Day 1: May 17 – Depart U.S. – Arrive in Lima
Transfer Lima Airport / Hotel (private)
Upon arrival into Lima International Airport, you will be met by our representative and private driver and will be transferred to your hotel. Our representative will assist you with check-in procedures and provide you with a detailed itinerary, vouchers covering all the services included in your tour and additional information on the organization of your Peru trip. You will also receive a contact information sheet with all the hotel details as well as our offices contact information for each city and a 24-hour emergency number.
Overnight in Lima
Day 2: May 18 – Lima
Half- day Lima City tour & Larco Museum (private)
Enjoy a half day guided sightseeing tour to the most attractive and important sites in Lima, the “City of Kings”. Visit Lima’s Historical Center, passing by Plaza San Martin, Plaza Mayor, the Government Palace, the City Hall, the Cathedral and its Religious Art Museum (closed on Sunday and Saturday pm; Santo Domingo Convent is provided instead on these days) as well as San Francisco Monastery and its famous underground crypts known as the Catacombs.
Continue your visit through the residential Districts of San Isidro and Miraflores, passing by the Huaca Pucllana, a Ceremonial and Administrative Centre of the Lima Culture built in the II Century A.C. that the Incas considered as “Ñaupallaqta” or Sacred Town. Also visit El Olivar Park with olive trees brought from Spain in the XVth Century, the Central Park of Mira Flores and El Parque del Amor, or Peruvian Love Park.
The Love Park, located on the cliffs of Mira Flores overlooking the Pacific Ocean, is a beautiful natural lookout, where you can see the waves of the Pacific rolling in towards the coast below and the Morro Solar in Chorrillos at a distance, with the coast extending further along the bay until the port of Callao. This is also the perfect spot for a romantic view of the setting sun in the late afternoon, right in front of you.
Your visit continues with a stop at the Larco Museum, for an excellent overview of Peru’s ancient past as it holds the best private collection of pre-Columbian art in the country.
You will have the chance to tour through this old Hacienda House in the Pueblo Libre district, which was built upon a pre-Incan sacred site (huaca), housing the private collection of a great Peruvian scholar: Don Rafael Larco Hoyle.
The museum chronologically exhibits hundreds of ceramic, textile, metal and precious stone pieces and also inside you will find the vault that safeguards precious pieces of gold and silver with semiprecious stones.
The Larco Museum is one of the few museums in the world that allows such intimate access to its deposits, in this case around 45,000 pieces. Another attraction of the museum and of great interest to visitors is the exhibition of erotic pre-Colombian art. After the visit you will be driven to your hotel. (B)
Overnight in Lima
Day 3: May 19 – Lima / Cusco / Sacred Valley
Transfer Hotel / Lima Airport (private)
At the appropriate time, our representative will meet you at the hotel lobby and transfer you to the Lima Airport to board your next flight. Our representative will assist you with check-in procedures and all departure formalities.
Transfer Cusco Airport / Sacred Valley (private)
Upon arrival into Cusco International Airport, you will be met by our representative and private driver and will be transferred to your hotel in the Sacred Valley with visits on route.
Full day Pisac markets & Ollantaytambo Fortress (private)
Today you will head to the town of Pisac, famous for its ruins but even more so for its market. Originally held only on Sundays, the Pisac Market was the place of reunion for all artisans of the region to get together and exchange or buy and sell their products. During the 20th century, due to the increase of tourism in the area, it became increasingly popular and now is held daily. It is a favorite destination for visitors from all over the world, with a great selection of goods and traditional crafts from the areas around Cusco. You will have the opportunity to leisurely roam through the market, enjoy the colorful ambience and barter for the perfect souvenir.
Continue through the Sacred Valley for a visit to the Inca fortress and citadel of Ollantaytambo. This site was built just as the Spaniards arrived and evidence of how it was constructed is still visible. This fortress was constructed in order to guard the entrance to this part of the valley and protect it from possible invasions of tribes from the jungle lowlands. Later it served as a temporary capital for Manco Inca, leader of the Inca resistance in 1537 during the Spanish conquest of Peru, who fortified the town to stop the advance, as Cusco had fallen under Spanish domination.
Ollantaytambo also features the vestiges of the town built by orders of Inca Pachacutec and thought to be not only a strategic military place to control the Sacred Valley of the Incas, but also for agricultural and religious purposes. Additionally, this place is a ceremonial center dedicated to the purification and worship of water with 150 steps built with perfectly carved stones, very similar to those of Tipon. The archaeological site includes a series of superimposed terraces and stunning finely carved stone blocks located on the upper terrace or Temple of the Sun. The main settlement has an orthogonal layout with four streets crossed by other seven parallel streets and at the center the Incas built a large plaza about the size of four blocks.
The town of Ollantaytambo is referred to as a “Live Inca Town” because inhabitants still live according to customs and traditions inherited from their ancestors. Take a journey in time through its straight streets with perfectly laid stones that feature a canal for water to run through the town. Lunch will be served at a local countryside restaurant. (B,L)
Overnight in the Sacred Valley
Day 4: May 20 – Sacred Valley
Full day Chinchero Village, Maras Saltpans & Moray Terraces (private)
Today you will set off in the direction of the Sacred Valley to the town of Chinchero, an authentic Andean village with lots of character, where we will find the colonial church that houses a large collection of painting from the Cusqueñan School of Art.
Chinchero is well known for its continuing tradition as a commercial town and on Sundays the townsfolk gather in the main square to trade their products in a bartering system.
Next, continue your journey through the Sacred Valley of the Incas, to the salt fields of Maras and its seemingly never-ending terraces, where salt extracted from springs is stored. The Spanish founded Maras in 1556 and these waters have been used for centuries, even before the time of the Incas. It supplied salt to the southern highlands during the viceroyalty, so it was an important town. The use of Maras Salt dates back thousands of years and is inherited from generation to generation and managed communally.
It is produced naturally in about 5,000 pools of approximately 5 square meters each forming different levels of terraces, nourished by salty water from a creek that permeates the pools and then evaporated by the intense sun, forming thick crystals. They are extracted once a month, as soon as they have reached a height of 10 cm. It is impressive to see the variety of colors created by the reflection of the sun’s rays in this field of salt deposits, and to learn about the Incas striking ability to generate resources.
Continue your excursion to admire the Moray terraces, believed to be a former gigantic agricultural laboratory, an astronomical observatory or a place of worship, or maybe all three. It is thought that Moray was used for plant adaptation to new climatic environments thanks to its circular terraces in immense cone-shaped depressions of 47 to 84 m that resemble giant fingerprints or contour lines. These create a series of microclimates at the different heights of the terraces, which enabled the Incas to experimentally improve a great variety of crops. Today, it is an evidence of the high level of agricultural knowledge they reached. Lunch in a local restaurant. (B,L)
Overnight in the Sacred Valley
Day 5: May 21 – Sacred Valley / Machu Picchu
Excursion to Machu Picchu
Transfer to the train station for an amazing train journey to the famous Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu, the great mountaintop city abandoned by the Inca Empire, reclaimed by the jungle and lost to humanity until its rediscovery in 1911. Along the way you will enjoy the changing landscape as you travel from Andean highlands to the beginnings of the jungle (“eyebrow of the jungle”), before finally arriving at the town of Aguas Calientes.
From here, board the bus that will take you on a 20 minute ride up to the citadel of Machu Picchu, or Lost City of the Incas, which sits upon the summit bearing the same name, and is one of the most representative and recognized examples of Incan architecture. A guided tour of the Citadel includes the Main Plaza, the Circular Tower, the Sacred Sun Dial, the Royal Quarters, the Temple of the Three Windows and various burial grounds.
The legendary ‘Lost City’ is without a doubt one of the world’s most impressive archaeological sites. Built by the Incas on the summit of “Machu Picchu” (old peak) and overlooks the deep canyon of the Urubamba river in a semi-tropical area, (75 miles) from the city of Cusco at 11,155 ft.
Sitting on a mountain site of extraordinary beauty, in the middle of a tropical mountain forest, Machu Picchu was probably the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire. Its giant walls, terraces and ramps appear as though they have been cut naturally in the continuous rock escarpments.
The history of Machu Picchu is one of the Inca’s best-kept secrets. They did not leave written records and Spanish chronicles make no mention of the citadel, so it remains a mystery. Buffet lunch at Tinkuy Restaurant at Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge (B,L,D)
Overnight in Aguas Calientes
Day 6: May 22 – Machu Picchu
Early morning visit to the Citadel of Machu Picchu. Afternoon free to enjoy the town of Machu Picchu and visit their hot springs. For more active and adventurous people, we suggest to climb up the Huayna Picchu (Supplement for entrance fee to Wayna Picchu) from where you can appreciate the immensity of Machu Picchu, even more amazing being so high and distant. Dinner in Aguas Calientes. (B,D,)
Overnight in Aguas Calientes
Day 7: May 23 – Machu Picchu / Cusco
You will enjoy a morning at leisure to walk around Aguas Calientes or enjoy hotel facilities.
In the afternoon, return to Cusco by train and upon arrival at the train station you will be met by our representative and private driver for your transfer to the hotel. (B)
Overnight in Cusco
Day 8: May 24 – Cusco
Half-day Cusco City tour & main surrounding ruins (private)
Enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of the city of Cusco, the Imperial City and archaeological capital of South America, where you will be able to admire the finest examples of Inca history and architecture. Visit the city’s most important historical monuments that reveal the influence of different cultures: the Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral dating from Spanish viceroyalty times, built with great slabs of red granite renaissance style in contrast with the baroque style silverwork of its interior and, the Santo Domingo church built upon the foundations of the Inca temple Koricancha, dedicated to worship the Sun God.
Continue to Cusco City’s main surrounding ruins: the Sacsayhuaman Fortress – a ceremonial compound and magnificent example of Inca military power that boasts a panoramic view of the city, the Qenqo Amphitheater – a ritualistic site with subterranean galleries that form an underground maze, Puca Pucara or red fortress and, the Inca Baths of Tambomachay. (B)
Overnight in Cusco
Day 9: May 25 – Cusco
Day at leisure
You have a day at leisure to explore and enjoy the many excellent cafés, bars and innovative restaurants in Cusco or for any last minute shopping. (B)
Overnight in Cusco
Day 10: May 26 – Cusco / Lima / Depart to U.S.
Transfer Hotel / Cusco Airport (private)
At the appropriate time, our representative will meet you at the hotel lobby and transfer you to Cusco Airport to board your next flight. Our representative will assist you with check-in procedures and all departure formalities to your flight to Lima. Depending on flights arrival may be the next day. (B)
HOTELS INCLUDED IN THE TOUR
Lima Country Club Lima hotel
Sacred Valley Aranwa Hotel & Wellness
Aguas Calientes Inkaterra Machu Picchu
Cusco Aranwa Cusco Boutique hotel
* Itinerary Subject to Change
Travel with Biotrek to Peru and experience ancient ruins and ancient traditions. Wander the charming Cusco markets and the Scared Valley. Explore the colonial city of Arequipa and scan the skies for the giant Condors of Colca Canyon. Marvel at mysterious Machu Picchu; built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438-1472) and often referred to as “The Lost City of the Incas,” the most familiar icon of the Inca World.
Our small group tour to Peru presents the dramatic visage of the Inca ruins and the friendly faces of the Inca descendants. You’ll be confronted with exotic flora and fauna in the verdant cloud forest, as well as the snow-capped mountains that tower like the ancients of old over the Sacred Valley. Your Peru travel experience will illuminate the dynamic culture, history of the Incas and vibrant landscape of the Andes!
- Machu Picchu – is one of Peru’s most famous destinations and one of the Seven Wonders of the modern world. This site that contains archaeological treasures from the lost Inca city. Located near Cuzco, the Machu Picchu site adjoins the Sacred Valley and the Inca Trail.
- Lima – For many travelers, their first glimpse of Peru is the sprawling metropolis of Lima. In addition to having some of the countries best museums, restaurants, and nightlife, Lima also features beautiful Spanish architecture, spacious green parks, and quaint ocean side suburbs. Home to 9 million people, almost one third of the country’s population, Lima is a large part of what the Peru of today is all about and it should not be overlooked.
- Cusco – named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ruins of the old Inca city became the foundation for the Spanish architecture that exists today. Walking through the narrow streets lined by Inca walls, visitors can’t help but feel the history that exists here.
- At the beginning of the Sacred Valley, just 45 minutes from Cusco, are some of the most spectacular Inca ruins in Peru. Equal parts city, religious temple, and military complex — and perhaps a royal estate of the Inca emperor — the ruins enjoy stunning views of the valley. A hike up the steep hillside to the ruins, beginning at Pisac’s main square, is one of the most rewarding climbs you’re likely to take.
- Arequipa – location below the snow capped mountains combined with the unique sillar stone architecture, make it one of the most beautiful cities in Peru. The El Misty volcano behind the city to the northeast is an awesome sight from the Plaza de Armas. The light colored colonial buildings, which set Arequipa apart from other Peruvian cities, are made from sillar. This is a volcanic rock, which is particularly bright when the sunlight strikes it. For this reason Arequipa is often referred to as the white city. Arequipa’s historical city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Colca Canyon – is an awe-inspiring site and the best place in South America to witness giant condors, but the entire area, which Mario Vargas Llosa called the “Valley of Wonders,” is extraordinarily scenic. From snowcapped volcanoes to patchwork valleys of green, narrow gorges, and beautiful desert landscapes, Colca has it all.
A land of archaeological, cultural, and natural treasures, Peru offers us a memorable experience. Peru is marked by the extraordinary ancient civilizations who left their footprints on the landscape and their spirit in the heart of the people. At its height the Inca Empire comprised of some six million people and was a highly developed civilization as reflected by the magnificent remains of its cities and temples.
Our expert guide accompanies our group on specially arranged visits of spectacular ruins and artifacts that still bear silent testimony to the power of past civilizations. Biotrek features exploring a native Andean textile center in the beautiful Sacred Valley, attending a Peruvian Paso Horse demonstration, and a 2 night stay just below the ruins at Machu Picchu so that you can enjoy prime viewing opportunities before the crowds arrive.
The Andean mountains cut through the countryside. Their snow-capped peaks and glacial lakes present superb trekking opportunities. Peru welcomes the tourist, the ecologist, the anthropologist, the historian — it is a country that fascinates people from all walks of life and appeals to our sense of curiosity and adventure. You will appreciate the gracious hospitality, breathtaking beauty, and World Heritage sites of this intriguing country.
Lima for Biotrek travelers is their first glimpse of Peru It is usually a stark contrast to the images we are expecting, of Andean villagers wearing bright colors, farmers herding sheep and llamas, and mountain peaks surrounding green valleys. Lima is a bustling city on the dry coastal plain, where the dominant colors in the landscape are brown and gray, and locals dress the same as those in cities across North America or Europe. Despite this image, Lima a vibrant city with much to offer. In addition to having some of the countries best museums, restaurants, and nightlife, Lima also features beautiful Spanish architecture, spacious green parks, and quaint ocean side suburbs. Home to 9 million people, almost one third of the country’s population, Lima is a large part of what the Peru of today is all about and it should not be overlooked. The personal guide will take us to Lima’s Historical Center, passing by Plaza San Martin, Plaza Mayor, the Government Palace, the City Hall, the Cathedral and its Religious Art Museum.
Cusco, was once the capital city of the Incas and is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the Americas. In 1983 the city was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ruins of the old Inca city became the foundation for the Spanish architecture that exists today. Walking through the narrow streets lined by Inca walls, our small group tour can’t help but feel the history that exists here .Cusco is a living museum of Peruvian history with Spanish colonial churches and mansions sitting atop perfectly constructed Inca walls of exquisitely carved granite blocks that fit together without mortar.
Rich in ancient and modern Inca history, Cusco is a main destination for our small group during their Peru tour and is one of the most important cities in the Americas. Known by the Incas as the “home of the gods,” Cusco became the capital of one of the largest pre-Columbian empire, Tawantinsuyo. At one time the city served as a hub for the Inca as they traveled the vast network of roads interconnecting virtually the whole of South America. The main tourist area is the Plaza de Armas and the surrounding streets. Many of the cities main attractions are within a few blocks of the Plaza. Here our guide will point out some of the best restaurants, hotels, and shopping in Cusco. Climbing up hill we visit the San Blas district with it’s cobble stoned streets and quaint little area that offers fine views over the entire city.
The Sacred Valley, just 45 minutes from Cusco, are some of the most spectacular Inca ruins in Peru. Equal parts city, religious temple, and military complex — and perhaps a royal estate of the Inca emperor — the ruins enjoy stunning views of the valley. A hike up the steep hillside to the ruins, beginning at Pisac’s main square, is one of the most rewarding climbs you’re likely to take. Photo opportunities are abundant! We drive to the surrounding ruins of the Kenko Amphitheater, Tambomachay, Puca Pucara, and Sacsayhuaman Fortress.
Machu Picchu ... the beauty and mystery of the walled ruins, once palaces of fine Inca stonework, is magnified by the lush landscape of its surroundings. The ruins blend harmoniously amid the narrow and uneven topography. This historic region sits nearly 8,000 feet above sea level, on top of a ridge between two peaks. With its discovery in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, Machu Picchu made its debut as an authentic archaeological enigma. Its purpose continues to intrigue, with mysteries that perhaps will never fully be unraveled. As a site that predates the European settlement of South America, Machu Picchu is Peru’s most famous destination and one of the Seven Wonders of the modern world. In 1983 UNESCO designated Machu Picchu a World Heritage Site, describing it as “an absolute masterpiece of architecture and a unique testimony to the Inca civilization” Even as ruins, Machu Picchu rises to the stature of great architecture. Brilliant elements of design and stone masonry can be found around every corner. But perhaps the greatest example of architectural expertise is the Temple of the Sun. A tapered tower, it has the finest stonework in Machu Picchu. A perfectly positioned window allows the sun’s rays to come streaming through at dawn on the South American winter solstice in June illuminating the stone at the center of the temple. A cave below the temple, carved out of the rock, has a beautifully sculpted altar and series of niches that create mesmerizing morning shadows.
Arequipa’s location below the snow capped mountains combined with the unique sillar stone architecture, make it one of the most beautiful cities in Peru. The El Misty volcano behind the city to the northeast is an awesome sight from the Plaza de Armas. It can be seen over the Cathedral, along with the peaks of Chachani and Pichu Pichu. The light colored colonial buildings, which set Arequipa apart from other Peruvian cities, are made from sillar. This is a volcanic rock, which is particularly bright when the sunlight strikes it. For this reason Arequipa is often referred to as the white city. Located 7750 feet above sea level and surrounded by snowy peaks, Arequipa delights with its colonial charm and friendly inhabitants. Arequipa’s historical city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Colca Canyon is an awe-inspiring site and the best place in South America to witness giant condors, but the entire area, which Mario Vargas Llosa called the “Valley of Wonders,” is extraordinarily scenic and photogentic. From snowcapped volcanoes to patchwork valleys of green, narrow gorges, and beautiful desert landscapes, Colca has it all. When we travel to the canyon, you have the opportunity to enjoy the nearby Rio Colca and a get a glimpse of the village life of Peru’s indigenous people. Nevado Mismi, the official source of the Amazon River, is a short distance north of the canyon. As rich in history as the Cusco area, Colca’s pre-Inca terraces rise straight up the canyon. Ancient tombs are found perched on vertical canyon walls. A drive from Arequipa to Colca takes our small excorted travelers past herds of llamas and alpacas and through 400-year old colonial towns where residents raise potatoes and tend sheep. Our local guide knows this place well and will give us a vast education. A visit to the canyon tour can also includes a relaxing soak in the nearby hot springs!
- All Excellent Accommodations
- Ground Transportation
- Meals where listed on Itinerary
- International Air Travel Booked Separately; Call for Quote
Travel with tour guide Sunny Reynolds, who has been showing the world to travelers since 1992. While this is not exclusively a photo tour, Sunny Reynolds as a professional photographer is happy to help all levels of photographers take better photos of their adventures.
- Rates Based on Double Occupancy
- Single Supplement Applies
- Subject to Availability
- All Prices subject to change