Peru: The Sun’s Route (EA 102)
A program that highlights the best of Peru. While in Lima we will have the chance to sample Peru’s gourmet foods. We will experience Nazca and Paracas in two days to continue our trip with a flight to Puno to visit the unique Uros and Taquile Islands at Lake Titicaca. From here we make our way to the city of Arequipa to explore the amazing Colca Canyon. At last, but not least, we will travel to Cusco, Valle Sagrado, Ollantaytambo and the unique Machu Picchu.
- Available through the year
- Day 1: Lima
- The adventure begins when we arrive to the capital of Peru, Lima, where we will be transferred to the hotel. We cannot visit Lima without sample Lima’s famous gourmet foods, so today we are going for dinner to one of the best restaurants in Lima. We will have our city tour when we come back to Lima on the last day. (D)
- Day 2: Lima – Paraca
- Today, the tour will unravel fascinating history around the city's major sights, the ancient and the now modern Lima. First, we will head to the ancient colonial area designated by UNESCO as Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 1991. Continuing to the Plaza Mayor, the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, the Archbishop`s Palace, the City Hall and the Desamparados Train Station. We will also go by Plaza San Martin, a large park surrounded by old colonial buildings with beautiful balconies, San Francisco monastery and its famous catacombs. In the afternoon a touristic bus will take us to Paracas, this trip takes about 3.5 hrs, and travels along the southern Peruvian Coast. Night in Paracas. (B, L)
- Day 3: Ballestas Island Excursion – Nazca Lines- Arequipa.
- . After breakfast, an early morning transfer will take us a small local port for a boat ride. On the way, we will pass by the Ballestas Island and El Candelabro. These islands, also known as the Guano islands, and have large concentrations of sea birds and sea lions in their natural environment. The Paracas National Reserve protects the marine life including birds, whales, dolphins, and many types of fish. In the afternoon, a private transport takes us to Nazca so we can fly over the enigmatic Nazca lines; this flight takes 30-minutes and from the air, we will observe shapes of birds, spider, fishes, mammals, and other unidentifiable creatures. These mysterious drawings were created by ancient pre-Incas. Great opportunity to take pictures!. Return to Lima (B)
- Day 4: Lima-Puno.
- On this day, transfer to the airport to fly to Juliaca and then a 30-minute transfer to Puno, the entrance gate to Lake Titicaca. The afternoon is free so we can visit downtown. (B)
- Day 5: Puno: Uros - Taquile.
- We start our day by being picked up from the hotel between 06:45 to 07:00 hours to go to the main port of Puno, here we will embark in a small ship that will take us to the Uros islands. (Travel time approximately 30 minutes). Currently, there are about 57 floating islands and today we will visit two of them. On the first island, the guide will explain everything about the inhabitants of Uros (i.e. history, religion, customs, Islands building, etc). The locals will invite us to visit their homes and to dress up in their typical clothe; at this point we are given the opportunity to visit the second island by taking a reed raft (Uros’s typical boat). Later we continue our trip to Taquile, as soon as we arrive to the port of this island (Salakancha), we start a hike for approximately 50 minutes. On the way, we will enjoy views of amazing landscape, local people, crops and animals. At the end of the hike, members of the local community who have set up lunch, based on local goods, welcome us: quinoa soup, vegetables, grilled trout, and Coca or Muña tee. After, we will go to the family’s house to rest for a little bit, and then we head for the Molusina (Taquile highest point) to see the ceremonial center and to enjoy an amazing sunset. At night, we will share dinner with the local family. (B, L, D)
- Day 6: Taquile-Puno
- This day we wake up early to experience the dawn and sunrise at this unique place. It might be cold so dress up in layers; after breakfast, we can walk around the island. By noontime, we will meet with the rest of the group to enjoy a lunch together at the main square of Taquile’s (on our own). Early afternoon, we start our hike down of 533 stairs while we appreciate the surrounding landscape. Boat ride back to Puno. (B ,L)
- Day 7: Puno-Chivay.
- Today we depart to Chivay; this trip takes about five hours. On the way, we will enjoy the Altiplano scenery. Upon arrival, we will be welcomed and transfer to the hotel. A visit to hot springs is an option for a late afternoon activity. Night in a lodge in Chivay. (B, L)
- Day 8: Chivay-Cruz del Condor in Colca Canyon-Arequipa
- Right after breakfast, we will go for a nice drive heading west to Cruz Del Condor, a good viewpoint that during clear days shows condors that are easy to photograph and observe, as they soar from warm air currents coming from the deep canyon. Later we visit the villages of Pinchollo, Achoma and Yanque. There are several stops at convenient locations as the drive contouring to the right side of the Colca Canyon. Our guide will show us and explain about ancient colcas (or storing) houses and tombs nicely perched along cliffs and other pre-Columbian remains, so we can learn about history of earlier and present occupation of this canyon. Later we will travel back to Chivay for lunch. Our trip back to Arequipa begins in the afternoon, arriving around 18:00 or 19:00 hours. (B)
- Day 9: Arequipa
- On this day, the morning is free to rest or visit by ourselves the center of Arequipa, most known as “The White city”. (B, L) Optional: In the afternoon to take Arequipa city tour, this city reflects a special architectural beauty through the nearly white -colored stone construction of its colonial and republican houses and buildings. Their builders utilized lava rock sliced from several quarries nearby. We are going to explore a beautiful Cathedral and Spanish colonial houses with numerous internal patios made from this material.
- Day 10: Arequipa-Cusco
- After breakfast, we will travel to Arequipa’s airport to fly to Cusco. Upon arrival, welcome from our representative and transfer to the hotel. Early afternoon we start the city tour, visiting colonial and Inca monuments such as the Cathedral, Qoricancha (or Temple of the Sun), and later the colossal Sacsayhuaman Archaeological Park, including the Tambomachay, Q´enq´o and Puca Pucara sites. (B, L)
- Day 11: Sacred Valley
- In the morning we start the excursion to the Valle Sagrado (Sacred Valley of the Incas), famous for its rural landscape and lovely weather. The drive will descend until Pisaq (2,800 m), a small town aside the Vilcanota River, to visit a typical Indian market. There we can observe men, women, and indigenous authorities displaying beautiful and elegant traditional dressing. The market still shows ancient trading traditions among people who come from other small distant villages. Thereafter lunch will be served, and in the afternoon, the tour goes by several towns including Calca and Urubamba, before we arrive in Ollantaytambo, a former agricultural, military, and religious center, where Inca architecture is one of the finest. This center was built to protect the valley against possible invaders, and is presently considered the best preserved and the only living Inca town today. Later, the drive will take us to Chinchero, another small town with a colonial church built on top of Inca foundations. The Chinchero surroundings show an amazing endless mosaic of farming plots and distant views of snow-capped mountain peaks, such as the Chicón and Pitusiray that crown the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Later we arrive to Cusco and transfer to our hotel. (B, L) Optional: Spending the night in Ollantaytambo or sacred Valley
- Day 12: Machu Picchu.
- After breakfast, pick up around 05:30 hrs for a transfer to the train station. The railway journey to Machu Picchu will take three hrs, passing through picturesque Andean scenery, traditional villages, small rivers, and the mighty Vilcanota River in the Valle Sagrado (Sacred Valley of the Incas). The train will continue descending through a cloud forest valley showing one of the most impressive views in Peru, the Canyon and rapids of the Urubamba River and several small Inca sites. The train stops in Aguas Calientes located below 2,000 m, from where we will take a 20-minute bus ride up to the Machu Picchu citadel, perched 500 mts above the Urubamba River. Our guide will explain the history and myths of this archeological wonder built aside a cloaked granite peak, the Huayna Picchu that towers the site. We will learn why Machu Picchu is one of the most magical and mysterious places on Earth. This landscape shows very steep forests hills frequently shrouded in misty clouds and downhill views of the roaring Urubamba River. Later a bus will transfer us to Aguas Calientes for lunch, and in the mid-afternoon, we take the train-bus back to Cusco. Transfer to hotel (B)
- Day 13: Cusco-Lima.
- On the final day of our adventure, transfer to Cusco’s airport to fly back to Lima. Welcome and transfer to the hotel. The afternoon city tour of Lima , will take us to the ancient colonial area --designated by UNESCO as Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 1991--, Plaza Mayor, Presidential Palace, Cathedral, Archbishop`s Palace, City Hall and the Desamparados Train Station. In addition, we go by Plaza San Marti—a park surrounded by old colonial buildings with beautiful balconies-- San Francisco monastery and its famous catacombs. We continue the tour by visiting the modern suburbs of San Isidro and Miraflores where the Financial Center is located. Then we head for San Isidro Golf Course, the Olive Grove Park and the Huaca Pucllana, a pre-Inca pyramid shaped as a temple that survived the expansion of modern civilization. (B)
- Day 14: Lima-Home
- Transfer to airport. (B)
- Transfers in and out
- Train to Machu Picchu on Expedition
- Excursions described in itinerary
- Professional guide
- Breakfast (13), lunch (8) and dinner (2)
- Accommodation on 3 star hotel/hostel (12), local home stay (1)
- Entrance fees
- Flights Lima-Puno, Arequipa-Cusco-Lima
- Local airport taxes
- Personal insurance
- Personal expenses