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Cusco & the Sacred Valley

Trip Length

Trip Code

8 days PSCS

Minimum Passengers

4 people

Maximum Passengers

15 people

Countries Visited

Peru

Start City

End City

Lima Lima
Cusco & the Sacred Valley

It's possible in just over one week to sample some of Peru’s rich mix of culture, history and mountain scenery. After exploring the main sights of Lima’s colonial centre, we cross the mountains to Cusco and visit the massive fortifications, temples and colourful towns of the Sacred Valley. After catching a train to the town of Aguas Calientes, we visit the magnificent ruins of Machu Picchu. The Spanish Conquistadors missed the ruins during their conquest of the region and they remained lost to the outside world until American explorer Hiram Bingham discovered them in 1911. There are plenty of sightseeing options in Cusco and we also have time to wander the narrow streets and shop for some great keepsakes, including alpaca sweaters and colourful Indian hats that are unique to the Andes.

Cusco & the Sacred Valley


Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1-2: Lima

Meals included: 1 breakfast

On arrival at Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport you are transferred to your hotel in the well-known coastal suburb of Miraflores. In the evening you meet your tour leader and the other members of your group for a pre-tour briefing. Please check the noticeboard near the hotel reception for confirmation of the exact time and place of the meeting (please note that if a significant number of group members are arriving late into Lima, this meeting may be held sometime on Day 2). This meeting is generally followed by an optional group dinner at a nearby restaurant. Lima has some of the most superb cuisine in South America and is especially renowned for its exceptional seafood. During your time here, you may wish to try ceviche, Peru’s national dish, which is raw fish marinated in lime juice and often served with hot peppers. This culinary delight is a must for all seafood lovers!

On the morning of Day 2 we start our exploration of the Peruvian capital with a half-day city tour. Founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador, Francisco Pizarro, it was from Lima that all Spanish territories in South America were governed. Few cities at that time could rival Lima’s power, wealth and opulence. However its glory days ended in 1746 when the city was virtually destroyed by an earthquake. Many of the colonial buildings were rebuilt and we get a first-hand look at several of them on our tour. The striking Plaza Mayor (Plaza de Armas), flanked by some of the most important buildings in town such as the cathedral, the huge Government Palace and the Archbishop’s Palace, constitutes the heart of the city. We visit the cathedral and the nearby San Francisco Monastery, with its catacombs containing some 70,000 human remains. We also visit the impressive National Museum of Anthropology, Archaeology and History of Peru, which is home to a wonderful collection of cultural exhibits tracing the history, arts and accomplishments of the people of Peru, ranging from the original inhabitants of the land through to the Inca Empire and the Spanish conquerors. The afternoon is free to do your own exploration of Lima. You may wish to wander around Miraflores or perhaps catch a taxi to visit the Gold Museum or the Larco Museum, which is renowned for its ancient pottery collection. Please remember that you must agree on a fare with the driver before catching a taxi, as the taxis here do not have meters. (Miraflores-Downtown approximately 10-15 soles)

Day 3-4: Cusco - The Sacred Valley

Meals included: 2 breakfasts

Today we fly to the ancient Inca capital of Cusco, where we take an afternoon walking tour to explore this fascinating city. Please remember to walk slowly and take it reasonably easy upon arrival, as you will no doubt feel the effects of altitude as we have travelled from sea level up to 3350 metres. Cusco is a favourite destination of many visitors to Peru. Its main sites radiate outwards from the Plaza de Armas, which is dominated by the 17th century Baroque cathedral. It was in this very plaza that the Spanish conquistadors put to death the last Inca king, Tupac Amaru I. As we wander the streets and side alleys of the city we witness the perfect tapering Inca stonework that provided the foundations for many of Cusco’s colonial and modern buildings. Our comprehensive sightseeing tour of the city’s main sights includes the cathedral and Koricancha Temple. We then take to the surrounding hills and visit the impressive ceremonial ruins of Sacsayhuaman, where massive stone blocks that form the walls of this site give us an awesome picture of how highly developed Inca engineering was. In our free time, it is also possible to visit the Inca Museum, Religious Art Museum, Church of San Blas and Santa Catalina Museum.

The Sacred Valley, located between the towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo, was greatly treasured because of its climate, fertile land and the presence of the Urubamba (Sacred) River. On our full day tour of the Sacred Valley, we will see evidence of the Incas' engineering skills in the ruins of ancient aqueducts, irrigation canals, dams on the Urubamba River, imposing sets of terraces and centres of worship dedicated to Pachamama (Mother Earth). At the Sacred Valley we visit the Awana Kancha tourist centre where we see llama, alpaca, vicuna and guanaco all in the one place, the ruins at Qenko, the colourful market town of Pisac and the towering Inca citadel at Ollantaytambo. Built on a steep mountainside this grand citadel served as both a temple and fortress. A walk up to the top is rewarded by fine views over the village and out further into the valley.

Day 5: Peru's Challenge Community Project - Cusco

Meals included: 1 breakfast

This morning we enjoy a visit to the Peru's Challenge Community Project at Pumamarca, located in a beautiful valley just 10 kilometres from the centre of Cusco. The Peru's Challenge Program works to create opportunities for children living in the Andes region. The program was started by Australian, Jane Gavel and Selvy Ugaz from Peru. Since October 2003, Peru’s Challenge has helped nearly 1000 families and started to educate over 500 children in numerous communities. We are a sponsor of the Peru’s Challenge program at Pumamarca, providing support through the 'Small Loans for Community Development’ scheme and through the Peregrine Community Trust. The visit offers a rare look at the challenges faced by many small farming communities around Peru. It is both educational and inspirational.

During our visit we wander through the fields and watch the locals tend their crops, whilst in the village we visit the local school and also see the women working in the handicraft centre. If you wish to make a donation to the Peru’s Challenge program, the Peregrine Community Trust is the easiest and most convenient way to do so. Details on our Trust can be found at http://www.peregrineadventures.com/community-trust.

We return to Cusco in the early afternoon.

Day 6-7: Machu Picchu - Aguas Calientes - Cusco

Meals included: 2 breakfasts

We board an early morning train to the town of Aguas Calientes where we overnight. There are some small shops and restaurants in the town where we can while the time away. The next morning we take a bus up the steep, zigzagging road to the impressive Lost City of the Incas - Machu Picchu. Built around 1450 the city was deserted less than a century later following the Spanish invasion and ‘lost’ for hundreds of years before it was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911. The architecture of Machu Picchu is quite extraordinary, with the mortar-free design particularly earthquake resistant and the stones so precisely cut that to this day not even a knife fits between them. We tour the site with our guide and then have some free time to explore by ourselves, before taking the bus down to the small town of Aguas Calientes. In the late afternoon we take the train back to Cusco.

Day 8: Lima

Meals included: 1 breakfast

After breakfast we are transferred to the airport, where we fly back to Lima. Our tour ends on arrival at Lima Airport. If you wish to extend your stay in Lima tonight and on any other subsequent nights, as well as arrange an airport to hotel transfer, it is possible to book these additional services at the same time you book your main tour. If you are planning to depart Lima today, we advise that you do not book to depart until at least after 6pm (18:00 hrs).


Your Trip

What's Included

• The services of Peregrine's expert English-speaking local tour leader throughout the tour.

• Sightseeing (including entrance fees where applicable): half-day city tour of Lima; afternoon walking tour of Cusco; and visit to the ceremonial ruins of Sacsayhuaman.

• Full day in the Sacred Valley: Inca citadel at Ollantaytambo; ruins at Qenko; market town of Pisac and Awana Kancha tourist centre to see llama, alpaca, vicuna and guanaco.

• Guided tour of Machu Picchu (including entrance fees).

• Visit to the Peru's Challenge Community Project.

• Local flights: Lima-Cusco and Cusco-Lima.

• Return train Cusco-Aguas Calientes-Cusco, and bus to Machu Picchu.

• Free time to explore Lima, Cusco and Aguas Calientes.

• Arrival transfer.

Summary of accommodation, transport & meals

Transport

Accommodation

Meals

Not Included

International flights, domestic flights, airport departure taxes, visas where required, meals not included in the itinerary, insurance, laundry, any optional tours or activities during free time, tips and items of a personal nature.


What to know

Vaccinations

Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Please talk to your doctor about the up-to-date information for this region.  We're travel experts, not doctors and defer to the medicos when it comes to inoculations.

Visas and Permits

Please ensure that you have all required visas for your trip – this is your responsibility. Rules and regulations governing the issuance of visas are constantly changing, and vary for different nationalities and you should check visa requirements with your travel agent or relevant consular authority well before travel.

Peru
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay. We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Australians, Americans, Canadians, British and New Zealanders do not currently require a visa for Peru. For all other nationalities please reconfirm your visa requirements with your travel agent.

Insurance

You are required to have travel insurance before heading off on a Peregrine trip. Insurance can be organised by your Peregrine representative or your travel agent.

Responsible Travel

Our Responsible Travel ethos is at the heart of everything we do, from getting the basics right like respecting local cultures and the environment, to initiating projects that make positive contributions to communities, to our staff’s fundraising efforts and offsetting our carbon emissions.
Please visit our Responsible Travel (http://www.peregrineadventures.com/rt) page for more information.

Customs and Culture

Our Pre Departure Information or Travel Dossier (provided upon booking a trip) provides tips on how you can show respect for the local customs and culture in the country you are travelling in. Your leader will also help steer you though the complexities of local cultural norms.

Pre Departure Information
The information listed above is a brief description of some things you may need to consider when booking a trip. Once a tour is booked you will be provided with a link to your Travel Dossier which will contain detailed Pre Departure information.

Further Reading

Peru

Cut Stones and Crossroads - R Wright Exploring Cusco - P Frost The Incas and Their Ancestors - M Moseley


Important Information

Public Holiday Inconveniences
Please be prepared for the inconvenience of sights such as museums and churches being closed to tourists on public holidays (ie. Christmas Day and New Years Day). Throughout Latin America, quite a few museums are closed on Mondays.

Peru’s Challenge
At certain times of the year it is not possible to visit Peru’s Challenge due to school holidays. Occasionally unforseen circumstances may also prevent us from visiting here. During this time an equally remarkable excursion will be arranged as an alternative. 

About this Information

The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. The document was correct at time of printing, but you can check online for the most up to date version.  If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!

Last Updated

2 May 2013


General Contact Details

Peregrine AdventuresPhone: 1-800-663-5132
E-mail: sales@peregrineadventures.com
Web: Visit Peregrine