Discover the rich folklore, diverse landscapes, and colorful cultures of Peru, one of South America's greatest treasures. Begin in Lima, the "City of Kings," where you will be introduced to Peruvian culture with an evening of traditional food and entertainment. Then travel to the Sacred Valley of the Incas to get a glimpse into the daily life of a typical Andean community. Visit the fascinating Ollyantaytambo ruins, the only Incan settlement that has been continually inhabited since its inception. A breathtaking train ride through mountains and the semi-tropical jungle brings you to Machu Picchu, the "Lost City of the Incas," where you can explore what is widely considered the most spectacular sight in South America. During a two-night stay in Cusco, explore this colonial city's architecture and Incan ruins; and enjoy dinner and a performance of traditional Andean folkloric music and dance. Then enjoy a day of cruising on Lake Titicaca, where you will visit the Sun Virgins Temple and the sacred Incan fountains on Sun Island, whose waters are believed to give eternal youth and happiness. Overnight at the Paracas National Reserve, referred to as the "Galapagos of Peru," for its diverse wildlife including penguins, sea lions, and condors. And you won’t want to miss the optional flight over the mysterious Nasca Lines, said to have been etched between 900 BC and 600 AD!
Day #1 Overnight Flight - Journey to Peru, one of the treasures of South America. Vast in landscapes and diversity, you will experience the unchanged culture and breathtaking beauty of the Andes. Enjoy as you travel through this intriguing land visiting some of the world’s greatest mysteries such as Machu Picchu and the "Lost City of the Incas". Depart on your overnight flight to Peru this evening.
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 enjoy a fascinating city tour. Journey through the historical center of Lima, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. View the Plaza Mayor, Government Center and discover the abundance of Colonial architecture scattered throughout the city. The fashionable suburbs of San Isidro and Miraflores will give you an inside look at the daily life of the Limeños (people of Lima). LANGUAGE DISCOVERY: Today, your Tour Manager will help you discover the origin and history of the language(s) you will experience on your tour. Learn key words and phrases that will help you communicate with the local people you meet. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a welcome dinner showcasing the best of Peru’s world-renowned cuisine.
Day #3 Lima - Cuzco - Sacred Valley of the Incas - Fly this morning into Cuzco, in the heart of the Inca civilization. Board your coach to descend through the Andes to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. This majestic valley was the agricultural center for the Incas and boasts some of the most breathtaking scenery in all of Peru. See and learn the Peruvian centuries-old methods of spinning, dyeing, and weaving of Andean traditional textiles with a visit to Awana Kancha, a living museum of the Peruvian Andes. A special stop is made at Pablo Seminario Ceramic Studio where you will learn about this internationally well-known artist's techniques and designs inspired by ancient Peruvian cultures. Settle in this evening at your hotel nestled in the heart of the Sacred Valley.
Day #4 Sacred Valley of the Incas-Ollantaytambo - Sacred Valley of the Incas - Experience the lifestyle of the Andean people of today and delve into their culture as you travel to a nearby Andean community. While here you get a glimpse at the daily activities of the village and have a chance to interact with the locals. This afternoon, visit the spectacular Ollantaytambo ruins, the only Inca settlement that has been continually inhabited since its inception. A unique terraced complex topped with an amazing set of huge carved stone panels, these ruins are a magnificent example of ancient Inca architecture and heritage.
Day #5 Sacred Valley of the Incas - Machu Picchu - Begin the day with a breathtaking train ride on the “Vistadome” through the Andes to the “Lost City of the Incas.” Hidden by mountains and the semi-tropical jungle, Machu Picchu is widely considered the most spectacular sight on the South American continent. Spend the afternoon with your guide uncovering the mysteries of these majestic ruins. Tonight you will stay at the base of Machu Picchu, allowing you the chance to further soak in the atmosphere of this special place. Finally, enjoy an exclusive culinary demonstration before dinner and celebrate the end of an unforgettable day.
Day #6 Machu Picchu - Cuzco - This morning you will have the opportunity to return once again to Machu Picchu if you choose. Say farewell to this spectacular place as you return by train to the city of Cuzco. Meaning "Center of the World" in the ancient language of Quechua, Cuzco is a fascinating blend of Inca culture and Spanish colonial influence. Before arriving at your hotel, enjoy a visit to a local orphanage sponsored by the tour group Foundation. Learn about the efforts of the tour group Foundation to conquer the challenges faced by the children of the region. Relax and become acclimated to the altitude this evening.
Day #7 Cuzco - Explore this former capital of the Inca Empire during a colonial city tour, experiencing the architectural legacy visible in the Cathedral, Santo Domingo and the Plaza de Armas. Discover the important sacred Incan ruins of Sacsayhuaman Fortress and Qenko Temple. This evening, enjoy a dinner and performance of traditional Andean folkloric music and dance.
Day #8 Cuzco - Andahuaylillas - Raqchi - Puno - Travel the Sacred Valley and enjoy spectacular views of mountain scenery, charming Inca villages and countryside. Visit the 17th century church of Andahuaylillas, a jewel of the mestizo baroque architecture. A special stop is made at the ancient Inca ceremonial center of Raqchi (Temple of Wiracocha God). Visit this former Inca church known for its monumental dimensions, 200 round stone houses, and well-preserved Inca adobe architecture. Hugging the shores of Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake at 12,400 feet above sea level, Puno is said to be the birthplace of the Inca Empire - in fact, ancient Incan legends say that life began here. Relax this evening at your hotel surrounded by spectacular vistas of the lake and mountains.
Day #9 Uros Floating Islands - Las Chullpas de Sillustani - Lake Titicaca - The Titicaca area is steeped in tradition and folklore and is the center of Inca creation and legends. Enjoy a morning cruise to the floating islands of the Uros people of Lake Titicaca, one of the most unique cultures in the world. Made from compacted beds of tortora reeds, experience walking on the spongy surface, meet the locals and learn about their history and lifestyle. In the afternoon you visit Chullpas de Sillustani, an archeological area of gigantic funerary monuments dating from the 13th century.
Day #10 Puno - Lima - Paracas National Reserve - This morning fly to Lima and continue south to the Paracas National Reserve, Peru’s only coastal wildlife sanctuary, travelling through the region of Pisco. Known for its wine and pisco (Peru’s national drink) production, this fertile valley lies in the middle of the central desert. Visit a local bodega for a tour and tasting of pisco. The afternoon is yours to spend at leisure at your ecologically-designed seaside resort – try spotting the dolphins in the bay!
Day #11 Paracas National Reserve - Today is yours to spend at leisure at your ecologically-designed seaside resort. Try spotting the dolphins in the bay! Or, join an optional day tour to Nazca to see the enigmatic Nazca Lines. These mysterious lines, dating back to pre-Inca civilization, were etched in the sand between 900 BC and 600 AD.
Day #12 Paracas National Reserve - Lima - Tour Ends - This morning, cruise out to the Ballestas Islands – the “Galapagos of Peru.” These islands are home to thousands of sea birds including Humboldt penguins, boobies and pelicans, who share their home with hundreds of playful sea lions. Watch for them swimming around your boat and for a glimpse of the elusive condor. Travel north and return to Lima, taking in views of the Peruvian Pacific coast. After a farewell dinner at one of Lima's finest restaurants, transfer to the airport for your overnight flight home.