Day 1 – Saturday – Lima – Arrival
Arrival in Lima, the “City of Kings” famous for its Spanish Colonial architecture, extraordinary museums and cuisine. Lima is internationally recognized as the “Gastronomic Capital of the Americas”, and its cuisine is considered among the most diverse and exquisite in the world on par with French cuisine. Upon arrival a host will meet and assist you in transferring to the hotel and in registering.
Day 2 – Sunday – Lima, Casa Aliaga, Modern Lima and Larco Museum (B)
This full-day tour visits both the colonial and modern sections of Lima. Colonial sites include the lovely Plaza Mayor, the Government Palace, San Francisco Church and the exquisite Torre Tagle Palace modern day seat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The “Casa de Aliaga” is the oldest Colonial mansion in Lima. Due to its historic value this house was declared a Historical Monument and the owners have decided to share their heritage with visitors. The visit is an amazing experience!
Modern Lima and Larco Museum
Afternoon tour of modern Lima, among the largest in the Americas. Drive along the fashionable districts of Miraflores and San Isidro, El Parque del Amor (The Park of Love) and the striking beaches of Costa Verde. Continues to the world famous Larco Museum, founded in 1926, the museum displays remarkable chronological galleries providing an excellent overview on 3000 years of development of Peruvian pre-Columbian history. Larco Museum also features the finest gold and silver collection from Ancient Peru and the famous erotic archaeological collection, one of the most visited Peruvian tourist attractions.
Day 3 – Monday – Lima – Cusco (B,L
Early morning transfer from the hotel to the airport for a short but spectacular flight over the snowcapped Andes to the oldest inhabited city in the hemisphere, Cusco, at an elevation of 11,440 feet. Upon arrival a host will meet and assist you in transferring to the hotel and in registering.
Lunch is served at Hacienda Huayoccari
The most noticeable aspect of the house is its sensational setting, dominating the Urubamba valley in the midst of the highland crags and vegetation through which the river flows. Above it, on the very mountain top within sight of heaven are two lakes, which seem to seethe on a rainy night. With magnificent views of the Urubamba River, the Casa-Hacienda has the magical ability to make us forget the reality of life. Today’s lunch will be a remarkable event.
Lunch at Wayra with Peruvian Paso Horse Show
“Caballo de Paso” known worldwide for their smooth gaited movements and unusual spirit. No other horse combines strength, intelligence and beauty as perfectly as the Peruvian Paso Horse. The particular characteristic of the Paso Horse is precisely the reason for its name: the sublime charm of its typical step. As it walks, its front legs step very high and forward while the hooves sway to the sides in a graceful and synchronized movement. Enjoy a delightful demonstration of the skills of this unique member of the horse kingdom. Lunch at the celebrated Wayra at “Sol y Luna” in the Sacred Valley.
Day 4 – Tuesday – Pisac Market and Ollantaytambo Archaeological Complex (B,L)
Full Day Excursion to the Pisac Indian Market and the Ollantaytambo Fortress – Morning departure for a drive through the fertile countryside of the Urubamba Valley to the colonial village of Pisac where an Indian Market takes place Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Other days you will tour the religious nucleus and archaeological site of Pisac. During your visit to the bustling marketplace you will have the opportunity to bargain with the natives for many different types of Peruvian handicrafts and jewelry.
Continue to the Ollantaytambo archaeological complex, the Incas built it as a fort that included a temple, agricultural terraces, and an urban area. There are two distinct sectors: The religious and worship zone, and the residential area. Ollantaytambo was an important administrative center with probable military functions if one considers the walls and towers. There are also traces of ancient roads and aqueducts. The town of Ollantaytambo is called a “Living Inca Town” since the inhabitants maintain very old practices and customs. Lunch is at a beautiful country estate on the shores of the Urubamba River.
Day 5 – Wednesday – Moray, Maras and Ancient Quechua Village (B,L)
Moray, Maras Salt Pools and Ancient Quechua Village – Pass through unspoiled and picturesque Andean communities on your way to the Incan agricultural experimental center of Moray, famous for its sunken amphitheater, made up of four circular terraces, which appear to fade away into the earth like an artificial crater. The site was apparently an Inca agricultural research station filled with fertile earth and watered by complex irrigation systems, designed for experimenting with crops at various altitudes.
Continue to the impressive Maras’s salt pools formed by water emerging from a lake inside a mountain in the Urubamba Valley. An amazing view of evaporating ponds for the extraction of salt. Learn about ancestral techniques, which are still used, in agricultural, irrigation and salt-recollection tasks, as well as in Andean festivals and rites.
Visit to Awana Kancha
This Living Museum of the Andes showcases the South American Camelidos such as llamas, vicuñas, guanacos and alpacas in their native environment. You will also enjoy a spinning and weaving demonstration of ancient techniques on how to make clothing from the wool fibers of these animals. You can also see native flowers and some agricultural terraces from the Inca times.
Authentic Quechua Village
Visit an authentic Quechua Village to feel the way of life of the Inca’s ancestors. An Andean society with ancestral identity. The Inca himself was a noble Quechua. They have a deep sense of belonging to the land they farm, a deep sense of community they consider necessary to survive, they have little tolerance for individuality. See the Quechua way of life, children scamper about wearing their colorful ponchos while woman are weaving their family’s clothes. A meaningful experience!
Day 6 – Thursday – Machu Picchu with overnight stay (B,L)
Morning train ride through the sacred valley of Urubamba to the “Lost City of the Incas,” Machu Picchu. Perched 8,200 feet above the valley, it was hidden by mountains and semi-tropical jungles for 400 years until discovered by Hiram Bingham of Yale University in 1911. Archaeologists believe that the Inca “Virgins of the Sun” took refuge from the Spanish Conquistadors here. Guided tour of the ruins upon arrival. Lunch is at the Orient Express’ Sanctuary Lodge located just a few steps from the Inca citadel.
Day 7 – Friday – Machu Picchu Free Day. Return train ride (B)
Free morning to enjoy one of the most incredible sights on earth, the sanctuary of Machu Picchu. Take as much time as you need to study these magnificent ruins, hike the steep stone-paved trail of Huayna Picchu, the pyramid-shape mountain above Machu Picchu for a breathtaking view of the site, or stroll to the Inca Bridge a secret entrance used by the Inca’s army or walk toward the Inca Trail to find the historic Intipunku or Sun Gate. Afternoon return train ride.
Day 8 – Saturday – Cusco – Free morning and afternoon city tour(B)
Wandering through this lovely city, exploring the astonishing narrow streets of this tile roof colonial town will be your unforgettable experience. You will find something astounding at every turn. Great buys are the traditional Peruvian handicrafts, alpaca-wool sweaters and rugs, ponchos, pottery, gold and silver jewelry, leather goods, etc. Because there are such a variety of products, we strongly suggest that when you like any particular item, you should buy it – you may not find the same item in other store. Many visitors to Cusco return home wishing they had some free time in Cusco to discover this imperial city on their own, a free morning in Cusco is a MUST!
Tour of Cusco and Nearby Ruins
Visitors are caught up in the excitement of touring the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, a delightful combination of Inca and colonial architecture. The tour visits important landmarks such us Cusco’s Cathedral, Santo Domingo Church, Plaza de Armas and Koricancha “The Temple of the Sun”. This tour of the oldest continuously inhabited city in the western hemisphere also includes the nearby ruins of Kenko, Puca-Pucara, Tambomachay as well as the Sacsayhuaman fortress, an imposing example of Inca military architecture.
Day 9 – Sunday – Cusco / Arequipa (B)
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Arequipa at an elevation of 7,300 feet. Upon arrival a host will meet and assist you in transferring to the hotel and in registering. Also known as the “White City” for its many constructions built of white volcanic stone, Arequipa is at the foothills of the Misty Volcano (the guardian of the city) and it has a splendid Cathedral that is considered one of the first seventeenth century religious monuments of the city.
Arequipa City Tour and Santa Catalina Convent
Your half day sightseeing of this beautiful city, placed on the World Cultural Heritage list by UNESCO, features Mixed Baroque churches and mansions from the colonial period like the Monastery of Santa Catalina, The Main Square is bordered by various arched walkways and the Cathedral, it showcase a beautiful bronze fountain of three plates crowned by the figure of a sixteenth century soldier. Around the square, you see three granite portals with brick and lime bases.
The Santa Catalina Convent is called “a city within a city”, a Spanish city in miniature with stone streets, beautiful patios, and plaza, it is a masterpiece of colonial architecture, and houses some of the finest examples of Spanish American religious art. Since 1970 visitors have been able to stroll through the streets and cloisters that during colonial times were the refuge of female nobility who had decided to isolate from the world and dedicate entirely to prayer.
Day 10 – Monday – Arequipa / Colca Canyon (B,L,D)
Departure towards the highlands passing through Yura-Pampa Cañahuas and La Pulpera with good possibility of observing groups of wild vicuñas and fighting cattle. The road to the Colca Canyon reaches a high point of 13,000 feet before dropping down to the valley, an area of breath taking landscapes surrounded by terracing and snow-capped peaks. Far below, at a depth of 10,000 feet, the Colca River winds along the bottom of the canyon, the world’s deepest.
Stop en route to see petroglyphs in the Caves of Mollepunco and in the town of Callali to see natural hill formations with the appearance of enchanted castles. Continue to La Calera to enjoy the thermal baths under the stars. Overnight in Colca Canyon area.
Day 11 – Tuesday – Colca Canyon (B,L,D)
To maximize your probability of seeing condors we depart very early towards a superb natural lookout point “Cross of the Condor” from where one can watch condors wheeling across the Colca Canyon, at about an altitude of 15,000 feet. The valley also features pre-Inca ruins, pre-Inca burial grounds and archaeological remains left behind by the Collagua, the ancient inhabitants of the area. Drive further in to the canyon to observe the way of life in this remote land and to admire the impressive irrigation system and the fertile mountains terraced for farming of the Colca valley.
Day 12 – Wednesday – Colca Canyon / Arequipa (B,L)
Return to Arequipa. In the afternoon, transfer to the airport for your flight to Lima. Upon arrival a host will meet and assist you in transferring to the hotel and in registering.
Day 13 – Thursday – Discover Larcomar (B,L)
This fashionable shopping and entertainment center became the favorite for visitors and locals. Right in front of the Pacific Ocean, Larcomar showcases 17 restaurants and cafes with a wide variety of international and Peruvian food, the finest selection of handicrafts and art galleries, a good selection of prestigious brand stores offering products such as alpaca and llama apparels, silver and gold jewelries, exclusive discotheques and bars, ATM machines and movie theaters. Located in the heart of Miraflores, at the end of Larco Avenue and across the street of the Lima Marriott Hotel.
Lunch at Huaca Pucllana
The Huaca Pucllana Restaurant provides and an outstanding cuisine and enjoys a privileged location, it is practically on top of an ancient Inca Pyramid. In the Fifth century, the Lima valley inhabitants started the construction of the Huaca Pucllana. Under the management of sacred priests, the Huaca Pucllana was built as an expression of their religious authority and to control the hydrological resources stemmed from the water canal system, on the left bank of the Rimac river. Pucllana was an important ceremonial and administrative location. Its magnificence was reflected by the configuration of a monumental architecture.
Transfer to the airport for your connecting international flight. Arrive home full of great memories of the rich tradition of Colonial Lima and the mystical Land of the Incas.