Peru Travel | Southern Peru Explorer | Day by Day

 

Detailed Itinerary


Day 1

Day 1

Arrive in Lima, Perú

Fly from your home city to Lima, Peru. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to the hotel for check-in and overnight.

Hotel: Hotel B


Day 2

Day 2

Lima

Lima is home to over 9 million inhabitants, with a wealth of flower gardens, great plazas, huge cathedrals, elegant colonial homes, fine museums, and excellent restaurants. We tour historic Lima, including the Plaza de Armas, where you'll see elegant carved wooden balconies and colonial architecture.

We visit the National Museum of Archeology, Anthropology and History which has one of the largest collections of Pre-Hispanic art and relics including exceptionally well preserved mummies. From here we proceed to Museo Larco to see an impressive collection of pottery, gold and silver.

We'll have lunch at the charming Museum Cafe, located in the terrace and garden under the Pre-Columbian pyramid and vice royal mansion.  We return to the hotel for the night. Dinner is on your own this evening.

Hotel: Hotel B, BL


Day 3

Day 3

Cusco

After an early breakfast, you will transfer to the airport for your flight to Cuzco. Shortly after takeoff, the plane climbs over the Andes where the views of the mountains are spectacular. The one hour flight over the snow-covered Andes brings us to the legendary city of gold—Cusco (alt. 11,200 feet)—the Center of the Inca Universe. (Inca means "ruler," or "king" - an equivalent to the Roman Caesars).

After check-in, sip some coca-leaf tea to aid in acclimating to the elevation. Lunch is on your own today, after which you will begin a walking exploration of Cuzco, wandering in the footsteps of both Incas and Spanish Conquistadors.

In the course of the day you'll stop at Coricancha, the partially restored Temple of the Sun at the center of the Inca Universe, where the gold-covered walls were stripped by the Conquistadors. Along narrow cobblestone streets, you pass walls of stone so precisely fitted that they remain in superb condition centuries later, even after many earthquakes. Look into the University, churches and shops that face onto the Plaza de Armas.

Hotel: La Casona, BD


Day 4

Day 4

Cusco, Sacsayhuaman

On a plateau high above Cusco, you'll visit the immense Inca ceremonial and parade grounds of Sacsayhuaman used by the Incas for major celebrations, pageants and sporting events. We will be treated to a special ceremony with plants and herbs conducted by a local shaman.

After lunch, visit the bustling Cusco Mercado Central, a traditional market where you get a sense of the daily rhythm of Cusqueño life. From open air stalls, everything from coca leaves to live chickens are sold—sometimes for cash, somtimes in the traditional manner—barter.

Later, you will be admitted to view an archbishop's private collection of colonial and Indian art. In the late afternoon, visit the Inca Historical Museum for a fine overview of the history of the Empire from beginning to its demise. We return to the hotel for a quick refresh, and meet in the lobby for dinner.

Hotel: La Casona, BLD


Day 5

Day 5

Pisac, Sacred Valley of the Incas

Your first stop on the way out of town is the fountains of Tambo Machay right outside of Cusco. After a scenic ride through rich fields of quinoa and amaranth, you'll descend into the scenic Urubamba Valley, cross the river and drive high above the valley floor to explore the ruins of the IncaFortress of Pisac.

On the return drive you'll make a short stop to explore the typical, indigenous village of Pisac (or if you are inclined, you may hike down from the Fortress through the terraces to the village where we will meet you), before continuing to lunch at Huayoccari Hacienda Restaurant, an elegant farmhouse filled with exquisite antiques and art in the hills above the Sacred Valley. Following lunch, continue through the valley to your hotel, where you will have the rest of the afternoon to enjoy the property.

Hotel: Hacienda Urubamba, BLD


Day 6

Day 6

Ollantaytambo, Chinchero Market

Begin your day with a visit to the spectacular temple-fortress and village of Ollantaytambo, a site that is little changed from the days of the Incas.

Climb out of the valley to a very scenic 12,000-ft. plain en route to the Sunday Indian market at Chinchero, where you will observe how the local population shops for the week. You may find a few things that you simply must have!

Enjoy a weaving demonstration orchestrated by Nilda Challañaupa, the founder, and director of The Center for Traditional Textiles of Cuzco. This organization is dedicated to preserving ancient textile designs and weaving techniques from all over the Andes. Some designs are more than 2000 years old and were thought to have been lost. Textiles created at the Center may be available for purchase.

Return to your hotel for a late lunch and possibly a Peruvian Paso horse show. 

Hotel: Hacienda Urubamba, BLD


Day 7

Day 7

Train to Machu Picchu, hike to Machu Picchu Mountain

Depart early this morning and catch the train in Ollantaytambo for one of the most breathtaking rail journeys in the world. The rail line follows the river down the impressive Canyon of the Vilcanota to the foot of Machu Picchu.

You'll leave the train at Aguas Calientes to check in to your lovely riverside inn. Then head up the mountain by bus to Machu Picchu.

Start your exploration of Machu Picchu with an orientation stroll around the site. This will help give you a sense of the layout of the ruins.

Machu Picchu is truly a place to explore on your own. The elevation is about 7,500-ft., much lower than Cusco’s 11,500-ft., so you will feel much better. After lunch you will all have an extended guided walking tour before returning back down to the hotel for dinner.

Hotel: Machu Picchu Pueblo, BLD


Day 8

Day 8

Machu Picchu

The park opens at sunrise, a magical time of the day. Mist often shrouds the major peaks and floats onto the valley. The rising sun casts a golden glow into this fantasy land; it is not to be missed at this hour.

You have an optional (weather-dependent) hike to the peak of Machu Picchu Mountain—a 5-6 hour round trip scenic workout! You'll bring a picnic lunch and feast on it as well as the sights.

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Depending on the weather, you have another optional hike climbing the steep, challenging trail, hidden in crevasses and bushes, that leads to the top of Huayna Picchu, the slender granite peak that appears in every photo of Machu Picchu. On top you have an overwhelming view of Machu Picchu and the surrounding valleys and snow-capped peaks. The climb is impressive and requires no more than 1.5 - 2 hours, even if you are a very slow hiker. It is a challenging hike, but the reward of reaching the summit is one of the greatest views in the world! The descent is relatively quick and easy, but steep, and leads straight to lunch!

After lunch you have the afternoon to yourself to explore the ruins, snooze in the sun, read and take photos. This is the special time that is all yours to savor Machu Picchu as you see fit.

Hotel: Machu Picchu Pueblo, BLD


Day 9

Day 9

Machu Picchu, train to Cusco

This morning is all yours to enjoy Machu Picchu. You may hike up to the Sun Gate overlooking Machu Picchu or explore the Inca Bridge, take photos or muse about Machu Picchu until you meet the rest of the group for lunch.

After lunch, bus down to the train for Cusco. Once there, dinner is on your own tonight.

Hotel: La Casona, BL


Day 10

Day 10

Spectacular Drive to Puno

This morning, you'll leave Cusco for a spectacular drive to Puno. You'll visit Paquillacta, the only major pre-Inca ruin in the Cuzco area built by the Wari culture in 1100 AD. The amazing city of Raqchi, known to the Incas as Cacha, was a major ritual center, visited as a pilgrimage site. A well preserved set of ruins include a spectacular temple, artifical late, ritual baths and an extensive series of storehouses.  Today, Raqchi is a major pottery producer.  Upon reaching Puno, continue to the shores of Lake Titicaca and check into your charming lodge on the lake.

Hotel: Titilaka Lodge, BLD


Day 11

Day 11

Lake Titicaca

The world's highest navigable lake, Lake Titicaca, according to legend, gave birth to the Inca civilization. It is the center of a region where thousands of farmers make a living fishing its icy waters, growing potatoes at its edge or herding llama and alpaca at altitudes that leave most of us gasping for air. The turquoise blue lake was the most sacred body of water in the Inca Empire and is now the natural separation between Peru and Bolivia. In the evenings it becomes quite cold, dropping below freezing from June through August. During the day the sun is intense and sunburn is common, so bring enough sunscreen and dress appropriately.

Hotel: Titilaka Lodge, BLD


Day 12

Day 12

Puno to Colca Canyon

From Puno, we cross over the Andes bound for Chivay in the Colca Canyon. The road climbs over the Andean divide, passing through a region of snowcapped, active volcanoes. The Colca Canyon is one of the world's deepest gorges with a maximum depth of 10,607 ft. Our destination is Las Casitas del Colca, an exquisitely luxurious property next to the Colca River in the heart of the valley. Here you may rest in your private casita, soak in your outdoor tub, hika around the beautiful gardens and farm, or enjoy one of the spa's pampering treatments.

Hotel: Las Casitas del Colca, BLD


Day 13

Day 13

 Colca Canyon — Giant Condors

After breakfast, leave for one of the most popular sections in the Colca Canyon, the Cruz del Condor, or Condor Crossing, where you are very likely to see these majestic birds soaring in the strong air currents. Visit the native village of Cabanaconde, high among the canyon's terraces. Enjoy a good hike in the canyon in the afternoon before returning to the lodge for dinner.

Hotel: Las Casitas del Colca, BLD


Day 14

Day 14

Colca to Arequipa

An early departure this morning for the day's journey to Arequipa, and quickly gain altitude as you climb out of the canyon. Along the route to Arequipa, you'll enjoy spectacular vistas of snowcapped volcanoes, endless rolling plains, and hopefully vicuñas and alpacas as we pass the vicuña reserve of Aguada Blanca. You'll dine this evening in Arequipa, sampling the regional cuisine.

Hotel: Casa Andina Private Collection Arequipa, BLD


Day 15

Day 15

Arequipa—Santa Catalina Convent

You'll explore Arequipa, home to some of the most beautiful colonial architecture in the country. The city, founded by Pizzaro and known as the Ciudad Blanca (the White City), is built from white sillar rock that was blown out from the eruptions of snowcapped Volcan Misti. We visit the Santa Catalina Convent, opened to outsiders in 1970 after four centuries of seclusion and mystery. A mini city in its own right, it is a maze of cobbled alleys, rooms and cloisters painted in rich browns and blues. The masterpiece of colonial architecture houses some of the finest examples of Spanish American religious art. Dinner is on your own tonight.

Hotel: Casa Andina Private Collection Arequipa, BL


Day 16

Day 16

Lima—Time on your own

An early morning transfer to the airport for your flight to LIma. On arrival, your guide will collect your luggage and take you to your hotel for check-in. In the afternoon, you may rest or shop, and explore on your own for the rest of the day.  Lunch and dinner are not inlcuded tonight; however there are many fine restaurants in Lima.

Hotel: Hotel B, B


Day 17

Day 17

Time to say goodbye to Peru

Your Southern Peru adventure comes to an end after breakfast. You will be met and transferred back to the airport for your onward travels or your journey home.

Meal: B

 

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