(LIMA – PARACAS – AREQUIPA – PUNO – MACHU PICCHU)
DAY 1: ARRIVAL TO LIMA
Upon your arrival to the city of Lima, our representative will welcome you and will transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day you will be free to explore. If you arrive early, you can take a walk around Miraflores and head from Central Park (Parque Kennedy) to the entertainment complex of LarcoMar. Alternatively, stroll along to Parque Del Amor (Love Park) for a great view of Lima’s beaches.
DAY 2: LIMA CITY TOUR
The city of Lima is also called (The City of Kings) founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1535 during the viceroyalty. It was the most important city in South America for being the financial and political center, and one of the most populated cities in South America. The tour starts with the visit of Lima’s historical center, where we see colonial monuments and buildings such as: La Plaza de Armas, the town hall, and La Plaza San Martin, which was declared as world cultural heritage in 1988. We will also visit San Francisco convent which holds the biggest collection of art in South America, as well as the catacombs.
Finally, we will visit the districts of Miraflores, and San Isidro passing La Huaca Pucllana (Inca shrine), a ceremonial center made of mud. The modern structures are: Parque Kennedy, el Malecon Cisneros, El Parque del Amor and Larcomar shopping center.
DAY 3: ICA – ISLAS BALLESTAS AND RESERVA DE PARACAS
Paracas National Reserve is a natural area protected by the state and is the only marine protected area of Peru. It is located in the province of Pisco, where the desert sand maintains a unique balance between people and nature. Also within the Reserve, we will find archaeological remains of the ancient Paracas culture. Early in the morning, we ride to Paracas on a local bus. We will travel by boat to the National nature reserve of Paracas, home to sea lions, penguins, seagulls, etc. We also see the chandelier and a geoglyph located on a hill slope.
DAY 4: CITY TOUR ICA
The city of Ica is located on the southern coast of Peru, and is famous for its winery. This city has a special charm for its traditions, mysticism, and religion. In the morning we travel to the city of Ica by bus, and then afterwards towards the southern coast of Peru. In the afternoon, we will visit the main square, the ruins of the temple of Luren, Lake Huacachina where we will ride a small pedal boat, and enjoy sand boarding.
DAY 5: OVERFLYING NAZCA
The ancient Nazca people left us important geoglyphs, these are a number of lines and drawings of animals and plants covering an area of 350sq kilometers. It is astonishing to see the amazing size of these geoglyphs. It is still unknown what the function of these lines was, some hypothesis mention them as representations of the ancient Nazca peoples zodiac (500ac), another theory says that they were totems of their clans or that they could even be a space airport. We will board the local bus in the morning to go to Nazca airport and overfly such lines for instance: the whale, the trapezium, astronaut, monkey, dog, hummingbird, condor, spider, parrot, the hands, and the tree. Following lunch, we board the bus to the city of Arequipa.
DAY 6: CITY TOUR OF AREQUIPA
The city of Arequipa is known as the “White city” because most of its constructions were made of a white volcanic rock named sillar. It was found with the name of “Villa Hermoza de Arequipa”, and is the 3rd largest city of Peru. This region is one of the leading economically of southern Peru thanks to its commerce, and developed agriculture in its fertile valleys. We will visit the Santa Catalina monastery, a big number of religious structures located in the historical center with 4 centuries worth of architecture. We will visit the main square, one of the most beautiful in the country. The Jesuit church of la Campania beautiful façade was made of mixed architecture, as well as its cloister, cupola, and the Tristan house. By the end of the tour we will visit the typical districts of Carmen alto, and Yanahuara.
DAY 7: CITY OF AREQUIPA
A free day to explore the beautiful white city by yourself.
DAY 8: COLCA CANYON
The Colca Canyon is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the region of Arequipa located in the province of Caylloma. In the valley, there are more than 8 thousand hectares of farming terraces mainly used for potato and maize crops. The Colca canyon is the habitat of the Condor (Vulture Gryphus). Here we enjoy the majestic diving and soaring of the second biggest flying bird in the world.
Early in the morning, we will ride to the Colca canyon on a bus, stopping to take pictures along the way, as you are likely to see llamas, alpacas and vicunas. The Colca Canyon is one of the deepest in the world and its valley boasts an impressive scenic beauty. In the afternoon you will have the chance to enjoy the local hot thermal baths at La Calera. Choose to spend your evening soaking in the baths, dining on llama steak or listening to live Andean music at a peña (music hall).
DAY 9: CRUZ DEL CONDOR TOUR
The natural viewpoint of the Cruz de Condor is located at 3,287 meters above sea level. In that place there is a large Cross and stone walls for viewpoint and these provide security for our visitors.
Early in the morning, you can take an optional walk into the canyon to witness the morning routine of the Andean condor. This is an amazing opportunity to see the world’s largest flying bird in predator mode. There will be a short walk around the area (approximately 45 minutes) before you return to Chivay. We will stop in the villages of Pinchollo, Maca and Yanque which have beautiful colonial churches and viewpoints in the towns of Choquetico and Antahuilque. From these viewpoints we can take in the impressive terraces of the valley, the pre-Incan tombs and scale models. After lunch, we will travel to Arequipa by bus.
DAY 10: PUNO – UROS FLOATING ISLANDS & AMANTANI ISLAND
Puno is the gateway to Lake Titicaca and its unique islands, which are the main attraction of this region. These islands are ideal for exploring the flora and fauna of this amazing place. Most economic activity takes place around the lake. Puno can be compared to the Himalayas for being unique places in the world where agriculture flourishes on the heights of the mountains.
Puno sits on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. We will take a tour of the lake by slow motorboat, stopping off to visit the Uros floating islands located 6 km from the port of Puno. The Uros people built these islands to isolate themselves from rival tribes in ancient times. They’re built completely from multiple layers of totora reeds, which grow in the shallows of the lake.
In the evening, upon your arrival, you will be welcomed by our host family who will take care of your accommodation, food and company and you will get to enjoy a homestay in a local community of Amantani on one of the lake’s non-floating islands. Your homestay is in a mud-brick house, with shared drop-toilets but no shower. It can get quite cold here. The homestay will provide plenty of blankets, but remember to pack thermals and plenty of layers. Help your host family with their daily activities or perhaps play a game of soccer in the village with the local kids.
DAY 11: TAQUILE ISLAND
After breakfast, we ride to Taquile Island on a boat. The inhabitants are dedicated to farming, fishing and producing textiles. After, you will return to the city of Puno.
We ride to Cusco on a bus. It is one of the most spectacular trips to witness the “Ruta del Sol”, with stops at strategic locations along the way to discover the diversity of Andean landscapes, towns and Incan archaeological sites.
DAY 13: CITY TOUR CUSCO
Cusco is the historical and archaeological capital of South America, a title awarded by UNESCO to preserve its archaeological monuments and to keep their customs that come from the time of the Incas. Their great archaeological monuments defy time with huge complex which now amaze all visitors.
This is a half day tour starting with a visit the Santo Domingo Convent, famous for being built on the Incan sun temple structures, the main religious building of the Incas dedicated to the worship of the Sun. When the first Spaniards arrived they were amazed to see that the walls of the great temple were covered with gold plates. Following that tour, we will visit the Cathedral, a colonial religious monument of extraordinary artistic value with its fabulous paintings with a carved wooden frame, and the beautiful Church of the Company.
Continuing the tour, we visit the archaeological complex of Sacsayhuaman, where you will appreciate large terraces which overlap in zigzag formation surrounded by enormous stone walls well fitted with stone blocks exceeding 6 meters high and weighing over 120 tons. Simply a magnificent work of Incan architecture most worthy of being admired. You will also visit Q’enqo, which means “Labyrinth”. This place is a stone shrine that was used for ritual purposes. Also Pukapukara, which means “red fortress” because the calcareous stones with which is built have acquired the reddish color of the ground. And finally Tambomachay which was a sacred center of worship of water, that were also known as Incan Baths.
DAY 14: SACRED VALLEY TOUR
The Sacred Valley runs along the Vilcanota River basin. You will witness amazing archeological towns built by the Incas. This valley was appreciated by the Incas due to its special geographical and climatic qualities, becoming one of the main places for agricultural production, besides its spiritual significance for the inhabitants of the area.
We start the tour visiting the archaeological complex of Pisaq, characterized by the harmony of its time-resistant and rugged terrain- resistant buildings. It is represented mainly by its amazing system of agricultural terraces, and its traditional market in Pisaq village located on the main square and surrounding streets. A very colorful place demonstrated by the diversity of the handcraft products. After this we will head straight to Urubamba to enjoy lunch.
We will rejoin the bus ride to the archaeological complex of Ollantaytambo. An Incan site that was a strategically based military center constructed to protect the city of Cusco from possible invasion. It is also regarded as a religious and agricultural center for enclosures to worship the sun and water, as well as its impressive system of agricultural terraces. Finally, we will go to Ollantaytambo station to board the train to Machu Picchu town (Aguas Calientes) where we will stay overnight.
DAY 15: MACHU PICCHU
Machu Picchu is known as “The Lost City of the Incas”, considered one of the new 7 wonders of the modern world. It is a masterpiece of Incan architecture and engineering, and has unique architectural and landscape features. Machu Picchu has become one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet, and has been recognized as cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO. Visiting this place you will certainly find the greatest historical legacy of the Incas. We start early boarding the bus up to the citadel. Upon your arrival, your guide will take you on a walking tour through impressive buildings that blend perfectly with the natural landscape of the area. The site has three main sectors of construction. The agricultural sector, characterized by the imposing terraces that rise from the base of the mountains. The religious sector, full of imposing temples and shrines that were finely crafted. Finally, the urban sector, where the ancient Peruvians lived. At the end of the guided tour, you will be able to explore the citadel on your own. Finally, you will take the bus down from Machu Picchu to board the train back to Cusco.
DAY 16: CUSCO CITY
Today has been left free to relax and enjoy the many attractions that Cusco has to offer. For those that would like, you could visit San Blas church and the religious art museum and San Pedro market (sites not visited the previous day).
DAY 17: DEPARTURE TO LIMA
We will transfer you to the airport for the flight back to Lima.
2016 prices per person