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Day 1: Arrive in Lima
Met on arrival at Lima Airport and transfer to our Miraflores hotel. Remainder of the day is at leisure. Overnight in Lima.
Day 2: Fly to Cajamarca in the Northern Andes
After breakfast we take a tour of Lima colonial city center, a UNESCO site, and the Larco Museum. In the afternoon we take a short flight to Cajamarca in the Northern Andes.
Day 3: Cumbemayo Aqueduct and Inca Baths
This morning we explore this beautifully preserved colonial city where the Conquistador Francisco Pizarro captured the Inca Atahualpa. We see the churches of San Francisco, Belen and La Recoleta and the wonderful colonial mansions.
Day 4: Kuntur Wasi Ruins, to Chiclayo
Heading west from Cajamarca, we pass through the largest pine forests in Peru. A short visit at the picturesque farm co-operative of Porcon, then on to the small archeological site of Kuntur Wasi. The name means "House of the Condor" in Quechua and for good reason - the views from the site over the Jequetepeque valley are spectacular. The small museum has the oldest known gold pieces of pre-Columbian culture in Peru. We travel down the valley through rice paddies to the desert coast and north to Chiclayo. Overnight in Chiclayo.
Day 5: Pyramids of Tucume
Today we visit The Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum which exhibits the most important archaeological remains of the Mochica Culture. The exceptional exhibition of jewels, emblems and ornaments were found in 1987 in the tomb of a Mochica government leader called the Lord of Sipan.
Day 6: El Brujio, Princess of Cao Museum, to Trujillo
Travelling south on the Panamerican Highway we pass Pacasmayo, Paijan and Ascope. Heading to the El Brujo archeological site from the Moche culture, we visit the pyramid and the newest museum on the Northern Coast dedicated to the "Princess of Cao". The 23 year old princess was buried with beautiful ornamentation showing the grandeur of the Moche culture. This afternoon we explore Trujillo, the third largest city in Peru, located at the mouth of the Moche River. We walk through the city's historic center and visit some of the colonial homes, or "casonas", that are found here. Overnight in Trujillo.
Day 7: Chan Chan, Temple of the Moon, Fly to Lima
Today, we visit the Valley of the Moche and the city of Chan Chan (UNESCO World Heritage site), the capital of the Kingdom of the Great Chimu. Chan Chan is considered the largest adobe city in the world and archaeologically speaking, comparable to Teotihuacan in Mexico or the old cities of Egypt. We visit Huaca de la Luna, the Pyramid of the Moon, which contains many colored murals and friezes still being uncovered at a ceremonial center located at the top of the pyramid. Later on this afternoon, we fly back to Lima. Overnight in Lima.
Day 8: Pachacamac Temple
Today a 5 hour journey will take us to Ica. We stop at Pachacamac, considered one of the most important religious centers of the indigenous peoples of the central Andes. The site contains a number of pyramids, adobe walls and the remains of frescos adorning those walls. We continue on to the Paracas Marine Reserve, surrounded by sand dunes. Overnight in Paracas.
Day 9: Ballestas Island, Nazca Lines Scenic Flight
This morning, from the Paracas Peninsula, we board a speedboat to a wildlife refuge on the offshore volcanic island of Ballestas. Here we can see sea lions, Inca terns, Humboldt penguins and large flocks of gannets, pelicans and other birds which live on the rich marine resources of the Humboldt current.
Day 10: To Arequipa
We leave early this morning for our long drive to Arequipa. We have a box lunch en route and enjoy the beautiful desert scenery. On arrival in Arequipa we check into our hotel and enjoy dinner in a local restaurant. Overnight Arequipa.
Day 11: Arequipa City Sights, Santa Catalina Monastery
This morning we explore the city of Arequipa which has been inhabited since approximately 7600 B.C., and was officially named Arequipa in 1540 by Garci Manuel de Carbajal, a Spanish conqueror.
Day 12: To Colca, Hot Springs
We drive to the Colca Canyon this morning; en route, we drive through the surreal moon-like scenery of Reserva Nacional Salinas Y Aguada Blanca, with numerous volcanos creating a splendid backdrop. In addition to the stunning scenery, we will see wild vicunas and domesticated llamas and alpacas.
Day 13: Cruz del Condor Colca Canyon, to Puno
We depart early for Cruz del Condor viewpoint, at Cabanaconde, where the Colca Canyon starts. Here we can see the spectacular flight of the condors as well as fabulous views of the canyon. Peru's Andean condors are some of the world's largest flying birds and can weigh up to 33 pounds (15 kg).
Day 14: Lake Titicaca, Taquile Island Homestay
This morning we board a launch for a cruise to Taquile Island. We visit the floating reed island communities of the Uros Indians on the way. Taquile's rocky, terraced slopes rise steeply from the waters in the center of the lake.
Day 15: Return to Puno by Ferry
This morning we explore Taquile Island, only four miles long and less than a mile wide. The island has picturesque villages, hilltop shrines and a gentle and industrious population of Taquile Indian weavers who welcome us wherever we go.
Day 16: To Cusco
A full day's drive takes us over the northern Peruvian Altiplano and down into the narrow valley of Cusco the former capital city of the Incas. Along the way we plan on several stops including Lampa, known as La Ciudad Rosada (the Pink City) for it's pink-coloured buildings. If the church is open we can see the copy of Michelangelo's La Pieta. In Raqchi we can see the remains of the Temple of Viracocha, once one of the holiest shrines in the Inca empire. Overnight in Cusco. Altitude 10,859ft/3,310m.
Day 17: Cusco City Sights
Today we enjoy the beauty and history of Cusco and the surrounding area. We have the opportunity to explore many of the important Inca sites in the hills around the town, including Tambo Machay, Kenko and the massive fortress of Sacsayhuaman.
Day 18: Sacred Valley, Pisac, Ollantaytambo
Today, we explore the Sacred Valley and its outlying villages.
Day 19: Train to Machu Picchu
This morning we travel by train from Ollantaytambo down the rugged gorge of the roaring Urubamba River. This amazing train journey is rated as one of the top 10 train trips in the world, traveling through truly spectacular scenery through the Andes to Machu Picchu (Altitude 8,000ft/2,400m).
Day 20: Machu Picchu, Return to Cusco
A second day at Machu Picchu allows time for individual exploration of the dramatic site and a chance to contemplate its man-made wonders.
Day 21: Chincheros
We have a morning visit to Chincheros which has a rich cultural heritage. It is one of the few places in the area that maintains the Incan urban design and one of the few places where the inhabitants still dress as their ancestors did, in colorful native clothing. The women of Chinchero still practice the art of spinning and wool weaving, of which we hope to see a demonstration of.
Day 22: Depart Cusco
Our adventure concludes today with a transfer to Cusco Airport for your departure flight.
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