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Mysteries of Peru and Machu Picchu

From the Sacred Valley of the Inca to the magical heights of Machu Picchu to the natural wonders of the Ballestas Islands, join us as we uncover this culturally rich region of the Peruvian Andes. This extraordinary journey reveals Peru's enduring charm, centuries-old traditions, and enigmatic mysteries.


NOTE: Tour information is current as of 7/24/2024.

Program Highlights

– Savor authentic flavors, textures and aromas of Peruvian cuisine during a tasting tour in Lima where every bite tells a story of tradition and passion.

– Discover the ancient wonders of Cusco, dubbed the “Archaeological Capital of South America.”

– Interact with the rich and complex history of the Inca period at the fascinating site of Sacsayhuaman.

– Board the Vistadome train to reach Machu Picchu’s untouched stone citadel.

– Take flight over the Nazca Lines—a thrilling opportunity to view the mysterious soil carvings from above.

– Cruise the Ballestas Islands observing from water the Paracas Candelabra—a prehistoric hillside geoglyph of origins unknown.

What's Included

  • 8 nights premium accommodations
  • 8 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 2 dinners including a special welcome dinner
  • All small-group excursions as noted in the 9-day itinerary including entrance fees
  • Full guiding services of an Orbridge Travel Director and expert local guides
  • Private motor coach transportation
  • Luggage porterage
  • Gratuities to Orbridge Travel Director, local guides and drivers
  • Airport transfers for guests arriving and departing during the suggested times

Itinerary

Day 1: En Route from U.S. | Arrive in Lima, Peru
Upon arrival to Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport an Orbridge representative will be waiting to assist with your transfer to the hotel.

After checking in, rejoin the group to witness the enchanting Magic Water Circuit at Parque de la Reserva an expansive park within the city. This collection of 13 ornamental fountains features multicolored lights synchronized with music, creating a mesmerizing visual spectacle. Awarded the Guinness record for being the world's tallest fountain complex located in a public park, it's a delightful blend of art, technology and nature.

This evening gather with fellow travel companions at an iconic restaurant within a 300-year-old colonial mansion for a special welcome dinner.
Overnight: Hotel Estelar Miraflores (D)

Day 2: Lima
Today revel in the myriad of flavors that define delicious Peruvian cuisine.

Begin in the bohemian district of Barranco to sample organic Peruvian coffee. Explore the colorful streets and sights, including the Bridge of Sighs. Continue to a traditional market to taste local fruits and gain insight into local ingredients and their influence on the evolution of world cuisine. Next sip on a Pisco Sour and enjoy a tasting of Peruvian dishes at a popular restaurant in the San Isidro district. Conclude the tasting tour at a pre-Inca archaeological complex, where you'll delight in an ancient dessert with a modern touch.

Later explore the extensive collection of ceramics, fabrics and precious metals at the Larco Museum situated within an 18th-century viceroyalty mansion. The exhibits display some 30,000 ancient artifacts spanning 5,000 years of Peruvian history.
Overnight: Hotel Estelar Miraflores (B,L)

Day 3: Lima | Flight to Cusco | Sacred Valley
After breakfast return to the airport for the brief flight to Cusco. Arriving at Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport, board the group transfer to your hotel stopping for lunch en route with fantastic photography opportunities of panoramic views over the Sacred Valley. This 70-mile narrow strip of land in the Peruvian Andes runs roughly from the old imperial capital of Cusco to the enigmatic citadel of Machu Picchu.

Later today visit the Yucay Museum of Living Culture for a guided visit.

The evening is at leisure to refresh before tomorrow's expedition to the heights of Peru.
Overnight: Sonesta Posada Yucay (B,L)

Day 4: Sacred Valley | Machu Picchu | Sacred Valley | Cusco
Early this morning depart for the Ollantaytambo train station to board the Vistadome train to Aguas Calientes, a town along the Urubamba River Valley that is a gateway to the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. The journey through breathtaking landscapes is a treat in itself, with panoramic windows framing nature's majesty. As the mist parts, Machu Picchu's stone citadel emerges, a testament to human ingenuity.

Disembark the train for a bus ride up the mountain. Lunch will be at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge followed by guided exploration of the ruins. Learn about the archaeology and history of Intihuatana (the Sun Dial), the Sacred Plaza and the Temple of the Sun with time to wander, hike and take pictures of the photogenic site.

In the afternoon return to the Vistadome train for the return to Cusco.
Overnight: Aranwa Cusco (B,L)

Day 5: Cusco
After breakfast set out on a city tour to discover the archaeological sites of Sacsayhuaman, and Inca megalithic complex, and Qorikancha (Temple of the Sun), followed by a visit to colorful San Pedro market.

Lunch is at Villa Tipon featuring a traditional Pachamama ceremony (offering to the Earth) and live music performance.

Afterward visit a local artisan chocolate shop for an engaging tour and tasting. Delve into the realm of Peruvian cocoa, discovering the secrets behind the cacao bean as you learn from local experts gaining insight into the art of chocolate-making. Immerse yourself in the process from bean to bar, and appreciate the cultural significance of cocoa in Peru's history.
Overnight: Aranwa Cusco (B,L)

Day 6: Cusco | Flight to Lima | Paracas
Following breakfast and the return flight to Lima, take the approximate 3.5-hour drive to the coastal town of Paracas. Check into your hotel and unwind before rejoining the group for a presentation on the Nazca Lines and pre-Incan history and cultures. 

The remainder of the day and evening are at leisure to enjoy the luxurious hotel amenities.
Overnight: La Hacienda Bahía Paracas (B,L)

Day 7: Paracas | Ica | Paracas
This morning includes an optional excursion—a unique opportunity to get a birds-eye view over the Nazca Lines during a 90-minute aerial tour.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the world's most intriguing archaeological mysteries, the intricate designs are etched into the arid plains of the Nazca Desert. Dating back to the Nazca culture which flourished between 200 BCE and 600 CE, these enormous geoglyphs can only be fully appreciated from above, and they continue to captivate researchers, archaeologists and visitors alike. Despite their creation more than 2,000 years ago, the Nazca Lines have been remarkably well-preserved. The stability of the climate in the Nazca Desert, with almost no rainfall, has played a crucial role in protecting these ancient marvels. (This excursion must be purchased from Orbridge Guest Services in advance to guarantee availability. Purchase is non-refundable inside 90 days from departure.)

Later, set off towards Ica for an exciting open-air dune buggy adventure through the sand dunes, including a visit to a winery followed by a beautiful sunset picnic dinner.
Overnight: La Hacienda Bahía Paracas (B,D)

Day 8: Paracas | Ballestas Islands
After breakfast depart for a morning of discovery during a relaxing boat ride around the Ballestas Islands—a small archipelago located off the coast of Paracas. These islands are a haven for avian life including penguins, petrels, boobies, cormorants and American oystercatchers. The Ballestas Islands are a protected reserve, emphasizing the importance of preserving the diverse ecosystems and wildlife.

See the Paracas Candleabra, a massive geoglyph etched into the northern face of the Paracas Peninsula. This enigmatic figure resembles a three-branched candlestick and is best viewed from the water. While the purpose and origin of the candelabra remain uncertain, some theories suggest it may have served as a navigational aid for sailors.

The remainder of the afternoon and evening are at leisure at the property. Perhaps visit the Bahía Paracas Hacienda Museum, play a round of tennis, or paddleboard or kayak off the beach.
Overnight: La Hacienda Bahía Paracas (B)

Day 9: Paracas | Lima | Depart for U.S.
After breakfast, depart for Lima where a group hospitality room will be provided at the hotel before transferring to the airport for departing flights home this evening.

Guests continuing on the post-tour will fly from Lima to Iquitos. 
Hospitality Room: Wyndham Costa del Sol

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

(Itinerary subject to change.)

Activity Level

Moderate

Activities are generally not very strenuous, however, we expect that guests can enjoy two hours or more of walking each day, are sure-footed on cobbled and unpaved surfaces, and can walk up and down stairs without assistance. Historic city centers are usually more accessible by foot than by vehicle, and sometimes it is not possible for your motor coach to drop you off at site entrances. Due to the structure of some buildings, facilities for the disabled may be limited. Dexterity to use kitchen tools and participate in lessons is not necessary, but adds to the enjoyment of this program. 

Your Guide(s)

Orbridge Expedition Leader

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On this program, you will have the benefit of an expert Expedition Leader with extensive local knowledge and experience as a cultural, historic, and naturalist interpreter. With their contribution of exceptional know-how and enthusiasm adding depth to your experience, enjoy the cultures and locations you explore with added confidence, understanding, and appreciation. 

Accommodations

Hotel Estelar Miraflores – Lima

Hotel Estelar is located in the heart of the upscale and suburban Miraflores District, known for its many galleries, as well as cultural and historical venues. These include Sala Luis Miró Quesada Garland, Virgen Milagrosa Church, Kennedy Park, Ricardo Palma Cultural Center and Miraflores Central Park. Enjoy contemporary and spacious rooms, a rooftop pool with terrace, a large fitness center and panoramic city views from Estelar's restaurant, Piso 21.

Room Amenities: Individual climate control, TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, phone, coffee maker, and en suite bathroom with sundries and hair dryer.

Sonesta Posadas del Inca – Yucay

Located in the heart of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, this hotel is a former 18th-century, colonial-style monastery surrounded by beautiful gardens. Rooms offer the comfort of modern amenities and the charm of rustic decorative features. 

Room Amenities: Individual climate control, TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, phone, safe, and en suite bathroom with sundries and hair dryer.

Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel

This luxurious property is situated near Cusco's main square, only minutes away from colonial buildings, restaurants and shops. Built in a 16th-century mansion, its décor, sculptures and carvings accentuate the colonial period. Each room is well-appointed and elegantly decorated with traditional furniture and frescoes.

Room Amenities: System supplying an additional 30% oxygen—to assist in preventing ill effects from altitude sickness (request at check-in to have this feature turned on), individual climate control, LCD TV, iPod docking station, complimentary Wi-Fi, phone, safe, minibar, and en suite bathroom with organic sundries and hair dryer.

La Hacienda Bahía Paracas

This coastal property blends details of the surrounding atmosphere with luxurious accommodations. After an exciting day of exploration, escape to the spacious outdoor swimming pool or take advantage of the fitness room.

Room Amenities: Private terrace, individual climate control, LCD TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, phone, safe, minibar, coffee maker, and en suite bathroom with sundries and hair dryer.

Deluxe Accommodations Package (availability limited)
While all accommodations at the listed properties are exceptional, guests seeking more spacious rooms and additional amenities may choose to purchase the Deluxe Accommodations Package, which includes the following upgrades:

• Hotel Estelar Miraflores – Lima: Upgrade to larger Superior Room
Sonesta Posada del Inca: Upgrade to larger Superior Suite, featuring a living area with sofa and flat-screen TV
• Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel – Cusco: Upgrade to larger Superior Deluxe Room adjacent to the inner courtyard and features a bathroom with jacuzzi tub and heated floors
• La Hacienda Bahía Paracas: Upgrade to larger Suite

(Accommodations subject to change.)

Optional Post-Tour

Amazon


Uncover the wonders of the Amazon alongside expert guides who share their profound knowledge of the flora, fauna and indigenous cultures that call this region home. Every moment of this journey provides a symphony of sensory experiences—a harmonious blend of exploration and reverence for the natural world.

Itinerary

Daily activities on this post-tour will be determined by weather, opportunities to view wildlife, and other various elements that make up the incredibly diverse landscape. This itinerary is a general listing of activities and excursions that may happen during any part of the tour.

Day 9: Iquitos | Amazon
Upon arriving to Francisco Secada Vignetta International Airport a guide will assist with your transfer to the boat that carries you into the lush rainforest, navigating the winding waterways to reach Ceiba Tops Lodge. Located directly on the banks of the Amazon River, the lodge offers both comfort and a genuine connection to the wilderness.

Before dinner take time to settle into your accommodations and perhaps explore the property's elaborate gardens or relax in the lounge.
Overnight: Ceiba Tops Lodge (L,D)

Day 10: Amazon
Today discover why the Amazon is a birder's paradise. After breakfast join a skilled guide on a birding expedition to spot for the wildly diverse avian species in the area. Embrace the beauty of this vibrant forest as you listen to the melodious symphony of its inhabitants.

Later venture into the heart of the rainforest on the Bushmaster Trail, a hiking experience that takes you through various ecosystems. Feel the pulse of the jungle underfoot as you encounter the enchanting flora and fauna that thrive in this pristine environment.

A visit to a Yagua Indian Village highlights the living traditions of indigenous communities. Engage in meaningful interactions, gaining insights into their way of life and how they preserve cultural connections.

End the day's adventures with a scenic trail walk before returning to the lodge for dinner.
Overnight: Ceiba Tops Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 11: Amazon
Following breakfast embark upon a scenic boat ride on the Amazon River, converging with the Napo River to reach the Explornapo Lodge amidst the Sucusari Reserve. Take an exhilarating canopy walk through the forest along one of the world's longest suspended treetop walkways. At over 100-feet above ground, it's an exciting way to experience the rainforest from a unique vantage point.

Afterward explore the fascinating local flora and their traditional uses during an ethnobotanical garden tour. Discover the delicate balance between nature and culture as you learn about the medicinal and practical applications of the rainforest's botanical treasures.
Overnight: Ceiba Tops Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 12: Amazon | Iquitos | Lima
Rise for breakfast then hike a land trail along the majestic Amazon River tracing its ancient course and witnessing the ever-changing landscapes. The dichotomy between the serenity of the riverbanks and the energy of the rainforest offers a glimpse into the Amazon's rhythm of life.

Delve into the region's history and craftsmanship with a tour of a sugar cane rum factory. Witness the art of distillation and savor the flavors of locally produced spirits, a testament to the fusion of heritage and innovation.

Returning to Iquitos by boat, transfer to the airport for the return flight to Lima.
Overnight: Wyndham Costa del Sol Airport (B,L)

Day 13: Lima | Depart for U.S.
After breakfast guests departing during the suggested times take the complimentary transfer to the airport for flights home. (B)

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner 

Post-tour space is limited. We recommend reserving early for best availability.

This post-tour is not escorted by an Orbridge Expedition Leader. Included sightseeing is accompanied by local guides.

(Itinerary subject to change.)

Activity Level

Active

Guests should be in very good physical condition and able to walk one to three miles daily on unpaved rainforest paths with heavy vegetation. Paths may be uneven and slippery. Guests will need to be comfortable ascending 30-50 steep steps at a time as well able to board small vessels that will be unsteady on the water. Guests should be prepared to be actively engaged for full day activities at a moderate pace throughout.

Accommodations

Ceiba Tops Lodge

One of the newest additions to the family of Explorama properties, Ceiba Tops Lodge is located on the banks of the Amazon River just 25 miles from Iquitos. During leisure time enjoy the property's elaborate gardens, hammock house and welcoming lounge area—all nestled within the breathtaking rainforest.

Room Amenities: Individual climate control, one king or two twin beds, and en suite bathroom.

Wyndham Costa del Sol Lima Airport

Travelers appreciate this property for its convenient location directly across from the Lima airport. The hotel offers modern amenities and conveniences, including a restaurant, spa (additional fees apply) and fitness facilities.

Room Amenities: Individual climate control, cable/satellite TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, phone, alarm clock/radio, safe, coffee and tea maker, minibar, and en suite bathroom with sundries and hair dryer.

Deluxe Accommodations Package (availability limited)
While the accommodations are exceptional, guests seeking more spacious rooms and additional amenities may choose to purchase the Deluxe Accommodations Package, which includes the following upgrade:

Cieba Tops Lodge: Upgrade to larger Junior Suite

(Accommodations subject to change.)

What's Included

  • 3 nights at Ceiba Tops Lodge (or similar)
  • 1 night at Wyndham Costa del Sol Airport (or similar)
  • 4 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 3 dinners
  • All guided excursions and activities listed in the 5-day itinerary including entrance fees
  • Luggage porterage
  • Gratuities to local guide, driver and porters
  • Airport transfers for guests departing during the suggested times

Terms and Conditions