Sacred Land of the Incas
Sacred Land of the Incas
Sacred Land of the Incas
13 days – 12 nights
Lima, Paracas, Ballestas Islands, Nazca, Arequipa, Chivay, Colca Canyon, Puno, Uros & Taquile Islands, Pukara, La Raya, Raqchi, Andahuaylillas, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu
Discovery, Culture, History
This program is fully customizable and may be operated for individuals, pods and groups
Day 1: Lima
After immigration and customs formalities, you’ll be met by your guide who will drive you to your hotel in Lima for overnight.
Day 2: Lima, Paracas
The first stop on our Lima city tour is Huaca Pucllana, a huge archaeological site in Miraflores, an important ceremonial and administrative center of the Lima culture, developed between 200 and 700 CE. This sacred place was built from seven staggered platforms surrounded by a plaza and large walls. Next, we drive to the historic center of Lima, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Start at the beautiful Plaza de Armas (Lima’s main square) surrounded by impressive colonial buildings, many of which have ornate wooden balconies, including the Government Palace, Cathedral of Lima, Archbishop's Palace, Municipal Palace and the Palace of the Union. We’ll visit the Cathedral, dating from 1649, a huge structure, with a large central nave and 14 side chapels, sculptures and paintings and the tomb of conquistador Francisco Pizarro. Next, walk one block to the Convent of Santo Domingo founded in the 1530s and completed in 1766, one of the most important religious buildings in Peru whose large bell tower is a Lima’s landmark. Inside, you’ll see the beautiful 17th century Sevillian azulejos (ceramic tiles) that decorate the walls and a series of paintings representing passages of Saint Dominic’s life, the founder of the Dominican order. Return to the hotel for overnight. After lunch, journey by road to Paracas along the Pan American Highway, which cuts through a barren desert landscape. We'll stop at the site of the ancient Pachacamac Temple where we'll be transported back to pre-Incan times as we explore the ruins of adobe walls and pyramids and the remains of early frescoes [B/L]
Day 3: Paracas, Ballestas Islands, Nazca
At 8 am we leave to the harbor and head out into the Bay of Paracas for a 30-minute ride to the Ballestas Islands. On the way, we pass by the famous El Candelabro (Chandelier), a large-scale geoglyph built by the Paracas culture around 200 BCE. While its exact purpose is unknown, some theories suggest it represents the trident or lightning rod of the god Viracocha, and it might have served as a sign to sailors, who could easily see it from the sea. When we reach the islands, we can’t go ashore to protect the natural balance of this vital reserve, but we have one hour to explore by boat. Enjoy magnificent views of the islands and their many residents. See Humboldt penguins hopping around and an incredible number of gulls, terns, pelicans, guanay cormorants and blue-footed boobies. You’ll also be able to spot hundreds of fur seals and sea lions, and maybe marine otters or possibly a humpback whale, which come to these waters between August and October. On the road to Nazca we stop at Ica for a tour of the oldest operational distillery in America. Enjoy over 300 years of tradition at the pisco production plant, considered the most modern in Peru, and taste the 5 most awarded Piscos before a typical lunch from Los Horcones de La Caravedo. Arrive in Nazca around 6:00 pm for check-in and overnight. [B/L]
Day 4: Nazca, Chauchilla Cemetery, Arequipa
After early breakfast, we drive to the small Nazca Aerodrome to board a light aircraft for a magnificent flight over the Nazca Lines. The aircraft seating guarantees a good view of the geoglyphs and each passenger has professional noise-canceling headphones to hear the informative pilot’s narration. The flight follows a course over all of the main geoglyphs, spanning an area of 19 square miles. The views are breathtaking and it’s fascinating to think how the Nazca Lines were made – and by whom – as you see these drawings from the air. After landing, we visit the Chauchilla Cemetery resting place for the remains of the Pre-Inca and Inca civilizations’ most important persons. Then, we take a long drive to Arequipa stopping en route for lunch. The trip takes about 9 hours along the beautiful Pacific Coast. Dinner and overnight in Arequipa. [B/L/D]
Day 5: Arequipa (Gastronomic Experience)
After this morning visit of Santa Catalina Convent, you have the opportunity to walk around the white city and its surroundings. The architecture in the historic center is characterized by the prominence of ashlar, a white or pink volcanic stone exceptionally soft, lightweight and weatherproof. We head to the local San Camilo market, a very popular traditional Peruvian market, packed with butchers, spices merchants, fruit and veggie stalls, souvenir sellers and more, as well as food courts selling a wide range of classic local snacks and dishes. We’ll explore the market and buy all of the fresh ingredients we’ll need to prepare two dishes: an entrée and a main dish. Then we’ll go to a local family home and start cooking! A highly knowledgeable local cook will assist you in the creation of your classic arequipeño meal. Rest of the day at leisure for you to discover the city on your own. [B/L]
Day 6: Arequipa, Chivay (Colca Canyon)
On the first day of trip on the Andes range towards Cusco we drive to the Colca Valley passing snow-capped volcanoes, rugged pampas, traditional terraced farms and picturesque villages where the old traditional ways of life are still very much alive. Along the way, we stop at the Aguada Blanca National Reserve to watch innumerable guanacos, alpacas and vicuñas as they graze on the plains, as well as the southern viscacha (a large and loveable rodent), foxes, condors and Andean flamingos (also known as parihuanas). Leaving the reserve, we’ll drive around the edge of Chucura Volcano until we reach the Patapampa Andes viewpoint located over 16,000 feet above sea level. Our next stop is the town of Chivay at the Colca Valley’s beginning. The traditional terrace systems built by indigenous inhabitants are remarkable for their scale and precise construction. Chivay itself was founded by the Spanish, a fact reflected on its church and other colonial buildings. In the afternoon, we visit the hot springs and public thermal baths at La Calera, about 1.5 miles away. Continue to Colca for overnight. [B]
Day 7: Chivay, Puno
This morning we head to Cruz del Condor lookout point (Cross of the Condor), near the small villages of Maca and Cabanaconde. Here, strong winds rise up from the canyon, providing a favorite spot for Andean condors. There’s a good chance you’ll see these huge birds, with their 10-foot wingspans, flying very close to the lookout point, providing a truly majestic sight. We’ll then head back to Chivay, first stopping at the traditional village of Pinchollo and the Antahuilque viewpoint that offers wonderful views of the 1,500-year-old agricultural terraces that curve along the hillsides like an amphitheater and some of the enchanting lagoons of the Colca Valley. After lunch in Chivay we begin the journey to Puno arriving around 6 pm to check-in at your hotel for overnight. [B/L]
Day 8: Puno (Uros & Taquile Islands)
Our full-day trip begins at around 7am heading down to the port and boarding a comfortable motor launch to ride out to the island of Taquile, one of the most beautiful islands in Peru where the traditional way of life is still very much alive. We’ll meet some of the master weavers of this ancient Andean community, whose textiles are considered among the best in the country. According to legend, the Incas themselves learned how to weave from the artisans of this island. Next, we go to the Chucuito Peninsula in the Aymara region of Lake Titicaca to visit the small and rarely visited rural community of Luquina, where we’ll enjoy a wonderful buffet lunch at the local fisherman’s house. Later, on the way back to Puno, we’ll visit the amazing Floating Islands of the Uros people that never fail amazed by their scale. The Uros originally built these islands for defensive reasons being able to move their island homes to a safer location. The islands are made from the totora reeds that grow around the lake, and each island is in a constant state of reconstruction, as old reeds are preplaced by new. Stepping onto the islands is quite an experience, as the springy reed floor feels strange beneath your feet. We’ll explore the main island, and see the houses, watchtowers and other structures, all built of reeds. One of the locals will then give a brief presentation about how the islands are made, and then you can meet one of the local families to see how they live. After the visit we’ll head back to Puno for overnight [B/L]
Day 9: Puno, Cusco
Early morning, we start our trip to Cusco along the Andes range with four stops at exciting sites on the road with lunch scheduled at one of them:
· Pukara: This is the most important and oldest ceremonial center of the altiplano. It includes some sculptures. In front of the pyramid, there is a staircase to the upper temple decorated with stelae. There are also figures of mythological beings of men and animals, such as frogs, snakes, fish, and pumas. A large sunken central court contains carved stone steles.
· La Raya: This is the halfway point between Cusco and Puno and the highest point (14,222 feet above sea level). The landscapes here are stunning and it is common to see typical Andean animals like the llama, alpaca and vicuña. It is also the geographical border between the two cultures - Quechua and Aymara.
· Raqchi (Wiracocha God Temple): This was an Inca church of monumental dimensions; 100 meters long, 26 meters wide and 14 meters high. The temple is divided into two naves, and each nave has eleven giant columns – huge!
· Andahuaylillas: This is the Sistine Chapel of South America: this church is one of the most beautiful examples of Andean popular religious art.
Finally, we’ll arrive in Cusco late afternoon and check-in at the hotel for overnight. [B/L]
Day 10: Cusco, Sacred Valley, Aguas Calientes
After a 1-hour drive to Huilloc we meet friendly locals to learn about their language and customs evident in the colorful traditional clothes that they wear. During this cultural immersion experience, you can take part in their collective tasks, working in the fields making clothing or seeing how they educate their children or prepare their ancestral ceremonies. We’ll also have a tasty and traditional Andean lunch with one of the local families. Then, we head to Ollantaytambo, the royal estate of the Inca emperor Pachacuti, who conquered the region and built the town and a ceremonial center. Spend about an hour exploring these magnificent ruins, visiting the amazing Temple of the Sun and seeing massive blocks of rock that were perfectly carved and polished by master Inca stonemasons. Next visit Ollantaytambo, also a fine example of Inca agricultural construction and hydro-engineering, with a complex series of stone water fountains, channels and agricultural terraces, the latter organized by elevation to create different microclimates for crop experimentation. About 4:00 pm continue to the train station to board the train to Aguas Calientes for a 2-hour journey passing through river canyons and rolling hills. Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu, is a pretty town mixing traditional and modern life styles, with plenty of markets, souvenir shops, hotels and restaurants. The town is surrounded by thermal hot springs giving you an opportunity to relax and enjoy a dip in one of the steaming natural springs. Settled down at hotel and ready yourself for tomorrow’s first glimpse of Machu Picchu! [B/L]
Day 11: Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu, Cusco
To best appreciate Machu Picchu, we’ll wake up early in the morning so we can get to the citadel in good time. You’ll have time for breakfast first, and then your guide will pick you up from the hotel at around 5:45 am to walk to the bus departure point for the short but zigzagging ascent up the road to Machu Picchu. Here you’ll begin your 2-hour guided walking tour with an experienced and highly knowledgeable guide. Visit all the most famous and spectacular parts of the extensive archaeological complex including the House of the Guardian, Intihuatana, Temple of the Sun, Sacred Plaza and other key locations. And as we walk around, we’ll have spectacular views across the agricultural terraces of Machu Picchu and across to the surrounding mountains and plunging gorges. Once our tour is finished, we’ll take the bus back to Aguas Calientes for some free time so you can rest or have lunch before we board the train back to Poroy and Cusco. At Cusco’s station, you’ll be met and taken to your hotel for overnight. [B]
Option Wayna Picchu
Those with enough energy to climb Huayna Picchu, the mountain behind Machu Picchu, will discover how the Inca cut some steps out of the rocks as you wind around the side of a mountain and enjoy unique views of Machu Picchu from many different angles.
Day 12: Cusco, Lima
Our Cusco day trip begins in the morning, when we’ll first head to the wonderful Koricancha, next door to Santo Domingo Church. According an was the most sacred and most important temple in the Inca Empire. Its walls were covered with gold and life-size statues of plants and animals – all made of pure gold and silver – decorated its rooms and hallways. After, we’ll head to Cusco’s Cathedral, built between 1560 and 1654 on top of an existing Inca temple. This spectacular cathedral houses many works of art by the Cusco School of painters, and its main altar and pulpit are covered in gold and silver relief work. Our next stop is the imposing Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman, sitting on a hill above Cusco. Here you will see some of the finest examples of Inca stonework and construction, including massive rocks that were carefully cut and perfectly fitted together to form the walls. After exploring Sacsayhuaman we’ll head up to the Tambomachay Archeological Complex. The exact purpose of this site is unknown, but it may have functioned, at least in part, as an Inca spa. Inca hydro-engineering is apparent here, with a series of aqueducts, canals and waterfalls running through the terraced rocks.
Afterward, transfer to Cusco Airport for your flight to Lima. On arrival at Lima airport a transfer will be arranged to the hotel. In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner at Mangos Restaurant. [B/D]
Day 13: Lima, USA
At the appointed time you’ll be driven to the airport to board your flight back home. [B]
[B] = Breakfast | [B/L] = Breakfast and Lunch | [B/D] = Breakfast and Dinner |
[B/L/D] = Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
· Roundtrip airfare New York/Lima//Cusco/Lima/New York
· Arrival and departure transfers
· 12 nights’ accommodation:
o Lima - 2 nights
o Paracas - 1 night
o Nazca – 1 night
o Arequipa – 2 nights
o Colca Valley – 1 night
o Puno - 2 nights
o Cusco – 2 nights
o Aguas Calientes - 1 night
o Breakfast daily
o 8 lunches
o 2 dinners
· Lima sitseeing tour
· Huaca Pucllana ruins
· Boat excursion to Ballestas Islands
· Overflight of Nazca lines
· Chauchilla Inca cemetery
· Santa Catalina Convent in Arequipa
· Excursion to the Colca Valley
· Excursion to Lake Titicaca
· Visit the Uros islands
· Sites on the Andes Range
o Pukara archeological site
o La Raya ridge pass
o Rachi Wiracocha God Temple
o Andahua – South America’s “Sistine Chapel”
· Sacred valley tour:
o Huilloc community meeting
o Ollantaytambo ruins
· Sightseeing of Cusco:
o Colonial area
o Koricancha temple ruins
o Tambomachay Archeological Complex
· Guided visit of Machu Picchu
· Private transportation by A/C vehicle
· Roundtrip train ticket on Expedition service to Aguas Calientes
· Round trip bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
· Entrance fees as per itinerary
· English-speaking professional guide or driver-guide
· Local English-speaking guides where required
All local taxes
· Airfare taxes and fees
· Early check-in or late checkout at hotels
· Expenses of personal nature
· Travel insurance
· Optional tours
· Any services not included in the tour
· Tips to restaurants, guides and drivers
|Lima||Jose Antonio Hotel||4|
|Paracas||San Agustin Paracas||4|
|Nazca||Casa Andina Standard Nazca||4|
|Colca Valley||Casa Andina Standard Colca||4|
|Puno||Hotel Royal Inn Puno||4|
|Aguas Calientes||Jaya Hotel||5|
|Cusco||Ramada by Wyndham Costa Del Sol||4.5|
Hotels will be confirmed at time of booking
|Season||Room||2-3 Pax||4-5 Pax||6+ Pax|
|1 Jul '21 -
14 Dec '21
|15 Dec '21 -
15 Mar '22
|16 Mar '22 -
14 Dec '22
Rates are minimum per person sharing a room and may change without notice.
Rates may change depending on the date of travel.
These programs can be customized for individuals and for groups
Changes to this program may be requested by phone (1855-55-TOURS) or using the web FIT Quote Request
We also be glad to add the necessary airfare from your gateway so you take advantage of our special discounted leisure fares
You may add or remove;
o Trip days
o Cities and sites
· Other options
o The program was designed with private services. However, at yor request, we may substitute shared sightseeing where available
o If you prefer deluxe services we may operate this program including private driver, private guide and concierge service.
Once we have designed the program the way you want we'll give you a quote within 2 business days.
Prices are minimum for low season. Please call for other periods
Tour Code: PE04LIM21VTC
· Lunches and dinners can be arranged for individuals, families and groups at top restaurants or any restaurant requested by you.
· We can revise the itinerary to spend more time and provide more depth in those areas that you are interested on.
· Any other changes to the itinerary will be accommodated depending on the facilities available in the area.
· Car can be upgraded upon request
· If you wish to use these programs for your group or as the basis for a customized journey please either call us (1-855-55-TOURS or use the web Group Quote Request.
· In either case our specialists will work with to refine all the details and they will get you a quote with 2 business days. Quotes may be obtained for the air and land portions of just for the lad journey.
· Booking both air and land with us will represent savings for you because of our buying power and longtime relationship with the airlines.
We will also may have the choice between regular fares and special leisure fares not available to the public.