Days
21
Price from
€3,050EUR

See how modern Incas celebrate their proud heritage at Inti Raymi

Peru is a country in the midst of a cultural revival. It’s only in the last century that the country’s proud inhabitants have broken free of the shackles imposed by the Spanish conquest to embrace their ancestral Quechua language and customs, including the Inti Raymi – one of the most important festivals of the Inca calendar. Full of colour, movement and spectacle, this unique event offers a rare glimpse into ancient Inca life. Join us on a Peruvian adventure from the capital’s thriving food scene to the wildlife-filled Ballestas Island. Fly over the cryptic Nazca Lines and explore the white streets of Arequipa. Experience not one, but two visits to the iconic Machu Picchu in celebration of the winter solstice and finish up in ancient Cuzco in time for historic Inti Raymi itself.


Start
Lima, Peru
Finish
Lima, Peru
Country
Peru
Style
Peregrine
Code
PSIY
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Attend one of the most important festivals of the Inca calendar, Inti Raymi (Festival of the Sun), and witness the colourful processions, traditional dances and historical re-enactments.

  • The floating reed islands of Uros on Lake Titicaca are a marvel of concept, construction and history. Take a boat tour on the world's highest navigable lake, then spend two nights on a private Island overlooking Lake Titicaca.

  • Visit the iconic Machu Picchu not once - but twice! Witness the winter solstice at Machu Picchu on your second visit.

  • Marvel at the unique concentric terraces of the Moray archaeological site just outside of Cuzco.

  • Journey to the magnificent Colca Canyon, which is deeper than the Grand Canyon and dotted with ancient villages

  • Get to see the variety of ancient Inca architecture scattered throughout the Sacred Valley, before discovering the mother of all Inca cities: magical Machu Picchu

  • Peru is a world-class culinary destination. Visit an area unknown to tourists in Lima and try a variety of street food and authentic Peruvian desserts.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip requires a minimum of 4 passengers to depart. Please do not book any non-refundable flights or services before the departure is guaranteed to depart.

  • Due to the high altitude of many of places we visit, some travellers may experience altitude related sickness, regardless of age, gender or fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary! Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information about altitude sickness

  • There are a couple of long journeys on this trip, in particular from Nazca to Arequipa, which is a 10-hour drive in a private van. Although this may be tiring, it's a great chance to sit back and enjoy the passing scenery and chat to your fellow travellers. Plus, the beautiful city of Arequipa will make it all worthwhile.

Itinerary

Hola and welcome to Peru! On arrival into Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport you will be transferred to your hotel. At 2pm there is a welcome meeting, where you will meet your trip leader and fellow travellers for a pre-trip briefing. Please check the noticeboard near the hotel reception for confirmation as to where this meeting will take place. After the meeting, head out on a brief orientation tour of Miraflores, one of Lima’s more cosmopolitan and gourmand neighbourhoods. Perhaps head to a local restaurant and get to know your fellow travellers while sampling Peru’s national dish, ceviche, which is raw fish marinated in lime juice, onions and spices (often served with hot peppers). Return to the hotel and rest up for tomorrow’s in-depth tour of the city.

Note: As this trip visits locations at high altitude, it's possible that some travellers may experience adverse health effects due to altitude sickness. Please see the 'Is this trip right for you?' and 'Health' sections of the trip notes for important information about this.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Antigua Miraflores or Similar (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Flanked by ornate mansions, palaces and churches, Plaza Mayor is the perfect place to start exploring the Peruvian capital. Get to know this manicured square on a guided walking tour, passing through the city’s old streets to get a feel for colonial life. On one side of Plaza Mayor is the baroque Cathedral of Lima, which houses the remains of Lima's founder, Francisco Pizarro. Visit the nearby San Francisco Monastery, which is famous for its catacombs containing nearly 70,000 human remains. Continue on to the Central Market, which is home to a huge variety of fresh produce, including fruits, vegetables and even guinea pigs! If you’re curious to try some of this local delicacy, look out for ‘el cuy’ on the menu at a nearby restaurant.

Up next, head away from the gringo trail and visit ‘Alameda de Chabuca Granda’ – an area rarely frequented by travellers where locals go to enjoy authentic Peruvian desserts such as ‘mazamorra morada’ (a sweet porridge made from purple corn), or ‘picarones’ (Peruvian donuts made from local squash called ‘macre’). These unique regional dishes use otherwise savoury ingredients for fantastically sweet effect and are a must-try during your time here.
Included Activities
  • Lima - Cathedral visit
  • Lima - Guided tour of Catacombs
  • Lima - Larco Herrera Museum
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Board a mini van headed south to coastal Paracas. The journey will take approximately 3-4 hours and this is a great opportunity to get to know your leader and fellow passengers while enjoying the country views. Arrive in Paracas and take an afternoon to explore at your leisure. Perhaps visit the Museo JC Tello, which houses a collection of weavings, ceramics, trophy heads and skulls belonging to the Paracas culture for which this town is named.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Majoro or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Rise early for a morning excursion to the Ballestas islands. Often referred to as the Galapagos of Peru, the islands are home to an abundance of wildlife, including pelicans, red-footed boobies, flamingos, sea lions and even penguins. You will have the opportunity to see wildlife up close on a boat tour of the area (lasting approximately 1.5-2 hours). Remember to keep an eye out for the famous three-pronged candelabra etched into the sandy hills. Please note that between June and September the port may be closed due to weather conditions. If this is the case, an alternative land tour of the Paracas National Reserve will be arranged.

Later in the morning, travel by private van from Paracas to Nazca. This is a three-hour drive with the possibility of a stopover in the oasis town of Huacachina on the way. Nazca’s origins date back to the 2nd century BC, making it a treasure trove of textiles, ceramics, relics and mummies, which have been well preserved by the region’s dry desert conditions. Nazca is also famous for the mysterious Nazca Lines, a series of barely discernable paths etched into the desert, which, when viewed from above, come together to form giant symbols such as hummingbirds, spiders and trees. There are many theories about how and why the lines exist and who created them. Some point to alien involvement while others suggest they were used in ancient tribal festivities. Take the opportunity to visit a viewing platform to see the lines for yourself. Tonight enjoy an included 'pachamanca' meal, which is prepared using a traditional baking method over hot stones.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Casa Andina or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Nazca Lines - Viewing tower
  • Ballestas Islands - Guided tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Despite being centuries old, the Nazca Lines were only discovered in 1939 after American scientist Paul Kosoko happened to fly over them during a routine ancient-irrigation research flight. This discovery helped Nazca grow from a barren desert town into a heritage-listed destination for inquisitive adventurers. Today you’ll follow in Kosoko’s footsteps with an included flight over the lines, which will reveal just how vast and well coordinated these desert carvings really are. Afterwards, hop aboard a private van headed to Arequipa (approximately 8-9 hours). Colonial Arequipa is an excellent place to while away the rest of the afternoon. Stretch your legs on a walk through the city’s white streets or grab a drink at a bar and admire the views of volcanic El Misti looming in the distance.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Casa Andina or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Nazca - Flight Over the Nazca Lines
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Please note your Tour Leader will not join the included flight over the Nazca lines. Instead he/she will brief you prior to this activity.
After breakfast head out on a walking tour of Arequipa. The city has earned itself a nickname as Peru’s ‘White City’ thanks to the distinctive volcanic stonework that is used extensively throughout its streets. The stately Arequipa Cathedral is a stunning example of how this material was used in constructing some of the city’s colonial architecture. Pay a visit to the Jesuit Iglesia de La Compania, which features an ornate façade and is home to the San Ignacio Chapel and its intricate cupola of angels, flowers and birds. Later, get lost in the colourful walkways and manicured courtyards of the Santa Catalina Nunnery, which was only opened up to the public in 1970 after decades of being shrouded in mystery.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Casa Andina or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Arequipa - Cathedral Visit
  • Arequipa - San Ignacio Chapel Visit
  • Arequipa - Santa Catalina Monastery
  • Arequipa - Walking tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Drive through Peru’s ‘altiplano’ (high plains), passing spectacular woodlands, grazing llamas and stone cairns built by the local indigenous people, to the Colca Valley. More than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, the Colca Canyon provides some breathtaking views and is a great place to spot Andean Condors. The pre-Incan terraces carved into the canyon’s walls are still cultivated today, and villages are dotted throughout the area. Keep an eye out for locals in colourful traditional dress selling goods by the roadside or walking their alpacas to market. Stop at the highest point of the valley (4,910 metres) to enjoy views of the rugged landscape below and the snow-capped volcano of the Nevado Ampato in the distance. The height might leave you feeling a little short of breath, but after taking some photos you'll quickly descend to a lower altitude. Continue on to the town of Chivay, where there is some time to visit the local hot springs. In the evening there is the option to visit a local 'pena' to enjoy a Peruvian dance and music show. Spend the night in Chivay.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Eco inn or Similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Colca Canyon -Guided tour
  • Colca Canyon - La Calera hot springs
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Spot Andean Condors, one of the world's largest flying birds, at the Condor Viewpoint this morning. After lunch, board a private van headed to Puno (approximately 4 hours). The group will stop on the way and see the ruined 'chullpas' or funeral towers of Sillustani, which were built by a pre-Inca civilisation to house the remains of noble men. Arrive in Puno, which is located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, and is a veritable melting pot of Aymara and Quechuan Indian culture. The town is known as the folklore capital of Peru and is famous for its traditional dances. Wander the town’s cobbled streets and, if time allows, perhaps climb the many steps to the Mirador El Condor, which provides spectacular views over Puno and Lake Titicaca alongside an enormous condor sculpture.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Hacienda Puno or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sillustani archaeological site
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Be enchanted by the tranquil scenery and silken waters of Lake Titicaca on a boat cruise around the world’s highest navigable lake. A word of caution however, the sun here can be extremely strong so be sure to wear a hat and sunscreen, even on cloudy days. After time on the water, stop by the floating Uros Islands. In ancient times, the Uros people constructed these islands to isolate themselves from rival tribes on the mainland and have lived on the water ever since. The islands are built completely from multiple layers of totora reeds, which grow in the shallows of the lake. After time to explore the floating villages, stop in at Taquile Island to see how local woollen handicrafts are made. Knitting on this island is strictly a male domain while women do the spinning. In the evening, retire to the private island of Suasi, which will be the groups’ base for the next two nights.
Accommodation
  • Suasi Island Eco lodge or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Visit the island’s cultural museum this morning and learn more about the history of Lake Titicaca and its communities. Visitors can see the varied handicrafts and fabrics created by the different groups that developed around the lake, as well as different types of Andean grains, such as quinoa, that formed part of their diet. Afterwards, navigate across the island in Canadian canoes, passing totora reeds and observing birdlife, such as Titicaca flightless grebes, Andean geese, black skimmers, Peruvian boobies and many species of gulls. You may even see all four species of camelids – llamas, alpacas, guanacos and rare vicunas – and adorable viscachas. An easy late-afternoon walk (approximately 1-2 hours) will take you to the highest point of the island – the perfect place to witness an unforgettable sunset over Lake Titicaca while enjoying a private picnic with drinks. This is a unique moment to soak in the beautiful landscape, appreciate the serenity, and if the clouds behave, watch the sun go down.
Accommodation
  • Suasi Island Eco lodge or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Suasi Island - Spectacular Sunset over Lake Titicaca, Picnic & Drinks
  • Suasi Island - Lake Titicaca Canoe Excursion
  • Suasi Island - Cultural Museum Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Backtrack across the lake to Puno and enjoy a free evening to explore this port town. Perhaps eat dinner at a local restaurant, play Jenga at the Kamizaraky Rock Pub, or simply relax in the hotel. Puno is often named as the folklore capital of Peru, with many lively and colourful festivals taking place throughout the year. Most of the major festivals are celebrated around Catholic feast days, particularly in January and February. If you're lucky your visit might coincide with an evening parade, when the streets are filled with costumed dancers and musicians.

Puno is also the hometown of Kusimayo, an inspiring local organisation that works towards improving the living conditions of children and adults affected by poverty and malnutrition. Although this tour does not visit Kusimayo, it is supported by the Intrepid Foundation, which means you can donate to this project and your donation will be matched dollar for dollar by the Intrepid Group. If you’d like to learn more about Kusimayo, you can watch a short video by visiting https://vimeo.com/154422813. If you’d like to donate to the project ahead of your visit, please visit http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/kusimayo.


Accommodation
  • Hotel Hacienda Puno or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Catch a local bus across the spectacular altiplano to the high-flying city of Cuzco (approximately 6 hours). Cuzco is South America's oldest continuously inhabited city, and was the home of the Incas for two centuries before the Spanish built their first capital here. Today, Cuzco is a fascinating combination of both cultures and is proudly championed as the heart and soul of modern Peru. Inca-built walls line the central street and many of the city's colonial buildings are built on or around Inca foundations. The city is also the ideal place to acclimatise to the altitude (3,450 metres, or 11,150 feet above sea level) before visiting the surrounding Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Perhaps take a wander and see the many Baroque churches and ancient temples dotted around town, or go on the hunt for chicharron (fried pork ribs) on Pampa del Castillo.
Accommodation
  • Hotel San Agustin Plaza or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cuzco - Coricancha Archeological Site, guided tour
  • Cuzco - Cathedral Visit
  • Cuzco - Full Boleto Turistico Pass, which gives you access to 16 archaeological sites in/around Cuzco (Transport & guides are not included)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is free to discover Cusco at your own pace. The central Plaza de Armas is a good place to start your explorations, with the Museo Inka and Museo de Art Precolombino a short walk away. At both museums you’ll find a wealth of priceless archaeological pieces as well as textiles, metal and goldwork, and more. If you feel like stretching your legs, the ruins of Saqsaywaman are a leisurely 2km uphill stroll north from central Cuzco. Although the towering stonewalls might seem huge, what visitors see today is but 20% of the original fortified structure that once existed here. The fort, which resembles the shape of a puma’s head from above, was the site of a ferocious siege during the Spanish conquests. Soon after the Incas were defeated, the walls were town down and the stones were used to construct colonial buildings in Cuzco. The ruins are easy to explore on foot and there are spectacular views over Cuzco to enjoy while you’re here.
Accommodation
  • Hotel San Agustin Plaza or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information


Head out on board a private bus headed to the Sacred Valley. Treasured for its climate, fertile landscape and the sacred Urubamba River, the valley has long been the main source of food in the high Andes. If you didn’t visit yesterday, today you will get another chance to see the fortress ruins of Sacsayhuaman. Afterwards, journey to a nearby community to gain insight into the local lifestyle, where you'll also enjoy an included lunch. If it happens to be market day, don’t pass up the opportunity to wander the stalls in search of hand painted beads and ponchos. Continue to the town of Ollantaytambo in the afternoon. Built over an ancient Incan settlement, this is one of the few places where the Incas successfully defeated the Spanish. The ruins are great examples of the Inca’s ingenious construction methods, which involved no mortar, while the upper terraces offer great photo opportunities over the town below. The final destination today is Aguas Calientes, which translates as ‘hot water’ in reference to the town’s hot springs. The gringo town is nestled in the cloud forest at the foot of Machu Picchu, making it a main thoroughfare for travellers reaching the famous Inca site. The journey to Aguas Calientes is around 90 minutes by train.
Accommodation
  • Tanupa Lodge or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sacred Valley - Local community visit and lunch
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
For many visitors, the spectacular ruins of Machu Picchu are the sole reason for their trip to Peru, or even South America. Framed by cotton candy clouds and forested mountains, the famous lost city of the Incas is an unforgettable destination. Today you will get to see it for yourself after a 30-minute bus ride up the winding road to the main entrance. A guide will take the group through the site, explaining its history and the ancestral people of the region. The tour will last approximately 1.5-2 hours and then you will have free time to explore on your own. The true purpose behind Machu Picchu may always be a mystery, since no historical records of the complex exist. In fact, none were made in the first place, since the Incas had no written language. Some historians have argued it was a place of spiritual worship; others, a military stronghold, and some even think it was a prison. Most archaeologists, however, believe it to be the 15th-century headquarters of ‘he who shook the earth’, Emperor Pachacuti. After taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it's time to return to Aguas Calientes for a well-deserved shower and a pisco sour.

Notes: Due to Peregrine's internal safety policy, our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking trips to the mountaintop ruins of Wayna Picchu.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Hatun Inti or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Machu Picchu - Entrance and Guided Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Rise early this morning and queue up for the bus back to Machu Picchu at approximately 4:30-5:30am. On this second visit to the ruins you'll have free time to explore and take any photos you may have missed yesterday. The ruins are made even more spectacular in the morning light and the early start means you will have time to enjoy the site without the crowds. Today you will also walk to the Temple of the Sun and observe the winter solstice. The Temple was used to honour and celebrate the Inti, which means "The Sun," an important Incan deity. When the sun of the winter solstice enters through the central window, it falls directly on the large ceremonial stone inside the temple. If it is an especially sunny day there are several shades with special shapes that filter through the morning light. Afterwards, you will have some free time to explore more of the site’s many temples, palaces and living quarters. The mortar-free design of Machu Picchu’s architecture is particularly earthquake resistant and the stones are so precisely cut that to this day not even a knife fits between them. Later, return by bus and train to Cuzco.
Accommodation
  • Hotel San Agustin Plaza or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Machu Picchu - Entrance and Guided Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel from Cuzco and visit the icons of Maras and Moray. The small town of Maras is known for its salt mines, thousands of individual salt pools set into the surrounding hillside that date back to Incan times and look spectacular when viewed from above. The town is also used as a thoroughfare to Moray, an Inca archaeological site on a high plateau featuring a series of concentric terraces. The surrounding trails also offer views of the snow-capped Urubamba mountain range. There will be a guided tour of each of these sites before returning to Cuzco.
Accommodation
  • Hotel San Agustin Plaza or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Salt Mines Visit - Maras
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today promises to be filled with colour and spectacle in celebration of the Inti Raymi festival. Most of the events today will focus around Cuzco's Plaza de Armas, which is filled with music and dancing during the day and a music festival come evening. A highlight of the day is the Mosoq Willka Ninna Papichy, which is the lighting of the sacred fire in recognition of the winter solstice. Other events to look out for include a Quechua singing contest and musical gala.

It is important to note that the program for the 2017 Inti Raymi is yet to be finalised and that the final program may vary. We have described the kinds of activities that have taken place in the past and may take place again in 2017.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning head to Qorikancha Temple in central Cusco, where the Inti Raymi opening ceremony begins. The ceremony is conducted in the native Quechua language and involves the Inca’s welcoming the four main regions of the empire. After this introduction, the audience walks to the Plaza de Armas, where representatives of different tribes from each of the four regions will arrive dancing and marching. The main event then takes place in the late morning at Sacsayhuaman. The group will take a bus transfer to the site, where there is allocated seating for this part of the festival. At Sacsayhuaman there will be a mock sacrifice and an offering to the sun. The ceremony is expected to finish at around 4pm. As this is the group’s last night in Cuzco, perhaps head out for a final pisco sour at one of the city’s lively bars.

About the Inti Raymi Festival:
During the Inca Empire, the Inti Raymi was the most important ceremony celebrated in Cusco. It took place in the Plaza de Armas and it was held during the winter solstice. The ceremony lasted for nine days and was filled with colourful dances and processions, as well as animal sacrifices to honour the goddess Pachamama and to ensure a favourable cropping season. The last Inti Raymi with the Inca Emperor's presence was carried out in 1535, after which the Spanish and the Catholic priests banned it. In 1944, a historical (and theatrical) reconstruction of the Inti Raymi was created and since then it has taken place at Sacsayhuaman, two kilometres from its original celebration in central Cusco on June 24 of each year.
Accommodation
  • Posada Amazonas or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cuzco - Inti Raymi Festival with local specialist guide
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Travel to the airport and take an included flight back to Lima. After checking into the hotel in the afternoon, there will be free time to explore or relax. Perhaps visit the huge shopping complex of Larcomar, which is set along the city’s waterfront. In the evening, head out for an optional group dinner and enjoy a final Peruvian feast while reminiscing on your adventures.
Accommodation
  • Antigua Miraflores or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This Peruvian adventure comes to an end today after breakfast. Flights out of Lima can be booked for anytime as there are no planned activities. If you'd like to spend more time in Lima, we can arrange extra accommodation for you at the time of booking (subject to availability). You can also see more of the city on one of our in-depth Urban Adventure tours. 
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

20 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners

Transport

Boat, Bus, Minibus, Plane

Accommodation

Hotel (18 nights), Lodge (2 nights)

Included Activities

  • Lima - Cathedral visit
  • Lima - Guided tour of Catacombs
  • Lima - Larco Herrera Museum
  • Nazca Lines - Viewing tower
  • Ballestas Islands - Guided tour
  • Nazca - Flight Over the Nazca Lines
  • Arequipa - Cathedral Visit
  • Arequipa - San Ignacio Chapel Visit
  • Arequipa - Santa Catalina Monastery
  • Arequipa - Walking tour
  • Colca Canyon -Guided tour
  • Colca Canyon - La Calera hot springs
  • Sillustani archaeological site
  • Suasi Island - Spectacular Sunset over Lake Titicaca, Picnic & Drinks
  • Suasi Island - Lake Titicaca Canoe Excursion
  • Suasi Island - Cultural Museum Visit
  • Cuzco - Coricancha Archeological Site, guided tour
  • Cuzco - Cathedral Visit
  • Cuzco - Full Boleto Turistico Pass, which gives you access to 16 archaeological sites in/around Cuzco (Transport & guides are not included)
  • Sacred Valley - Local community visit and lunch
  • Machu Picchu - Entrance and Guided Tour
  • Salt Mines Visit - Maras
  • Cuzco - Inti Raymi Festival with local specialist guide

Dates & availability

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Important notes

MINIMUM NUMBER:
This trip requires a minimum of 4 passengers to depart. Please do not book any non-refundable flights or services before the departure is guaranteed to depart.

Essential Trip Information

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