South America

Peru with Lake Titicaca & Arequipa Itinerary

Duration
14 Days Itinerary
From
USD $4,595 Dates/Prices
Day
Day 1
1

Lima: Welcome Drink at Hotel

Welcome to Lima, the capital city of Peru! Founded in 1535, Lima was designed to be a showcase of Spanish colonial architecture in a conquered territory. Today, the patchwork of Lima’s vibrant city life and neighbourhoods combine with a plethora of museums and churches to offer visitors a wonderful opportunity to discover its fascinating heritage.

Our small group tour of Peru begins this evening with a welcome drink at the hotel.

Day 2
2

Lima: Exploring the City of Kings

Today we set off to explore the opulent, colonial architecture of Lima. Our first stop is the Plaza de Armas, where we see the Government Palace, the Cathedral of Lima and the stunning City Hall buildings. We take a stroll through the Cathedral of Lima and learn the religious history of Peru. Our walking tour continues to the San Francisco Convent to view both its stunning 17th century cloister murals and its ‘catacombs’, the ancient, underground cemetery of Lima.

Special Experience

This afternoon we enjoy lunch at the Larco Museum. The museum houses one of the most impressive collections of Incan artefacts and gives a fascinating insight into ancient Peru. We enjoy a tour of the museum with a Curator after lunch.

Special Experience

This evening we enjoy a group welcome dinner in Lima’s Miraflores district amidst the ruins of Huaca Pucllana.     

[Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner]

Day 3
3

Sacred Valley: Alpacas and Empanadas

Deep within the Urubamba Valley, the Sacred Valley, Cusco, and Machu Pichu form the heart of the ancient Incan Empire. After our morning flight to Cusco, we journey into the Sacred Valley toward the small farm of Awanacancha where we learn about the various types of animals called the camelids. These include alpacas, vicuñas, llamas, and guanacos which all live in the Andes region.

We then continue on to the small village of Pisac, renowned for its lively artisan market. Here we have time to explore this quaint town and have an opportunity to taste the famous ‘empanadas’, baked pastries filled with a variety of delicious ingredients.   

We arrive back at our hotel late in the afternoon and enjoy some time at leisure before a group dinner.

Note

High elevations up in the Andes Mountains can cause some people to have issues with altitude sickness. We suggest you speak to your doctor before traveling to Peru for any preventative measures available. Also, drinking lots of water and getting enough rest will help with the effects of altitude sickness.

[Breakfast and Dinner]

Day 4
4

Sacred Valley: Ancient Sites, Salt Pans and Pachamama

This morning we visit the Salt Pans of Maras. The views of this fully operating salt mine will amaze you with the view of the stark-white steeply descending salt pans against the lush green of the surrounding mountain slopes.  It is jaw-dropping. We follow on to the archaeological site of Moray. It is believed that this was used as an agricultural testing ground and stands as a testament to the level of advancement achieved by the Incas who excelled at building masterful construction in harmony with nature.

We then continue on to Ollantaytambo, one of the only continuously inhabited settlements since Inca times. The ruins form a fortress that can only be entered by a steep stone staircase. The entire town still has its original Inca-built stone walls, narrow streets, and water system flowing down a central channel cut in every street. In Ollantaytambo, you get a good look at the Inca's best-known skill—dry masonry. Their astounding craftsmanship was able to fit the huge blocks of stone together so precisely that even after centuries of earthquakes, a knife cannot be slipped into the seams.

Special Experience

Here we visit with a local family and learn about their daily life. We also pay a visit to a local ‘chicheria’, or pub, where we can sample the locally made chicha, and possibly eat a local delicacy, guinea pigs.

Before our dinner, we enjoy a ‘Pachamama’ (Mother Earth) ceremony. Ancient rituals revolve around the idea of ‘giving back’ to nature, in order to satisfy the spirits and to ensure a healthy harvest in the months to come. 

Note

For our trip to Machu Picchu tomorrow you will need to pack an overnight bag weighing no more than 5 kilograms Due to limited space on the trains there is no room for our big suitcases, and they will be transferred and waiting for us at our hotel in Cusco.

[Breakfast, Brunch and Dinner]

Day 5
5

The Lost City of Machu Picchu

Make sure your cameras are fully charged for today as the mystical lost city of the Incas--Machu Picchu--awaits us. First, we journey by Vistadome train through the mountains to the charming village of Aguas Calientes while enjoying the spectacular vistas of snow-capped peaks, small villages, and farming terraces. A bus takes us to the entrance of Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the New World. Its architectural beauty, incredible natural landscape, position on the mountain, and energy held within its enigmatic structures will take your breath away! Believed to have been built by the Incas around 1450 and abandoned less than a hundred years later, Machu Picchu straddles the spine of a ridge 550 metres above the rushing Urubamba River. Hiram Bingham, a Yale University graduate and former US senator, discovered this lost city in 1911. Here, we have a guided tour and time to explore this magical citadel on our own.  

Note

During our visit to Machu Picchu, we suggest you bring a raincoat or umbrella as the weather at such high altitude can be somewhat unpredictable. We also suggest wearing long pants and a long sleeve shirt to keep away the tropical insects.

[Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner]

Day 6
6

Machu Picchu to Cusco

Another wonderful chance awaits as we awake and explore the very spiritual ruins of Machu Picchu before the day crowds arrive. Soak up the peace and tranquillity just as the sun peaks out over the mountains and take advantage of the incredible photo opportunities to be had!

We enjoy an early lunch before our return train journey through the mountains to Cusco.  On the way we stop at Chinchero for a traditional weaving demonstration.

[Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner]

Day 7
7

Cusco: City Sights and Inca Ruins

Today is all about exploring the wonders of Cusco. We begin with a visit to the magnificent fortress of Sacsayhuaman which is believed to have been built during the 1400s. The enormous limestone blocks used in the construction of this colossal structure were carved and fitted with such precision that there was no need for mortar. We continue on to Qengo, the religious centre and have a panoramic view of Puca-Pucara, the Red Fortress. We then arrive at Tambomachay and its thermal water fountains and pools.  These are believed to have been a ‘spa’ for the Incan elite.

Our tour continues with a stroll through the main square of Cusco, visiting the Cathedral with its exquisite vestibules and priceless paintings. We also visit Qoricancha, a temple dedicated to worship of the Sun God and whose interior walls are said to be once covered in gold.

Special Experience

Later in the afternoon we have some fun exploring and shopping for our dinner in the San Pedro Market. Once we have our supplies we head up to the 11th floor Rooftop Kitchen to begin our cooking lesson and enjoy the breathtaking views of the city below.

[Breakfast and Dinner]

Day 8
8

Cusco: A day to explore

Enjoy a full day at leisure exploring picturesque Cusco. We recommend visiting the San Blas neighbourhood with its silver jewellery shops, artisan restaurants and unique local art.

[Breakfast]

Day 9
9

Cusco to Puno: A Day to Enjoy the Lush Countryside

Say goodbye to Cusco this morning as we head toward the birthplace of the Inca civilization, Puno and Lake Titicaca. Along the way, we travel over the picturesque Andes Mountains, passing through small villages and fields dotted with farm animals. We visit Raqchi, one of the most remarkable and sacred archaeological complexes in Peru. Due to its unique construction, it is believed Raqchi had many purposes: both as a religious site and as an administrative and military outpost. Late in the afternoon, we arrive into Puno with time to relax before dinner.

[Breakfast and Lunch]

Day 10
10

Puno: The Mystical Lake and Its Islands

Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigable lake, is an area of outstanding natural beauty. Today we journey across the water where time seems to stand still. Our first stop is the Uros Floating Islands, a group of approximately 40 small islands made totally out of totora, a natural reed that grows around the lake. The cheerful locals invite you explore their traditional lifestyle and customs.

Our exploration of this incredible lake continues as we sail to Taquile Island. The island provides a place of peace where old Quechua traditions live juxtaposed with modern routines. In addition, we discover the uniqueness of this island to most others on Lake Titicaca as its Incan terraces are filled with local flowers and crops. We admire their hand-woven fabrics and are dazzled by the brightly worn colours of the local dress. We savour lunch at a local restaurant before making our leisurely way back across the lake to Puno.

This evening we enjoy a group dinner at the hotel to reminisce on our tour and farewell Peru.

[Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner]

Day 11
11

Puno to Colca Valley

Another day of incredible natural scenic beauty awaits as we travel through the high Andes Mountains to the Colca Canyon and Colca Valley. Our drive takes us through tiny, remote villages including Patawasi, Chucura, Toccra, and Pata Pampa.  It is our highest point of the day at over 4,800 metres above sea level,  and we can observe several volcanoes. Along the way, we stop to look out over the Lagunillas; beautiful lagoons that are home to the Andean flamingo.  We also pass stunning natural rock formations, lakes filled with fascinating birdlife, and vast plains of llamas, alpacas and guanacos on our way to our lodge in the afternoon.

[Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner]

Day 12
12

Colca Valley to Arequipa

An early start ensues as we head into the Colca Canyon to the observation point of Cruz del Condor, or Cross of the Condor. Here, you can appreciate the sheer magnificence of the Canyon, thought to be approximately twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, while hopefully witnessing the majestic flight of the Andean condor. The condor is one of the largest flying birds in the world. We then take the scenic road back and pass through Pinchollo, Achoma and Maca, a small town at the base of the Sabancaya Volcano. In the afternoon, we drive to Arequipa, arriving in the late afternoon.

[Breakfast and Lunch]

Day 13
13

Arequipa: Churches and Chocolate

Fiercely guarded by three volcanoes, the Misti, the Chachani and the Pichu Pichu, the picturesque ‘white city’ of Arequipa awaits with its extraordinary architecture and surreal landscapes. Fashioned of white volcanic stone, thus its name, Arequipa is one of Peru’s most beautiful colonial cities. We begin our day with a visit to the Convento de Santa Catalina with its lovely buildings and large art collection. Next, the Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús and the lookout point of Mirador del Carmen provide a spectacular view of the Chili River Valley and the Misti Volcano. We then wander the wide cobblestone streets of Yanahuara and have a tour of the archaeological exhibits of the Andean Sanctuaries Museum.

Special Experience

This afternoon we hear about the history of cacao and learn how to make the traditional chocolate of Aztec kings starting from bean to bar! We will then taste test a variety of chocolates before we make our own chocolate bar to take home. 

[Breakfast and Dinner]

Day 14
14

Depart Arequipa

This morning we return to Peru’s beautiful capital city, Lima. We say goodbye to new friends and the incredible country of Peru as we board our return flights home.

Note

You need to be at the airport three hours prior to your scheduled flight departure due to Peru’s security screenings.

[Breakfast]

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