Ancient Cultures Of Peru (14n/15d)

Contemporary or Ancient Cultures, Peru has a drawcard for everyone

Contemporary or Ancient Cultures, Peru has a drawcard for everyone

Day 1: Arrival in Lima
Upon arriving in the city of Lima, you will be welcomed by one of our representatives, who will give you a brief introduction to the city and to our services while en route to the hotel. You will have the afternoon free.

Day 2: Lima city tour
This day, you will head to the Pueblo Libre Disctrict and visit the Larco Herrera Museum, an eighteenth-century Viceregal mansion that houses more than 3,000 years of Peru’s pre-Columbian history. The museum boasts a supremely fine collection of gold and silver jewelry and worship paraphernalia that demonstrates the superb skill of ancient Peruvian gold and silversmiths. The Larco Herrera also contains a famous collection of erotic ceramic tomb art that gives insights into various aspects of pre-Columbian sexuality. Lunch at Café del Museo The tour will continue with an exploration of Colonial Lima. First, you will stop off at the Plaza de Armas (Main Square). You will get a chance to explore the square by foot and admire the exteriors of the Palacio de Gobierno (Government Palace), the Cathedral of Lima, and the Municipalidad (City Hall), all examples of Lima’s still-present colonial architectural opulence. Afterwards, you will visit La Casa Aliaga, a colonial mansion that currently holds the distinction of being the oldest continuously inhabited private residence in the Southern Hemisphere. Next, you will make your way to the Convento de Santo Domingo (Santo Domingo Convent), a religious and architectural gem that houses holy paintings, images, and relics of Peruvian saints, as well as written accounts of the endeavors of the Dominican Order across the country. Finally, you will leave behind Lima’s Historical Center and begin your journey through the streets of modern Lima as you head toward the most traditional of the residential zones of the capital: San Isidro and Miraflores.  In San Isidro, you will pass through the heart of the city’s financial district and then enjoy a panoramic view of the Huaca Hullamarca Pyramid, an important pre-Inca and Incan ceremonial center and cemetery built out of adobe mud bricks. Soon afterwards, you will travel to the district of Miraflores, a perfect spot to enjoy wonderful views of the Pacific Ocean. You will complete your tour of Lima with a visit to the Bohemian neighborhood of Barranco, a neighborhood called home by countless artists, photographers, and authors. Walk along peculiar streets lined with Republican houses, admire the splendid views, and visit the Puente de los Suspiros (Bridge of Sighs), witness to untold numbers of past and present romances, and source of inspiration for one of Peru’s great composers, Chabuca Granda. Remaining day at leisure

Day 3: Flight Lima – Trujillo and city tour
At the scheduled time, you will be transferred to the airport to board the flight to Trujillo. Upon arriving in the city of Trujillo, you will be welcomed by one of our representatives, who will give you a brief introduction to the city and to our services while en route to the hotel. You will get your first taste of the architectural richness of colonial Trujillo as you admire the magnificent Plaza de Armas (Main Square), considered one of the largest and most beautiful squares in the country. Surrounding the square are the Cathedral and various Colonial and Republican mansions, notable for their wrought-iron windows and beautifully decorated porticoes. The center of the square is dominated by the Monumento a La Libertad (Freedom Monument). Your tour will continue with a stroll down calle Pizarro (Pizarro Street), until you reach La Casa de la Emancipación (House of the Emancipation), a Republican Neoclassical architectural treasure. You will have the rest of the afternoon free.* Please note that the Trujillo city tour can not be done on Sundays.

Day 4: Excursion to Huacas del Sol y la Luna, Chan Chan and Huanchaco beach
You will begin your tour of the region by visiting the remaining traces of the ancient Mochica, an important culture that achieved unmatched levels of sophistication in the Americas. You will visit the Huacas del Sol y de la Luna (Sun and Moon Pyramids), considered the most important Mochica ceremonial center in the region. Explore the interior of the Moon Pyramid and admire its amazing reliefs of the many Mochica anthropomorphic deities, expertly carved into the walls by the pyramid’s builders. Upon visiting the site’s museum, you will bear witness to the Moche people’s great artistic sensibility, reflected in their textile, ceramic, metal, and wooden creations. After visiting the pyramid, you will move on to the workshop of a local artisan. Here, you will have a chance to observe the thousand-year-old techniques once used by the ancient inhabitants of the valley to produce works of ceramics, leather, and wood. You will continue your journey through northern Peru’s pre-Columbian history as you visit Chan Chan (meaning ‘Sun-Sun’), the social and administrative center of the Chimú civilization. Built on an area of roughly eight square miles (20 sq. km), Chan Chan came to be home to a population of around 100,000 people. After finishing this tour, you will make your way to Trujillo’s best-known seaside resort, Huanchaco. Here, since pre-Hispanic times, intrepid fishermen have braved the ocean’s waves in crude vessels made from totora reeds (an aquatic reed native to the Americas), which were named “seahorses” by the Spanish upon their arrival. Nowadays, Huanchaco is heavily trafficked by surfing enthusiasts and lovers of good seafood. You will stop to eat at a local restaurant. You will have the rest of the afternoon free.

Day 5: Road trip from Trujillo to Chiclayo visiting huaca El Brujo Cao Museum on route
In the morning, you will take a private transport to the city of Chiclayo. On the way, you will make a slight detour near the Magdalena de Cao District so that you may visit the Complejo Arqueológico el Brujo (Brujo Archeological Complex), considered one of the most important religious and political centers of Moche culture. The complex is formed by two large pyramids: Huaca el Brujo and Huaca Cao (*), that rise up just yards from ocean. Huaca Cao is the better known of the two pyramids, due to the discovery of the tomb of the Señora de Cao (Lady of Cao), a young ruler who was around 25 when she died. In the on-site museum, you will be able to see her mummy, with its skin completely covered in snake and spider tattoos. After finishing your tour of the museum, you will resume your trip to Chiclayo, a land of contrasts near the sea, also known as the Capital of Friendship. You will have lunch at a local restaurant in Chiclayo. (*) Huaca Cao is not open for tourist visits

Day 6: Visita a Huaca Rajada, Museo de Tumbas Reales y Pirámides de Túcume. Vuelo Chiclayo – Lima
The first destination will be the Complejo Arqueológico Huaca Rajada (Cracked Pyramid Archeological Complex), a funerary complex located 22 miles (35 km) from the city of Chiclayo, where the tomb of one of the Moche ruling elite, the Señor de Sipán (Lord of Sipán), was found. Next, you will visit the Museo Tumbas Reales (Royal Tombs Museum), which was built specifically to house the greatest archeological discovery of recent times: the tomb of the Lord of Sipán. Its amazing pieces of unsurpassed beauty made of gold, silver, and precious stones, as well as the exquisitely produced ceramics, will make your visit here difficult to soon forget. After enjoying the excellent cuisine at a local restaurant, you will continue your tour by visiting the Pirámides de Túcume (Túcume Pyramids), a magnificent complex of 26 adobe pyramids that once formed part of an extensive urban center, perhaps once the capital of the realm of Sicán. You will visit the Museo de Sitio (on-site museum), move on to the Huaca Larga (Long Pyramid), the most important of the complex, and then climb until you reach the lookout point on Cerro La Raya (Stingray Hill), where you will enjoy a spectacular view of the entire valley. Return to the hotel. At the scheduled departure time, you will be met by the transport service and escorted to the airport to board the flight back to Lima. *Upon arrival , assistance and transfer o the hotel. *Due to the flight schedule Chiclayo / Lima, we suggest to spend the night at the hotel located in the airport. * Please note that Royal Tombs Museums remains closed on Mondays.

Day 7: Flight Lima – Cusco and city tour
At the scheduled departure time, you will be met by the transport service and escorted to the airport. A la hora indicada lo recogeremos en su hotel para llevarlo al aeropuerto de Lima donde abordará el vuelo con destino a Cusco. Upon arriving in the city of Cusco, you will be welcomed by one of our representatives, who will give you a brief introduction to the city and to our services while en route to the hotel. You will be free for the rest of the morning so that you can adjust to the altitude. History-filled alleys, churches, walls and archeological treasures await you in the magnificent Incan capital. In the afternoon, you will begin your tour as you enjoy the best view of the city of Cusco from atop Cerro Pukamoqo (Red Peak), a natural scenic overlook from which the outstretched arms of Cristo Blanco, a massive white statue of Christ, embrace the city in a benevolent gesture. You will then visit nearby Fortaleza de Sacsayhuamán (Fortress of Sacsayhuamán), a colossal structure of enormous stones, carved and fitted together with incredible precision. As you return to the lower part of the city, you will stop off at the Mercado de San Pedro (Market of St. Peter), which being the city’s main street market, will give you an opportunity to get to know the products of Cusco, overwhelming you with the sights, aromas, tastes, and colors of the region. Just a few blocks away, you will discover one of the most impressive buildings of Incan Cusco: the Korikancha (the Golden Temple)—a temple dedicated to the worship of the Sun God, whose interior walls were said to have been covered in gold. You will complete the day with a stroll through the Plaza de Armas (Main Square), where you will visit the Cathedral and admire its exquisite vestibules and priceless paintings from the Cusco School of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Day 8: From Cusco to the Sacred Valle Sagrado
This morning, we will continue or trip toward Valle Sagrado (Sacred Valley), you will soon reach the must-see stop of Awanakancha. Here, you will learn about the various types of camelids (Llamas, Alpacas, Vicuñas, and Guanacos) that live in the Andes region. Additionally, the local villagers will teach you about the ancestral methods and techniques used to produce their textile art.  A few miles farther along, you will reach Pisac, a beautiful place where Incan and Colonial influences have reached a perfect balance and created the unique way of life of the local inhabitants. You will get a chance to explore this quaint town, famous for its artisan markets where you can find extraordinarily fine jewelry and ceramic and textile craftwork. You will have lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, you will visit one of the last remaining Incan towns, Ollantaytambo, which was once fiercely guarded by a massive fortress. Discover the large archeological complex of what used to serve as a wayside inn for royal delegations on long journeys. Surviving structures here include multiple walls and towers that were used to protect the citadel from possible invasions. Time permitting you will get a chance to mingle with the locals at a typical Peruvian Andes establishment, either at a “chichería” (establishment for the brewing and sale of chicha, the famous traditional Andean drink made of germinated corn) or a bakery with still-functioning traditional ovens. Return to Cusco and overnight.

Day 9: Machu Picchu citadel excursion with overnight in Aguas Calientes
On the second day, you will visit the Santuario Histórico de Machu Picchu (Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu). Aboard a comfortable train, you will depart for the Aguas Calientes Station, enjoying a spectacular view along the way. Upon arrival, you will board a bus that will take you to the entrance gate of the citadel of Machu Picchu. Rediscovered by Hiram Bingham more than a century ago, Machu Picchu is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Its architectural beauty, spectacular natural landscapes and the energy held in its enigmatic structures will take your breath away. You will follow in the footsteps of the ancient Incans as you explore this magical citadel along with your guide. After the tour, you will stop at a local restaurant for lunch. Time permitting you will be able to head back to the site for a second visit. At the scheduled time, you will be picked up and taken to Aguas Calientes, where you will return to the selected hotel. You will have dinner and spend the night in Aguas Calientes.

Day 10: Return from Aguas Calientes to Cusco
Your morning will be free. You will have the option of visiting the citadel again on your own, if you like. If you are feeling adventurous, you can climb Huayna Picchu*, where you can visit the Templo de la Luna (Temple of the Moon). At the scheduled time, you will board the return train at Aguas Calientes Station. Upon your arrival at the station just outside of Cusco, a private transfer service will be waiting to take you back to your hotel in the city. *Please keep in mind that there is a maximum daily number of visitors allowed to climb Huayna Picchu. It is essential that you buy your entry ticket in advance.

Day 11: Road trip from Cusco to Puno
Early in the morning we will depart from Cusco to Puno on board a comfortable vehicle, as we enjoy one of the most beautiful views of the Andes. During our trip, we will make a brief stop at Andahuaylillas, a friendly, warm-weather town which is home to one of the most unique churches in the Andes, known as Peru’s Sistine Chapel. You will be dazzled by the beautifully decorated murals and frescoes covering walls, baseboards, ceilings and façades. Our following stop is Racchi, one of the most important constructions of the Inca Empire, known for its extraordinay architecture. We will then cross the La Raya Pass, which lies at 14,222 feet (4,335 meters) above sea level. There we will see herds of vicuñas and llamas. Our last stop will be the town of Pucará, known as the place where the Toritos (little bulls) of Pucará are made. The famous torito is believed to have magical and religious qualities among the inhabitants of the Andes as a symbol of procreation for the flocks, for happiness in marriage, fertility at home and as protection for the house. Buffet lunch at a country-style restaurant, where we will enjoy the regional cuisine. Overnight in Puno.

Day 12: Uros & Taquile Island excursion
On the second day, you will enjoy an extraordinary journey across the world’s highest navigable lake, Lake Titicaca. Travel to legendary places where time seems to have stood still. Your first stop will be the Uros floating islands. These are a peculiar grouping of around 40 small islands made totally of totora, a natural reed that grows around the lake. The cheerful inhabitants will invite you to get to know their traditional lifestyle and customs. You will continue your voyage across the placid waters of the lake until you come to the picturesque island of Taquile, a peaceful place where old Quechua traditions live in perfect balance with modernity. Discover a landscape distinct from the other islands thanks to the Incan terraces filled with local flowers and crops. The rich colors of the clothing worn by the local inhabitants will amaze you; admire their beautiful hand-made fabrics. Most importantly, enjoy the unbelievable hospitality of the islanders, known as Taquileños, who will make your visit to the island a memorable one. Before making your way back to Puno, you will have lunch at a local home.

Day 13: Catamarán Cruise from Puno to La Paz
Early in the morning, we’ll pick you up at your hotel in a private vehicle and we’ll head to the Sanctuary of Copacabana. Upon arrival, we’ll visit the main square and the Cathedral (sanctuary of the Black Virgin of Copacabana), before boarding the catamaran that will take us on a cruise through Lake Titicaca to the Island of the Sun, the cradle of the Inca Empire. We’ll have lunch on ship. On this legendary island we will visit the Garden, the Steps and the Inca Fountain. Then we’ll visit the Inti Wata Cultural Complex, Bolivia’s main private tourist attraction, which includes the underground Ekako museum, the traditional medicine centers and the construction of totora reed vessels, the Pachamama terraces of Incan agriculture, a handicraft center, the Intica refuge and the widest variety of Andean camelids located in the Manco Capac lookout point. At this complex we’ll also sail on a huge traditional totora reed vessel and we’ll enjoy the panoramic view of the Incan Pilkokaina Palace. We’ll also have an opportunity to participate in the ancient Kallawaya ceremony as well as the water ceremony. At the end of this visit we’ll board the catamaran again, which will take us to the port of Chua as we enjoy a delicious buffet lunch. Upon arrival, a bus will be waiting to take us to La Paz. Overnight at a hotel in La Paz.

Day 14: Tiawanaku excursion, La Paz city tour and Moon Valley visit
At 8 a.m. we’ll pick you up from your hotel to visit the archaeological complex of Tiahuanaco, one of the most ancient civilizations of the Americas (approx. 1589 B.C.). During its golden age it served as the main ceremonial center and was also the cradle of Andean culture. We’ll visit the Temple of Kalasasaya (Sun), the Gate of the Sun, the Semi-Subterranean Temple (Earth), the Akapana Pyramid and its museum, where you can see an impressive collection of objects and instruments from ancient civilizations. After this visit, we will return to the hotel. In the afternoon, we’ll visit the famous Witches’ Market, the colonial Church of San Francisco and the handicraft shops of Calle Sagarnaga. We’ll continue our tour through the city of La Paz with Plaza Murillo, where the Government Palace, the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Parliament are located. We’ll then move on to the well-known Jaen street, where the city’s most important museums are located. From here we’ll move on to the replica of the Tiahuanaco culture’s semi-underground temple. At the end of this visit, we’ll shift gears and go to the residential areas of Obrajes, Calacoto and La Florida. Our trip will end with a visit to the spectacular Valley of the Moon, where we’ll go on a short walk to visit a pottery workshop and view a demonstration of this art. Overnight in a hotel in La Paz.

Day 15: La Paz departure
At the scheduled time, you will be assisted in your transfer to the airport or station.

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