This high-altitude adventure, combining ﬁrst class hotels with scenic rail journeys unveils The Lost city of Machu Picchu and the treasures of Peru.
An experience you will never forget awaits you in this South American paradise on a tour. It includes Lima, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, Arequipa, and Cusco.
Day 1 - Lima
Meet your group and tour Manager at the Casa Andina Select Miraflores Hotel for an 8:00 pm dinner. —Overnight Lima.
Day 2 - Lima
Today we enjoy a guided tour of Peru's thriving capital. The tour takes us to the historic center of colonial Lima. Lima is home to the church of Saint Francis and the impressive cathedral. You will find mixture of architectural styles, including Gothic and Neoclassical of this grand Cathedral.
Next, visit the Miraflores district, a premier shopping area that mixes modern architecture with more traditional stalls. Here, we see the Plaza de Armas. Plaza de Armas, surrounded by yellow-fronted buildings, and the Convento de San Francisco, a stunning example of baroque architecture named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991. Later, we have lunch at a local restaurant. Exploring Lima at your own pace for the rest of the day. —Overnight Lima.
Day 3 - Travel to Arequipa
This morning, we board our flight to the 'White City' of Arequipa. We explore Arequipa on a guided tour after lunch at a local restaurant.
This tour includes the enormous complex of monastic buildings of the Santa Catalina Convent. Founded in 1580, you find it is beautifully refurbished with paintings and period furniture. Behind the closed doors, the nuns - daughters of aristocrats - paid little attention to the vows of silence and poverty. Each had her servant and porcelain plates, fine tablecloths, and silver cutlery.
The convent is a miniature walled colonial town in the middle of the town. There are flower-filled gardens, granite fountains, spacious patios, arches, and narrow streets. The tile-roofed buildings, painted in traditional white, brown, and blue, house about 20 nuns who still live in an area of the convent, much more piously. It was once home to as many as 500.
In the Iglesia de La Compañía, we visit the San Ignacio de Loyola Chapel, a marvel of beauty and color with stunning murals showcasing South America's incredible jungle flora and fauna. —Overnight Arequipa.
Day 4 - Day at leisure Arequipa
You are free to explore Arequipa further. —Overnight Arequipa.
Day 5 - Colca Canyon
We travel to Colca Canyon this morning, stopping along the way at the National Reserve of Pampa Canahuas and the quaint village of Chivay, which continues to have its delightfully traditional stone buildings, and even has an 'Inca' bridge nearby. —Overnight Colca Canyon.
Day 6 - Mirador Cruz del Condor
Colca Canyon is home to the legendary condor. Today we visit 'Mirador Cruz del Condor,' the perfect viewpoint from which to spot these magnificent creatures soaring on the thermal air currents. Your afternoon is at leisure. —overnight Colca Canyon.
Day 7 - Travel to Puno
Today we depart by coach to Puno, enjoying scenic stops along the way. During the journey, we will reach heights of up to 4,500 meters (14,700 feet) above sea level, where the air is much thinner than at lower altitudes. However, this elevation allows us to enjoy fabulous views across the Andes. —Overnight Puno.
Day 8 - Lake Titicaca
From Puno, today we enjoy an excursion to Lake Titicaca. We cruise across to Uros floating islands to see excellent flotillas made out of totora reeds and populated by the enterprising Uros people. Next, we continue to Taquile, home to the Aymara, a Spanish-speaking people who live in an almost economically autonomous community. Today we will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. —Overnight Puno.
Day 9 - PeruRail Titicaca Train
We board the luxury PeruRail Titicaca Train to Cusco. While aboard we take in the beautiful Andean landscapes.
Cusco is a city of true beauty, regarded as the 'Archaeological Capital of the Americas,' with a nice blend of indigenous and colonial Spanish architecture. One of the most impressive architectural attractions is the excellent Inca walls, created from huge granite blocks carved to fit together perfectly without the aid of mortar beds. It's a lasting tribute to the ingenuity of the Incas that their anti-seismic design has survived the test of time. This is especially true when compared to the Spanish colonial architecture that has been rebuilt several times after a wave of earthquakes that have hit the city. —Overnight Cusco.
Day 10 - Cusco
Today we go on a sightseeing tour of this ancient capital in Plaza de Armas, the historic center, and the San Pedro market. Another destination we visit on this tour is the Temple of Koricancha, meaning 'Temple of the Sun', which dates back to Incan times. The temple was one of the most important temples to the Incas. However, the war with the conquistadors from Spain in the 16th century destroyed it and brought it to ruin. The temple was filled with incredible golden artifacts, with the walls covered in gold. This incredible display led the Spanish to describe the aptly named Temple of the Sun as 'fabulous beyond belief.'
Tomorrow we visit Machu Picchu! —Overnight Cusco.
Day 11 - Machu Picchu
Our journey today takes us to the tour's highlight as we embark on the scenic rail route to Aguas Calientes to visit the 'Lost City of the Incas': Machu Picchu.
One of the most impressive sights in the world greets us after a winding bus ride takes us up to the city itself. Our local expert explains the fascinating history of this awe-inspiring site that was forgotten for 400 years and remained undiscovered until 1911. Machu Picchu is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Next, we board the train and travel to Ollantaytambo, transferring by coach to our hotel. —Overnight Ollantaytambo.
Day 12 - Chinchero
We admire the city's impressive fortress. Even in ruins, it is an incredible sight to behold. Make your way next to Chinchero by coach to experience the unique Sunday market. Also visit its church and see some traditional weaving techniques. —Overnight Ollantaytambo.
Day 13 - Pisac
Driving to Pisac today, we enjoy walking around the Inty Huatana fortress. Look hard and you may find the ancient Intihuatana ritual stone, used as an astrological clock by the Incas. Translated, 'Intihuatana' means 'the Hitching Post of the Sun.'
Returning to Cusco this afternoon, we stop off at the Awanachancha Textile Centre on the way. We meet the llamas, guanacos, vicunas, and alpacas who donate their coats to be transformed into various colorful clothes.
Day 14 – Return Home
Your trip ends following an internal flight to Lima.
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