Departing from South Africa on 08 June, the group flies on SAA via Sao Paolo to Lima, names “City of Kings” by the Spanish conquistadors. Lima is indeed a city of contrasts, a microcosm of Peruvian history from the pre-Inca civilizations through to the founding of the city in 1535 by the Spaniards right up to the present times. It is also renowned for its nearby pre-Inca archaeological sites as well as for its fabulous museums.
From Lima, the tour flies to colonial Arequipa, Peru’s second largest city, surrounded by the Andes mountains and lying in the shadow of the magnificent El Misti, Chachani and Pichu Pichu volcanoes.
The itinerary then proceeds to the Colca Canyon, the deepest canyon in the world. With walls towering 1000m above the valley floor, it is home to nesting condors and is one of the best locales to spot these majestic birds as they soar on the early morning thermals.
A short flight takes the group to Juliaca for the onward transfer to Puno, the highest navigable lake in the world. Lake Titicaca is full of history, ancient legends, sacred sites and living history as age-old traditions are continued and developed on and around its waters. We will spend a day exploring the Uros floating reed islands and Taquile Island. Two nights will be spent in Puno before proceeding by coach to the fabulous city of Cusco. This is a fascinating drive through spectacular scenery with many pyramid complexes, temples and colonial villages with magnificent artwork in the local churches.
Two nights will be spent in Cusco, the “Archaeological Capital of South America”, and capital of the fabled Inca Empire. Most striking in Cusco, is the intermingling of three cultures; the native Quechua Indian, the conquering colonial Spanish and the modern. It is a beautiful city with cobblestone streets steeped in history, museums, churches, sacred sites with a wonderful ambience.
En route to the Lost City of Machu Picchu, we will drive through the Sacred Valley of the Incas visiting the colourful Pisac market, the salt fields of Maras and the geological depressions of Moray which the Incas used as botanical laboratories in the development of crops. We will spend one night in the Sacred Valley.
The next morning we will travel aboard the Vistadome train for the journey through the narrow gorges to Aguas Calientes, and then by bus through the winding roads and the jungle to the incredible site of Machu Picchu. Here we’ll explore the ruins discovered by the American explorer, Hiram Bingham, in 1911. The marvelous citadel, the Temple of Three Windows, the circular tower, the sacred sundial and burial grounds will leave indelible images forever. We will return by train to Cusco.
Two more nights will be spent in Cusco to enjoy and absorb this fabulous city.
We’ll fly back to Lima and onward to Sao Paolo where we will spend a night and do a half day city tour before our return flight back to South Africa on 20 June, arriving back in Johannesburg on 21 June 2011.
This is a truly special, uplifting trip and one which everybody will enjoy tremendously. History, art, culture, ancient civilizations, fabulous architecture and archaeological sites, amazing natural scenery and spiritual wonder will be experienced.
The group will be escorted from South Africa by liz Cotton and professional local guides will be travelling with the group from arrival in Lima through Peru. This will be a unique an unforgettable experience for every member of the group.
We have received considerable interest in the tour and booking is limited to 17 guests. If you have any queries, or would like to secure your reservation, please contact me on Tel: (021) 786-2598 or cell 083 357 4855.