Special ValueThis 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.Overview
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, as reflected by the magnificent remains of its cities and temples. Enjoy the insight of our expert who accompanies you on special visits, and view spectacular ruins and artifacts that still bear silent testimony to the power of past civilizations.
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 exploring 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.Don't forget to check out our photo slide show to glimpse the excitement of this special program!
View photos by clicking "Next Photo" at top of page!Itinerary
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
Continue touring the beautiful Sacred Valley today, starting in the Andean village of Chincheros. Here residents live much as their ancestors did, wearing traditional clothing and conducting business by age-old traditions. After lunch in the lovely colonial town of Maras, spend the afternoon at Ollantaytambo, an archaeological site featuring exemplary Inca architecture and agricultural terraces. (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. (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. (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 the village of Andahuaylillas with its lovely 17th-century church, the holy Incan site of Raqchi, and La Raya, home to the Llama and Alpaca Research Center. Late this afternoon, arrive at your lakeside hotel. (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.