Tour Highlights

• Lima  • Cusco  • Machu Picchu 
• Nature Reserve  • Nasca Lines  •Arequipa • Colca Canyon
• Lake Titicaca
Peru is a large, mountainous country that straddles the equator, with a climate ranging from temperate to tropical all year. The rare combination of breathtaking Andean landscapes, abundant wildlife, rich history and exotic culture has the impact to captivate visitors perhaps more than any other South American country. 

On this tour we explore 5 very diverse areas of Peru. We start and finish in the capital city of Lima, which features ruins from the Inca period, interesting art galleries and museums, churches and cathedrals that date from the 16th century and other major historical sites.

Our next stop is on the coast at the Paracas Nature Reserve. Nature and ecology come together in the only marine reservation in Peru. The reserve is dedicated to the protection and conservation of marine ecosystems and to the history of pre-Inca culture. UNESCO classifies it as a Natural World Heritage Site. Not only will we see wildlife unique to the region but also the famous Nasca Lines. These huge line drawings and figures on the coastal plain pre-date flight by many centuries and yet they can only be seen from the air - a mystery that remains unsolved! Our visit here will include a flight over these celestial artworks. 

After the coast we head into the mountains and volcanoes of Arequipa. This is a land of snow-capped volcanoes, deserts, thermal hot springs and the world's deepest canyons. From Arequipa we travel to the 
Colca Canyon to marvel at the scenery and the flight of the Andean Condors.

Then we will continue to Puno, for a fascinating journey on Lake Titicaca to the man-made floating Islands of Uros and Taquile, where we discover an ancient way of life whose traditions have remained unchanged for centuries.

Our last stop is the lovely colonial city of Cusco, with an excursion to the fabled Machu Picchu. This magical and spectacular site, discovered less than 100 years ago, is located 13,000' above sea level in a deep valley of the towering Andes Mountains. It is considered one of the most well preserved and beautiful ancient cities on the planet.

*** This tour is suitable for the fit and active traveller.

Tentative Itinerary

We depart for Lima on Air Canada Rouge’s direct non-stop flight from Toronto.
We arrive in Lima and transfer to our hotel. Our afternoon city tour shows us the Old Town, Plaza Mayor (the main square), the Government Palace, the Cathedral and the House of El Oidor. We also enjoy a guided tour of the Rafael Larco Herrera Museum, built on the site of pre-Columbian pyramid houses. Tonight is our Welcome Dinner.
We drive along the ocean to Paracas, stopping en route at Pachacamac to visit the country's second largest Inca ruins - a sacred city dating to 900 B.C. featuring temples and other ancient structures.
Today is one of the tour’s highlights. We board a small aircraft for flights over the world renowned Nazca Lines, which can only be seen from the air. We’ll learn about the many theories regarding the mysterious Lines' origin and meaning. Afternoon at leisure.
This morning we enjoy a boat tour to Ballestas Island. During our short sea crossing we can see the famous El Candelabro, a huge etching in the sandy hill - considered the beginning of the Nazca Lines. The island is home to huge colonies of birds, as well as sea lions, penguins and seals. Then we head back to Lima.
We fly to “White City” of Arequipa, high in the Andes. On our city tour we see the extraordinary architecture of the Convent of Santa Catalina, the Main Square, the cathedral and the exhibit of the Sarita “Juanita” - a Virgin of the Sun who was sacrificed to the mountain spirits - recently discovered in a glacier in the Andes.
We proceed to the town of Chivay, located at the midpoint of the Colca Valley. Along the way see the surrounding volcanoes, a variety of flora and possibly some of the local wildlife.
We enter the Colca Canyon - twice as deep as the Grand Canyon! We proceed to the Cruz de Condors, a famed viewpoint to watch the condors gliding on the air currents which rise from the canyon - a spectacular scene with the river 1200 meters below! We’ll enjoy a boxed lunch, then continue our scenic drive to Puno.
We embark on a cultural journey as we head out across Lake Titicaca to explore the islands of Uros and Taquile, and learn about the indigenous people and traditions. These man-made floating islands were constructed entirely out of reeds. The friendly local people are happy to welcome you to their islands, and share their history, culture and traditions. The islands are untouched by the mainland's modernity. The local inhabitants wear traditional clothing and are known for their high-quality handicrafts. While the women make yarn and weave, knitting is actually done exclusively by men!
We transfer to Cuzco and our hotel in the Sacred Valley, former home of the Inca's wealthiest families. En route we view the magnificent la Raya mountain range and visit Pukara, a ruin of the fortifications built by the natives of the Andes, and the Inca archeological site of Andahuaylillas with its beautiful baroque church of St. Peter.
We first visit the Cathedral of Cuzco and Temple of the Sun - the most important temple in the Inca Empire. Later we proceed to the ancient fortress of Saqsayhuaman, and then the picturesque San Blas - known as the “neighborhood of the artisans”.
We visit historic Moray to see the magnificent terraced circles built for planting experiments. Later we visit the Inca fortress of Ollantaytambo where steep stone staircases and terraces lead to an inner temple.
We take a train to the incredible mountaintop ruins of Machu Picchu. Our guided walking tour will illustrate what the city looked like centuries ago. It was once a flourishing ceremonial and agricultural site, and today it remains a beautiful jewel in a remarkable setting between two peaks of the Andes. Afternoon at leisure.
After further touring of mysterious Machu Picchu we take the Vista Dome train to Ollantaytambo. Overhead windows on the train enhance the views of the journey as we wind our way along the Urubamba Valley. Upon arrival we transfer back to Cuzco.
We fly to Lima, and the afternoon is at leisure. This evening we enjoy our Farewell Dinner before heading to the airport for our direct flight to Toronto.
Arrival in Toronto, and connect to flight home.

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