This trip is the same as our 11-day Peruvian Explorer, but in addition, we visit Paracas and the Ballestas Islands.
1st Day: We fly from the Lima airport to Cusco, the oldest continuously inhabited city on the continent. It was the capital of the Incas and its colonial buildings are built upon the walls of ancient Inca structures. After lunch, we tour Cusco—the Cathedral, Inca streets, and the Santo Domingo Convent. The Convent was built in the 17th century on the walls of the Inca Temple of the Sun. Outside of Cusco, we visit the fortress of Sacsayhuamán, the amphitheater of Qenqo, the ruins of Puka Pukara, and the Inca Baths of Tambo Machay.
2nd Day: Full day tour of the Sacred Valley, where we follow the Urubamba River through beautiful countryside to visit Pisac's colorful market. We climb the steps to the fortress of Ollantaytambo, and visit many other Indian towns and historic ruins. In the town of Urubamba, we stay at a delightful hotel, built around a garden courtyard. (See Urubamba Rafting Option.)
3rd Day: A morning train ride through spectacular Andean scenery takes us to the most important archaeological site in the Americas—the “Lost City” of Machu Picchu. We tour the ancient city and have plenty of time to wander on our own. In the late afternoon we ride the train back to Cusco. (See Inca Trail Option.)
4th & 5th Day: We travel by deluxe bus to the town of Puno, where we spend two nights. From here we visit Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigable lake, and the Uros floating islands. On these islands the inhabitants make their houses, their boats, and the islands themselves, out of reeds. We also visit the island of Taquile, famous for its pre-Inca and Inca ruins.
6th thru 8th Day: We fly to the city of Arequipa and tour the city. Located at the foot of the El Misti volcano, Arequipa is known as “The White City,” because of its beautiful stone buildings which are constructed of sillar, a pearly white volcanic material. The next day we travel to the Colca Canyon, passing through beautiful countryside and picturesque villages. Here we spend two days exploring the area and watching the condors, before returning to Arequipa.
9th Day: From Arequipa, we travel by deluxe bus to spend the night at the town of Nazca.
10th Day: In the morning, we fly over the mysterious Nazca lines in a small airplane, followed by a tour of the Nazca cemetery, with its well preserved mummies, and a visit to local craftsmen. In the late afternoon, we travel by deluxe bus to the seaside town of Paracas.
11th Day: Traveling by speedboat, we visit the spectacular Ballestas Islands, with their numerous arches and caves. The islands are home to thousands of seabirds, including penguins, and hundreds of sea lions. In the afternoon we tour the Paracas National Reserve, with its stark, beautiful cliffs, coves and scenery, before traveling on by deluxe bus to Lima. Our hotel is located in the upscale community of Miraflores.
12th Day: In the morning we tour Lima, Peru's capital city and the former center of the Spanish territories in South America. We visit its government buildings, massive cathedrals, and fabulous Gold Museum, before transferring to the airport to continue our journey (see Amazon Jungle , Chan Chan or Galapagos Islands options) or to return home, bringing with us the memories, souvenirs and photographs of this fabulous vacation.
What's included: Air travel within Peru, transfers, transportation, accommodations, guided tours, 15 meals.
Optional: Overnight and extra day at Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes), or additional night in Lima (including transfers):
Best Time: May thru September
Minimum Number of Persons: Two
*Note: Prices subject to change without notice.