Machu Picchu and Incan Highlights (Itinerary 2)
11 days with Hurtigruten Rating:
Day 1 Lima: Colonial and Ancient History
Lima's history predates the Spanish colonial presence in Peru. Present-day Lima was founded by the Spanish conquistadors in 1542 and the ruling Vice Royalty of Peru proceeded to build significant churches, monasteries, and mansions. Today, Lima´s historic cener is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the city on your own before spending the night in a hotel.
Day 2 Lima - Cusco: UNESCO Site and Ancient History
In the morning, we will transfer you to your flight from Lima to Cusco. Enjoy lunch before visiting one of the most amazing Incan constructions in the area, the impressive Sacsayhuamán fortress. Sacsayhuamán means 'satisfied falcon,' referring to the mythical creature that guarded the capital of the empire. The name is also fitting as it is possible to overlook all of Cusco from the hill where the fortress was built. Construction of the site took more than seven decades and required the labor of 20,000 men to set the foundations, hew the stone, transport materials, and carve and set the stonework. Like many Incan structures, the fortress was built entirely without mortar, yet the enormous stones fit together so perfectly that a single blade of grass cannot pass between them.The craftsmanship is a stunning example of the Inca’s sophisticated construction and architectural skills. In the afternoon, we continue to Tambo del Inka Resort in the Sacred Valley for dinner and an overnight stay.
Day 3 Sacred Valley - Machu Picchu: Highlights of the Incan Empire
After breakfast, you’re in for some unforgettable highlights. First, we visit to Ollantaytambo, an Incan town that shares its name with the formidable stone fortress that clings to a massive cliff above the community. This fortification was the valley’s main defence against the rival Antis people and was the site of the Incas’ greatest victory against the Spanish during the wars of conquest. Constructed of rose-colored granite, this huge structure was once a thriving complex of baths, temples, and military barracks. Next, we head to the nearby train station to board the deluxe Hiram Bingham train to Machu Picchu. A savory brunch is served as we enjoy spectacular views on the way to Machu Picchu.
At last, we arrive at spectacular Machu Picchu. This hidden city overlooks the raging Urubamba River and was shielded from discovery for centuries by thick tangles of vines and trees. Now one of the great destinations in world travel, the city of Machu Picchu still hides the secret of its rise and fall, as the Incas left behind no written records. Explore the city's ruins, feel its pulse, and visualise the lives of the priests, craftsmen, and servants who inhabited this incredible place. Excavations at the site have revealed skeletons, artifacts and woollen clothing. Inspect the famous precision of Incan stonework on display here. After spending an unforgettable day exploring the ruins, you can enjoy tea at Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge before we head back by train to Tambo del Inka Resort for another relaxing evening and an overnight stay.
Day 4 Cusco - Lima: Centre of the Incan Empire
After breakfast, we head to Cusco, once the center of the Inca, Empire. Visit the splendid baroque Cusco Cathedral, built in the mid-1500s on the foundations of an Incan palace. Many of the stones used in its construction were looted from the nearby Sacsayhuamán fortress. We continue to Koricancha to admire the lovely Dominican Convent of Santo Domingo, built on top of the Temple of the Sun, the most important temple in the Inca Empire. The curved, mortar-less masonry wall at the west end of the church is one of the greatest existing examples of Incan stonework.
After a half day of exploring, we take you to the airport for your flight to Lima and transfer you to Callao, where your ship is ready to continue your expedition at sea.
Day 5 Paracas, Peru: The Ballestas by Boat
From Paracas, we explore the nearby uninhabited Ballestas Islands. The shores here have a range of wildlife, including sea lions, turtles, dolphins, pelicans, Peruvian boobies and Humboldt penguins. Paracas is also the near to Pisco Valley, the site of mysterious Nazca Lines and geoglyphs, which you can see on an optional excursion.
Day 6 Fresh Salt Air
As we sail further south, enjoy our lecture program, the fresh sea air, and all the amenities the expedtion ship has to offer.
Day 7 Matarani: 'The White City'
Matarani is a gateway to Arequipa, an exceptionally beautiful city with acres of immaculate parks and gardens, and views of the dormant, snow-capped El Misti volcano. The UNESCO-listed historic center is a treasure trove of impressive colonial architecture built with ashlar volcanic stone, inspiring Arequipa’s other name ‘The White City’.
Day 8 Arica, Chile: Where the Rain Never Falls
Arica enjoys a constant desert climate and is one of the driest cities in the world. Walk along beaches, visit San Marcos Cathedral, or hike El Morro cliff for views over the port city. The local San Miguel de Azapa Archaeological Museum contains artifacts from the Chinchorro culture and some of the world's oldest mummies.
Day 9-10 Serenity at Sea
Enjoy two peaceful days at sea as we make our way south to Valparaíso. The Expedition Team recaps our voyage and continues their lecture program.
Day 11 Valparaíso, Chile: UNESCO’s `Jewel of the Pacific´
Our expedition ends in the seaport of Valparaíso. Built on steep hillsides overlooking the ocean, the UNESCO-protected city is a maze of monuments, churches, historical funicular lifts, cobblestone alleys, and charming plazas. Arrange to stay longer to explore more or join a Post-Program to Easter Island, famous for its mysterious statues of giant heads.
All This Included
Explore spectacular Machu Picchu and highlights of the Incan Empire before embarking on an unforgettable expedition cruise along the scenic western coast of South America from Lima, Peru, down to Valparaíso in Chile. Explore the contrasts of modern cities and historic ancient civilizations, and enjoy days at sea at your leisure.
Expedition Machu Picchu/Peru Before the Cruise
Cruising: Category I cabin onboard MS Fridtjof Nansen or MS Roald Amundsen
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.