Road Scholar : Home
Majesty and Mystery: Ancient Civilizations of Peru

Program Number: 3280RJ
Start and End Dates:
6/5/2014 - 6/17/2014; 3/3/2016 - 3/15/2016; 5/19/2016 - 5/31/2016; 6/9/2016 - 6/21/2016; 8/11/2016 - 8/23/2016; 9/15/2016 - 9/27/2016; 10/13/2016 - 10/25/2016; 11/3/2016 - 11/15/2016; 1/26/2017 - 2/7/2017; 2/16/2017 - 2/28/2017; 3/9/2017 - 3/21/2017; 4/20/2017 - 5/2/2017; 5/11/2017 - 5/23/2017; 6/8/2017 - 6/20/2017; 8/10/2017 - 8/22/2017; 9/21/2017 - 10/3/2017; 10/19/2017 - 10/31/2017; 11/2/2017 - 11/14/2017; 11/30/2017 - 12/12/2017;
Duration: 12 nights
Location: Peru
Price starting at: $3,897.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 34; 12 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Salt; Low Fat; Gluten Free    

Nestled amid Andean peaks, Machu Picchu beckons modern explorers to walk in the footsteps of the ancient Inca. But this UNESCO World Heritage Site isn’t the only lingering evidence of Peru’s ancient civilizations — a journey to Trujillo presents remnants of the world’s oldest adobe city and capital of the Chimu Empire more than 1,000 years ago, while in Chicalayo, ancient aqueducts still bring life to rice paddies and sugar cane. Experience the greatest of Peru’s pre-Columbian civilizations in marketplaces, sacred sites and farmlands, and learn how ancient peoples have contributed to modern society.


• Marvel at the ingenuity of the Incas as you watch the sun set at Machu Picchu.
• Walk among the pyramid ruins of Túcume in the Lambayeque Valley.
• Explore the city of Trujillo and learn about Moche history at the Temples of the Sun and Moon.

Activity Particulars

Walking 1-2 miles a day; stairs at archaeological sites. Elevations up to 11,000 feet.

Date Specific Information

6-5-2014, 3-3-2016, 5-19-2016, 6-9-2016, 8-11-2016, 9-15-2016, 10-13-2016, 11-3-2016, 1-26-2017, 2-16-2017, 3-9-2017, 4-20-2017, 5-11-2017, 6-8-2017, 8-10-2017, 9-21-2017, 10-19-2017, 11-2-2017, 11-30-2017

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Lima, 2 nights; fly to Chiclayo, 2 nights; coach to Trujillo, 2 nights; fly to Lima; fly to Cusco, coach to Yucay/Urubamba Valley, 2 nights; train to Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu, 1 night; coach to Cusco, 2 nights; fly to Lima and connect with international flights.

Flight from the U.S.A.
Arrival Lima
2 nights

Local experts provide insight into the Peruvian capital’s history, geography and climate; contemporary Peruvian culture; politics and economics. A field trip to the Archaeological Museum introduces the archaeology of pre-Incan cultures, while visits to the Lima Cathedral and Church of San Francisco highlight colonial Spanish influences.

Flight to Chiclayo
2 nights

Examine the excellent collections at the Bruning Museum, the ruins of Tucume and Sipan. Excursions include the artisan market at the highland village of Pisac and the Brujo (shaman's) market.

Coach to Trujillo
2 nights

Discover the world of ancient Moche lives and rituals in Trujillo. Explore the archaeological sites of the Temples of the Sun and Moon and Chan Chan -- the largest pre-Columbian city in South America. Stroll through the Trujillo market and visit the Cassinelli Museum.

Flight to Cusco via Lima
Coach to Yucay/Urubamba Valley
2 nights
Train to Aguas Calientes and coach to Machu Picchu
1 night

Embrace the breathtaking Inca achievements at the “lost” city of Machu Picchu. With local experts detailing the Incan Empire, investigate the extraordinary ruins of this mysterious site. Explore the “Living Museum of the Andes” in the Awanakancha Center and experience the journey of fiber—from sheering to the completion of a work of art.

Coach to Cusco
2 nights
Flight to Lima

Local experts detail Inca society in Cusco, before you explore the area’s archaeological sites and view the arts, crafts and culture that define the area. Cap off this amazing journey with a performance of traditional Andean music.


Known as the land of the Incas, Peru was home to an ancient civilization that thrived from the 12th century to 1532, when Francisco Pizarro conquered it. Although a prominent memory in history, prior civilizations like the Chavin, Paracas, Nazca, Moche and Wari set the foundations for the Inca Empire. Peru is divided into three zones: the coast, the Andean mountain range and the Amazon jungle basin, all of which are culturally and linguistically different.

Lima, Chiclayo and Trujillo: Comfortable hotels. Yucay: Country lodge. Machu Picchu: Modern hotel. Cusco: Four-star hotel.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Victor Colunga

Victor Colunga has shared his knowledge and appreciation for Peru’s culture and natural wonders with visitors since 1982. During his career, he has worked for airline companies, served as a travel consultant, and managed inbound travel for Japanese clients. Victor would describe himself as a serious professional, who not only enjoys his work and takes care of the necessary job responsibilities, but who also looks for ways to enhance the educational experiences of people who are exploring Peru with him. Victor is married and has a young daughter. His hobbies include listening to jazz, classic and contemporary music. He also enjoys hiking, jogging, traveling, photography and Peruvian cooking. Victor has traveled extensively within Peru and has also had the opportunity to visit Chile, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay, and the U.S.
Gustavo "Tito" Leon

As a musician and a native of Cusco, Gustavo "Tito" Leon found himself deeply drawn to the rich musical traditions of the Andean highlands. This special affinity led him to devote his life to the research and preservation of Peru's folkloric Andean music. His extensive research has focused on the origins of Andean music, its different forms, regional influences, and instruments. Gustavo is a talented musician and an expert on native Andean woodwind, percussion, and string instruments including the siku, domingacha, and charango. His interactive educational style will get your toes tapping as he introduces, through musical performances, the various song styles and instruments of the Andes.
Maywa Blanco

A lifelong resident of Cusco, Maywa Blanco is a university professor who teaches courses in genetics, the biodiversity of Andean crops and agricultural research. She attended the National University of Saint Anthony the Abbot in Peru and studied English at the Peruvian-North American Cultural Institute. She received a Fulbright Scholarship to study at Michigan State University, earned a master’s degree, and then returned to Cusco to work helping impoverished communities. In her free time, Maywa enjoys cooking, soccer and spending time with her family.
Meals and Lodgings
   Casa Andina Select
  Lima, Peru 2 nights
   Casa Andina Select - Chiclayo (formerly Gran Hotel Chiclayo)
  Chiclayo, Peru 2 nights
   Hotel Libertador
  Trujillo, Peru 2 nights
   Posada del Inca - Yucay
  Yucay, Peru 2 nights
   El Mapi Hotel
  Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu, Peru 1 night
   Casa Andina Private Collection – Cusco
  Cusco, Peru 2 nights
   Casa Andina Select
  Lima, Peru 1 night
 Casa Andina Select
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Casa Andina Select hotel is located in Lima's trendy Miraflores neighborhood, within easy access to restaurants and local attractions. The newly constructed hotel has 155 rooms with modern installations and various amenities meant to satisfy the needs of both leisure and business travelers.
  Contact info: Calle Schell 452
Miraflores, Lima,   Peru
phone: +51-1-2139739
  Room amenities: Comfortable rooms with private baths, hair dryer, AC, safety deposit box, minibar, soundproof windows, direct dial phone, and cable TV.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, Spa, gym, sun terrace with Jacuzzi, conference rooms, business center, high-speed Wi-Fi Internet access, laundry service, valet service, currency exchange, 24 hr front desk, luggage storage, and souvenir shop.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Subject to availability. Please contact the Program Coordinator, Holbrook Travel, at 1-800-866-7111 or for information on availability and rates.
  Additional nights after: Subject to availability. Please contact the Program Coordinator, Holbrook Travel, at 1-800-866-7111 or for information on availability and rates.

 Casa Andina Select - Chiclayo (formerly Gran Hotel Chiclayo)
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Casa Andina Select - Chilayo (formerly known as the Grand Hotel Chiclayo) is located on Avenida Federico Villareal, just a few blocks from Chiclayo's downtown area. The hotel underwent renovations in 2011, which included a redesigning of its 129 rooms. Business and leisure travelers alike will surely enjoy the property's modern and comfortable instalations as well as its easy access to the local airport and attractions.
  Contact info: Avenida Federico Villareal 115
Chiclayo,  00000 Peru
phone: +51-74-234911
  Room amenities: Hair dryer, Wi-Fi, A/C, heating, cable TV, minibar, safety deposit box, and telephone.
  Facility amenities: Outdoor pool, spa, sauna, bar, restaurant, room service, seven conference/event rooms, business center, laundry services, currency exchange, 24 hour front desk, taxi service, Wi-Fi, and internet computer center.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Hotel Libertador
Type: Hotel
  Description: Hotel conveniently located in downtown Trujillo, off of the main square.
  Contact info: Jr. Independencia 485
Plaza de Armas
Trujillo,  00000 Peru
phone: +(51-44) 232741
  Room amenities: A/C, cable TV, mini fridge, and phone.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, business center, conference rooms, pool, and sauna.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Posada del Inca - Yucay
Type: Lodge
  Description: Country lodge built on the site of a 350 year old monastery.
  Contact info: Plaza Manco II de Yucay 123
Yucay,  00000 Peru
phone: +(51-84) 201107
  Room amenities: Heating, direct dial telephones, and in-room safe.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, business center, meeting room, gift shop, and luggage storage.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 El Mapi Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: Smart and contemporary are the defining elements of this hotel, amidst the commercial village of Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes). The newly remodeled El MaPi (formerly Machu Picchu Inn) provides a wonderful location from which you can admire and interact with the quaint folksy town and get a different perspective
  Contact info: 109 Pachacutec Ave.
Machu Picchu Pueblo
Aguas Calientes,   Peru
phone: +(51-84) 211011
  Room amenities: •8 Superior Deluxe Rooms (30 sq.m./322 sq.ft.) - twin beds or king bed, sitting area and complimentary mini bar. •40 Superior Rooms (20 sq.m./215 sq.ft) – twin beds or king bed. Each room is equipped with blackout curtains, 100% cotton sheets, down duvets, hypoallergenic pillows, cotton bath robes, natural herbal amenities, 32" flat screen TVs and tight-focus reading lights.
  Facility amenities: Services Included: - Assistance between Machu Picchu train station and the Hotel - Luggage storage - Personalized Wake up calls - 24/7 reception - Nutritious Buffet breakfast - Welcome signature refreshing lemongrass lemonade - House blends Happy Hour Pisco Sours 5-7pm - DirecTv - Complimentary Wi fi - Turndown services between 6pm- 8pm (local seasonal fruit) - Self guided fern walk - Oxygen upon request - Check-in 1:00 p.m. / Check-out 11 a.m. - Express checkout - Hot Water Pool 6AM – 10PM: Open for adults and supervised children under 12 only. - Gift Shop 8AM – 8PM: The shop offers a wide selection of T-shirts, alpaca knits, outdoors gear and basic travel needs. - Computer Room Two desktop computers and printer available, open 24/7 with complimentary internet
  Smoking allowed: No

 Casa Andina Private Collection – Cusco
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Converted from a beautiful 18th century colonial house, with 5 stately courtyards, and featuring their restaurant "Alma" with creative, regional cuisine. The hotel is located 3 blocks away from Cusco’s main square.
  Contact info: Plazoleta de Limacpampa Chico 473
Cusco,   Peru
phone: +51-84-232610
  Room amenities: 100 rooms with heat, cable television, safe deposit box, direct-dial telephone, coffee making facility and private bathroom with hairdryer. Oxygen available upon request.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant and bar, Wi-Fi Internet access, PC with internet access, laundry service, room service, medical assistance and currency exchange.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Arrivals in Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima, Peru. Hotel check-in starts at 3 p.m. You will be staying at Casa Andina Select that night.
  End of Program:
Departures from the Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima, Peru. Hotel check-out by 11 a.m. You will be staying at Casa Andina Select the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Not applicable.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Lima
  Nearest city or town:  Lima
  Nearest airport:  Jorge Chaves Lima Callo International Airport
  Transportation to site: Taxi services are available at the international airport (e.g., Taxis Green). Participants can hire a taxi and prepay in dollars at one of the taxi booths inside the secured section of the airport (after clearing Immigration/Customs).
  From End of Program
  Location: Lima
  Transportation from site: Taxi services are available at the hotel. If you wish to hire a taxi, please ask for assistance at the hotel’s front desk.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Elevation Note: Chincheros: 12,300 ft/Cusco: 11,000 ft/Machu Picchu: 7,800 ft/Urubamba: 9,200 ft

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrive to Lima.
(Thursday, June 5)
 Arrive To: Arrivals at Lima's Jorge Chávez International Airport.

Proceed through Immigrations, Baggage Claim, and Customs. After exiting the restricted arrivals area, participants should look for the Road Scholar representative who will be holding a Road Scholar sign (only applies to group flights).

Transfer to the hotel and check-in, followed by time at leisure.

Please note that this is an international travel day; no meals or program activities are scheduled on this day. Hotel check-in usually begins at 3 p.m.
Accommodations: Casa Andina Select

Day 2: Lima -
Archaeological Museum/Political & Economic Overview.

(Friday, June 6)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Orientation to the program.

Lecture: Peru - A Political and Economical Overview.
 Lunch: Lunch at hotel.
 Afternoon: Field trip to the Archaeological Museum.

This is Peru’s oldest and largest state museum. It is housed in an old colonial mansion on Plaza Bolivar, in the Pueblo Libre District of Lima. The museum displays a large collection of ceramics, textiles, sculptures, and ancient Peruvian metals dating back to pre-Hispanic times. Some notable pieces in this collection are the Raimondi Stela and Tello Obelisk.
Lecture: Pre-Inca Archaeology.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
Accommodations: Casa Andina Select
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Chiclayo -
Orientation to Lima/Flight to Chiclayo

(Saturday, June 7)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Lecture: An Overview of Peru.

Orientation through Lima with visits to the Cathedral and the Church of Santo Domingo.

The most important church in any town in Peru is usually called La Catedral (Cathedral). In the case of Lima, La Catedral is also the most important church in all of Peru. This beautiful colonial building in the Plaza de las Armas presumably houses the remains of Francisco Pizarro—whether the bones are authentic or not is a matter of conjecture.

Lima's historic Santo Domingo Church and Convent was built by the Dominican Order in 1540, on land donated by Francisco Pizzaro. Colorful tiles, stained glass windows, catacombs, religious relics, and attractive courtyards are just some of the attractions at this site. Santo Domingo is located at the intersection of Conde de Superunda and Camana Streets, just a block away from the Plaza de Armas in central Lima.
 Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant in downtown Lima.
 Afternoon: Transfer to Lima airport.

Flight from Lima to Chiclayo.

Arrive to Chiclayo and transfer to the hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
Accommodations: Casa Andina Select - Chiclayo (formerly Gran Hotel Chiclayo)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Chiclayo -
Tucume Ruins/Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum and Archaeological Site/Paso Fino Show.

(Sunday, June 8)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Field trip to the ruins of Túcume.

Thor Heyerdahl, anthropologist and adventurer, learned of the mysterious pyramids of Túcume in the north country and began excavation with the help of fellow researchers, Daniel Sandweiss and Alfred Narváez. The city was constructed nine centuries ago. Oceangoing travel and trade is depicted in the ruins.

Field trip to the Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum.
 Lunch: Lunch at local hacienda, with Paso Fino horse show.
 Afternoon: Field trip to the Lord of Sipan archaeological site.

In 1988, Dr. Alva and his archaeological team uncovered the tomb of the Lord of Sipan, the "King Tutankamon of the Americas." The tomb was built by the Moche culture that ruled the northern coast from the time of Christ to 700 AD, centuries before the Incas. The jewelry and artifacts found at the site, show the Moches' fine quality and mastery in metallurgy.

Return to the hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
Accommodations: Casa Andina Select - Chiclayo (formerly Gran Hotel Chiclayo)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Trujillo –
Orientation to Chiclayo and Witches Market/School Visit.

(Monday, June 9)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Orientation to the city of Chiclayo.

Chiclayo is the capital of the department of Lambayeque. It is the largest and most important city in the region and a key commercial center, with many people from the outlying regions coming to sell their produce. The region around Chiclayo was once a center of the great Moche culture. Today, the remaining Moche aqueducts help turn this desert valley into a green cropland supporting sugar cane and rice paddies.

Excursion to the Witches Market.

Visit a local school. In the event the school is not in session, this activity will be scheduled to take place in the Ollantaytambo area.

NOTE: Although not required or expected, participants often inquire about bringing items to donate during the school visit. Basic school supplies such as pencils, erasers, pens, coloring pencils, magic markers, coloring books, safety scissors, etc. are very useful and much appreciated by local schools.

Begin transfer to Trujillo.
 Lunch: Boxed lunch.
 Afternoon: Field trip to the Brujo Complex.

This archaeological site is still being excavated. The majority of it is covered with sand. The excavated portion reveals a tiered pyramid. Relief paintings on the walls depict fish, priests, and human sacrifices. The base of the pyramid is completely encircled by sculptures of nude dancing men.

Arrive to Trujillo.
 Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant.
Accommodations: Hotel Libertador
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Trujillo -
Sun & Moon Temples/Museo Huacas de Moche/Chan Chan Ruins/Huanchaco Village.

(Tuesday, June 10)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Field trip to view The Temples of the Sun and the Moon, with site lecture and a visit to the Museo Huacas de Moche.

Although the original names of these Moche monuments are not known, they have been called the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon. They rise impressively against the backdrop of the imposing Cerro Blanco. The Pyramid of the Sun is the single largest adobe structure in the Americas, although two thirds of it was washed away when treasure hunters diverted the Moche River to aid in plundering the pyramid.

The Museo Huacas de Moche, part of the Temples of the Sun and Moon complex, was inaugurated with much fanfare in 2010. The modern museum has archaeological artifacts and interactive displays that provide visitors with detailed information about the huaca complex and its historical importance. The exhibits also offer interesting insights into the life and religious beliefs of the people who once inhabited the region.

Orientation to the city of Trujilo.

Trujillo is one of Peru's most important cities and is known across the country as a cultural and educational hub. Before its modern incarnation, the site of Trujillo was the center of the Chimu culture, the second largest native empire in the Western Hemisphere.
 Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Time at leisure to explore the village of Huanchaco.

Huanchaco is a small fishing village near Trujillo. The ancient art of making totora reed kayaks, or caballitos, is still preserved here. Local fishermen still use them daily to fish. It is common to see men out at sea, paddling on their caballitos, while rows of totora boats are propped up to dry along the beach.

Field trip to Chan Chan ruins, with site lecture.

The adobe city of Chan Chan was the capital of the Chimu empire. The ruins represent the largest adobe city in the world. It is estimated that Chan Chan once supported a population of 80,000.
 Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant.
Accommodations: Hotel Libertador
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Yucay (Sacred Valley) -
Koricancha Temple/Awanakancha Alpaca Center/Pisac Market.

(Wednesday, June 11)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to the airport.

Flight to Cusco with connection in Lima.

Arrive in Cusco.
Enjoy a visit to Koricancha before transferring to Yucay in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Koricancha, also spelled Qorikancha, is an important Inca temple located in downtown Cusco. Built in honor of their sun god, Inti, the site was once an important religious center. Conquistadors reported that the temple originally held a statue of the sun, made of gold weighing approximately two tons and inlayed with gems. The structure was built with enormous boulders and is considered one of the most outstanding examples of this type of Inca construction. Unfortunately, very little remains of this architectural wonder since the Spaniards did their best to destroy it during their conquest of Cusco. The grand, Baroque church known as Santo Domingo was built on Koricancha’s foundations and came to be viewed by the Spanish as a symbol of Christian triumph over heathen religion.

Transfer to Yucay with an en route visit to the Awanakancha Alpaca Center.

The Awankancha Alpaca Center is a living museum where visitors can see llamas, alpacas and vicuna. A demonstration will show how the wool from these South American animals is used to make woven textiles.
 Lunch: Boxed lunch en route.
 Afternoon: Excursion to Pisac Market.

The Pisac Market dates back to the ancient Peruvian days when people in the highlands depended on trade. The traditional produce market is held on Sundays, when natives come to trade vegetables, herbs and potatoes for other goods like matches, oranges and medicines. During other days of the week, the town hosts a handicrafts market where all nature of locally made crafts can be seen on display.

Arrive at your hotel and enjoy the remainder of the afternoon at your leisure to rest and relax.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
Accommodations: Posada del Inca - Yucay
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Yucay (Sacred Valley) -
Weaving Demonstration/Ollantaytambo Ruins.

(Thursday, June 12)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Excursion to the town of Chinchero for a weaving demonstration.

Weaving is a way of life in Chinchero, as important for preserving ancient traditions as it is for earning a livelihood. Located in the Peruvian Andes on the Inca road between Cusco and Machu Picchu, Chinchero was an early Inca center built by emperor Tupa Inca as his country estate. During Inca reign, textiles were woven and offered to mark special occasions, from peace treaties and sacrifices to marriage ceremonies and puberty rites. In Chinchero, children grow up playing with their mother’s spindle and loom. By age six or seven, most children learn to weave by watching their elders. They begin by weaving jakimas, or narrow ribbons, before moving on to more complicated pieces.

Visit to local farms.

Lecture: The Agriculture of the Incas.
 Lunch: Lunch at local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Visit to Ollantaytambo Ruins accompanied by a guide who will highlight the engineering genius of the Inca.

The Ollantaytambo Ruins are not ruins in the traditional sense. Ollantaytambo is a town with original buildings of Inca construction where the Inca retreated to make their last stand in the highlands against the Spanish. Running water still flows through the town in aqueducts. The terraces above the town still are farmed. The pinnacle above the town is a small burial ground.

Return to the hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
Accommodations: Posada del Inca - Yucay
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Aguas Calientes –
Machu Picchu - UNESCO World Heritage Site.

(Friday, June 13)

Note: There is a weight limit of 11 pounds for luggage on the Peru Rail transfer to Machu Picchu. Plan to pack an overnight bag for one night in the Machu Picchu area. Your bag must weigh no more than 11 pounds and measure no more than 62 inches /157 cm (length height width). Excess luggage can be left with the driver and vehicle, and will be secured until your return to Cuzco.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to Ollantaytambo train station.
Board a train to Machu Picchu. This scenic journey by rail follows the meandering path of the Urubamba River and provides travelers with spectacular views of the snowcapped Andes.

Disembark at the Aguas Calientes Station and board a bus that will take you up the mountain to the Machu Picchu Ruins.

Train journey from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. The bus drive from Aguas Calientes Town to the Machu Picchu ruins takes about 20 minutes (3.7 miles).

Field trip to Machu Picchu.
 Lunch: Lunch at local hotel restaurant.
 Afternoon: Full afternoon expert-led field trip in and around Machu Picchu Ruins.

This ancient Inca city was rediscovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, a Yale graduate and U.S. senator fascinated with Inca archaeology. Bingham found Machu Picchu, with the help of a local farmer who knew about the ruins, while searching for Vilcabamba and Vitcos. He hypothesized that the site was a "citadel," existing for strategic and defense purposes. He also speculated that the site was a refuge for Cusco's Virgins of the Sun, based upon the finding of skulls there, although not scientifically classified as female. Breakthroughs in archaeology since 1985 have, taken as a whole, supported the emerging view of Machu Picchu as a ceremonial and administrative center for a very populous region. Machu Picchu was built, flourished, and fell into demise within a period of 100 years.

Board the bus to Aguas Calientes. Upon arrival, disembark at the bus stop and walk to your hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
Accommodations: El Mapi Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Cusco -
Train and Bus Transfer to Cusco.

(Saturday, June 14)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Enjoy a morning at your leisure to walk around the town, relax at your hotel, or explore Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu on your own (additional entrance tickets not included in your program cost).

This is a great opportunity for participants to revisit the ruins at a more relaxed pace. Just after sunrise, the soft morning rays bathe the ancient city in golden light and the mist slowly rises from the valley. Take advantage of the favorable lighting and lesser amount of visitors to try and capture that perfect shot for your photo album.

NOTE: New regulations reduced the daily quota of visitors allowed to enter Machu Picchu and nearby archaeological sites (e.g., Huayna Picchu) , and entrance tickets are no longer sold on site. Participants wishing to visit the ruins on this day must obtain their tickets in advance. Please contact the program provider for more information.
 Lunch: Lunch at hotel.
 Afternoon: Transfer to Aguas Calientes Station.

Early in the afternoon (approximately 1:00 p.m.), board a train to Ollantaytambo Station.

Disembark at Ollantaytambo Station and board a bus for your transfer to Cusco (1hr 30 min).

Arrive in Cusco and check-in at hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
Accommodations: Casa Andina Private Collection – Cusco
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Cusco -
Sacsayhuaman Ruins/Colonial Cusco/Andean Music.

(Sunday, June 15)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Field trip to the Sacsayhuaman Ruins.

The fortress of Sacsayhuaman forms the head of the Puma design of old Cusco. It is a wonder of technical achievement and a testament to human will. It is a mystery how it was constructed, since the stones are not found in the region and most of the blocks weigh more than a ton. The largest rock weighs more than 300 tons. Sacsayhuaman is constructed of huge polygonal blocks which interlock with one another so precisely a knife blade cannot be inserted between them.

Orientation to the city of Cusco.

The center of Cusco is a history lesson. Modern and colonial buildings are built on top of Inca foundations and colonial churches dominate the central square.
 Lunch: Lunch at a café in the main plaza where you can enjoy the colonial architecture of the city.
 Afternoon: Afternoon at leisure to explore Cusco's many attractions at your own pace.

Pre-dinner presentation by a local expert on the history of Incan and Andean musical instruments.
 Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant.
Accommodations: Casa Andina Private Collection – Cusco
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Lima -
Fly back to Lima/Farewell to Peru.

(Monday, June 16)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to airport for flight to Lima (1hr 25 min flight).

Arrive in Lima and transfer to a local restaurant for a presentation on Peruvian cuisine by a local culinary expert.
 Lunch: Farewell lunch at local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Arrive at the hotel and check-in.
Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at your leisure. Rest, finish packing or take advantage of hotel amenities.
 Dinner: Light dinner at hotel.
 Evening: Depending on your international flight schedule, you might transfer to the airport late this night to catch a flight back to the U.S. Participants departing on this evening will not miss any program activities.
Accommodations: Casa Andina Select
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Departure from Lima.
Arrive to USA.

(Tuesday, June 17)
 Depart From: Transfer to the Jorge Chávez International Airport for flight to the U.S.

Note: Participants with independent travel arrangements and/or scheduled on later flights can keep their hotel rooms until check-out time on this day. Except for breakfast, all other meals are on your own on this day.
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel (dependent on flight times).
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Lonely Planet Phrasebooks: Latin American Spanish

Author: Roberto Esposto

Description: This portable phrasebook provides a useful mix of everyday phrases, words and expressions used in different Spanish speaking countries in Latin America. Learn the nuances of the Spanish language as it is spoken in Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile.

Archaeological Map of Machu Picchu

Author: Wright Water Engineers

Description: Ken Wright's full color site plan shows monuments, topography and physical features of the Inca sanctuary in exquisite detail.

Art of the Andes, from Chavin to Inca

Author: Rebecca Stone-Miller

Description: This authoritative and concise illustrated survey of Andean art and architecture covers not only Machu Picchu and additional Inca monuments, but also Chan Chan, Nasca and other archaeological sites and cultures.

Insight Guide Peru

Author: Insight Guides

Description: Panoramic in scope, this illustrated overview brings Peru to life in hundreds of color photographs and vivid essays by a team of experts writing on history, archaeology and culture.

Monuments of the Incas

Author: John Hemming

Description: John Hemming brings the story of the Inca up to date in this revised edition of his classic overview, featuring Edward Ranney's exquisitely detailed, large format black-and-white photographs of Inca sites from Ingapirca to Incallacta. Originally published in 1982 and long out of print, this new edition includes 31 site plans and maps.

The Andes, A Cultural History

Author: Jason Wilson

Description: A literary, cultural guide to the art, architecture, traditions and history of Peru and the Andes.

The Inca Trail, Cuzco & Machu Picchu

Author: Richard Danbury

Description: Not just for those hiking the Inca Trail, this compact guide is an excellent overview of the culture and history and attractions of Cuzco and the Sacred Valley. With a chapter on Lima, good maps, travel information and photographs.

The Incas and their Ancestors, The Archaeology of Peru

Author: Michael Moseley

Description: An outstanding illustrated survey of the archaeology of the Inca, Moche and Nasca civilizations. With hundreds of color illustrations and line drawings, it's an in-depth look at the ancient cultures and history of Peru. A great general introduction.

The Incas, People of the Sun

Author: Carmen Bernard, Paul Bahn (translator)

Description: Featuring hundreds of drawings and photographs, a chronology and long excerpts from the journals of early explorers, this is a colorful pocket encyclopedia of Inca history and archaeology.

The Last Days of the Incas

Author: Kim Macquarrie

Description: MacQuarrie tackles the personality, aspirations and greed of Francisco Pizarro in this vivid account of the conquest of a continent.

The Peru Reader, History, Culture, Politic

Author: Orin Starn

Description: Lively and literate, this meaty anthology ranges from historical accounts to modern analysis.

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