Discover Peru

Duration: 13 days

Highlights: Lima, Colca Canyon, Arequipa, Puno, Juliaca, Cusco, Urubamba, Machu Picchu.

This comprehensive programme takes visitors to the major highlights of this fascinating country.

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Itinerary

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.

Your stay in Lima will be at the Miraflores Park Hotel, an Orient Express property.

Overnight: Miraflores Park Hotel

Meal Plan:

Day 2 - Lima - Arequipa - Colca Canyon

In the morning, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Arequipa. On arrival in Arequipa you will be met and transferred by private vehicle on a scenic drive to Colca, approximately four hours outside Arequipa. A winding road leaves the city finally arriving at one of the most beautiful places on earth: the Colca Canyon. Local geologists claim that Colca, with chasms that can measure up to 3,400 metres (11,000 feet) top to bottom, is the world’s deepest canyon.  

The valley has beautiful pre-Columbian terraces that are still farmed by native collaguas.

Rest of the afternoon at your leisure, you can choose between the different activities at the hotel.

Overnight: La Casitas del Colca

Meal Plan: B,L,D

Day 3 - Colca Canyon

Today choose between the different activities offered by the hotel:

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

Sport Fishing
Duration: 2 to 3 hours
Beginning: 7:00 am
Difficulty: moderate

Trail Horse Riding
Duration: 3 hours
Beginning: 09:00 am / 14:00 pm

Bicycles
Duration: 2 hours
Beginning: 10.00 am / 14:00 pm

Long Walks
Duration: depending on walk
Long walk to Sifon, by the short cut to Yanque (2 hours max)
Long walk to Uyu Uyu  (3 hours max.)
Difficulty: easy

INDOOR ACTIVITIES

Cooking classes
Beginning: after lunch
Duration: approx 1 hour
Gift: An apron and a pack of 250 grams of quinine

Feeding the young alpacas
Beginning: 07:00 am / 13:00 pm / 17:00 pm
Duration: between 15 and 20 minutes

Painting
Beginning: any time
Duration: up to you

Visit to the vegetable garden
Beginning: any time
Duration: 30 minutes

Overnight: La Casitas del Colca

Meal Plan: B,L,D

Day 4 - Colca Canyon - Arequipa

Early this morning depart for the Condor Cross, a location at which you will have an opportunity to observe these magnificent birds gliding over the canyon and around mountain peaks.

Midmorning, transfer back to Arequipa. Box Lunch included.

Afternoon visit Arequipa’s Main Square, Cathedral and the Santa Catalina's Monastery, the most important and impressive religious monument of Peru. Arequipa's narrow streets, gardens and squares have Spanish names and are reminiscent of the old neighbourhoods of Granada and Sevilla.

Overnight: Libertador Arequipa Hotel

Meal Plan: B,L

Day 5 - Arequipa - Juliaca - Puno

This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Juliaca. Upon arrival in Juliaca, you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Puno.

On the way, visit the mysterious pre-Inca cemetery of Sillustani.  Sillustani’s circular burial towers, or chullpas, overlook Lake Umayo. It is believed that the chullpas were used as burial chambers for the nobles of the Colla civilisation.

Rest of the afternoon will be at your leisure. Dinner will be at local restaurant.

Overnight: Libertador Puno Hotel

Meal Plan: B,L,D

Day 6 - Puno

Today you have a full day excursion on Lake Titicaca. At 3820 metres above sea level, is the highest navigable lake in the world. At over 170 kilometres long, it is also the largest lake in South America. Its altitude means the air is unusually clear and the azure waters particularly striking.

Sightseeing on the islands of Uros and Taquile are followed by lunch at a local restaurant in Taquile. The floating islands of the Uros, a small tribe (now intermarried, however, so pure-blooded Uros no longer exist), is an interesting excursion. The islands themselves are constructed from the tortura reed found in abundance in Lake Titicaca. The Uros' homes and boats are also made of tortura, and their entire lives revolve around their famed reed-weaving.

On the island of Taquile inhabitants dress in homemade traditional colourful clothing - men in elegant waistcoats and floppy knit caps; women in layered skirts and embroidered blouses. Quechua is their language and they maintain a very individual and independent lifestyle. This beautiful island setting holds several terraced hillsides of Inca ruins which you are free to explore.

Overnight: Libertador Puno Hotel

Meal Plan: B,L,D

Day 7 - Puno - Juliaca - Cusco - Urubamba

This morning you are transferred to the airport for 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 the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Urubamba.

On your way to your hotel visit  the local village of Pisac, known for its market. This bustling market attracts tourists from all over the world who try bartering for local sweaters, ponchos, wall hangings, jewelry and goods.  

Arrive at your hotel for check in and lunch.

Afternoon visit 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.  

Return to your hotel for dinner.

Overnight: Sol y Luna Hotel

Meal Plan: B,L,D

Day 8 - Urubamba

Today you will enjoy a tour with your guide to the market of Chincheros. A town of Inca origin, its church was one of the most important Colonial era churches with Baroque altars and walls with richly painted scenes. Its Sunday fair draws country folk once a week from all corners of the valley to exchange their products.
During your tour of Chincheros you will have the opportunity to visit a traditional Andean Textile Centre. Here, you will learn how wool is shorn from the llamas and alpacas, and later spun, dyed and woven to produce a range of beautiful products that you will be able to buy if you wish.

Enjoy a delicious lunch in the charming Hacienda Huayocari, where the Lambarri-Orihuelas, a family of great collectors, will be your hosts. You will be able to appreciate a valuable collection of Colonial and folk art.  

Afternoon visit to Kuychi Centre, this charity was created in 2003 to support Heléna van Engelen’s "Niños del Arco Iris" (Children of the Rainbow)  project in Peru. The project focuses on offering a future to extremely deprived children who are exposed to many risks as a result of great poverty. Add to this the lack of hygiene, medical care, food, schooling and, above all, love and you have the causes of the terrible predicament of many Peruvian children and young people

Early evening before dinner experience a local ritual, or Pago a la tierra, an ancient ritual that pays homage to Pachamama, the earth mother. Ritual offerings of chicha, (beer), coca leaves, flowers and fruits are placed in the earth accompanied by evocative chanting and singing.

Overnight: Sol y Luna Hotel

Meal Plan: B,L,D

Day 9 - Urubamba - 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. Upon arrival in Aguas Calientes train station, a 25 minute bus ride will bring you to the ruins of Machu Picchu.

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, artifacts and woolen 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.

While in Machu Picchu you will be accommodated at the Machu Picchu Santuary Lodge which enjoys a unique position at the entrance of the Inca Citadel ruins, at 8,200 feet above sea level. Late afternoon enjoy teatime. Dinner will also be at hotel.

Overnight: Macchu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge

Meal Plan: B,L,D

Day 10 - Machu Picchu - Cusco

The morning you may rise early and enjoy a walk through Machu Picchu at sunrise, something which many consider 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, he has participated in more than twenty different excavations and archaeologic research projects to date. Explore this ancient citadel in the company of Alfredo.

Or if you prefer you have the opportunity to take one of two famous hikes with your guide. The first is to the Inti Punku, or famous Sun Gate, which is the entry point to Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail and offers excellent views of the ruins, (approx 2 hours). The second is the chance to hike up the Huayna Picchu, the highest mountain which is actually part of the ruins, from where you are afforded excellent views of the surrounding area, as well as a unique view of the famous lost city, (approx 2.5 hours). 

In the early evening, you will board the Hiram Bingham train to Cusco, where a representative will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. Gourmet dinner will be served on board your train.

Overnight: Monasterio Cusco Hotel

Meal Plan: B,L

Day 11 - Cusco

This morning enjoy a city tour which includes the Cathedral on the Plaza de Armas and the Santo Domingo Temple; a Dominican Church and convent built on the foundations of the Koricancha or "place of gold",  the Incas principal religious building dedicated to the worhsip of the sun.

Just outside of Cusco, your visit this morning  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.  

Lunch will be at local restaurant. Afternoon will be at your leisure.

Dinner today will be at the restaurant in the Pre-Columbian Art Museum.This house was an Incan ceremonial court around 1450. In 1580 became into the mansion of the conqueror Alonso Díaz , and it was restored in 2003. 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 12 - Cusco - 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.

Afternoon you embark on a tour beginning with a visit to visit the fascinating Archaeological Museum, showcasing the progression of Peru’s various early civilisations – from the Chavin in 1200 BC to the Incas. Continue to Plaza Mayor, the official centre of the city and the original site on which Lima was founded. You continue on to the historic Cathedral, built in 1534 and an architectural marvel. From the Cathedral, you walk past the Presidential Palace where the soldiers guarding the palace offer an excellent photo opportunity, then onto the church of San Francisco and its library collection of fine paintings and frescoes. 

Your tour will end at the Casa Aliaga, where you will enjoy a private Farewell Dinner in this breathtaking house, Lima’s oldest colonial mansion. Built in 1535 by the illustrious Spanish conquistador Jerónimo de Aliaga, co-founder of Lima and of the oldest university in the Americas, this incredible relic of colonial splendor has been home to 17 generations of his descendants ever since. Located in Lima’s central Jirón de la Unión, just half a block from the beautiful Plaza de Armas, centuries of restoration undertaken by the countless generations of Aliagas have given the house its own particular physiognomy that you will be able to appreciate today as you visit with your guide.

Overnight: Miraflores Park Hotel

Meal Plan: B,D

Day 13 - Depart Lima

Morning transfer to the airport for your flight back home.

Overnight:

Meal Plan:

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