Day 1: Depart US – Arrive in Lima
Upon arrival into Lima International Airport, we will be met by our representative and private driver and transferred to our hotel. Our representative will assist with check-in procedures and provide a detailed itinerary, vouchers covering all the services included in our tour and additional information on the organization of the trip. Lima, the “City of Kings”, is famous for its Spanish Colonial architecture, extraordinary museums and cuisine. Internationally recognized as the “Gastronomic Capital of the Americas”, its cuisine is considered among the most diverse and exquisite in the world.
Overnight at Country Club Lima
Day 2: Lima
Enjoy a half day guided sightseeing tour to the most attractive and important sites in Lima. 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 afternoons; 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 through the residential districts of San Isidro and Miraflores, passing by the Huaca Pucllana, a ceremonial and administrative center of the Lima Culture, built in the II Century A.C. and considered as ‘Ñaupallaqta’ or Sacred Town by the Incas. Also visit El Olivar Park with olive trees brought from Spain in the 15th 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. 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.
We will stop at the Larco Museum, for an excellent overview of Peru’s ancient past. This museum holds the best private collection of pre-Columbian art in the country, housed in an old Hacienda built upon a pre-Incan sacred site (huaca). The art is the private collection of a great Peruvian scholar: Don Rafael Larco Hoyle. The museum chronologically exhibits hundreds of ceramic, textile, metal and stone pieces and includes a vault that safeguards precious pieces of gold and silver with semiprecious stones. It is one of the few museums in the world that allows such intimate access to its collection, in this case around 45,000 pieces. Of great interest to many visitors is the exhibition of erotic pre-Colombian art. (B)
Overnight at Country Club Lima
Day 3: Lima / Cusco / Sacred Valley
Departure transfer to board our domestic flight to Cusco. Upon arrival into Cusco International Airport, we will be met by our representative and private driver and transferred to our hotel in the Sacred Valley with visits on route.
We will stop at Awanacancha to admire Andean camelids such as alpacas and llamas and learn from local inhabitants about their traditional dyeing and knitting techniques.
The town of Pisac is 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. It is now held daily, and is a favorite destination for visitors, who enjoy the colorful ambience and variety of goods and crafts typical of the Cusco area. You will have time to leisurely roam through the market, and if you feel like tasting something traditional, stop by the wood ovens for a delicious empanada or a piece of bread. Lunch at a local restaurant.
Continue through the Sacred Valley for a visit to the Inca Fortress and Citadel of Ollantaytambo. The fortress was built just as the Spaniards arrived, and evidence of how it was constructed is still visible. Its purpose was to guard the entrance to the valley and protect it from possible invasions by tribes from the jungle lowlands. Later in 1537 it served as a temporary capital for Manco Inca, leader of the Inca resistance, during the Spanish conquest of Peru. Additionally, Ollantaytambo is a ceremonial center dedicated to the purification and worship of water, with 150 steps built with perfectly carved stones. The main settlement has an orthogonal layout with four streets crossed by other seven parallel streets, and a large plaza at the center. The views from the fortress are breathtaking. The colorful town of Ollantaytambo is referred to as a “Live Inca Town” because inhabitants still live according to customs and traditions inherited from their ancestors. (B,L)
Overnight at Aranwa Sacred Valley
Day 4: Sacred Valley
Today we set off 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. We will enjoy a brief exhibition of the town’s traditional textiles, famous for their quality and beauty.
We continue to Moray to admire the Moray Terraces, believed to be a former gigantic agricultural laboratory, an astronomical observatory, a place of worship, or maybe all three. The view is impressive thanks to the colossal terraces, which simulate a large, concentric amphitheater, where it is possible to create 20 different types of microclimates. This ensured the agricultural production of the empire.
After lunch, we will continue 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. The salt fields are inherited from generation to generation and managed communally. The salt is produced naturally in about 5,000 pools of 5 square meters each, forming different levels of terraces, nourished by salty water from a creek and then evaporated by the intense sun to form 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 on the salt. (B,L)
Overnight at Aranwa Sacred Valley
Day 5: Sacred Valley / Machu Picchu
Early in the morning, we will go to the Ollantaytambo train station, where we will depart for an amazing train journey to one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. The Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu is a 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, where we will board the bus to go up the winding road to Machu Picchu. Enjoy a spectacular view of the Urubamba River and its canyon. The Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu, will astonish us with its terraces, ceremonial shrines, steps and urban areas. 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. We return to our hotel in Aguas Calientes where we will dine and spend the night. (B,L,D)
Overnight at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo
Day 6: Machu Picchu
Excellent opportunity to wake up early and enjoy a beautiful sunrise. Second visit to Machu Picchu (entrance fees included/guide is not included). See the areas of the Intipunku or Door of the Sun, the Inca Trail entrance to the citadel. For those looking for a more intense adventure and wish to visit Huayna Picchu, it is important to have in mind that there are only 400 daily spots to climb the mountain, all of which have to be reserved in advance. Dinner included at the hotel. (B,D)
Overnight at Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo
Day 7: Machu Picchu / Cusco
In the morning, departure to the train station to board our train to Ollantaytambo from where we will be transferred to our hotel in Cusco. Afternoon at leisure. (B)
Overnight at Aranwa Cusco Boutique
Day 8: Cusco
Morning at leisure. In the afternoon, we will climb up the Archaeological Park of Sacsayhuaman, and start our visit to the fortress with the same name, a beautiful, ceremonial place that radiates peace and quiet. Admire the huge rocks measuring up to 4 meters high that were used in its construction, and enjoy the panoramic views. We will then head for Q’enqo, and ancient temple of the Puma, where we will see an altar that was used for sacrifices.
On the way to the Inca Baths of Tambomachay, sacred fountains of life and health, we will have a panoramic view from Puca Pucara, a red fortress watchtower that controlled the entrance to the city. After that we visit the Temple of the Sun “The Korikancha”, on top of which the Saint Dominique Convent was built. A legend tells that his temple was entirely lined in gold sheets that marveled the Conquistadors upon their arrival. Finally, we will go to the Main Square of Cusco to visit the Cathedral, built with great slabs of red granite in renaissance style, which contrasts with the baroque style silverwork of its interior. Within the Cathedral are invaluable colonial paintings and other works of art. (B)
Overnight at Aranwa Cusco Boutique
Day 9: Cusco
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 at Aranwa Cusco Boutique
Day 10: Cusco – Lima – Depart to US
At the appropriate time, our representative will meet us at the hotel for transfer to Cusco Airport to board our connecting flight back home. (B)
* Itinerary Subject to Change
The Country Club Lima Hotel is situated in the prestigious residential area of San Isidro district of Lima and is approximately 20 minutes from downtown Lima. Built in 1927 and declared a Peruvian Cultural Monument, the Country Club Lima Hotel presents the perfect marriage of architectural charm, history, and modern comfort. All rooms and suites are decorated in a delightful mix of classical and Peruvian artworks. Celebrated for their innovative style, creative flavors and sophisticated ambiance, three acclaimed destinations are the cornerstones of hotel’s dining experience. This property is simply Lima’s finest hotel
Aranwa Sacred Valley Hotel & Wellness is built on the banks of the Vilcanota River, on the lands of an old colonial hacienda of the 17th century, just half an hour from the city of Cusco, and 30 minutes from the train station in Ollantaytambo, en route to Machu Picchu. The hotel rooms are decorated in Colonial, Modern and Minimalist-styles.
Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel is an intimate Andean village with terraced hills, waterfalls, stone pathways and 83 whitewashed adobe casitas tucked away in the cloud forest. Member of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, the property has 12 acres of exquisite natural beauty, where 214 bird species – such as the golden-headed quetzal and the iconic Andean cock-of-the-rock – and the world’s largest native orchid collection (372 species) have been registered.
After exploring the Historic Sanctuary and in-house excursions, guests can enjoy the Unu Spa, which combines the classic nurturing with a mystical Andean approach. Natural products are derived from local botanical extracts (mint, eucalyptus and orchids), thus providing a pleasing spiritual, sensual and soothing experience. The first-class restaurant features stunning views of Vilcanota River, and shares the secrets of Peruvian cuisine with a contemporary twist.
Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel is the essence of luxury and comfort in the heart of the Inca city. A museum hotel built in a colonial mansion of the XVI century, which houses more than 300 pieces of art between paintings of the Cuzco school, colonial sculptures and carvings which transport us to the greatness of the time. The elegant rooms are equipped with intelligent oxygen system and heating floor in the bathrooms for a great stay.
A land of archaeological, cultural, and natural treasures, Peru offers a memorable experience. Extraordinary ancient civilizations 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.
Biotrek's small group tour to Peru presents the dramatic visage of the Inca ruins, the majestic Andes mountains and the friendly faces of the Inca descendants. Dine at some of the world's best restaurants in Lima. Wander the charming Cusco markets. Marvel at mysterious Machu Picchu. You’ll experience ancient ruins and ancient traditions, be delighted with exotic flora and fauna in the verdant cloud forest, and wonder at the snow-capped mountains that tower over the Sacred Valley.
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 oceanfront 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.
- Pisac: At the beginning of the valley 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 Pisac ruins enjoy stunning views of the valley. The ruins are second only to Machu Picchu in their archeological magnificence. 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.
- Ollantaytambo is a town and an Inca archaeological site. Huge terraces much taller than an average man make up the fortress known as Temple Hill, which was the site of one of the few successful battles against the Spanish conquistadors. The views from the fortress are stunning.
- Awanacancha Textile Center is a hillside farm with alpaca, llama & vicuña. Learn about traditional dyeing and knitting techniques and shop for handicrafts.
- Chinchero is an authentic Andean village with a colonial church that houses a large collection of painting from the Cusqueñan School of Art.
- The Moray Terraces are a bowl-like depression resembling a Greek or Roman amphitheater. The views from the colossal terraces are impressive.
- The Salt fields of Maras were founded in 1556. The salt is produced naturally in about 5,000 pools of 5 square meters each, forming different levels of terraces, nourished by salty water from a creek and then evaporated by the intense sun to form thick crystals.
One of Peru’s most famous destinations and one of the Seven Wonders of the modern world, this spectacular site contains archaeological treasures from the lost Inca city. Built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438-1472) and often referred to as “The Lost City of the Incas” it is the most familiar icon of the Inca world.
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. 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.
Once the capital city of the Incas, and the oldest continuously inhabited city in the Americas, in 1983 Cusco was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ruins of this 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. 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. Climb up hill to visit the San Blas district with it’s cobblestone streets and quaint areas that offers fine views over the entire city.
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.
- 9 nights Superior Room accommodations with breakfast
- Private services with local English or Spanish speaking guide for all transfers, visits and excursions, except the train ride to Machu Picchu and the shuttle bus up/down Machu Picchu
- VISTADOME train ticket for the route Ollantaytambo/ Aguas Calientes/ Ollantaytambo
- Shuttle bus ticket Aguas Calientes/ Machu Picchu/ Aguas Calientes
- Entrance fee Machu Picchu
- Meals where listed on Itinerary
- International air travel and 2 in-country flights booked separately; Call for Quote
- Airport taxes
- Early check-in or late check-out or other extra hotel services
- Personal expenses, beverages at meals
- Tips for transfers, guides, drivers, hotel staff or restaurants
- Services not indicated in itinerary
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