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Day 1: Lima: International Arrival In Lima

We meet you on your arrival at Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima and transfer you to your selected hotel.

 

Day 2: Lima – City Tour

Take the morning to rest and relax. In the afternoon, around 2 pm, we start a city tour that takes in the most important and attractive sites in Lima, the “City of Kings.”

The tour includes visits to Huaca Pucllana, an adobe pyramid structure in the heart of the seaside district of Miraflores. We take a walk through the historic center: following Paseo de la República, and taking in the colonial architecture of the Plaza San Martin, and the Plaza de Armas, surrounded by grand buildings like the Government Palace, the Cathedral (housing the tomb of Pizarro) the Archbishop’s Palace, and the Municipal Palace. We pass through old streets with colonial mansions, and Lima’s intricate wood-carved balconies.
Next stop is a visit to the Convent and Church of San Francisco, which hold the oldest collection of colonial art in the Americas, with an exquisitely carved chorus, a library of ancient manuscripts, and the Sacristy with paintings by Zurbarán and Rivera. The grand courtyard of the main cloister is decorated floor-to-ceiling in blue and white Sevillian tiles, depicting scenes from the bible that dates back to the 16th Century. Moroccan arches lead us to the Catacombs, a subterranean crypt from the colonial period, where the bones of 25 thousand colonial-era Lima residents are entombed.

The tour continues through the most traditional residential areas of the city: San Isidro, the Central Park of Miraflores and down to the cliff-side shopping complex of Larcomar, a symbol of modern Lima. (B)

Day 3: Lima / Arequipa – City Tour

We transfer to the airport for the flight to Arequipa. After your transfer to your hotel, and have a chance to settle in, we take a guided tour of the city center, including the Plaza de Armas (the main square), one of the most beautiful in Peru and the Cathedral, a fine example of 19th Century Peruvian architecture, which houses precious artifacts of gold and silver. We visit the “city within a city,” the Convent of Santa Catalina, with its vibrantly colored walls and courtyards that remained cloistered for centuries and was only opened to the public in the 1960s. We also visit the Compañia Church, an old Jesuit complex, perhaps the most historically significant in Arequipa, with a beautiful church facade covered in columns that have been carved into spirals, laurel wreaths, flowers and birds.

In the afternoon we travel into the countryside around Arequipa, visiting the Mill of Sabandia, a flourmill built in 1621. It’s powered by the flow of a waterfall and is still working today. The Mansion of the Founder, dating from the 16th Century, belonged to the founder of the city, the Lord Lieutenant of the Governors and Governor Garci Manuel de Carbajal. It was later sold to the Jesuits, who used the building as a retreat. It then passed into the hands of the Goyeneche family. We also visit its beautifully restored chapel. Transfer back to your hotel.

We recommend you have dinner in or near the hotel, and make it an early night, as your guide will collect you very early the next morning to start your journey to the Colca Canyon. (B)

Day 4: Arequipa / Colca Canyon

Early in the morning we embark on an incredible 4-hour bus journey to the Colca Canyon. It’s one of the deepest canyons in the world (3,400 meters), passing through the Cañahuas plateau to the Aguada Blanca National Reserve, a habitat for vicuñas and alpacas (species of South American camelids related to the llama).

En route you’ll see pre-Columbian terraces that are still used today to grow native crops. Refreshments are served along the way. When we arrive at Valle de Colca, you’ll be transferred to your selected lodge. In the afternoon we recommend you rest to acclimatize to the altitude. If you find yourself in good physical shape, take a walk around the surrounding countryside or take a bath in the nearby thermal pools. You’ll then have dinner and stay overnight in your selected lodge. (B/D)

Day 5: Colca / Cruz Del Condor

Very early in the morning we depart for the Cruz del Condor lookout, where you’ll have a chance to see the largest flying bird in the world in full flight. On the return journey we visit the towns of Yanque, Coporaque, Achoma and Maca. It’s a great opportunity to see the daily life of the inhabitants, which hasn’t changed a great deal since Inca times. We stop for lunch in a local restaurant. In the afternoon we return you to your selected hotel in Arequipa. (B/L)

Day 6: Arequipa / Juliaca / Puno – Sillustani En Route

After breakfast we transfer to the airport to board your flight to the city of Juliaca. On arrival we transfer by tour bus to Puno, visiting the famous Chullpas (burial towers) of Sillustani, cylindrical mausoleums built by the Aymara people to entomb their high priests. Umayo Lake, in front of the Chullpas, only adds to the beauty of the site. Here, we also have the opportunity to spot distinctive native birds of the region. We continue to your selected hotel, with the rest of the afternoon free to explore the city. (B)

Day 7: Puno / Lake Titicaca / Floating Islands Of The Uros / Taquile

Early in the morning we start an unforgettable boat tour around Lake Titicaca. Our first stop is the Floating Islands of Los Uros, where people have lived since pre-Inca times. These Andean natives have built their own islands out of reeds, stacking new layers to form structures dozens of meters deep. The vegetable fiber used is Scirpus Totora, from the papyrus family. They also use this material to build their houses and boats. We continue to Taquile, inhabited by quechua speakers who, for generations, have developed an efficient and original social system and their own magnificent textile techniques. After lunch at a local tavern on Taquile we walk around its hillsides and archaeological sites. In the evening we return you to Puno, and your hotel. (B/L)

Day 8: Puno / Cusco

Today we have an early start, with transfers to the bus station for the journey to Cusco. On the way we stop at the Pukará archaeological complex, La Raya, midway between Puno and Cusco and the highest point on the route, Raqchi, the temple to the Sun God Wiracocha, and Andahuaylillas, a church that conserves original colonial artwork. Lunch is in a local restaurant en route. On arrival at Cusco, you’ll be met at the bus station and transferred to your selected hotel.

Day 9: Cusco – City Tour And Guide Visit To Nearby Ruins

In the afternoon we start to explore the city of Cusco, on a guided tour visiting the main plaza, the Cathedral, and the Temple of the Sun or Koricancha. We then visit the ruins on the outskirts of the city, stopping at the Inca ritual site of Quenqo, the water temple of Tambomachay, the customs house of Puca Pucara and the impressive Fortress of Saqsaywaman, built strategically on the hill standing over the city of Cusco. It’s famous for its enormous stone blocks, assembled with incredible precision to form the imposing external walls of the complex. Some of the stones stand 9 meters tall and weigh more than 350 tons. We then return you to your hotel.

Day 10: Cusco / Sacred Valley Of The Incas

In the morning we start a guided tour of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, along the Urubamba River, to visit the famous Andean market town of Pisac. We have lunch at local restaurant. In the afternoon we pass through the towns of Calca and Urubamba on the way to the Fortress and Citadel of Ollantaytambo, built to guard the entrance to the Valley and protect the Empire from possible invasions by the people of the jungle. We have the opportunity to walk through the stone alleyways of the city and get an idea of what life was like in a military, religious and cultural center at the height of the Inca Empire. On the way back to Cusco we stop at the picaresque town of Chinchero, where we visit the ruins of a royal hacienda built for Tupac Inca Yapanqui. You’ll admire the well-preserved Inca wall in the main plaza, and visit the beautiful colonial church with intriguing frescos painted on its portico, all built on Inca foundations. We return you to your hotel in Cusco.

Day 11: Cusco / Machu Picchu / Aguas Calientes

Early in the morning we take you to the train station for a three hour journey to Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas. We arrive at the station in Aguas Calientes, and take a bus for about 30 minutes, ascending up a series of switchbacks to reach the incredible Machu Picchu. The excursion includes a guided tour of the citadel, visiting the main plaza, the Circular Tour, the Sacred Sundial, the royal quarters, the Temple of the Three Windows and the cemeteries. We also give you free time to walk around the complex. We have lunch in a restaurant in Aguas Calientes, and take you to your selected hotel, where we recommend you have dinner.

Day 12: Aguas Calientes / Cusco

Today is an excellent opportunity to start early, take in a beautiful dawn, and then walk around the town of Aguas Calientes, visiting its thermal baths. In the afternoon we return by train to Cusco, and transfer to your selected hotel.

Day 13: Cusco / Lima

Transfer to the airport to take a domestic flight to Lima. You’ll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. There’s a free afternoon to visit downtown Lima, then return to the airport for your flight home.

 

(B) Breakfast, (L) Lunch, (D) Dinner

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