Discover the breathtaking wonders of the Andes and Machu Picchu's enigmatic ruins during this tour which features a native ceremony in the beautiful Sacred Valley, lunch in the home of a Cuzco family, and time with the top-hatted Uros people of Lake Titicaca.
WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY
This was a trip of a lifetime for me. Every detail was anticipated and taken care of, the pace was perfect, the sites and cities visited were just right. Our tour director was engaging and accommodating. I will definitely look to Smithsonian Journeys for my next travel adventure!”
This superior tour goes way beyond the requisite Machu Picchu stop, by introducing you to the complexity of Peruvian history, the breadth of Inca sites and architecture, Peruvian culture and art, and the issues facing Peru today. Fantastic educational experience!”
Machu Picchu has been on my bucket list for many years. The entire area is a magical, mystical experience and actually being there did not disappoint. The Legendary Peru tour was an educational experience and exposed me to many cultures, practices, great ruins and a history of the country.”
We were surprised at how much activity was packed into our 10 day trip. It certainly provided us with great insight into life in Peru today along with the historical roots of today's Peruvian peoples.”
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This tour is specially designed for a small group of 16 to 24 Smithsonian travelers and offers outstanding travel value. Prices include airfare, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees.
A land of archaeological, cultural, and natural treasures, Peru offers a memorable travel experience. At its height, the Inca Empire comprised some six million people and was a highly developed civilization. During this comprehensive journey, view spectacular ruins and artifacts that still bear silent testimony to the power of past cultures. The highlight of any trip to Peru is exploring Machu Picchu. By staying overnight near the site, you’ll awaken to the early morning sun bathing the stones in an evocative light—the ideal time to explore, before the crowds appear. Other unique opportunities feature a native ceremony in the beautiful Sacred Valley and lunch in the home of a Cuzco family. You’ll also spend time at Lake Titicaca, where the snowcapped Andes provide a breathtaking backdrop to the deep blue lake, and where the top-hatted Uros people live on islands made of reeds.
Day 1 — U.S. and Lima
Depart the U.S. for Lima on individual flights. Upon arrival tonight transfer directly to your hotel.
Day 2 — Lima
Learn about the journey ahead at a briefing with your tour director, then embark on a tour of colonial Lima. A highlight is a visit to the Larco Herrera Museum, whose ceramics collection features renowned Moche pottery from the north coast of Peru dating to the first millennium A.D. Enjoy a welcome lunch at the museum and an evening at leisure. (B,L)
Day 3 — Lima, Cuzco, and the Sacred Valley
This morning take a short flight to Cuzco and set out for Peru’s Sacred Valley, a fertile agricultural region that was once the heart of the Inca Empire. Experience traditional village life, impressive Inca sites, and the colorful Indian market at Pisac as you acclimate to the elevation. Check in to your hotel and attend a native ceremony there this evening. (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Sacred Valley
Set out today for the Inca farming town of Chinchero, set on a broad plateau overshadowed by a snowcapped mountain. Here residents live much as their ancestors did. Stop in the lovely colonial town of Maras to see where indigenous peoples found their source of salt, and continue on to the circular terraces of Moray. Spend the afternoon exploring Ollantaytambo, known for its awe-inspiring Inca ruins. Return to your hotel late this afternoon and dine there tonight. (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Machu Picchu and Aguas Calientes
Early this morning board a train for the short journey to Aguas Calientes, your base for exploring enigmatic Machu Picchu. This afternoon you'll enjoy your first guided visit of the stunning “Lost City of the Incas.” Your small group will move nimbly through the ruins and have the leisure to absorb the beauty of this site, whose original purpose remains a mystery. Spend the night at a hotel near the archaeological site. (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Machu Picchu and Cuzco
When the early morning sun bathes the stones in a haunting, evocative light and before the crowds of day-trippers arrive, take your second guided tour of this iconic World Heritage site. After lunch at your hotel, return to Cuzco by train, arriving early evening. (B,L)
Day 7 — Cuzco
An archaeological hub of the Americas, Cuzco is the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city, and a World Heritage site. After exploring Cuzco’s beautiful streets on your own this morning, enjoy warm hospitality and a traditional meal in the home of a gracious local family. Later embark on a tour of this dynamic and historic city which was shaped by the legacies of its Inca and Spanish forebearers. Visit the important Pre-Columbian Art Museum and see the massive ruins of Sacsayhuaman, an Inca masterpiece. (B,L)
Day 8 — Cuzco and Puno
Relax during a day-long journey by coach to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Travel through the rugged altiplano with its snowcapped Andean peaks, small villages, and herds of llama and alpaca. Stops along the way include Andahuaylillas, an attractive village known for its lovely 17th-century church; the ruins at Raqchi, once the holiest site in the Incan empire; La Raya, perched on Peru's aliplano and home to the Llama and Alpaca Research Center; and the ceramics center of Pucara. Late this afternoon, arrive at your hotel, on the shores of Esteves Island on Lake Titicaca, near the town of Puno. (B,L)
Day 9 — Puno and Lake Titicaca
Discover the fascinating way of life along Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake at 12,500 feet above sea level. Bolivia’s snowcapped Cordillera range is a striking backdrop to the deep blue of the lake. Board a boat to visit the floating island of Los Uros, where the bowler-hatted Uros people live on islands made of reeds that grow in the lake’s shallows. Continue to Taquile Island, known for the high quality textiles crafted by local artisans. Tonight celebrate your Peruvian adventure at a farewell dinner at the hotel. (B,L,D)
Day 10 — Puno and Lima
This morning visit the mysterious chullpas, or burial towers, at Sillustani overlooking Lake Umayo. Then transfer to the airport for your flight to Lima, where you check into your day room at the airport hotel. Late this evening, depart on your flight to the U.S. (B,L)
Day 11 — Arrive in the U.S.
Arrive in the U.S. this morning and connect with your return flight home.