Rail and Ancient Wonders of Peru
Our tour to Peru is based on the highly successful itinerary we’ve used in previous “in style tours” but with two major improvements. For 2017 the Orient Express are running a luxury service on the previous freight only line from Arequipa to Puno. We have previously hired a charter train to do this line traversing through the high Andes – now we will get to do it” in style”. We have also added in a three day trip to the Olca valley in order to visit the nesting ground of the unique and famous Condors .Other highlights of the tour include our time in Lima, on Lake Titicaca, the Inca city of Cuzco and of course Machu Picchu, one of the wonders of the world. Steve Martin intends to guide this tour as he has done on all our previous tours which also have the benefit of local expert guides in all of the main locations. As befits an “in style tour” accommodation is in four/ five-star hotels and there are a number of highly memorable gourmet meals included within the itinerary.
Tour Manager: Stephen Martin
Day 1 Monday 23 October Flights are available from various UK airports via Amsterdam or Madrid. We are meet on arrival and taken by executive coach to the 5 star Marriott hotel in a beautiful coastal suburb of Lima. Alternatively if you would like more time to adjust to the time difference we can arrange for an earlier arrival.
Day 2 Tuesday 24 October (B, L) Morning at leisure and to enjoy the local area. Lunch will be taken at an original colonial house, Casa Aliaga close to the city centre. The Casa Aliaga was built in 1535, on a piece of land given by Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro to Geronimo de Aliaga as recognition for his military services during the conquest of Peru. Since then, it has been inhabited by members of the Aliaga family and it is kept in perfect state of conservation. In the afternoon we have a tour of the colonial city centre and a visit to Larco archaeological Museum.
This tour includes points of interest such as the Main Square (Plaza Mayor) founded in 1535 by Francisco Pizarro, conqueror of Perú, Government Palace, City Hall, the Cathedral, the San Francisco Convent, built in the 17th century, and its “Catacombs” ancient underground cemetery of Lima, and finally the House of El Oidor. During the tour, you will see other colonial architectural jewels, such as Torre Tagle Palace, a beautiful mansion dating back to the 18th century and the Osambela House.
Continuing the tour we will visit the Larco Herrera Museum, which contains an extraordinary collection of pre-Colombian Peruvian art. Includes an exquisite Collection of Peruvian Gold and Silver from the olden days and the Pre-Hispanic Erotic Art Salon; It also has different showrooms for mummies, textiles, precious stones, metals and pottery. The tour continues to the new residential and commercial areas of San Isidro and Miraflores. Overnight at the Marroitt.
Day 3 Wednesday 25 October LIMA / AREQUIPA (B,D) Included transfer to the airport for internal flight to Arequipa. Arrival, meet and transfer to your hotel an old Spanish colonial residence.
Visit to the city, beginning with the extraordinary architecture of the Convent of Santa Catalina, opened in 1970 to the public after more than 400 years of religious cloistered life.
Then we visit the Plaza de Armas or Main Square, the Cathedral, Church of La Compañia with all its colonial jewels and its chapel Sixtina, we then crossing the city along the Chili River, going to the Carmen Alto viewpoint, where we will enjoy a beautiful view of a landscape and the origin of the Arequipa´s valley and the colonial district of Yanahuara.
We will also visit “San Camilo” market, the first supplier of goods in Arequipa. This market was built at the end of the 19th century, based on the designs of the well-known engineer Gustave Eiffel. In this market, tourists will be able to appreciate some rituals of our culture. There are some stalls of witchcraft; sellers of herbs for treating different diseases; a section of flowers; numerous stands selling a great variety of potatoes from different parts of the country, among others.
Visit to the Eiffel Bridge on route.
Day 4 Thursday 26 October AREQUIPA / COLCA (B,L) Early in the morning, we depart Arequipa to embark on a journey across a land of snow-covered volcanoes, inhospitable pampas, and incredibly beautiful quaint villages, arriving finally in the Colca Valley.
The first stop will be in the Aguada Blanca National Reserve, whose rugged plains are home to vast herds of Guanaco, Alpaca, and Vicuña. You will continue the journey as you ride along the edge of the crater of the Chucura Volcano, until we reach the Mirador de los Andes (Lookout Point of the Andes) in Patapampa. This lookout point, at 16,100 ft (4,900 m) above sea level, will offer spectacular views of the snow-capped peaks of the various volcanoes surrounding Arequipa, including the Hualca Calca, the Sabancaya, and the Ampato.
Next, you will head to the town of Chivay (close to where the Colca Valley begins) for a closer inspection of the impressive system of platforms and terraces built by the ancient Collagua and Cabana inhabitants. Lunch included in a local restaurant. Rest of the afternoon free to take advantage of the hotel’s amenities and enjoy the tranquility of your surroundings. Overnight in Colca.
Day 5 Friday 27 October COLCA (B,L) Early in the morning, you will travel to the Mirador de la Cruz del Cóndor (Condor Cross Lookout). With its incredibly vast and breath-taking expanses, it is considered to be the best spot in the world to see the majestic Andean Condor in flight. Be on the lookout for the sudden appearance of this emblematic bird on the verge of extinction. With a little luck, you will enjoy a truly awe-inspiring experience as you watch this awesome bird soar, almost magically, ever higher into the infinite blue sky. From this vantage point, you will be able to look out across one of the world’s deepest canyons (13,650 feet [4,160 m] deep at the northern end and 11,800 feet [3,600 m] deep on its southern end). Overnight in Colca.
Day 6 Saturday 28 October COLCA / AREQUIPA / PUNO (B, D) On the way back, you will stop to visit three great villages: Pinchollo Maca, Achoma, and Yanque. Two more must-see stops include the Miradores de Antahuilque (Lookout points of Antahuilque), where you will be able to appreciate the sheer magnitude of the region’s terraces, and Choquetico, with its hanging tombs and tiny irrigation models carved in stone. Return to Arequipa and transfer to the railway station for our tour on the luxury Belmond Andean Explorer where we sleep on the train on the first night.
Day 7 Sunday 29 October PUNO / CUSCO (B, L, D) We arrive on our sleeper train early into Puno early into Puno in time to see the sun rise over Lake Titicaca. We breakfast on board the train before our visits to the Lake and the island people who live there. We lunch on a beach beside the lake.
In the afternoon we see a typical local Andean dance and demonstration of artisan work before travelling to Titicaca station for afternoon tea and a departure to Cusco. After cocktails we dine on board.
Day 8 Monday 30 October 30 CUSCO (B, L) We breakfast on board the train and depart on our onward journey to Cusco stopping at Racqui for a visit before arriving in Cusco at approximately lunchtime where we are transfer to our hotel for an afternoon at leisure.
Day 9 Tuesday 31 October CUSCO (B,L) Having shared the previous three days with other Orient Express clients we are now travelling on our own as a PTG group with an expert local guide. We will begin the tour as we enjoy the best view of the city of Cusco from atop Cerro Pukamoqo (Red Peak), a natural scenic overlook from which the outstretched arms of Cristo Blanco, a massive white statue of Christ, embrace the city in a benevolent gesture. We will then visit the nearby Fortress of Sacsayhuamán, a colossal structure of enormous stones, carved and fitted together with incredible precision.
As we return to the lower part of the city, we will stop off at the San Pedro Market, which being the city’s main street market, will give you an opportunity to get to know the products of Cusco, overwhelming you with the sights, aromas, tastes, and colours of the region.
Just a few blocks away, we will discover one of the most impressive buildings of Incan Cusco: the Korikancha (the Golden Temple) – a temple dedicated to the worship of the Sun God, whose interior walls were said to have been covered in gold. We will complete the day with a stroll through the Main Square, where you will visit the Cathedral and admire its exquisite vestibules and priceless paintings from the Cusco School of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Return to hotel remained day at leisure and the opportunity to explore this historic city centre.
Day 10 Wednesday 1 November CUSCO (B, L) This morning, we will continue the trip toward the Sacred Valley; at 17,40 miles (28 km) away from Cusco, we will find Chinchero village, with an altitude 12,375 feet above sea level (3,772 meters), famous for the extraordinary beauty and quality of its textiles, and for its Sunday fair, where local people dress in traditional colorful outfits and travel down from their villages to trade their goods. The Centre for Traditional Textiles of Cusco : was established in 1996 to aid in the survival of Incan textile traditions. By researching and documenting complex styles and techniques of Incan ancestors, the Centre helps to ensure that 2,000-year-old textile traditions will not be lost for future generations.
We will cross the Urubamba River and head towards the Salt Pans of Maras. The sight of this still-operating salt mine, in use since Incan times, will amaze you the stark white of the steeply descending salt pans juxtaposed against the green of the surrounding mountain slopes.
Private gourmet picnic lunch with “Tribute to the Earth” religious ritual – a speciality on our in style tour which has always been greatly enjoyed by previous clients.
Finally, we will visit one of the last remaining Incan towns, Ollantaytambo, which was once fiercely guarded by a massive fortress. Discover the large archeological complex of what used to serve as a wayside inn for royal delegations on long journeys. Surviving structures here include multiple walls and towers that were used to protect the citadel from possible invasions.
Day 11 Thursday 2 November CUSCO / MACHU PICCHU / AGUAS CALIENTES (B,L) On Day 11 you will visit the Santuario Histórico de Machu Picchu (Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu). Aboard a comfortable train, we depart from the Aguas Calientes railway station, enjoying spectacular views along the way. Upon arrival, we board a bus that will take you to the entrance gate of the Machu Picchu citadel. Rediscovered by Hiram Bingham more than a century ago, Machu Picchu is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Its architectural beauty, spectacular natural landscapes and the energy held in its enigmatic structures will take your breath away. Follow in the footsteps of the ancient Incans as you explore this magical citadel along with the tour guide.
Tonight we stay in a ecohotel in the heart of the nature reserve close to Machu Picchu.
Day 12 Friday 3 November AGUAS CALIENTES / CUSCO (B, D) In the morning we can enjoy various nature trails and guided tours around the nature reserve for transferring back to the station return journey to Cusco. Tonight we enjoy a very special dinner at the Museum of pre-Columbian art in square opposite our hotel.
Day 13 Saturday 4 November CUSCO / LIMA (B,L) After the hotel we transfer to Cusco airport for a return flight to Lima where we are met and transferred to Hacienda Mamacoa for a spectacular horse show and typical local lunch.
The Peruvian Paso horse has evolved as one of the purest breeds in the world and as a unique entity in the horse kingdom. The existence of this breed has been called “the greatest triumph of genetic selection ever achieved by a group of breeders.” Thanks to its unique, inborn, four beat lateral gait, the Peruvian Paso horse is undoubtedly the smoothest riding horse in the world. After this we transfer back to the hotel for our final night.
Day 14 Sunday 5 November LIMA (B, L) Transfer to the international airport for return flights to the UK or option to continue onto our Ecuador tour.
Day 15 Monday 6 November Arrival back into the UK.