South America Inca Culture

This incredible journey is perfect for the cosmopolitan traveler with a bit of a wild side. You will travel through the old and new parts of Lima, witness the majesty of the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, and have the option to witness the most unforgettable sunrise over the Uyuni Salt Flats. Peru, Bolivia and Chile await the opportunity to share with you their history, natural wonders and local culture.

Guaranteed Departure – 16-Day/15-night package to Lima, Cusco, The Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Puno, Copacabana, Sun Island, La Paz, Uyuni, Villamar, San Pedro de Atacama and Santiago. Package includes daily breakfast and accommodations at your choice of Superior Tourist Class or First Class hotels.

Includes

  • Transfers per itinerary
  • Hotels per itinerary or similar
  • Meals per itinerary; (B) Breakfast, (L) Lunch, (D) Dinner
  • Sightseeing per itinerary
  • ASTA TOP Tour operator travel funds protection program
  • Touring by modern air-conditioned motor coach
  • Entrance fees per itinerary
  • Emergency assistance

Excludes

  • Personal expenses
  • Optional tours
  • Customary tips and gratuities
  • Local city taxes
  • Drinks during meals
  • Flights

Daily Itinerary

Day

1

Lima - Arrival

You will be met upon arrival and transferred to your hotel. A local representative will assist with your luggage and present you with a detailed kit and explanation of your program.

Day

2

Explore Lima

After breakfast, enjoy the morning at your leisure to explore the Colonial city of Lima. In the afternoon, join your half-day tour of the city and visit the modern and colonial parts of Lima, the “City of Kings,” starting with the Miraflores and San Isidro districts. Along the way, you will pass by a Huaca, or sacred site dating back before the Inca. There will be a stop at Parque del Amor, or Lover’s Park, in Miraflores to take in the magnificent view over the Pacific Ocean. The tour also includes the Historic Center in the Main Square where the Presidential Palace, the Archbishop’s Palace, the Municipality of Lima and the Cathedral are located. You will also enjoy a visit to one of the largest colonial-era convents. (B)

Day

3

Lima - Cusco - Sacred Valley

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Cusco (ticket not included). You will be met upon arrival and transferred to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure to rest and acclimate to the altitude. (B)

Day

4

Discover the Sacred Valley

Today you will discover the Sacred Valley of the Incas with a visit to Chinchero and the PARWA Center, where you can appreciate the beautiful textiles on display and possibly take one home. You will visit the Chinchero Church, built by the Spanish in 1607, and the ruins of Chinchero, an important Inca center with terraces and aqueducts. Continue to Racchi Viewpoint where you will witness panoramic views of the entire Valley. After, you will travel to Ollantaytambo, one of the most monumental architectural complexes of the ancient Inca Empire and one of the few places where the Spanish conquistadors lost a major battle. Known as the “unique, living inca town,” Ollantaytambo is the best surviving example of Incan city planning, which has been continuously inhabited since the 13th century. Visit the market here and then, later in the day, you will board your train to Machu Picchu. (B,L)

Day

5

Discover Machu Picchu

After breakfast you will visit on of the most important ancient centers of the world: Machu Picchu. You will be transferred to the archaeological site for your guided visit, complete with all of the history and mystery that surrounds this enchanting place. Once you’ve finished your tour, you will have some free time to explore the site on your own, relax, or meditate. When the time comes, you will descend to the town of Aguas Calientes for lunch and board the train later that afternoon for the return trip to Cusco. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. (B,L)

Day

6

Explore Cusco

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel and the rest of the day at leisure to explore this beautiful and charming colonial city. Don’t miss the Temple of the Sun, or Koricancha, the San Blas neighborhood, the Cathedral and the Inca Fortress of Sacsayhuaman. You may consider an optional guided afternoon tour of Cusco complete with these highlights and many other examples of Inca and colonial-era architecture. (B)

Day

7

Cusco - Puno

After breakfast you will be transferred from your hotel to the bus station where you will depart for Puno. En route you will enjoy the magnificent scenery of the valley south of Cusco. The first stop will be Andahuaylillas, a beautiful 17th century church containing an impressive organ decorated with angels and cherubs. Next you will stop at the ruins of Racchi, also known as the “Temple of Wiracocha,” broken into different zones to suit different purposes of the time. After your visit to the ruins, enjoy a lunch buffet of traditional foods at a local restaurant. Continue to the archaeological site of Puca-Pucara, essentially a military camp for administrative purposes. Leaving Puca-Pucara, you will arrive at the Puno bus station where you will be met and transferred to your hotel. (B,L)

Day

8

Puno - Copacabana - Sun Island

After breakfast at your hotel you will be taken by private transfer from Puno to Copacabana with breathtaking views of Lake Titikaka along the route (approx. 3 hours). In Copacabana you will visit its church and the famous “Virgen Morena.” From there you will take a boat across the Lake to the Island of the Sun (approx. 1 hour) until Huacani to have a typical Aptapi lunch. Continue your journey by boat to the ruins of Pilkokaina Inca temple where you will hike to La Estancia with a remarkable view of the Lake. You will spend the night on the Island of the Sun at the Ecolodge La Estancia, an amazing spot located in the southern part of the Island. It was built preserving the Andean architecture while offering all of the modern comforts one expects, always respecting the harmony of the surrounding ecosystem. The cabins were constructed with adobe brick and thatch roofs and were set between pre-Inca terraces. (B,L,D)

Day

9

Sun Island - La Paz

We highly recommend the option to wake before breakfast to take in the magnificent sunrise over Lake Titakaka to start your day. Later, hike down through Yumani visiting the Inca stairs and the Water of the Eternal Youth, then embark on a trip north by boat to visit the Chincana ruins and the Sacred Rock (approx. 1 hour) Continue by boat to the Island of the Moon (approx. 1 hour) and the Inca ruins of Inak Uyu temple before finally reaching Copacabana (approx. 1 ½ hours). Take a private transfer to La Paz (approx. 3 ½ hours) with very nice views of the Andes Royal Range. (B,L)

Day

10

Explore La Paz

Today you will have the day at leisure to explore the city of La Paz or join an optional tour. You might consider a half-day tour of the city and the Valley of the Moon. La Paz, one of the 7 wonders of the world, is a city located in the foothills of the Andes, situated 11,942 ft above sea level. The tour goes through the street markets rich in handicrafts, weavings and witchcraft items, followed by a visit to the colonial section of the city. You will visit the San Francisco Church, the Gold Museum, Murillo Square and the “Mirador de Killi Killi,” and the outdoor replica of Tiwanaku Temple. Descend to the more modern, southern part of La Paz to visit the Valley of the Moon where a clay mountain has been impressively shaped by erosion in the form of a crescent moon. You may also consider taking a cable car ride on “Teleferico” for unbeatable views of the city. (B)

Day

11

La Paz - Uyuni - Colchani

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your morning flight to Uyuni (tickets not included). You will be met upon arrival and transferred to Uyuni village. This unique and natural wonder with over 10.5 km2 salt is truly special. Enter this unique natural wonder of salt to the Isla Incahuasi, a special habitat of volcanic rocks and giant cactus. Continue to the north to visit the pre-Columbain fort of Ayque Pucará and the nearby chullpares, both on the foothills of the Thunupa volcano. Later, continue to Colchani to enjoy a beautiful sunset. Tonight you will stay at the Palacio de Sal Hotel, an amazing hotel where virtually everything – walls, ceilings, chairs – are made of salt. (B,L,D)

Day

12

Colchani - Villamar

Enjoy breakfast then head south, first visiting a cemetery of old trains, then continue on to the highlands. You will pass the villages of San Cristobal and Culpina K until you reach the rich valley of Alota (approx. 3 hours) to witness an area with amazing rock formations carved out by erosion. Continue through the high valleys until you reach the village of Villamar. We recommend taking an optional early morning tour to the Uyuni salt flats to watch the sun unbeatable sunrise. Tonight you will stay at the Mallku Cueva Hotel located in one of the most attractive and impressive paths of the Lipez gap. (B,L,D)

Day

13

Villamar - Lagoons - San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

Have breakfast early and depart for La Rea reserve where you will visit Laguna Colorada, the Sol de Manana geysers and Chalviri lagoon with the natural hot springs of Polques. Continue through the high desert of Pampas de Dali until you reach Laguna Verde (approx. 3 hours), a strikingly green lagoon at the foothills of the Licanabur Mountain. Continue to the Bolivian border Hito Cajon. Here you will cross into Chile and transfer to San Pedro de Atacama. (B,L)

Day

14

San Pedro de Atacama - Santiago

After breakfast at your hotel you will be transferred to the Calama airport for your flight to Santiago (ticket not included). You will be met upon arrival and transferred to your hotel in Santiago. You may wish to take a later flight to enjoy an optional visit to the Puritama Hot Springs in San Pedro de Atacama (not included). The springs feature 8 pools with water ranging from 25 – 35*C (77-95* F) are rich in minerals and embedded in a large, broken stone. (B)

Day

15

Discover Santiago

You will have breakfast at your hotel then embark on your half-day city tour of Santiago with a visit to Santa Lucia Hill. Santiago is a cosmopolitan city that blends the old with the new. You will learn about the origins of the city and landmarks such as Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral, the Post Office and the Municipality of Santiago. The tour will continue with the Government Palace and you will have the chance to walk through some of the most traditional streets and neighborhoods. Later you will head east where you will see modern buildings and how they have transformed the city. You may wish to take an optional tour to a local winery. (B)

Day

16

Santiago - Return

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your return flight home. (B)