The Grand Inca Empire

Code: THS
13 DAYS
  • An Overly Close
  • The Santa Barbara Wildfire
  • A Perfect Day in the Nature
  • A rare opportunity to try Foundry coffee
  • Love advice from experts

 

Peru, the land of the Andes and home to the Inca Civilization, in the heart of South America: this is where it all began for a great civilization, art, culture and history. Join us on this exciting adventure as we have close encounters with Peru’s magic and mysticism. Follow the footsteps of Incas through their monuments, temples and ruins. History and culture come alive as you spend time with their descendants. This Off The Map Adventure is the way to explore Peru.

Highlights:

Lima, Cuzco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Puno, Lake Titicaca, Nazca Lines, Arequipa, Colca Canyon

Major Cities/Towns/Islands:

Lima, Ica, Nazca, Arequipa, Cuzco, Puno, Amantani Island

Cultural Impact:

Great learning opportunities to learn about nature, environment, geology, history, culture and much more. Connect with local people who live in the isolated islands in Lake Titicaca.

Variety of Landscape:

bus/van/local taxi, walk, hike, train and boat

Activity:

Moderate: Hike required to climb up Machu Picchu requires a moderate level of physical fitness.

Unique Local Experiences:

The tour provides you with an opportunity of homestay with a local family of Lake Titicaca. You can explore their villages and sample their local cuisine.
#TourMealsOvernight
Day   01Arrive – LimaHotel
Day   02Lima – City TourBHotel
Day   03AM: Boat Tour Ballista’s Island (m) Drive Paracas – Ica (Dune Buggy + Sand Surf) Drive to NazcaBHotel
Day 04AM: Tour and Optional Flight over Nazca Lines Nazca – ArequipaBHotel
Day 05Tour of Arequipa Central Square PM : Arequipa – Colca CanyonBHotel
Day 06Visit the Condor Cross – Condor Viewing PM Drive Colca Canyon – PunoBHotel
Day 07Puno – Excursion to Floating Islands – TiticacaB+L+DLodge
Day 08Lake Titicaca – PunoBHotel
Day 09Puno – Cuzco (with visits along the way)B+LHotel
Day 10City Tour of CuscoBHotel
Day 11Cusco – Excursion Sacred ValleyB+LHotel
Day 12Full Day Excursion to Machu Picchu (by Train)B+LHotel
Day 13Cusco – Departure

 

B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Day-01 Arrive Lima
Arrive at Lima airport where our staff will meet you outside the arrival hall and will assist you with your transfer to your hotel. Get a good rest tonight for an exciting adventure.
Day-02 Lima 
After a good rest this morning, start with the tour of Mira Flores, the Love Park. Drive to Central Peru. Drive through the many neighbourhoods of Lima including the Olive Grove Neighborhood of San Isidoro and Huaca Huallamarca. Continue to visit the Imperial Heart of Peru “El Damero de Pizarro”. Walking tour of the historic center and Plaza De Armas. Visit the Cathedral of Lima where the remains of Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish Conquistador who first conquered Peru, are kept. Walk to the Monastery of San Francisco (Moorish Cloister and catacombs). Return to your hotel, relax or take some time exploring the streets of Miraflores. We strongly recommend having dinner at Restaurante Alfresco for an exquisite dining experience.
Day-03, Lima – Paracas – Ica – Nazca
Today we start our first highlight of this trip with a visit to the Island of Ballestas. This small island off the coast of Paracas is also known as ‘The Little Galapagos’. The island is a sanctuary to a variety of marine fauna. Most prominent sightings will include the guano bird, the Peruvian booby and the tendril. The island is also home to a prominent colony of Humboldt Penguins and a variety of sea lions. The visit is a thrill especially when the sea lions sound their wolf pack cries and curiously approach our boat. While looking towards the mainland we may notice El Candelabro, a large geoglyph that might have served as a landmark for the ancient mariners. Any understanding of such geoglyphs is merely speculation as the origins of such landmarks in Peru are still a mystery.
After our visit, we head in a southeastern direction just outside of the town of Ica to La Huaca China, a natural oasis featuring a beautiful lake in the middle of spectacular sand dunes. According to legend, a mermaid lives in the blue-green waters of the lagoon and she claims the life of one man each year. We take a short stop here and enthusiasts can try some sand boarding or a buggy ride. (Rides are Included). Continue driving to Nazca. Along the way, we can also stop at the Maria Reiche Museum (entrance not included). Maria Reiche was one of the most prominent German archeologists and mathematicians who spent years researching and preserving the lines. This small museum dedicated to her is a great place to visit for a better understanding of the Nazca Lines. Time permitting we can also stop along the way to see the Metal Tower that gives a partial view of the lines. Continue to Nazca and transfer to your hotel for overnight.

Day-04,  Nazca – Arequipa

History has witnessed this esoteric land, with profound religious belief, flourishing cultures and remarkable civilizations. Amongst these civilizations, one of the most prominent was that of the Nazca and the Paracas who established themselves and left a legacy and a world of mystery. In this highly harsh climate, they created the mysterious Nazca lines that have survived the test of time, leaving all sorts of unanswered questions. We are still trying to discover what the real purpose of these mysterious formations was. Today, amongst sand dunes and barren valleys, you can still find pockets of cultivated land. Here, the farmers grow cotton, butter beans and asparagus and also maintain citrus orchards and vineyards. In this very dry climate, bringing water to cultivate the land would have been a challenge in the time of the Nazca as well. One theory suggested that the various random lines indicate that the Nazcas carved out an indication of where the underground water existed. The work was supposedly done by mystic dowsers to leave markers for the generations to come.
Early morning you will have the option to take a thrilling flight over famous Nazca lines. After our flight, we will return to the hotel and take our breakfast. Surely the talk over breakfast about the lines is interesting and you are welcome to come up with your own theory of why these lines are there. It can be based on real facts or plain fiction.
Later today we will visit the Cantayo aqueducts. This vast network of underground aqueducts was developed by the ancient people of Nazca. The supply of water through the aqueducts was a highly advanced method of transporting water from the source to the needed irrigated patches of land. Over 30 underground channels still exist to this day. Our tour will give us the opportunity to see this ingenious structure up close. After lunch, we will start our long journey to the city of Arequipa. We arrive late in the evening and transfer to hotel for overnight.

Day-05 Arequipa – Colca Canyon

Arequipa is also called La Ciudad Blanca or White City, named after its colonial-era buildings made with beautiful pearl white sillar, a volcanic rock that comes from its nearby mountains. Arequipa is overlooked by three soaring volcanoes – Mount Chachani (6095 m), Mount Misti (5822 m), and the snow-covered Mount Pichu Pichu (5664 m). This morning we will head out towards the Colca River valley and Colca Canyon, one of the world’s largest canyons. Our adventure today takes us through a vast region where you can see colourful pre-Incan agricultural terraces which are still used today for growing quinoa, corn, barley, and wheat. We will cross the Patapampa Pass (4910 meters), the highest point during our drive, for excellent views of the surrounding area. This is the region of the Pampas Cañahuas National reserve which is the home for rare wild animals like the Vicuña. The Vicuña, a relative of the Alpaca and Llama, lives between 3800 – 4800m on the plateaus and slopes of the Andes Mountains. It is against the law to domesticate these wild species and they are protected by Peruvian laws. The fine wool that comes from the Vicuña is the most expensive in its variety. Here you may be able to see herds of Vicuñas roaming around in the high altitude valleys. Later we arrive at the town of Chivay the capital of the Caylloma province in the Arequipa region. Time permitting, we will get a chance to visit the thermal medicinal hot springs of La Calera. Overnight at the hotel.

Day-06, Sat: Colca Canyon – Puno

Early morning, we set out to visit the largest canyon in the world. Here the Colca River creates a canyon that is about 70 kilometres long and is also the deepest of the world, 3000 meters (9,842 feet). It is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Today we try our luck to spot one of the most amazing creatures – the largest flying bird – the Condor. With its wingspan of up to 3.2 meters, the bird gracefully flies over this valley and stuns the viewer with its amazing speed and control.
On the way back to Chivay, you will see the hanging tombs of Choquetico and Litomaquetas. Along the way, we pass through the towns of Pinchollo, Maca y and Yanque. These towns are known for their typical churches and squares.
In the afternoon we will head out towards Puno. Our drive takes us through tremendous landscapes. Along the way, we can stop to see a series of beautiful small lagoons called Lagunitas. Here it is possible to see the Andean Flamingos and a variety of other Andean birds. There are many trout farms where fishermen fish on their artisan boats. Puno at an altitude of 3860 meters is nestled on the banks of one of the most beautiful lakes in Peru, Lake Titicaca. It was founded with the name of “Villa Rica de San Carlos de Puno” in 1668, by the Viceroy Count of Lemos. Arrive and transfer to your hotel near Lake Titicaca. Overnight at your hotel.

Day-07, Puno – Uros Island (Half Day Boat Trip)

After breakfast, we head out to the pier to board our boat that will take us on an exciting adventure on the blue waters of Lake Titicaca. This is the world’s highest navigable lake and surrounded by a group of beautiful islands. Titicaca is also believed to be one of the possible birthplaces of the Inca Civilization and religion. There are 41 islands, amongst them are Amantani, Taquile, Suasi and the floating Islands of Uros. Our trip starts with the floating islands. Our host family here will show us their own personal island. From them, we will learn the process of making an island. The family will show us how each thing on their personal island is made out of Catalli, a rush that grows naturally in the lake. This includes their houses, rooms, beds, and boats.
We end our boat trip at Amantani Island. Here our local hosts will take us to their family home and lodge. You spend time with the family and learn about their customs. You have plenty of time to walk around explore the neighbourhood and watch a beautiful sunset with breathtaking views of the lake. Have dinner with your local family.

Day-08  Amantani – Puno

After breakfast, you can spend some time meeting the greater family. Our hosts will bring out some souvenirs that they make in their free time to preserve the cultural tradition of these islands. They knit gloves and hats for the winter with Llama and Lamb wool. This is the best way to support their family tradition and the arts and crafts of this remote Island. Say goodbye to your family and head off for your next adventure.
As an option, you can also extend this day to include the nearby Taquile Island, another famous Island of Lake Titicaca. With its 2000 inhabitants, the island is famous for its textile art. It was honoured by UNESCO as the “Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity”. The masterpieces are hand-woven textiles exclusively knitted by men. The island also serves as a model for a community-based society where everyone participates for the betterment of all. The society runs on the Inca moral code of “do not steal, do not lie and do not be lazy”. We spend some time exploring the island and chatting with its local people to learn about their famous art and culture. You have the option to take your lunch here. In the afternoon we head back to Puno. Overnight at your hotel.

Day-09  Puno – Cuzco

After breakfast, we head out for Cuzco. This interesting drive will take us through a variety of landscapes, from vast plains to narrow valleys. Along the way, we can see the Andean llamas, alpacas and vicuñas in the open. Our first stop is Pucara, famous for its pottery especially the “Toritos De Pucara”, little bulls of Pucara. Here visit the Pucara stone Museum that houses a great collection of Anthropomorphic Monoliths, zoomorphic sculptures and a variety of artifacts from the Pre-Inca cultures. After this visit, we will continue our drive towards the Andean mountains. At the La Raya Pass at a height of 4335 meters above sea level, we cross from Quechua to Aymara cultures. After a short stop at the pass, we continue our journey to our next stop at the Sicuani village for lunch. Our next stop is Raqchi, the site where the temple of Wiracocha is located. This monumental temple with its walls up to 20 meters in height is evidence to a marvel construction dedicated to the legend of Wiracoha. According to this legend, the son of the Inca Yahuar Huaca had an encounter with the God Wiracocha at this very place. Wiracocha said to the Inca’s son that his father’s life was in danger in Cuzco, threatened by the Chancas. He immediately united an army to fight in Cuzco to save his father. He won this epic battle and to be thankful to Wiracocha this temple was raised to honour him. The main building of the temple was once occupied by the Inca and adjoining quarters were used by the priests and nobility. You get to visit them both. Our last stop is approximately 40 kilometres short of Cuzco at a place called Andahuaylillas. Here the chapel constructed by the Spaniards in the 1580s was known as the Sistine Chapel of the Americas. The interior of the Church of San Pedro of Andahuaylillas is an explosion of Baroque art with a great variety of decorations. Arrive at Cuzco and transfer to your hotel. Your evening is free to walk around and explore on your own. Overnight at the hotel.

Day-10 Cuzco – Lima (4:40 pm – 6:30 pm)

After breakfast, you have the opportunity to explore Cuzco, Once the capital of the Inca Empire. The city was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1983. Since then it has seen a tremendous number of tourists increasing every year. Cuzco sits at an altitude of 3400 meters, which means that it is actually a thousand meters higher in elevation than Machu Picchu (2430 m). Our tour today starts with a visit to the famous Basilica Cathedral, built in 1560 by the Spaniards. It is a Baroque style jewel of the colonial architecture, with its ten chapels, largest altar and a collection of more than 400 paintings. Later we will visit Koricancha the main Inca temple dedicated to the supreme sun god. The name Koricancha in the Quechua language means a gold enclosure, probably named after its inside wall that was exquisitely decorated in gold. After the tour and some time for lunch and a lot of free time to explore and shop on your own. Overnight at your hotel in Cusco.

Day-11 Excursion Sacred Valley

Today we take a short trip of the Sacred Valley. We start our trip with Saqsayhuaman Fortress, a massive stone construction, an impressive Inca Megalithic ruin. The walls are formed by enormous stone blocks that reach up to 9 meters in height. The stone is believed to weigh 125 tons. The place is believed to have cosmic energy and could have been used as an astronomical observatory by an Inca oracle. Later we visit Qenqo, a sanctuary dedicated to worship and used as a major ceremonial center. There is a labyrinth entrance toward underground galleries, passages, channels, and stairs. They reveal a series of drawings and engravings of various figures including those of pumas. We head on to visit Puca Pucara, a small red fortress and finally Tambomachay the Inca’s Bath. It may have been a sanctuary dedicated to the cult of water.
The valley, also known as the valley of the Incas, is a collection of valleys, fed by numerous rivers which emerge from adjoining gorges. The valley contains numerous archaeological remains and villages. The area 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. Through the valley flows the revered Río Urubamba (called the Willcamayu by the Incas). It is a pivotal religious element of the Incas’ cosmology. The Incas believed not only that the flow of the Urubamba was inexorably tied to the constellations and the mountain peaks, but also that the river was the earthbound counterpart of the Milky Way. With the river as its source, the fertile valley was a major center of agricultural production for the Incas, who grew native Andean crops such as white corn, coca, potatoes, and a variety of other fruits and vegetables in expansive fields along spectacularly terraced mountain slopes. Our first stop is at the town of Pisaq which is famous for its Indian market. This is a great place for bargain shopping for the traditional artifacts and handicrafts of this region. Apart from the market, the town is best known for its Inca ruins. Here the Incas constructed agricultural terraces along the steep hillsides. Some of these terraces are still in use today. It is believed that the Incas lugged the rich topsoil by hand from the lower lands. The terraces provided a great opportunity to produce surplus food which would have not been possible at such altitudes. Apart from the terraces, there are religious and military structures believed to be used to secure the entrance to the sacred valley and to appease the gods with ritual worship.
Day-12 Excursion to Machu Picchu

For those who cannot hike the four day Inca Trail, we offer to bring you with us on a spectacular train journey to the famous site of Machu Picchu. This amazing train ride will take us through the Sacred Valley, snaking along the Urubamba River into the lush valleys that lead to the famous site. This is an incredible experience. Our destination is the town of Aguas Calientes, (hot waters in Spanish), nestled at the foot of the hills near the famous Inca site of Machu Picchu. This small town serves as an important stop for tourists coming from and going to Machu Picchu. Our train ends its journey here and we will have to take a short bus ride for another 6 kilometres to the entrance site of Machu Picchu– the lost city of the Incas and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. You will have to walk another half an hour or so to get to the top of the site for the best panoramic views of this amazing site. Sitting at an elevation of 2430 meters, most archeologists believe that the site was an estate for the Inca king Pachacuti who ordered the construction during the 15th century AD. The site was built in classical Inca style with polished dry-stone walls. Your guided tour will take a couple of hours as you walk through the different parts of the site. You will have some free time to explore the site on your own. After the visit, we can return to our meeting point near the entrance of the site from where we can catch the bus which takes us back to Aguas Calientes.
You will have time to explore the little tourist town before you catch your train back to Cuzco. Overnight in Cuzco.

Day-13 Cuzco – Departure

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Lima. You will wait at the airport in Lima until its time for your international flight.

Services include:

  • Accommodation: Our unique select hotels/guest houses with clean rooms, reliable service and safe for foreign travellers.Meals: Meals as mentioned in the program outline, are included
  • Meals: As mentioned with the program.
  • All entrance fees for sites are included in the tour with the exception of those that are mentioned otherwise.
  • Air-conditioned transport throughout the tour (as per sightseeing program and hotel transfers).
  • Experienced and professional chauffeurs.
  • Sightseeing as mentioned with the tour details.
  • English speaking guide and/or trip leaders.
  • Unique opportunity to spend time with local families.

Services do not include:

  • Entry visas (if applicable).
  • If you book your flights yourself, you may be required to pay an additional cost for the airport transfers. Please contact our office to confirm.
  • International Airfare (except mentioned otherwise).
  • Domestic Airfare (except mentioned otherwise).
  • Personal expenses such as phone calls, drinks, use of mini-bar at the hotels, laundry or personal medications.
  • Any expenses that may arise due to unforeseen natural or political situation.
  • Insurance: We strongly recommend that all clients consider buying Trip Cancellation/Interruption + Medical Travel Insurance. Contact our office for a quote.
  • Tips and gratuities to porters, guides, drivers and trip leaders.

NOTE:

  • This trip may only operate with a minimum number of participants.
  • Sudden changes in the foreign currency rates can impact the prices. We can only protect our prices as long as they do not change over 5%.

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Number of Travellers    × US$  3,795.00
Total = US$  3,795.00

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Price:US$  3,795.00