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South America From the Andes to the Amazon and from the Caribbean to Tierra del Fuego, South America encompasses a truly spectacular range of scenery and cultures. The Andes form the spine of the continent and are the highest mountain range outside Asia. Aconcagua, the highest peak, rises to 6,962m/22,841ft above sea level while the summit of Mount Chimborazo, in the Ecuadorian Andes, is the point on the Earth's surface most distant from its centre, because of the equatorial bulge. Here in these splendid mountains you will see remnants of ancient civilisations, country people tending their llamas and alpacas, while condors wheel overhead and hummingbirds hover over exotic flowers. The best possible acclimatisation A number of South American cities are situated at fairly high altitudes so we include plenty of time for gentle sightseeing and acclimatisation walks to help you adjust to the altitude. For all our South American treks we include a good pre-trek acclimatisation programme to give you the very best chance of comfortably completing your trek.Peruvian lady, Steve Berry

T his alternative Machu Picchu trek, which crosses a high mountain pass between the snow covered Andean peaks of Salkantay and Tucarhuay, shares all of the beauty and drama of the classic Inca Trail but has the added comfort of superb lodge accommodation. The four delightful lodges we stay at are all scenically situated with great views, and have wood burning stoves, jacuzzis and stylish guest rooms with attached bathrooms and constant hot water. The food is great too! Before the trek we spend time acclimatising in the Sacred Valley, visiting various Inca sites and a local market. After enjoying a unique view of Machu Picchu on trek we'll explore the amazing ruins themselves before returning to Cuzco.Extend your holiday - we thoroughly recommend extending this trip with a thrilling luxury train journey from Cuzco to Puno, on Lake Titicaca. Full details can be found in the detailed holiday itinerary, available on our website or upon request.Luxury Lodges to Machu Picchu A fabulous lodge-to-lodge trek along a pre-Inca trade route through the Cordillera Vilcabamba.On Trek: 6 days Local LeaderAccommodation (nts): Hotels: 6 Luxury Lodges: 5Optional: Single Room £260 Single Lodge: £600Insurance: £95, £150*Trek | Duration: 14 Days£1,995£1,995£2,095£2,095£2,095£3,445£3,345£3,595£3,495£3,445Land OnlyLand OnlyLand OnlyLand OnlyLand OnlyFlight IncludedFlight IncludedFlight IncludedFlight IncludedFlight IncludedFri 08 Apr - Thu 21 Apr 11Fri 22 Apr - Thu 05 May 11Fri 06 Apr - Thu 19 Apr 12*Fri 20 Apr - Thu 03 May 12Fri 05 Aug - Thu 18 Aug 11Fri 02 Sep - Thu 15 Sep 11Fri 30 Sep - Thu 13 Oct 11Grade: Moderate/VigorousGuaranteed to run for a minimum of 4 clientsFor detailed itineraries see www.mountainkingdoms.com57telephone: 0845 330 8579 (local call rate, UK only)international telephone: +44 1453 844 400www.mountainkingdoms.comPeru & Machu Picchu This wonderful country combines stunning scenery with incredible biodiversity and a vibrant culture and history. Everywhere you will see reminders of the country's rich past. Spanish Colonial churches rub shoulders with Inca ruins and Machu Picchu, the most iconic image of Peru, was built by the Incas who were in fact just the last representatives of a series of sophisticated cultures stretching back thousands of years. In July 2011 it will be 100 years since explorer Hiram Bingham discovered the ruins of Machu Picchu, making this the perfect year to discover the 'Lost City of the Incas' for yourself.CuzcoCuzco, situated 1,165km/724 miles to the southeast of Lima, is one of the most lively and attractive of South American cities and was once the capital of the Inca Empire. For people coming direct from sea level to Cuzco, 3,353m/11,000ft, the altitude gain can be a problem, so on Mountain Kingdoms trips we descend to the Sacred Valley at 2,792m/9,160ft for our first night. We may then return to Cuzco later when we are properly acclimatised to relax and enjoy some sightseeing.Heading from Salkantay Pass to Wyra Lodge, Caio Vilela