Peru Basic - 15 Days from $1090

 

 

 

Few countries come close to matching the range of scenery, history and culture which make Peru such a richly textured and stimulating destination.  These two action-packed weeks focus on the famous sites of southern Peru - the Colca Canyon, the awe-inspiring ruins of Machu Picchu and the floating islands of Lake Titicaca.  In addition to the cloud forest, llamas and condors, there's the chance to sample the styles of three contrasting cities - Lima, Arequipa and Cusco - as well as doing a bit of trekking, rafting and sailing to stimulate the senses even more.

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Day 1: Arrival

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Day 2: Lima Today we start with a walking tour through the historic center of Lima, passing by the old Main Plaza, Rimac’s Boardwalk, and the Rimac River (in Quechua Rimac Mayu means Talking River).   Afterwards we visit Lima Cathedral, where Francisco Pizarros’s grave can be viewed, and the catacombs at the Church of San Francisco.  At 6:25 pm we fly out to Arequipa

Day 3: Arequipa At over 2325 metres above sea level, Arequipa is Perú’s second largest and most important city, after Lima.  It displays a fascinating colonial past, is surrounded by the Andes, and lies at the foot of El Misti Volcano. Today we visit the labyrinthine Santa Catalina Monastery and have a tasty lunch at a typical restaurant with the people from the agency office.  After lunch we take a tour of the city, with highlights including the “Mummy Juanita” Museum, the cathedral, the church of La Compañía and the main plaza. Night Off.

 

Day 4: Arequipa Recreational
A recreational day to enjoy the dramatic scenery around Arequipa.  Everyone can choose from a variety of options, including horse trekking in the countryside surrounding Arequipa, rafting in the Majes or Chili rivers, a countryside tour by car, or just a day off to relax or go shopping.

 

Day 5: Arequipa - Cabanaconde We leave at 8:00 am for the Colca Canyon, arriving after 12:30 pm at the highest point of our journey, a remarkable spot called Patapampa (4810 metres).   On the way, we see vicuñas, alpacas and llamas at a place called Pampas Cañaguas.  We then descend to the Thermal Baths of La Calera (a chance for 20 relaxing minutes in the water), and have lunch at the town of Chivay.   Afterwards we leave to the Cruz del Condor (3679 metres), arriving there around 3:00 pm.  There, everyone can choose how to get to Cabanaconde (3250 metres).  The 18km to the village can be travelled either by bus, biking, walking (3 ½ hours hike), or by mule – it’s up to each person which they prefer.

Day 6: Colca Canyon We hike downhill from Cabanaconde, which is situated near the rim of the Colca Canyon, visiting the villages of San Juan de Chucchos, Coshñirgua and Malata, or alternatively bypassing the villages and going straight to Sangalle (aka the Oasis).  We can take a swim in the pool here and spend the night, ready to ascend the canyon by torchlight the following morning.

Day 7: Cabanaconde – Puno – Llachón On the way up the canyon there is the option of hiking or riding a mule, depending on each person’s skills and physical condition.  We walk back to Cabanaconde, and return to the Cruz del Condor to try and see condors in flight – to give us the best chance the bus stops at several different viewpoints. Lunch is in the town of Chivay, and we then turn off to go to Puno.  We spend the night in Llachon, a native community on the Capachica Peninsula near the shores of Lake Titicaca).  We have a chance to experience life in this remote location, where we sleep in rustic houses and meet people who can foretell the future by reading coca leaves.

Day 8: Lake Titicaca We wake up later than usual, taking a traditional boat to sail in the cold waters of Titicaca and experience spectacular vistas of the “most beautiful lake in the world”. We stop at some of the floating Uros Islands not usually frequented by tourists, where the traditional ways of life are still practiced.

Day 9: Llachón – Cusco After having breakfast we catch a bus from Llachon to the main highway to connect with a bus to Cusco.  On the way, we stop at the Pukara (fortress) of a culture predating the Tihuanaco, where we see an example of the Chacana or mystic Andean cross. We cross the border between the Cusco and Puno departments at a high point of 4256 metres, then descend to Sicuani, where we have a buffet lunch.  We visit Rasqui, an Incan archeological centre with 13-metre high walls, and in Andahuaylas see the Temple of Saint Peter, full of artwork in gold and silver and considered the Andean equivalent of the Sistine Chapel.  We arrive in Cusco at 5:00 pm, have dinner and spend the night. 

Day 10: Cusco After an overnight rest and breakfast, we take a tour of the city to see the cathedral, Coricancha (where the church of Santo Domingo was constructed over a golden Incan temple) and nearby ruins such as Saqsahuaman, with the famous 12-angled stone.

Day 11: Sacred Valley We go to the Sacred Valley of the Incas to take a look at the beautiful ruins of the area such as Ollantaytambo - a major Inca ruin site and the first taste of what lies ahead at Machu Picchu. It is also a picturesque little town where we can catch our breath and prepare for the next day’s train journey

 

Day 12: Ollantaytambo - Machu Picchu From Ollantaytambo, we catch the train to Aguas Calientes at 8:30 am, arriving at 10:30 am.  In the afternoon we walk up to Macchu Pichu to visit the archaeological complex and the Inti Punku (Gate of the Sun), where we watch the sun set over Machu Picchu before returning to Aguas Calientes for the night.

 

Day 13: Machu Picchu - Cusco We take the first bus back up to Macchu Picchu for a guided tour of the ruins, return to Aguas Calientes, and at 1:00 pm take the comfortable “backpacker” train, arriving in Cusco at 5:30 pm.  After a long day we have supper and go to sleep.

 

Day 14: Cusco Day off to go shopping

 

Day 15: Return Home From Cusco airport, we fly to Lima, where international flights depart to your home countries

 

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