Empire of the Incas-Peru & Bolivia
Explore the fascinating world of the Incas on this 12-day Bolivia and Peru tour and discover the impact of the Spanish conquistadors on cultures from out of the mists of history.
Explore the fascinating world of the Incas on this 12-day Bolivia and Peru tour and discover the impact of the Spanish conquistadors on cultures from out of the mists of history. From Francisco Pizarro's colonial Lima to the Sacred Valley of the Incas to Machu Picchu to Cusco to Lake Titicaca to La Paz, wonders await at every turn.
In Peru tour ancient Inca strongholds and sacred sites surrounded by the majestic Andes Mountains. Admire the skill and craftsmanship of ancient artisans whose medium was gold. Immerse yourself in the inspiring ruins at Machu Picchu and learn the secrets of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Rail journeys to Machu Picchu and through the Andes reveal spectacular scenery. Stay at a splendid resort on the shores of the world's highest navigable lake and encounter people living much as their ancestors did on floating islands made of reeds; visit a museum operated by the builders of famous reed boats that crossed oceans; and discover the cultural and architectural diversity of La Paz, highest capital city in the world. See and do it all from fine hotels in great locations on the new Bolivia and Peru tour.
Highlights and Inclusions
- Spectacular rail journeys through the Andes from Cusco to Lake Titicaca aboard a vintage rail car on the Andean Explorer, and to Machu Picchu on Vistadome
- A private family-hosted hacienda dinner in Lima and a private dinner at Bolivia's National Art Museum in La Paz
- A performance based on Quechua & Inca mythology by the renowned Peruvian folkloric group, Kusiwasi
- Visits to UNESCO World Heritage Sites including Cusco, historic Lima and Machu Picchu
- A special cooking demonstration by a Peruvian chef
- Private excursion to meet residents of Lake Titicaca's floating reed islands
- Visit to the museum of the Limachi Brothers, builders of Thor Heyerdahl's reed boats
- Luncheon and Paso Horse demonstrationat Wayra Ranch
- Private nature walks and art museum visits
- 28 Meals (11 breakfast, 8 lunch, 9 dinner)
- Airport transfers upon arrival and departure, taxes, service charges, gratuities to local guides, admission fees and porterage
Day 1 - Welcome to Peru!
Your Bolivia and Peru tour begins in Lima. Upon arrival at Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport, you'll be met by a representative and transferred to your hotel. Overnight Miraflores Park Hotel.
Day 2 - Explore Lima, "City of Kings"
Your Peru tour begins in the lovely colonial center of Lima, originally mapped out by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, which appears on UNESCO's World Heritage List. You'll be inspired by its age-old beauty and venerable tradition during a tour this morning. Some of Lima's most historic buildings surround the splendid Plaza Mayor; see the Archbishop's Palace, with its fine carved balcony, and the opulent Government Palace, the official residence of the president of Peru. Visit the impressive, 16th-century Cathedral of Lima, whose first stone was laid by Pizarro in 1535 and in which he is buried. At the Monasterio de San Francisco, find a 17th century complex with glazed tiles, carved ceilings, exceptional paintings and an amazing crypt. A Peruvian-style lunch follows after a hands-on class which may see you chopping or stirring before a delicious meal. This evening, enjoy a special welcome cocktail reception and dinner at Casa Luna, the private hacienda of your hosts, Javier and Eva Luna, where an eclectic art collection containing 1,500+ nativities is on display. Overnight Miraflores Park Hotel. (B, L, D)
Day 3 - The Sacred Valley
Your Peru adventure continues with a short flight this morning from cosmopolitan Lima to Cusco. Continue overland to the Sacred Valley of the Incas for a two-night stay. Did you know that South America's iconic llama and the ubiquitous camel of the Middle East are both camelids and thus "kissing cousins," although they live half a world apart' That's just one fact you'll learn when you meet the llamas, alpacas, vicunas and guanacos that are associated with the Andes during a visit to the Awanacancha farm that raises them. Enjoy lunch and an equestrian demonstration starring famous Peruvian Paso horses at Wayra Ranch en route to your Sacred Valley hotel. Overnight Casa Andina Private Collection Sacred Valley. (B, L, D)
Day 4 - Incan Mysteries
Like Egypt's pyramids, mystery surrounds the construction methods used to build the massive stone fortress of Ollantaytambo. One of the best preserved of the Inca settlements, this living museum reveals much about what life was like here in the 15th century during a tour; the people of the town of Ollantaytambo still practice a very traditional lifestyle, as you'll discover on a visit to a private home. Return to your hotel for a demonstration of Peruvian cuisine preparation by a chef, followed by a scrumptious buffet lunch. Later, meet a local shaman who will bless your journey and share insights into the spiritual nature of Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. Tonight, enjoy a performance of The Apus of the Andes, representing Quechua lore and Inca mythology by the folk-arts group Kusiwasi followed by dinner. Overnight Casa Andina Private Collection Sacred Valley. (B, L, D)
Day 5 - Vistadome to Machu Picchu
Board the Vistadome train in Ollantaytambo and travel through mist-shrouded peaks that the Incas believed to be sacred to Aguas Calientes, gateway to the "lost city of the Incas," Machu Picchu. Spending the afternoon exploring this incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site, recently named one of the "New Seven Wonders of the World," with your local guides will be an unforgettable highlight of your Peru tour. Inspiration is everywhere amidst the architectural and aesthetic genius evidenced in the palaces, temples, houses and baths of this mountaintop, totally self-contained city. It is said by some that if you are a spiritually sensitive person and touch your forehead to the Intihuatana stone - still a precise indicator of the two annual equinoxes - you'll be able to see into the spirit world! Return to Aguas Calientes, where the evening is at your leisure. Overnight Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel. (B, L, D)
Day 6 - Travel from Machu Picchu to Cusco
This morning is yours to do as you please, which might include returning to explore more of Machu Picchu, a walk through the hotel's stunning gardens, or browsing the shops in town. After lunch, again board the Vistadome train for the scenic rail journey to Ollanta, and drive to Cusco for a two-night stay. The beautiful Hotel Monasterio, named the "Best Hotel in South America" by Condé Nast Traveler in 2007, will be your home for the next two nights. Originally built in 1592, this 16th-century former monastery in the center of Cusco will indulge you with its unique atmosphere, unequaled charm and gracious hospitality. Overnight Hotel Monasterio. (B, L, D)
Day 7 - Cusco, South America's Oldest City
Just about everywhere you look in Cusco, you'll see traces of its Incan past and its importance to them as the "navel of the world." Begin the day with a walk through the bustling modern-day market, populated by hundreds of vendors selling everything from produce to flowers and household items, before setting off to explore Cusco. Discover the ruins of the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, "the House of the Sun," an important Inca stronghold. Nowhere is the collision between Western Europe and the Inca culture more apparent than at the Baroque Convent of Santo Domingo. After the extraordinary Inca Temple of the Sun at Koriqancha was ransacked by the Spanish conquerors, its amazing stone walls became the foundation for the convent, which is built atop the temple. The 16th-century Cathedral of Cusco, whose massive altar is made of solid silver, is a splendid example of Spanish colonial churches in the "New World." Perhaps you'll hear the tolling of the Maria Angola bell, the largest in South America, during your visit as your local guide shares insights about the conversion of Incan sites to Spanish churches. Your afternoon and evening are at your leisure. You will certainly want to indulge in some fine local cuisine this evening. Cusco has many fine restaurants worth visiting! Overnight Hotel Monasterio. (B)
Days 8 - Andean Explorer / Lake Titicaca
Board the Andean Explorer for a highlight of this great Peru tour: a spectacular rail journey through majestic peaks and across the Andean plains from Cusco to the shores of Lake Titicaca, the most sacred lake in the Inca world. Settle in for a pleasant ride aboard a private vintage rail car in the style of Europe's famous Orient Express ; lunch and afternoon tea will be served on the train. You'll spend the next two nights on the banks of the world's highest navigable lake at Libertador Lake Titicaca Puno Hotel, a lovely property providing wonderful views of Lake Titicaca. Overnight Libertador Lake Titicaca Puno Hotel. (B, L, D)
Days 9 - Where Time Stands Still
Legend has it that the Inca Empire began at Lake Titicaca when the sun god summoned his children from its chilly waters and sent them forth to establish Cusco. Centuries later, some of the indigenous people of the area- the Uros- dwell on forty-five Islas Flotantes de los Uro, floating islands made from reeds that dot the lake, living much as their ancestors did and still following their ancestral customs. During a powerboat cruise on the lake, view some of these islands and go ashore to meet the inhabitants and discover what their lives are like. Later, on Taquile Island, visit the home of an Aymara family who will prepare lunch for you and perform some of their traditional dances. You'll no doubt notice that on Taquile all the men seem to be industriously knitting, and you'll see some of the items that they produce. After returning to the hotel, you're free to spend the afternoon as you choose. Overnight Libertador Lake Titicaca Puno Hotel. (B, L, D)
Day 10 - Bolivia Bound
Begin the day with a drive along the coast of Lake Titicaca, then head across the lake via private hydrofoil to Sun Island, Bolivia, the legendary birthplace of the Incas. The ancient Aymara and Quechua peoples believed that the sun and the gods were born here and founded the Inca Empire, and many of their descendants still hold that belief. With a population of about 5,000, the only means of transportation between the five villages on the island is the donkey. Savor a typical Bolivian lunch against the scenic backdrop of Titicaca's blue waters, its many islands and the snow-capped Andes beyond. Hop back aboard the hydrofoil and pass through the narrow Straits of Tiquina to Huatajata where you'll visit the museum of the Limachi family, builders of the reed boats Tigris and RA II used by famed explorer and archaeologist Thor Heyerdahl to prove his theory that ancient vessels could cross vast oceans. Continue on to La Paz, the highest capital city on earth, for a two-night stay. Overnight Camino Real Hotel. (B, L, D)
Day 11 - Lively La Paz
Begun on the pre-existing site of an Aymara village, La Paz was founded in 1548 by Spaniards. The highest capital city in the world, La Paz is home to the highest golf course in the world; in the thin air, a good tee shot will travel an amazing distance! Venture just outside the city to explore the lunar-like badlands dubbed Valle de la Luna- Valley of the Moon- a stone landscape of deep gullies and wild rock formations. Next head to La Paz's city center to soak up some local color in the bustling Indian Market and browse in the Mercato de las Brujas, the Witches' Market, for magic amulets, potions, spells or plants reputed to have healing powers. From the Plaza Murillo, you'll see the colonial-era Government Palace, known as the Burned Palace because it was set on fire during eight different revolutions; the Congress building had been a convent, a jail and a university before being renovated in 1904 to house the congress of Bolivia. Explore more of La Paz as you please this afternoon before a farewell dinner. Overnight Camino Real Hotel. (B, L, D)
Day 12 - Say Adios to the Andes
Your Bolivia and Peru tour ends in La Paz. A transfer from the Camino Real Hotel to La Paz El Ato International Airport is included. Please allow three hours for airport check-in formalities. Hasta la vista! (B)
Dates & Prices
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Important visa information: A Bolivian visa is required for this tour.
This visa will be purchased on tour through our local contacts in Bolivia. The
cost for the Bolivian visa will be $135 USD. Valid passports with at least two
blank pages are required