We'll meet you in the Lima Airport upon your arrival and head to the hotel so that you can check in and accommodate your things. In the afternoon we'll tour the most impressive sites of Lima, from the pre-Columbian such as the Huaca Pucllana, the colonial architecture of the city center such as the stately Government Palace and the soaring Basilica Cathedral, and the modern zones of Olivar de San Isidro and seaside Miraflores. During the trip we'll stop at the Museum del Banco Central de Reserva to admire its pre-Incan treasures from civilizations such as the Chavín, Nazca, Paraces, Wari, and Mochica.
After breakfast at the hotel, we'll head back to the airport to catch a 1-hour flight to Cusco. Upon our arrival, you'll have time to rest at the hotel and enjoy a welcoming cup of Coca Tea. In the afternoon, starting at 1:30pm, we'll tour Cusco's most impressive sights, starting with the elaborate Cathedral in the Main Square and Qoricancha, the erstwhile Incan Sun Temple, before working our way through the series of Inca ruins on the outskirts of Cusco, most spectacularly the Fortress of Sacsayhuaman. We'll finish around 6:30pm, just in time to catch a one-hour folkloric dance and music show at 7pm.
After a very early breakfast, we'll depart at six in the morning for Ollantaytambo or Poroy station to catch our train to Aguas Calientes, from where we'll continue by bus to the famous ruins of Machu Picchu. There, our experienced guide will introduce us to the ruin's history, significance, and construction method as we visit the site's most important structures over a two-hour tour. After the guided portion of our tour, you'll have free time to explore the site on your own and take photos before heading back down to Aguas Calientes for lunch. (Lunch is not included but you'll find that Aguas Calientes has many restaurant options.) In the late afternoon we'll catch our return train, arriving in Cusco at approximately 8:00pm.
We'll spend the day touring the fertile Sacred Valley of the Incas, departing Cusco at 8am and first exploring the military and religious ruins of Pisac, it's agricultural terraces, and, depending on the day of the week, also its colorful market. Passing through the picturesque traditional Andean small towns and fields, we'll stop for lunch in Urubamba. In Ollantaytambo, we'll visit the only Inca fortress to have withstood Spanish attack, and in Chinchero we'll observe the Inca walls of its center and the colonial church. We'll arrive back in Cusco at around 7pm.
We'll catch a morning flight from Cusco to Lima, from where we'll catch a 1:00pm bus to Nazca, where we'll arrive at 7:45pm. You'll have the evening free to relax or explore Nazca independently.
Today you'll have the chance to appreciate the massive designs of the Nazca lines as they were meant to be seen- from the sky. In the morning we'll head to the Maria Reiche Airport, where we'll watch a video introduction about the lines and the Nazca civilization before embarking on a 40-min light aircraft flight. You'll see a variety of figures ranging from 15 to 300 meters and representing animal and plant figures such as the famous monkey, spider, and condor. The pilot will tilt and turn as necessary to make sure you have the best views possible of these mysterious lines!
In the afternoon we'll catch a 1:00pm bus to Paracas, where we'll arrive at 4:00 in the evening.
The rocky outcrops off the coast of Paracas Peninsula's subtropical desert, known as the Ballestas Islands, are eroded into attractive arches and caves and house an unexpected sight: large colonies of playful sealions and endangered Humboldt penguins! We'll set off from the port of Chaco by motorboat, stopping along the way to get a view of the enigmatic El Candelabro geoglyph. We'll reach the islands in about half an hour and spend time appreciating their crowded and active colonies. Birdwatchers will also enjoy the hundreds upon hundreds of marine bird species that this refuge shelters. Back at the reserve itself, we'll watch for Peruvian Blue Footed Boobies and Cormorants, flamingos, and endangered sea turtles and other wildlife along its beaches.
We'll catch a bus in the afternoon back to Lima, where we'll arrive around 5:00pm. In Lima you'll be transported to the airport for your outbound flight.