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Peru - The ancient Inca Kingdom

  • Colonial Lima
  • The Amazon jungle along the Madre de Dois
  • The Sacred Valley
  • Pisac Market and the Salt Pans of Maras
  • Machu Picchu
  • Cusco City Tour
  • Puno and Lake Titicaca

Overview

Nearly half of Peru is covered by the world’s largest rainforest – the Amazon – and this is where we start our tour. Thousands of fascinating plant and animal species inhabit this mysterious humid verdure.

Peru’s earliest inhabitants date back to more than 13,000 years ago. One of the most important Peruvian cultures was the Inca, who lived in Peru around 600 years ago. Their capital, Cusco, is still a major city today and is a highlight on our itinerary along with the famed Machu Picchu, a famous ancient city in the Andes.

Other must-see attractions included in the tour is the Sacred Valley, Colonial Lima, Pisac Market and the Salt Pans of Maras.

Lake Titicaca is the largest lake in South America and the highest navigable body of water in the world. It is also, according to Andean belief the birthplace of the sun. We end our tour in this place where time seemingly stood still.

From 06 to 21 May 2022 Live the Journey will travel to Peru. Join us on this journey of discovery through wild landscapes and ancient culture.

Itinerary

DAY 1: DEPART JOHANNESBURG TO LIMA

Afternoon departure from Johannesburg to Lima in Peru, via Sao Paulo, Brazil. Late evening arrival in Lima. Welcome to Peru! Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Overnight at the Crystal Britania Hotel or similar.

DAY 2: ARRIVE LIMA

Enjoy breakfast this morning. Spend the day at leisure to relax and acclimatise after the marathon flight.

Overnight at the Crystal Britania Hotel or similar including breakfast, lunch and dinner.

DAY 3: LIMA

Enjoy breakfast this morning and spend the day at leisure. Alternatively, you may choose to join an optional excursion to view the mysterious Nasca Lines.

What are the Nasca Lines? The Nazca Lines in southern Peru are a group of pre-Columbian geoglyphs etched into desert sands. Covering an area of nearly 1,000 sq. kilometres, these depict about 300 different figures, including animals and plants. Composed of over 10,000 lines, some of which measure 30 meters wide and stretch more than 9 kilometres, the figures are most visible from the air.

The programme for those opting to do the Nasca Lines excursion will be as follows:
• Depart with breakfast box.
• 06h00 Transfer with private vehicle and guide to the Pisco airport (approx. 4 hours’ drive from Lima).
• Enjoy a scenic flight over the Nazca Lines in a small aircraft for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes (remember your Passport).
• Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.
• 14h30 Approximate return journey to Lima commences (approx. 4 hours’ drive).

Guests opting not to join this excursion will have the day at leisure to explore Lima or simply relax.
All group members meet at 20h00 to enjoy dinner together.

Overnight at the Crystal Britania Hotel or similar including breakfast, lunch and dinner.

DAY 4: LIMA TO PUERTO MALDONADO

Breakfast, check-out and transfer to the airport. This morning we fly from Lima to Puerto Maldonado, the gateway to the southern Amazon jungle.

The bulk of your luggage will stay behind in Puerto Maldonado. Pack the essentials for the next couple of days in your backpack as there is no space on the boats going to the lodges for bulky suitcases.

Meet and greet upon arrival in Puerto Maldonado, Peru’s Capital City of Biodiversity. We enjoy a short city tour before proceeding to Puerto Capitanía to board a motorized riverboat. From here we navigate the Madre de Dios River to our lodge set in the jungle. During the journey, we will immerse into the fascinating natural environment of the Amazon. Upon arrival at the Ecoamazonia Lodge, we enjoy a welcome drink and get settled into our bungalows.

Later we proceed on a tour led by our specialist tour guide through an interpretive trail conveniently signposted to the Cocha Caiman, a small lake with an abundant presence of black and white caimans.

Enjoy your first spectacular sunset in the Amazon, an experience full of intensities and overwhelming colour ranges. Return to the lodge where a delicious dinner will await you.

Overnight at the Ecoamazonia Lodge or similar including breakfast, lunch and dinner.

DAY 5: PUERTO MALDONADO

The morning begins with the sound of beautiful birdsong from the Amazon paradise. A hearty breakfast will provide the energy for a morning full of new experiences.

After breakfast, we hike into the depths of the forest on trails especially prepared with bridges to cross small gorges and rivers. During the journey we will observe the flooded forest and a variety of flora and wildlife, continuing to the majestic Lake Apu Victor with its crystal-clear waters, surrounded by marshes and giant trees. Later we will go up to the observation deck, offering panoramic views of the lake and surrounds. We head back to the Lodge to enjoy lunch.

In the afternoon, accompanied by our specialist guide, we will visit Monkey Island, a unique place in the heart of Madre de Dios River situated about five minutes’ away from the Lodge. During the walk we will observe extraordinary landscapes with exuberant flora, sheltering a variety of monkey species in their natural habitat such as spider monkeys, capuchins, lion monkeys, squirrel monkeys, cotos and other animal species like the coati and sloths, and a great variety of bird species.

Finally, we complete our visit of the island enjoying an impressive sunset in the jungle. We return to the lodge and conclude this amazing day with a pleasant dinner.

Overnight at the Ecoamazonia Lodge or similar including breakfast, lunch and dinner.

DAY 6: PUERTO MALDONADO

After breakfast, we embark on another adventure through the virgin rainforest. Accompanied by a local guide we will go on a hike deep into the jungle making our way to the Lost Lake (Lost Cocha or Cocha Perdida as it is also known). The Lost Lake is a refuge and feeding ecosystem for a tremendous diversity of animals. Here we will have a chance to observe a variety of animals such as otters, caimans, turtles, sachavacas, birds in every colour, and if we are lucky, possibly the majestic jaguar. This area is unique to the Ecoamazonia’s Ecological Reserve and as it is protected it remains intact with large marshes and natural springs. From the observation deck you will be able to appreciate the immense and magical rainforest. Afterwards, we’ll enjoy a pleasant canoe ride around the lake returning to the lodge for lunch.

Spend the rest of the day at leisure. Enjoy another delicious dinner this evening.

Overnight at the Ecoamazonia Lodge or similar including breakfast, lunch and dinner.

DAY 7: PUERTO MALDONADO - CUSCO- SACRED VALLEY

After breakfast and check-out, we take a ride back to Puerto Maldonado by outboard motorized canoe. We spend some time at the Butterfly House, situated near the airport, learning about the fascinating transformation of these colourful insects.

Later we fly from Puerto Maldonado to Cusco. Situated in the Peruvian Andes this city was once the capital of the Inca Empire. Upon arrival we are met and transferred to our hotel situated in the Sacred Valley. We visit the Pisac Market en route.

Pisac is a beautiful village where Incan and Colonial influences have reached a perfect balance and created the unique way of life of the local inhabitants today. We will get a chance to explore this quaint town, famous for its artisan markets where we find extraordinarily fine jewellery, ceramic and textile craftwork, before continuing to our hotel.

Overnight at the La Casona de Yucay Hotel or similar including breakfast, lunch and dinner.

DAY 8: SACRED VALLEY

Following breakfast, we depart on a day tour of the surrounding region. Our first stop is Chinchero village with an altitude of 3,772 metres above sea level, famous for the extraordinary beauty and quality of its textiles.

From here we head to the salt pans of Maras. The stark white of the steeply descending salt pans juxtaposed against the green of the surrounding mountain slopes. The sight of this still-operating salt mine, in use since Incan times, is sure to amaze you.

Our journey continues to the archaeological site of Moray. Used as an agricultural testing ground, the site’s system of circular terraces descends 150 metres, serving as a perfect testament to the level of advancement achieved by the Incas, who excelled at building masterful constructions in harmony with nature. We return to the hotel for dinner.

Overnight at the La Casona de Yucay Hotel or similar including breakfast, lunch and dinner.

DAY 9: SACRED VALLEY - MACHU PICCHU - CUSCO

Today, we will visit the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu. An exciting day awaits!

We leave our luggage at the hotel to be transferred ahead. Ensure that you have all your essentials for the day in your backpack.

We board the comfortable Vistadome train service to Aguas Calientes train station, enjoying spectacular views along the way. Upon arrival, we will board a bus that will take us to the entrance gate of the Machu Picchu citadel.

Rediscovered by Hiram Bingham more than a century ago, Machu Picchu is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Its architectural beauty, spectacular natural landscapes and the energy held in its enigmatic structures will take your breath away. We will follow in the footsteps of the ancient Incas as we explore this magical citadel.

At the scheduled time, we return to the Aguas Calientes train station to board the return Vistadome train service. Upon arrival at the station, we are met and transfers to our hotel for check-in.

Overnight at the Hotel Los Portales or similar including breakfast, lunch and dinner.

DAY 10: CUSCO

We start our day with a visit to the nearby Fortress of Sacsayhuaman, a colossal structure built with huge carved rocks jointed with absolute accuracy. This citadel on the northern outskirts of the city is an astounding example of Incan military architecture and is, undoubtedly, the greatest architectural work of the Tahuantinsuyo (Incan Empire). It proves the undeniable strength and administrative capacity of the empire and its powerful logistical systems, capable of organising and mobilising such a structure.

We continue our exploration of the Imperial City with a visit to the San Pedro Market, which being the city’s main street market, will introduce you to the products of Cusco, overwhelming you with the sights, aromas, tastes, and colours of the region. Next, we head towards the Main Square, where we will visit the Cathedral and admire its exquisite vestibules and priceless paintings from the Cusco School of the 17th and 18th centuries.

We end the day with an exploration of the artistic and bohemian neighbourhood of San Blas, home to many renowned artists. Through narrow, cobblestone streets, we arrive at the main plaza of San Blas, which is surrounded by many well-known artisan workshops, such as Mendívil, Olave, and Mérida, among others. We will take our time to visit some workshops and contemplate the artist’s works. Our last stop for the day is the San Blas Church, built in 1563 on top of an Inca Sanctuary. The church is a simple structure, famous for its beautiful pulpit that is carved from one single cedar tree – representing one of the most exquisite works of wood carving in the Spanish churrigueresque style done by indigenous hands.

Overnight at the Hotel Los Portales or similar including breakfast, lunch and dinner.

DAY 11: CUSCO

Enjoy breakfast this morning and spend the day at leisure. Alternatively, you may choose to join an optional excursion to view the Rainbow Mountains.

What are the Rainbow Mountains? Located in the Peruvian Andes it is 3-hour drive away from Cusco. The mountain is famed for its natural, multi-coloured beauty at a staggering 5,200 m above sea level. This rainbow-like appearance is created by the sediment of minerals throughout the area giving the mountain the turquoise, lavender, gold and other colours. It was only recently discovered due to the snow melting revealing the hidden gem that’s still considered holy by many until this day.

For those opting to do this excursion the programme will be as follows:
• Depart with breakfast boxes.
• 06h00 Transfer from Cusco to the Rainbow Mountains (approx. 3-hour drive).
• Upon arrival depart on a 3 to 4-hour hike to admire the beautiful mountains with their colourful line landscape.
• Start the return journey back to Cusco.

Guests opting not to join this excursion will have the day at leisure to further explore Cusco or to simply relax. All group members meet at 20h00 to enjoy dinner together.

Overnight at the Hotel Los Portales or similar including breakfast, lunch and dinner.

DAY 12: CUSCO - PUNO

Breakfast and check-out. Today we will drive to Puno via Andahuaylillas, Pucara and Raqchi. We will stop in La Raya for lunch. Upon arrival in Puno we transfer to our hotel for check-in and dinner.

Overnight at the Jose Antonio Puno Hotel or similar including breakfast, lunch and dinner.

DAY 13: PUNO

Another special day awaits! After breakfast we depart on a full day standard boat excursion to Uros and Taquile Islands, enjoying an extraordinary journey across the world's highest navigable lake, Lake Titicaca. We travel to legendary places where time seems to have stood still. The first stop will be Uros floating islands. These are a peculiar grouping of around 40 small islands made totally of totora, a natural reed that grows around the lake. The cheerful inhabitants will invite you to get to know their traditional lifestyle and customs.

We continue our extraordinary voyage across the placid waters of the lake towards the picturesque Taquile Island, a peaceful place where old Quechua traditions live in perfect balance with modernity. Discover a landscape distinct from the other islands thanks to the Incan terraces filled with local flowers and crops. The rich colours of the clothing worn by the local inhabitants will amaze you; admire their beautiful hand-made fabrics. Most importantly, enjoy the unbelievable hospitality of the islanders, known as Taquileños, who will make your visit to the island a memorable one. Before making our way back to Puno, we will enjoy lunch at a local home.

Overnight at the Jose Antonio Puno Hotel or similar including breakfast, lunch and dinner.

DAY 14: PUNO - LIMA

Breakfast and check-out. Transfer to the Juliaca Airport for our flight back to Lima.

Upon arrival in Lima we depart on a City tour focusing on colonial Lima. We start by exploring the Main Square on foot taking in the exteriors of the Government Palace, the City Hall and the Cathedral of Lima, all examples of Lima's still-present colonial architectural opulence. Walking through the Cathedral’s numerous chapels, we'll travel through the past and discover various architectural styles (from Renaissance to Neo-Classical) and learn about the religious history of Peru.

We will also visit Casa Aliaga, a colonial mansion that currently holds the distinction of being the oldest continuously inhabited private residence in the Southern Hemisphere. Our tour ends with a visit to San Francisco Convent built in the 17th century and its “Catacombs” – the ancient underground cemetery of Lima.

We enjoy our final dinner in Lima tonight.

Overnight at the Crystal Britania Hotel or similar including breakfast, lunch and dinner.

DAY 15: DEPARTURE

Sadly, our tour of Peru ends this morning. Enjoy an early breakfast before transferring to Lima Airport for our flight to Sao Paulo in Brazil and onward to Johannesburg.

END OF SERVICES

Dates

06 May 2022 - 21 May 2022

Rates

Land Package
Per person sharing: USD 3,650.00
Single Supplement: USD 685.00

Included

  • Transfers and excursions on private basis, the excursions at the lodge in the Amazon are done on group basis
  • English-speaking local guides 
  • 14 Night's accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees as specified
  • Return Vistadome Train ticket to/ from Machu Picchu 
  • Round-trip coach ticket to the Machu Picchu ruins
  • South African tour leader accompanying the group
  • Tips for luggage porters at airports and hotels

Excluded

  • International and domestic flights and airport taxes (usually included in the tickets) 
  • Visa fees, if applicable
  • Personal travel and baggage insurance
  • Gratuities for guides, drivers and dining room tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Drinks 
  • Telephone bill, laundry and any items of a personal nature
  • Optional excursions to see the Nasca Lines and Rainbow Mountain