Thumbnail Description: On this 10-day trip through Peru, you will come to fully understand why this country is called the “Land of Hidden Treasures.” On this journey, you will experience everything from Peru’s capital city of Lima (the “City of Kings”), to the history-filled city of Arequipa, Colca Canyon (the world’s second-deepest canyon), the Inca’s sacred Lake Titicaca, the colonial city of Cusco, and finally the Machu Picchu citadel. In Lima, you will experience an unbeatable blend of ancient and modern: visiting ancient Inca archeological sites, colonial-era gems like the Cathedral, and upscale modern districts such as Miraflores and San Isidro. Traveling to the city of Arequipa (known as the “White City,” due to its many colonial-era buildings) you will go on a history-filled city sightseeing tour with a professional guide to visit and soak in the city’s top historical attractions. Traveling by air-conditioned bus, you will then discover Colca Canyon, which is twice as deep as the more famous Grand Canyon in the US, and brimming with history, culture, ruins and traditions. Taking to the road again, you will journey to the city of Puno, where you will go on a boat excursion on Lake Titicaca to visit the famous Floating Islands of Uros and other sights on this legendary lake. A different destination will then await you when to travel onward to the ancient and colonial city of Cusco. Still referred to as the “Sacred City of the Incas,” you will discover Inca walls in the streets of this urbane center that is cosmopolitan to the extreme – as you’ll note through its great variety of restaurants and shops – while brimming with fine colonial plazas, splendid churches and striking republican architecture. Finally, you will complete this pilgrimage with your journey to the citadel of Machu Picchu – the Holy Grail of world travelers. After visiting the enigmatic lost city of Machu Picchu, the most famous archaeological site in all of South America, you will be set to return home with a new perspective on humanity and yourself.
“Everything was wonderful but the highlight by far was the 5 days trekking in the Angamarca region with Marcial. The scenery and culture was astonishing, and Marcial was the perfect guide”
AM: Upon your arrival at the Lima airport, a host will meet you and drive you to your hotel.
PM: In the afternoon, we will begin our tour of Lima with a visit to the famous Parque del amor (“Love Park”) situated in the upmarket Miraflores district; this area also has a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean. Afterwards, we will visit Huaca Pucllana, an archeological site constructed in the 4th century A.D. Here, you can observe the world famous pyramid structures typical of the pre-Columbian epoch, situated off the coast of Peru. Then we will visit the traditional residential area of San Isidro, where the scenic El Olivar Park is located. The tour will then continue with a visit to Lima’s historic district, with its striking republican architecture and colonial-era mansions with their Moorish balconies. We will enter the San Francisco convent, which houses the largest display of colonial religious art in the Americas, and also visit its subterranean crypts, which are considered catacombs by some due to their similarity to the Roman catacombs. After this, we will visit the Main Square, the Archiepiscopal Palace, the Cathedral and the Municipal Palace. At the end of the afternoon, you will be taken back to your hotel, where you will spend the night.
AM: Following breakfast at your hotel, you will be driven to the airport for your flight to Arequipa. Upon your arrival, you will be met and driven to your hotel.
PM: This afternoon, you will be taken on a city tour through Arequipa’s historic San Lazaro district. We will visit the Plaza de Armas and the Municipal Palace, surrounded by arches of ashlars; the Cathedral; the Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús (Church of Jesus’ Company), built in the seventeenth century by the Jesuit missionaries, with an exquisite cloister; and the Church of San Francisco, built in the sixteenth century, with its beautiful park. We will then visit the Santa Catalina Monastery, the most important and impressive religious monument in Peru, founded in 1579. We will continue the tour to the Yanahuara historic district, famous for its Andalusia churches and its viewpoint. We will then tour the Carmen del Alto District, with the beautiful view of the farming area, and conclude the tour with a visit to the Selva Alegre residential area.
AM: After breakfast at your hotel, we will leave at 8:30 a.m. for Colca Canyon, traveling overland through the towns of Yura, Pampa de Arrieros, Pampa Cañahuas (home to the Salinas-Aguada Blanca National Reserve), and Vizcachani, as well as the Tojra wetlands, in which a variety of migratory birds can be found all year long. The trip continues passing by Chuccura and Patapampa, visiting the “Viewpoint of the Volcanoes.”
PM: At around 1:30 p.m., we will reach the town of Chivay, where you will have time to rest up before touring the village and the local market.
AM: Following an early breakfast at your hotel, we will leave out at around 6:15 a.m. to visit Cruz del Condor (“Condor Cross”) to appreciate the depth of Colca Canyon, which is deeper than the Grand Canyon. Here we should be able to see majestic condors in their natural habitat.
PM: On our return, we will visit the towns of Macca and Yanque to see their colonial-era churches. We will also visit the Antahuilque Viewpoint. After lunch in Chivay, you will take a regular bus to the city of Puno. Upon your arrival, you will be welcomed and driven to your hotel for the night.
AM: After breakfast at your hotel, we will go on a morning trek in areas of Lake Titicaca, visiting the Floating Islands of Uros. Its inhabitants – living on islands of aquatic reeds – still practice ancient rituals of Aymaran culture. We will then head to the Taquile Island, where from its summit you will have a panoramic view around Lake Titicaca. While on the island, you will also learn more about the inhabitants and their traditions and customs. They will welcome us dressed in their traditional clothing, which is an example of their social organization and their cooperative work as a community.
PM: After lunch, we will board a motorboat, and later drive back to Puno.
AM: Following an early breakfast at your hotel, you will be driven to the bus station for your ride to the city of Cusco. During the journey, we will visit the church of San Pedro of Andahuaylillas, also known as the “Sistine Chapel of the Americas” due to the golden décor on its ceiling. We will also stop at Raqchi, where we will be able to visit the spectacular Incan sanctuary built by Pachacutec, dedicated to the Incan deity Wiracocha. It has a grand central wall with a stone foundation of fine Incan architecture.
PM: After lunch we will reach the highest point on the route, “La Raya,” before reaching the Pukara archeological remains, noted for its pyramid. Upon your arrival in Cusco, you will be driven to your selected hotel.
AM: Breakfast at your hotel. Morning at your leisure for resting or exploring the city.
PM: This afternoon, we will go on a tour of imperial Cusco, visiting some of the best archeological remains of Inca times in areas in and around the city. We will visit sites such as Qoricancha, “the Temple of the Sun”; the Sacsayhuaman temple and fortress; Qenqo, with its passageways and canals; Puca Pucará, an Inca storehouse; and Tambomachay, the place of the water rituals. Returning to Cusco, you will also have a chance to visit some great colonial sites, such as the Cathedral, which is famous for its baroque style with inlaid gold and silver.
AM: Breakfast at hotel. This morning you will go on a guided trip to the Maras salt mines and the circular Moray terraces. On the way you will see some of the most scenic spots in the Sacred Valley. Once we reach the salt mines near the village of Maras, you will see where salty springs emerge from the hillside and how the Incas built terraces there to capture the flows and harvest salt. We will continue the excursion to Moray, where huge circular agricultural terraces were also built by the Incas. These terraces are said to have a cosmological significance, however, the Incas also used the terraces as an agricultural laboratory to determine the optimum conditions for different species of crops at varying altitudes. Return to Cusco.
AM: After breakfast at your hotel, you will be accompanied to the Ollantaytambo train station, where trains depart for Machu Picchu City (a.k.a. “Aguas Calientes”). After a two-hour trip, we will head to the bus station for a 30-minute ride up the mountain to reach the entry of the fabulous citadel of Machu Picchu. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the “Seven New Wonders of the World,” we will begin our tour of this citadel, admiring its steps, temples, sanctuaries and terraces.
AM: Following breakfast at your hotel, you will be driven to airport in Cusco for your return flight to Lima.
“We loved the time at the lodge in Cuyabeno. It was so genuine and natural there and the crew was so knowledgable and helpful. Thank you so much for the recommendation of the real Amazonia-experience.”