Walk in the footsteps of the Incas and live it up on this 11-day adventure from Contiki. Explore modern Lima and ancient Cusco, head to the Colca Canyon, lunch with locals at Lake Titicaca, road trip across the Andean landscapes of the great Sacred Valley… end at magnificent Machu Picchu!
(all photos courtesy of Contiki)
DAY 1/LIMA: Your adventure begins in Peru’s vibrant capital, Lima! Steeped in pre-Columbian and Spanish colonial history yet buzzing with modern metro vibes, cafes and restaurants, quaint but lively, craft markets, extensive bike path and Pacific Ocean cliff-side views. You can visit its famed Historic Center with its baroque churches and underground cemetery, and hit the bohemian district of Barranco where a stroll over the Bridge of Sighs is a must. Lima is a great place to try ceviche, Peru’s official seafood dish.
DAY 2/AREQUIPA: You fly south from Lima to the “White City” of Arequipa, Peru’s second-largest city that lies in the shadow of four majestic Andean volcanoes. A tour of Arequipa will include its UNESCO World Heritage Plaza de Armas and sampling local specialties like racoto relleno(stuffed hot peppers) and chupe de camarones (crayfish chowder).
DAY 3-DAY 4/COLCA CANYON: Ready for an epic natural masterpiece?! We pass through Salinas and Aguada Blanco National Reserve. After a journey through windswept landscapes that includes stops for coca tea, you arrive at Colca, one of the world’s deepest canyons. Spend the next morning at the canyon searching for the mighty Andean condor that boasts a three-metre wingspan. Back on the road, we head to the high plains of Peru and Puno, located on the shores of Lake Titicaca. After freshening up at a cozy hotel, you can hit the town for a spot of dancing!
DAY 5/PUNO: We take a boat ride to Taquile Island (one of the most culturally intact communities in Peru), meet local weavers and stop for lunch. Then head to Uros Islands (floating islands made from reeds) where we visit a fish farm and museum. (The community survives by selling textiles and totora reed boats to tourists, so come prepared!) We overnight back in Puno.
DAY 6/CUSCO via RAQCHI: Heading from Puno, we visit Pukara and the snowcapped surrounds of La Raya, stopping for lunch in Sicuani — this is llama country! Ancient Inca culture suggest the Raqchi ruins are sacred for their powerful healing waters. (The Temple of Wiracocha is the pride of the site.) Then we head to Cusco and spend the night strolling around this Inca and Spanish colonial gem….
DAY 7/CUSCO: …and the entire next day exploring Cusco! Shop for artisan jewellery and woodworks, roam cobblestone streets, stroll the San Pedro markets. Dinner is an ensemble affair.
DAY 8/The SACRED VALLEY: Next stop is Peru’s famed Sacred Valley. Along route we stop at a llama farm, meet weavers and artisans, and see agricultural terraces and the salineras (salt mines). You get a guided tour of the Pisac and Ollantaytambo ruins (the circular Pisac ruins date back to the 1400s). Ollantaytambo is base camp for those taking the trek to Machu Picchu the next day, but a treat in itself with artisan shops, cafes and the roaring Urubamba River.
DAY 9 & 10/AGUAS CALIENTES or INCA TRAIL TREK: With just 3.5 hours on foot and six km to cover, the enchanting site of Machu Picchu that awaits makes it worthwhile. You’ll see Wayana Picchu (Little Peak), the iconic peak you’ve seen in every picture, ever! For those not trekking the Inca Trail, enjoy the surrounding mountains of Aguas Calientes in the morning, then hop the train to the town itself that is the gateway to the site.
DAY 11/Depart Cusco to fly home, but not after a last morning breakfast together!
Peru: The Inca Panorama | CONTIKI
Length/Departs: 11 days/multi departs year-round, contact operator for details.
Accommodation: 10 nights in hotels
Price: must contact operator directly for current pricing.