Arrival at the airport in Lima, and transfer to your hotel. Remainder of the day at leisure.
Upon arrival you will start the tour with a visit to Chinchero community located 28 km away from Cusco. Here are the remains of what was the royal hacienda of Tupac Inca Yupanqui, as well as beautiful colonial temples built on Inca’s foundations. However, its main attraction is its Sunday market originally dedicated to the people of the valley to barter their products. This colorful and lively market still fascinates people with its variety of handicrafts and textiles made in true pre-Columbian style. Then you will be transferred to “El Mirador de Racchi” where you will have a splendid view of the Sacred Valley. Afterwards you will enjoy a typical lunch at a local house, followed by the transfer to your hotel. (B,L)
Morning at leisure to book optional tours. In the afternoon, a visit to Ollantaytambo, a typical Inca community, is scheduled. Towering above the town, we will find the Inca archeological site of Ollantaytambo: steep stone terraces rising from the edge of town all the way to the fortress ruins at the top of the hill. A stone stairway leads up through the terrace walls, allowing visitors to step out on them. One of the best-preserved areas lies north of the Hanan Huacaypata Square: an area of 15 blocks of houses built on top of carved stone walls. (B)
Transfer by bus to the train station of Ollantaytambo. The tour starts via a train ride through the fertile plain of the Urubamba Valley to the small town of Aguas Calientes. From there, a short bus ride uphill to the remote mountain ridge architectural masterpiece - Machu Picchu - most familiar icon of Inca civilization. Sometimes called the Lost City of the Incas, this 15th century citadel is remarkable for its fine Inca stonework and the well preserved nature of the ruins, having been constructed with an incredibly sophisticated technique, stone upon stone, fitted together perfectly with no mortar. There are more than 200 buildings including baths, temples, altars and houses, all intact, except for the straw roofs, and all connected by endless stairways carved out of solid rock. Enjoy a guided 2-hour visit of the ruins and return by bus and train to Ollantaytambo station. Transfer to your hotel in Cusco. (B)
In the morning, depart for your half day tour of enchanting Cusco, with its massive walls lining steep, narrow cobblestone streets. It is an amazing combination of Inca capital and colonial city. See the exact center of the Inca Empire, the Plaza de Armas, and the Cathedral built on the ruins of the ancient Inca Palace. The giant open-air San Pedro Mercado Central, where the locals do their grocery shopping, is nearby. You can also sharpen your negotiating skills at their textile and Andean art stalls. The next stop will be the old town and its magnificent renovated colonial buildings with white walls and terracotta tiled roofs, some of them converted into hotels. Then proceed to Sacsayhuaman, the remains of a fortified complex built with dry stone walls constructed of huge stones, 2 miles from Cusco. As it is situated on a steep hill, climbing the ruins of Sacsayhuaman to a higher level will not only give you a better idea of its enormity, structure and shape, but will also guarantee a fabulous panoramic view of the city. Now back to the hotel. Afternoon at leisure. (B)
A full day bus journey from Cusco to Puno leads through the Peruvian highland along snow-covered peaks, passes up to 5,200 feet above sea level and then goes down to Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. En route we will visit the town of Andahuaylillas, the ruins of Racchi, and the small town of Pucara. Lunch is included in a typical local restaurant. Arrive in Puno, and transfer to your hotel. (B,L)
In the morning, transfer from your hotel to Puno’s dock where you will depart for the islands of the Uros, a pre-Incan people living on 42 floating islands within the Titicaca National Reservation. They use bundles of dried totora reeds to build their huts and boats as well as the tethered islands themselves! Next, continue by boat to Taquile Island, population about 2,200, with no roads or electricity. The Taquileños have held onto their ancestral habits and culture; many are still in traditional dress. They are known for their beautiful hand-woven textiles, regarded as among the finest handicrafts in Peru, especially their knitting, performed exclusively by males. In the main square there is a small church and a cooperative shop, selling some of their artifacts, which make fine presents for back home. A typical lunch is included. From here, transfer from the hotel to the airport of Juliaca for your flight to Lima. Upon arrival transfer to the hotel. (B,L)
Morning at leisure. In the afternoon a tour of Lima, the capital and largest city of Peru, is scheduled, which includes the Monastery of San Francisco and the Larco Herrera Museum. Start at Plaza de Armas, located in Lima’s historic center, with the beautiful buildings of the Government Palace, City Hall, Archbishop’s Palace and Cathedral of Lima. A block away is the San Francisco Monastery which displays the largest collection of antique texts, including the first Spanish dictionary and a Holy Bible from 1751. Most visitors, however, come for the catacombs located beneath the Monastery, which contain the remains of up to 70,000 people. Bones and skulls are arranged in layered circle patterns in crypts. Next enjoy a guided visit of one of the Lima’s most noted museums, the Museo Larco, which houses the world’s largest private collection of Peruvian pre-Columbian Art. The approximate 45,000 pieces are exhibited to the public in the Permanent Hall. (B)
Transfer from the hotel to the airport of Lima. Flight to Iguassu and transfer to the hotel. (B)
You will leave your hotel on the Brazilian side by motor coach and cross the Iguassu National Park toward the Brazilian Falls. Walk along the Cascades Trail, a series of footbridges above the falls, to a catwalk which leads you very close to the Devil’s Throat, a group of 14 of the highest and most powerful falls. From here you will enjoy magnificent panoramic views of the tumblers with rainbow enhanced mist. Afterwards cross the border to the Argentinian side. After a brief stop at the Visitors’ Center for maps and info, proceed to the Lower Circuit, which leads to the base of the falls for a compelling view from below, or to the Upper Circuit, with trails and bridges running along the top of the falls. The ecological Waterfalls train leads you up-close to the most impressive observation point – the brink at Devil´s Throat, where you are right over the action. After the visit, it’s back to your hotel on the Brazilian side of the falls. (B)
Transfer from the hotel to the airport for the flight to Buenos Aires. Arrival in Buenos Aires and transfer to the hotel. (B)
AIRES After breakfast, visit the most important sites of Buenos Aires. Drive to the Plaza de Mayo Square, with the Casa Rosada (Pink House), seat of the government, the Cabildo (City Hall) and the Metropolitan Cathedral, home of the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Next, head to San Telmo, characterized by its well-preserved colonial buildings, one of the city’s most desirable neighborhoods. Then on to the worker district of La Boca, famous for its colorful tin houses and football stadium “La Bombonera”. Following is Recoleta, the residential area of the most affluent in Buenos Aires. Wander through Recoleta Cemetery and find the grave of Eva Perón. Continue along the widest avenue in the world, Avenida 9 de Julio, for a look at the famous Colón Theatre, the main opera house. Finally, wind down in Palermo, Buenos Aires’ largest barrio, a graceful, walkable neighborhood with parks, gardens and treelined streets. Return to the hotel. Afternoon at leisure. (B)
Transfer from the hotel to the airport for the flight to Rio de Janeiro. Arrival in Rio and transfer to the hotel. (B)
Leave the hotel to board a cog-train (*) for the ride through Tijuca Forest up to the statue of Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado Mountain, a 2,329-foot granite peak. The ride takes 20 minutes and is a wonderful opportunity for a closer look at the forest’s lush tropical vegetation and to appreciate the scenic landscapes. Once at the top enjoy a 360 degree view of the city. Then down we go! Our next stop is Sugarloaf Mountain at 1,280 feet high for more breathtaking views. We’ll proceed to downtown Rio, home to the financial and business centers as well as the historic center, where we’ll see such attractions as the Candelaria Church, the Catholic Cathedral, the Lapa Aqueduct, Municipal Theater, and the Sambadrome, the Carnaval exhibition area for the renowned Samba schools. (B)
(*) or Vans certificated by the city´s administration; departure from Largo do Machado where the van stop is located and go to top of Corcovado.
Transfer to the airport to board your flight back home. (B)