Arrive Lima at any time. There are no planned activities so check into our hotel and enjoy the city. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will hold a general briefing in the evening, normally between 7pm and 8pm (a note will be posted in the arrival hotel with details). Peru is frequently referred to as the 'Land of the Incas'. It is true that the Incas formed the greatest empire on the continent and left mysterious cities such as Machu Picchu. However, it is important to remember that the Incas were the only the last in a long series of Peruvian civilizations spanning several thousand years and the ruins of many of these earlier civilizations can also be visited. Peru is made up of three main geographical areas: the Andes, the Amazon and the desert coastal area. In this trip we concentrate on the Andes region of south-central Peru and the ancient Inca capital of Cuzco. Known as the City of Kings, Peru’s capital city Lima was founded by Francisco Pizarro on the Day of the Three Kings (Epiphany) in 1535. The Plaza de Armas is the heart of old Lima, and it is here you find the Cathedral, Government Palace and Archbishop’s Palace. The Cathedral dates back to the 1700s and houses the remains of the conquistador Pizarro. To get a feel for colonial Lima, take a cab to the Plaza de Armas and watch the changing of the Palace Guard in the afternoon. Walk the streets surrounding the Jirón de la Unión for great examples of Spanish-colonial architecture and to get a taste for life in a large South American city. An optional city tour visits many of the city’s highlights. There are many fine museums in and around the city, including the Museo Rafael Larco Herrera, which houses an equally impressive collection of pottery, mummies and textiles from the Paracas and Nazca cultures. The more affluent districts of Miraflores, Barranco and San Isidro, which are on the coast, offer good nightlife and cafés all within walking distance. Limeños (Lima’s residents) are friendly, and the city is filled with excellent restaurants; seafood lovers in particular should be sure to try a ceviche, for which Lima is well known.
Travel north by bus and inland up to the stunning mountain peaks and scenery of the Cordillera Blanca to the alpine city of Huaraz. With many peaks over 6000m this is one of the highest areas within the Andes mountain range. Huaraz is a small town that has, for years, served as the base for many avid hikers and climbers. Trekking in this area is said by may to offer little chance of seeing many other foreigners and Huaraz is widely considered a dream setting for the outdoorsy type. Day 3 is a free day to acclimatize to the altitude as well as ample opportunity for optional activities like horseback riding or biking in the mountains. Relax in the evening at one of the quaint cafes and soak in the natural scenery.
Transfer by private vehicle to the small Andean village of Chiquián to prepare for the trek ahead.
Spend 7 days of trekking with an expert mountain guide along the challenging and spectacular Huayhuash Circuit. The days are spent in remote, high-altitude wilderness, surrounded by alpine scenery including snow-capped peaks, immense glaciers, emerald glacial lagoons and mountain vegetation. Nights are spent camping under the stars. Several very high altitude passes are traversed, challenging the best of hikers ready to push themselves for the ultimate reward of unmatched and remote mountain scenery unlike anywhere else on earth. Considered as one of the premier treks on the globe, the Huayhuash Circuit is the natural setting made famous after the book and movie "Touching the Void," which is the true story of hikers on the circuit. Day-by-day details of the trek are as follows: Day 5 - Trek from Chiquián following a narrow dirt road to Pocpa. Take a steep ascent up to the pass and ridge high above (4574 metres) before traversing along the Valley of Pacllon, reaching Lake Jahuacocha, situated below Mt. Yerupaja where we set up camp. Day 6 - Trek to Rondoy Pass and camp below the Qaqanampunta Pass (4100 metres). Day 7 - Cuartelwain / Mitucocha / Trapecio Pass (5000 metres) - trekking to Camp Cuyoc at 4600 metres. Total trekking time is approximately 6 hours. Day 8 - Laguna Mitucocha / Carhuac Pass (4650 metres) and Laguna Carhuacocha. Total trekking time is approximately 5 hours. Day 9 - Trek to the Siula Pass (4800 metres) and beyond to our campsite near Huayhuash (4400 metres). Total trekking time is approximately 7 hours. Day 10 - Trek to Trapecio Pass (5000 metres) and camp at Cuyoc (4600 metres). Total trekking time is approximately 6 hours. Day 11 - Trek downhill from Cuyuoc to Guanacpatay (3800 metres). Total trekking time is approximately 6 hours.
After breakfast, descend to the town of Cajatambo, where we will be picked up and transferred by private vehicle back to Lima for the night and for some well-deserved rest and a hot shower.
Depart at any time.