Itinerary as planned by my wonderful agent, Staci, at www.peruforless.com.
3 de julio: Travel to Lima, Peru
4 de julio: Free day in Lima to tour the city with my friend, Pilar.
5 de julio: Fly from Lima to Cuzco. Meet my guide in the afternoon for a tour of the ancient and colonial Cuzco sights, including the Cathedral and the temple Koricancha. Continue to the hilltop fortress of Sacsayhuaman and the Incan sites Q'enko, Puka Pukara, and Tambomachay.
6 de julio: After breakfast in Cuzco, my guide will pick me up for a mountain drive, passing throught the village of Mollepata and to Soraypampa. Here I will have lunch and some time to prepare before starting my first day of trekking. My 3-hour hike will take me through Salkantaypampa where I will get my first glimpses of the majestic Salkantay Mountain. I will then continue on a steep hike up to 14,715 feet toward Soyroqocha where I will enjoy a tasty dinner prepared by the trek chef and camp for the night.
7 de julio: I will be able to sleep in to avoid the early morning cold. After a filling breakfast, I will begin my 7-hour hike. I will start by climbing up to the Salkantay pass. When I reach the summit, I will have some time to rest and build an apacheta, a small stone tower build by Incas as a sign of respect to the sacred Apus (gods). I will then continue by descending toward Humantay Valley until I reach Collpapampa, my campsite for the night. I will rest and enjoy dinner prepared by my trek chef.
8 de julio: The 3rd day of my trek is slightly easier than the others. After breakfast, I will start my hike alongside the pleasant banks of the Santa Teresa River, which winds through forests of native trees, waterfalls, and coffee and fruit plantations. After a 7-hour hike, I will reach my campsite, La Playa, where I will be able to take advantage of the bathroom facilities. I will enjoy dinner and a quiet evening by the river's refreshing waters.
9 de julio: Today I will leave the valley and start climbing the trail up through gorgeous forestland until you reach the beautiful Llactapata archaeological site, which was recently uncovered. From there, I will enjoy stunning views of both Machu Picchu and the grandiose Salkantay Mountain. I will continue my hike descending toward the Aobamba River until I reach the hydroelectric plant, where I will catch the train to Aguas Calientes, the town nearest to Machu Picchu. I will stay in a hotel in Aguas Calientes and enjoy the rest of my day there.
10 de julio: Today I will visit the beautiful Machu Picchu citadel, pride of Peru. I will rise early and head to the bus station for the drive up to the citadel itself, which is hidden on a mountain amid cloud forests. I will have a guided tour of the site, followed by free time to explore the ruins on my own. Then I will head to the bus station for the drive back to Aguas Calientes and the train ride back to Cuzco.
11 de julio: After breakfast in my Cuzco hotel, I will take a tourist bus to Puno-including numerous stop offs for tours, photo opportunities and lunch. Stay overnight in Puno.
12 de julio: After breakfast in Puno, I will be escorted to several floating islands. The islands are made of bundles of reeds woven together by the Uros people. I'll continue on my tour to Amantani Island. After learning about the local culture, I'll meet my host family and go to my temporary new home for a simple lunch. I'll have a brief rest and then visit the local Inca and pre-Inca ruins. I'll join my host family for dinner and participate in an evening of music and dancing. I will stay overnight on the Island of Amantani on Lake Titicaca.
13 de julio: I'll wake up early and enjoy a local breakfast. A 2-hour boat ride will take me to the natural Taquile Island where I'll visit the main town for lunch and learn about local customs. I'll hike across the island and meet my Puno-bound boat on the far side. I'll return to Puno in the late afternoon and will immediately be transferred to the airport for my evening flight to Lima and then late evening/early morning flight back to the United States.