The combined natural beauty and tranquility of the region make the Colca Canyon one of Peru’s most enchanting destinations…

INTRODUCTION

With a typical wingspan of 3 meters (9 3/4 feet), watching the Peruvian giant condor soar up from the depths of the Colca Canyon is an illustrious and memorable sight. This combined with the natural beauty and tranquility of the region make the Colca Canyon one of Peru’s most enchanting destinations. From Arequipa to the remote valley town of Chivay, the journey will take you through a multitude of diverse landscapes from desert to stark altiplano to dry tundra. Along the route you will see vicuña and other Andean pack animals like llamas, alpacas and guanacos. Visiting the Colca Canyon you will be cast back in time to a land where ancient traditions remain strong in a simplistic, yet captivatingly virtuous way of life. Enjoy the beauty of Peru’s mesmerizing landscapes, unique wildlife and ancient Inca ruins with our Machu Picchu & Colca Canyon vacation package.

QUICK OVERVIEW BY DAY:

  • Day 1 – Collection from Lima Airport, Overnight in Lima
  • Day 2 – Mid-morning Flight to Cusco, Afternoon Tour of Pisac Ruins & Market
  • Day 3 – Tour of Ollantaytambo Ruins, Moray Ruins and pre-Inca Salt Pans
  • Day 4 – Guided Tour of Machu Picchu
  • Day 5 – Re-visit Machu Picchu + Short View Point Trek (optional)
  • Day 6 – Afternoon Tour of Cusco City
  • Day 7 – Free Morning in Cusco, Afternoon Flight to Arequipa
  • Day 8 – Morning Tour of Arequipa, Free Afternoon
  • Day 9 – Colca Valley Tour
  • Day 10 – Colca Canyon & Peruvian Giant Condors, Return to Arequipa
  • Day 11 – Flight to Lima, Overnight in Lima
  • Day 12 – Morning Tour of Lima, Transfer to Lima Airport
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Day 1 - Collection from Lima Airport, Overnight in Lima

Today you will arrive into Lima from your international flight. We will meet you at the airport and transfer you in a private vehicle to your hotel in the Miraflores District of Lima. Miraflores is a modern area of Lima, where many of the best hotels and restaurants are located. You’ll have the rest of the afternoon as free time to relax after your flight.
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Day 2 - Mid-morning Flight to Cusco, Afternoon Tour of Pisac Ruins & Market

Today you will return to Lima Airport for a flight to the Inca heartland – Cusco. Flying across the Andes taking a south-easterly course, you will arrive in Cusco in a little over 1-hour. Your English-speaking guide will collect you at the airport. On arrival, you’ll stop for a spot of lunch (included), before heading to the Sacred Valley and onto the mountaintop Inca ruins of Pisac. Due to the vast number of large agricultural terraces, historians believe that Pisac was used predominately for farming, but the site also features residential dwellings, store houses and a temple complex. You will take a leisurely tour of the top section of Pisac ruins, which features the remains of ceremonial baths, water channels, residential buildings and an Inca cemetery. Later you’ll return to the village of Pisac, where you will have some free time to wander around the artisanal market.
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Day 3 - Tour of Ollantaytambo Ruins, Moray Ruins and pre-Inca Salt Pans

Located in the western end of the Sacred Valley is the quaint village of Ollantaytambo, known to locals as simply Ollanta (Oi-yanta). A former Inca administrative center and gateway to the Antisuyo (the Amazon corner of the Inca Empire), Ollantaytambo is perhaps one of the finest remaining examples of Inca city planning. Overlooking the town is the imposing fortress-like Inca ruin of Ollantaytambo. At the top of the ruins is a beautiful temple complex. This section includes many finely crafted stone pieces such as the Enclosure of the Ten Niches, the Wall of the Six Monoliths and the Sun Temple.

After lunch at a quiet rest spot, you will journey to Moray. With the snow-capped Urubamba Cordillera as a back-drop, you will venture out onto the rolling agricultural plains just outside of the Sacred Valley. The route will take you aside picturesque colorful fields of corn, potato and quinoa, where local campesino farmers attend their crops by hand in a time-honored manner. Secluded by the natural curvature of the landscape, the Inca ruins of Moray are a series of concentric circular terraces that cascade toward the ground. This visually stunning ruin is thought to have been used by the Incas as a sort of laboratory or testing area for developing new crops.

The Salt Pans of Maras are a true hidden beauty of the Sacred Valley. Lying concealed in a range of scenic mountains, with sun radiating on them as a carpet of snow; the salt flats will stun you with their beauty, shimmering like white gold. Take a guided tour of the salt pans, and discover how locals have worked the area for hundreds of years.

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Day 4 - Guided Tour of Machu Picchu

Today you will board a train from Ollantaytambo destined for Aguas Calientes village. The 1-hour and 40-minutes journey takes you through some of the region’s most striking and imposing mountain scenery. The anticipation of visiting one of the world’s finest archaeological sites builds as you board the shuttle bus to Machu Picchu. On arrival our expert guide will take you for a privately guided tour of the site, lasting approximately 2-hours.

Machu Picchu remained unknown to the outside world, until its scientific discovery on July 24, 1911. On an expedition to find the last known strong hold of the Incas, the US explorer Hiram Bingham stumbled upon Machu Picchu, initially dismissing it as an unimportant find. The following year Hiram Bingham and his team of archeologists returned to fully explore Machu Picchu, revealing the true significance of what they had found. Nowadays, Machu Picchu has been mostly recovered from the jungle, and visitors can move around the extensive site, savoring the many highlights of the Inca citadel including the Temple of the Sun, the Intihuatana stone, the Sacred Plaza and the Temple of the Three Windows.

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Day 5 - Re-visit Machu Picchu + Short View Point Trek (optional)

Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and included in the list of ‘The New Seven Wonders of the World’ in 2007, we think that a second day to fully appreciate Machu Picchu is definitely worthwhile. We include shuttle bus and entrance tickets to Machu Picchu so that you can return to discover this beautiful Inca citadel at your own leisure. To gain a different perspective on Machu Picchu, we also include entrance tickets to either Machu Picchu or Huayna Picchu Mountain treks.
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Day 6 - Afternoon Tour of Cusco City

The charted history of Cusco stretches back to the Killke Culture, who ruled the region for roughly three centuries, from 900 A.D. onward. The Incas conquered Cusco around 1100 A.D., and over a period of a few hundred years it became the capital of the Tahuantinsuyu Empire. Cusco was a city of great wealth, and ancient chronicles depict streets lined with magnificent buildings, temples and shrines. The sudden death of the Sapa Inca Huayna Capac (1527 A.D.) caused instability in the empire. A bitter civil war ensued between sons Huascar and Atahualpa for power of the empire. The infighting between the brothers brought this once powerful empire and its capital to breaking point. When the Spanish finally marched on Cusco in 1533, the city was easily taken. Over the following years, many incredible buildings, temples and shrines were demolished, with colonial Spanish structures taking their place. Today this Andean city is like a living and breathing museum. Many of the impressive Inca structures (albeit in ruins) still remain dotted in and around the city.

In the afternoon we include a half day privately guided tour of Cusco. The tour includes visits to Sacsayhauman, Q’enko, the Temple of the Sun (Korikancha) and Cusco Cathedral.

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Day 7 - Free Morning in Cusco, Afternoon Flight to Arequipa

Today you’ll have the morning free, before taking an early afternoon flight to Arequipa. With a flight time of 1-hour, this is the quickest and most comfortable way to make this journey. Upon arrival in Arequipa, we will collect you from the airport and transfer you in a private vehicle to your hotel for the evening.
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Day 8 - Morning Tour of Arequipa, Free Afternoon

With a population of just over one-million people, Arequipa is Peru’s second largest city, and is the capital of the region of the same name. The city is overlooked by several majestic volcanoes, including the El Misti (5,822 meters / 19,100 feet above sea level), and the extinct volcanoes of Pikchu Pikchu and Chachani. In the year 2000, the historic center of Arequipa was names a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This morning you will take a guided tour of Arequipa. The tour includes visits to the Santa Catalina Monastery, Plaza de Armas, the Campaña Church and the traditional district of Yanahuara. You will finish at the view point in Yanahura where you’ll be afforded superb views of El Misti, Pikchu Pikchu & Chachani.

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Day 9 - Colca Valley Tour

After breakfast, you will be collected from your hotel for your excursion to the Colca Canyon Region of Peru. You’ll drive 100 miles (160 km’s) to the village of Chivay, the capital of the province of Caylloma. En-route you will stop at the Pampa Cañahuasi National Park, where you will have a moment to stretch your legs and observe beautiful vistas and wild vicuña in their natural habitat. Before driving onto the high Andean plains (or altiplano) of Tocra (15,814 feet / 4,820 meters), you will stop for a cup of herbal tea in a local rustic restaurant. Help offset the effects of the altitude and try a mate de coca or a classic muña and mint tea. From here the road descends to the town of Chivay (11,978 feet / 3,651 meters), where you will begin to see the spectacular multi-colored terraces of the Colca Valley. At Coporaque you will stop for a traditional Peruvian buffet lunch (option). In the afternoon your guide will take you for a short walk around the traditional village of Coporaque. Later, you will be taken to your hotel where you can relax after the long drive. This area is famous for its natural hot springs, and some hotels feature their own private thermal baths. Contact a luxury Peru travel advisor for more information on hotels in the Colca Valley.
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Day 10 - Colca Canyon & Peruvian Giant Condors, Return to Arequipa

You will have an early start today, allowing sufficient time to get to the Colca Canyon in time to observe Peru’s giant condor. This revered giant condor is one of the world’s largest birds. It has a typical wingspan of 11 feet (3.4 meters) and can live up to 70 years of age. Overlooking the Colca Canyon (twice as deep as the Grand Canyon – USA), you will have the opportunity to see the condors in flight, as they catch the warm morning air currents rising from deep within the canyon. After time to observe the condors, you will take a gentle hike along the top of the canyon for around 1-hour, where you will meet up with your transport. On the way to Chivay, you will stop at the view point of Antahuilque which affords spectacular views out across the panorama of The Colca Valley and its 1,500-year-old terraces constructed by the Collaguas (a culture in existence long before the Incas). From here you’ll travel onto the village of Yanque, home to the most beautiful church in the valley. After lunch (optional) we will drive you back to Arequipa, and onto your hotel for the evening.
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Day 11 - Flight to Lima, Overnight in Lima

Today you will take a midday flight to Lima. On arrival we will transfer you to your hotel in the Miraflores District of Lima. We have you arriving in the early afternoon, so that you can beat Lima’s rush hour traffic, and have some quality time to enjoy your last night in Peru. For a memorable evening, we recommend heading to the ruins of Huaca Pucllana in Miraflores. Huaca Pucllana is a large adobe pyramid dating back to the Lima culture which thrived in the area from 200 AD – 700 AD. The ruin has a spectacular restaurant, serving both international and traditional Peruvian cuisine. Make sure to ask for a table on the patio overlooking the ruins!
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Day 12 - Morning Tour of Lima, Transfer to Lima Airport

Today, your last day in Peru, we include a half day tour of Lima. Settlers in the area date back as far as 2,600 B.C. with the Norte Chico Civilization with their ancient ruin of Caral. The Lima Culture, also known as the Maranga Culture inhabited the area from around 200 A.D., leaving behind sites like Pachacamac and the large adobe pyramid Huaca Pucllana. Recent discoveries of pottery and ceramics have shown influences in the area from the Wari Culture, who lived in the central Andes and coastal regions around 500 A.D. onward. On January 18, 1535, around the demise of the Inca Empire, Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish conquistador official founded the city naming it ‘the City of Kings.’

After breakfast, you will be collected for a privately guided morning tour of Lima taking in a mix of modern, colonial and ancient attractions. The tour includes visits to Lima’s Plaza de Armas, the Church and Convent of Santo Domingo, the Temple of Huallamarca and the Park of Love.

In the afternoon / evening, we will transfer you to Lima Airport in time for your onward international flights.

TOUR INFORMATION

Our trips are tailor-made to suit your requirements. Contact a luxury Peru Vacation expert for a comprehensive itinerary and pricing:

  • US$ 325+ per person per day (based on 5-star hotels)**
  • US$ 275 – 325 per person per day (based on 4-star hotels)**
  • US$ 250 – 275 per person per day (based on 3-star hotels)**

Included in the Price:

  • Guided excursions as described in itinerary.
  • Hotel nights + breakfasts.
  • Airport collections and drop-offs with check-in and baggage assistance.
  • 24 Hour emergency contact number and assistance (in-country).

Not Included in the Price:

  • International flights.
  • Domestic flight package. Flights required: Lima – Cusco / Cusco Arequipa / Arequipa – Lima. Approximate cost US$ 400 – 450 per person.
  • Tips or gratuities.
  • Other meals not stated in the itinerary.
  • Travel insurance.

The highlands of Peru (Cusco Region)has two seasons, the wet season(November – April) and the dry season(May – October). High-season is from April – November and Christmas and New Year. February and March are the quietest months but have the heaviest rainfall. The Inca Trail (if included) is closed for the month of February.

Departure Dates:
Dates are flexible and customized to meet your needs. Let us know which dates work best for you and we will tailor the itinerary accordingly.

Suitability:
This luxury Peru vacation package is suitable for all ages and families.

Difficulty:
Easy: This trip is considered easy. Note that the Incas never built anything on flat ground, and navigating Inca ruins (especially Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu) require a certain amount of basic fitness and mobility.

Destinations Visited:

  • The Sacred Valley
  • Machu Picchu
  • Cusco
  • Arequipa
  • Colca Canyon
  • Lima

Vacation Package Type:

  • Wildlife
  • Nature
  • Culture
  • Sightseeing
  • Architecture
  • History
  • Light-Adventure

WE'D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU

Tell us about your travel plans, and let us hand-craft the perfect trip for you

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