Day One – Start of your Holiday to Colombia
We will meet you at the airport in Colombia's vibrant capital of Bogota and take you to your hotel in the city's metropolitan north side. After you’ve checked in why not take a stroll to one of the area's many restaurants and bars where you can enjoy your first taste of Colombian food... or maybe just the rum!
Day Two - On to Cartagena
After breakfast this morning we will pick you up and take you the airport for your flight to Cartagena. Cartagena is often referred to as Colombia’s most beautiful city and it’s easy to see why! From its amazing colonial architecture to its coral reef lined shores, Cartagena truly is a Caribbean gem! Upon your arrival we’ll take you to your hotel inside the walls of the old city. After checking in why not take a stroll through the cities many alleyways and side streets, before heading to the Plaza Santo Domingo in El Centro to enjoy some fried fish, coconut rice and plantain. (Breakfast included)
Day Three - Cartagena City Tour
You will have a free morning to relax and then we will pick you up to begin a tour of this fascinating city. We will climb to the top of the Iglesia de la Popa, constructed in 1606. The church and monastery is located 140 meters above sea level and gives you fantastic 360-degree views of the city. After this we will head to the San Filipe fortress where we’ll walk through the tunnels and passageways to discover how the fortress defended the city through years of (largely English) piracy... Lastly we’ll make a visit to the handicrafts zone of the Bovedas: once the city’s prison; nowadays it’s a great artisanal centre and handicraft market. (B)
Day Four - Free Day in Cartagena
A full free day to enjoy the sights and sounds of Cartagena, why not take a horse and carriage ride through the cobbled streets of the old city or venture down to the beach to enjoy some Caribbean sunshine. In the evening you could relax at the famous Café del mar on the walls of the old city and enjoy a rum cocktail whilst watching the sunset over the city’s stunning shoreline. (B)
- If you'd prefer something more organised, why not take a boat trip out to the beautiful beaches of the Rosario Islands?
Day Five - Travel to Santa Marta
After breakfast this morning we will pick you up and take you along to the coast to the beachside town of Santa Marta. We’ll arrive at around lunchtime and we will take you to your hotel so you can check in. You’ll have the rest of the day free to explore South America’s oldest city. Founded in 1525, Santa Marta is steeped in history and culture. This evening why not venture out and try some of the town's great barbecued chicken which is famous throughout Colombia? (B)
Day Six - Start of the Lost City Trek
After breakfast this morning we will pick you up in our 4x4s and begin our drive to the small village of Machete Pelao, where we will start our trek to the Lost City. After a morning of hiking we will stop for lunch at a farmhouse where we can enjoy our food at the foot of the lovely Vereda Waterfall. After lunch we continue our trek on to a Wiwa camp on the shores of the Buritaca River. We will be staying in a local farmhouse tonight where we will have dinner before bedding down in our hammocks. (B/L/D)
Day Seven - Mutayni and the Buritaca River
This morning we’ll continue to head deeper into the forest and through the Buritaca Valley before stopping at the Kogi Village of Mutanyni. Here we’ll have amazing views over the Sierra Nevada so don’t forget to bring your camera. After stopping to take a few photos we will head down the valley and cross the Buritaca River to get to Mamo Kogui’s farm house. After lunch at the farm house we’ll have some free time to swim in the river and freshen up under a beautiful waterfall. After dinner we’ll head to our hammocks, ahead of an early start the following morning. (B/L/D)
Day Eight - Trekking on Ancient Trails
We will spend today following an ancient Kogi trail through the jungle, crossing the River Buritaca several times before we arrive at a natural swimming pool at the base of the Buritaca waterfall. We will stop for lunch here, before continuing on our way to Mamo Romualdo’s farmhouse, where we will have dinner and enjoy a peaceful night in our hammocks tonight. (B/L/D)
Day Nine - Arrival at the Lost City of Teyuna
Today is the day you’ve been waiting for! We will get up early and begin our trek further into the forest. After an hour’s hike, we will arrive at one of the ancient entrances to the Lost City. From here we will begin the climb up the 1200 stone steps that lead to the site, which overlooks the jungle and the hills of the Sierra Nevada. Once we reach the top we will have time to explore the many terraces and learn more about the ceremonies that took place here. In the late afternoon, after plenty of time to explore every nook and cranny of the site, including the legendary Fountain of Youth, we will begin our trek back down the steps to Mamo Romualdo’s. After dinner we will get some rest before beginning our journey back the following morning. (B/L/D)
Day Ten - Back Through the Jungle
After breakfast this morning we begin our walk back to civilisation. We will follow the same ancient trails that we took to get here, with several crossings of the Rio Buritaca. After stopping for lunch by the waterfall, we continue on to the local farm house where we spent the first night of our trek, and then get a good night’s sleep ahead of the final day of trekking. (B/L/D)
Day Eleven - Return to Santa Marta
This morning we will begin our hike back to Machete Pelao. On route we will have another chance to freshen up under the waterfall and have a swim before getting back on to the 4x4s and returning to Santa Marta where we will take you to your hotel for some well-earned relaxation! (B/L)
- If you'd like some extended relaxation, why not extend the Colombia part of your holiday with a few days in the stunning Tayrona National Park?
Day Twelve - Last Day on Holiday in Colombia
After a final free morning relaxing in Santa Marta, we will pick you up and take you to the airport for a short flight back to Bogota. Upon arrival we will, of course, be waiting to take you back to your hotel so can enjoy your final night here in Colombia! (B)
Day Thirteen - On to Peru
This morning we will take you back to the airport for your flight into Peru, to Cusco, which was formerly the capital of the Incas. We take you to your hotel and then we have left the rest of the afternoon free for you to explore. Your hotel is centrally-located so although you will still be getting used to the altitude, you are perfectly placed to wander around this unique city, where Spanish colonial buildings stand right next to ancient Inca structures. In the evening it's worth trying out one of the restaurants around the buzzing Plaza de Armas as Cusco has some of the best food and nightlife in South America. (B)
Day Fourteen - Walking Tour of Cusco
We’ve kept this morning free to give you chance for a leisurely breakfast and some time to introduce yourself to the city. This afternoon, we’ll pick you up and take you on a guided tour of our favourite sites in Cusco, including the most famous ruin of Sacsayhuaman. Your tour will be on foot to allow your guide to help you get your bearings and point out the more interesting quirky Inca features you pass by which you don’t get to see from the window of a coach.
- Our walking tour concentrates on giving you plenty of time at our favourite sites, but it does mean that we don’t visit absolutely everywhere. If you’d prefer to change to a more conventional guided tour by coach then just let us know.
Day Fifteen - Free time in Cusco
We usually like to give people some time to explore on their own and make sure they are fully-acclimatised, so today is up to you. You could visit the bustling local market, walk up to the bohemian San Blas district with its galleries and jewellers, or perhaps just sit back with a cup of coca tea and get those postcards written... Of course, if you’d prefer something more active then we’d be delighted to make some suggestions. In the evening we will have a short briefing session before we start our trek tomorrow, and if we have arranged an extra porter for you, we will pick up the items they will carry at the same time. (B)
- Or we could take you out of Cusco to visit the Inca sites in the beautiful Sacred Valley of the Urubamba?
- Or for something more adventurous on your Peru holidays, how about some white-water rafting or mountain-biking?
Day Sixteen - Start of the Inca Trail
We will pick you up from the hotel after breakfast for a spectacular drive through the Sacred Valley of the Urubamba to our trailhead. We will meet our porters here, and then we will all set out on the trek, crossing a footbridge over the Urubamba to begin a gentle two-hour hike down the valley, before stopping for lunch under the imposing Inca terraces of Patallaqta, by the banks of the Cusichaca tributary. We will then climb a little way up the Cusichaca valley to Huayllabamba, the final inhabited village on the Inca Trail. Our campsite for the night will be just outside the village, and you will arrive to find all the sleeping, kitchen and dining tents ready and waiting for you, so you can just relax enjoy a well-earned and delicious dinner, prepared by our dedicated cook. (B/L/D)
- Why not hire an extra porter so you can trek the Inca Trail completely unencumbered?
Day Seventeen - Trekking the Inca Trail
After breakfast this morning we will leave the campsite behind and climb the steep-sided Llullucha valley, past rushing streams and through enchanting sub-tropical forest. Crossing the edge of a small plateau, we find ourselves the treeless grasslands of the high Andes known as the puna. Here, the Inca Trail crosses an exposed slope across from mighty crags, as we climb up to our first mountain pass, Warmiwañusca, at 4,200m above sea-level. The name means “Dead Woman’s Pass” in Quechua, but don’t worry: we’ve not lost anyone yet! It’s a tough slog up to the pass, but you are rewarded with spectacular views of the trail ahead to the second pass, and back to the snow-topped peaks of Huayanay massif. We will stop for lunch just after the pass, and we then follow the trail down to the floor of the Pacaymayo valley, where we will camp tonight. (B/L/D)
Day Eighteen - Sayacmarca and Wiñay Wayna
We will enjoy one of the best-preserved sections of the Inca Trail this morning, as we climb an Inca stairway up past the small Inca village of Runkuracay on our way to the second high pass of the trek. At just under 4000m, this is a little easier than yesterday’s climb, and gives us the chance for some wonderful views of the Pumasillo mountains. From the pass, we descend into the cloud forest to the labyrinthine ruins of Sayacmarca (aptly meaning Inaccessible Town). From here the Inca Trail broadens and passes through the steep upper fringes of the cloud forest through a colourful riot of orchids, bromeliads, mosses and ferns. The air is perceptibly thicker and the atmosphere warmer and more humid, even as we approach the trek’s third pass, at 3,670m, where Inca viewing platforms overlook the archaeological complex of Phuyupatamarca (Cloud-level Town).
We will stop to explore the maze of Inca stone towers, fountains and stairways that cover the mountain-side here, before beginning a long descent through the ever-changing cloud forest. Finally, we reach an Inca stairway hewn from solid granite, which leads us down to our final campsite near the ruins of Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young), generally considered to be the largest and most beautiful site on the Inca Trail. (B/L/D)
Day Nineteen - The Sun Gate and Machu Picchu
It will be an especially early start this morning but we can promise you it will be worth it! We will get up before dawn and set out on the final stages of the Inca Trail, which will take us around two hours through the lush, humid cloud-forest of giant ferns and broad-leaf vegetation. Suddenly we cross the stone threshold of the Inti Punku (Sun Gate) and see the sun rise over an unforgettable combination of human artistry and natural beauty as the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu is revealed below us. From the Sun Gate, we head down into the heart of Machu Picchu, where our guide will take us around the site before leaving you with the rest of the day to do some individual exploring of these breathtakingly beautiful ruins. In the early afternoon a bus takes us down to the foot of the mountain to your hotel in the small town of Aguas Calientes, where you will be staying overnight. (B)
- If you’d like a bit of luxury after your trek, why not ask us about upgrading to the gorgeous Pueblo hotel, with its stunning gardens and private hot springs?
Day Twenty - Back to Cusco
Aguas Calientes literally means ‘Hot Waters’ and many people enjoy spending the morning after their trek having a soak in the thermal springs that give the town its name. You will return by train to Cusco in the evening, where we’ll meet you at the station and take you back to your hotel. (B)
- If you’re not sure one day will be enough at Machu Picchu we can organise an extra ticket to Machu Picchu so you can experience sunrise from the sun-gate, or climb up to the Inca watch-tower on neighbouring Huayna Picchu for a new perspective on the site.
Day Twenty-One - Last Day On Holiday to Peru
Unfortunately, today marks the end of your Inca Trail holiday. Most international flights leave Peru in the evening, so after a final free morning to say goodbye to the Andes, we will take you to the airport in Cusco for the short flight to Lima, where you’ll arrive in plenty of time to board your international flight home. (B)
Our standard price for this trekking holiday in Colombia and Peru is £2895 per person, which is based on two sharing a double or twin room in our standard hotels.
That price includes all your accommodation, internal transport, transfers, tours, guides, equipment and entrance fees, plus all meals on the treks and breakfast every day.
We don't have any "local payments" or sneaky charges: everything you have read about on this itinerary is included in that price. And because everything we do is tailor-made, we don't have fixed departure dates or minimum numbers for our trips. Outside of national holidays or other special events, this price is valid for the whole of 2017.
So with the exception of a few meals, everything on your holiday is included. What we don't include as standard is your international flights, because with these you have a huge range of options depending on the date you want to travel, the route you want to fly, and your preferred departure airport in the UK.
We aren't tied to any particular airline, and we will be delighted to discuss all options with you, or you can even book the flights yourself if you prefer: it's totally up to you.
Our Holidays are rated 4.8 out of 5 on the Feefo Independent Review Site