Highlights include Lima, Archaeology Museum, Huascaran National Park, Chan Chan, Sipan Museum, Sacred Valley of the Incas, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Larco Museum, Gold Museum and more.|
Day #1 Overnight Flight - With its stunning Andean landscapes and tranquil, old-world charm, Peru is one of South America's most intriguing countries. Travel through this remarkably unchanged land to visit such cultural treasures as Machu Picchu, Chan Chan, the Royal Tombs of Sipan, and the Ollantaytambo Ruins of the Sacred Valley. Today you will begin your adventure with an overnight flight to Peru.
Day #2 Arrive Lima, Peru - Tour Begins - Arrive this morning in the “City of Kings”, Lima, Peru. A room has been reserved for you to check in and relax upon arrival. This afternoon, you’ll have an excellent introduction to Peruvian culture with a visit to the Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History, considered to be Peru's most prominent and complete museum. You’ll be amazed by this prestigious museum’s vast collection of artifacts representing Peruvian civilization since pre-historic times! This evening, join your fellow travelers for a delightful Peruvian welcome dinner.
Day #3 Lima - Huaraz - Depart early this morning for Huaraz, a region knows as the “Peruvian Switzerland.” In one day you will journey through a variety of microclimates and spectacular scenery as you ascend the Andes mountain range. This exciting and adventurous drive up the Andes is a memorable experience that few travelers are privileged to experience. First, marvel at the scenery of the Peruvian coastal desert landscape as you travel along the Pacific coast. Archaeological evidence in this region proves that complex urban centers thrived in the Americas 1,500 years earlier than originally believed, as a contemporary to ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. Remote mountain roads take you past waterfalls, charming rural villages, and hillsides patterned with traditional Andean crops, cultivated in the same way for centuries. Finally, take in views of snowcapped mountain peaks as you cross the Peruvian Central Andes to Huaraz.
Day #4 Huaraz - Huascaran National Park - Huaraz - Enjoy an unforgettable day of sightseeing through the quiet country roads, lush eucalyptus forests and stunning vistas that make up Huascaran National Park. En route to Callejon de Huaylas, witness quintessential Andean villages, spectacular mountain peaks and the glaciers of Huascaran Mountain (Peru's highest mountain at 22,205 feet). Marvel at the stunning views all around you and behold the intense green and sapphire-colored waters of the Chinancocho and Orconcocha lakes.
Day #5 Huaraz - Chavin de Huantar - Huaraz - Explore the wonders of mystical Chavin, a great religious center built more than 3,000 years ago, and considered one of the greatest examples of architectural ingenuity in the world. From archeologists to artists, visitors to Chavin are always struck by the sheer beauty and scale of this historic complex. You’ll visit ornate ceremonial rooms and pyramids built of massive stone blocks. In the Old Temple, marvel at the Room of the Lanzon, an impressive stone sculpture featuring the feline, bird and snake patterns so characteristic of the Chavin iconography.
Day #6 Huaraz - Sechin - Trujillo - Start your journey today with a visit to a local honey farm where you can taste why Andes mountain wildflowers and eucalyptus make this a famous regional product. Depart Huaraz and descend back to the coast, taking in the unforgettable scenery and marvelling at the beauty of this little-known region at every turn. Well before the Incas, these parts of Peru were inhabited by successive pre-Columbian cultures that have left spectacular and unique legacies. In the afternoon you will explore the adobe and stone Sechin archaeological site, witnessing temple carvings that depict victims of gruesome human warfare but which also show the advanced anatomical knowledge of this civilization. Then, continue on to the elegant colonial city of Trujillo, located on the Moche River.
Day #7 Trujillo - A panoramic city tour of Trujillo, the “City of Eternal Spring,” highlights the Main Square, La Merced Church and El Recreo Square. Next, explore the culture and heritage of the ancient Moche, a pre-Inca civilization that once dominated the valleys of the northern coast of Peru. Admire the amazing adobe engineering of the Temple of the Sun, the tallest pyramid in the Americas at a height of 140 feet, utilizing over 140 million adobe bricks and involving 200,000 workers in its construction. Just steps away, you’ll visit the Temple of the Moon and its colorful murals, the seat of Moche political power. You will visit the beach resort of Huanchaco, known for its totora seahorses - a typical small reed boat used for fishing. Later, visit Chan Chan, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the former capital of the Chimu Empire, the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. Tonight, enjoy a performance of the Mariñera dance which makes Trujillo famous.
Day #8 Trujillo - Chiclayo - Trujillo - Following breakfast, journey to the city of Chiclayo and the 4th century complex of Huaca Rajada. These impressive pyramids and royal mausoleums were dedicated to The Lord of Sipan, one of the greatest warlords of the Moche people. Explore the Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum, rated one of the most outstanding archaeological museums in South America. See a reconstruction of the tomb of Sipan, dubbed the "Tutankhamen of the Americas" because of the golden splendor of the hundreds of pieces of pottery and exquisite gold jewelry found at the site. The most exciting and significant archaeological discoveries in modern times, not only in Peru but in all of South America, are taking place in this region. It is a day filled with discovery and one you will not soon forget!
Day #9 Trujillo - Cuzco - Sacred Valley of the Incas - This morning fly to Cuzco where you will board your coach and descend through the Andes to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Along the way, take in some of the most breathtaking scenery in all of Peru. Visit Awana Kancha, a living museum of the Peruvian Andes, and learn about centuries-old methods of spinning, dyeing and weaving traditional Andean textiles. Next, visit the Pablo Seminario Ceramic Studio to learn about this internationally-known artist's techniques and designs inspired by ancient Peruvian cultures. This evening, unwind at your hotel nestled in the heart of the Sacred Valley with a traditionally prepared “Pachamanca” Peruvian meal.
Day #10 Sacred Valley of the Incas - Ollantaytambo -Sacred Valley of the Incas - Delve into the culture and lifestyle of the modern Andean people during a visit to a small village. Here you will have an opportunity to interact with the locals and gain insight into their day-to-day life. This afternoon, visit the spectacular Ollantaytambo ruins, the only Inca settlement that has been continually inhabited since its inception. Visitors are always struck by the unique terraced complex topped with an amazing set of huge carved stone panels, magnificent examples of ancient Incan architecture and heritage.
Day #11 Sacred Valley of the Incas - Machu Picchu - Cuzco - What a way to start the day! You’ll take a morning train ride on the Vistadome through the Andes on your way to the “Lost City of the Incas,” Machu Picchu, which was recently named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Hidden by mountains and the semi-tropical jungle for thousands of years, Machu Picchu is widely considered the most spectacular sight and most impressive archeological discovery in South America. Spend the day with your guide uncovering the mysteries of this magical place before traveling to Cuzco. This southern city, whose name means “Center of the World” in ancient Quechua, offers a wonderful blend of Incan culture and Spanish colonial influence. Before arriving at your hotel, you have the opportunity to meet Peruvian children with a special visit to a local orphanage sponsored by the tour group Foundation. An evening at leisure allows you to relax and become acclimated to the altitude.
Day #12 Cuzco - Explore this former capital of the Inca Empire during a city tour experiencing the colonial architectural legacy visible in the Cathedral, Santo Domingo and the Plaza de Armas. Discover the important sacred Incan ruins of Sacsayhuaman Fortress and ceremony centers of Tambomachay, Qenco, Puca Pucara and Lanlacuyoc, “the Temple of the Moon,” which is still used for Andean religious practices. This evening, enjoy a dinner and performance of traditional Andean folkloric music and dance.
Day #13 Cuzco - Lima - This morning you board your return flight to Lima. Upon arrival, embark on a fascinating city tour of the historical center of Lima, a UNESCO World Heritage site, including beautiful Plaza Mayor, Government Center, and an abundance of elegant colonial architecture. The fashionable suburbs of San Isidro and Miraflores will give you an inside look at the daily life of the Limeños (people of Lima). This afternoon, enjoy a visit to the Larco Museum, housed in a fabulous 18th century mansion and surrounded by lush gardens. This museum houses more than 45,000 pieces of classified archaeological objects and offers a fascinating illustration of Peruvian history. Enjoy an evening at leisure or choose an exciting optional “Lima by Night” tour!
Day #14 Lima - Tour Ends - Prepare to be dazzled during a special visit to the Gold Museum where you’ll see priceless examples of pre-Inca and Inca gold, jewelry and ceremonial artifacts from its private collection. Prior to departure, gather with your fellow travelers at one of Lima's finest restaurants for a farewell dinner celebrating delicious Peruvian cuisine and the end of an unforgettable vacation. Your tour ends in Lima.