3280
Peru
Majesty and Mystery: Ancient Civilizations of Peru
Dive deep into the story of the Incas as you explore iconic Machu Picchu, the pyramid ruins of Túcume and the world’s oldest adobe city, unraveling the mysteries of this ancient land.
Program No. 3280RJ
Length
13 days
Starts at
3,999
Flights start at
695
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13 days
12 nights
27 meals
11 B 9 L 7 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
Lima
Casa Andina Select Miraflores
DAY
2
Archaeological Museum/Political & Economic Overview
Lima
B,L
Casa Andina Select Miraflores

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Orientation to the program. Meet your group leader and fellow Road Scholar participants during a welcome and introduction session at the hotel. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Lecture: Peru - A Political and Economic Overview.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

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. In the event that the Archaeological Museum is closed, we will visit an equally important museum in the city. Lecture: Pre-Incan Archaeology.

Dinner: On your own to explore local fare.

Evening: Time at leisure.

DAY
3
La Catedral, Plaza de Armas, Flight to Chiclayo
Chiclayo
B,L,D
Casa Andina Select - Chiclayo

Activity note: The flight from Lima to Chiclayo takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. The weight limit for checked luggage on this flight is 23 kg/50 lb. Elevation in Chiclayo is 89 ft.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: 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: At a local restaurant in downtown Lima.

Afternoon: Transfer to Lima airport. Board a short flight from Lima to Chiclayo. Late afternoon arrival in Chiclayo and transfer to the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: Time at leisure.

DAY
4
Tucume Ruins, Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum, Paso Fino Show
Chiclayo
B,L,D
Casa Andina Select - Chiclayo

Breakfast: At the 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: At a 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: At the hotel.

Evening: Time at leisure.

DAY
5
Trujillo, Chiclayo and Witches Market, School Visit
Trujillo
B,L,D
Hotel Libertador

Activity note: The bus transfer from Chiclayo to Trujillo takes approximately 2 hours. Elevation at Trujillo is about 112 ft.

Breakfast: At the 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 and most of it is still covered with sand. The uncovered portions of this site reveal 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: At a local restaurant.

Evening: Time at leisure.

DAY
6
Sun & Moon Temples, Museo Huacas de Moche, Chan Chan
Trujillo
B,L,D
Hotel Libertador

Activity note: Elevations vary from 45 ft to 100 ft.

Breakfast: At the 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: At a 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, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a site lecture. Chan Chan was the capital of the Chimu Kingdom and the largest adobe city in pre-Columbian America. Extensive complexes with temples, dwellings, plazas, and industrial sectors denote a highly sophisticated level of city planning and social organization by the Chimu. Experts estimate the city once supported a population of 80,000.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: Time at leisure.

DAY
7
Flight to Cusco via Lima, Koricancha Temple, Pisac Market
Yucay
B,L,D
Posada del Inca - Yucay

Activity note: 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.

Breakfast: Early breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Transfer to the airport. Early morning flight to Cusco with connection in Lima (Trujillo-Lima: 2 hours/Lima-Cusco: 1 hour 25 minutes). 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: At the hotel.

Evening: Time at leisure.

DAY
8
Sacred Valley, Ollantaytambo Ruins, Weaving Demo
Yucay
B,L,D
Posada del Inca - Yucay

Activity note: Bus transfer from Yucay to Ollantaytambo is approximately 45 min. Ollantaytambo to Chincheros is approximately 1 hr. Elevation ranges from 12,500 ft in Chincheros to 9,370 ft in Yucay. Elevation ranges from 12,500 ft in Chinchero to 9,370 ft in Yucay.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: 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. Lecture: The Agriculture of the Incas.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: 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. Return to the hotel and enjoy the grounds at your leisure.

Dinner: Early dinner at the hotel.

Evening: Participants should try to get plenty of rest in preparation for tomorrow's early morning journey to Machu Picchu.

DAY
9
Bus and Train transfer to Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu
Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu
B,L
El Mapi Hotel

Activity note: 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). Plan to pack an overnight bag for this night in Machu Picchu area. There is a weight limit of 11 lb for luggage on Peru Rail and your bag must measure no more than 62 in /157 cm (length, plus height, plus width). Excess luggage will be secured for you until your return to Cusco.

Breakfast: Early breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Early 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 (6,693 ft) and board a bus that will take you up the mountain to the Machu Picchu Ruins (7,972 ft). Field trip to Machu Picchu.

Lunch: At a 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: Will be on your own to explore the local fare.

Evening: Time at leisure.

DAY
10
Explore Aguas Calientes, Train & Bus Transfer back to Cusco
Cusco
B,L
Sonesta Cusco

Activity note: The train ride from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. The bus transfer from Ollantaytambo Station to Cusco takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Breakfast: At the 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. During June to October, entrance tickets tend to sell out quickly. Please contact the program provider for more information.

Lunch: At the 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. Arrive in Cusco and check-in at the hotel.

Dinner: On your own to explore the different choices at Cusco.

Evening: Time at leisure.

DAY
11
Colonial Cusco, Sacsayhuaman Ruins, Andean Music
Cusco
B,D
Sonesta Cusco

Activity note: Elevation in Cusco is 11,200 ft.

Breakfast: At the 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: On your own

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. Your group leader will advise the best time to return to the hotel for this lecture. Spend your last evening in Peru with your new Road Scholar friends, finish your packing, or get a good night's sleep in preparation for international departures tomorrow.

Dinner: Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant.

Evening: Time at leisure.

DAY
12
Flight from Cusco to Lima, Departure flights to the U.S.
In Flight
B

Activity note: The flight from Cusco to Lima takes approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes. The weight limit for checked luggage on this flight is 23 kg/50 lb. Transfer to the airport is approximately 45 min.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Time at leisure to rest or explore Sol Avenue or the historic Plaza de Armas. The center of Cusco is a history lesson where modern and colonial buildings were built on top of Inca foundations and colonial churches dominate the central square.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: Say goodbye to your group leader before transferring to the airport to board the flight to Lima.

Dinner: On your own.

Evening: Upon arrival to Lima you will connect with your evening flights out of Jorge Chávez International Airport to the U.S. There is no hotel stay for this day. If you would prefer a morning flight out of Lima and hotel accommodations please contact the program coordinator at 1-800-866-7111 or roadscholarprograms@holbrooktravel.com to book these additional services. This concludes the program. We hope you enjoyed your Road Scholar adventure! When you get home, remember to stay in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network; share memories, pictures, and comments about your recent travels.

DAY
13
Arrive to the U.S.  
In Flight





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