Peru is one of the world’s most ecologically diverse countries. It gets most attention for being home to the iconic Machu Picchu, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. While Machu Picchu has earned its reputation as one of the most beautiful spots in the world, there is so much more to Peru than this one park.
Peru’s three distinct climate and geographical regions with 86 microclimates enable it to support a wide variety of plants and wildlife. Peru is home to the largest number of species of birds with 1816 species known to live there. It is a bird watcher’s paradise. 3366 species of butterflies call Peru home. And then there are the plants. Over 3000 species of orchids, 4000 varieties of the humble potato which originated in Peru and a host of medicinal botanicals that live only in the Amazon Rainforest.
Best known for being home to the Inca Empire, Peru has seen many pre-Inca cultures flourish and decline, all leaving behind the remnants of their existence. Peru is home to the oldest known civilization discovered in the western hemisphere and offers endless opportunities for exploring the development of human existence in the Americas and learning about the modern struggles of this third world developing country.
Read more about Peru here.
Sample Classic 8 Day Southern Peru Tour Including Machu Picchu
Day 1: International Arrival in Lima
Assistance on your arrival in Lima and transfer to your selected hotel. Free time to rest and prepare for starting your trip around this unusual city and magical country.
Meals Included: None
Day 2: Sightseeing Tour of Lima
After breakfast, guided sightseeing tour to the most attractive and important sites in Lima, the “City of Kings”. The tour includes Lima’s Historical Centre, passing by Plaza San Martin, The Main Plaza, the Government Palace, the City Hall, the Cathedral and its Religious Art Museum, the Church of Santo Domingo, with the tombs of Santa Rosa and San Martin de Porras, and Lima’s Colonial Balconies.
We will visit the Convent and Church of San Francisco, the greatest monumental complex of Colonial Art in America and Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The tour includes a visit to underground Catacombs. We will also visit El Olivar Park with olive trees brought from Spain in the XVth Century, the Central Park of Miraflores and Larcomar, a symbol of modern Lima and a tourist and entertainment center as well as a privileged site to enjoy an amazing view of the Pacific Ocean. Then we will visit a local public market.
(Optional: modify this by doing a short morning tour of the city, then either visit Pachacamac or one of the shanty towns. Pachacamac is a huge archaeological pre-Inca oracle site. Alternately, a visit to one of the shanty towns will give you a heavy dose of reality on the modern challenges of a metropolitan area where 80% of the population lives in extreme poverty.)
Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner
Day 3: Lima / Cusco: Sightseeing Tour and Nearby Ruins & Sacred Valley of The Incas
Breakfast at your hotel. Transfer to Lima Airport for your flight to Cusco. At an arranged time we will meet you at your hotel to take you to the meeting point for a Shaman blessing ceremony. You will experience a traditional Q’ero ceremony asking for prosperity, peace, good health, family happiness and safety and wisdom in your travels. You receive the blessings of an Andean priest who speaks in the Quechua language which is translated by your local host.
In the worldview of the Andean people today, there is the concept that everything around you is alive and constantly imbalances occur in the life of every human being and the only way to compensate and return to balance is through spiritually aligning with the Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) & Apus (Mountain Spirits).
For this to occur, the priestess or priest may make use of natural substances such as the coca leaf, incense, stones of different colors, herbal flower water, special cigars, chonta wood and other symbolic items with special meaning in the Andes.
We will also visit the Inca sites of Kenko, Tambomachay, Puca Pucara and the impressive Fortress of Sacsayhuaman, strategically built on a hill overlooking Cusco and famous for its enormous carved stones, some of them standing over 9m / 30ft high and weighing over 350 tons.
Sacred Valley of the Incas
We will continue with the excursion to the Urubamba Valley, the Sacred Valley of the Incas. We will visit to the picturesque Indian Pisac Market held on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, the shopping paradise of the Andes where barter is still practiced. Enjoy the unique atmosphere during a typical lunch. In the afternoon, we will pass through the Towns of Calca and Urubamba before stopping at Ollantaytambo for the night.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 4: Olantaytambo / Aguas Calientes Town
After Breakfast we will visit the Inca Fortress and Citadel of Ollantaytambo, built to guard the entrance to this part of the Valley, and protect it from possible invasion from the tribes in the Lower jungle. You can walk through the quaint streets of the nearby Town, and get a good idea of what this strategic Mlitary, Religious, and Agricultural Center was like during the era of the Inca Empire. You will take a late afternoon ride by train to Aguas Calientes, 2 hrs (Hot Spring Machu Picchu)
Evening free. We suggest strolling around the Main Square and enjoy the night atmosphere and sampling a delicious Pisco Sour in some of the many pubs around the Square of Hot Spring Aguas Calientes.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 5: Aguas Calientes / Huayna Pícchu Machu Picchu / Sun Gate / Aguas Calientes
The day starts with an early morning ride from the bus station to the famous Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu where you will receive a guided tour visiting the Main Plaza, the Circular Tower, The Sacred Sun Dial, the Royal Quarters, the Temple of the Three Windows and various burial grounds.
The climb up Huayna Picchu (Quechua ” Young Peak ” ) is optional. The number of daily visitors allowed to enter Huayna Picchu is restricted to 200. The Incas built a trail up the side of the Huayna Picchu and built temples and terraces on its top. The trail is steep and rugged and is not suitable for all visitors.
The Sun Gates of Machu Picchu is the entry point into the citadel for those walking the famed Inca Trail and provides the classic view where the best know photos of the iconic ruins are taken. You may choose to hike to this outcrop after entering the park high in the Andes Mountains. Expect a 3 hour hike. From there you can enjoy the same classic view depicting the Machu Picchu citadel that is seen in magazine photos of the site. Also known as Intipunku, the Sun Gates consist of two stones perched at a narrow passage in the crevice of the mountain just above Machu Picchu. The sun shines brilliantly through this portal each day at dawn.
Return to your hotel for the night in Cusco.
Meals Included: Breakfast & Lunch
Day 6: Cusco San Blass Street & 12 Angle Stone
This day after breakfast we will have time to visit Street San Blas. The artistic barrio (Neighborhood) of narrow and high streets, a beautiful little plaza and a beautiful paqcha; in this barrio numerous artists and artisans reside, along with their workshops. Here you can enjoy panoramic views of Cusco City. Hatunrumiyoc is located close to Plaza de Nazarenas, not far from Plaza de Armas. It is a narrow pedestrian street, famous for its Inca walls where huge stones are precisely carved to fit together without mud or concrete. You’ll find the masterpiece, a 12-angled stone, about halfway down the street. The Inca stonework was incredible, actually so good that Spanish conquerors often used the old Inca structures as foundations for their own buildings. Hatunrumiyoc is a great place to have a closer look at their skills.
We will have a guided tour visiting the Main Square, the Cathedral and the Temple of the Sun or Korikancha. Enjoy a stroll through the San Pedro Market , where the locals shop, at your leisure
At 8:00 p.m In the evening get ready to enjoy a dinner with a folklore show in a typical restaurant where the musicians play their melodies with Andean instruments of beautiful sounds, while traditionally dressed dancers will show you different ancient Peruvian dances.
Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner with Show Folklore
Day 7: Cusco / Lima
Time required transfer to Cusco Airport for your flight to Lima. Balance of the day free.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 8: Lima / Home
Time required transfer to Lima Airport for your early morning overnight flight back home.
Meals Included: Breakfast
In Lima: Sightseeing Tour.
In Cusco: Sightseeing Tour and Nearby Ruins; Dinner including Folklore Show.
In the Sacred Valley of the Incas: Excursion to Pisac and Ollantaytambo
In Machu Picchu: Guided visit of the Citadel including lunch.
- 07 Nights accommodation
- All breakfasts and meals as described in the itinerary
- All entrance tickets applicable
- All transfers and land transportation
- Train ticket from Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes – Ollantaytambo
- Bus ticket from Aguas Calientes- Machu Picchu- Aguas Calientes
- Airfare Lima / Cusco / Lima
- All applicable taxes, except airport taxes
- All bilingual guided tours (English / Spanish) as described in the itinerary
- International flights
- Airport taxes ($30.25 for international flights and $6.05 for domestic flights)
- Baggage excess fees
- Alcoholic drinks, soda or bottled mineral water
- Personal expenses
- International or National personal telephone calls
- Meals not mentioned
- Travel Insurance