MYSTERIES OF THE INCA EMPIRE – 2017
Tour Code – 1300 11 days – LIMA to LIMA
Capture all the mystery and grandeur of one of the most famous and iconic places in the world on this full journey of the Inca Empire – Peru. Starting with a city tour of Lima, you’ll gain a sense of the colonial heritage of the Peruvians with its world-class museums and its Spanish colonial architecture. Then, head to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, two of the most stunning and mystical places on earth. Glimpse the ancient history and culture, and enjoy the unique opportunity to stay overnight in both the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, where you’ll have two included entrances to the site, visit a local Inca home, and traditional Indian market. From the charming city of Cusco, where you’ll have a full-day introduction to the city and the Temple of Sacsayhuaman, you’ll head to fascinating Lake Titicaca – a lake of floating islands, maintained over centuries by the local Indians who build their islands and homes from the continuously sinking reeds. This is a well-rounded exploration of a land with ancient roots, unexplained remnants, and an overwhelming mystical beauty that is sure to delight you and fill your memories for a lifetime.
NOTE: Price includes internal air and taxes – International air ticket numbers must be provided upon booking.
In Lima, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Cusco, Lake Titicaca.
- SCENIC HIGHLIGHTS
Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, and Lake Titicaca.
Local Guides for sightseeing in Lima, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Cusco, and Lake Titicaca; services of a professional Tour Director.
Private, deluxe air-conditioned motorcoach while touring.
Twin-bedded rooms with private bath or shower, hotel taxes, service charges and tips for baggage handling.
- INSIDE VISITS as shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges where applicable.
Personalise your tour ahead of time with additional excursions.
10 breakfasts (B)
2 lunches (L)
5 dinners (D).
Day by Day
- LIMA, PERU.
Welcome to Lima, Peru. Heralded as the “City of Kings” by Spanish conquistadors, Lima retains vestiges of its opulent past with its colonial buildings and world-class museums.
- Sightseeing today focuses on Lima’s colonial heritage. Founded in 1535, Lima was once capital of Spain’s South American Empire. Visit the baroque 11th-century SAN FRANCISCO MONASTERY, with Spanish and Moorish architecture throughout. Continue to Plaza Mayor, where you will see the Government Palace that houses the presidential palace and was once the home of Francisco Pizarro, founder of Lima and conqueror of Peru. Nearby, see the Cathedral where Pizarro’s remains are buried. The remainder of your day is free to explore. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant this evening. (B,D)
- LIMA-CUSCO-SACRED VALLEY.
Fly to Cusco high in the Andes and upon arrival, descend into the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Stop at AWANAKANCHA and learn about the importance of camelids (llama, vicuna, alpaca, and guanaco) for Inca cultures. See them up close and learn how their coats are transformed into precious weaving fibres used in ancient weaving techniques still in use today. Continue to PISAC, a charming village with an infamous INDIAN MARKET, where you have plenty of time to browse the many colourful stalls selling handicrafts ranging from alpaca sweaters and blankets to painted vases and sterling silver. Later, arrive at your hotel in the peaceful Sacred Valley. (B,D)
- SACRED VALLEY.
Start the day with a visit to the village of OLLANTAYTAMBO and the Inca ruins of the same name. Explore the archaeological site that was the scene of the Inca resistance during the Spanish conquest-the only place ever to resist Spanish attacks. See how the temple area at the top of the terraces was the perfect defensive stronghold, then visit a LOCAL HOME in this Incan town to experience life in a traditional village, which has been remarkably well preserved. Next, visit the SEMINARIO CERAMICS WORKSHOP to learn about Peruvian ancient and modern art. End your day at a local chicheria for a taste of a chicha, a typical Inca drink in Peru. (B)
- SACRED VALLEY-MACHU PICCHU.
Board the VISTADOME train that cuts a path through the picturesque Urubamba Valley bound for AguasCalientes, the quaint town closest to the “Lost City of the Incas.” Ascend the mountainside through tropical forest to the sacred refuge of MACHU PICCHU. Listen as your guide recounts the many accomplishments of the Incas as you tour the terraced ruins dating back to the 15th century. The ruins went undiscovered for nearly 400 years after they were abandoned when the Inca Empire fell to the Spanish. Many mysteries surrounding Machu Picchu remain to this day. (B,D)
- MACHU PICCHU-CUSCO.
Enjoy some free time this morning to explore the mountain town of AguasCalientes; perhaps visit the local market, quaint boutiques, or take a walk along nearby trails. Later this afternoon, return to Cusco, former capital of the Inca Empire. (B)
- Embark on a guided sightseeing tour of Cusco that focuses on the city that was once the political, military, and cultural epicentre of the Incas until the Spanish toppled it. In fact, Inca foundations can still be found in Cusco, with the Spanish baroque structures built on top. Visit the SANTO DOMINGO MONASTERY, where these two forms of architecture are melded together with the temple of both cultures atop one another. Also see the CATHEDRAL in the Plaza de Armas, housing a magnificent collection of artwork, including a depiction of The Last Supper that portrays the apostles dining on cuy (guinea pig). Continue to the hillside overlooking Cusco for a visit to the TEMPLE OF SACSAYHUAMAN. Some of the best examples of Inca masonry can be found at this fortress, where stones weighing up to 350 tons are pieced together to form a complex that could house up to 10,000 men. Learn about the ceremonies and battles that took place here, then see the ruins of Kenko and PucaPucara before returning to Cusco. (B,D)
Fly to Juliaca, then transfer to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Legend says the first Inca, Manco Capac, arose from the waters of the lake by the power of the Sun God to found the Inca Empire. (B)
- EXCURSION TO LAKE TITICACA.
Experience fascinating LAKE TITICACA today as you embark on a motorboat tour of the highest navigable lake in the world and its manmade islands. On TAQUILE ISLAND, see how the local people integrate their Inca and Spanish past. This is evident by the Spanish peasant dresses made of Andean textiles-the islanders make some of the finest in all of Peru. Continue to the UROS FLOATING ISLANDS, a group of approximately 40 artificially made islands. Learn how the Uros Indians construct their islands, homes, boats, and many other resources completely of tortora reed, a centuries-old practice. Enjoy a farewell dinner hosted by your Tour Director this evening. (B,L,D)
Return to Juliaca, stopping at the pre-Incan burial grounds of SILLUSTANI en route. See the above-ground tombs, chullpas, in which the Aymara Indians buried their high priests. You will be welcomed into one of the locals’ HOMES for an inside look at life here. Later, a short flight returns you to Lima, where you will transfer to your hotel. (B)
- Your holiday ends after breakfast this morning. (B)