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The Highlights of Peru

LimaDAY 1:  LIMA - Arrive in Lima, welcome and transfer to your hotel. Depending on arrival, we recommend optional visit to the impressive Larco Herrera Museum. This privately owned museum is housed in an 18th century vice-royal mansion built over a 7th century pre-Columbian pyramid. It showcases chronological galleries that provide a thorough overview of 4,000 years of Peruvian pre-Columbian history. It boasts one of the world's largest collections of pre-Columbian art including Moche, Nazca, Chimú, and Inca pieces. Additionally, the Larco Museum is well known for its gallery of pre-Columbian erotic pottery. It was one of the first museums in the world to make its entire 45,000 piece collection available in an online electronic catalog. 

DAY 2:  LIMA - Full day tour and visit to the Palomino Islands for a 3-hour boat ride to view a big rookery colony of Sea Lions.  Afterwards, continue towards the The Pantanos de Villa Reserved Zone (marshes of town), a protected habitat for 150 species of birds including the plunger, the colored duck, the yanavico, the parihuana (pink flamingo) and the white heron considered as the queen of the marshes for its beauty and rhythmic flight. In this natural area 13 species of fish live including the gupis and the tilapia, as well as rodents, bats, reptiles and 40 classes of insects.  (BL).
 

Old LimaDAY 3:  LIMA / IQUITOS - Morning city tour of Lima (colonial and modern) (in a group).  In the afternoon, transfer to the airport to take flight to Iquitos, where you will board the comfortable Delfín Cruise ship for a 4 day cruise along the amazing Amazon River. We will be visiting the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, the second largest in the Amazon region. The reserve is home to 527 bird species, 102 mammal species (among them the pink dolphin), 69 species of reptiles, 58 species of amphibians, 269 fish species, and 1024 species of wild and cultivated plants. The reserve is a refuge for different endangered species like the charapa turtle, the spider monkey, the giant river otter, the red macaw, cedar trees, and others. (BLD)
 




Pink DolphinDAY 4:  AMAZON RIVER - Your cruise on the Delfin offers excellent service and comfort during your jungle adventure on the Amazon River. We will explore the floodplains of Yanallpa in the rainy season (Dec – May) or the Belluda Stream in dry season (Jun – Nov). We will hike at the community of Yanallpa and cruise El Dorado River to view native pink and gray dolphin. During your cruise you will see a multitude of wildlife including monkeys, macaws and much more.(BLD).
 

DAY 5:  AMAZON RIVER - Continue jungle adventure on the Amazon River on Rio Pacaya and Lake Atun Poza. This area is so diverse in wildlife that you will be amazed at how easy it is to spot otters, monkeys, butterflies and numerous bird species. (BLD).
 

DAY 6:  LIMA - Conclude jungle adventure on the Yarapa River, where we stop to visit Puerto Miguel Village. Transfer to airport for flight to Lima. (B).
 

CuzcoDAY 7: CUSCO - Transfer to Lima airport and fly to Cusco, the historical capital of the Inca Empire. Surrounded by restaurants and tourist shops and the impressive cathedral and Jesuit church, the Plaza de Armas is the focal point today as it was throughout the colonial period.  Here were the executions of Diego de Almagro, the defeated rival of Francisco Pizarro, in 1538; Gonzalo Pizarro in 1548; Tupac Amaru, last legitimate Inca ruler, in 1572; and, in 1781, José Gabriel Condorcanqui, better known as Tupac Amaru II, leader of a popular uprising against Spanish rule. In the afternoon, we take a city tour (in a group) to nearby ruins as a taste of what is to come over the next few days. (B). 

Cuzco ruinsOllantaytamboDAY 8: CUSCO - Full day tour (private) to Pikillacta (meaning city of fleas) one of the most spectacular regional centers of the Wari Culture, with 700 structures still remaining. The city has a very harmonious geometric almost perfect plan divided into blocks of straight streets.  Nearby, we visit the Tipon Archaeological sites and the beautiful Wakarpay Lagoon, right in the middle of the mountains, where lots of Andean ducks and more birds can be seen. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the lagoon, surrounded by a natural and stunning landscape. (BL). 

DAY 9: SACRED VALLEY - This area 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. We will visit the Waypo Lagoon, the Moray and Ollantaytambo Archaeological centre. Ollantaytambo dates from the late 15th century and has some of the oldest continuously occupied dwellings in South America. This impressive site includes homes, fortress and religious structures as well as impressive grain storage structures on the side of a mountain.  Enjoy the landscapes and the contact with the local people.  Overnight in Ollantaytambo (B). 

Panorama of Machu PicchuDAY 10: MACHU PICCHU
- Transfer to train station for the Vistadome train to Aguas Calientes and then head by bus to the famous citadel of Machu Picchu, never discovered by the Spanish. No visit to Peru is complete without stepping into Inca history at this site.  The Incas never used the wheel in any practical manner. Its use in toys demonstrates that the principle was well-known to them, although it was not applied in their engineering. The lack of strong draft animals as well as terrain and dense vegetation issues may have rendered it impractical. How they moved and placed enormous blocks of stones remains a mystery, although the general belief is that they used hundreds of men to push the stones up inclined planes. A few of the stones still have knobs on them that could have been used to lever them into position; it is believed that after the stones were placed, the Incas would have sanded the knobs away, but a few were overlooked. The space is composed of 140 structures or features, including temples, sanctuaries, parks, and residences that include houses with thatched roofs. There are more than one hundred flights of stone steps–often completely carved from a single block of granite–and a great number of water fountains that are interconnected by channels and water-drains perforated in the rock that were designed for the original irrigation system. Evidence has been found to suggest that the irrigation system was used to carry water from a holy spring to each of the houses in turn. After a guided tour you will have time to enjoy this unique city at your leisure. Overnight in Aguas Calientes. (BL).
 

Machu PicchuDAY 11: CUSCO - Free morning in Aguas Calientes (hot waters), home to thermal springs believed to possess curative powers. The outdoor thermal pools can be found 15 minutes walk out of town (follow the main street to the right of the Plaza up hill), and costs just a few US dollars to enter. There are changing facilities, showers, luggage storage and a small cafe selling snacks, cold drinks and beer.There are several pools of varying size and temperature including one filled with ice cold mountain water so check first before jumping in. Take soap and shampoo. In the afternoon we take the  Vistadome train to return to Cusco. Overnight in Cusco (B). 

DAY 12: LIMA - Transfer to airport for flight back home. (B).
 

This itinerary is also available staying at Lodges and Hotels instead of the cruise ship.  


NOTE: Optional side trips to Lake Titicaca, Arequipa and Nazca are available.
  

Duration
: 12 days / 11 nights
Season: All year
Departures: Any Friday or Monday; Delfín II cruise starts on Sunday and Wednesday


TRIP COST INCLUDES:
Transportation by car/van, Delfin cruise ship (if selected), shuttle buses and Vistadome train, Bilingual guides, Hotel breakfast each morning, Lunches during full day excursions (hikes or tours), All meals, accommodations and guided excursions on the Delfin cruise (if choosing the itinerary with the cruise), Lodging on double basis in comfortable country inns, hotels or lodges, Boat tour to the Palomino Islands, Lima city tour (in a group) Cusco city tour and nearby ruins (in a group), Tour to Pikillacta and Tipon Archaeological sites, and Huacarpay Lagoon (private), Tour to Waypo Lagoon, Moray Agricultural Terraces and Ollantaytambo ruins (private), Entrance fees to museums, archaeological sites, and Machu Picchu, Cusco tourist ticket, Vistadome train to/from Machu Picchu, shuttle entrance and guided tour of Machu Picchu (tour is in a group), Inca Trail permits (if hiking the Inca Trail). Note that Inca Trail permits are limited and may not be available on short notice in the high season (June/July/August).  

TRIP COST DOES NOT
INCLUDE: International airfare ,Tips for your guides, support staff, drivers, and hotel and cruise ship staff. In-country flights (about $160/person per one way flight, based on actual cost at the time of booking). Meals not listed Personal expenses: insurance, alcoholic beverages, laundry, internet.


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