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Nro 219 Cusco-Peru

Discover the ancient mysteries and exquisite natural beauty of Southern Peru on this exclusive trip across the coastal desert to the spectacular Andean highlands. Our journey begins at Paracas and Islas Ballestas, where marine and bird life abounds. From here we continue south to the Nazca Lines, huge unexplained geometric figures drawn in the desert and visible only by air. The next stop is Arequipa, called the “white city” for its many colonial buildings made from light-colored volcanic rock. After visiting nearby Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world and habitat for majestic Andean condors, we continue on to the ancient Inca capital of Cusco. From here we will explore the Sacred Valley and the archeological wonder of Machu Picchu. Our last stop is to the deep blue waters of Lake Titicaca, a great inland sea and the world's highest navigable lake, to visit the floating reed islands of Uros and the inhabited island of Taquile.

Itinerary

Day 1

Lima

Arrive to Lima; transfer to 3 star hotel.

Day 2

Paracas / Paracas National Reserve

072-peruclassics3Transfer from hotel in Lima to Bus Station for transport (private or tourist bus depending on program) to Ica at 07:00. Arrive to the Ica and Check-In Hotel Las Dunas, in the afternoon City Tour of Ica, Overnight.B.

Day3

Ballestas Islands / Nazca

072-peruclassics4After breakfast at the hotel, we take the private transport to the Port, we initiate our maritime excursion to the Ballestas Islands, where large colonies of guano birds, penguins, and sea lions congregate (duration approximately 2 hours). then we begin a tour of the Paracas National Reserve, formed by sandy beaches, large islands of black rock, and deep coves where visitors can observe colonies of diverse animals such as sea lions and varied species of coastal birds then In the afternoon, we board our transport to the city of Nazca at 18:00. Overnight at 3-star Hotel in NAzca Lines. B.D.

Day 4

Nazca Lines / Lima

072-peruclassics93After breakfast, we take the flight over the marvelous Nazca lines, 32 hieroglyphs of marine and terrestrial animals as well as geometric and human figures covering an area of 350 km2 that can only be observed from the air. According to Dr. Marie Reiche, the figures were created by a pre-Inca culture as an astronomical calendar. After visiting the Antonini Museum in the afternoon, we take our transport service to Lima at 11:30 or 13:30. Overnight 3-star hotel. B.D.

Day 5

Lima / Arequipa

Morning flight to Arequipa; afternoon city tour of Arequipa, including the famous Santa Catalina convent and the Mummy Juanita. B

Day 6

Colca Canyon

Pick-up at hotel in Arequipa and drive northward toward Chivay, stopping along the way to appreciate the views and for explanations of the local flora and fauna and the lifestyle of the rural population. We arrive to Chivay mid-day and check in to our hotel. In the afternoon, there is time to enjoy the hot medicinal springs. Overnight at 3-star Hotel in Chivay. B

072-peruclassics7

Day 7

Colca Canyon / Arequipa

072-peruclassics6After breakfast, we visit the “Cruz del Condor” to appreciate the depth of the canyon and to observe the majestic flight of the Andean Condor. Returning to Chivay, we stop along the way to the traditional villages of Maca, Pinchollo, and Yanque and to different archaeological areas of the ancient cultures.

When we arrive to Chivay, there is time for shopping of the local artisan and food products. In the afternoon, we make our journey back to Arequipa (approx. 4 hours). B

Day 8

Arequipa / Cusco

Morning flight to Cusco; transfer to 3-star hotel; time to rest and acclimatize in the afternoon. B, L

Day 9

Cusco

072-peruclassics9In the morning, walking tour of the Central Market and other interesting areas of Cusco (private service). After lunch in the Main Square, we visit the Cathedral, the Inca temple of Q'oricancha, and the city's outlying ruins of Sacsayhuayman, Q'enko, Pukapukara, and Tambomachay. B, L

Day 10

Sacred Valley

072-peruclassics8Depart Cusco and drive through the picturesque Sacred Valley, where we visit the ruins and traditional Andean market in Pisac. From here we drive to Urubamba for a delicious buffet lunch in a beautiful setting. After lunch we continue on to Ollantaytambo, considered a living museum for its Inca infrastructure, stone terraces, temples, and the native people that continue to inhabit them. We spend the night in a charming hotel/hostel in Ollantaytambo. B,L

Day 11

Machu Picchu

072-peruclassics91Early morning train to Machu Picchu, where we spend the day with a professional guide touring the extensive ruins; free time to explore before taking the short bus ride down to the nearby town of Aguas Calientes to spend the night at a comfortable inn. B, Box lunch

Day 12

Machu Picchu

Free day to explore Machu Picchu; afternoon train to Ollantaytambo; transfer to Cusco B

Day 13

Cusco

072-peruclassics92Free day in Cusco. Andean dinner and dance show. B,D

Day 14

Cusco / Puno

In the morning we take a first class bus from Cusco to Puno, driving through some of the most breathtaking scenery of the Peruvian altiplano and stopping at interesting sites along the way. Overnight in Puno B,L

Day 15

Lake Titicaca

Tour of Lake Titicaca, including the floating reed islands of Uros and the inhabited island of Taquile. Overnight 3-star hotel in Puno. B,L

Day 16

Puno / Lima

In the morning we transfer to the airport in Juliaca for a short flight to Lima; international flight home
Note: This trip can be modified to accommodate travel dates and interests.