Day 1 Lima A representative from Adventures to Peru will greet you at the airport and private transfer to your hotel. There are no planned activities today so check-in, enjoy a complimentary Pisco Sour and read your welcome note. Depending on your flight arrival time, a representative from Adventures to Peru will meet you in the hotel today or tomorrow for a short briefing and answer any questions you may have.
During your free time in Lima, we recommend exploring colonial and modern Lima. Around Lima’s Historical District are the Covent of San Fransico, the Government Palace, Main Cathedral, Plaza de Armas and the Archaeological Museum. Or if you’re short on time, hang around the bustling commercial districts of and Miraflores and bohemian Barranco.
Take a stroll along the ‘Malecon’ or coastal cliffs to ‘Parque del Amor’ and Larco Mar shopping center, where sheik Limeños go to be seen. Kennedy Park is worth a visit in the evenings. Located only minutes from the hotel, Parque Kennedy offers restaurants, open-air markets, art exhibits and glimpse into the fast paced modern Limeño lifestyle.
Also close to the hotel is the Huaca Pucllana, a pre-Incan mud temple more than 1200 years old. There is a spectacular onsite restaurant with same name, also worth a visit.
Day 2 Paracas (B) This morning we’ll collect you from your Lima hotel and private transfer to Cruz del Sur bus station for a scenic 4 hour bus trip to the seaside village of ‘El Chaco’ in Paracas. See the numerous shantytowns and urban sprawl that extend 50km through the deserts south of the metropolis. Enjoy on-board video movies, a light breakfast and ¾ reclining sleeper seats. Once in Paracas, you’ll be met at the bus station and transferred to your hotel. This afternoon you can take advantage of the hotel pool, take a stroll on the refurbished oceanfront board walk or dine in one of the many sea food restaurants along the water front in ‘El Chaco’ port.
Day 3 Nazca (B) Early this morning we will visit the Peruvian version of the Galapagos Islands, more commonly referred to as the Ballestas Islands. Located on the fringes of the National Reserve of Paracas, we’ll venture by speedboat accompanied by our local guide to get a glimpse of the abundant marine life thriving in the Peruvian seas. He will orient the group with a short lesson on to the wonders and tragedies of the Peruvian coastal waters.
Focus: El Niño, over fishing, pollution, scallops, surfing, guano, tourism, continental subduction, tsunamis diving etc
Our day continues as we penetrate the endless desert of coastal Peru. We’ll visit the stunning desert oasis named Huacachina. We’ll take you through some of the most arid terrain in South America on an adrenaline packed back country dune buggy excursion. Brilliant views and some of the most extreme off-roading in the area will leave you begging for more. Those with the courage and can try their hand at sand boarding. Even the less daring can sand board, as the sit-down position is also quite popular in Peru. Have some free time to have lunch at one of the local venues over looking the oasis followed by transfer back to the bus terminal for transfer to Nazca. (Dune buggy/sand board tour not included).
Day 4 Nazca / Arequipa (B) The mystery surrounding the Nazca Lines continues to go unanswered. Before departing Nazca will have the chance to appreciate the figures vertically, as we take a 35 minute optional fight over the Nazca Lines. Immense carvings in the desert rock and endless geometrical figures, representing animals, such as a spider, a monkey, several birds and a human figure leave you wondering.
*Nazca Lines flight is optional and not included in the tour price.
Today’s focus: Nazca Lines, history, creation theories, beliefs, and practical explanations.
After an hour free for lunch we’ll continue south along the apparently endless and rugged Pan-American Highway, hugging the coastline to the town of Arequipa. Peru’s second most important city after Lima, Arequipa maintains a traditional colonial style and more laid back pace in comparison with the capital. Approximate arrival to Arequipa at 10:00pm.
Day 5 Arequipa (B) This morning you will have the opportunity to enjoy a general overview of the city on a 3-hour city tour.
Begin with Yanahuara Belvedere look out plaza and the neighborhood of Carmen Alto followed by a visit to the Plaza de Armas and its Cathedral, the cloisters of La Compañia Church and the Church and Square of San Francisco. Last, but not least we visit the extraordinary Santa Catalina convent, which is built from white volcanic lava and dates from the 16th century.
The afternoon is free to explore the city. Arequipa’s vibrant atmosphere will no doubt keep you busy for the rest of the day. If you dare, see the best-preserved mummy in South America, Juanita the ‘Ice Maiden’.
Then at dusk we will seriously indulge in some of Peru’s richest spice and flavor, as Arequipa has some of the finest cuisine in the country.
Day 6 Puno (B) Have a couple hours free in Arequipa before a mid-day bus to Puno and the shores of Lake Titicaca. Puno, a city of 150,000 inhabitants, is considered by local populations to be a linguistic, cultural and political border. To the south toward Bolivia the Aymara people and language are dominant. To the north, the better-known Quechua is the dominant tongue. Fortunately, you will see both. Afternoon arrival, greeting and transfer to your hotel. The evening will be free to explore central Puno and dine at one of the local venues near the hotel.
Day 7 Lake Titicaca / Puno (B,L) Today we set off by motorboat for a full day excursion on Lake Titicaca, considered by many as ‘The Cradle of Peruvian Civilization’. Our first destination is a cultural treasure chest. Taquile is an island famous for its textiles, weaving and simplistic lifestyle. This is a unique destination. Here there are no roads, only footpaths, no dogs just goats and sheep. The island is self-governed, local peoples do not pay taxes to the Peruvian government and are protected by a local police department, as crime on the island is non-existent. We’ll spend about an hour hiking to the summit of Taquile Island before receiving a detailed explanation from your private local guide. Then, move on to one of the communal local restaurants for a traditional lunch overlooking Lake Titicaca, which is included in your visit.
After lunch we head back to the port to board our waiting motorboat to take us on to the floating reed islands of the Uros Community (Aymara roots). The Uros people are a specific cultural group apart from the Quechuas or Incas. They are more sensitive and protective. We ask that visitors always proceed with respect. Please ask before snapping pictures, as some of the older generations will object. The locals are friendly though, and produce souvenirs representing life on the Lake. You can support them by buying a souvenir if you choose. Afternoon arrival to the Puno port and transfer to your hotel.
Today’s focus: Andean views of life, death and marriage; Origins of The Sacred Lake
Day 8 Cusco (B) After breakfast you’ll be collected from the hotel and private transfer to the Puno bus terminal. Tour Peru buses are excellent and have ¾ reclining seats, on board videos and restroom. We’ll cover 400km, go over mountain passes at 4,334m (4,222ft) above sea level and pass some of our favorite local indigenous villages. This is known as ‘One of the most beautiful journeys on earth’ and definitely one of most breathtaking in Peru! Approximate arrival in Cusco is 15:00pm. Greeting, transfer to hotel followed by a hot coca tea and short briefing on your stay in the region
Welcome to the Incan Imperial capital, Cusco!
Day 9 Cusco free day (B) Today is a free day in the Incan Imperial Capital. If you like museums we recommended a stop by the Incan Archaeological Museum located a block from the Plaza de Armas. Then, time permitting, visit the recently opened ‘Casa Concha’, which houses hundreds of pieces removed from Machu Picchu by Hiram Bingham in 1912 and recently returned in 2011 (Centennial Anniversary of Machu Picchu’s scientific discovery) to Peru by Yale University in the United States.
Also worth a visit is the colorful local market at San Pedro and/or the bohemian neighborhood of San Blas, full of artists, craftsmen and street vendors, both only minutes from the hotel. The day is yours!
Day 10 Ollantaytambo (B) One of the most spectacular days of the tour takes us through the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Once an important source of food for the Inca, the Sacred Valley is a lush agricultural region that continues to supply the city of Cusco with much of its produce. As it is 600m lower than Cusco, temperatures are on average 5 degrees Cº higher in the Sacred Valley.
Our travels will bring us through the major archaeological sites of Pisac and Ollantaytambo. At Pisac, an optional two hour or 5km hike will allow us to fully appreciate the Incan city nestled high in the Andean range. Later, the colorful artesian market at Pisac will no doubt be a highlight for those in search of unique souvenirs.
The day trip finishes in the picturesque village of Ollantaytambo, location of another large Inca site. This major ruin is known as the best surviving example of Inca urban planning and engineering. But more than that, Ollantaytambo is a living breathing Inca City. Here we catch our breath and prepare for our train voyage to Machu Picchu.
Focus today: Inca stone working techniques, 3 Peruvian blessings: Coca leaf, Andean Maca, Potato
Day 11 Aguas Calientes (B) This morning we’ll make our way to the train station in Ollantaytambo and board the train to Aguas Calientes traveling northeast through the lush Sacred Valley of the Incas. Arrive at Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu village, check into your hotel and enjoy the atmosphere. Aguas Calientes is about 30 minutes from Machu Picchu, which you’ll visit tomorrow morning. Today you’ll have free time to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere, soak in the hot thermal springs, hike, shop and explore the village.
Day 12 Machu PIcchu / Cusco (B) A pre-dawn start from takes us by local shuttle to Machu Picchu. Enjoy the ruins in virtual solitude for the first hour until sunrise. Make the hour-long hike up to the ‘Intipunku’ or Sun Gate. See Machu Picchu in all its glory and discover Machu Picchu on an expert 2-hour private guided tour. Then, free time at site to explore, rest, meditate or simply chill out in the ruins.
Climb Huayna Picchu (Young Peak 2 hrs, not included), hike to the Moon Temple (2 1/2 hrs), or venture to the Inca Draw Bridge! There is no shortage of things so see and do in Machu Picchu. Generally we’ll have lunch in Aguas Calientes although it is your choice, afternoon train to Ollantaytambo and transfer to your hotel in Cusco.
Focus: Machu Picchu practical explanations and theories
Day 13 Cusco (B) One free day in Cusco is never enough. That is why you’ll have 2 days to really soak up Cusco’s ethnically brilliant atmosphere. Relax in the main ‘Plaza de Armas” or explore the enchanting network of narrow streets and white wash mud-brick walls. Set off on foot to Sacsayhuaman and Q’enko, located near Cusco’s X-zone. Investigate the markets, churches, museums and first-rate restaurants, all at your fingertips while exploring the city center on foot. Take a short walk to the ‘Koricancancha’, or Incan Temple of the Sun. As the only Incan Temple in Cusco still standing, the Koricancha unique because it has a Dominican Church built around it, all atop Incan stone foundations. A true amalgamation of cultures!
More active options include river rafting, motorcycle tours and mountain biking. The day is yours!
Day 14 Lima (B) After breakfast it will be time to say goodbye to Cusco. You’ll be collected from the hotel and private transfer to the Cusco airport for a direct flight to Lima for the final stop on our journey. Finish up last minute shopping at the Indian market and enjoy one last evening in the capital.
Day 15 Departure Day Lima (B) Adios amigos! Adventures to Peru services end today. Adventures to Peru will collect you from the hotel and private transfer to the airport.