Surround yourself with the wonders of the Inca Empire and the vibrant traditions of the Andes on a journey that includes the villages and ancient ruins of the Sacred Valley, the World Heritage site of Machu Picchu, and the intriguing reed islands of Lake Titicaca.

Starting at: $5,287 * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Andean woman walking near Chinchero. Credit: Christopher Newman  Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu  The reed islands of the Uros people on Lake Titicaca  Textile artisans, Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco. Credit: Richard Stanoss  Quechua woman out for an afternoon stroll. Credit: Lola Akinmade  The historic city center of Cusco in Peru  Town square in Lima  Llama at Machu Picchu  An amazing view of Machu Picchu  Exploring the site of Machu Picchu in Peru  The site of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley  Uros women standing on a reed island on Lake Titicaca  The floating island of Los Uros on Lake Titicaca  Reed village on Lake Titicaca

Legendary Peru: Andean Culture and Inca Treasures

11 days from $5,287 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Surround yourself with the wonders of the Inca Empire and the vibrant traditions of the Andes on a journey that includes the villages and ancient ruins of the Sacred Valley, the World Heritage site of Machu Picchu, and the intriguing reed islands of Lake Titicaca.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

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! 

- Cecile R.

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! 

- Jo-Anne B.

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. 

- Al A.

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. 

- Laura L.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

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SPECIAL VALUE

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.

Overview

Amid the soaring flanks of the Peruvian Andes lie the treasures of a once-great empire and villages where age-old traditions endure. Explore the legacy of rich pre-Columbian cultures and the marvelous creations of the Inca as you travel from Cusco through the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu, visiting artisans and ancient ruins. Then head higher into the Andes, getting acquainted with everyday life in the altiplano. Cap off your journey on the shores of Lake Titicaca, where contemporary communities live on islands woven from reeds.

Highlights Include

  • Lima: Begin your odyssey with a tour of colonial Lima that includes the wonderful Museo Larco, where a renowned collection of pre-Inca ceramics is housed in an 18th-century manor.  
  • Sacred Valley: Soak up Andean culture during two nights in the majestic Sacred Valley.  Browse the colorful wares of the market in Pisac, visit the awe-inspiring Inca ruins at Ollantaytambo, witness an indigenous ceremony, and meet traditional weavers in the farming village of Chinchero.
  • Machu Picchu: Enjoy two opportunities to absorb the beauty and mystery of the “Lost City of the Inca” during morning and afternoon tours with an expert. Stay in cozy casitas below the site and arrive early to view the citadel in the early morning light—before the crowds arrive.  
  • Cusco:  Visit the excellent Pre-Columbian Art Museum and admire the incredible stone masonry of the Inca on visits to the evocative ruins of Sacsayhuaman and Korikancha. Enjoy a traditional meal in the home of a local family and take advantage of free time to explore on your own.
  • Lake Titicaca: Travel through the rugged altiplano, stopping to visit remote villages and the Llama and Alpaca Research Center. Stay on the shores of Lake Titicaca and explore the reed islands of the Uros people by boat.

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! 

- Cecile R.

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! 

- Jo-Anne B.

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. 

- Al A.

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. 

- Laura L.

Itinerary

Day 1 — Depart the U.S. for Lima, Peru

Depart the U.S. for Lima on individual flights. Upon arrival tonight transfer directly to your hotel.

Day 2 — Lima

Meet your fellow travelers and Smithsonian Journeys Expert this morning for a briefing, then embark on a tour of colonial Lima. A highlight is a visit to the Rafael Larco Herrera Museum, whose world-class collection of pre-Columbian art features Moche pottery from the north coast of Peru dating to the first millennium A.D. Enjoy a welcome lunch at the museum and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. (B,L)

Day 3 — Cusco and the Sacred Valley

Early this morning, transfer to the airport for a short flight to Cusco, once the capital of the Inca empire and still the gateway to Peru’s most important Inca sites. Pay a visit to the Inca sun temple of Koricancha and the adjacent colonial church of Santo Domingo. Then descend into the beautiful Sacred Valley, where traditional Andean villages and Inca ruins lie tucked into the folds of the majestic Andes. Get immersed in Andean culture at the colorful open-air market at Pisac, a maze of bright, woven textiles and local produce. Arrive at your hotel in the mid-afternoon and begin to acclimate to the elevation. Dinner is at the hotel this evening.  (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Sacred Valley

Attend a native ceremony this morning, then visit Ollantaytambo, where remarkable Inca fortifications guard a charming town built atop the remnants of an ancient Inca settlement. Ascend to the village of Chinchero, set high amid the snowcapped peaks. Here, residents live much as their ancestors did, wearing traditional clothing and conducting business and government affairs by time-honored means. At the Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco, watch a weaving demonstration and learn about the natural dyes and techniques used in this traditional Andean craft. Return to your hotel late this afternoon and dine there tonight. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Aguas Calientes

Early this morning, board a train for a short but spectacular journey that follows the Urubamba River deep into the mountains. Your destination is a sustainable lodge nestled in the cloud forests of Aguas Calientes, just below the World Heritage site of Machu Picchu. Get settled in your casita, and head out this afternoon on your first guided visit to the legendary Inca citadel. With your small, nimble group, navigate the site with ease, taking time to absorb the splendor of your surroundings. Your guide will illuminate the incredible engineering and innovations of the Inca—and the mysteries that still surround the “Lost City of the Inca.” (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Machu Picchu and Cusco

Rise early to experience Machu Picchu again, before the crowds arrive, when the temples and dwellings are bathed in evocative morning light. Then descend to Aguas Calientes for lunch, and return by train to Cusco, arriving in the early evening. Dinner is on your own tonight. (B,L)

Day 7 — Cusco

Considered the “navel of the world” by the Inca, the World Heritage site of Cusco is South America’s oldest continuously inhabited city. You’ll have time to get acquainted with Cusco’s beautiful streets and squares during a free morning. Later, delve further into the history of this dynamic city on a guided tour. Trace the legacy of the Inca and the Spanish, interwoven throughout Cusco’s architecture and urban planning. Visit the Pre-Columbian Art Museum and meander through the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, a masterpiece of Inca stone masonry. The afternoon is at leisure. (B,L)

Day 8 — Puno

Relax and take in the views during a day-long journey by coach to Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Travel through the rugged altiplano edged by Andean peaks and dotted with small villages and herds of llama and alpaca. Along the way, stop in the village of Andahuaylillas, known for its lovely 17th-century church; see the ruins at Raqchi, once the holiest site in the Inca empire; visit the Llama and Alpaca Research Center in La Raya; and admire local craftsmanship at the ceramics center of Pucara. In the late afternoon, arrive at your hotel on Esteves Island in Lake Titicaca. (B,L)

Day 9 — Puno and Lake Titicaca

At 12,500 feet above sea level, Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world. The lake straddles Peru’s border with Bolivia, and the lofty Cordillera range creates a striking backdrop for the deep blue water. Board a boat to visit the floating island of Los Uros, where the bowler-hatted Uros people live on floating islands made of reeds that grow in the lake’s shallows. Continue to Taquile Island, where artisans craft high-quality textiles. Tonight, celebrate your Peruvian adventure at a farewell dinner at the hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 10 and 11 — Puno, Lima, Depart for U.S.

Head to nearby Lake Umayo for a visit to the Sillustani chullpas, mysterious pre-Inca burial towers set on the lake’s shores. Then transfer to the airport for your flight to Lima, where you’ll check in to your day room at the airport hotel. Late this evening, depart on your overnight flight to the U.S. (B,L)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)