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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Today board a public bus to Puno. 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. 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.
After breakfast board a yacht from Puno port for a shared 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. 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.
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.
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.
Explore the ‘navel of the world’ and discover why it’s considered the archaeological capital of South America. Your shared 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.
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. Returning to your hotel in Cuzco by evening.
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 Cusco by train
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.
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.
Bidding farewell to the jungle head back to Puerto Maldonado by boat for your flight to Lima. If there is time be sure to visit the Inkaterra Butterfly House located close to the airport. Peru boasts the greatest variety of butterflies in the world, many of which can be seen at the Butterfly House. Upon arrival in Lima you will be transferred to your hotel where the rest of the day is free. Perhaps head to the local markets for a spot of bargain hunting or mark your final night in Peru in style at one of Lima’s trendy salsa clubs.
Your amazing adventure concludes with hotel check out and a departure airport transfer for your onward journey.