Archaeological Treasures

Duration: 10 days

Highlights: Lima, Chiclayo, Trujillo, Cusco, Machu Picchu.

Land of the Incas, Peru is home to many archaeological delights. This special interest programme explores many of the major Peruvian archaeological sites.

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Day 1 - Arrive in Lima

Evening arrival at Lima International Airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

The city of Lima was founded by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro on January 5, 1535, the eve of the Epiphany of the Magi – from which it derived its evocative original name of La Ciudad de los Reyes or “The City of Kings”. It is a city of rare fascination and unexpected pleasures. Lima has decaying colonial splendour and the teeming vitality of an oriental bazaar; melancholy cloudy winters and warm breezy summers; impoverished urban sprawl and quiet elegant corners among ancient buildings where the night air is scented with jasmine.

Overnight: Miraflores Park Hotel

Meal Plan:

Day 2 - Lima

Morning at leisure.

This afternoon you are taken on a tour of the “City of the Kings”. Visit the historical centre of Lima. See the Plaza Mayor, the location of the Government Palace, the City Hall, the Cathedral and the Archbishop’s Palace. The rich, religious history of the Spanish colonies is displayed in these buildings. You will also have time to visit the San Francisco Monastery. Following your tour of Historic Lima you will continue to the Larco Herrera museum where Ulla Holmquist, the museum’s Chief Curator, will be waiting to guide you around the exhibition.

The visit to the Larco Museum allows you to have a clear and entertained approach to the evolution of the cultures of ancient Peru. Walking through the exhibition halls of the Larco Museum – the largest private collection of pre-Columbian art in the world - with Ms Holmquist makes the visit an inspiring experience that gives first-hand information about the collection and the people that made the beautiful archaeological objects.

Upon finishing your museum tour you will be transferred to the Huaca Pucllana restaurant for dinner. This restaurant is located in one of the biggest pre-Columbian temples of the city offering a unique ambiance. It specialises in contemporary Peruvian cuisine using a wide range of Peruvian ingredients.

Overnight: Miraflores Park Hotel

Meal Plan: B,D

Day 3 - Lima - Chiclayo

This morning you will be transferred to Lima International Airport for your flight to Chiclayo. On arrival at Chiclayo Airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel for immediate check-in.

This morning you will visit Tucume. This site, 33 kilometres north of Chiclayo, was an important settlement for the Lambayeque culture, and comprises some 20 adobe pyramids, almost 40 metres high, as well as some other lesser buildings. They are all constructed around Mount Purgatorio, and were used by Chimu and Incas until they were abandoned after the Spanish conquest.

This afternoon, tour the Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum which exhibits the most important archaeological remains of the Mochica culture. The exceptional exhibition shows the jewels, emblems and ornaments found in 1987 in the tomb of a Mochica government leader called the Lord of Sipan. The museum has its origin in a project of organised archaeological rescue in April of 1987, when a small team of Peruvian archaeologists assumed the responsibility of saving and investigating the archaeological sanctuary of Sipan, as opposed to its violent sacking and destruction. 

After lunch at local restaurant, continue by private vehicle to Sipan, the famous complex uncovered in 1987 by the Peruvian archaeologist Walter Alva and his team. Sipan is the richest pre-Hispanic burial yet discovered in the Americas and belonged to a young Mochica dignitary of the fourth century known as the Lord of Sipan. After the first discovery two more tombs were found, one of a priest and another of an older dignitary, designated the Old Lord of Sipan.

Overnight: Gran Hotel Chiclayo

Meal Plan: L

Day 4 - Chiclayo - Trujillo

This morning depart by private bus to the city of Trujillo, located in the fertile Moche River Valley. Inhabited since ancient times by fishermen and farmers, between the first and seventh centuries AD, these territories were the dominion of one of the most famous ancient cultures of Peru, the Mochica, whose many impressive remains can still be seen around Trujillo.

On the way, visit El Brujo. This archaeological site 61 km from Trujillo contains three large buildings constructed in different eras. They are the Huaca Prieta, (thought to be the oldest construction on the Peruvian coast), Huaca el Brujo, (constructed by the Mochica culture), and Huaca Cao Viejo, where Lady of Cao, a female mummy was discovered last year with complex tattoos on her arms. Archaeologists say this one of the best relics ever found of a civilisation that ended more than 1,300 years ago

Arrival in Trujillo with time free for a lunch.

This afternoon the tour begins with a visit to the Main Square, considered the biggest in Peru. It was designed in the midst of the conquest by Martín de Estete and is surrounded by the Cathedral, palaces and large old colonial and republican houses. In the middle of the Square, decorated with exuberant palm trees, is the monument dedicated to La Libertad. This is where Peru’s independence was first proclaimed in 1820. Also visit the Archaeological Museum at the University, which has wonderful displays of newly discovered items from the Huaca de la Luna, as well as positively ancient pre-Columbian finds, which date from as long ago as 12000 BC.

Dinner will be served at the exclusive Club Central, a bright yellow mansion which is an excellent example of neoclassical civil architecture and dates to the 19th century. It is now Trujillo's traditional social club.

Overnight: Libertador Trujillo Hotel

Meal Plan: B,D

Day 5 - Trujillo - Lima

Your full day tour will start with a visit to the Sun and Moon Pyramids, an archaeological site consisting of enormous adobe constructions over 20m (65ft) high built by the Mochica culture. The Sun Pyramid is considered the largest adobe pyramid in Peru. The Moon Pyramid has extensive burial grounds and some fine murals in which a deity is often repeated.

Continue to Huanchaco beach, famous for its caballitos de Totora, the small reed crafts used for fishing. Lunch will be at a local restaurant.

Afternoon tour Chan Chan, the capital of the Chimu culture, built between the 12th and 14th centuries by the rulers of the Tacaynamo dynasty. Considered the largest adobe city in pre-Hispanic America, it covers an area of more than 20 sq km and housed some 100,000 people. The city has a maze of streets, canals, water reservoirs, silos, plazas, terraces and truncated pyramids.

Later transfer to the airport for your flight to Lima. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Overnight: Miraflores Park Hotel

Meal Plan: B,L

Day 6 - Lima - Cusco

This morning you are transferred to the airport where you embark on your flight to Cusco, an Andean community and former ancient capital of the Inca Empire.

Upon arrival in Cusco, you are met and transferred to your hotel.  The rest of the morning is left free to relax and acclimatise, as you are now at 3400 metres altitude. We recommend minimal activity and the local remedy of coca tea, (which is in plentiful supply), for those who are susceptible.

After a light lunch at your hotel, enjoy a city tour which includes the Cathedral on the Plaza de Armas and the Santo Domingo Temple or Koricancha; a Dominican Church and convent built on the foundations of the Koricancha or "place of gold",  the Incas principal religious building dedicated to the worship of the sun.

Just outside of Cusco, your visit this afternoon takes you to the ruins of Sacsayhuaman, a testimonial to Incan architectural skills.  Compiled of massive stones (one weighs 125 tons) you are challenged to try to slip a piece of paper between the cracks of these blocks, cut and fitted together with incredible precision without a single drop of mortar to hold them in place. This ancient fortress where the greatest battle between the Spanish and Incas took place, overlooks the red-tiled roofs of Cusco and the spectacular lush countryside.  Also visit Qenqo (“The Labyrinth”), an Incan shrine dedicated to the Earth Mother.
Your tour will end with a cocktail at the Quinta Colcampata, a beautiful historic house overlooking the city of Cusco.   

Overnight: Monasterio Cusco Hotel

Meal Plan: B

Day 7 - Cusco - Machu Picchu

This morning board the new deluxe Orient Express train Hiram Bingham to Machu Picchu, where a late morning arrival gives you time to begin your explorations of this breathtaking Incan citadel. Light lunch will be served on board.

Accompanied by your guide, explore the city's ruins and feel its pulse as you visualise the lives of the priests, craftsmen and servants who inhabited this seemingly uninhabitable citadel.  Excavations at the site have revealed skeletons, artefacts and woollen clothing, but no gold. The same precision of assembled stones exists here as in other Incan sites. Overlooking the raging Urubamba River and discovered in a hidden tangle of vines and trees atop the mountain, the city of Machu Picchu will forever hold its secret of its destruction - the Incas left no written record.

Afternoon tea and dinner will be served at hotel. While in Machu Picchu you will be accommodated at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge which enjoys a unique position at the entrance of the Inca Citadel ruins, at 8,200 feet above sea level.

Overnight: Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge

Meal Plan: B,L,D

Day 8 - Machu Picchu - Cusco

This morning you may rise early and enjoy a walk through Machu Picchu at sunrise, something which many regard to be the highlight of a visit to Machu Picchu.

Today your special host in Machu Picchu will be Alfredo Mormontoy Atayupanqui. Formerly resident archaeologist at Machu Picchu, researcher and consultant in conservation and restoration projects, he has participated in more than twenty different excavations and archaeology research projects to date. Explore this ancient citadel in the company of Alfredo.

Late afternoon enjoy tea-time at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge.
Early evening board your Hiram Bingham train to Cusco. Gourmet dinner will be served on board. Upon arrival in Cusco, a representative will be waiting to transfer to your hotel.

Overnight: Monasterio Cusco Hotel

Meal Plan: B,L,D

Day 9 - Cusco - Urubamba - Cusco

This morning depart for the Urubamba Valley to the local village of Pisac, known for its colourful market. This bustling market attracts tourists from all over the world who try bartering for local sweaters, ponchos, wall hangings, jewellery and goods. 

You will have time to shop before enjoying lunch at the Huayoccari Hacienda where the Lambarri-Orihuelas, a family of great collectors, will be your hosts. You will be able to see a valuable collection of Colonial and folk art. Located on the summit of a hill sheltered amidst Andean peaks, you will find here one of the finest views of the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

After lunch, continue on to the massive fortress of Ollantaytambo.  A formidable stone structure that climbs massive terraces to the top of a peak, this was the valley’s main defence against the Antis and was the site of the Incas’ greatest victory against the Spanish during the wars of conquest. Constructed of rose-coloured granite, this huge installation was once a thriving complex of baths, temples and military barracks. Below the fortress lies a complete Incan town, also called Ollantaytambo, still inhabited and with its original architecture and layout preserved.   

Your farewell dinner today will be at the restaurant of the Pre-Columbian Art Museum. This house was an Inca ceremonial court around 1450 and in 1580 became into the mansion of the conqueror Alonso Díaz. This extraordinary Cusco historic monument holds the only museum in Peru dedicated to the arts of ancient Peruvian cultures. After dinner you will have the opportunity to visit the museum.

Overnight: Monasterio Cusco Hotel

Meal Plan: B,L,D

Day 10 - Depart Lima

This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Lima. Upon arrival in Lima you will be met and escorted to your hotel where a day room will be available to you, before returning to the airport to board your international flight.


Meal Plan: B

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