South America Spotlight

Colca Canyon

Created by a vast geological fault, the Colca Canyon is thought to be the deepest canyon in the world measuring ...

Cuzco Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SOUTH AMERICA 210

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Day 1: Lima

Bienviendos a Peru! Welcome to Peru and the start of your journey through the land of the Incas. Upon arrival into Lima International Airport you will be met by one of our representatives and transferred to your hotel. After check in spend some time with our rep discussing your up-coming trip. The remainder of the day is free for you to enjoy at leisure.

Day 2: Lima

Venture outside of the city confines today on an excursion to visit the sacred Incan citadel of Pachacamac. Dominating a stretch of Peru’s coastline, this colossal ancient site was once a significant centre of pilgrimage dating back to the 3rd century. People would journey far and wide to consult the revered oracle at Pachacamac and you will get the chance to explore the ruins of the Sun and Moon temples as well as the House of the Virgins of the Sun. Returning back to Lima this afternoon enjoy a guided visit to the Gold Museum.

Day 3: Lima

For centuries Lima was considered the most beautiful city in Spanish America and today discover why with a morning sightseeing tour. Our first stop is the Plaza Mayor in the heart of the old town. Here you'll find the opulent facade of the Palacio de Gobierno, or Presidential Palace, where each day the ceremonial changing of the guard takes place. After we continue to the austere Catedral and various small palaces and balconied edifices that helped Lima claim UNESCO World Heritage status. Discover contemporary Lima in the form of the plush suburb of San Isidro and lively Miraflores before continuing to the quiet district of Pueblo Libre to see the stylish hacienda museum.

Day 4: Lima - Arequipa

After breakfast transfer to the airport for your flight to the attractive city of Arequipa. Later in the day tour 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 5: 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. 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 6: Colca Canyon

After breakfast we 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 7: Colca Canyon - Puno

Today we will transfer you by road to Puno in a private car. Lunch is taken in Lagunillas, home to a number of regional birds. On arrival in Puno you will be collected and transferred to your hotel.

Day 8: Puno

After breakfast board a yacht from Puno port for a cruise and tour around the floating islands of Uros. 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.

Day 9: Puno

Today enjoy a guided excursion to the pre-Incan burial ground of Sillustani, located on the shores of Lake Umayo near Puno. The tombs, which are built above ground in tower-like structures called chullpas, are the vestiges of the Colla people, Aymara who were conquered by the Inca in the 15th century. The structures housed the remains of complete family groups, although they were probably limited to nobility. Return to Puno for overnight.

Day 10: Puno - Cuzco

Today sample more of Peru’s modes of transport with a spectacular 10 hour rail journey to historic Cusco. Passing the gentle, rolling Andean Plains where vicuña and alpacas roam freely, the train climbs to 4335m above sea level at La Raya, offering incredible views of the towering, snow-capped Andean mountains. During the journey you will be served a three course lunch in the dining car followed by coffee served in the observation-bar car. Arriving into Cusco you will be transferred to your hotel.

Day 11: Cuzco

Explore the ‘navel of the world’ and discover why it’s considered the archaeological capital of South America. Your 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. Afternoon at leisure.

Day 12: Cuzco - Sacred Valley

Known as the Sacred Valley, the area between Cusco and Machu Picchu is littered with traditional Andean villages and fascinating Inca ruins. Today you explore the region starting with the textile centre of Awanacancha 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. Practise your bartering skills at the local market before stopping for lunch then continue to the impressive fortress and citadel of Ollantaytambo.

Day 13: Sacred Valley - Cuzco

This morning a scenic train journey followed by a bus ride brings you to the legendary ‘Lost City’ of Machu Picchu. Set on a mountainous peak overlooking a deep canyon on the Urubamba River, the ancient Inca city is indeed one of South America’s most impressive sights. Be amazed by the incredibly well-preserved plazas, towers and temples as you enjoy a guided tour of Machu Picchu. Lunch at a local hotel follows before returning to Cuzco by train.

Day 14: Cuzco - Puerto Maldonado and the Amazon

Early this morning board a flight to the remote jungle settlement of Puerto Maldonado - the starting point for our journey 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.

Days 15-16: Puerto Maldonado and the Amazon

A wide variety of excursions are 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 two 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 17: Puerto Maldonado and the Amazon - Mancora

Bidding farewell to the jungle head back to Puerto Maldonado by boat for your flight to Tumbes on Peru's northern coast. Upon your arrival into Tumbes you will be met by our local representative and transferred to your hotel in Mancora.

Days 18-20: Mancora

The next three days are completely at your leisure to enjoy Mancora and the variety of activities on offer locally.

Day 21: Mancora

After a leisurely morning we transfer you to the airport for your flight back to Lima wishing you a fond farewell.