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This was a trip of firsts for me. First eating of alpaca, ostrich and guinea pig (sorry Twinkle!). First time on a horse, kayaking and rafting. Peru was a dream come true! -- Crista S, OH
|Peru, South America||Available for Private Groups of 6 or more – call us!||$3,995|
Peru is almost as large as Alaska and is divided into three distinct geographical zones: the desert to the west, the altiplano (high plains) of the Andes, and the jungle, accounting for 2/3 of Peru. You rely on us to choose the gems when designing a trip and that is why we’ve chosen the Andean region. The Quechuan (pronounce ketchewan) people, the land and the culture here have remained intricately entwined despite 500 years of plundering by the Spanish. Our adventure guides are deeply proud of their Inca heritage and their knowledge makes the tour really come alive. And, our guides are experienced and know how to help if anyone suffers from the effects of altitude. We raft the Urubamba, sea kayak on Lake Titicaca and explore ruins in the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, of course! We shop for brightly colored handicrafts, and photograph volcanoes, llamas, trapezoid doorways and ancient terraces. We’ll enjoy a local festival in a small town. You’ll be fascinated by the people of Uros living on islands, in houses and on boats all made of reeds. Andean Peru is the quintessential travel experience – exotic and unusual yet safe and responsive to traveler’s needs.
Flights arrive at Lima Airport in the evening; where we will be met by our local guide and transferred to our hotel. Overnight Lima.
Lima is a huge, culturally diverse city of 8 million people so we pick out the gems to visit on our morning tour of the city. First stop is the 16th century Cathedral forming one side of the main square. It houses Francisco Pizarro’s remains – he was the Spanish conqueror who founded Lima. A short walk brings us to the San Francisco Convent with frescos of Assisi, a Moorish dome, a Last Supper painting with guinea pig on the menu and underground catacombs. We’ll have lunch then transfer to the airport for an afternoon flight to Juliaca. We’ll transfer to Puno, check into a delightful hacienda and enjoy a delicious dinner at a nearby restaurant. Overnight Puno.
Words cannot adequately describe the rush of feelings as I walked through the Sun Gate and saw the ruins of Machu Picchu for the first time. The fact that nine women traveling together can bond so easily is really a ‘wonder of the world! -- Debra H, NY
We’ll take a day to acclimate to the elevation so after a leisurely breakfast we’ll visit a nearby town to enjoy a festival that the locals celebrate with processions, dancing and music. The center of all Virgen del Rosario celebrations are highlighted by the presence of pallas, ladies dressed in costumes with wide sleeves and tall crowns of flowers, and the famous negritos, dancers dressed in black wool masks who liven up the celebration. This festival features a symbolic confrontation between the Moors, locals dressed in Andean costume, and the Christians, who are dressed in Spanish outfits harking back to colonial times. We’ll also go to the Chucuito Temple of Fertility and an ancient archeological site that is likely to elicit a few giggles. We’ll enjoy lunch and head back to Puno with a stop at the Witch’s Market. We’ll have a couple of hours for personal time before a lively show with dinner. Overnight Puno.
After breakfast we depart for Uros, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. This is an amazing cultural experience on the reed islands of Uros. Descendants of the locals fled persecution on shore and built homes on floating islands of reeds. Their homes and boats are all built of reeds also! They share their lives with us, how they cook, harvest fish and where they educate their children. We are invited to try on their hand woven wares and jewelry, and to purchase goods in support of their unique civilization. Next, we’re off to Taquile Island in the middle of Lake Titicaca. We’ll hike up to the main square past terraced fields and small villages. We enjoy a tasty lunch watching men knitting, dressed in Bolivian-like dress, with opportunities to purchase handicrafts. Descend back down to our luxurious boat and travel to Llachon where we’ll sea kayak off the shores of Lake Titicaca. We check into our family home stay and enjoy a delicious, home made dinner prepared by our hosts. Overnight Llachon.
It was very special to experience such an intimate moment with a Peruvian family. The big hug from Lucrecia’s mother will be with me always as a way to welcome the unknown and the adventure in others. Thank you for being able to share that special day. Donna S., OR
After breakfast with our Llachon family, we’ll say farewell and meet our local guide for a wonderfully scenic journey across the high-country to the beautiful orange tile-roofed city of Cusco. With stops along the way, including lunch, we’ll have a late afternoon to early evening arrival. Transfer to our hotel in Cusco, with dinner at another Peruvian restaurant offering local, delicious fare.
What a fun adventure! Loved the volcano and white water rafting in particular. Thanks for such a relaxing and rejuvenating trip. -- Jen O'S, PA
After breakfast at the hotel we’re off for a white water rafting trip on the upper Urubamba River. It’s approximately a two-hour ride to the river which is very scenic and interesting as we drive through Peruvian villages. We’ll enjoy hours of great fun in grade 3 rapids. A wonderful picnic lunch is served to us at the river take out. We drive down into the Sacred Valley and check into our hotel in the tiny town of Ollantaytambo. There is one more treat before dinner – our guide will lead us on an exploration of the Inca fortress at Ollantaytambo. Second only to Machu Picchu in beauty and importance, it offers amazing views and a taste of what is in store for tomorrow. Dinner at a local restaurant and time for shopping the local handicraft market or perhaps indulge in a chocolate tasting. Overnight Ollantaytambo.
After breakfast we’ll take a tuk-tuk to the train station to catch the train to Aguas Calientes, the city below Machu Picchu. We’ll leave our bags at our hotel and catch the bus up to Machu Picchu. The backdrop of soaring jungle-covered peaks is mimicked by stone formations. The spiritual vibrancy is impossible to miss. Our guide will lead us through the ruins. Windows track the sun during the summer and winter solstices. We can plainly see how the Incas worked so successfully with nature but the essential element of Machu Picchu is that much of its reason for existence remains a mystery. We’ll hike up to the Sun Gate of Inti Punku. The view of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate is one of those indelible travel memories to be treasured. The bus will take us down to Aguas Calientes and dinner will be at a restaurant near our hotel. Overnight Aguas Calientes.
After breakfast, we take the bus back up to Machu Picchu. This morning we’ll be guided through the Guard House, the Sun Temple, and we’ll hike part of the Inca Trail to the Gates. Enjoy the incredible ruins and the valley floor even further below – a photographer’s delight as well as a spiritual awakening, if you’re open. We return to Aguas Calientes for lunch before our transfer back to Cucso to check in to our hotel and enjoy dinner. Overnight Cusco.
After a lie in, and a lazy breakfast we’ll enjoy an historic city center walking tour, visit a local market, then time for some final shopping, and our farewell lunch. Transfer to Cusco airport where the tour ends. Some in the group may travel on a late afternoon flight arriving Lima airport to connect with late evening North American bound flights; and some may choose to extend on your own to enjoy beautiful Cusco a bit more.
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