Discover Peru, a land that echoes with the history of Spanish Conquistadors and the Empire of the ancient Incas. Arrive in Lima and tour Peru’s capital city, before stopping at the 17th century San Francisco Monastery. With time at leisure in the “Gastronomical Capital of the Americas”, perhaps explore Lima’s nightlife or sample some of its famed dishes, such as ceviche and Pisco Sour, the national drink.
Fly to Cuzco and transfer to the Sacred Valley of Incas. En route, stop in the small village of Chinchero, and enjoy an authentic Peruvian lunch followed by a demonstration of the ancient Andean tradition of making textiles from naturally dyed handwoven alpaca wool.
Enjoy time at leisure in the Sacred Valley, scattered with ancient ruins, then visit the impressive Inca fortress of Ollantaytambo, an ancient complex of temples and terraces towering high over the valley, then opt to join a traditional dinner with a Peruvian family. Embark on an excursion for Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spend the morning viewing the ancient citadel, before traveling to Cuzco. Enjoy “The Imperial City” by leisure and perhaps visit some of the numerous Inca monuments or investigate the culinary secrets of Andean cuisine.
Travel through the Andes Mountain Range to Puno, located on the banks of Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake, and stop at the Incan archaeological site of Raqchi. Take a boat trip to the Floating Uros Islands, completely man-made structures still inhabited today, then return to Puno for time at leisure. Finally, fly back to Lima for a farewell dinner with local Peruvian specialties.
DAY 1: Depart for Peru
Depart for Lima, Peru; arrival and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure with time to rest, relax and acquaint yourself with Peru’s vibrant capital, founded in 1535 by the conquistador Francisco Pizarro
DAY 2: Lima City Tour
This morning’s tour of Lima, with its 2000 years of history, begins at the colonial center of the city, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its historic buildings surrounding the splendid Plaza Mayor. View the impressive Palace of the Archbishop with its fine carved balcony, the opulent Government Palace, official residence of the President, and the 16th century Cathedral of Lima whose first stone was laid by Pizarro. Continue to the 17th century Monasterio de San Francisco complex with its magnificent tiles, ornate carved ceilings, exceptional paintings and world-renowned library. Spend the remainder of the day at leisure or join the optional Pachacamac Pre-Inca Ruins tour. Visit the archaeological site of Pachacamac, one of the largest religious centres in pre-Inca times on the Peruvian coast. This afternoon, join your Tour Manager for a briefing about the wonderful journey that awaits you. Tonight, perhaps attend the optional Evening Larco Herrera Museum with dinner. Experience one of Lima’s most magnificent museums by night on this tour, that also includes a light supper. Admire the world's largest collection of pre-Columbian masterpieces and a stunning exhibition of gold and priceless jewels
Optional: Pachacamac Pre-Inca Ruins (PM)
Optional: Evening Larco Herrera Museum with dinner
DAY 3: Fly to Cuzco, Chinchero Weaving Demonstration
Depart Lima this morning by flight to Cuzco, ancient capital of the Inca Empire and the oldest continuously inhabited city in South America. Upon arrival, drive through the rugged mountainous region with its magnificent panoramas, along roads with farms and small villages to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. En route, stop in Chinchero. Here, enjoy an authentic Peruvian lunch followed by a demonstration of the ancient Andean tradition of making textiles from naturally dyed handwoven alpaca wool. Remarkably, the source for the vibrant colors are dyes that come from plants, minerals, and insects. Wander around the complex and shop for souvenirs among the fine textiles and other local treasures. Time permitting, meet children at a local school before continuing to your hotel in the Urubamba Sacred Valley. This evening, dinner together with music at a lovely restaurant
Overnight: Urubamba Sacred Valley ▲
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 4: Sacred Valley & Ollantaytambo Ruins
Enjoy this morning at leisure in the Sacred Valley to explore some of the ancient ruins independently or, join the optional tour to Maras and Moray. The excursion begins in Moray, a remarkable agricultural center that demonstrates the ancient Incan's mastery of high-altitude crop growing. You’ll be astounded by the large complex of perfectly circular depressions in the earth that historians believe were used to study climatic conditions. Next, travel to the colonial town of Maras, known for its nearby salt evaporation ponds in use since the time of the Incas. This afternoon, visit the impressive Inca fortress of Ollantaytambo, an ancient complex of temples and terraces towering high over the valley, the last stand of the Incas in their defense against the Spanish conquistadors. Marvel at the architecture of the Incas in this well preserved settlement, considered a living museum of 15th century life. Tonight, join the optional traditional dinner with a Peruvian Family in their countryside home. Sample delectable home-cooked Peruvian specialties along with a warm and friendly cultural exchange
Optional: Maras and Moray Tour
Optional: Dinner with a Local Peruvian Family
Overnight: Urubamba Sacred Valley
DAY 5: Discover Machu Picchu
Early morning transfer to the Sacred Valley's Ollanta Station to board the Executive Train that travels through misty peaks to the astonishing ancient citadel of Machu Picchu, the "Lost City of the Incas", designated by UNESCO as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Machu Picchu was virtually unknown to the western world until Hiram Bingham's re-discovery in 1911. Spend the morning viewing the unforgettable wonders of this 15th century retreat, abandoned nearly 100 years later with the arrival of the conquistadors. See the highlights of the site including the imposing Temple of the Sun, the House of the Priest, the Sacred Plaza and the intricately carved rock likely used as a sundial by the ancient Incas. The images of this significant archaeological site will be a long-lasting memory. Return to the Sacred Valley in the early evening and transfer to your hotel in Cuzco for overnight
*Approximate time spent at the ruins of Machu Picchu is 2 hours
DAY 6: Full Day in Cuzco
Spend today independently discovering the "Imperial City" of Cuzco, once capital of the Inca Empire and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This lively city, rich in history, reveals remains of both the Incan and the Spanish presence. Take time to explore some of the city’s stunning sights, or, shop for some of the finest handicrafts and textiles in all of Peru. Participate in the optional Cuzco "Behind the Scenes" tour, offering a glimpse into the other side of life in Cuzco. On this tour, visit a local market and taste fresh-baked Chuta bread. Stop at the Cuzco cemetery to learn more about Andean life and death and meet with a local "shaman" (holy man). After the cooking demonstration, enjoy a delicious meal. In the afternoon, join the optional Highlights of Cuzco excursion that takes you to the impressive Colonial Cathedral with its collection of over 400 paintings, the Temple of the Sun and the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, which took over seven decades to complete. Tonight, join your fellow travelers for a buffet dinner featuring delectable Andean specialties
Optional: Half Day Cuzco Behind the Scenes (AM)
Optional: Half Day Highlights of Cuzco (PM)
Optional: Highlights of Cuzco & Cuzco Behind the Scenes Combo Package
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 7: Raqchi & Puno
A long drive today but extremely rewarding. Depart Cuzco early in the morning, enjoying spectacular scenery as you drive through the Andes mountain range and the Andean plains to Puno on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca. In this area, South American camelids (llamas and alpacas) graze on the immense plateaus and plains. En route visit the 15th century Temple of Wiracocha, with its elaborate stonework, the largest Inca temple ever discovered. Today, Raqchi remains home to many farmers, ranchers and artisans. Then, you arrive at pristine Lake Titicaca sitting majestically at 12,500 feet above sea level, backed by the snowcapped peaks of Bolivia's Cordillera Real range. This is the highest navigable lake in the world and South America's largest fresh water lake. A box lunch will be provided en route before arriving in Puno for your overnight
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
DAY 8: Excursion to Uros Islands on Lake Titicaca
This morning, an excursion by boat transports you from Puno to the fascinating Floating Uros Islands where the indigenous people of the area, the Uros, live on islands that dot the lake. The Uros live very much the same as their ancestors did and still follow the ancient customs and traditions. These islands are completely man-made structures, using the totora reeds from the lake to build the islands and houses. Return to Puno for the remainder of the day at leisure. Or, take the optional tour to the Sillustani Tombs, the pre-Incan burial ground on the shores of Lake Umayo. The tombs here are built above the ground in tower-like structures called chullpas, vestiges of the Colla people before they were conquered by the Incas in the 15th century. Evening is at leisure in Puno
Optional Half Day Sillustani Tombs (PM)
DAY 9: Fly to Lima, Farewell Dinner
Transfer to Juliaca airport, for your flight to Lima; rest of the day is at leisure. Tonight, you bid farewell to your Tour Manager and fellow travelers at a special Farewell Dinner with Peruvian specialties
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY 10: Depart Peru
Transfer from the hotel to the airport for your departure flight*
*Some flights depart shortly after midnight in the very early morning of Day 10 and will require a transfer on Day 9. Transfers depart the hotel approximately 4 hours prior to flight time.