This tour offers a chance to learn while vacationing and you'll get a great overview of the ancient cultures that inhabited Peru before the Spaniards arrived. Visits to museums and archaeological ruins will be combined with stops at beaches, lagoons and forests, offering a cultural heritage tour that isn't short on fun!
12 Day / 11 Night Tour:
You'll arrive in Lima to begin your cultural heritage tour. After transferring to your hotel, you'll begin with a tour of the city's cultural highlights. You'll explore some museums housing pre-Columbian artifacts as well as see evidence of the Spaniards conquest.
An early morning departure by air from Lima takes you to the small colonial town of Ica. From here, you'll transfer to a smaller, high-wing plane for your exciting trip over the Nazca Lines. The only way to truly appreciate this ancient mystery is by air, and you'll have a bird's eye view of the markings. Lunch in Ica is followed by a visit to the regional museum and the healing waters of the Huacachina Lagoon before your return flight to Lima.
You'll leave early in the morning to fly to Trujillo, where many more exciting heritage sights await. Spend the afternoon wandering around the pastel-colored buildings of Trujillo. The colonial buildings here are different than other Peruvian cities because of these colors and wrought iron grill work in front of many of the buildings. You'll enjoy the spacious main square. Finish with a visit to the Archaeology museum to get an overview of the numerous ancient sites you'll be visiting in the days to come.
Today is full of visits to archaeological sites where you'll begin to understand the rich array of cultures that existed in these parts in ancient times. In the morning, you'll head south of Trujillo to visit the religious center of the Moche culture, a pre-Inca people known for their pottery. You'll see the Temple of the Sun, the largest adobe structure in the world. After lunch at a local restaurant, you'll visit the beach of Huanchaco. A stop at the enormous Chan Chan Citadel offers a glimpse into the Chimu, a post-Moche culture. Finally, you'll stop at the Huaca dragon, a well-preserved Chimu site.
You'll transfer to your next luxury hotel in the town of Chiclayo. The fastest growing city in Peru, spending time in Chiclayo offer visitors a chance to mingle with the friendly locals. The city is a growing business hub and the 4th largest city in the country. Additionally, it is located amongst some of the most important and unique archaeological finds in Northern Peru.
Begin your day by traveling to Ferrenafe to see the Sipan Museum. Highlights of the museum include the process of making pottery and most artifacts are displayed as they were used. Then, you'll head to the large, protected forest of Batan Grande on the Peruvian coast. Numerous unique flora and fauna abound, including the boa constrictor! After your included lunch, you'll visit Tucume pyramids. This huge complex is bordered by a hill with an overlook allowing you to see the vast size of the ruins. The small on-site museum tells the little that is known about the site as well as its discovery.
You'll spend the morning making your way to Cuzco. Once you've arrived, you'll enjoy a ½ day tour of this tourist hub, and learn about all of the nearby ruins tha tmake it such an important stop on any visit to Peru.
Today is free for you to explore Cuzco on your own. You can take walks in the nearby countryside, wander the old walled city and do some shopping for artifacts of your own.
Today is likely to be a highlight of your journey, as you make your way to the breathtaking Machu Picchu. Travel in high style via an Orient Express luxury train, named after the man who discovered Machu Picchu. You'll enjoy a sumptuous brunch on the 3½-hour journey during which you'll admire magnificent Andean peaks. Upon your afternoon arrival, you'll have your first views and a guided tour of The Lost City of the Incas, when the site is virtually empty. Stroll around the temple on your own before enjoying afternoon tea at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge Hotel.
Today, you'll return to this archaeological gem. Your guide will offer more information at your request on aspects of the site. You'll have time to explore on your own, visit the temple of the Moon and the Inca Bridge. You'll spend the afternoon in the quaint town of Aguas Calientes, practicing your bargaining skills with local handicraft vendors. After purchasing souvenirs, you'll board the train back to Cuzco, where you will arrive after dark, having experienced one of the world's most unique sites.
An early morning flight from Cuzco brings you back to Lima where you are free to visit another of the city's numerous museums or explore the city on your own. You'll enjoy your final meal in luxurious Miraflores, and process all that you've witnessed on your journey.
You'll bid farewell to this archaeological paradise, content with the vast knowledge you gained about the many pre-Columbian cultures of Peru.
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