Excellent program for archaeology and history lovers. You will explore some of the most important ancient cultures of Peru, including the Moches, Chimus and the amazing Incas.
Day 01 - Lima
Fly to Lima. Upon arrival, you will be met at the Lima airport and transferred to your hotel. Overnight at selected hotel.
Day 02 - Lima
Morning to rest and relax. Afternoon tour of the historic Colonial City district of Lima and the Larco Herrera Museum, a privately owned museum of pre-Columbian art.
The Colonial City Tour starts with the Plaza de Armas, or main square, in the historical center of Lima, founded in 1535 by the Spanish Conquistadors. Almost all of the structures were destroyed in the earthquake of 1746 and the only original structure left is the bronze fountain built in 1651. The oldest building on the Plaza is the Cathedral, which was rebuilt shortly after the earthquake. The square is also surrounded by the Archbishop's Palace and the Governor’s Palace.
The Basilica Cathedral of Lima is a Roman Catholic cathedral that has undergone many reconstructions, however it still retains its colonial structure and facade. The front facade has three large doorways. The main door is called the Portada del Perdón or the "door of forgiveness". Set on the front facade are sculptures of the Apostles and in the middle, the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Adjoining the Cathedral is the Archbishop's Palace. Inside are a sequence of large paintings of the Via Crucis, "Way of the Cross”. On the left aisle, the first chapel holds the ancient baptistery which has a beautiful image of Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza (Our Lady of Hope) who presides over the events during Cuaresm and Holy Week. The next chapel is Capilla de la Sagrada Familia (chapel of the Holy Family), featuring figures of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The Cathedral also contains the tomb of the Spanish conquistador of Peru, Francisco Pizarro. Pizarro laid the first stone used in the construction of the Cathedral.
The Saint Francis Monastery was built in 1774 and is noted for its Spanish Neoclassic architecture. The convent houses a world-renowned library which has thousands of historical and antique books and documents. The church is most famous for its catacombs, containing the bones of tens of thousands of people. This was Lima's first cemetery. In one area, a large round hole in the ground is filled with bones and skulls arranged in a geometrical pattern. The Monastery also has an impressive collection of religious art, the best known being a mural of the Last Supper depicting the Apostles dining on guinea pig and a devil standing next to Judas.
The Larco Herrera Museum is housed in an 18th century 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. (Breakfast)
Day 03 – Lima / Chiclayo
Early morning transfer from your Lima hotel to the airport for your flight to Chiclayo. Upon arrival, greeting and transfer to the hotel Costa del Sol Chiclayo. Then we'll visit Sipan, where the tomb of the Lord of Sipan was discovered. The Lord of Sipan ruled around 200 AD over the Moche culture and his gold-laden tomb is considered to be the richest in the Americas. We will travel to the town of Lambayeque to visit the Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum where many of these riches are displayed.
After lunch, we'll visit the 26 pre-Columbian pyramids of Tucume. These pyramids were excavated by Thor Heyerdahl (of Kon-tiki fame), who discovered burial sites, textiles, Incan figurines and depictions of reed boats. This, together with goods from far-flung corners of the South America, allowed Heyerdahl to prove that the ancient people of Tucume were experienced voyagers and traders. We'll return to Chiclayo for the night at the Costa del Sol Chiclayo. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 04 – Chiclayo / Trujillo
In the morning, we'll travel by private car or tour bus to Trujillo. This city keeps the colonial atmosphere and it was was founded in 1534 on the orders of Francisco Pizarro.
In the afternoon, we'll head south of town to visit the Temples of the Sun and Moon, built by the Moche Culture in around 500 AD. These 130-foot-tall pyramids are thought to be the largest adobe structures in the Americas. We return to Trujillo to spend the night. Overnight at Libertador Trujillo Hotel located on the Main plaza. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 05 – Trujillo / Lima
Take a short tour of Trujillo in the morning, including the Casa del Mayorazgo, Casa Orbegozo, Casa de la Emancipacion, and La Merced Church. You'll stroll along the grand central plaza and the streets lined with colonial mansions. We'll then visit the royal palace complex of Chan Chan, built by the Chimu culture in pre-Inca times. This enormous complex, the largest in pre-Columbian America, is divided into nine separate citadels.
We'll travel to the charming seaside town of nearby Huanchaco for lunch, before returning to the airport for a late afternoon flight to Lima. Overnight at the Lima Airport Hotel: the Casa del Sol Wyndham. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 06 - Lima / Cuzco
Make your morning flight from Lima to Cuzco at 11,024 feet above sea level. Greeting upon arrival and transfer from the airport to the Hotel Casa Andina San Blas. This three-star hotel is within walking distance of historic churches, museums and the main plaza of Cuzco.
Afternoon tour of Cuzco - The Plaza de Armas, which has been the center of solemn parades and great assemblies since Inca times; The Cathedral, built on the site where the palace of Inca Viracocha once stood, mixes Spanish Renaissance architecture with beautiful Inca stone-work. Its construction began in 1580 and took approximately one century to complete. Among its many treasures are nearly 400 colonial paintings, including those of the "School of Cusco" a very particular style developed by the blending of Inca and Spanish cultures; The Museum of Religious Art, displaying a fine collection of colonial artifacts and paintings of the "School of Cusco" style. Just outside is the Twelve Angled Stone, an example of Inca architectural achievement that continues to amaze the world, the twelve corner-angles fit perfectly with all the surrounding stone blocks. The stones were positioned without the use of mortar and have withstood earthquakes of the centuries; The Koricancha Temple, known as the "temple of the supreme Sun God " that colonial chronicles described as having the inner walls covered with gold plates to reflect the sun's rays entering through windows specially positioned for that purpose; and the nearby ruins Sacsayhuaman, a massive fortress made of large stones, including one weighing 125 tons, arranged in a zig-zag shape in three platforms. Sacsayhuaman presently serves as the location for the Inti Raymi Festival (Festival of the Sun) held every year on June 24 and; Kenko, or Quenco, (zig-zag) another great example of skilled Inca masonry work consisting of a large limestone slab covered with carvings, thought to have been used for ritual sacrifices. Here is also a mysterious cave with large niches, and an amphitheater facing north with 19 niches; Tambomachay, consisting of a beautiful ceremonial bath, popularly called "Bath of the Inca”, formed by four walls linked by stairs and adorned with crystalline waterfalls. Return to Casa Andina San Blas for overnight. (Breakfast)
Day 07 - Cuzco / Sacred Valley
Early morning pickup for a full day tour of the Sacred Valley. Our first stop is Awanakancha, a beautiful Exhibition Center of Textiles and South American camelids such as llamas, vicuñas, and alpacas. Continue to the Urubamba Valley of the Incas, considered the historic heart of the Inca Empire. It was intensively cultivated with terraces increasing its harvest several fold. Small villages lined the valley floor, while the stone fortresses of Ollantaytambo and Pisac served the dual purpose of providing protection and serving as religious centers. We arrive to the colorful Pisac Indian Market, have sometime for free exploration. Lunch at Sonesta Posada del Inca Yucay hotel. Continue to Ollantaytambo for a tour of the ruins. The enormous step terraces protecting the fortress are spectacular. The bastion's walls were built with huge blocks of granite. This location was the site of a major battle during Manco Capac's Inca rebellion against the conquistadors. Overnight at Pakaritampu Hotel. The hotel was built in the architectural style of Cuzco and is surrounded by lawns and garden of local plants and flowers. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 08 –Sacred Valley / Machu Picchu / Cuzco
Early morning transfer to the Ollantaytambo train station for the Vistadome train to Aguas Calientes. The Vistadome trains have beautiful panoramic windows offering unsurpassed scenic views and photographic opportunities. Entertainment on board, snacks and hot and cold refreshments are included on the journey. Aguas Calientes is renowned for its natural hot baths, which give the town its name ("hot waters" in Spanish). Upon arrival, transfer by bus to Machu Picchu. Half-day guided tour of the Inca citadel including park entrance fee, bus and lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge. Machu Picchu is one of the world's most impressive archaeological sites. Built by the Incas on the summit of the mountain of Machu Picchu (Old Peak), it overlooks the deep canyon of the Urubamba River in a semi-tropical area at 8,000 feet above sea level. It was “re-discovered” in 1911 by the American professor Hiram Bingham, although locals knew of it’s existence all along. The building style is "late imperial Inca". It is thought to have been a sanctuary inhabited by high priests and the "Virgins of the Sun". No signs of post-conquest occupation were found. Afternoon Vistadome train back to Cuzco - Poroy Station, with private transfer to your Cuzco hotel, the Casa Andina San Blas. (Breakfast, Lunch)
Day 09 - Cuzco / Lima
Early afternoon transfer from hotel to airport for flight back to Lima. Make your evening or early next morning flight back home. (Breakfast)
|Ancient Cultures & Treasures 2019
9 Days / 8 Nights
Hotel substitutions upon request
What’s Not Included: