Incas Discovery offers a unique combination of stunning natural sites and cultural heritage. The charming colonial city of Cusco, the world wonder Machupicchu, spotting the Andean condor in one of the deepest canyons on earth, a stay overnight with a local family on one of the islands on Lake Titicaca and explore the city of the kings in Lima. Have all been put together in this amazing 2-week program.
Day 1: Arrive Lima
You are met upon arrival and transferred to your hotel.Overnight: Lima
Day 2: Lima City tour
Today we embark upon a full day guided tour of Lima, visiting the historical center, the Plaza de Armas and the San Francisco Monastery. In the afternoon, we visit the impressive and world-famous Gold Museum, including one of the largest collections of gold pieces beloging to ancient cultures of Peru, as well as fine examples of textiles and weapons.
Day 3: Lima – Arequipa
This morning we fly to Arequipa, where we check in to our hotel upon arrival. The afternoon is devoted to exploring Arequipa, also known as “the White City” due to the predominance of the white volcanic rock called “sillar” used in its buildings. We start our visit in the beautiful Santa Catalina convent, founded in 1580, and located in the historical center of Arequipa, including houses for the nuns, cloisters, narrow streets, kitchens, old ovens and laundry areas that are magnificently maintained. From here, we continue to visit the impressive mummy Juanita, a young Inca girl sacrificed as an offering to the Gods in Inca times, found 20 years ago in the Ampato volcano after the eternal snows of the glaciers were shaken by an earthquake. We continue to the Compañía Church, built by the Jesuit Order, with a beautiful mestizo baroque style façade, an impressive cupola and a famous cloister. We end our visit at the residential districts of Yanahuara and Chilina, offering spectacular views of the Misti volcano in the late afternoon, before returning to the hotel.
Day 4: Arequipa – Colca Canyon
After breakfast, our private transport picks us up from the hotel to start our overland trip towards the Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world. On the way, we go through Pampa Cañahuas and several villages such as Pulpera, Callalli, Sibayo and Tuti, reaching an altitude of 3400 meters above sea level (11,152 ft). We will have the chance to spot herds of alpacas and llamas, and maybe vicuñas as well. Inactive volcanoes as well as geological formations featuring curious shapes caused by erosion are also characteristic along our route. We finally arrive in Chivay, the biggest and most populated village in the Colca Canyon, near which most hotels are located. In the afternoon, we may enjoy a relaxing dip in the lovely hot springs of La Calera, whose waters come naturally hot due to the volcanic presence in the area.
Day 5: Colca Canyon
Today we leave our hotel very early in the morning. We drive across the left side of the canyon to the Condor Cross lookout, where we may have the chance to spot the Andean Condor, considered the biggest bird in the world, with a wing span over 3 meters wide, and also appreciate the impressive depth of the canyon. On our way back to the hotel, we drive through beautiful typical towns, like Yanque and Maca, with charming colonial churches, and we have the opportunity to meet local people with typical needlework dresses. On the sides of the road we can also appreciate hundreds of pre Inca terraces, where people still grow Andean products like corn, quinoa, kiwicha and others. This afternoon we have several options, from hiking with our guide to continue visiting the Colca Valley or just relaxing at our hotel.
Day 6: Colca Canyon – Sillustani – Puno
After breakfast, we begin our overland trip towards Puno. We start driving on a dirt road until we reach the paved road that connects Arequipa with Puno. From here, we continue towards Lake Titicaca, stopping at the Chullpas de Sillustani, an archeological area only 34 km (21 miles) from the city of Puno and one of the most important necropolises in the world. Built by the Collas, the chullpas are gigantic funerary monuments, which stand at 4,000m (13,123 ft), on a plain surrounded by the beautiful Umayo Lake. Upon arrival in Puno, we check in to our hotel.
Day 7: Puno – Lake Titicaca – Uros – Amantani Islands
After breakfast, we will begin our cruise on the highest navigable lake in the world, heading first for the Uros floating reed islands. From here, it is a two hour boat ride to the island of Amantani, where we will spend the night in the homes of the local people. This is a unique opportunity to learn more about the ancestral traditions and daily life of the people who inhabit the Lake Titicaca region. In the late afternoon we will head for the highest part of the island to enjoy the breathtaking sunset over Lake Titicaca. On a clear day it is possible to see the distant peaks of the Cordillera Real in Bolivia.
Day 8: Lake Titicaca – Amantani – Taquile – Puno
After a traditional breakfast we will say goodbye to our hosts and start our return journey. After a lake cruise of approximately 90 minutes, we will visit the neighboring island of Taquile. The inhabitants of island have retained many of the traditions customs and laws established by their Inca ancestors. We will have plenty of time to explore the island, visit the community and their handicraft center, and enjoy a local lunch before boarding our boat again for the return trip to Puno. You will arrive in the city in the late afternoon and you will be transferred to your hotel.
Day 9: Puno – Cusco
After breakfast, we depart by road towards Cusco enjoying the magnificent scenery, first dominated by “pampas” or plains where llamas and alpacas can be spotted and then by the mighty Andean mountains as we approach Cusco.
Day 10: Cusco
Free morning to wander around the charming colonial streets of Cusco and maybe shop for souvenirs or the beautiful alpaca textiles found in several shops around the city. In the afternoon, we explore the city, starting our visit in the Temple of the Sun (Qoricancha), whose walls used to be covered with sheets of gold during the Inca Empire, and then became an important convent with the Spanish colonization. We then continue with a visit to the Cathedral in the Plaza de Armas, which houses some of the most important examples of the famous Cusco school of painting. We finally conclude in the bohemian quarter of San Blas, home to the workshops and stores of the most renowned artisans in Cusco, including Mendivil and Merida. At dinnertime, you may enjoy any of the plenty attractive and delicious gourmet restaurants the city offers.
Day 11: Cusco – Sacred Valley
Early in the morning, we are driven to the Sacred Valley, visiting the archaeological site of Sacsayhuamán on the way. We also stop to learn the ancient weaving techniques used to create Andean clothing at Awanacancha, a breeding center for South American camelids. We visit the Pisaq archaeological site and its colorful market, before we enjoy buffet lunch at the restaurant located in the heart of the sacred valley of the Incas, Urubamba town. In the afternoon, we visit Ollantaytambo, a still-thriving Inca village set below an ancient Inca fortress and temple with stunning views over the valley that makes us feel as if we have stepped back into the 15th century. Return your hotel at the Sacred Valley in the evening.
Day 12: Sacred Valley – Machu Picchu
Early this morning we board the train to Machu Picchu, the “Lost City of the Incas”. We spend the rest of the morning visiting the Sacred Inca citadel, exploring its main temples and hidden corners. We enjoy a delicious buffet lunch at the famous Machupicchu Sanctuary Lodge Hotel, in its unequaled location at the entrance of the Inca Citadel ruins. In the afternoon, we may choose to continue visiting the main ruins, the fabulous Inca Bridge, offering impressive views over Urubamba river.
Day 13: Machu Picchu – Cusco
Free day on your own to continue to explore the pathways of the sacred city before the crowds arrive, or climb the Huayna Picchu (limited spaces), offering impressive views over Machupicchu. Alternatively, we also suggest to stay in Aguas Calientes and visit the local handicraft market before we return to Cusco in the evening on the train.
Day 14: Cusco – Lima
Enjoy a free morning in Cusco before you are transferred to the airport for your flight to Lima for your journey home or connecting flight to continue your travels.
However, since the price per person depends on various factors (date of your visit to Peru, number of people in your party, hotel category requested, type of service preferred, among others), please contact us or go to the Registration section of this website for a detailed program design and pricing of your tour.
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