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National Geographic Expeditions - Peru

Peru's Highlights & Inti Raymi Festivals

Highlights

  • Inti Raymi - Experience the colorful Inca culture festival live

  • Following the steps of National Geographic archaeologist, Hiram Bingham: visit Machu Picchu on a private guided tour.

  • Meet the locals at Lake Titicaca

  • Get closer to the local food culture: visit a local market and enjoy tastings in Lima and Paracas

  • Quench your thirst for knowledge: Listen to the stories and lectures your accompanying expert will share with you

Description

A journey back in time to the impressive and distinctive culture of the Incas, magical moments in Machu Picchu and the colorful Inti Raymi Festival - this and much more is what this Peru trip by National Geographic Expeditions has in store for you.

Accompanied by a designated expert who will enhance your travel experience with their expertise and exciting lectures, you'll travel to the highlights of the country. Discover the dynamic capital, Lima, and marvel at the biodiversity of the Ballestas Islands near Paracas before heading to the country's forces of nature: the mighty Misti volcano in Arequipa and the azure Lake Titicaca, which looks magical in the sunlight.

Destination

South America

Lima - Paracas - Arequipa - Puno - Sacred Valley - Cusco

June 2022

Expert: pending

From vast deserts with gigantic dunes to icy mountains and volcanoes, to the lush Amazon rainforest - Peru has many faces. Your multifaceted journey starts in Lima, the city of kings. Get ready for interesting insights into the country's long history and impressive culture, the traditional way of life of the locals, contrasting landscapes and local delicacies. Arriving at the airport, you will join your fellow travelers for a private transfer to your first accommodation.

Lima airport - Lima hotel: approx. 45 minutes /approx. 14 km

1 night with breakfast and lunch in Lima, Peru

Look forward to a day full of culinary delights awaits you! During a visit to a local market, you will taste your way through numerous exotic fruits that are native to Peru and may be completely unknown to you. This taste explosion will be followed by a cooking class, during which you will conjure up a 3 or 4-course menu of Peruvian cuisine with your group - a feast for your taste buds, which you will enjoy together afterwards at a rooftop bar. Discover the new and historic Lima and its most important sights such as the Plaza de Armas, the San Francisco Monastery and the residential districts of San Isidro and Miraflores during a four-hour city tour.

1 night with breakfast and lunch in Lima, Peru

Early in the morning you will begin your journey to Paracas, named after the eponymous culture that existed from 900 to 200 BC. The region owes its national fame mainly to a small offshore group of islands, the Ballestas Islands. Countless seabirds, sea lion colonies and Humboldt penguins call these islands home.

On the way to Paracas, stop in Tacama, one of the few places in Peru where an original hacienda with all its typical elements has been preserved to this day. Alley, courtyard, archways, church, bell tower, stables and even old traditions are still maintained here today. Discover more about the production process of Peruvian wines, sparkling wines and the national drink, Pisco. Of course, a tasting of beer products is also part of your tour. On the tour, other travelers and a private guide will accompany your group.

Before heading to Paracas, an optional attraction of your trip will give you goosebumps: a flight in a propeller plane over the enigmatic Nazca Lines, which stretch over 500 square meters. Immediately after takeoff at the regional airport in Pisco, you will already catch a glimpse of the fascinating ground drawings below you - huge scraper images, geometric shapes and gigantic images of humans, monkeys, birds and fish. It's no wonder that the mysterious desert images are part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. After you have immersed yourself in the mystery of the Nazca lines, museums with numerous settlement remains, textile, mummy and ceramic finds await you in Nazca. The tour lasts about 1.5 hours and is done with other guests.

Lima - Paracas: about 3.5 hours / about 255 km

1 overnight stay with breakfast in Paracas, Peru

After a hearty breakfast, today you will set off for the Ballestas Islands. The offshore islets have been under protection since 2009, which is why they may not be entered. Sea lions, pelicans, cormorants and penguins are protected there. They live in a unique symbiosis and variety on the islands, rarely found worldwide. You will slowly approach the habitat of the animals by boat. Stop and let yourself be enchanted by the sight of this unique animal world. Afterwards, you will drive back to Lima to the airport and fly on to Arequipa. Lunch on the way is included.

The next stop on your tour around Peru is a fertile valley between barren desert and rugged mountain scenery about a thousand kilometers southeast of Lima. Your lunch en route is included. You will set course for Arequipa and land in the white city at the foot of the Misti volcano after a 1.5-hour flight. Arequipa is considered one of Peru's landmarks. The second largest urban center in Peru, Arequipa is known for its magnificent colonial-style buildings made of white volcanic rock. Legend has it that this place so impressed the Inca ruler Manco Capac on his journey that he had his entourage stop with the words "Ari, quipay" - "Yes, here we stay!" - and founded the city. Today Arequipa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Paracas - Lima airport: about 3.5 hours / 260km

Duration of Lima - Arequipa flight: about 1.5 hours

Arequipa airport - hotel: about 30 minutes / 10 km

1 night with breakfast and lunch in Arequipa, Peru

A wealth of architectural treasures will sweeten your day during a city tour of Arequipa. In addition to the cathedral and the La Compañia church - probably the most famous sights of the city - you will also get to know the San Lazaro district as well as the outskirts, Yanahuara and Cayman. A visit to the Santa Catalina Monastery is another highlight of your tour, the so-called city within the city. For over 400 years, nuns lived in Santa Catalina completely isolated from the outside world. It was not until 1970 that the sprawling convent complex was opened to the public (duration: 3 hours).

1 night with breakfast and lunch in Arequipa, Peru

After making plenty of memories in Arequipa, you will be picked up at the hotel and continue to Puno. On the way there you will admire the Andean landscape with its unique flora and fauna. The journey includes the villages of Pillones, Imata and Crucero Alto, which is also the highest point of the trip at 4538 meters.

Afterwards, you will hike through narrow canyons, which have been shaped and carved into the solid stone by wind and weather over thousands of years. Your destination: the spectacular quarries of Añashayco and Quebrada de Culebrillas, which will take you back in time and reveal a piece of Peruvian craftsmanship amidst magnificent scenery. With pickaxes, hammers and chisels, the inhabitants once cut boulders out of the volcanic lava, hewed ashlars from them and used them to build houses, monuments and temples. Look over the shoulders of skilled workers during a demonstration of the ancient extraction process and learn about the craft and culture (duration: 4 hours).

Along the way, you will also stop at the archaeological site of Sillustani, which offers an impressive view of the shore of Lake Umayo. Sillustani is a pre-Inca cemetery with chullpas - above-ground burial towers up to twelve meters high.

The small town of Puno is located directly on Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, which is also the heart of the region. The region's many farmers still make a living fishing in the icy waters, growing potatoes on the stony shore, and raising llamas in the highlands. The once sacred waters of the Inca Empire are the natural border between Bolivia and Peru today.

Arequipa - Puno: approx. 5.5 hours / approx. 298 km (without stops)

1 night with half board in Puno, Peru

Today you will visit the floating reed islands of the Uros and immerse yourself in their culture, which makes this region so unique. From the reed islands, the journey continues to Taquile Island, known for its knitting men. The inhabitants are also popular for their colorful traditional clothing. There are no roads or electricity on the island. Agricultural fields stretch along its slopes, dating back to pre-Inca times. At the end of the excursion, a typical lunch on Taquile awaits you.

1 night stay including half board in Puno, Peru

On the journey across the Andean highlands from Puno to the Sacred Valley via Cusco, you will make a stop in the village of Pukara, known for its ceramic handicrafts. Toritos de Pucara, colorful ceramic figures of bulls that often decorate the roofs of houses as good luck charms, are typical of the region. You will also visit the Museo Litico de Pucara, a stone museum, which displays a small selection of anthropomorphic monoliths, zoomorphic sculptures, ceramics and other objects from the Pre-Incan Pucara culture. Lunch will be served en route at a local restaurant.

Before reaching the Sacred Valley in the evening, you will visit the Raqchi ruins with the Wiracocha Temple and the picturesque village of Andahuaylillas - with the so-called “South American Sistine Chapel”, an inconspicuous church that houses magnificent oil paintings and frescoes inside.

Puno - Cusco: about 10 hours / 400 km (including stops)

Cusco - Sacred Valley: about 1.5 hours / 63 km

1 night with half board in the Sacred Valley, Peru

Today you will visit the community of Huilloc, where you can "work" in the community. The men will be taken to the fields, and the women will be shown the typical household and farm chores.

Afterwards you will go to one of the oldest cities of the Sacred Valley, Ollantaytambo. Thanks to its massive fortifications, the Incas were once able to win a great battle against the Spanish conquerors in Ollantayambo. Today, the site is known as the last living Inca site in Peru: Visit a local family in a traditional house and learn about the national life and culture.

Afterwards, drive to the country's landmark - Machu Picchu! Your private transfer will take you to the train station of Ollantaytambo, where you will take the panoramic train Vistadome towards Aguas Calientes. On the way you will be offered fabulous views of the diverse nature. You will be enchanted by the picturesque river valley, small villages and snow-capped mountains in the background. Once you arrive in Aguas Calientes, it is only a few steps to your hotel.

Today you will see the highlight of Peru. At the train station at the foot of Machu Picchu, you will board a shuttle bus that will take you up the last leg of serpentine roads to the ruins. At the top, you will finally catch sight of one of Peru's greatest treasures. On an in-depth tour of the most famous Inca site, you'll learn all there is to know about the discovery and theories surrounding the creation of Machu Picchu, whose ruins still pose many mysteries to researchers today. The lost city is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World and will take you back in time (duration 8 hours).

After the visit, you will be transferred by train and bus back to Cusco. We will have already transferred your luggage in advance to your hotel today.

If you decide to take the optional return trip on the Hiram Bingham luxury train, the itinerary will be as described below:

In the afternoon at 4:00 p.m., you will enjoy a tea time at the Sanctuary Lodge before boarding the elegantly appointed Hiram Bingham luxury train for the return trip to Poroy via Cusco. During the journey, you will be served a multi-course dinner; in the bar car, you can review your impressions with live music and a Pisco Sour. Your private tour guide will be waiting for you in Poroy in the evening. With the following transfer you will reach your hotel around 10 p.m.

Aquas Calientes - Machu Picchu: approx. 30 minutes

Ollantaytambo - Poroy train ride: approx. 4 hours / approx. 200 km

Poroy - Hotel Cusco train ride: approx. 30 minutes / approx. 13 km

1 night with breakfast in Cusco, Peru

After breakfast, today you will embark on a journey into the past. On the program is another highlight of your Peru adventure and the most important festival of the Incas: the Inti Raymi Sun Festival. Every year on June 24, the procession starts at the Koricancha Sun Temple and goes from there to the Plaza de Armas and finally to Sacsayhuaman for the main ceremony in honor of Inti, the Sun God. You can expect a unique and colorful event that you won't soon forget. A box lunch is included for today.

1 night with breakfast in Cusco, Peru

Immerse yourself in the history of Cusco! During a city tour, you will get to know the most important sights of the Inca Empire and the colonial period. The Koricancha Sun Temple, the Cathedral built on the ruins of the palace of the Inca Wiracocha and the Inca Loreto street are just some of the highlights on this tour.

Afterwards, you will leave the city center and get to know the surrounding area of Cusco and other important ruins of the Inca Empire. Marvel at the very well preserved Sacsayhuaman fortress ruins, the Puca Pucara guard post and the Tambomachay water temple.

You have reached the end of your special journey with National Geographic. Countless experiences have given you a glimpse of Peru's nature and culture. Review these experiences during your return flight. Transfer to the airport after the city tour.

itravel - for that moment.

Aloft Lima Miraflores Hotel****, Lima, Peru

The hotel is located in the center of Lima, close to Plaza Mayor and Mercado Indios. Wi-Fi, an indoor pool and a gym are available. Rooms feature bathrooms with showers, free toiletries, safes and desks. You can end the day at the hotel's bar.

La Hacienda Bahia Hotel, Paracas***+, Peru

La Hacienda Bahia is located right on the ocean on the edge of Paracas Bay. The National Reserve is not far from the hotel. Rooms are equipped with private terrace, air conditioning, TV, Wi-Fi, minibar and other amenities. Relax by the two outdoor pools, in the Jacuzzi, or in the spa and wellness area.

San Augustin Posada del Monasterio Hotel***+, Arequipa, Peru

The San Augustin Posada del Monasterio is located directly across from the Santa Catalina Monastery not far from the main Plaza de Armas. Rooms feature comfortable beds, Wi-Fi, safes, TVs, phones, and other amenities. The restaurant serves regional dishes, as well as international specialties.

Jose Antonio Puno Hotel***+, Puno, Peru

Located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the hotel looks directly out over the surrounding countryside. Free Wi-Fi is available in public areas. Rooms feature a telephone, cable TV, minibar and safe. The modern property also impresses with a bar and restaurant specializing in local cuisine and drinks.

Casa Andina Premium Valle Sagrado Hotel****, Sacred Valley, Peru

Set on large grounds, the hotel has its own spa and a planetarium with observatory. Rooms are warmly and lovingly decorated in a rustic style. In addition to a bathtub, you can enjoy air conditioning, TV, Internet, and a coffeemaker in your room.

El Mapi by Inkaterra Hotel****, Aguas Calientes, Peru

The hotel is located just steps from the center of the village. All rooms are modern style and equipped with Wi-Fi, safe, minibar, TV, toiletries and hypoallergenic pillows. The bar and restaurant served regional delicacies.

Novotel Cusco Hotel****, Cusco, Peru

Located not far from Plaza de Armas and right in the historic center of Cusco. The La Cave 365 restaurant serves international as well as regional cuisine in a cozy atmosphere. You can also enjoy your meal on the heated terrace with glass roof. Free coca tea is available at all times. Rooms feature an LCD TV, sofa and shower.

Closest airport: Jorge Chávez International Airport

Duration of the trip: June 2022

Included

  • 11 nights in the above mentioned accommodations or similar:
    • 2 nights at Aloft Miraflores Hotel**** with breakfast and lunch in an Aloft King & Queen room, Lima, Peru
    • 1 night stay at La Hacienda Bahia Paracas Hotel**** with breakfast and lunch in a standard room, Paracas, Peru
    • 2 nights at San Augustin Posada del Monasterio Hotel***+, with breakfast in standard room, Arequipa, Peru
    • 2 nights at Jose Antonio Puno Hotel***+, with breakfast and dinner in a standard room, Puno, Peru
    • 1 night at Casa Andina Premium Valle Sagrado Hotel**** with breakfast and lunch in a superior room, Valle Sagrado, Peru
    • 1 night at El Mapi by Inkaterra Hotel**** with breakfast and dinner on a train in a superior deluxe room, Aguas Calientes, Peru
    • 2 nights at the Novotel Cusco Hotel**** with breakfast in a standard room, Cusco, Peru
  • Meals according to the program
  • Guide
  • Sightseeings and boat trips according to the program incl. entrance fees
  • Accompanying expert
  • All transfers
  • Lima - Arequipa domestic flight
  • Vistadome to Machu Picchu train ride
  • Shuttle bus to Machu Picchu
  • Support to the Cordillera Azul National Park project of Ecosphere+ for the protection of the Peruvian mountain forest

Experiences included

  • Lima:
    • Market visit with cooking lesson and fruit tasting (5 hours).

    • City tour Lima & visit cathedral and monastery of San Francisco (4 hours)

  • Pisco:
    • Tacama Gran Tour Pisco

    • Flight over Nazca lines (optional)

  • Paracas:
    • Excursion to Ballestas Islands (2 hours).
  • Arequipa:
    • Excursion to the quarries (4 hours)

    • City tour with visit to Santa Catalina Monastery in Arequipa (3 hours)

    • Excursion to the archaeological site of Sillustani

  • Lake Titicaca:
    • Excursion to the floating islands of the Uros and Taquile Island (8 hours).

    • Cusco, Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu:

    • City tour and visit to the ruins of Cusco (5 hours).

    • Excursion Chinchero, Moray, Maras and the ruins of Ollantaytambo, visit of a local house (3,5 hours)

    • Entrance to Inti Raymi Festival

    • Visit to the Andean community of Huilloc (3 hours)

    • Train ride to Aguas Calientes

    • Return trip Hiram Bingham to Aguas Calientes (optional)

    • Guided tour of the ruins of Machu Picchu (max. 8 hours)

Not included

  • International flights
  • Optional excursions
  • Airport taxes
  • Personal expenses
  • Drinks during meals, unless specifically mentioned
  • Voluntary tips
  • Luggage fees at the airport
  • Visa, if required

Notes

  • Our offer includes a donation to the Ecosphere+ project - a company that provides global solutions to companies fighting climate change and has created various social projects to protect forests, offset CO² emissions and advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Visits are weather and season dependent and can be slightly modified on site by the tour guide.
  • Flight over the Nazca Lines: Due to safety regulations, it is essential to provide your correct body weight when booking the overflight, as all passengers must be evenly distributed on the light aircraft to avoid accidents and turbulence. Thank you for your understanding; it is for your personal safety. The weight limit for the flyover is 101kg. Customers with > 101 kg must expect a surcharge of 50%.
  • Group size up to max. 8 participants
  • During the train ride to Machu Picchu, only 1 piece of hand luggage with a maximum weight of 5 kg is allowed. In Cusco, the rest of the luggage can be deposited in the hotel.
  • Suitable footwear for visiting Machu Picchu is necessary. The paths do not have railings and can be slippery. Hiking poles are recommended - only allowed without metallic tips. Bags/backpacks larger than 40 cm x 35 cm x 20 cm as well as umbrellas, selfie sticks, food and plastic items such as bags, straws or styrofoam are not allowed.
  • The durations of the excursions indicated in the program are estimates and may change due to local conditions.
  • Peru - Note on VAT on accommodation prices: Included hotel rates do not include 18% VAT. Foreigners and national citizens residing abroad, with a valid migration card and entry stamp not older than 60 days are exempt from taxes. Therefore, upon arrival at each booked hotel, a copy of the passport and migration card (TAM) will be made, which is necessary for tax exemption.

COVID-19 information

● Our prices are based on usual usage of vehicles, attractions as well as restaurants/show houses prior to COVID-19. If local authorities dictate a reduced occupancy rate or you, the customer, request it, prices will have to be recalculated accordingly.

● Some hotels will change their breakfast service to à la carte or room service. We will communicate the exact modality and any extra charges separately.

● Special hygiene kits for passengers with mouth guards as well as personal disinfectant gel are available upon request and for a fee.

● Itineraries are based on pre-COVID-19 flight connections within South America and assuming all hotels and services offered are regularly open. Thus, itineraries are subject to unforeseen changes. In the event that certain service providers are unable to offer the services, or if the flight connections on which the program is based are cancelled, the program will have to be recalculated.

● Popular attractions may implement permanently assigned time slots for visitation, so they may have limited access and visitation may need to be reconfirmed.

● Access to airport terminals could be restricted to airline passengers, if necessary, with denial of access to tour guides or drivers. Thus, for transfers, we may be forced to adjust our usual service upon arrival as well as departure to accommodate the circumstances. Details will be announced at a later date.

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