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Package details include
Your adventure begins with two days in the capital city of Lima exploring museums, markets and historic sights. Visit the Larco Herrera Museum where you have a chance to study its world-renowned collection of pre-Columbian artifacts. Stand in the impressive Plaza Mayor, see the interior of the 17th-century Cathedral and enjoy a guided stroll through Barranco, an historic district revitalized with artist studios and cafes. In the Sacred Valley of the Incas, see indigenous wildlife on a visit to the Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary and browse the Pisac Market, a traditional market where you can purchase handmade goods from local craftspeople. Tour the spectacular Inca fortress of Ollantaytambo which the Inca successfully defended against the Spanish. And witness a Tribute to the Earth ceremony performed by a village shaman. This traditional ritual is still observed by the indigenous people of Peru as a way to pay respect to Mother Earth.
Then travel by rail to one of ancient wonders of the world, the mountain citadel of awe-inspiring Machu Picchu. One of the world’s most mysterious, magical destinations and the icon of ancient Inca civilization, Machu Picchu is an architectural masterpiece shrouded in clouds atop a lush jungle mountain ridge. Your expert guide will lead you through the enchanting stonework ruins and agricultural terraces, highlighting structures such as the Temple of the Sun and Watchman’s Hut. You’ll be able to explore this fascinating site over two days since your tour includes an overnight stay at the deluxe Inkaterra El Pueblo Resort, set in a cloud forest at the base of Machu Picchu. Savor the experience of ascending to Machu Picchu the following morning to see the sunrise, a truly unforgettable sight!
Conclude your journey with two days in Cuzco, the ancient capital of the Inca. Experience two historical eras with a tour of Colonial Cuzco followed by a visit to the archaeological wonder of Sacsayhuaman, a UNESCO World Heritage site and testimonial to Incan architectural skills. Explore these imposing ruins built from massive limestone blocks cut with such precision that they fit together without mortar like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Conclude your exploration of this Andean nation with an exclusive visit to the remote mountain village of Cuyuni. Enjoy the opportunity to meet with the local people and learn about their culture and way of life.
• 9 nights in deluxe and first-class hotels: 3 nights in Lima, 2 nights in the Sacred Valley, 1 night at Machu Picchu and 3 nights in Cuzco
• 16 meals - Daily breakfast, 4 lunches and 3 dinners
• On-tour transportation and 2 internal flights; includes oxygen-equipped vehicles in Cuzco to ensure your comfort at high altitude
• Services of a professional trip leader
• Comprehensive escorted sightseeing with all entry fees
• Hotel to hotel baggage handling
June 17, 2014: A Special Festival Departure
This departure is highlighted by the centuries-old traditions of Inti Raymi, an ancient Inca celebration to honor the Sun God, and features an extra night in Cuzco. From a prime vantage point in the heart of town, witness a sacred ritual and colorful procession of elaborately costumed participants, many ornamented with silver and gold as befitting the rank of ancient Inca priests.
Continue up to the hilltop fortress of Sacsayhuaman to watch as the procession arrives and the Sapa Inca climbs to his exalted position atop the sacred altar. Heralded as the second largest festival in all of South America, hundreds of actors vie for the honor of portraying the many historical figures represented in this unforgettable procession.
Day 1 - Welcome to Lima
AAA Complimentary Inclusion: Enjoy a complimentary extra night in Lima before your tour at the Doubletree El Pardo Hotel, including breakfast the following day.
Accommodation: Doubletree El Pardo Hotel – 3 nights
Day 2 - Lima at Leisure
Enjoy a day to relax or explore this historic city on your own.
Day 3 - Discover Lima
Today a city tour includes the lovely Santo Domingo Church & Convent and the Larco Herrera Museum, famed for its world-renowned collection of Pre-Columbian artifacts. Stand in the impressive Plaza Mayor, see the interior of the 17th-century Cathedral and visit the Convent of St. Francis, including a memorable descent into its ancient catacombs, first dug in 1546. Enjoy a guided stroll through Barranco, a charming district where historic 19th-century homes have been restored to house the studios and galleries of local artists, musicians and designers. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 4 - The Sacred Valley of the Inca
Fly to Cuzco where you’ll be greeted by the trip leader. Engaging Experience: Journey with the trip leader into the Sacred Valley. Visit the Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary, dedicated to the rescue of endangered Andean animals. At Awanacancha, see llamas and alpacas in their natural habitat and learn about ancient weaving techniques still in use today throughout the valley’s timeless villages.
Explore the colorful market in Pisac where mountain villagers come from afar to sell their goods. It’s an excellent place to shop for sweaters, rugs, hand-carved musical instruments and ceramics. After lunch in Pisac return to the hotel. Tonight, head over to your resort’s planetarium and observatory to marvel at the constellations of the Southern Sky.
Accommodation: Casa Andina Private Collection Hotel – 2 nights
Day 5 - Explore the Sacred Valley
Engaging Experience: Today visit the spectacular and impressive fortress of Ollantaytambo. With its impenetrable stone walls and strategic hilltop location, the ancient Inca were able to successfully defend this site against the Spanish. Also explore the ancient village which lies in the shadow of the mighty Ollantaytambo fortress. Walk along narrow streets of perfectly-cut stone that were laid down centuries ago by the Inca and stop in a local pub to learn about chicha, an Andean beverage that has been brewed from corn since ancient times.
Engaging Experience: Visit the studio of Pablo and Marilu Seminario – renowned pottery artisans who draw on ancient techniques and designs. Tonight witness a Pago a la Tierra, a Tribute to the Earth, performed by an Andean shaman.
Day 6 - Through the Sacred Valley by Rail to Machu Picchu
A two-day visit to the Lost City of the Inca begins with a rail journey through the spectacular Sacred Valley. After breakfast, travel to Machu Picchu by rail through the Urubamba River Valley past rugged Andean peaks, remote Indian villages and carefully-tended terraced fields. Arrive in the charming town of Aguas Calientes, nestled below Machu Picchu, and then ascend by bus to this ancient citadel to explore its extensive ruins as the trip leader illuminates the history of the ancient Inca.
Engaging Experience: Retreat to the enchanting Inkaterra El Pueblo Hotel, nestled in a riverside cloud forest at the base of Machu Picchu for an overnight stay.
Accommodation: Inkaterra El Pueblo Hotel – 1 night
Day 7 - Morning at Machu Picchu and Return to Cuzco
Engaging Experience: Transportation and entry ticket to explore the Lost City again early in the morning at your own pace is included. Stand in awe as the sun casts its first light upon the ancient stones of Machu Picchu; it’s a powerful and unforgettable experience. With morning dew, the paths can be slippery, requiring caution. En route to Cuzco, stop in Chincheros, a high-mountain town known for its skilled weavers.
Accommodation: El Mercado Hotel – 3 nights
Day 8 – Exploring Cuzco, the Inca Empire’s Ancient Capital
Join the trip leader this morning to discover Cuzco’s iconic landmarks, including the Temple of the Sun and the Cathedral, built on the site of an Inca Palace and now splendidly restored as one of Peru’s finest Colonial-era landmarks. Engaging Experience: Then drive into the mountains outside of town to explore the spectacular Incan fortress of Sacsayhuaman, celebrated for its amazing masonry and panoramic views over Cuzco. Explore these imposing Inca ruins, built from massive limestone blocks cut with such precision that they fit together without mortar like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
Later, mingle with city residents and visit Almudena Cemetery to experience traditional facets of daily life here in the Andes. Return to your hotel and enjoy your afternoon at leisure.
Day 9 - Off the Beaten Path to Urcos and Cuyuni
Travel to Oropresa, a lovely Colonial town known for its bread-making traditions. Engaging Experience: Walk with residents in the remote mountain village of Cuyuni as they take you into their homes and fields, to explain their traditions and way of life. Return to Cuzco and dine tonight at Incanto.
Day 10 - From Cuzco Back to the Capital
Fly to Lima for your return journey home. Guests with late international departures will have a hotel room at the Doubletree El Pardo for their day use.