Day 1 - Lima
Meet your group and tour Manager at the Casa Andina Select Miraflores Hotel for an 8:00 pm dinner. Overnight Lima
Day 2 - Lima
We enjoy a guided tour of Peru's thriving capital which takes us to the historic center of colonial Lima, home to the church of Saint Francis and the impressive cathedral. Construction of this grand Cathedral began in 1535, and over the years parts of it have been built and rebuilt, leading to a mixture of architectural styles, including Gothic and Neoclassical.
We also visit the Miraflores district, an upscale shopping area that mixes sleek and modern architecture with more traditional stalls. Here, we visit the Plaza de Armas, which is surrounded by yellow fronted buildings and filled with palm trees, and the Convento de San Francisco, a stunning example of baroque architecture that was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991. Later, we enjoy lunch at a local restaurant after which, the rest of the day is spent at leisure to continue exploring Lima at your own pace. Overnight Lima.
Day 3 - Travel to Arequipa
Heading to the airport this morning, we board our flight to the 'White City' of Arequipa, named so thanks to its myriad of white buildings that seem to glow beguilingly in the sunlight. After lunch at a local restaurant, we explore Arequipa on a guided tour.
This includes the enormous complex of monastic buildings of the Santa Catalina Convent. This complex was founded in 1580 and has since been beautifully refurbished with period furniture and paintings. Behind the closed doors the nuns - daughters of aristocrats - paid little heed to the vows of poverty and silence. Each had her own servant and porcelain plates, fine tablecloths and silver cutlery.
The convent is a complete miniature walled colonial town in the middle of the city and there are flower-filled gardens, spacious patios, granite fountains as well as arches and narrow streets. The tile-roofed buildings are painted in traditional white, brown and blue, housing about 20 who nuns still live in a section of the convent, much more piously, which was once home to as many as 500.
In the Iglesia de La Compañía, we see the San Ignacio de Loyola Chapel, which is a marvel of color and beauty, with stunning murals showcasing the incredible jungle flora and fauna of South America. Overnight Arequipa.
Day 4 - Day at leisure Arequipa
You are free to explore Arequipa further. Overnight Arequipa.
Day 5 - Colca Canyon
We travel to Colca Canyon this morning, stopping along the way at the National Reserve of Pampa Canahuas and the quaint village of Chivay, which continues to embrace its delightfully traditional stone buildings, and even has an 'Inca' bridge nearby. Overnight Colca Canyon.
Day 6 - Mirador Cruz del Condor
Colca Canyon is home to the legendary condor, and today we visit 'Mirador Cruz del Condor', the perfect viewpoint from which to spot these magnificent creatures soaring on the thermal air currents. Your afternoon is at leisure. Overnight Colca Canyon.
Day 7 - Travel to Puno
Today we depart by coach to Puno, enjoying scenic stops along the way. During the journey we will reach heights of up to 4,500 meters (14,700 feet) above sea level where the air is much thinner than at lower altitudes. This elevation, however, allows us to enjoy fabulous views out across the Andes. Overnight Puno.
Day 8 - Lake Titicaca
From Puno, today we enjoy an excursion to Lake Titicaca, cruising across to Uros floating islands, where incredible flotillas made entirely out of totora reeds and populated by the enterprising Uros people. From here, we continue to Taquile, home to the Aymara, a Spanish-speaking people who live in an almost economically autonomous community. We are treated to lunch at a local restaurant. Overnight Puno.
Day 9 - PeruRail Titicaca Train
We board the luxury PeruRail Titicaca Train to Cusco, taking in the beautiful Andean landscapes as we journey in restored 1920s carriages through the Peruvian highlands.
Cusco is a city of true beauty, which is regarded as the 'Archaeological Capital of the Americas', with a delightful blend of indigenous and colonial Spanish architecture. One of the most impressive architectural attractions are the incredible Inca walls, created from enormous granite blocks that were carved to fit together perfectly without the aid of mortar beds. Many of the walls were simply built upon during the construction of a new Spanish city. It's a lasting tribute to the ingenuity of the Incas that their anti-seismic design has survived the test of time, especially when compared to the Spanish colonial architecture that has been rebuilt several times following a wave of earthquakes that have hit the city. Overnight Cusco.
Day 10 - Cusco
Today includes a sightseeing tour of this ancient capital which takes in Plaza de Armas, in the historic center, and San Pedro market. Another place we visit on this tour is the Temple of Koricancha, meaning 'Temple of the Sun', which dates back to Incan times. Indeed, the temple was one of the most important temples to the Incans, however, it was destroyed and brought to ruin after war with the conquistadors from Spain in the 16th century. The temple was filled with incredible golden artifacts with the walls also being covered in gold. This incredible display led the Spanish to describe the very aptly named Temple of the Sun as 'fabulous beyond belief'. Overnight Cusco.
Day 11 - Machu Picchu
Our journey today takes us to the highlight of the tour as we travel on the scenic rail route to Aguas Calientes to visit the 'Lost City of the Incas': Machu Picchu.
A winding bus ride takes us all the way up to the city itself, where we are greeted by one of the most incredible sights in the world. Our local guide explains the fascinating history of this awe-inspiring site that was forgotten for 400 years and remained undiscovered until 1911. Machu Picchu is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, as well as being one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Next, we take the train to Ollantaytambo, transferring by coach to our hotel. Overnight Ollantaytambo.
Day 12 - Chinchero
We admire the city's impressive fortress, which, even in ruins, is an incredible sight to behold before making our way to Chinchero by coach to experience the impressive Sunday market as well as visit its church and see some traditional weaving techniques. Overnight Ollantaytambo.
Day 13 – Pisac
Driving to Pisac today, take a walk around the ancient Inty Huatana fortress, where it is possible to find the ancient Intihuatana ritual stone which was used as an astrological clock - literally translated 'Intihuatana' means 'the Hitching Post of the Sun'.
After time here, we return to Cusco visiting Awanachancha en route. In this small center, you can find a surprising number of llamas, vicunas, guanacos, and alpacas, as well as a myriad of colorful cloths which are weaved in Awanachancha from their fur. Tonight, there's an authentic dinner at a local restaurant, the perfect way to end our South American adventure. Overnight Cusco.
Day 14 – Return Home
Following an internal flight to Lima, your tour concludes.