Get lost in magical Peru, home to the world’s largest rainforest and the mystical ruins of the Incans. Beginning in Lima, observe how this city has retained its traditional flavor through the centuries and how much religious art has influenced its founding. Discover the colors of Cusco and the Incan temples in Urubamba Valley before attempting to unravel the mysteries behind the glorious lost city of Machu Picchu. Learn from local villagers what it was like during pre-Inca times and how they maintain their traditions today. Your accommodations provide comfort worthy of the Incan gods as you fall under the delightful spell of Peru
Moderately Active. May involve some moderate hikes in forests and nature reserves, getting in and out of vehicles and rocking boats, and walking in uneven pavement in archaeological sites, in some cases in extreme weather conditions, heat, high elevation and humidity.
The only thing predictable about Peru's weather is its unpredictability. In fact, it's not uncommon to experience all four seasons in a single day. Generally speaking, Peru has two seasons, wet and dry, but in a country as geographically diverse as Peru, local weather patterns vary greatly. In the highlands, the dry season is between June and October. The desert coast is arid. From January to March the sky is clear and the air tends to be hot and sticky. Peruvians go to the beach at this time. The rest of the year the gray coastal mist known as garua moves in. For the Inka Trek, it’s best to travel during the drier season, between April and October. The Amazon experiences rain, heat and more rain and heat – the wettest months are December through May, but even then it rarely rains for more than a few hours at a time and the water levels are high, meaning you do more boat activities, as opposed to the dry month when you can do more trekking.
Board your flight in Miami en route to Lima. Upon arrival, you will be met and escorted to your home in the trendy area of Miraflores. CASA ANDINA SELECT MIRAFLORES.
Discover the faded grandeur of Lima’s beautiful Spanish colonial past on a guided tour. Visit the Plaza de Armas, (the main square), with the government palace, the Archbishop palace, and the Cathedral. This area of magnificent colonial and republican-style buildings was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991. Visit the Larco Museum renowned for its considerable collection of ceramics, metals and textiles produced by the best local master craftsmen, before ending your tour in the charming suburban areas of San Isidro and Miraflores where you can enjoy the spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy a welcome dinner featuring Peruvian foods at La Huaca Pucllana, located in a preColumbian temple within a 15-acre archaeological site. CASA ANDINA SELECT MIRAFLORES. (B,L,D)
Explore the heart of the Urubamba Valley, the sacred valley of the Incas. A number of Incan ruins lie within the valley and it has an extensive irrigation system with natural springs flowing through it. Enjoy a weaving demonstration by renowned weaver and scholar Nilda Callanaupa. She is also director of The Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco where young women are taught traditional weaving techniques, in addition to housing a museum and a weaving cooperative. Her textiles have been featured in Peru, the United States and elsewhere. Spend the next day at the native community in Cuyuni, just an hour outside of Cusco. Unlike the other civilizations in Peru, the Cuyuni people have managed to keep their culture alive and have thrived as a community. They are constantly looking for ways to improve their lives through farming, tourism and trying new technologies. You will enjoy a lunch of local cuisine here and have an opportunity to learn from the villagers about ancestral traditions and pre-Inca life. In the evenings, return to your mountain chalet retreat with unobstructed views of the sacred valley. CASA ANDINA SACRED VALLEY. (B,L Daily)
Board your train for a scenic journey to Machu Picchu, the mountain-top city of the Incas that remained hidden from the world until 1911. Machu Picchu straddles a high ridge with sheer cliffs on three sides, and the Urubamba River curves around the precipice’s base, filling the canyon with its roar. There are Andean peaks in all directions, covered in cloud forest green; the most immediate, Huayna Picchu lies across the river gorge from the site. Amidst a spectacular setting of ancient ruins and lofty peaks, one can find temples, houses, terraces that could be used today for growing crops, gardens, and a sacrificial altar. No one knows what happened to this civilization and why this city mysteriously disappeared from memory, which adds to the allure and spirituality of this incredible World Heritage site. Your contemporary hotel is located in the commercial village of Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes). EL MAPI HOTEL. (B,L,D)
This morning you will enjoy further sightseeing of Machu Picchu as well as a trek to the citadel of Winaywayna, which is located only 5 kms from Machu Picchu, passing by the Inti Punku via the Inca trail. Known as the Sun Gate, Inti Punku is believed to have been a place to control ingress into the citadel beyond. At sunrise, the sun shines between the two great stones of the gate, hence the name. You need to be physically fit for this trek, as it is quite steep and the terrain is rough in high altitude. In the afternoon, you will be returning to Cusco via rail and bus and will check into your hotel, located just around the corner from Plaza de Armas. Your evening is at leisure. Peru is known the world over for its gastronomy and Cusco has plenty of restaurants to pick from. CASA ANDINA CLASSIC PLAZA. (B)
Cusco is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the Western Hemisphere. Wherever you look, there’s a lot of color and excitement. It’s not unusual to see the natives dressed in traditional clothing, walking with their llamas n tow in the surrounding hills. Your excursion will include such archaeological treasures as the ancient Inca Temples of the Sun and the Moon; the gigantic Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman; the Kenko amphitheatre with its unusual stone carvings; and Tambo Machay, the traditional bathing place for the Inca royalty which has a water source that remains a secret to this day. Tonight enjoy dinner at Pacha Papa, where the cooks have managed to recreate Peru’s regional foods using clay pots and wood burning ovens. CASA ANDINA CLASSIC PLAZA. (B,D)
Your flight this morning returns you to Lima where the rest of your day is at leisure. A dayroom is provided for you at CASA ANDINA SELECT MIRAFLORES. Later return to the airport for your flight home. (B)
Extend your Peruvian adventure to Puerto Maldonado, situated at the confluence of the mighty Madre de Dios and Tambopata Rivers. This bustling, booming tropical frontier town’s principal activities are gold mining, Brazil nut collecting, timber extraction, agriculture and ecotourism. In Tambopata Reserve discover the ecological wonders of the rainforest. By day, enjoy hiking through trails in search of macaws, parrots, otters and turtles while by night you may observe the nocturnal amphibians and insects hiding in the dark forest. Ecology walks take you through the different forest strata, from primary to floodplain forest, and a visit to a native slash and burn farm teaches you how this agricultural system thought to be wasteful can actually be sustainable over a long period of time. Your guides from the native community will teach you about medicinal plants and show you clay licks laden with parrots and oxbow lakes frequented by giant otters, turtles and Hoatzins.
Does not include international or domestic flights. Prices are based on 10 or more travelers, and are subject to change.
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