Cuzco Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SOUTH AMERICA 171

If you like the itinerary below please quote REF SOUTH AMERICA 171 when enquiring for further details.

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Day 1: Lima

Today marks the beginning of your incredible adventure through Peru. Arrival airport transfer is included and our representative will assist with hotel check in and spend time with you discussing your upcoming holiday.

Day 2: Lima

Today discover why Lima has historically been such an important city with a scheduled sightseeing tour that covers Lima’s most impressive colonial buildings as well as a number of fascinating museums. The afternoon is free for you to explore Lima further.

Day 3: Lima - Arequipa

After breakfast transfer to the airport for your flight to the attractive city of Arequipa. Later in the day embark on a scheduled tour of Arequipa and marvel at the spectacular scenery. From the Carmen Alto lookout enjoy the views of the three volcanoes surrounding the city before heading to the countryside to visit Inca terraces, famous temples and colonial houses. The day concludes with a visit to the Santa Catalina Convent. Practically an entire city within Arequipa, the convent comprises numerous streets and plazas, as well as cloisters that have remained intact despite the passing of centuries.

Day 4: Arequipa - Colca Canyon

Today head towards the Colca Valley, passing a number of traditional towns, natural lagoons, volcanic peaks and a national reserve along the way, for a three day scheduled excursion. This is a great place to see many species of birds and South American camelids in their natural habitat. Stop for an invigorating coca tea at Patahuasy and ascend to a pass 4800m above sea level before reaching your final destination, the town of Chivay.

Day 5: Colca Canyon

Today you visit the village of Yanque to enjoy the typical dances of the region before continuing towards Cruz del Condor. Here you can observe the majestic flight of the Condor – the largest bird in the world - as it soars over the Colca Canyon. To best admire the canyon you will make a number of stops at various lookout points. The Colca Canyon is one of the world’s deepest and photo opportunities abound. Heading back to Chivay stop at the pre-Inca ruins of Uyo Uyo. The remainder of the day is free for you to explore Chivay’s artisan shops and markets or for the more adventurous, head to Río Colca for white-water rafting.

Day 6: Colca Canyon - Cuzco

Enjoy the day further exploring the area head out for a hike in the hills and take in the scenery. Later this afternoon we drive back to Arequipa and assist you catching the sleeper bus to Cuzco. Long distance buses in Peru are surprisingly comfortable with excellent onboard facilities including video entertainment, complimentary snacks and roomy seats. It’s also an excellent opportunity to see how the locals travel in style.

Day 7: Cuzco

Welcome to the ‘navel of the world’ and archaeological capital of South America. Arriving into Cuzco Terminal Terrestre meet our local driver who will take you to your hotel. Later, Your scheduled city tour takes in the Incan streets of Loreto and Ahuajpinta where you’ll find the remains of impressive Incan palaces, as well as old colonial buildings such as the Catedral. Later in the day, head to the impressive fortress of Sacsayhuaman and the ruins of Kenko, Tambomachay and the Tambo de Puca Pukara.

Days 8-9: Cuzco

Enjoy today and tomorrow at your leisure in this amazing city, why not catch a local collectivo (minibus) to the not very visited but fantastic all the same ruins of Pikillaqta and on the way back stop in Saylla to eat the regional dish of Chicharon.

Day 10: Cuzco - Sacred Valley

We begin exploring the Sacred Valley today. On the way to the ancient village of Urubamba stop to visit Awanacancha, an Andean textile centre where the art of Incan textile is kept alive. Continue to the archaeological complex of Pisac, formed of a collection of remains of Incan dwellings, temples and terracing. Enjoy a spot of shopping and practise your bartering skills at the local market before stopping for lunch. The day of touring concludes with a visit to the impressive fortress and citadel of Ollantaytambo.

Day 11: Sacred Valley - Aguas Calientes

We further explore the Sacred Valley with visits to Andean villages south of the Río Urubamba. Highlights include the attractive colonial church of Chinchero. Continue to Maras where the original Indian aristocratic coats of arms hang on the outside of the church and houses. From here you can also see the salt evaporation ponds, a patchwork of 3,000 wells that have been used since the Incan Empire. Continue to the spectacular agricultural terraces of Moray, a circular system believed to have been used for agricultural experimentation during the Inca period. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before transferring to the train station for a stunning train journey to Aguas Calientes.

Day 12: Aguas Calientes - Cuzco

This morning embark on a scheduled excursion to explore the citadel and the wonderful Temple of the Sun and magical Temple of the Moon on a three hour guided excursion. Other highlights include the fascinating Sacred Plaza and the elaborately carved Intihuatana rock. The reminder of the day you have free time to wander the ruins before meeting your guide back in Aguas Calientes town to embark the train to Cuzco.

Day 13: Cuzco - Puerto Maldonado and the Amazon

Early this morning board a flight to the remote jungle settlement of Puerto Maldonado - the starting point for a scheduled excursion into the Amazon Jungle. A boat ride along the Madre de Dios River brings you to your jungle lodge where you will spend the next three nights in a beautiful cabaña.

Day 14: Puerto Maldonado and the Amazon

For today enjoy a wide variety of included excursions on offer from guided walks through the jungle to twilight river cruises. Sail in small wooden canoes or test your vertigo on a canopy walkway. Over the next three days you will learn much about the Amazonian wildlife and its most colourful characters with excursions available to the Tambopata National Reserve, Gamitana Creek and the Inkaterra Ecological Reserve. As daylight wanes share your daily experience of life in the rainforest with your fellow guests with the captivating sounds of the jungle your soundtrack.

Day 15: Puerto Maldonado and the Amazon - Puno

This morning bidding farewell to the jungle head back to Puerto Maldonado by boat for your flight to Cuzco. Arriving here, meet with our team who will transfer you to the Terminal Terrestre for the public bus journey to Puno. Arriving into Puno in the late evening, our driver is on hand to take you to your hotel.

Day 16: Puno - Islas Taquile and Amantani

After breakfast board a yacht from Puno port for a shared cruise and tour around the floating islands of Uros. Inhabited by fishermen and hunters, these beautiful islands are made from totora reeds and were built in order to escape the imposition of invading cultures. Your cruise continues to the genuine island of Amantani, renowned for the fine crafts made by inhabitants. Enjoy lunch in the community before visiting the hilltop sanctuaries of Pachatata and Pachamama. You then settle in to your home stay, meeting the family who will be your host for the night and enjoying home-cooked meals. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn about these peoples’ lifestyle and culture.

Day 17: Islas Taquile and Amantani - Puno

After breakfast the next morning bid fond farewell to your home stay family and continue to the neighbouring island of Taquile. The peasant community of this island has kept intact the customs and traditions of their ancestors and a visit here is like taking a step back in time. After lunch visit archaeological ruins and soak up the immensity of Lake Titicaca – the world’s highest navigable lake – from the beautiful beaches that line Taquile’s shore. Later return to Puno.

Day 18: Puno - La Paz

This morning you make your way to Bolivia. You will be collected and taken to the town of Copacabana from here you enjoy a cruise to Sun Island ( 1 hour) with Buffet Lunch on Board. After a full day exploring fascinating ancient ruins here on the islands the cruise takes you onto Chua Port where you disembark and drive the last leg to La Paz city. (BORDER FORMALITIES ARE NOT DIFFICULT AND ARE PART OF THE DAY TRIP WHICH IS AIMED AT TOURISTS GOING FROM PUNO TO LAP PAZ)

Day 19: La Paz

Enjoy a full day tour of this scenic city - visit world-class museums like the Gold, Murillo and Costumbrista, explore traditional street markets and head up to the Mirador de Killy Killy for fantastic views over the city. Later on marvel at the geological formations of the Vally of the moon, 10km outside of town

Day 20: La Paz

Travelling through the Bolivian Highlands you get the opportunity to see the Aymara Indian's way of life - one of the oldest American cultures. Today we gain a greater understanding of this culture with visit to the old colonial village of Tiahuanaco, where you can see the use of stones from the ruins in their constructions. Also visit to the Puma Punku temple with the largest pieces of stone and with the highest quality in stone carving. Tonight we return to the city and travel by overnight bus to Potosi.

Day 21:

Arriving early in the morning transfer to your hotel. In the afternoon, departure to the miner’s market “Calvario”, where you will be able to buy coca leaves, cigarettes and dynamite, which can be given to the miners. You’ll continue to the silver mines where you can visit the private, cooperative mines and be able to watch, the sacrificed work of the miners. Exploration of the silver began in the colonial period and is maintained today using the same working tools. You shall see the traditional rites where the miners pray to Tata Ckajcha or make the “Ch’alla” to the “Tio“(God of the mines, owner of the silver). (OVERNIGHT IN POTOSI)

Day 22:

Enjoy a guided tour of colonial Potosi dating from the days when this city, the highest in the world, was larger than either London or Paris. A gorgeous example of native artwork with many pretty churches and temples including the church of San Lorenzo. Also visit the National Mint of Bolivia before transferring to Uyuni. (OVERNIGHT IN UYUNI)

Day 23:

Depart for the incredible salt flats of Uyuni. Arrive into Colchani which is the best place to observe the methods of salt extraction from the salar. Included today is a trip to Fish Island, a unique oasis with giant cacti reaching 10m high. There’s also time to see the cemetery of trains where the remains of 19th century steam locomotives rest. Enjoy lunch out on the salt flats. Lunch is taken in the middle of the Salt Flats and later on continue to the archaeology museum of Coqusa and on to the exclusive Hotel Palacio de Sal built entirely of salt. This evening opt for a night stroll through the eerie surroundings. (OVERNIGHT SALT FLATS)

Day 24:

Transfer to Villa Mar enroute visiting the colonial church of San Cristobal, the villages of Culpina and Alota and the famous rock formations of the Valley of the Giants. You’ll also visit local cave paintings and the fort of Tomas Lakjas. (OVERNIGHT VILLA MAR)

Day 25: - San Pedro de Atacama

This morning visit the multi-coloured Laguna Colorada where James Flamingos flock. The rich red colouration is derived from algae and plankton, which thrive in its minerals. Continue to Laguna Verde where the Licancahur Volcano looms large. Along the way visit the Sol de Manana geysers, the Chalviri thermal waters and the Valle de Dali. This is a site of intense volcanic activity. After lunch cross the border into Chile and enjoy the impressive views of the Atacama Salar with a beautiful view of the Licancábur Volcano of 5916 meters of altitude as you transfer to the oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama. Rest of the afternoon is at leisure.

Day 26: San Pedro de Atacama

It’s an early morning departure today as you travel to the Geysers del Tatio for a picnic-style breakfast and a stroll around the geothermal fields to see the geysers and pools of boiling water and mud. Sunrise is the ideal time to visit when the colours give the landscape a surreal appearance and thermal activity is at its peak. Enjoy a rejuvenating soak in the hot springs before heading back to San Pedro de Atacama. En route stop at the small village of Machuca where home-made empanadas, sopaipillas, coffee and coca tea can all be sampled. Later in the afternoon head to the dramatic wind-eroded landscape of Valle de la Luna. Climb the sand dunes to marvel at the kaleidoscope of colours that appear over the Andes at sunset.

Day 27: San Pedro de Atacama - Santiago

Today marks the end of your unique Atacama Adventure. After breakfast and hotel check out you will be transferred to Calama Airport for your flight to Santiago. Arriving here, meet our team who await to take you to your hotel.

Day 28: Santiago

This morning join a scheduled tour of the city to discover Santiago’s appealing blend of the old and new. Walking to the Plaza de Armas gaze at the handsome colonial architecture including the grandiose Catedral Metropolitana, the Post Office and the Santiago City Hall. Continue to the Government Palace and the older neighbourhood of Plaza Concha y Toro marked by cobblestone streets and elegant 20th century mansions. Heading east through neighbourhoods with a thoroughly modern appearance stop at a local handicrafts store where you can try a Pisco Sour.

Day 29: Santiago - Easter Island

This morning you are taken to the airport for your flight to Easter Island. Arriving here, meet with a driver who will take you to your accommodations. In the afternoon exploration of the island will begin with the encounter of spectacular Moais in every corner of Hanga Roa village, continuing with a trekking from Vaitiare to the striking Rano Kau volcano crater, going through the also will visit the beautiful ceremonial village of Orongo, a compound of fifty basalt elliptical house. Continuing the expedition, we will stop by the West side of the volcano into the cave of Ana Kai Tangata, whose walls contain representations of Manutara (sea swallow), the sacred bird of Rapanui.

Day 30: Easter Island

The day starts early to continue discovering the secrets of the island, today you will discover the path of the mysterious Moais. The expedition begins visiting the least explored places in the island; Vinapu, with its Ahu Tahira, whose perfection reminds the walls of Machu Picchu. From there the trail takes you up the slopes of Rano Raraku volcano where the quarry still contains a large number of Moais in the process of being sculpted. After Rano Raraku the road continues to Anakena beach, an archeological site, with petro glyphs, Moais, caves and different types of platforms.

Day 31: Easter Island

Today is at your leisure to explore in your own time.

Day 32: Easter Island - Mendoza

This morning we take you back to the airport for your flight to Santiago. Arriving here, our driver will take you to the bus station where you embark the bus to Mendoza the journey is fantastic as you pass over the Andes.

Day 33: Mendoza

Today you join a scheduled tour of the Wine Route. The valleys around Mendoza are primarily farmland producing delicious olives, almonds, cherries, plums and of course, wine. Touring two wine cellars observe how wine is made, from the picking of the grape to the bottling of the final product, with time for a cheeky glass or two!

Day 34: Mendoza

Spend the day at your own leisure further exploring the area.

Day 35: Mendoza - Buenos Aires

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before transferring to the airport for your flight to Buenos Aires. Welcome to the Paris of South America, arriving into the airport our office team are on hand to drive you to your hotel.

Day 36: Buenos Aires

This morning join a scheduled city tour taking in the Neoclassical Metropolitan Cathedral, the unusual dusty pink Government House and the history-packed Plaza de Mayo. Head to the neighbourhood of San Telmo where street performers gather to display the sensuous dance of tango, and continue to La Boca, a colourful suburb popular with local artists. Wander the attractive streets of Palermo until you reach Recoleta and the famous cemetery of the same name. The afternoon is at your leisure to explore.

Day 37: Buenos Aires - El Calafate

After breakfast take a scheduled transfer to the airport for your flight to El Calafate, the starting point for excursions to one of Argentina’s most famous natural wonders – the Perito Moreno glacier. On arrival, a scheduled transfer will take you to your hotel. Remainder of day free.

Day 38: El Calafate

Measuring 30km in length, the monstrous Perito Moreno glacier is a jagged mass of crevasses and towering columns of ice. It’s also unusual in the sense that it is actually growing in size and constantly moving forward. Today enjoy a full day scheduled excursion beginning at Brazo Rico where you will be able to spot floating icebergs and continuing with a nautical safari on Rico Lake for spectacular views of the ice walls.

Day 39: El Calafate

Today offers a chance for you to continue exploring incredible Patagonia and the southern sector of Parque Nacional los Glaciares independently or enjoy some downtime at Lago Argentino. Other options you can book locally include a full day tour to the Bosque Pertificado La Leona, a petrified forest with fossilised trunks and dinosaur bones.

Day 40: El Calafate - Torres del Paine

This morning you will be transferred directly to your hotel in the Torres del Paine National Park. Home to the incredible Paine Massif, a small range of mountains with unusual, twisted peaks, the national park is a striking expanse of flat brown pampa and glacial lakes.

Days 41-42: Torres del Paine

Over the next two days you will have ample opportunity to partake in the many activities offered by your hotel. You might spend one day trekking the Ascencio Valley getting up close to the astounding Towers of Paine mountain range or horse ride to Cerro Paine for spectacular views of the Nothafagus forest. You could take a ferry across Pehoe Lake to Grey Glacier View Point for striking vistas of the centenary icebergs or you could trek to Sarmiento Lake to examine the calcium carbonate formations. The activities and excursions on offer will ensure you see the very best of this incredible national park.

Day 43: Torres del Paine

Sadly your journey has come to an end, we will drive you to the airport in El Calafate in time for your onward flight to Buenos Aires.