The Essence Of The Andes (6n/7d)

A trip to Peru is a fantastic cultural experience

A trip to Peru is a fantastic cultural experience

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
At the scheduled time, you will be picked up at the hotel to begin a tour of the city’s main avenues, boulevards, and squares. The tour will begin with an exploration of Colonial Lima. First, you will stop off at the Plaza de Armas (Main Square). There, you will 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 Historic 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: Arrival in Cusco and transfer to the Sacred Valley
At the scheduled departure time, you will be met by the transport service and escorted to the airport to board the flight to Cusco. Upon arriving in the city of Cusco, you will be welcomed by one of our representatives, who will assist you in and will provide a few guidelines for your stay. As you begin the journey toward Valle Sagrado (Sacred Valley), you will enjoy the beauty of the Andean landscape along the way. Brief stop to visit Awanakancha, a charming place where you can learn about the various types of camelids (Llamas, Alpaca, Vicuña, 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 more miles will bring you to Pisac, a beautiful place where Incan and Colonial influences have reached a perfect balance and created a unique way of life among 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 the rest of the afternoon free. Stay the night in Valle Sagrado.

Day 4: From the Sacred Valley to Aguas Calientes
In the morning, you will cross the Urubamba River and head towards Salinas de Maras (Salt Pans of Maras). The sight of this still-operating salt mine, in use since Incan times, will amaze youthe stark white of the steeply descending salt pans juxtaposed against the green of the surrounding mountain slopes. Your journey will continue on until you reach the archeological site of Moray. Used as an agricultural testing ground, the site’s system of circular terraces descends 490 feet (150 m) from where you will stand, serving as a perfect testament to the level of advancement achieved by the Incas, who excelled at building masterful constructions in harmony with nature. 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. At the Ollantaytambo train station, you will board the afternoon train and depart for the Aguas Calientes Station, enjoying a spectacular view along the way. Upon your arrival, one of our representatives will be waiting to escort you to the hotel. You will have dinner and spend the night in Aguas Calientes.

Day 5: Machu Picchu excursion
Early in the morning, you will get on a bus that will take you to the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu. This way, you will be able to enjoy a relaxed visit before most of the other visitors arrive. 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 the Aguas Calientes train Station, where you will board your return train. 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.

Day 6: Cusco city tour
History-filled alleys, churches, walls and archeological treasures await you in the magnificent Incan capital. In the afternoon, the tour begins with a visit to San Blas, a quaint neighborhood that is home to many renowned artists. Stroll along its cobblestone alleys as you make your way toward its church, which features a beautiful pulpit carved from a single block of wood. Next, you will head towards Hatum Rumiyuq Street (which in Quechua means “Of the Old Rock”), where you will be able to admire the famous Piedra de los Doce Ángulos (Twelve-Sided Stone). The exploration of the Imperial City continues with a visit to the Mercado de San Pedro (St. Peter’s Market), 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 7: Flight Cusco – Lima
At the scheduled departure time, you will be met by the transport service and escorted to the airport or station, as needed.

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