Cuzco, which in the ancient Quechua language means "navel of the world", was an important hub in Inca times that connected all of South America, from Colombia to the north of Argentina. Today, centuries later, Cuzco continues to be the centre of attention, not only for our neighbouring countries but for the whole world. In its streets, historical centres, churches, pubs and cafés you can hear not only Quechua and Spanish spoken, but such diverse languages as English, French, Japanese and Hebrew. All of them, united by the same experience, found in the charming and fascinating "belly button" of the world.
DAY 1. ARRIVE IN LIMA
check into hotel for a much needed good night's rest. Lodging in Hotel Casino La Hacienda. Miraflores.
DAY 2. LIMA.
A full day to explore parts of Lima. Includes visits to the Museum of gold and the National Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology. We'll take a tour of the center of the city too, the Plaza de Armas. In the evening, it's a taste of Peruvian food and music at one of Lima's night life hot spots. Lodging in Hotel La Hacienda (D)
DAY 3. LIMA TO NAZCA.
Depart Lima by bus for Ica and Nazca with a stop for lunch in Ica. It's a long drive south of Lima on the Panamerican highway, so we will stop for views of desolate beaches and rugged cliffs. After lunch. We continue on to Nazca.
Nazca is the center of a civilization that reached its Zenith in 800 AD. If time permits, we will explore a few of valleys and hillsides around the city, to see ruins of towns, temples and cemeteries, and in some cases exposed bones. Pottery shards and other artifacts strewn on the surface. Lodging in Hotel Casa Andina. (B, L, D).
DAY 4. NAZCA TO PARACAS.
The highlight of the day will be a flight in small planes (3-5 passengers) to see the famous lines of Nazca. The flight is 45 minutes and can be bumpy with tight turns, but in unforgettable. After lunch, a tour of Nazca.
Then we depart by bus for the Paracas Peninsula. In Paracas, we cross the Peninsula for a visit to a rare protected bay and a walk along high cliffs to view seals sunning on rocks and swimming in the pounding surf and, if we are in luck, condors. Lodging in Hotel Casa Andina. (B, L)
DAY 5. ISLAS BALLESTAS TO LIMA.
In the morning; a four hour boat tour takes us to the Ballestas Islands teeming with sea lion colonies. On our return, we will pass a colony of flamingos too.
In the afternoon, we head back to Lima with time to organize back at the hotel for our visit into the Amazon. Lodging, Hotel Casino La Hacienda. Miraflores.
DAY 6. LIMA TO PUERTO MALDONADO EXPLORERS INN
1 1/2 hour flight takes us to Cusco and another short stop to Puerto Maldonado, a boom town set in the midst of the Amazon rain forest. Here we board a motorized dug-out boat for a 4 hr. trip up the Tambopata River and a chance to see black skimmers flying low over the water, and nightjars on exposed sand bars.
Our first introduction to the forest will be a late afternoon walk into the forest ending at sunset, overlooking the river while listening to the haunting calls of tinamous. (B,L,D). Lodging,
DAY 7. EXPLORER’S INN.
Starting just after dawn, we’ll hike through a mosaic of forest types with opportunities to see monkeys, armadillos, peccaries, ant, birds, wood creepers, tangers, euphonies, army ants, and more. Our destination is an old oxbow lake "Condenado" rich in wildlife.
In the afternoon, time for bathing in a clear forest stream, Gallocunca near the lodge, or additional walks in the forest. Lodging, (B, L, D).
DAY 8. EXPLORER’S INN..
After an early breakfast, we’ll hike to anther ox bow lake, Sachavacayoc Lake. The long hike offers sightseeing of more unusual wild life perhaps even a chance to see elusive and endanered bush dog and giant anteater. After dusk, we'll search the river for caimans, and then float downstream in silence, listening for the raucous laugh of the bamboo rat. Lodging, Explorer’s inn.. (B, L, D)
DAY 9. EXPLORER’S INN - TO CUSCO.
A predawn breakfast, and then we return by boat to Puerto Maldonado for a morning flight to Cusco. After lunch, a bus takes us up to the ruins of the fortress at Sacsayhuaman, site of some of the most impressive stone work achieved by the Incas and one of the best views of Cusco.
From here, a 45 minute walk takes us back to Plaza de Armas and our hotel. Evening free for shopping and exploring the Plaza. Lodging in Cusco, Hotel Royal Inca II. (B)
DAY 10. CUSCO-SACRED VALLEY TOUR.
A day-long bus tour of the valley that was the prime agricultural area of the Incas. We will visit market at Chinchero. In addition we will visit the archaeological sites at Ollantaytambo to view terraces, temples and ruins. Lodging in Ollantaytambo. Hotel Pakaritampu.
DAY 11. OLLANTAYTAMBO TO MACHUPICCHU.
From Ollantaytambo we are going to take the train along the Urubamba River to the Machupicchu station. A bus then goes up a series of switch backs some 2000 feet to the ruins. No words can capture the feelings that rise upon first seeing this city, so well preserved on the top of the mountain because it was never found by the Spaniards. It is majestic, spiritual. A guided tour completes the afternoon. Lodging Hotel Inti Inn.. (B)
DAY 12. MACHUPICCHU TO CUSCO.
A full day to continue exploring the city and if you wish, ascend another 1000 ft. to the terraces a top Wayna Picchu for a condor view of Machupicchu. At the end of the day, we take the train back to Cusco. Lodging in Cusco, hotel Royal Inca. (B)
DAY 13. CUSCO TO PUNO.
A nice journey bus transfers us to Puno, about 6 hrs. You will have time to look through the Andes and llamas alpacas and vicuñas reserve zone. Lodging in Puno Hotel Casa Andina Tikarani. (B)
DAY 14. PUNO AND LAKE TITICACA.
We end our tour with Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. Our destination one of the larger islands. Taquile (3 1/2 hours ) where we will disembark to explore the village and part of the island. The people here live by fishing and selling very high quality handcrafts and there are ruins from Inca and Pre-Inca cultures. We return at the end of the day to Puno. Lodging in Puno, Hotel Casa Andina Tikarani.. (B,L,)
DAY 15. PUNO - SILLUSTANI.
Only 20 miles from Puno, on a Peninsula of lake Aymara are characteristic adobe burial towers called chullpas. Set in the bleak desert landscape of these towers are striking some of the largest in the Andes, requiring complex engineering that puzzles archaeologists today. This half-day trip offers a chance to see some of the characteristic birds and plants of the Altiplano too. The afternoon is free. In the evening, a farewell dinner lodging in Puno, Hotel Casa Andina Tikarani. (B, D).
DAY 16. PUNO TO AREOUIPA.
We transfer by bus back to Juliaca, and from there fly to Arequipa. Will explore this beautiful city to see the Cathedral, the Convent of Santa Catalina, which is like a miniature city itself, and sample Andean cuisine at one of the many fine restaurants. Lodging in Arequipa, Hostal Queen’s Villa. (B)
DAY 17. AREQUIPA TO THE COLCA VALLEY.
This is a trip into the heartland of the Andes, through little villages and settlements where rural life goes on much assist has for centuries we will pass the Aguada Blanca National Reserve where vicuña (a type of wild llama) and taruka (a deer native to high altitudes) still can be found. Then we descend to the town of Chivay and stops to walk along the rim road to look for condor. Lodging in the Colca lodge. (B, L, D)
DAY 18. COLCA VALLEY.
More amazing scenary of the canyon. Lodging in the Colca Valley, Colca lodge, visit to the condors Canyon. (B, L, D)
DAY 19. COLCA VALLEY TO AREOUIPA.
More amazing scenary of the canyon and we return via the previous day's route to Arequipa. More free time in the afternoon to explore Arequipa often called Perú most beautiful city. (B,L) Lodging in Arequipa, Hotel Queen’s Villa..
DAY 20. AREOUIPA TO LIMA.
A morning flight to Lima and finality, at the end of the day, we depart for home.