Breakfast daily, 5 lunches, 4 three-course dinners including a welcome dinner in Lima and a farewell dinner in Cusco
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
Arrive in Lima, Peru. Arrive in Lima, where you will be met by your Tour Director.
Lima. This afternoon, your Local Guide focuses on the city’s colonial heritage during a walking TOUR. Start at the Plaza de Armas to see the Government Palace and the cathedral. From here, stroll to the venerable SAN FRANCISCO MONASTERY with its splendid 17th-century cloister murals. For a special treat, stop at a [LF] LOCAL PERUVIAN FOOD MARKET to get a real taste of life for the local people. This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner at one of Lima’s Peruvian restaurants with your fellow traveling companions.
Lima–Cusco–Sacred Valley. Fly to Cusco, the impressive Andean city that was once the capital of the Inca Empire. Head into the Sacred Valley of the Incas, where you will have lunch and experience an [LF] El Pago a la Tierra, or MOTHER EARTH CEREMONY, performed by a local shaman. These ceremonies thanking Mother Earth and asking for good health and safe travels have been practiced in Peru since before the arrival of the Incas. Next, stop at the semi-circular KENKO Amphitheater with its stone altars and labyrinth of passages. See the ancient site of Puca Pucara before continuing to PISAC, an old mountain village where you will have free time to shop its famous market for local wares such as alpaca sweaters and blankets, jewelry, or hand-painted ornamental dishes and vases. Stay in the Sacred Valley tonight, and enjoy a special dinner outing with a PERUVIAN PASO HORSE SHOW. (B,L,D)
Sacred Valley–Machu Picchu. This morning, visit the Inca Fortress of OLLANTAYTAMBO, followed by the opportunity to visit a [LF] HOME, meet some of the locals, and experience their way of life. Next, board the Vistadome TRAIN for a short journey through the lush Urubamba Valley. Then, transfer to a motorcoach for the ascent to legendary MACHU PICCHU, the “Lost City of the Incas,” high above the steep valley overlaid with dense tropical jungle. Your Local Guide will bring you closer to the lives and mysteries still hidden in these amazing structures built by the pre-Columbian masters of this sacred land. Tonight, stay at a nearby hotel.
Machu Picchu–Cusco. Your entrance to MACHU PICCHU is included for a second day. Enjoy the tranquility of the morning, with free time to wander the ruins at your own pace and experience the magic that is Machu Picchu. After lunch, return to the Sacred Valley by TRAIN and continue on to Cusco. (B,L)
Cusco. This morning, learn more about the Incas and their struggle against invading Spaniards on your Cusco city TOUR, with visits to the imposing CATHEDRAL and the SANTO DOMINGO MONASTERY. Also visit the TEMPLE OF SACSAYHUAMAN, perched on a hillside overlooking Cusco. It remains unfathomable how and when this fortress of gigantic stones—with some blocks weighing more than 350 tons—was built. The remainder of your day is free to explore at your leisure. Tonight, enjoy a special farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Cusco–Arequipa. Fly to Arequipa, known as the “White City,” as its buildings are made of sillar, a white volcanic rock found throughout the area. Upon arrival, a city TOUR of Arequipa shows off the Plaza de Armas, the cathedral, and the Jesuit CHURCH, considered the best example of the mestizo baroque style.
Arequipa–Colca Canyon. Drive across Pampa Cañahuas within Aguada Blanca National Reserve, the habitat of vicuñas and a variety of birds. Admire beautiful Pre-Columbian terraces still being cultivated by native Collaguas. After lunch, arrive in COLCA CANYON, an impressive geological formation carved out by the river. More than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, Colca Canyon is one of the deepest in the world. Observe the spectacular terracing, considered among the most extensive in southern Peru. These terraces, which allow cultivation and meticulously controlled irrigation of the steep slopes of the canyon, were built by natives between the 9th and 14th centuries. (B,L)
Colca Canyon. This morning, visit CONDORS’ CROSS, an observation point where you have the possibility of observing the flight of the condor in its native habitat. From here, also enjoy the impressive Colca Canyon panorama. Next, visit the town of Yanque before returning to your hotel. (B,L)
Colca Canyon–Arequipa–Lima. Return to Arequipa and transfer to the airport for your return flight to Lima. (B,L)
Lima. Your tour ends with breakfast this morning.