In the footsteps of the Incas
Peru has it all, Lonely Planet tells us. ..’Mystical archeological sites, Amazonian rainforest, the world’s highest tropical mountains and an endless desert coastline…..Diverse and welcoming peoples, even varied wildlife.
They omitted to mention Peru’s cuisine – the finest in South America! Our Peru tour is for normal travellers in good health. It is not a challenging ‘adventure tour’.
These notes need to be read in conjunction with the World Expeditions Program.
Day 1: Saturday 13 September
Lima (Peru): Travellers arrive on various flights from Australia and elsewhere. There will be time for a welcome drink and introduction before most of us seek an early night. Hotel Atton, Lima
Day 2: Sunday 14 September
Lima: Today provides an introduction to some of Lima’s highlights. The Casa Aliaga historic residence enclosed within the heart of Lima provides a window into centuries of gracious living. We then depart for the Mistura Festival – the most successful culinary festival in South America. Peru’s rich biodiversity and vast culinary wealth are showcased at Mistura. There are sections dedicated to chocolate (Choco Expo Perú), bread (El Mundo del Pan), quinoa (Mundo Quinua), and coffee (Mundo del Café). About 350 producers from all regions – the coast, sierra, and jungle attend, with more than 50 restaurants, 70 trucks and about 16 rustic kitchens. Gastronomic, music and cultural presentations should be great fun and very filling.
Next stop by special arrangement is the private Amano Museum with its famed ceramics and textiles, arranged chronologically to illustrate the development of weaving throughout Peru’d pre-Columbian cultures. Finally, we depart for the Larco Hererra Museum – one of the finest Pre-Colombian museums in South America where we will dine at its beautiful restaurant. Hotel Atton, Lima
Day 3: Monday 15 September
The Andes: We have an early start for our flight to Cusco, former capital of the mighty Inca Empire. We are there met by our guide and immediately board our coach and travel down to the Sacred Valley where we can relax in a lush green garden with regional food. We depart on the Vistadome train to take us through the Andes and Inca settlements to Aguas Calientes, the last hillside village close to Machu Picchu.BD The Inka Trail
– One Day Option The Incas were second only to the Romans for their superb stone roads which connected their Empire-from Colombia in the north␣to Chile in the south. Roads extended over some 25- 30,000 kms in total. The Inca Trail, commencing in the Sacred Valley and culminating at Machu Picchu, has spectacular mountain landscapes, suspension bridges, dramatic terracing and major archeological sites. It is the best preserved remnant of the Inca roads and one of the world’s most significant walks. We do not have the necessary 4-5 days to walk the Inca Trail, but keen and fit walkers, may alight from our train at the 104km stage and wlk the last day’s trek of approximately 10km. This should take some 5-8 hours depending on our walking pace. The trail includes many up and down sections, some uneven stony surfaces and is at an altitude of about 2,700m maximum which means you may experience some symptoms and you require a good level of fitness. You will walk over the very stones the Inca warriors trod for some 700 years! The Trail ends in a steep climb up to the Inca Sun Gate from which the most astonishing view unfolds of Machu Picchu below! It is an incomparable moment which we can share with the Incas␣for whom these mountains meant everything.
We hope to meet the rest of the party at this point. They will have completed their journey long before. You will need a special Inca permit for this walk which has limited places and you should apply as soon as possible. The cost of this optional walk (for permit and guide) is $130. This evening we settle in for a beautiful meal to celebrate our arrival at one of our very favourite hotels – the Inketerra Pueblo, Aguas Calientes BD
Days 4-5 Tuesday and Wednesday 16-17 September
Aguas Calientes: We devote these days to touring Machu Picchu, nature walks and feeding the endangered Spectacle Bears who are part of the hotel’s recovery plan. And you may choose to relax in the hot springs! Our program will vary depending on the changing weather. For those who do not suffer from vertigo, there is the option of climbing Huayna Picchu, that very steep mountain behind Machu Picchu. Note – a permit in advance costing US$12.00 is required. Inketerra Pueblo, Aguas CalientesBD (2)
Day 6 Thursday 18 September
Sacred Valley: There will be time for one last visit to Machu Picchu perhaps, prior to our departure back on the vistadome. We return to the Sacred Valley and to the magnificent Ollantaytambo – the great citadel where the Incas had their only victory over the marauding Spanish forces. We visit the village with its superbly preserved stone streets and houses and may visit the work of one of Peru’s most famous potters. Pakaritampu, Ollantaytambo Hotel B
Day 7 Friday 19 September
Sacred Valley: We then journey back to Cusco making various stops and detours to visit domestic weavers, villages, salt pools and the ancient Moray complex. The landscapes for this journey are often through unspoilt valleys with majestic mountains providing a magnificent backdrop. We arrive in Cusco and to the – Casa Andina Private Collection Hotel BL
Day 8 Saturday 20 September
Cusco: This former capital of the Inca Empire – largest of the Pre-Columbian civilisations – and in most respects, as sophisticated and organised as those of Europe. The Incas had a nobility, armies, bureaucracy and religion but without horses, armour and modern weapons, were no match for the ruthless, exploitative Spanish who relentlessly pursued power, gold and silver and offered little more than Christianity as a palliative for the conquered. Cusco has a range of colourful plazas, markets, churches, Inca museums and sites, shopping areas, restaurants and other places of special interest to keep us occupied today. In the evening, we will dine at the historic Monasterio Hotel (former Inca Amaru Qhala’s Palace) and relax with opera singers for company. BD
Day 9 Sunday 21 September
Today may be treated as a free day to relax, shop etc. or it can be occupied with tours with our guides as we wish. There is much to see with key Inca sites, superb Inca buildings constructed with local stone, museums, Spanish churches and other places of special interest. Shopping expeditions for knitwear, silver and precious stones are also very successful. B
Day 10 Monday 22 September
We depart for Santiago, Chile (via Lima), in preparation for the South American ‘Gardens Tour’ to Chile, Argentina and Brazil, or to return home. B