Perspectives of Peru: Discover Lima, Cusco, Yucay & Machu Picchu
Want to get a new perspective on Peru? See the best of this country and its people on a learning adventure that begins in the capital of Lima and ends in Cusco.
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Program No. 22809RJ
9 days
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9 days
8 nights
18 meals
7 B 6 L 5 D
Getting There
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In Transit to Program, Arrive Lima – Peru, Check-in
Casa Andina Select Miraflores

Activity note: This is an international travel day; no meals or program activities are scheduled on this day. Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m. The drive from the airport to the hotel is about 10 miles, approx. 1 hour (dependent on traffic).

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. Please refer to the “Notes” section of the prep mats for a list of recommended restaurants.

Evening: Arrivals into Aeropuerto Internacional Jorge Chávez - Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM) in Lima, Peru. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers. If you are an independent traveler (POP status), see “Ground Transportation to First Location.” Upon arriving at the hotel, check in and get your room assignment.

Orientation, Chorrillos, Downtown Lima, Huaca Pucllana
Casa Andina Select Miraflores

Activity note: Walking approx. 3 hours; paved surfaces, some steps in churches and museum. Driving about 2 hours (subject to traffic).

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Orientation: In our private meeting room at the hotel, the Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. High elevations in the Peruvian Andes might cause some to experience altitude sickness. Please discuss appropriate preventative measures with your personal physician prior to travel. Here are some helpful tips to alleviate symptoms of altitude sickness: 1) Get plenty of rest before you travel. 2) Avoid alcohol, sleeping pills or narcotics. 3) Drink plenty of fluids. 4) Eat high-carbohydrate foods and avoid fatty foods. 5) Avoid heavy exercise while staying at high elevations. Periods in the schedule labeled “Free Time” and “At Leisure” offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable while going out to explore on your own, engaging in available activities independently, making new friends among fellow Road Scholars, or simply relaxing. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We will enjoy a presentation by a local expert on the relationship between biodiversity and the Humboldt current in Peru. The lecture will take place at the hotel. Then, by bus we will transfer southwards to the suburb of Chorrillos. We'll learn about the way of life at this fishing community through interactions with locals and a visit to the pier and local fish market.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a plated 3-course lunch with a non-alcoholic beverage included; other beverages available for purchase. Our meal will also include a demonstration on how to make Peru's signature drink--the pisco sour. Most meals on our program will feature local cuisine and often be plated and served set meals; in others, we will have buffets. Beverages include coffee, tea, water; other beverages are usually available for purchase.

Afternoon: Our day continues with an exploration of downtown Lima to learn about Lima’s colonial past. We will stop in Lima's Plaza de Armas for a field trip to Casa Aliaga and the Museo de la Gastronomia Peruana (Peruvian Gastronomy Museum). At the conclusion of the activity, the bus will drop us off at the hotel. We will have some time to freshen up and relax. Then, together with the Group Leader we will depart from the hotel to the ruins of Huaca Pucllana for dinner. In the midst of Lima's attractive Miraflores district sits a pre-Inca ceremonial center known as Huaca Pucllana. The large adobe complex is thought to have served as an administrative and religious center for various fishing and farming communities in the area. Archaeological evidence points to the city being taken over by the Wari people around CE 700. Wari mummies and artifacts have been discovered in the ruins, indicating that the site was predominantly used for religious rites including sacrifices and burials. Before dinner, we will walk around the complex with our local guide and Group Leader.

Dinner: At the local restaurant overlooking the ruins of Huaca Pucllana, we’ll enjoy our plated 3-course welcome meal with a non-alcoholic beverage included.

Evening: We’ll then enjoy a leisurely walk back to our hotel with our Group Leader. The remainder of the evening will be at leisure.

Intro to Peruvian Politics and Economy, Flight to Cusco
Sacred Valley
Casa Andina Private Collection - Valle Sagrado

Activity note: High elevations cause some to experience altitude sickness. Here are some helpful tips to alleviate symptoms: 1) Get plenty of rest before you travel. 2) Avoid alcohol, sleeping pills or narcotics. 3) Drink plenty of fluids. 4) Eat high-carbohydrate foods and avoid fatty foods. 5) Avoid heavy exercise while staying at high elevations. Flight from Lima to Cusco is approx. 1.5 hours. Driving about 40 miles total. Walking approx. 3.5 hours; some dirt, rugged terrain, cobblestone streets.

Breakfast: Early breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: First up, we will complete check-out procedures. Next, we will enjoy a presentation by a local expert on the politics and economy of Peru. Afterwards, we will depart to the airport for our flight to Cusco. Upon arrival in Cusco, we'll board a bus and begin driving to the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Lunch: On your own. There will be opportunities for lunch at the Lima airport.

Afternoon: Upon arrival in Cusco, we'll board a bus and meet our local guide. As we drive into the Sacred Valley of the Incas where our hotel is located, our local guide will give us a brief introduction to the area. We’ll check into the hotel and rest before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a plated 3-course lunch with a non-alcoholic beverage included.

Evening: A visit to the hotel’s on-site planetarium with a local expert will introduce us to the Andean skies and Inca astronomy. This activity is dependent on clear skies. Be sure to prepare for check-out, transfer, and our early morning journey to Machu Picchu tomorrow morning. Pack an overnight bag no more than 11 lbs. for this night; excess luggage will be secured for you until our arrival in Cusco. Walking and standing for at least 5 hours; dirt and grass terrain; many staircases; paved sidewalks in town. We recommend wearing or bringing a long-sleeved shirt for insect protection.

Sacred Valley, Moray, Maras Community & Salt Mines
Sacred Valley
Casa Andina Private Collection - Valle Sagrado

Activity note: Drive to the Maras Salt Pans is about 30 miles; approx. 1.5 hours; other drives are shorter distances. Hiking about 1.5 miles; approx. 1 hour; downhill trail. Pack a small overnight bag for the overnight in Aguas Calientes.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: After a short drive, we will accompany our Group Leader and local expert on a walking exploration of a typical produce market. We'll discuss the unique conditions that make this valley perfect for farming as we view some of the interesting vegetables and fruit grown here. The Sacred Valley was once an important agricultural center for the Inca Empire. In this part of the world, Inca terraces are as ubiquitous as potatoes - and many are still in use. Next, we'll transfer to the Moray archaeological site, where we will have a lecture to learn about Inca agriculture. Researchers and archaeologists theorize that the Inca site at Moray was once used for agricultural studies and experiments. The unique terraces at this site are laid out in concentric circles within three large pits measuring as much as 100 feet in depth. We will then continue to the community of Maras and visit the local salt mines with a local expert. These local natural salt mines have existed since the time of the Inca and continued through that of the Spanish Conquistadors. We’ll learn how valuable salt was in the preservation of food, especially meats and be see a demonstration of the salt extraction process.

Lunch: In Maras with the local community, we’ll enjoy lunch.

Afternoon: We will continue our visit with the local community of Maras and learn how to weave baskets from corn husks, learn about their farming techniques, and see how life is at Sacred Valley. Our day will culminate with an ancient Pachamama ceremony led by a shaman. We’ll then return to the hotel.

Dinner: Early dinner at the hotel.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for early morning wake up call and check out tomorrow

Bus & Train to Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu
Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu
Casa Andina Classic Machu Picchu

Activity note: Ollantayambo ruins are steep with about 100 stone steps to the top of the fortress at an altitude of 9,100 feet. Train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes is about 1.5 hours. Bus drive from Aguas Calientes Town to the Machu Picchu ruins is about 4 miles; approx. ½ hour. Walking and standing for at least 5 hours; dirt and grass terrain; many staircases; sloping, paved sidewalks in town. We recommend wearing or bringing a long-sleeved shirt for insect protection.

Breakfast: Early breakfast at hotel.

Morning: We’ll transfer to the Ollantaytambo ruins, where we’ll learn about the engineering genius of the Inca demonstrated by the extensive terracing and irrigation at the site. Running water still flows through the town in aqueducts. The Inca emperor Pachacuti built Ollantaytambo in the 15th century as part of his royal estate. In the mid-15th century after Pachacuti’s death, the Spanish conquest of Peru began. The Inca emperor at that time was Manco Inca who used Ollantaytambo as a stronghold against the Spanish. His army won a small victory nearby against Spanish forces. Though, shortly afterwards Manco Inca decided the site was not secure enough and fled with the remaining members of his empire to Vilcabamba where the Inca famously made their last stand against the Spanish. After our field trip, we’ll transfer to Ollantaytambo train station where we will board a train to Aguas Calientes Station on our way 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. Disembarking at the Aguas Calientes Station (6,693 feet elevation), we’ll transfer to our hotel and check in. After completing check-in procedures, we'll set out on foot - an approximately 5 minute walk - to the bus depot. There, we will board a bus that will take us up the mountain to the Machu Picchu ruins.

Lunch: At a local restaurant outside of the ruins, we’ll have a buffet lunch.

Afternoon: After lunch, we will enter the site and spend the afternoon exploring in and around the Machu Picchu ruins with a local expert. Following our guided visit, there will be time for independent exploration. Hiram Bingham, a Yale graduate and former U.S. senator fascinated with Inca archaeology, is credited with discovering this lost site in 1911. Though, accounts have stated that locals knew about the site for some time before Bingham. this ancient and incredible Inca city was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham, a Yale graduate and former U.S. senator fascinated with Inca archaeology. Bingham actually found Machu Picchu, with the help of one of these locals, a farmer who knew about the ruins, while he was searching for Vilcabamba and Vitcos. Bingham 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 royal estate. Archaeologists believe the site was built around 1450-1460 at the orders of Inca ruler Pachacutec Inca Yupanqui. It is estimated that the ruler lived here with more than 750 laborers, servants, family and relatives and priests. built for ceremonial and administrative center for a very populous region. Machu Picchu was built, flourished, and fell into demise within a period of 100 years. The reason for its disuse remains largely a mystery, although archaeologists speculate it may have had to do with the Spanish conquest. Transfer back to Aguas Calientes for dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a plated 3-course meal with a non-alcoholic beverage included.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check out and transfer tomorrow morning.

Chincero Weaving Demo, Train & Bus to Cusco, Free Time
Hotel Los Portales

Activity note: The altitude at Chincero is approx. 12,000 ft. Walking less than .5 mile over sloping, cobblestone paths but the altitude can make the walk more seem challenging. For more information about purchasing a second ticket to Machu Picchu, see NOTES section of the preparatory materials.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll have some time for personal independent exploration and then board the train back to Ollantaytambo. During your free time, you might like to go to the artisanal market or to the hot springs, located about 1/2 up the hill on a paved walkway. You could also re-visit Machu Picchu. Please note that tickets for additional entrance to the Machu Picchu ruins are not included in your program cost. New regulations have reduced the number of daily visitors allowed to enter Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu, and entrance tickets are no longer sold on site. If you wish to visit the ruins independently this morning you will need to obtain tickets in advance. From June to October, they tend to sell out quickly. Feel free to contact Holbrook for more information. We will meet our Group Leader back at the hotel and walk to the train station as a group. We will board the train back to Ollantaytambo Station. Upon arrival, we disembark and board a bus which will take us to our lunch venue.We will check out and walk to the train station to board the train back to Ollantaytambo Station. Upon arrival, we will disembark and board a bus which will take us to our lunch venue.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Ollantaytambo.

Afternoon: We will transfer to the small town of Chincero. Our expert led field trip this afternoon is to a local weaving cooperative where we will observe 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 watching their mothers work on the spindle and loom. By age six or seven, most children have learned to weave. They begin with jakimas, narrow ribbons, before moving on to more complicated pieces. From here, we transfer to our hotel in Cusco. Upon arrival, check into the hotel. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. Please see the “Notes” section for a list of restaurants. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

Sacsayhuaman, Kenko & Tambomachay
Hotel Los Portales

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles today over dirty and grass, some cobblestones.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will enjoy a visit to the impressive Sacsayhuaman ruins. The stone fortress at Sacsayhuaman forms the head of the Puma design of old Cusco. 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. We will then visit two Incan ruins surrounding Cusco; Kenko and Tambomachay. Due to the lack of written records from the time period, the purpose of many Incan ruins is a mystery. Though, archaeological evidence at Kenko shows that the Inca built the site as a “huaca” or holy site and researchers speculate that death rituals, mummification and human sacrifice were practiced here. Researchers believe that priests used the channels carved into the site to determine whether a person lived a good life by observing the route that liquid poured into the channels– chicha (fermented corn), holy water, or blood flowed. Tambomachay was likely used as a spa for Inca political elite; aqueducts and canals channel water from a nearby thermal spring into waterfalls that cascade into a small pool.

Lunch: At a local restaurant featuring typical Cusqueño fare.

Afternoon: We’ll head back to the hotel. Enjoy some time at leisure. Before dinner, we’ll regroup for a presentation by a local expert on the history of Incan and Andean musical instruments. The lecture will take place at the hotel. At the conclusion, we’ll transfer by bus to a local restaurant.

Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant. One alcoholic beverage included. Other beverages and additional alcohol available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

Korikancha, Flight to Lima, Program Concludes
In Flight

Activity note: The hotel in Cusco will store our luggage after check-out and hold it until it is time for us to transfer to the airport. The flight from Cusco to Lima takes approximately 1.5 hours; weight limit for checked luggage on this flight is 50 lbs. Transfer to the airport is about 2 miles; less than 1 hour. Program concludes with late afternoon flight. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers. If you are an independent traveler (POP status), see “Ground Transportation from Last Location.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: After checking out and storing our luggage at the hotel, we'll join a local expert for a walking field trip through the city of Cusco including visits to Koricancha. Cusco is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the Western Hemisphere. It was once the heart of the Inca Empire and the center of their known world. Under Inca Pachacutec’s leadership, the city became a study in sophisticated urban development and engineering. Sadly, the site was thoroughly looted by Francisco Pizarro and his forces in 1533. The sturdy Inca foundations and looted stones were used to construct a new city. Koricancha, also spelled Qorikancha, is the Temple of the Sun in downtown Cusco; believed to have been an important religious center for the Inca. Colonial reports dating back to Cusco’s conquest indicate that it once held a gold statue of the sun weighing approximately two tons and inlayed with gems. The temple was built with enormous boulders and is one of the most outstanding examples of this type of construction. The invading Spaniards did their best to destroy it and replace it with a church, built on the solid foundations soon after the conquest. This symbolized the Christian triumph over heathen religion. Our next stop is to the Pre-Columbian Art Museum. The Pre-Columbian Art Museum features art from the Nazca, Mochica, Chimu, Inca culture and more; societies who lived in Peru prior to the European conquest. Pieces in the collection date from 1250 B.C to 1532 A.D. The collection was curated by renowned Peruvian painter Fernando de Szyszlo Valdelomar and art historian Cecilia Bakula. The two selected over 400 pieces from the Larco Museum’s extensive archive and brought the pieces to Cusco to open the museum. Since 2003, the museum has showcased these works, sharing the beautiful art of these Pre-Columbian peoples with visitors.

Lunch: At a local restaurant featuring typical Cusqueño fare.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take some time for independent exploration of Cusco. Please see "Notes" section for a list of suggested activities. The Group Leader will also be happy to offer recommendations. We will all meet back at the hotel at the time predetermined by the Group Leader in the morning. We will transfer to the airport together. Please be considerate to your fellow travelers and arrive punctually. Please gather your luggage and board the bus.

Evening: Upon arrival to Lima, we will connect with our evening flights out of Jorge Chávez International Airport to the U.S. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

In Transit From Program
In Flight

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