I'll Take the High Road

Ballestas Islands: Little Galapagos
Guinea pig - a Peruvian delicacy
Puno - a town four kilometres above sea-level
Drink like a local in Peru
The condors of one of the deepest canyons in the world - Colca Canyon
The 'Lost City of the Incas' - UNESCO World Heritage-listed Machu Picchu
The floating reed islands of the Uros people on the highest navigable lake in the world - Lake Titicaca
The perfect pisco sour?
The white volcanic 'sillar' architecture and Cathedral of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Arequipa
UNESCO World Heritage-listed ancient Inca capital of Cusco
UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic centre of the Peruvian capital Lima
Warminwanusca - 'Dead Woman’s Pass' on the Inca Trail
UNESCO World Heritage-listed Nazca Lines - gigantic lines, symbols and animal images etched into the ground
  • Sexy Woman and Dead Woman's Pass. You can climb all over one and the other will haunt your dreams. Peruvian icons don’t mess around.

    (Was Inca Highway)


    Day 1-2 - Lima

    Nearly 9 million people means there's a fair bit to see. Good bits: Cathedral de Lima, Plaza de Armas, the Barranco district for bars and food, Museo Rafael Larco Herrera.

    Day 1

    • Arrive in Lima

    Day 2

    • Morning tour briefing
    • Spend free time exploring Peru's capital
    • Follow the Pan American highway to the seaside village of Paracas

    Day 3-4 - Ballestas Islands - Nazca

    Sea lion pups are very cute. Birds are kinda creepy. See them both on Ballestas Island and don't think twice about taking the optional flight over the Nazca lines.

    Day 3

    • Travel by boat to the Ballestas Islands
    • Gain good views of wildlife and natural rock formations
    • Travel by bus to Nazca later in the day

    Day 4

    • Free day to explore the mysterious Nazca Lines
    • Take an option flight to view the lines
    • Board an overnight bus to Arequipa

    Day 5 - Arequipa

    Wander plazas, museums, cathedrals and monasteries, which are all dwarfed by El Misti Volcano (that explains the mist then). A great place for mountain biking and horse riding.

    • Free time to explore one of the most beautiful cities in Peru, Arequipa

    Day 6-7 - Colca Canyon

    The Andean condor has the largest wingspan of any land bird, so that shadow overhead might not be a cloud. This place is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, and it's pretty overwhelming. Some people have even been known to lose their lunch over it (Steve, we're looking at you).

    Day 6

    • Travel to and explore the Colca Canyon
    • Perhaps be lucky enough to spot Andean Condors
    • Stay overnight in a local hotel

    Day 7

    • Journey back to Arequipa

    Day 8-10 - Puno - Lake Titicaca

    Puno will leave you breathless. By which we mean it's 4km above sea level. Stay with a local family on Amantani Island, and don't forget to bring a little present for the kids. In return, they'll beat you at soccer.

    Day 8

    • Catch a bus to Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca

    Day 9

    • Take a boat across Lake Titicaca to the Uros' floating reed islands
    • Enjoy a homestay on Amantani Island

    Day 10

    • Indulge in a breakfast with your host family
    • Board an afternoon boat back to Puno
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 11-12 - Puno - Cusco

    Drive over Le Raya Pass (4321m), past Aguas Calientes and on to Cusco. Take a trip out to the ruins at Sacsayhuaman ('Sexy Woman'), where the stones are so tightly stacked that you can't even fit a piece of paper between them.

    Day 11

    • Acclimatise in Cusco in preparation for the Inca trek

    Day 12

    • Take a walking tour of central Cusco
    • Explore Cusco and see the local sights during free time

    Day 13-16 - Inca Trek

    Welcome to day 2, and your new mortal enemy. Her name is Dead Woman's Pass and she will haunt your dreams, but kicking her arse feels really good.

    Day 13

    • Gaze upon massive Inca fortifications in Ollantaytambo 
    • Begin the Inca trek
    • Hike past the ancient hilltop fort of Huillca Raccay and the archaeological site of Llactapata
    • Stunning views of snow-capped Veronica Peak
    • Camp near the village of Wayllabamba

    Day 14

    • The most difficult part of the trek - Dead Woman’s Pass
    • Panoramas of the Vilcanota and Vilcabama mountain ranges, and ruins in the valley below
    • Camp with a view over the cloud forest

    Day 15

    • Climb up to the ruins of Runkuracay
    • Continue up the Inca staircase 
    • Spectacular views of Pumasillo and the entire Vilcabamba range
    • Enter the beautiful cloud forest

    Day 16

    • The final, and most spectacular, leg of the trek to Machu Picchu 
    • Arrive at Inti Punku, the Gateway of the Sun
    • Experience a panoramic view of Machu Picchu at sunrise
    • Explore Machu Picchu on a guided tour
    • Return to Cusco by train
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 17 - Cusco

    Buy yourself borrachitos to celebrate. The name means "little drunkards" and it's a chocolate cupcake soaked in pisco (so maybe hold off until after breakfast). Cusco is a great place to unwind, with markets, bars and heaps of travellers feeling as smug as you after finishing the trek.

    • Relax and unwind or spend free time exploring Cusco's many markets, museums, eateries and local sights

    Day 18 - Lima

    Culture doesn't have to be highbrow. Head to Larco Museum for their extensive collection of erotic artifacts. Finish up with a bit of people watching at the Plaza de Armas, the main plaza in Barranco, Parque Kennedy in Miraflores or Parque Reserva downtown.

    • The trip ends once you arrive in the Peruvian capital
    • If you are flying out today, please ensure departure flights are not booked out of Lima prior to 1800hrs.
  • What's Included

    • • Gecko's experienced English-speaking local leader, a specialist trekking guide, assistant trekking guide and local guides at some sites in Peru.

      • Local flight from Cusco to Lima

      • Trek on the ‘Classic’ or ‘Quarry’ routes to Machu Picchu with full service camping including porters, cook and equipment (tent & inflatable sleeping mat).

      • Guided tour of Machu Picchu including entrance and park fees.

      • Boat excursion to the Ballestas Islands.

      • Excursion to Colca Canyon staying overnight at a hotel inside the canyon.

      • A boat ride to the floating reed islands on Lake Titicaca.

      • A homestay on Amantani Island including meals with host family and an exploration of the island.

      • Cusco walking tour.

      • Transfers to/from hotels to bus stations/ports in Lima, Pisco, Arequipa and Tazi Puno.

    Not Included

    • International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
  • Trip Dates and Prices

    Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price
  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    I'll Take the High Road

    Laura - United Kingdom, 9 Jun, 2013
    Overall Rating

    I really enjoyed the tour. I saw a lot of the country in a short space of time which suited my wants and was able to include everything that I wanted. The extra activities provided by the tour guide were enjoyable and there was a good variety to choose from which suited everyone as each person could pick and choose which activity to partcipate in. The tour guide was very helpful in every situation and made the trip go beyond expectation. Only note was that on more than one occasion our provided itinerary was incorrect.

    I'll Take the High Road

    DARRELL AND KIM - Canada, 10 Mar, 2013
    Overall Rating


18 days
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- 16
Boat, Bus, Plane, Taxi, Train
3 nights Full service camping, 1 night Overnight bus, 1 night Island homestay, 12 nights Tourist class hotel

What to know


A good level of fitness and pre-trip training is essential for the Inca Trek. You will trek on hilly terrain or mountainous terrain at altitudes of up to 4200 metres, for up to 7 hours per day.

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