This expertly crafted, fifteen-day itinerary combines the very best of South America’s most alluring and adventurous destinations: the sacred ruins of Peru and the wondrous enchantment of the exotic Galapagos Islands. Begin in Peru’s electric capital of Lima, where you’ll visit the city’s main historical highlights. Next, explore the Sacred Valley of Cusco by way of horseback, the Piuray Lagoon by way of stand-up paddle board, and visit the markets and archeological ruins of Pisac.
Hike through the famed ruins of Machu Picchu, wander through Incan museums and enjoy decadent meals in scenic settings. The second half of your trip introduces you to the “Enchanted Isles” of the Galapagos, one of the most unique ecosystems on Earth and home to exotic wildlife found nowhere else, by way of combining a stay on land with a comfortable yacht. On a true journey of a lifetime, white coral beaches, volcanic summits, and seabird nesting colonies combine with pristine seas full of incredible marine life and premier snorkeling experiences await you.
We will enter the Convent of San Francisco to visit the underground crypts known as catacombs.
Then we will continue through the Larco Herrera Museum, the only Viceregal mansion from the 17th century built on a pre-Columbian pyramid from the 8th century. This fabulous museum has the exquisite “Gold and Silver of Ancient Peru” Collection and the famous Erotic Art Room. It is one of the few museums in the world that allows you to visit its vault of treasures, which presents more than 45,000 archaeological pieces classified by recognized specialists and scholars. The Larco Museum is the most extensive and dazzling private collection of pre-Columbian Peruvian art worldwide. We will continue with the residential area of Lima that includes El Olivar de San Isidro, Miraflores, and Larcomar, which is the distinctive tourist center of today’s Lima and a privileged point to appreciate a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean.
In the afternoon, our excursion begins in the Plaza de Armas, where the church of the company stands out, the cathedral that was built on the palace of the Inca Wiracocha. The façade and interior are dominated by the Renaissance style, with rich interior decoration in cedar and alder carvings. The choir and the pulpit stand out for their beauty. It preserves a significant collection of paintings from the Cusco school and embossed silver objects. We will continue through the Koricancha or Temple of the Sun, on which the church and the convent of Santo Domingo were built. The convent has a valuable art gallery with paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries. Then, we will visit the four ruins surrounding the city, Kenko, an ancient religious center; Tambomachay called “The Baths of the Inca”; Pucapucara and Sacsayhuaman; ancient fortresses that impress with their architecture.
After this beautiful visit, we will have a lunch prepared by our host Elena in her home with organic ingredients, and we will be able to enjoy the varieties of potatoes their family grows above 3800 meters above sea level.
We will continue to Urubamba, where lunch will be served. Then, we will visit the fortress of Ollantaytambo, an impressive building highlighting the Temple of the Sun with its gigantic granite monoliths, whose weight exceeds 50 tons, and the Terrace of Ten Niches. Accommodation in a hotel in the Sacred Valley.
Visit Tres Chimbadas Lake Thirty minutes by boat and a forty-five-minute walk take us to the shores of Tres Chimbadas Lake. From here, a catamaran and a native rower will take us for a silent tour of the lake to appreciate the lake fauna at its peak activity. We will look for alligators, riverside birds, and the peculiar shanshos, and with luck, we will be able to observe the river otter family (seen by 60% of our visitors), known as the largest freshwater otters in the world. Its busiest point is from dawn until about 8 or 9 AM.
Parrot Clay Lick is only twenty minutes from the lodge. From a hiding place, you can observe at a distance of approximately twenty meters how dozens of parrots and parakeets descend on most clear days to feed on the clay of the clay lick. The clay lick is visited early in the morning, late in the morning, or in the afternoon, depending on when the greatest activity is observed.
Ethnobotanical Tour Twenty minutes downriver by boat is the Ñape Center. This center is a communal organization that produces medicines based on the medicinal plants that grow in this ethnobotanical center. It administers them to people who come here to be cured. Plants that are used for medicinal purposes, as well as for other purposes such as construction or transportation, are presented in a road system.
Night Walk We will have the opportunity to walk at night, which is the time of activity for most mammals, although it is difficult to observe. Frogs with shapes and sounds as outlandish as their natural histories are far more common.
In the morning, you will start your way back to Puerto Maldonado. After arriving at the port, you can pick up the luggage you left at the hostel office before returning by local flight to the city of Lima.
Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure, and we suggest you visit (not included) the Magic Water Circuit, the largest fountain complex in the world, certified by Guinness World Records. Monumental water fountains present a show with illuminated waters that go to the rhythm of the music. Another option is the traditional district of Barranco with bars where you can enjoy classic cocktails such as the chilcano or the famous pisco sour.
Let your imagination take you to the Bolivian Altiplano and Lake Titicaca, through the stunning Salar de Uyuni, or around La Paz’s hillsides. Our Bolivia photo gallery displays some of these picturesque sites to get you started in creating your own Bolivian vacation photos.
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