Depart to Lima. After passing through immigration and customs, proceed to the reception area, where our inbound services representative will be holding a sign with your name on it. You will be greeted and then transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Lima.
Classic Machu Picchu, Arequipa, and the Colca Canyon
Arequipa is Peru’s second largest city and lies on the slopes of Misti Vocano. It was named a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, due to its well preserved colonial center. The Colca Canyon is one of the deepest canyons on Earth, and an excellent place to observe the endangered Andean Condor and pre-Inca stepped terraces still used in farming. This tour also includes Lima, Cusco and the four ruins surrounding the city, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and a guided tour of Machu Picchu.
Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 9 nights (2 nights in Lima, 3 nights in Cusco, 1 night in Machu Picchu, 2 nights in Arequipa, and 1 night in Colca Canyon), and 15 meals (9 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 2 dinners).
Best Time to Go: April-October.
In the afternoon, you will have a city tour of Lima. You will visit downtown Lima and see several examples of the Spanish architecture of the colonial period including the Plaza de Armas, the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, and the Church of San Francisco and Catacombs. After that, you will see Huaca Huallamarca, a restored adobe pyramid dating from the pre-Inca period located in San Isidro. You will tour the upscale residential and commercial district of Miraflores and see the Parque del Amor, a seaside park with a huge statue of a kissing couple, before returning to your hotel. In the evening, you will enjoy a Folkloric Dinner Show at Junius Restaurant. Overnight in Lima. (B,D)
Morning transfer to the airport for the flight to Arequipa. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel. Arequipa, known as the “White City” due to the use of sillar, a white volcanic rock, in the construction of many of its colonial-era buildings, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in December 2000. In the afternoon, you will have a city tour that includes a visit to one of the famous Monasteries – Santa Catalina or Santa Teresa. They are two of the most important sites in the downtown area, with over 300 years of history. You will continue walking towards La Compañia Church, one of the oldest churches in the city, famous for its decorative main façade and beautifully painted Cupola (dome shaped roof). You will visit the Plaza de Armas and the Cathedral, and then the neighborhood of Yanahuara to see its Main Square and Mirador (view point) which offers excellent views of Arequipa and Misti Volcano. Overnight in Arequipa. (B).
Morning departure for the 160 km. drive to the town of Chivay, capital of the Province of Caylloma. You will enjoy the majestic views of Misti, Chachani and PichuPichu volcanoes along the way, and stop at Pampa Cañahuas (11,154 feet above sea level) inside Salinas y Aguada Blanca National Reserve to observe wild Vicuñas in their natural habitat. You will also visit “Pata Wasi” (“High Home”), an Andean community on the opposite end of the reserve, where you can see interesting natural rock formations and view the backside of the Misti and Chachani volcanoes.
Continuing on the road to Chivay, you will pass through Tocra Huaraya, and will be able to observe lakes with migrating birds and get pictures of the Antiplano with its llamas and guanacos. The highest point will be Pata Pampa (“High Land”) located at 15,813 feet, where you will observe the volcanoes Ampato, Sabancaya, Hualca-Hualca, Mismi (the source of the Amazon River), and the Cordillera de Chila.
On the approach to the town of Chivay (11,978 feet) you will appreciate the view of the multicolored terraces of the Colca valley. Upon arrival in Chivay, you will be taken to your hotel and have lunch. Mid-afternoon, you will visit the Indian Town of Coporaque, walk around the Plaza de Armas, and have an optional one hour hike to San Antonio Hill, visiting a pre-Incan cemetery and enjoying the view of the terraces below. Return to your hotel for towels and visit the thermal baths of “La Calera”. Overnight in the Colca Area. (B,L,D)
Early morning breakfast to arrive at the famous “Cruz del Condor” point as early as possible (approx. 8:00 AM). You will have a chance to take pictures of the majestic Condors, and then your guide will take you for a short hike near the canyon (one hour). On the way back to Chivay, you will stop at the traditional town of Pinchollo and the Antahuilque viewpoint to observe the amazing 1,500 year-old terracing constructed by the Collaguas culture (pre-Inca). You will also stop at the Choquetico look-out point with its Tumbas Colgantes (“hanging tombs”), and view the litomaqueta (a model of the terraces carved in stone). You will also visit the towns of Maca and Yanque, which has the most beautiful church in the Valley. Upon arrival in Chivay, you will have lunch and then return to Arequipa. Overnight in Arequipa. (B,L)
Early morning transfer to the airport for the flight to Cusco. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel. Because of the high altitude (10,912 feet above sea level), we recommend that you rest for a short period. In the afternoon, you will have a city tour that includes a walk-through of the Cathedral, the Koricancha (‘site of gold’), typical streets, and the four ruins that surround the city: the Sacsayhuaman Fortress, Kenko, Puca Pucara, and Tampumachay. Overnight in Cusco. (B)
Today you will have a full-day excursion to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The tour begins at Awanakancha, a living museum of the Peruvian Andes, where you can observe traditional textile dyeing and weaving techniques and the four types of camelids that are native to the region. You will also visit the Indian artisan market in Pisac and have lunch at a local restaurant (included). The last stop is the impressive Inca ruins of Ollantaytambo that served as both a fortress and ceremonial center, and is the site of a short-lived victory by the Incas over the Spanish. Overnight in Cusco. (B,L)
Note: The Indian market is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from October to March, and daily from April to September. On the days of the week that the market is not open, you will be taken to the Inca ruins above the village.
Early morning transfer to the train station for the ride to Machu Picchu, ‘the Lost City of the Incas’ (7,900 feet). This mountaintop citadel, which served as both a center of worship and an astronomic observatory, is located in the middle of the cloud forest overlooking the Urubamba River. There are both agricultural and urban areas constructed with the precision stonework that the Incas are known for. The agricultural area consists of terraces and food storehouses, and the urban area contains temples, squares, and royal tombs. Guided tour followed by lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge. In the afternoon, you will be transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Aguas Calientes. (B,L)
This is a free day to explore Machu Picchu on your own. You may want to hike Huayna Picchu or enjoy another activity. Mid-afternoon, you will depart from Machu Picchu by train to Poroy Station in the Sacred Valley, and then be taken to your hotel in Cusco. Overnight in Cusco. (B)
Note: Hiking Huayna Picchu requires a permit. To ensure availability, we recommend purchasing the permit at the time of booking.
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to Lima and your final destination. (B)
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
A Note About Your Free Day in Machu Picchu
On your free day, you will be on your own. If you choose to revisit Machu Picchu, you will need to purchase a second entrance ticket, which currently costs $74 per person. If you are staying in Aguas Calientes, you will also need to purchase a round-trip bus ticket ($28 per person) for transportation to the site. The first bus departs at 5:30 AM. As an alternative to visiting Machu Picchu again, you can hike Huayna Picchu (a +/- 60 minute hike), or partake in another activity. The cost for hiking Huayna Picchu is $13 (in addition to the second entrance ticket). At the end of the day (mid-late afternoon), you will walk to the train station for the return ride to Poroy train station, where our local representative will be waiting for you to take you to your hotel in Cusco.
- South American Vacations’ expert pre-departure planning services and documentation.
- Airport/hotel transfers including baggage handling.
- Hotel accommodations including taxes and service charges.
- Excursion to Machu Picchu including overnight stay and transportation via Vistadome train.
- Other excursions as indicated on the itinerary including all applicable entrance fees.
- Meals as indicated on the itinerary.
- Local, English-speaking tour guides.
Price Does Not Include
- International airfare.
- Domestic airfare ($500).
- Meals not indicated on the itinerary.
- Gratuities to tour guides, drivers, and hotel staff.
- Gifts and personal items.
- Travel insurance.
We will be happy to quote the cost of airfare and travel insurance and to make these arrangements for you.
Group Private: All transfers are private, the city tour of Arequipa is private, and the excursion to the Colca Canyon is offered on a group basis. The city tours of Lima and Cusco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas excursion, and the Machu Picchu guided tour are group tours for single passengers and 3 Star accommodations, and private for 4 Star, 5 Star, and Deluxe accommodations.
Elevations: Arequipa is 7,628 feet (above sea level), the average elevation of Salinas y Aguada Blanca National Reserve is 12,631 feet, Chivay is 11,978 feet, Cusco is 10,912 feet, the Sacred Valley of the Incas is 8,944 feet, and Machu Picchu is 7,900 feet.
Acclimatization: In order to acclimatize to the higher altitude of Cusco, we suggest that you travel first to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. If you are interested in this option, which would add one day to your tour, please ask your travel counselor to provide you with an itinerary.
Passport/Visa: U.S., Australian, Canadian, and EU citizens require a passport valid for at least six months from date of entry and return ticket for stays of up to 90 days. Citizens of other countries are advised to contact the Peruvian embassy in their country before traveling.
Travel Insurance: In order to protect your travel investment from unforeseen circumstances that may arise before or during your trip, we strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance. We offer Allianz Travel Insurance’s Classic and other plans. The Benefits and Coverage Limits are summarized on our Travel Insurance page. Call your travel counselor if you have any questions or to purchase a plan.
To Book This Trip: We require a non-refundable deposit of $500 per person plus the cost of airfare (if we make the arrangements for you). The balance of the trip cost is due 60 days prior to departure.