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Arrive in Lima and transfer to your hotel. If arriving during the day, your hotel will be in the neighborhood of Miraflores, with good artisan markets and restaurants, and you’ll have an included city tour in the afternoon. The city tour lets you explore the wonders of the colonial capital, you visit the famous Plaza de Armas, the national reserve bank museum as well as the impressive and beautiful San Francisco church. You also get a chance to take in some beautiful views of the coast at Parque de Amor. If arriving late at night, you’ll be close to the airport for a bit more sleep before your next day’s flight, and you’ll have your city tour of Lima upon your return.
The tour begins with a panoramic view of the “Huaca Pucllana” a magnificent ceremonial and archeological center built in the 4th century A.D. and considered a “sacred village” by the Inca and pre-Inca people.
We then visit the historical center of Lima, where you will see more than fifty monuments and Colonial edifications, such as the Paseo de la República, the San Martín Square, the Main Square, the Government Palace, the Archbishop’s Palace, the Cathedral Basilica, and the City Council Palace.
Next we head to the Museum of the Banco Central de Reserva, where will will find the “Treasures of Perú” Collection, a fine selection of objects made of gold, ceramics and textiles from different pre-columbian cultures.
We will visit the monumental San Francisco Convent, which displays the largest collection of religious art in America. Our highlight will be the visit of the underground vaults, known as “Catacumbas” or Catacombs.
We will also visit traditional residential areas of Lima and Larcomar.
Overnight in Lima.
A short flight brings us to the famous Inca city of Cusco. After checking into your hotel, we set out to explore the incredible capital of the Inca Empire. We head to the picturesque Plaza de Armas to the cathedral to see the colonial influence in the city, and we can admire the stunning architecture of the church and also the native influences subtly woven in into the artwork. Onwards to Coricancha church, where the colonial and Incan architectures are on display side-by-side directly contrasted with each other. Afterwards we make our way above the city to the imposing fortress of Sacsayhuaman where we can marvel at the incredible stonework and architecture of the Inca civilization. We head back to Cusco in the late afternoon.
A beautiful early morning train journey across the high plain above Cusco then down the Urubamba Valley to majestic Machu Picchu. Known as one of the greatest architectural achievements in the world, this historic sanctuary is considered one of the seven manmade wonders of the world. After a guided tour, take time for independent exploration of this magnificent site. Return by train and car to Cusco in the evening.
This morning we head down to Puno on a guided bus tour. The trip there is beautiful, as we pass by Andean villages, herds of llama and alpaca, and high snowcaps. We stop at the Inca site of Raqchi, the old colonial church at Andahuaylillas and the Pukara Culture Archaeological Museum. We arrive on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake at 12,500 feet above sea level and get to relax before the tour of the lake the following day.
Boats are the transport theme today as our Lake Titicaca trip begins and we head out across the water. Our first stop is the islands of Uros, completely constructed out of totora reeds and floating on the surface of the lake. We’ll take a walk across the spongy surface of these unique islands and go for a ride in a reed boat before continuing on to the island of Amantani, where we’ll spend the night with a local native family. A soccer game with the locals, an amazing sunset, and a music and dance fiesta in native garb are all on the agenda on Amantani today. Please note: our Lake Titicaca family stay is a truly authentic experience which includes being cooked for by and dining with the local family and staying in a room at their house. There is often just candlelight, no electricity, and the bathroom is an outhouse. This is a great experience which is the highlight of many people’s trip, but which can certainly be described as “basic”, “authentic” and “roughing it”. If you do not wish to spend the night on the islands, Taquile and the Floating Islands can be visited on a day trip.
This morning we head to the island of Taquile. The native culture of Taquile is the most intact in probably all of the Andes, with its inhabitants maintaining the same customs and dress as they have for over 1000 years. Taquile Island is famous for its textile art that has been declared a UNESCO masterpiece of oral and intangible heritage of humanity. You will truly feel as though you have gone back in time as you walk the ancient stone paths of the island and observe its people. Afternoon boat ride back to Puno.
After a morning flight to Lima, we’ll have the day free to enjoy the capital city’s many sights, including the Presidential Palace, the catacombs beneath the San Francisco church, and the National Archaeological Museum.
Departure day. Your flight may depart anytime today. A private transfer to the international airport is included.
Peru: Islands Express is an eight-day tour which includes a family stay on Lake Titicaca, a high-altitude walk of 30-45 minutes. The rooms with the family are twin-share and clean, but also very basic, often with no electricity and always with the bathroom outside the house. It is possible to visit the Titicaca Islands on a day trip if you would prefer or to upgrade to a 4 star hotel on a different island. The trip also includes walking around ruins and during city tours. As always, a certain patience is required for the inconsistencies and occasional delays of developing-world travel.
On all Southern Crossings tours, you are met at the airport by one of our representatives (holding a Southern Crossings placard), who will accompany you to our joining hotel. No bargaining or being ripped off by airport taxis!
International flight to/from Lima, pre- & post- tour accommodation, visas, vaccinations, personal insurance, meals except where specified above, drinks, laundry, souvenirs, tips while on optional excursions and other items of a personal nature. Medical travel insurance is not included through Southern Crossings, cancellation insurance is advisable.
We will gladly arrange additional accommodation for you before or after your trip:
In Lima/Cuzco/Machu Picchu: $85 double/$75 single
Add extra activities such as river rafting, horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, climbing, zip lining, surfing and free days to your custom itinerary. Ask about these options and we’d be happy to add them to your quote. If you have any special requests or interests like birding, cooking or crafting that you would like to explore please let us know!
This tour includes 2-star hotels. We would be happy to give you an upgrade to three-, four- or five- star. If you would like to select a specific hotel let us know your preference. We can then work it into your custom itinerary.
Please add this to your total payment if you will be travelling alone.
All travelers to Peru are required to have a passport valid for at least six months from date of entry. Visas are not required for E.U., U.S., Canadian, Australian or New Zealand passport holders. For other nationalities, please consult the nearest Peruvian embassy or consulate. An onward ticket and proof of funds may also be required at entry and should be available to show to immigration. Traveler’s checks, currency, or a bank statement, from the bank or printed off the internet, are sufficient for proof of funds.
No immunizations are required of travelers to these areas of Peru. Travelers may wish to receive hepatitis vaccinations and should be current on all other standard vaccinations. No areas visited on this trip are malaria or yellow fever zones. Please consult your physician or local health department for more information.
One should come prepared for outdoor activity at temperatures ranging from 45° to 85° Fahrenheit / 7° to 30° Celsius, and for extremes of sun and the possibility of rain. A recommended list of things to bring:
It is best to bring from home such items as prescription medications, eyewear and care, unusual film and camera batteries. Please make sure to bring used batteries back home to recycle!
For your international flights, please check with your airline. Within Peru, you are allowed 20 kilos (44 lbs.) of checked baggage, as well as one carry-on and another small, purse-like item. The carry-on size regulations are the same as international carry-on size regulations.
Rain is possible at any time of year, especially in high mountains and cloud forest, and one should always be prepared. The climate in sites we will visit is as follows:
Cusco: days are warm if sunny, slightly chilly if cloudy. Nights are cold in Cusco.
Lima: warm to hot days, cool evenings, almost never any rain.
Lake Titicaca tour: similar to Cusco with stronger sun and colder nights.
The unit of currency in Peru is the nuevo sol. Automatic cash points are available in Lima and Cuzco. Visa, MasterCard, Plus, and Cirrus are the most common usable types of cards. Traveler’s checks are difficult to cash (American Express is best, but you may be charged 5-8% to cash) or a Visa or MasterCard for cash advances are also options. Do not bring Money Grams or International Money Orders, as they are extremely difficult to exchange. Banks and exchange houses are available in Lima and Cuzco. For currency, U.S. dollars are recommended and most easily exchanged. Please note that cash must be untorn. It can be older looking, but even the slightest tear on an edge will make it unchangeable. Acceptable bills come out of the ATMs in country.
Expect to spend about US$5-12 on a meal, US$2 on a beer, water or soft drink in Peru.
Artisan market prices are usually lower than people expect. Alpaca sweaters, for example, run between $5 and $30. Currency Converter