Thumbnail Description: On this 10-day/9-night journey to Peru (aptly referred to as the “Land of Hidden Treasures”), you will experience everything from Peru’s capital city of Lima (the “City of Kings”), to the enigmatic Nazca Lines, colonial Cusco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Lake Titicaca and – of course – 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 arid Nazca region, you will then be able to witness, marvel at and contemplate the huge representations of geometric patterns, animals, human figures and thousands of perfectly straight lines that go on for kilometers. A completely different destination will then await you in 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 the grand variety of restaurants and shops – while brimming with fine colonial plazas, splendid churches and striking republican architecture. Nearby, you will visit the Sacred Valley, one of the most important centers of the ancient Incan Empire, yet still dotted with magnificent ruins, ageless villages and miles of strikingly beautiful landscapes. Your pilgrimage will then lead you 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 undoubtedly gain a new perspective on humanity and yourself. Finally, this journey will take you 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. In just 10 days, this travel experience will introduce you to some of the best that Peru has to offer.
“The trip to the Galapagos was really fantastic! Although it was quite short, the trip itinerary made time for us to do quite a lot of things. Everything went very smoothly, too.”
Upon your arrival at the airport in Lima, a host will meet you and assist you in transferring to the hotel. The rest of the day will be leisure time for you to rest up for the journeys ahead.
AM: Breakfast at hotel. This morning we will begin your 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.
PM: 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 bus station to begin your scenic trip to the town of Nazca, situated to the south of Lima.
PM: Upon our arrival in Nazca, you will be welcomed and driven to your hotel for the night.
AM: After breakfast at your hotel, you will be driven to the aerodrome to board a light aircraft and fly over the mysterious Nazca Lines. Also known as “geoglyphs,” these gigantic geometrical figures consist of outlines of animals, plants, objects, human beings and deities. The immense lines and drawings that are found in Nazca are one of the most inexplicable enigmas of our continent’s archeology. Your pilot will provide a short explanation.
PM: In the afternoon, you will depart by bus for Lima, where upon your arrival you will be met and driven to your selected hotel.
AM: Following breakfast at your hotel in Lima, you will be driven to the airport for your flight to the city of Cusco. Upon landing, you will be met and driven to your selected hotel, where you will be welcomed with a traditional mate de coca, a typical infusion that helps one to the city’s high altitude. The rest of the morning will be at your leisure, giving you time to rest or explore.
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 the hotel. In the morning, we will travel to the “Sacred Valley of the Incas.” We will visit the town of Pisac and its market, which is renowned for the quality of its crafts.
PM: After lunch in the town of Urubamba, we will head to Ollantaytambo, the sole Inca town that retains its pre-Hispanic architecture style. Built between two mountains in a strategic position that covers the entire valley, it was previously served as both a military complex and a religious center.
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. There is still no known explanation as to how the Incas could move 20-ton stones to the top of Machu Picchu, making this a uniquely spiritual as well as a beautiful site.
PM: We will then have lunch and return to Cusco in the afternoon.
AM: Following an early breakfast at your hotel, you will be driven to the bus station for your ride to the city of Puno. 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 Puno, you will be driven to your selected hotel.
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 breakfast at your hotel, you will be driven to airport in Puno for your return flight to Lima.
“We booked our Galapagos/Peru trip through Surtrek and are very glad that we did.”