Day 1 Arrive Lima
Arrive in Lima and be transferred to the capital city's exclusive Miraflores district. Relax in comfort after your long flight at the Country Club Lima Hotel in a Master Bedroom.
Day 2 Paracas
The morning is free to wander around Miraflores and explore Colonial Lima. In the afternoon transfer to the small town of Pisco, famous for the local drink Pisco Sour. Overnight at the Hilton in the beachside village of Paracas.
Day 3 Islas Ballestas and Paracas National Reserve
Referred to as a Little Galapagos, this morning you'll depart by boat to the Ballestas Islands. Sea lion colonies lounge on the rocks and thousands of sea birds (such as Guanay Cormorants and Peruvian Boobies) circle overhead and strut along the rocky shoreline. After your island visit, it's off to the giant sand dunes of Paracas National Reserve for a bit of hiking. In the afternoon, continue south to Nazca where you will stay at the Hotel Majoro, a three star hotel but one of the finest lodging options in this region.
Day 4 Nazca Lines/ Arequipa
Since their discovery 70 years ago, these puzzling drawings in the earth have intrigued visitors and scientists. To get a bird's-eye view of the Nazca lines, take a short flight this morning. Afterwards, it's off to Chauchilla cemetery where thousand-year-old mummies lie in the open, and ancient bones and pottery shards litter the ground - an archeologists playground! This evening, take an overnight bus trip to Arequipa (8 hour trip on a bus with reclining "sleeper" seats; contact us for alternative private transportation options).
Day 5 Arequipa Free Day
Located 7750 feet above sea level and surrounded by snowy peaks, Arequipa delights visitors with its colonial charm and friendly inhabitants. Visit the Santa Catalina Monastery (a 4.5 acre maze of gardens, plazas, and churches in the town center), people watch in the main plaza or just relax at the Casa Andina Private Collection where we stay in a Superior room.
Day 6-7 Colca Canyon
As rich in history as the Cusco area, Colca's pre-Inca terraces rise straight up the canyon and ancient tombs can be found perched on vertical canyon walls. You'll leave Arequipa early this morning for the deepest canyon in the world. The drive takes you back in time, past herds of llamas and alpacas and through 400-year old colonial towns where residents raise potatoes and tend sheep according to the rising and setting of the sun. During your two nights in the canyon at the Colca Lodge take ample time to relax in the hot springs! One morning you'll head to the Cruz del Condor where you'll have your best chance to see the Andean condor. In the afternoon you'll walk along the canyon edge to the pueblo of Cabanaconde for a taste of village life in the Colca.
An optional one-night homestay on Day 2 with a local family is available for travelers wanting to experience the daily and communal life in a Peruvian village. Travelers will return to the Colca Lodge for the night of Day 7. Click here for homestay details.
Day 8 Transfer to Puno
Today, you will transfer to Puno. On the way, visit Sillustani, the pre-Inca burial ground on the shores of Lake Umayo. Settle into your hotel in the afternoon on the shore of Lake Titicaca.
Day 9-10 Lake Titicaca
- 2 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 2 Dinners
Today you will transfer to the Titilaka Lodge, a remote luxury lodge. You will stay in the Dawn Suites (situated to face to watch the sun rise over the lake).
Over the next day and a half, explore the islands of Lake Titicaca with the exceptional staff of Titilaka. Quarter, half and full day private excursions are included and focus on the cultures, history, wildlife (great birdwatching), and spectacular landscape of one of the highest lakes in the world. Click here for excursions from Titilaka Lodge.
Day 11 Cusco
A spectacular drive to Cusco crosses the 14,403 foot La Raya pass. Your final destination is the Navel of the World--Cusco, Peru! Andean history comes alive in Cusco. Quechua speaking descendents of the Incas fill the streets and markets, colonial churches sit atop bases of smooth stonework laid centuries before the Conquistadors, and campesinos (Peru's rural farmers) in colorful dress move busily back and forth across the plazas. In the afternoon, you'll tour Cusco's largest open market and the adjacent witches' market. After tasting a few unique local foods, you will visit the Center for Traditional Textiles in Cusco
, a local organization committed to preserving the region's weaving traditions. (If visiting the Sacred Valley on Sunday, you will visit their center in Chinchero instead). Watch weavers demonstrate their craft and learn about the history and processes of Peru's most well-known art form. Overnight at the Hotel Monasterio in a Deluxe Room.
Day 12 Sacred Valley
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
This morning journey into one of the most beautiful areas of Peru. You'll test your bargaining skills with the locals while visiting one of the great textile markets in the area. You may hike to the inspiring ruins of Pisac, or take a short walk through the countryside to the seldom-visited town of Maras and its pre-Columbian salt mines (still in use today with salt being collected in traditional fashion) as well as the Inca agricultural terraces of Moray, thought to have been a nursery to experiment with and modify different varieties of crops. Eventually, you will make your way to the living Inca city of Urubamba where you can relax for the night at the Casa Andina Private Collection Hotel in a Suite.
Day 13 Train to Machu Picchu
This morning board the Vistadome train to continue our journey towards Machu Picchu (alternatively take the Hiram Bingham luxury train; contact your trip planner for details and pricing). Follow the Urubamba River as it tumbles its way towards the Amazon and the sacred city of Machu Picchu. Ancient canals still bring water from the high mountains to the baths used by Inca priests. As visitors, you're welcomed to respectfully dip your hands in the cool water. After your tour of the Machu Picchu, you'll return to Machu Picchu Pueblo (formerly called Aguas Calientes) to the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel were you stay in a Junior Suite.
Day 14 Free Day at Machu Picchu. Return to Cusco
Today is your chance to watch the sunrise at Machu Picchu and to listen to the spirits of the city's past inhabitants before the hikers from the Inca Trail arrive. You can choose to book a permit to climb the sacred peak of Huayna Picchu, hike to the Sun Gate which overlooks the ruins or take a walk through the lush cloudforest to the Temple of the Moon. In the afternoon, you'll return by train to Cusco with your guide. (Let us know if you would like help arranging entrance fees or hiking permits for today – these are not included and sell out in advance!)
Day 15 Cusco Free Day
Today is free to relax and explore with your guide or on your own. Travelers can go on a city tour of the churches and surrounding ruins, such as the enormous Sacsayhuamán ruins that overlook Cusco (these ruins showcase building blocks the size of SUVs). You can also wander through the bustling Plaza de Armas in the heart of Cusco, shop for love potions in the local markets, or people watch from the cafes and restaurants that line these lovely streets. For those bursting with energy, horseback riding, mountain biking, or even whitewater rafting (Class III-IV) can be arranged. The evening is yours to take in some of Cusco's varied and exciting nightlife.
Day 16 Fly Lima and Return Home