We'll be waiting for you at the Lima Airport when your flight arrives in order to transport you to the hotel and answer whatever questions you may have regarding the itinerary. You'll have the afternoon free to accomodate yourselves, as the following day we'll be getting quite an early start.
You'll be picked up at your hotel and transported to the Cruz del Sur bus station where you'll have a fully reclinable seat in "Bed Service", which will allow you to get some more rest as we approach our destination. Switching from bus to car for the final stretch, we'll continue until we reach our destination at Chaco Port.
At Chaco Port a motorboat will be waiting to take us to the the rocky outcrops collectively known as the Ballestas (Archers' Bows) Islands, a half an hour away by boat. We'll stop en route so that you can view the mysterious El Candelabro geoglyph before arriving at the islands, home to an astounding amoung of marine life, including large sea lion and Humboldt penguin colonies, as well as fur seals, marine otters, thousands of migratory and resident sea birds. .
After visiting the Ballestas Islands we'll return to the port in Paracas Bay and begin the second half of today's excursion, Paracas National Reserve. We'll spend about four hours exploring the land area of the reserve, which provides refuge to thousands of resident and migratory birds, visiting the reserve‘s Center of Interpretation, stopping at a lookout on the isthmus which presents the beaches in all of their glory and allow for some stunning photos of the desert and the Pacific Ocean.
In the afternoon we'll head to the Cruz del Sur Terminal to board a bus en route to Nazca, a 4-hour trip, where we will spend the night.
You'll be picked up at your hotel or hostel and we will head to the Maria Reiche Aerodrome, where we'll watch a video introduction to the Nazca civilization before a 40min light-aircraft flight over the famous Nazca Lines. Covering miles of the desert floor and only viewable from the sky, their purpose is still unclear; researchers theorize that they were created to please the gods, as ceremonial pathways or as the world's largest astronomical calendar. You'll see geometric designs as well as representations of people, animals, and flowers.
We'll head southeast of Nazca through the desert along the Panamericana Sur en route to the Cemetery of Chauchilla. During our visit you'll witness how the arid climate and a resin applied during burial rites have left us with astonishingly well-preserved mummies of the Nazca Civilization. Despite the weight of a thousand years some bodies retain their hair and skin tissue.
During our return to Nazca we will stop at the workshop of a potter well-versed in the local tradition to learn more about the famously intricate polychrome pottery of the Nazca. We'll then make one last stop to learn about the fascinating traditional method for extracting gold for artisanal purpose through the use of large mortars, water, and quicksilver.
You will be taken back to your hotel in Nazca. At the appropriate time we will head to the Cruz del Sur terminal to where we will board a bus to Arequipa. ("Bed Service"). It is a 10 hour trip, and upon our arrival in Arequipa you will be transported to the hotel in Arequipa.
Pickup at the hotel for a trip through the idyllic countryside of Arequipa. Our first stop will be Yanahuara District, with its elaborately carved San Juan Bautista Church, an excellent representation of the famous white sillar, volcano ash, buildings with intricate facades that gave Arequipa its nickname, "The White City". From the 19th century Yanahuara Viewpoint, with its engraved stone arches you'll see the entire city from a new vantage point, along with El Misti volcano. We'll also be able to appreciate the views from the next looking-point, Carmen Alto, which will introduce to us the Chilina Valley.
We'll visit the stately 400 year old waterfall-powered Sabandia Stone Mill and the rural and traditional area of Paucarpata, where we'll appreciate a striking set of Inca and pre-Inca terraces still in use along which wander alpacas and vicuñas. After visiting Paucarpata's Plaza we'll continue onward to the 16th century Founder's Mansion (Goyeneche Palace).
You can sample traditional Arequipan treats at the Tingo food court before we ascend to Sachaca, where we'll pass the houses stacked up on the hillside like stairs and pass through the Main Square with its centuries-old Roman-inspired church with white bell-house. Our goal is one final lookout from which to learn about Arequipa. From here you'll see the city in its entirety, the three volcanoes, the countryside, Tiabaya, Goyeneche Palace, and Hunter District.
Our final stop is the 19th century iron Bolívar Bridge designed by Gustavo Eiffel, of Eiffel Tower fame, and shipped over in parts from Europe.
The passengers will be picked up at the hotel to begin their journey along the north road en route to Chivay on the upper Colca River, which despite being a small town is still the largest in the Colca Canyon. Our route will border the snow-capped Chachani and conical El Misti Volcanoes. We'll stop briefly in the Pampas Cañahuas of the Salinas y Aguada Blanca National Reserve in order to see the grazing vicuña herds this refuge protects. We'll also pass the tocra, a habitat of local and migratory birds, before arriving in Chivay.
We'll stop for lunch at a local restaurant before heading to the hostel to accomodate ourselves.
You'll have some time to explore and perhaps visit the La Calera Thermal Baths.
Dinner with folkloric music and dance from the area and the night in a hotel.
After breakfast we'll head towards the most famous viewing platform in Colca Canyon, Condor's Crossing (Cruz del Cóndor), where you'll not only be able to appreciate the grandeur and depth of one of the world's deepest canyons (beaten only by nearby Cotahuasi), but also observe the endangered Andean Condors at close range. These massive birds- the world's largest bird of flight!- rise like clockwork from their nesting colony deep beneath the viewing platform and circle ever higher in search of food. Riding the rising thermals as the sun begins to the warm the canyon air, they gracefully soar without needing to flap their wings. We'll stay for about an hour and a half.
We'll visit the traditional canyon towns of Pinchillo, Maca and Yanque, visiting colonial churches and agricultural terraces.
Arrival in Chivay, lunch, and return to Arequipa.
Arrival in Arequipa and transfer to the hotel.
We'll take the Cruz del Sur bus from Arequipa to Puno, an approximately 6-hour trip. ("Bed Service") You'll be picked up at the Cruz del Sur Terminal in Puno and transported to the hotel in Puno so that you may accomodate yourself. In the afternoon you'll have the option of participating in a tour of the Sillustani Chullpas (Burial Towers) or have a free afternoon.
It will take about 45 minutes to reach the Sillustani Tombs from Puno, stopping en route to visit to Yana Mayo Look-out and passing the bucolic countryside of AtÃƒÂºn Colla District. When we reach the pre-Inca ruins, located on a cold hilltop overlooking Lake Umayo, we'll have a guided visit of the burial towers, where mummies in the fetal position were housed while awaiting their rebirth. This area, Chucuito Peninsula, has been populated for over 12000 years, from the Caluyo Period through the Lupaca Kingdom of Tiahuanaco and the Inca Empire. Thus, the funeral towers, cerramics, subterranean tombs, stone baths, and other sights you will see here were used by the Aymara speaking Pucará and Kolla peoples as well as the conquering Inca.
Return to the hotel.
Pickup from the hotel and transfer to the port. After boarding our motorboat we'll head towards the Floating Islands of Uros, about 30 minutes away, crossing the massive Lake Titicaca (3821 meters above sea level), the world's highest navigable lake and enjoying the colorful marine birds and aquatic plants which make their home in its cold, flat waters. The famouse manmade islands belong to one of America's oldest cultures, the Aymara-speaking Uros Tribe (kot-suña, people of the lake) and are made from same tortora reeds which also provide housing, sustenance and transport.
Visit to the Island of Amantani, whose Quechua-speaking inhabitants are known for their textiles and ceramics.
We will share a traditional meal with a local family.
Hike to the Temple of Pachatata (Father Earth) or Pachamama (Mother Earth), each located on a different hill. We'll have a guided tour of the Inca and Tiwanaku ruins of one of these.
Folkloric music and dance show.
Dinner in the homes of local families, where we will spend the night.
Today's breakfast will be our final meal with the Amantani families.
Transport by motorboat to the traditional Island of Taquile where we'll have a hike followed by some free time to enjoy the landscape and local customs and have lunch. Life on the island is simple and collectivist, based on fishing and farming. UNESCO proclaimed Taquile and its colorful textiles, regarded among Peru's highest-quality handicrafts, "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity".
Descending along the opposite side of the island, 530 steps, we'll return to the motorboat and begin the return trip to Puno.
Arrival in Puno and transfer to the hotel.
You'll be picked up at the hotel and taken to the bus Terminal. Today we will be travelling along "The Route of the Sun" from the origins of the Inca Civilization in Puno to where they would eventually settle and found their capital in Cusco.
We will set off en route to Cusco, stopping first at Pukara where we will have a guided tour of the archeological museum.
We'll arrive at La Raya in Puno, the highest point of today's journey, allowing for excellent views of the snowy peaks of the Andean range and grazing llamas and vicuñas.
We'll arrive in Sicuani, where we'll enjoy a delicious buffet lunch in a local restaurant.
We'll stop in Raqchi to explore the ruins of the Sanctuary of Wiracococha, a supreme Inca deity.
We'll stop in Andahuaylillas (Copper Field) to visit San Pedro Chapel, a colonial art treasure often referred to as the "Sistine Chapel of America". Despite its rustic surroundings and simple exterior it boasts a stunning interior whose every surface is covered in richly colored ornate murals with Amazonian gold-leaf.
Arrival to the City of Cusco and transfer to the hotel.
Pickup from the hotel for a tour of Cusco's historical monuments, with transport between sites provided by tourist bus.
We'll begin by visiting the 17th century baroque Cathedral, which boasts hundreds of paintings by the lauded Cusco School (including Zapata's Last Supper with Andean guinea pig gracing the table), María Angola, the largest bell in South America, various chapels filled with masterpieces of precious materials, including the Señor de Temblores (Lord of the Earthquakes) crucifix credited with saving Cusco during the 1650 earthquake. Then we'll go further back in time to Cusco's pre-Hispanic religious center, Qoricancha (Golden Temple), the Temple of the Sun, where offerings were rendered to the supreme Inca deity, Inti.
Along the outskirts of Cusco we'll be awed by the massive stones of Sacsayhuaman Fortress before continuing on to Qenqo (Labyrinth/Zigzag), an astronomical calendar and shrine consecrated to the Pachamama earth deity, the Inca Baths of Tambomachay (Resting Place), with its artificial waterfalls, and Puka Pucara, thought to have been a fortress guarding the entrance to Tambomachay.
We will be transferring passengers to their respective hotels.
We'll set off by tourist bus to the Sacred Valley, traveling about an hour.
If it is a market day, you'll have time to explore the popular Pisaq Artisanal Market before we begin our guided visit of the Inca ruins of Pisaq, which include the Pisaqa agricultural terraces, Intihuatana Sun Temple, and Q\Ã¢Â€Â˜allaqasa Fortress.
We'll stop in Urubamba at midday for a buffet lunch.
At Ollantaytambo, we'll observe how the town has been built atop original Inca foundations, allowing for the best-preserved examples of Incan urban planning. We'll then visit the ruins, the Fortress of Ollantaytambo, defendor of the strategic entrance to the lower Urubamba Valley and the only Inca stronghold to have successfully resisted Spanish attack.
At the colorful Andean village of Chinchero overlooking the Sacred Valley, thought to have been the country resort of Inca Tupaq Yupanqui, we'll explore the Inca ruins and 17th century adobe church with elaborate murals, both in the main square.
Return to Cusco and transfer to the hotel.
Hotel pickup and transfer to the Ollantaytambo Train Station.
The train will take about 1 hour and 30 minutes to arrive at its final destination, colorful Machu Picchu Pueblo (colloquially known as Aguas Calientes), the base-town for visiting the Machu Picchu Archeological Complex.
Arrival at Aguas Calientes and transfer from the station to the hotel. We will
have the afternoon free to explore. You can take advantage of this time to visit the thermal baths for which Aguas Calientes was named.
Our guide will visit us at the hotel to brief us on our schedule for the following day. (Sometimes departure and tour times are altered to accomodate climbing Huayna Picchu Peak, etc.)
At the agreed upon time, we'll take the bus to Machu Picchu.
The guided visit will last approximately 2 hours, afterwhich you will have free time to explore on your own and take all the photographs you desire. The guide will teach you about the history and significance of the key areas, explaining to you the enduring mysteries of these ruins of astonishing stonemasonry and terraces in the Andean heights.
We will take the return bus to Aguas Calientes so that you will have the opportunity to have lunch.
We will board the train en route to the Poroy (20 minutes outside of Cusco) where transport to Cusco will be waiting.
Arrival to Cusco and transfer to the hotel.
You'll be picked up at your hotel in Cusco at the indicated time and taken to the airport to catch the flight to Puerto Maldonado, about an hour. Upon your arrival to Puerto Maldonado we'll visit the market. Depending on your time of arrival we may enjoy lunch in the city or back at the lodge. At the port we'll board our boat and set off along the Madre de Dios River en route to the lodge, about an hour away, where everyone will then receive their room assignments.
On this day we'll visit the river's Monkey Island, which hundreds of monkeys call home (including black spider monkeys, capuchins, pygmy marmosets, and squirrel monkeys, among others). We'll return to the inn for dinner and in the night you will have the option to participate in nocturnal activities or not.
We'll begin our day with a satisfying breakfast and then begin our 1½ hr walk through virgin jungle to Sandoval Lake. The striking plant life you'll observe includes orchids and the 10-15ft plantanillos. We'll search the waters for piranhas and Paiches, which are considered "living fossils" and tend to be around 6.6ft. We'll see animals such as giant otters, Cayman alligators and wild chickens. Those who choose can take a refreshing dip in the waters.
Lunch will be served during the trip and dinner will be back at the lodge, where there'll be optional nocturnal activities.
This day includes all meals and excursions- you are only responsible for your personal items.
In the morning after breakfast we will visit a native community with those who conviveremos ancentrales and learn their customs and why not buy some of its hand made crafts.
In the afternoon we‘ll have fun fishing in the river, with a bit of luck and skill we will be able to catch some catfish, sardines or even some piranha.
Return to the lodge where we will have dinner and rest.
Departing very early, we'll travel upriver by boat to a parrot clay lick, a wall rich in minerals and salt where hundreds of green parrots gather to feed in the early hours. We'll have breakfast here and spend 1½ hours watching the clay lick come alive with color, movement, and sound before returning to the Inn for lunch and then heading to the city of Puerto Maldonado where you will catch your flight to Lima.
The flight will take about an hour and half and at Lima you will be taken to your hotel, after which you will have the afternoon free.
Hotel Pickup and transport to the stone ruins of Pachacamac Sanctuary, 1 hour south of Lima. Here the Wari rendered cult to their supreme deity, Pachacamac. It reached its zenith of influence in the 6th century (although built a century before) with the rising fame of its oracle. Along the way to the ruins we'll drive along the shores of the beaches of Lima (Miraflores, Barranco, and Chorillos). We will make a brief stop at the Los Pantanos de Villa Natural Reserve (Town Marshlands), which along with other creatures, protects 150 bird species.
The guide will visit the archeological complex's key sights with you, climbing the Great Pyramid and visiting the trapezoidal Temple of the Sun, which housed the oracle, and the Acllahuasi, House of the Chosen Women. At the Site Museum you'll see the relics unearthed here, including a carved totem recovered from the painted temple, believed to represent Pachacamac. You'll have free time for lunch before we begin the return trip to Lima.
Arrival in Lima and transfer to the hotel.
At the appropriate time you will picked up at your hotel and transported to the Lima Airport to board your outgoing flight.