Come face to face with the Sun centric religion of the Incas and the many monuments dedicated to the Sun God (Inti). Here as your journey from Lima to the capital of the Incas, Cusco, you will see remnants of the Temple of the Sun and the Sacsayhuaman fortress. As you travel along the paths taken by the Incas to Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley you will discover many of the beliefs and rites that were held sacred by them. Also you get to travel on two trains the Andean Explorer and the Vistadome, bask in their luxurious surroundings and taste great food and wine.
You are met upon arrival at the airport and privately escorted to your hotel to relax and refresh after your long plane flight.
Lima is the capital and largest city of Peru. It is located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers, on a coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It forms a contiguous urban area with the seaport of Callao and is the 5th largest city in Latin America. Lima was founded by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535, as La Ciudad de los Reyes, or "The City of Kings." It became the most important city in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru and, after the Peruvian War of Independence, was made the capital of the Republic of Peru. Today around one-third of the Peruvian population lives in the metropolitan area.
Enjoy a city tour of Lima this morning after breakfast. Lima has always been one of the most important cities in South America ever since it was founded by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro in 1535. Your sightseeing tour explores the historic quarter and modern districts of the city, and the main square with its beautiful buildings. The Government Palace, the City Hall, the Palace of the Archbishop and the Cathedral are still the most important places in town. Continue to the San Francisco Monastery, Plaza San Martin and the residential districts of San Isidro and Miraflores.
Afterwards continue to the new modern branch of the Golden Museum set in the open-air entertainment center Larcomar (Miraflores). The large exhibition hall of ‘Sala Museo Oro del Peru’ displays pieces from different pre-Inca cultures. One of the museum’s highlights is the Sican room, which showcases outstanding artifacts of this pre-Inca culture known for their lost-wax gold ornament production. The Sican society was the first in the New World to successfully produce bronze on an industrial scale. Thanks to detailed explanations for each displayed piece, the museum offers an insight of the well-rounded knowledge of metallurgy applied by Peru's ancient cultures.
An early morning flight brings you to the Inca capital of Cusco. Upon arrival, proceed to the hotel to have a welcome coca tea, which may help relieve altitude sickness. The remaining of the morning is free to relax and slowly acclimatize.
Your comprehensive afternoon tour of Cusco includes the beautiful Koricancha or Sun Temple, the Cathedral as well as the Fortress of Sacsayhuaman, a remarkable Inca building and the amphitheater of Kenko. This is followed by a visit to Puca Pucara, a strategically located 'red fortress' that dominates the entire area before visiting Tambomachay, with its two distinctive aqueducts that to this day continue to provide clean water to the area. (B)
Cusco is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley (Sacred Valley) of the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cusco Region as well as the Cusco Province. The city has a population of 348,935 which is triple the figure of 20 years ago. Cusco is the historic capital of the Inca Empire and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1983 by UNESCO. It is a major tourist destination and receives almost a million visitors a year. It is designated as the Historical Capital of Peru by the Constitution of Peru.
This morning after breakfast, you are driven to the Sacred Valley to visit Ollantaytambo and Pisac. Hundreds of visitors and people from remote communities dressed in their traditional and colorful attires travel to the Pisaq market to barter their products. Enjoy some time to stroll around the market and buy souvenirs, followed by lunch in a typical ‘hacienda’.
Depart Pisac and continue along the valley to Ollantaytambo, location of the Temple of the Sun, formed of six gigantic monoliths, whose total weight exceeds 50 tons. The Terrace of the Ten Niches is another striking sight. Ollantaytambo was the site of the only successful Inca battle against the Spanish conquerors and the only town in the area to still retain its original Inca layout.
Return to your hotel later this afternoon, where you have the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing spa treatment (guests’ own account). (B, L)
Ollantaytambo is a town and an Inca archaeological site in southern Peru some 60 kilometers northwest of the city of Cusco. It is located at an altitude of 2,792 meters above sea level in the district of Ollantaytambo, province of Urubamba, Cusco region. During the Inca Empire, Ollantaytambo was the royal estate of Emperor Pachacuti who conquered the region, built the town and a ceremonial center. At the time of the Spanish conquest of Peru it served as a stronghold for Manco Inca Yupanqui, leader of the Inca resistance. Nowadays it is an important tourist attraction on account of its Inca buildings and as one of the most common starting points for the three-day, four-night hike known as the Inca Trail.
Písac is a Peruvian village in the Sacred Valley on the Urubamba River. The village is well-known for its market every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. One of its more notable features is a large pisonay tree which dominates the central plaza. The sanctuary of Huanca, home to a sacred shrine, is also near the village. Pilgrims travel to the shrine every September. The area is perhaps best known for its Incan ruins, known as Inca Písac, which lie atop a hill at the entrance to the valley.
The Sacred Valley of the Incas or Urubamba Valley is a valley in the Andes of Peru, close to the Inca capital of Cusco and below the ancient sacred city of Machu Picchu. The valley is generally understood to include everything between Písac and Ollantaytambo, parallel to the Urubamba River, or Vilcanota River or Wilcamayu, as this sacred river is called when passing through the valley. It is fed by numerous rivers which descend through adjoining valleys and gorges, and contains numerous archaeological remains and villages. The valley was appreciated by the Incas due to its special geographical and climatic qualities. It was one of the empire's main points for the extraction of natural wealth, and the best place for maize production in Peru.
This morning, transfer to the Ollanta train station for a 1 ½ -hour train ride through the Sacred Valley of the Incas up to Machu Picchu. On arrival, board a small coach and travel along the steep roads to the entrance of the citadel. Machu Picchu remained for centuries undiscovered by the Spaniards, only to be found in 1911 by Hiram Bingham. The uniqueness of its location and the genius that went into its construction make this Inca archaeological site truly one of the great wonders of the world.
A well deserved buffet lunch is served after your excursion at the restaurant of the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, the only hotel located within the very sanctuary of the Machu Picchu Inca citadel. Later this afternoon, board the train back to Cusco, where you are met and transferred back to your hotel. (B, L)
Machu Picchu is a pre-Columbian Inca site located 2,430 meters (8,000 ft) above sea level. It is situated on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru, 80 km southwest of Cusco. Often referred to as "The Lost City of the Incas", Machu Picchu is one of the most familiar symbols of the Inca Empire. The Incas started building it around 1460 AD but was abandoned as an official site for the Inca rulers a hundred years later, at the time of the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. The site was brought to worldwide attention in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, an American historian. Since then, Machu Picchu has become an important tourist attraction. Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style, with polished dry-stone walls. Its primary buildings are the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows.
Spend a beautiful day at leisure, exploring the city of Cusco. You may choose to stroll through the streets of San Blas artisan quarter with its steeped cobblestone alleys that not only offer spectacular views of the city but are also lined with workshops and galleries, a great way to soak in the artistic atmosphere. San Blas church houses an imposing pulpit, considered one of New World’s finest woodcarvings. If you are in search of a good cup of coffee in a cozy atmosphere, you may visit the Coffee Shop of Bartolome de las Casas Cultural Center. Here you'll find international newspapers as well as interesting books in different languages. Or travel through Cusco’s old city on board an old wooden streetcar, now motorized. This tour lasts 85 minutes and departs several times daily from the Plaza de Armas. (B)
Check out of your hotel in Cusco and transfer to the train station to board the spectacular Orient Express train for a journey south to the beautiful city of Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. This classic and luxurious 10-hour trip, recently voted ‘one of the top ten railway journeys of the world’ cuts across the formidable Peruvian Altiplano. The first half of the journey is dominated by the magnificent Andean mountains which towers over the deep valleys of the meandering Huatanay River. It then reaches the gentler, rolling Andean Plains, where vicuña and alpaca can be seen. The glass-walled observation car provides the perfect opportunity to view the beautiful scenery. Stop briefly en route for a scenic stop at La Raya, which is also the highest point on the route. A three-course lunch is be served on board. Upon arrival to Puno, transfer to your hotel. (B, L)
***Starting May 2017 a visit to Raqchi archaeological site, lunch, tea time and dinner will be included.
Puno is a city in southeastern Peru, located on the shore of Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigable lake, at 3,860 m (12,421 ft) above sea level. It is also the capital and largest city of the Puno Region and the Puno Province. The city was established in 1668 by viceroy Pedro Antonio Fernández de Castro as capital of the province of Paucarcolla with the name San Juan Bautista de Puno. The city has several churches dating back from the colonial period that were built to service the Spanish population and evangelize the natives.
Depart your hotel this morning after breakfast for an exciting excursion by speed boat on Lake Titicaca. Your first stop is the floating reed Islands of the Uros Indians on the way to Taquile Island. The boat trip takes just 75 minutes from Puno to Taquile. Disembark in the southern part of Taquile. Locals in this lesser known area are not visited by mass tourism yet and will introduce you to daily activities and customs of their Quechua community. The visit is capped off by a meal prepared with local fish and fresh produce from the Andes. Return to your hotel in Puno later this afternoon. (B, L)
Taquile is an island which sits on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca 45 km offshore from the city of Puno. About 1,700 people live on the island, which is 5.5 by 1.6 km in size. The highest point of the island is 4050 meters above sea level and the main village is at 3950 m. Taquile, whose Quechua name some believe was Intika, was part of the Inca Empire and has a number of Inca ruins. The island was one of the last locations in Peru to capitulate to Spanish domination during the Spanish conquest of Peru. It was captured for Carlos V and eventually passed to Count Rodrigo of Taquila, who inspired the island's current name.
This morning after breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Lima. En route, enjoy a short visit of the burial towers in Sillustani. The engineering involved in their construction challenges the law of gravity; as the diameter at the top is larger than the diameter at the base. Sillustani is partially encircled by Umayo Lake, offering a picturesque landscape. You may also join a local family from Sillustani in their courtyard to learn more about their lifestyle, Andean crops and traditions. At proper time you are transferred to the airport for your international flight home or to your next exotic destination.
Juliaca is a city in the Puno Region, Peru. It is the region's largest city and capital of the San Román province. Juliaca is on the Altiplano, 3825 meters above sea level. It is located in the Collao Plateau and close to Lake Titicaca. Close by are the ruins of Sillustani, a pre-Incan burial ground on the shores of Lake Umayo near Puno. The tombs, which are built above ground in tower-like structures called chullpas, are the vestiges of the Colla people, Aymara who were conquered by the Inca in the 1400s. The structures housed the remains of complete family groups, although they were probably limited to nobility.
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(iii) 80% of the total tour value if cancelled 13-19 days prior to date of first service sold by TRAVBUZZ / PALACE TOURS
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*Please note: Cancellation FEES listed do not reflect the additional FEES of the hotels. These will be advised on a case-by-case basis as the FEES vary depending on the hotels utilized and the dates booked.
What is the weather like?
Peru’s climate can be divided into two seasons - wet and dry - though this can vary depending on the region. Temperature is mostly influenced by elevation: the higher you climb, the cooler it becomes.
Coastal areas - Lima, Ica, Nasca, Arequipa:
The coastal region of Peru is cool for its latitude and quite dry year-round. Temperatures are warmest during the summer months (December to March), with hot and humid days of around 29°C (84°F) and cool nights of just below 20°C (68°F). Winters (from April to November) are not too cold but extremely humid.
Highlands (Andes) - Cusco, Puno:
The highlands have a rainy season (November to April) and a dry season (May to October), when the days are clear and sunny but very cold at night especially at altitude. Dry season is therefore ideal for trekking and for mountaineering. Daytime temperatures will generally be between 16°C- 21°C (60°F and 70°F), although in the intense sunlight of midday it can feel warmer. Night time temperatures can fall as low as -7°C (20°F).
What clothing and other items are recommended to bring?
Please dress comfortably according to the local weather conditions. We recommend bringing sweatshirts, fleece jacket, raincoat, trousers, cargo shorts, t-shirts, hat, hiking shoes, sandals, swimsuit, toiletries, first-aid kit, insect repellent, aspirin, sun block and sunglasses.
What health precautions should I take before visiting Peru?
You should visit your personal physician for a check-up prior to taking your trip to Peru. The following are the recommended vaccinations for Peru: diphtheria, tetanus, polio, typhus, hepatitis A/B, rabies. P A yellow-fever vaccine is strongly recommended for trips to the Amazon (Puerto Maldonado or Iquitos). The vaccine is required for all travelers arriving from a yellow-fever-infected country in Africa or Latin America. The yellow-fever certificate is valid 10 days after vaccination and for a subsequent period of 10 years. Malaria is prevalent in northern parts of Peru and in Iquitos (Amazon). The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov) recommends taking anti-malarial drugs. Please refer to your doctor for the most up to date information about anti-malarial medication.
What precautions against mosquitoes do I need to take?
You will find mosquitoes and other stinging insects especially in the rainforest. A good protection not only prevents from itching but also from transmission of diseases such as Malaria or yellow fever. Wear light-colored clothing, long trousers and long-sleeved shirts; use mosquito repellents containing the compound DEET on exposed areas; avoid perfumes and aftershave. Use a mosquito net impregnated with mosquito repellent (permethrin). In case you have a very sensitive skin you could use an anti-allergic cream, for example ‘After bite’ or ‘Bite away’ that reduces the itchiness. Double-check that your lodge provides a mosquito net in your room.
Is the water safe to drink?
The standards for health and hygiene in the larger cities and tourist regions are relatively high. Nevertheless, travelers should drink only bottled water, which is widely available. Do not drink tap water, even in major hotels, and try to avoid drinks with ice. If you’re trekking in the mountains or visiting remote rural areas where bottled water is not available, boil water to purify it or use water-purification tablets. You are safer eating fruits that you can peel or salads and fruits washed with purified water, as well as foods that have been thoroughly cooked. Your best bet is to avoid food from street vendors.
What should I expect regarding altitude sickness?
For a healthy person traveling to the Andes, there is just a minimal risk of suffering from altitude sickness. You should take enough time to acclimatize after arrival, especially in Andean cities like Cusco 3,360m (11,023ft) or Puno 3,827m (12,556ft). We recommend avoiding physical efforts during the first few hours as well as alcohol. Try to eat light food and drink a lot of water. The local coca tea is recommended in case of altitude sickness. People with cardiovascular disease should not stay in an altitude over 2,000m. Altitude sickness can be counteracted by inhaling pure oxygen, and oxygen bottles can be purchased locally.
What is the official currency?
Peru's official currency is the Nuevo Sol, divided into 100 centavos. The US dollar is the second currency and many hotels, plenty of shops, restaurants, and bars across Peru accept US dollars for payment. Partly, the Euro is also accepted. Banks are no longer the place of choice in Peru for exchanging money: Lines are too long and rates are often lower than at ‘casas de cambio’ (exchange houses) or by using credit or debit card ATMs or ‘cambistas’ (money-changers), which are legal in Peru. Money-changers, often wearing colored jackets with "$" insignias and photo checks, can be found on the street. They offer current rates of exchange, but count your money carefully and make sure you have not received any counterfeit bills. We recommend bringing USD cash for the first few days.
How common are ATMs? Can I exchange traveler’s checks?
Peru is still very much a cash society. In small towns, it could be impossible to cash traveler’s checks or use credit cards. Automatic teller machines (ATMs) are the best way of getting cash in Peru; they are found in most towns and cities. ATMs with the Maestro sign allow customers to withdraw money with a credit or debit card. Visa and MasterCard ATM cards are the most widely accepted. American Express and Diners Club are less common. You can easily pay with credit card in most of the stores in tourist cities. Note that many banks assess a 1% to 3% ‘transaction fee’ on all charges you incur abroad. Traveler's checks can be changed in the largest banks. Generally speaking you'll pay a service charge ranging from 1% to 4%. Most stores don’t accept traveler’s checks.
Will there be internet access or phone accessibility?
It is relatively simple to make local and long-distance domestic and international calls from pay phones, which accept coins and phone cards ‘tarjetas telefónicas’. Many of these cards can be purchased at newspaper kiosks and street vendors. Most phone booths display country and city codes and contain instructions in English and Spanish. Peru’s country code is +51. Roaming agreements exist with some international mobile phone companies. Mobile phones can be rented in Lima and the main cities. Internet access in Peru is very cheap. The rates vary between USD 0.50 and USD 1.00 per hour. Also, you will be able to find Internet Cafes, where most of the times you will be able to access for free via wireless Internet.
What are the guidelines for tipping?
A tip in Peru, like in most of the countries in South America, is given to reward good service. Porters in hotels and airports expect USD 1.00 for 2 luggage pieces. A 5-10% tip is sufficient in most restaurants unless the service has been exceptional. There is no need to tip taxi drivers. Fares are negotiated before departure. It is customary to offer your tour guides and driver a token of appreciation at the tour’s end, if you feel pleased with their service.
What should I know about taxis?
There are numerous taxi providers in Lima and other cities who offer reservations by telephone or hotel. These taxis are safer and drivers may understand some English. Street taxis are cheaper but not that safe. In any case, due to the fact there are no taximeters you should negotiate the price in advance.
Is bargaining common while shopping?
At stores and in open markets, bargaining (gentle, good-natured haggling over prices) is accepted and even expected. However, be careful of getting the haggling fever and trying to bargain beyond reason. Consider how important the one or two extra dollars are to you compared to how important they might be to the vendor. Bargaining is not common in restaurants.
What electric outlets are there?
All outlets are 220 volts, 60 cycles (except in Arequipa, which operates on 50 cycles) with two-prong outlets that accept both flat and round prongs. Some large hotels also have 110-volt outlets.
How much are airport taxes?
If the airport tax is not included you have to settle it after checking in at the airport. The amount depends on the place and kind of flight. It’s approximately USD 6.05 for domestic flights. You will be charged USD 30.25 for an international flight.
What safety issues do I need to be aware of?
Peru recognizes that tourism plays an important part in its developing economy and has taken great steps in the last few years to change its security record. The possibility of having a bad experience can be greatly reduced by taking a few simple precautions: - Copy all important documents (passport, air tickets) and carry only copies with you - Leave your valuables and important documents such as passport, international flight tickets, jewelry at the hotel, if possible in the safe. In case there is only one safe in the reception, obtain a receipt with each item listed. If necessary, carry important documents and cash in a belt under your clothes and do not leave items unattended. Be especially cautious in crowded places, especially at tourist hotspots such as Lima and Cusco; rural areas are widely safe. Remember that you are subject to the laws of Peru, and it is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with these laws before leaving. Drug trafficking is a serious crime, and the export of cultural or artistic items from the country is not permitted. Avoid walking alone in quiet areas or at night, travel in a group if possible and tell somebody where you go if you are alone. In case you get into trouble with authorities insist on seeing their identification. Check your change and check the banknotes and coins.
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