DAY 1 LIMA
Pick up upon arrival at Lima’s airport and transportation to the hotel.
Overnight (No meals)
DAY 2 LIMA - CHICLAYO
Early in the morning transfer to the airport where you will take the flight
to Chiclayo (airfare not included).
Upon arrival transfer to the hotel and after some rest time we set off for
the mud-brick pyramid that made world headlines in 1987 with one of the most
sensational finds of recent archaeology. Known as the Huaca Rajada -- the "Cracked
Pyramid", because of the deep gulleys weathered into its flanks -- this
eroded adobe platform yielded fabulous ancient treasures from a series of
deeply buried tombs of the pre-Inca Moche culture, who lived in the valleys
of Peru's north coast 1,500 years ago. To get there we drive east up the
broad, flat Reque valley past fields of sugarcane studded with varicolored
pastel foothills of the great Andean chain, then arriving at the modern
village of Sipán. Here we see the tombs themselves, with superb
reconstructions of the burials of priests and chieftains, together with
their sacrificed guards and companions.
A highly informative site museum tells the story of this extraordinary
civilization, who created some of the finest pottery, jewelry and
goldworking of the Americas -- while also staging macabre costumed rituals
of combat, sacrifice and propitiation as they sought to mediate a never-ending
struggle between the forces of Order and Chaos.
We return to Chiclayo for a delicious lunch of Peru's northern-style cuisine,
and then continue on to Lambayeque, where we visit the Royal Tombs of Sipán
Museum. This modern building, representing the style of a Moche pyramid, was
built to house the stunning and priceless objects unearthed at Sipán. (A
single looted object from the tombs was intercepted at an auction in the U.S.
-- carrying a reserve price of $1.6 million!)
Here we see the incredible array of precious symbols and images, stones and
shell necklaces, ear-plugs and headdresses that were worn and displayed at
Moche ceremonies, and also learn what is known of their meaning. This
astonishing visit ends at an "animated waxworks" exhibit of the lords and
retinue of the Moche court, allowing us to glimpse and imagine the world of
an unfamiliar but dazzling civilization that thrived here at a time when
Europe was sliding into the Dark Ages after the fall of the Roman Empire.
After these sensational experiences we drive to an oasis of calm at Tucumé,
today's final destination. Here we see the chronological sequence that
followed the fall of the Moche, at a site where their descendants, the Sicán
culture, continued to amass millions of adobe bricks for the building of
mighty pyramids -- including the longest of its kind in the world, at more
than 700m/2,300ft -- but were now influenced by highland tribes, and began
to abandon their old ways. The history of this scenic site -- extensively
investigated by the famed Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl -- leads us all
the way to the Incas, who conquered the region not long before they, in turn,
were conquered by the Spanish. We can climb to a viewing platform with
superb views of the surrounding pyramids and the dry woodland habitat of the
Leche valley. We can also visit the small, intimate and low-tech site museum,
to enjoy the excellent collection of excavated objects, dioramas of daily
life, and models of the pyramids.
We return to Chiclayo for an overnight stay. (L)
DAY 3 CHICLAYO TO TRUJILLO: ACROSS THE NORTH PERUVIAN DESERT TO TRUJILLO
AND THE MOCHE PYRAMIDS OF THE SUN AND MOON.
In the morning, we'll travel with our guide by private car or bus to
Trujillo. This half-day journey south down the Pan-American highway offers a
shifting panorama of scenes from coastal Peru, alternating irrigated river
valleys such as the Jequetepeque and Chicama, with stretches of arid dune
and rocky desert. We make a stop at pacasmayo to enjoy a delicious lunch.
Upon request optional visit the archaeological site of El Brujo: This site
featured in National Geographic magazine after the sensational discovery
here of the mummy of a tattooed priestess, buried with a variety of
ceremonial and military accoutrements. An extraordinary array of
multicolored murals dating from seven or more phases of construction depicts
both scenes from the daily lives of the Moche, and gory rituals of sacrifice.
Additional: $76 per person based on single and $46 based on double
We arrive in Trujillo in the early afternoon. This city, founded in 1534 on
the orders of Francisco Pizarro, maintains a colonial atmosphere, with its
spacious main square, and marvelous colonial-period adobe buildings in the
coastal colonial style, featuring huge barred windows and massive wooden
doorways. We continue onwards, driving a short way from Trujillo, to visit
the Huaca de la Luna, and the Huaca del Sol, two huge flat-topped pyramids
built by the Moche culture between 0 and 600A.D. The Huaca de la Luna is an
extraordinary demonstration of what patient long-term archaeology can
achieve. Here, at a site that has been well known and frequently looted for
centuries, excavations have revealed layer upon layer of ancient
construction, uncovering wall after wall of colorful friezes that were
intentionally buried by the Moche, and had not seen the light of day for one-and-a-half
thousand years. Bloodthirsty fanged deities and exotic gods in the form of
spiders, snakes felines, octopi and other marine creatures rub shoulders
with lines of dancers, warriors and naked prisoners, and scenes of ritual
combat. One wall is covered with such a multitude of mystifying symbols that
it has been labeled simply "The Complicated Theme" -- until some future
archaeologist can offer a plausible explanation of them. A site museum to
display material unearthed here is under construction, and when opened it
will be part of this visit.
We return to Trujillo to spend the night. Overnight. (B, L)
DAY 4 TRUJILLO TO LIMA: COLONIAL TRUJILLO, THE PICTURESQUE BEACH RESORT
OF HUANCHACO, AND THE PRE-INCA CITY OF CHAN CHAN.
In the morning we tour the historic center of Trujillo, a city whose heart
still pulses with colonial splendor. We visit the immense main square and
the spacious mansions built by Spanish and Creole gentry during the 17th and
18th centuries. Then we make our way through Trujillo towards the coast,
arriving at the great Chimú center of Chan Chan, the largest adobe city ever
built. It was in fact an elite settlement, a series of nine enormous palaces
belonging to successive rulers of the Chimú realm. At its height the
population here may have reached 50,000 people. Many of them were artists
and craftspeople, who made the sumptuous goldwork, textiles and pottery for
which the Chimú were famous. At the Tschudi palace enclosure we enter a
labyrinthine series of courtyards lined with clay friezes of fish and ocean
birds, and walled in places with an open meshwork adobe building style
believed to represent fishing nets. We visit inner patios, residences,
administrative buildings, temples, platforms and storehouses, and a huge
reservoir where "sunken gardens" may have produced specialized crops for the
We continue on to the nearby beach resort of Huanchaco, where we have a
chance to try the superb seafood of Trujillo at a restaurant overlooking the
Pacific Ocean. Here fishermen still paddle out to sea, kneeling on
caballitos de totora -- little one-man reed rafts which have been used for
millennia to collect the abundant bounty of the Pacific ocean.
In the afternoon we drive to the airport in time for our flight to Lima (Airfare
Not included) Upon arrival transfer to your accommodation. Overnight (B,L)
DAY 5 PUERTO MALDONADO
Early breakfast and pick up to go to the airport for your flight to Puerto
Maldonado (airfare not included).
Transfer from Puerto Maldonado airport to the river port on the Madre de
Dios River. A 25 minutes journey down the Madre de Dios River by motor canoe
brings you to the riverside trailhead to Sandoval Lake Lodge. From here the
trail takes you on a 2-miles (3,2-kilometers) walk through secondary forest,
until we reach a small canal where we board canoes and are paddled 220 yards
(201 meters) through a flooded forest of 100-foot (30-meters) tall Mauritia
palms. As the canal opens onto the shimmering surface of the lake, we
transfer to a catamaran and are leisurely paddled across half the lake to
After lunch and a brief rest to avoid the early afternoon heat, we will
learn about the history of the lodge and the philosophy of its founders.
Then we once again board the catamaran and set off to explore the entire
west end of the lake. Here, in the flooded palm forest we drift to the
sounds of hundreds of Red-Bellied Macaws as they return to the palm forest
for the night. This macaw species is found locally in parts of the Amazon,
always living in flooded palm forests such as the beautiful palm stand at
Sandoval Lake. At 500-800 birds, this flock of macaws at Sandoval Lake is
currently the largest reported in the world for this highly-specialized
As night falls we will look for the large and extremely rare Black Caimans.
If it is a clear starlit night, we will also be able to float in the middle
of the lake to marvel at the brilliance of the sky and listen to the sounds
of the forest.
We return to the lodge for a short video or slide presentation and dinner.
At any point, you could step out from the bar to admire the wide variety of
nocturnal moths, beetles and praying mantis attracted to our black light in
the lodge clearing.
For those with lots of energy, our guide will take us on a short night-walk
into the forest behind the lodge. (B, L,D).
DAY 6 SANDOVAL LAKE
A pre-dawn wake-up call will enable us to be on the lake for sunrise and a
hopeful encounter with the family of Giant Otters who frequent the lake and
are most active at this time of day. Sandoval Lake offers abundant wildlife
including over 40 species of birds resident to its lake margins, most of the
fish-eating water birds around the lake actively fish in the early morning
as well, and this outing should provide excellent views, of the prehistoric-
looking Hoatzins, These are easy to observe and also photograph from the
paddled canoes or catamarans.
After returning for a late breakfast we set off into the cool under story of
the tall virgin forest near the lake to see some towering wild Brazil Nut
trees and a demonstration of how our hosts collect, open and commercialize
this important natural product.
After lunch and an hour or so to relax we once again board the catamaran to
explore the eastern part of the lake, where we might see one or more of the
five species of monkeys who live in the forest near the lake, such as the
Brown Capuchin Monkey and Squirrel Monkey.
Before dinner we will again enjoy an informative natural history video or
slide presentation. We will leave after dinner to try and spot some Black
Caimans on the lake, or to go on a short night walk through the primary
DAY 7 RAINFOREST
After a dawn breakfast, we will cross the lake by catamaran and take a short
walk into the interior of the Mauritia palm forest to stand beneath and
closely view the impressive morning congregations, this place has a very
interesting concentration of parrots, parakeets and large and small macaws
that can be observed using dead Mauritia palm trees, some of them are
resident nesters (Yellow headed Parrot, Mealy Parrot, Blue headed Parrot,
Scarlet Macaw, blue and Yellow Macaw, Red and Green Macaw, Chestnut fronted
Macaw, Dusky headed Parakeet, Red bellied Macaw, Cobalt winged Parakeet, Tui
Returning from the macaw show we will cross the lake to explore a primary
forest trail and admire the impressive ancient rainforest trees and lianas
with our knowledgeable resident naturalist guide. As we walk, the forest
will be brought to life as your guide explains the ecology of the rainforest
and its diverse flora and fauna.
We return for lunch, and then there is an optional rest for those who would
like to escape the early afternoon heat. For those still full of energy,
there is an option to independently explore some of the forest trails using
our trail map. You might stroll through our medicinal plant garden or watch
hummingbirds visiting the nectar feeders, or the tanagers visiting our fruit
In the cooler late afternoon we will once again board the catamaran to
explore the eastern end of the lake, and hopefully experience a spectacular
sunset over the lake before returning to the lodge for dinner. For some
people, an alternative afternoon activity would be to relax on benches
inside the forest perched above a clear running stream in which a variety of
bathing hummingbirds and forest birds visit.
After dinner, there is a final chance to look for Black Caiman on the lake,
or to go on a short night hike through the forest. (B,L,D)
DAY 8 PUERTO MALDONADO - CUSCO
After early breakfast we leave near dawn and we take a final, shorter paddle
around the west end of the lake to try and glimpse the Giant Otters before
returning by motor canoe for the 35 minutes return trip to the Puerto
Maldonado Airport, taking advantage of valuable early morning wildlife
activity along the river. From here you fly to Cusco (airfare not included).
Upon arrival to Cusco Airport. Reception and transportation to the Hotel
where you will receive an aromatic coca tea to stimulating for the height,
will have the morning to rest and also we suggest you have a light lunch in
either your hotel or in one of the surrounded; in the afternoon we will
depart on a City tour (entrance to the archaeological centers and museums
including) we will visit the Main square, Cathedral, the Koricancha (temple
of the sun) and in addition we will make a route bordering archaeological
centers like Sacsayhuaman Fortress, Q'enko, Puka Pukara and Tambomachay,
tour finishes 6:30pm approximately at the main square in order you can take
dinner in one of the exquisite restaurants in the area, then overnight. (B)
DAY 9 FULL DAY SACRED VALLEY TOUR
Breakfast. You will be picked up at 8:15 am. Full day excursion to the
Urubamba Valley visiting: the colorful Indian market in Pisac where a
mixture of color and tradition will be able appreciated besides will have a
good opportunity to try our bargain skills on the free time to interact with
the local craftsmen to purchase their hand-made souvenirs. The Valley has a
distance of 31 km (19 miles) of Cusco, and an altitude of 2,970 ms (9,700
p), Pisac is located to the entrance of the Sacred Valley and followed by
Ollantaytambo, the older town continuously occupied of the American
continent. The narrow streets of Ollantaytambo, along with their channels
that have not varied from the time Inca, evoke their ancestral inheritance,
lunch in a typical restaurant and then the last visit will be to Chinchero
Chinchero is believed to be the mythical birthplace of the rainbow. Its
major claim to tourism is its colorful Sunday market which is much less
tourist-orientated than the market at Pisac. At the end, return to Cusco
main square at 6:30pm approx.
The night is free for you to eat in a restaurant of your choice; although we
always have plenty of suggestions for you should you require them. (B, L)
Note: Take this tour on market days: Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday
Bilingual Guided tour on different days
DAY 10 MACHUPICCHU OVERNIGHT TOUR
Early breakfast and pickup to go the train station to depart to Machu Picchu,
the trip takes about 4 hours. During the trip we will have an amazing view
of the landscapes of the Sacred Valley of Urubamba and the Amazon rainforest
providing you a small hint of how much Peru has to offer. Upon arrival to
the little town of Aguas Calientes you will have to approach the bus station
towards the “Ciudadela of Machu Picchu” (Only 20 minutes ride) to receive a
professional guided tour by this Huge Historical Sanctuary follow by some
free time to explore the zone on your own and then take your buffet lunch at
the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge restaurant (included), an according time,
we will go down to the Aguas Calientes town to relax at the hot springs or
just overnight at the select hotel in Aguas Calientes town. (B,L).
DAY 11 MACHU PICCHU / CUZCO
Breakfast and rest of day at leisure by your own (entrance and bus fee to
Machu Picchu not included on this day) in the afternoon return to Cusco.
Reception at the train station and transfer to the Hotel where it passed the
Upon request: You can make a second visit to Machu Picchu and have the
chance to know hidden places, such as the Intipunku (Gate of the Sun) or for
more adventures can take a hike to the top of Huayna Picchu (Young Mountain)
to visit the Temple of the Moon and enjoy a spectacular view of the city. Or
if you have good physical conditions can take a hike full of adrenaline to
the Putukusi mountain opposite position than Machu Picchu which allows us to
have other unforgettable views from this new wonder.
DAY 12: TRANSFER OUT
Breakfast and according time, transportation will be provided to go the
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