Peru and the Galapagos Islands

Day 1:  Arrival in Lima and Lima Exploration

After departing Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, GA, we’ll fly for approximately 6 ½ hours to Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima, Peru. After transferring to the hotel, you can choose to either relax from the long journey in the hotel or take time to explore the city of Lima, Peru’s capital city. Lima boasts many fascinating sights such as the Plaza de Armas, which was the heart of the 16th century Spanish Empire, and the Bridge of Sighs, a beautiful wooden bridge with access to restaurants and shopping as well as views of the ocean.

Hotel: Hotel Antigua Miraflores, Lima

Day 2: Aerial Nazca Lines Experience

Day two begins with an early morning southbound trip from Lima on the famous Pan-American Highway, a network of roads totaling approximately 30,000 miles in length and virtually linking all of the Americas. Upon arrival in Pisco, for which Peru’s national drink, the Pisco Sour, is named, you will board a small aircraft and experience the mystery of the Nazca Lines from the air. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Nazca Lines are a series of designs so large that their figures can only truly be appreciated from the sky. After the 45-60 minute flyover, you will have the opportunity in Paracas, which features the 800,000-acre Paracas Natural Reserve. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the oldest marine preserve in Peru, and in addition to its ecological preservations, it protects prehistoric Paracas ruins and evidence of other ancient civilizations. The park features a visitor’s center, museum and optional boat tours.

Hotel: San Agustin Paracas, Paracas
Meals: Breakfast

Day 3: Ballestas Islands Cruise and Return to Lima

In the morning, enjoy a morning cruise that will explore the Ballestas Islands. The Ballestas Islands are perhaps the best-known eco-tourist destination on the Peruvian coast, and feature rock formations and animal sightings such as Humbolt Penguins, sea lions and fur seals. In the beginning of the two-hour cruise, travellers will see “El Candelabro,” a centuries-old giant geoglyph that perhaps served as a beacon to sailors. After the cruise, the tour heads back to Lima where we will see why it has the nickname the “Gastronomical Capital of the Americas.” Enjoy a group dinner and show while experiencing all of the culture that Lima has to offer.

Hotel: Hotel Antigua Miraflores, Lima
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Cuzco, Chinchero Market, Ollantaytambo Ruins

In the morning, the group will depart Lima and travel by air to Cuzco. First, we will visit the famous Chinchero Market. This picturesque outdoor market will give travellers the opportunity to shop for, bargain for and purchase hand crafted iconic Peruvian gifts and souvenirs such as scarves woven from alpaca wool. After a typical Peruvian group lunch, we will head to the sacred Urubamba Valley, considered to be the heart of the Incan Empire. On the way to Urubamba, which sits below stunning Machu Picchu, the group will visit Ollantaytambo, home of ancient ruins. Ollantaytambo was the ancient estate Emperor Pachacuti, the most prolific Incan emperor, and is considered to have some of the oldest continually occupied homes in South America. In the evening, we will eat a countryside dinner with a traditional Peruvian family in their home. In addition to enjoying a wonderful meal, we will experience Peruvian lifestyle and learn first hand about life in Peru.

Hotel: San Agustin Urubamba Hotel, Urubamba
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Machu Picchu

Perhaps the most famous of Peru’s landmarks, Machu Picchu was established in 1450 but mysteriously abandoned after only about 100 years and lay undiscovered until 1911. In the morning, the group will board a train at Urubamba and head to this incredible ancient city. Spend the afternoon exploring all that the “Lost City of the Incas” has to offer, including its three main structures, the “Hitching Post of the Sun”, the “Temple of the Sun” and the “Room of the Three Windows.” Machu Picchu is not only designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but is also considered one of the “New Wonders of the Ancient World.” Many of the buildings here have been restored to give visitors an idea of what they looked like in the 15th century.

Hotel: El Mapi Hotel, Machu Picchu
Meals: Breakfast

Day 6: Machu Picchu, Huayna Picchu Climb, Cuzco

The next morning, the group will return to Machu Picchu for another day at this incredible site. For those who are up for a challenge, there will be an opportunity to climb to the summit of Huayna Picchu, the iconic peak seen towering over Machu Picchu in many images. The climb takes about 90 minutes, mostly on stairs. For travelers who would rather not make the climb, there are still plenty of places to explore in Machu Picchu. After lunch, the group will head to Cuzco, by way of train and bus along the Urubamba River and the Gorge of Torontoy.

Hotel: Jose Antonio Cuzco Hotel, Cuzco
Meals: Breakfast

Day 7: Cuzco

Today the group will have all day to explore what is officially considered the “Historical Capital of Peru.” Cuzco offers plenty of sightseeing, including the Coricancha and Santo Domingo. Coricancha was the ancient center of Incan religion and in its prime was lavishly adorned with precious stones and gold plates. Spanish Conquistadors pillaged the temple and gave the site to the Dominicans, who built the monastery of Santo Domingo on the site. There are two optional half-day Cuzco sightseeing tours, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Dinner at a local restaurant is included.

Hotel: Jose Antonio Cuzco Hotel, Cuzco
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: Raqchi, Puno

Today, the group will embark on a scenic drive by coach to Puno. The coach will travel through the Andes Mountains, providing travelers with a glimpse of the agricultural Peruvian lifestyle. Along the way, we will stop at Raqchi, home of the Temple of Wiracocha, the largest Incan ruin. Located on the banks of the Vilcanota River, Raqchi is an archaeological complex famous for its remains of fairgrounds, farming areas, living quarters, storehouses and ceremonial baths. Ancient Incan builders used nearby preserved lava flows as the source of materials for the construction of Raqchi. After Raqchi, the group will continue by coach to Puno.

Hotel: Hotel Royal Inn, Puno
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 9: Uros Islands by Boat

Puno is located on Lake Titicaca, the largest lake in South America by volume of water and the world’s highest navigable lake. The lake contains 42 man made islands constructed out of reeds by the Uros people dating back to pre-Columbian times. The islands were considered defensive, and could be moved if any situation necessitated it. In the morning, the group will get on late Titicaca and explore these islands by boat. After the boat trip, travelers can choose to relax at the hotel in Puno or take an optional half-day Sillustani Tombs excursion. This 3 ½ hour tour explores the pre-Incan burial grounds where the Amyara people buried their high priests.

Hotel: Hotel Royal Inn, Puno
Meals: Breakfast

Day 10: Flight to Lima, Farewell Dinner

Today the group will head to the Juliaca airport and fly to Lima, where travelers will say their final goodbyes with a farewell dinner and prepare for either the trip home or the optional Amazon Post Tour.

Hotel: Hotel Antigua Miraflores, Lima
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 11: Flight to Quito Equador

We will be met at the airport in Quito, Ecuador, and be transported to your hotel in the center of Old Town. This historic city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Spanish colonial architecture will captivate you. This district is full of cobblestone streets, interesting old arches and spectacular churches. In your free time, visit one of the city’s interesting museums, do some shopping, or enjoy a traditional meal while absorbing the atmosphere of one of the Old Town plazas.

Day 12: Fly to the Galapagos Islands

Today we will fly 600 miles over the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean until we arrive at the Galapagos Islands, where we will be met and then transported directly to the Aida Maria where you will begin your cruise. This beautiful 66-foot yacht will serve as your floating hotel for the next few nights and offers you unique privacy as it has only eight cabins and is limited to a total of sixteen passengers. The Galapagos Islands are an extraordinary sight, full of natural beauty, amazing wildlife and fascinating history. Visiting them is an experience you will never forget. B,D

Days 13-15: Visiting the Islands

The Galapagos Islands were named the first World Heritage site in 1978 and have been designated as a national park since 1959. Because the Islands offer such a rich cultural and natural heritage, they are well regulated and protected by the Ecuadorian government. You will enjoy an in-depth visit to several islands, though the exact itinerary for each day is impossible to determine ahead of time.

You will travel in style on the Aida Maria between the islands, and you will be amazed at the diversity of marine life as well as the extraordinary geography of the Galapagos Islands which are millions of years old. While on board the yacht and during your island explorations, you will have the benefit of an expert naturalist who will serve as your bilingual guide.

You will have the remarkable opportunity to see many of the world’s rarest creatures up close. Each island offers a unique experience both in the species of animals and the topography you will encounter. The giant Galapagos tortoise is perhaps the most famous creature to be found on the Islands, but you are also likely to see flightless cormorants, Galapagos penguins, the waved albatross and marine iguanas, which are the only lizards that swim in the ocean. The volcanic formations on the islands are equally diverse and fascinating to explore.

Each day you will also have the opportunity to snorkel. Your underwater adventures will no doubt include encounters with giant sea turtles, rays and sea lions in addition to abundant sea life of every kind. Wherever you look, you will find something wonderful and beautiful to enjoy. B,L,D

Day 16: Fly Back to Quito and Head Home

After enjoying one last morning on the Islands, we will fly back to Quito. Once we arrive in the late afternoon and are transported to our hotel, you will be free to enjoy one last night in Quito. Sample the food, visit an historic site and select your final souvenirs before preparing for your flight home. B

Starting as low as $3,690.00  Land and boat only

  • Limited to 20 People
  • Per person based on double occupancy
  • Single Supplement $3,800

 

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