This itinerary is for 2012 departures.
Check out our new Amazing Peru tour itinerary.
|Itinerary at a Glance|
|2||Lima & Ica|
|3||Nazca Lines & Ica|
|4||Paracas & Lima|
|5||Cusco, Pisac & Sacred Valley|
|9||Cusco & Puno|
|10||Lake Titicaca, Uros & Taquile|
Join us on a fascinating voyage of discovery as we visit some of the most splendid and awesome sites in the world. Peru, like the Parthenon in Greece or the Pyramids of Egypt, provides an unforgettable glimpse of the genius of a lost world. Highlights of this tour include visits to Lima, the City of Kings and the country's capital; Cusco, the 11,000 ft high Inca capital; Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas and one of the most impressive archeological discoveries of all time; and Lake Titicaca, among the highest and most beautiful lakes in the world. You'll also have the special opportunity to fly over the mysterious and breathtaking Nazca Lines, a fascinating wonder of the ancient world.
This is truly an unforgettable, once in a lifetime adventure, full of discovery, beauty, history, culture and more fun than you can imagine. And while there are no compromises in the quality of the hotels and the scope of touring included in our program, it's yours for a price that's as amazing as the trip itself!
Day 1: Depart USA. Your exciting journey to Peru begins this evening as you depart on your flight bound for Lima, Peru's diverse capital city. Upon arrival, after customs formalities, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Accommodations: Sol de Oro.Day 2: Lima & Ica. After a leisurely breakfast, mid-morning departure for Ica, an oasis city that lies in the dune-filled desert coast of Southern Peru. Balance of the day at leisure. Accommodations: Hotel Las Dunas. Breakfast provided.
Day 3: Nazca Lines & Ica. The Nazca Lines remain one of the greatest mysteries of the ancient world. Debate surrounds the origin, function, and creators of these large-scale geoglyphs. However, consensus exists on at least two characteristics of these designs—that they are pre-Inca, and that they are fascinating. Ranging in size from about 300ft to several miles in length, these designs depict not only abstract geometrical figures, but also different plants and animals, such as fish, hummingbirds, and condors. Because of their large size, the designs are best viewed from above. You'll have the opportunity to experience this superb vantage point on a small plane that flies over the Nazca Lines. After this unforgettable experience, return to Ica for overnight. (Note: The Nazca Lines flight excursion is subject to weather conditions.) Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 4: Paracas & Lima. Set out early this morning along the South Pan American Highway to Paracas. Upon arrival at Paracas Bay, board your boat to the Ballestas Islands. As you sail, be on the lookout for the strange cactus-like engraving on the sand cliffs, believed to be created by the designers of the Nazca Lines. Disembark at the Paracas National Reserve, the best shorebird sanctuary in South America. Numerous species of birds (cormorants, gannets, gulls, terns, pelicans, Humboldt penguins and other species), as well as a large colony of sea lions, populate these islands.
This afternoon, return to Lima in preparation for the next exciting leg of your journey. (Note: The boat excursion to Ballestas Islands is subject to weather conditions.) Accommodations: Sol de Oro or similar. Breakfast provided.
Day 5: Cusco, Pisac Market & Sacred Valley. After breakfast, transfer to the airport to board a short morning flight to Cusco, capital of the Inca Empire and located 11,000 feet above sea level. Upon arrival, travel to nearby Pisac, a picturesque Andean village with a wonderful market. Here you'll have a chance to buy locally made ponchos, sweaters and other handcrafted clothing, ceramics and hand-painted beads. Enjoy browsing the "locals" section of the market, where villagers come from miles around, dressed in their traditional clothing, to barter and sell their produce.
Continue to Ollantaytambo, located at the foot of spectacular Inca ruins which protected the strategic entrance to the lower Urubamba Valley, also known as the Sacred Valley. The temple area is at the top of a series of steep terraces which helped provide excellent defenses. Stone used for these buildings was brought from a quarry high up on the opposite side of the Urubamba river-an incredible feat involving the efforts of thousands of workers. The complex, still under construction at the time of the conquest by Spain, was never completed. Accommodations: Casa Andina Private Collection Sacred Valley. Breakfast provided.
Day 6: Machu Picchu. It's a short drive from your hotel to the Ollanta railroad station where you'll board the train that will take you through the lush Urubamba Valley, passing through stunning scenery en route to Machu Picchu, one of the most spectacular and enigmatic archeological sites in the world. Even those who aren't normally excited by archaeology will be impressed by this Lost City of the Incas.
Unknown to the outside world until archeologist Hiram Bingham rediscovered it in 1911, Machu Picchu is now the most recognizable symbol of the Inca Empire. Believed to have served as a country retreat town for Inca nobility, the complex consists of giant walls, terraces, and ramps constructed from precisely cut rock formations. This impressive architectural feat, in combination with its breathtaking natural setting amidst mist-covered green mountains above the rushing Urubamba River, makes for a visually stunning, and even mystical, experience. Return to Cusco for overnight. Accommodations: Posadas del Inca Hotel Cusco on Mar 13, 2012 departure, Casa Andina Private Collection Cusco or similar on all others. Breakfast provided.
Day 7: Cusco. This afternoon, a panoramic tour takes you to the main sites of this impressive city. You'll see the Plaza de Armas, center of the Inca Empire, where Francisco Pizarro proclaimed the conquest of Cusco. Here, you'll find Cusco's beautiful 16th century cathedral, built on the ruins of the Koricancha, an important Inca temple to the Sun God. During Inca times this temple was literally covered with gold, but within months of the arrival of the first conquistadors, this incredible wealth had all taken as treasure for Spain. Breakfast provided.
Day 8: Cusco. Enjoy a full day at leisure for sightseeing and shopping in Cusco. Your tour guide will gladly offer suggestions for independent exploration. Breakfast provided.
Day 9: Cusco & Puno. Take a drive of unbelievable beauty through the Andes and toward the Altiplano and Lake Titicaca. Driving from Cusco to Puno through the Andes, you reach an elevation of more than 14,000 feet at La Raya (the apex between the Andes and Altiplano) as you pass through tiny villages of craftsmen, potters and weavers, farms, waterfalls, clear blue sky, deep blue water and dry, reddish-brown landscape. Have cameras charged and ready for the incredible panoramic shots you'll want to take along the way. En route, enjoy a buffet lunch at a local restaurant.
Later today, arrive in Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca, 12,500 feet above sea level. Accommodations: Posadas del Inca Hotel Puno on Mar 13, 2012 departure, Casa Andina Private Collection Puno or similar on all others. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 10: Lake Titicaca, Uros & Taquile. This morning you'll visit beautiful, Lake Titicaca, the largest lake in South America and, according to Andean legend, the birthplace of civilization. Legend holds that Mama Ocllo and Manco Capac, the founders of the Inca Empire, appeared from the deep waters of this lake.
A highlight of your tour is a visit to the floating island of Uros, where many of the inhabitants still practice the old traditions of fishing, trapping birds, weaving and sailing in boats and living in houses made of totora reeds which grow abundantly in the lake.
Continue to Taquile, the largest island on the Peruvian side of the lake. Taquileños, the Island locals, are famous for their beautiful woven goods, widely regarded as some of the highest quality handicrafts in Peru. Here, you'll also be able to take in breathtaking views of the lake, which looks like an ocean surrounded by mountains. Return to Puno this afternoon. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 11: Lima. After breakfast this morning, transfer to the airport for your short flight back to Lima. This afternoon, embark on a city tour of both modern and colonial Lima. See the historical center and the San Francisco Church as well as Plaza de Armas and the Government Palace. Visit the fashionable districts of San Isidro and Miraflores with their beautiful parks and elegant residences facing the ocean.
Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner with your travel companions. Accommodations: Sol de Oro. Breakfast & dinner provided.
One of best trips we have taken. Everything was first rate! If you are new to Friendly Planet, you will be telling all your friends about them. Peru is a wonderful destination.
— Byron Collins, Long Valley, NJ