TO THE HEIGHS OF MACHU PICCHU

LIMA - AREQUIPA - COLCA CANYON - CUZCO - MACHU PICCHU

  • Duration
  • 11 days
  • High Light
  • nature, culture and archaeology

You will visit Lima, the capital of Peru, and its incomparable gastronomic multiplicity, then travel to Arequipa city to visit the museum where the Juanita, the frozen maiden, is exhibited.  This Inca princess was sacrificed and buried in the perpetual snow capped mountains of the Andes. You will visit Colca Canyon, one of the deepest in the world, to see the majestic flight of the Condor, the world’s largest bird. You will then visit the green and high jungles of the cloud forest of Peru, where one of the new seven marvels of the world, Machu Picchu is hidden. You will travel there by train from the great city of the Cuzco, located in the heart of the Andes.

DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN LIMA
DAY 2: LIMA CITY TOUR
DAY 3: FLIGHT TO AREQUIPA - AREQUIPA CITY TOUR
DAY 4: COLCA CANYON TOUR
DAY 5: MIRADOR DEL CONDOR VIEW POINT - AREQUIPA
DAY 6: FLIGHT TO CUZCO - TRANSFER TO HOTEL IN URUBAMBA
DAY 7: SACRED VALLEY OF THE INCAS – PISAQ - OLLANTAYTAMBO 
DAY 8: TRAIN TO MACHUPICCHU - CITY TOUR
DAY 9: MACHU PICCHU FREE DAY - TRAIN BACK TO CUZCO
DAY 10: CUZCO CITY TOUR
DAY 11: FREE MORNING IN CUZCO - FLIGHT TO LIMA

ITINERARY:

DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN LIMA

On arrival you will be met by your guide who will escort you to your hotel in Lima. Lima is the capital of Peru. This magnificent city is known as the "City of the Kings" due its rich colonial past.  Lima is also called "The Gastronomic Capital of South America" due its cultural present.

DAY 2: LIMA CITY TOUR

You will visit "The City of the Kings" and will learn about its rich historical past.  You will drive through the districts of Miraflores and San Isidro, which are the most modern and most prosperous districts of Lima. Then you will visit the historical center of the city, which contains the main square called Plaza de Armas. The Cathedral of Lima, the Government Palace and other buildings of Lima’s republican epoch surround the Plaza. From there you will visit the Convent and the Catacombs of San Francisco, the only catacombs in Peru. In the evening you will visit the Larco Herrera Museum. An exceptional panorama of 3000 years of developmental history of Peruvian pre-Columbian Cultures is exhibited in chronological order in the Museum’s galleries.

DAY 3: FLIGHT TO AREQUIPA - AREQUIPA CITY TOUR

You will board your flight to the city of Arequipa. On arrival you will be accompanied to the hotel. In the afternoon you will visit Arequipa, also called "The White City.” The city’s nickname was derived from the use of the building material “sillar,” white volcanic stone, used to construct the churches, convents and mansions in the downtown. You will begin the tour by visiting the Plaza de Armas, home to the Cathedral of Arequipa. You will visit the Santury Museum or Santuarios Andinos Museum, which houses acclimatized glass chambers containing frozen Inca ladies, sacrificed during the 15th century.  These mummies were discovered high in Arequipa's snow-capped mountains in 1995. You will visit the Convent of Santa Catalina, which is one of the most ancient of Peru. It was constructed in the 16th century, and covers an entire downtown city block.

DAY 4: COLCA CANYON TOUR

The Colca Canyon is naturally and culturally beautiful, offering many natural landscapes and innumerable agricultural terraces dating back to pre-Columbian epochs. The Colca River flows at a depth 3140 meters.  Its cultural wealth is depicted in the small villages of the valley. The road leading to the Colca Canyon has an asphalted section and a section without asphalt. You will depart Arequipa on the asphalted section traveling northeast across the Salinas y Aguada Blanca National Reserve. There you will see small American, wild camelidae called vicuñas. They are very graceful, are cinnamon in color and they wool is the finest and most expensive in the entire world. You will stop for photographs, while the guide relates histories of the area and of the vicuñas. You will go across Vizcachani (4800msnm), which is the highest point of the journey and will descend to the valley of the Colca River, where you will spend the night.

DAY 5: MIRADOR DEL CONDOR VIEW POINT - AREQUIPA

You will depart early in the morning to each the view point called “El Mirador del Condor”. Along the way you will enjoy beautiful natural landscapes, the beautiful River, pre-Hispanic tombs, and agricultural terraces more than thousand years old. Your guide will share the culture and traditions of the people who currently live in the valley and their predecessors. On arrival to the Mirador del Condor, you will prepare to spot the condors and enjoy their fabulous morning flight over the deep Colca Canyon. The condor is an Andean mythical bird and is the world’s largest flying bird. In the afternoon you will return to Arequipa city.

DAY 6: FLIGHT TO CUZCO - TRANSFER TO HOTEL IN URUBAMBA

You will board your flight to the city of Cuzco. On arrival, our guide will meet you at the airport and will escort you to your hotel located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. On route you will visit Chinchero, a charming colonial town, where you will visit a small church decorated with impressive colonial murals dating back to the beginning of the 17th century. You will visit Inca ruins decorated with agricultural terraces and will watch a weaving demonstration. Local artisans will demonstrate the weaving of handmade textiles. You will be shown the skills and antique techniques for dying, spinning, and weaving colorful textiles made of llama, alpaca and sheep’s wool.

DAY 7: SACRED VALLEY OF THE INCAS - PISAQ - OLLANTAYTAMBO 

You will motor across the Urubamba River Valley to Pisaq, and will then visit the archaeological site, which includes hundreds of Inca made agricultural terraces and impressive buildings constructed on the mountain. Later you visit the traditional and colorful market of Pisaq. You will have the opportunity to negotiate the prices of your purchases with the local vendors and will not be able to resist trying the famous “empanadas,” made by locals in their traditional mud brick ovens. In the afternoon you will ride for an hour to Ollantaytambo to visit the Inca archaeological site and its 200 steps the Inca temple, located on the mountain. Later you will have the option to visit a local family to see their house, and witness the life style of some families in the Peruvian highlands.

DAY 8: TRAIN TO MACHUPICCHU - CITY TOUR

You will be escorted to the train station at Ollantaytambo to board the train for a dream trip to Machu Picchu. It is a journey of one and a half hours of charming beauty, decorated by lush vegetation. On arrival to Aguas Calientes town, located in a valley, you will walk to catch a bus to Machu Picchu, which is located over the mountain, 25 minutes away. Once there, your guide will show you the ancient city and will share his knowledge about history, architecture and archaeology.  After lunch, you will be able to return to Machu Picchu before going to your hotel.

DAY 9: MACHU PICCHU FREE DAY - TRAIN BACK TO CUZCO

This is a leisure day to visit the area on your own. You can choose to take a walk along the river birdwatching, or go back to Machu Picchu and take any of the available trails for a wonderful photograph session. The most recommended walk is the ascent to the mountain, Huayna Picchu, wherefrom you can see all of Machu Picchu and the mountains surrounding it. In the afternoon you will board your return train to Cuzco.

DAY 10: CUZCO CITY TOUR

You will visit the most important attractions of Cuzco, the former capital of the great Inca Empire. You will visit Qorikancha, also called The Temple of the Sun, located within the Dominican Convent of Santo Domingo. Here you will remain realize the great value that Incas placed on the architecture for the construction of their temples. You will visit the Cathedral of Cuzco, which is one of the largest in Latin America. It contains a great art museum with pieces dating back to the 17th century. Then you will go to Saqsayhuaman archaeological site, with its construction of gigantic stones, some of which are the size and weight of a truck. Later you will visit The Temple of Fertility in Qenqo.

DAY 11: FREE MORNING IN CUZCO - FLIGHT TO LIMA

You will have the morning free to enjoy your last day in Cuzco. In the afternoon you will be escorted to the airport to board your flight to Lima.

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