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Signature Peru & Machu Picchu (2016)
Days: 9 | From: $5,295
Day 1: Arrive Lima, Peru
Arrive in Lima, where you are met and transferred to your hotel. Founded in 1533, this “City of Kings” is a mélange of colonial structures, pre-Columbian sites and modern influences.
Day 2: Lima | Museums and Artifacts
This afternoon, explore Peru’s capital, visiting the Plaza Mayor and Cathedral. Spend time exploring the Larco Herrera Museum, one of the city’s best museums for pre-Columbian artifacts.
Day 3: Cusco/Sacred Valley | Local Customs and Camelids
Fly to Cusco, over 11,000 feet above sea level. Upon arrival, journey to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, where an ancient way of life lives on in the vast green valley far below Machu Picchu. En route, visit Awana Kancha, a center where South American camelids (llamas, alpacas and vicuñas) are bred. Learn about the valuable fibers created from their coats as well as the ancient weaving techniques still used today. Relax and acclimatize to the altitude.
Day 4: Sacred Valley | Ancient Weaving Techniques
Begin your exploration of the Sacred Valley of the Incas with a visit to a remote village seemingly frozen in time. Discover the ancient agricultural methods used for centuries in this challenging, mountainous environment. Then, delve deeper into local culture with lunch at a local hacienda. After lunch, experience the traditional, local lifestyle in the charming nearby town of Chinchero.
Day 5: Machu Picchu | Exploring The Lost City
Continue exploring the Sacred Valley with a visit to the imposing fortress of Ollantaytambo, a formidable stone structure of massive terraces that hug the mountain slopes. Then, journey deep into the Andes toward Machu Picchu via the glass-topped Vistadome train, passing through spectacular Peruvian countryside along the way. Arrive with plenty of time to begin exploring the breathtaking Incan city. Overlooking the Urubamba River and discovered in a hidden tangle of trees atop the mountain, Machu Picchu forever holds the secret of its passing — its Incan inhabitants left no written records of its purpose or its flawless construction. After a tour of the ruins with your expert guide, there is time to explore on your own.
Day 6: Machu Picchu/Cusco | Marvelous Mountain Vistas
Rise with the sun to walk through Machu Picchu in the early morning mist before the crowds arrive. You may opt for a hike to Inti Punku (Sun Gate), the entry point to the ruins from the Inca Trail, or trek up to Huayna Picchu, the high mountain that forms the backbone of the ruins. After your explorations, journey back to Cusco aboard the Vistadome train, savoring incomparable views of the mountain scenery.
Day 7: Cusco | Sacsayhuaman’s Massive Walls
Discover Cusco, touring the Cathedral on the Plaza de Armas and the Santo Domingo Temple, a Dominican church built on the foundations of the Koricancha, the Incas’ principal religious building. Later, explore the awe-inspiring ruins of Sacsayhuaman, a testament to Incan architectural skill. Comprised of gigantic stone blocks, the walls were cut and placed together with incredible precision and without a single drop of mortar to hold them in place.
Day 8: Cusco/Lima | Colorful, Bohemian Barranco
Return to Lima and explore the artsy Barranco neighborhood, with its intimate galleries, eclectic museums and the famous Puente de los Suspiros (Bridge of Sighs). Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. Perhaps take this opportunity to get in some last minute shopping at a local crafts market or sample some of Peru’s culinary delights.
Day 9: Depart Lima
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and depart.
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