s classic railway journeys, (all included as part of your trip).
The site’s excellent preservation, the quality of its architecture, and the breath taking mountain vista has made Machu Picchu one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world today. The site covers 80,000 acres and the buildings you will see were made without mortar (typical of the Inca), their granite stones quarried and precisely cut. A late lunch in the grounds of the delightful Belmond Lodge rounds off your day, before we return to Cusco via rail in the evening.
White Water Rafting
The Urubamba river runs from the high Andean ranges, down through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, past Machu Picchu and into the jungle. The Urubamba is divided into Upper Urubamba and Lower Urubamba, the dividing feature being the Pongo de Mainique, a white water canyon that opens into the Amazon plain.
It has some exciting white water depending on the section of the river being done and the time of the year. One of our most popular rafting sections during the season is the "Chuquicahuna- (CHUQUI)" section of the river on the Upper Urubamba. There are good rapids and the water is uncontaminated. This section is perfect for one day tours, with nice class II, III and III+ rapids. It offers excellent scenic riverside views with big eucalyptus trees, and beautiful flowers. This white water rafting section is all year long and from early December to late March the river is Class IV.
After being picked up at the hotel, a 1.5 hour drive takes us to the launching location, on the shores of the Upper Urubamba River, at CUSIPATA RIVER CAMP and our private campground. Our professional Rafting Guides will give you a safety briefing, and provide you with all the proper equipment for Rafting. We will be on the river for approximately two and a half hours, running class II and III rapids. During the rainy season from December to early March , the rapids can be class IV and IV plus.
After your rafting adventure, we arrive to the recovery point, where a hot Sauna and showers will be waiting, as well as delicious lunch and time to relax. Can also enjoy ZIP-LINE over 4 cables across the river if your feeling energetic still. Our return to Cusco is around 5pm.
Pampa Hermosa Jungle Walk & Waterfalls.
Optional No Cost Add-In
Pampa Hermosa Reserve is situated in dense jungle among tropical hardwoods, and gives a real taste of the rain forest, with a stunning riverside gorge location for our picnic lunch. Rare bird life, monkeys, river otters and deer can all be spotted on occasions. Deeper along the trail there are giant hardwoods (650 years old!)
Within a 20-minute walking distance, we can find the Dancing Site of the Cock-of-the-Rocks , where you will be able to watch the spectacular bright orange male cock-of-the-rocks in their daily mating dance. There are also four waterfalls that can be visited on the route for a refreshing jungle shower
Additional Experiences - (Please enquire for current additional tour pricing)
- Nazca Lines Flight
- Desert Sand Buggy and Dune Surfing Tour with Oasis lunch
- Machu Picchu Superior - a Guided tour, via Vista Dome train & Belmond Sanctuary lunch
- Cusco & Sacsayhuamán Historic Tour
- River Rafting Trip
- Sacred Valley Highlights-Quechua Handmade Craft Center, Wildlife Refuge, and Pisac Andean Market
- Moray & Maras-Sacred Valley Inca Salt Mines and Inca Experimental Agricultural Site
- Inca Trail Trek 2 days/1 night with Machu Picchu
- Horseback Riding Pampas Hacienda
- City Dinners in Cusco/Ayacucho/Lima (various options)
- Lunch final day at Larcomar (various options)
- Private Driver/Guide (on request)
Many clients prefer to arrive one day earlier into Lima (or stay one day later) to enjoy the city and be well rested before their overland tour departure. We are happy to reserve an extra night for you on request (£140 per room).
Galapagos Islands Boutique Beach Hotel Add On-
Costs on B&B basis per night- Master Suite on the beach £115pp, Junior Suite on the beach £90pp, Garden Patio Rooms £65pp. We recommend min. 7 additional nights minimum for Galapagos.
Light aircraft transfer to Isabella Island from Santa Cruz (Baltra) £150 round trip per person, or by speedboat £30 round trip per person. Ask for more details.