Exploring Peru - Off the Beaten Track Culture, Culinary & History
|Adventure Travel > Nibbles and Sips Tours > Exploring Peru - Off the Beaten Track Culture, Culinary & History|
An exploration of some of the more off-the-beaten track areas in this diverse country. Pre-Incan sites; some of the most ancient historic sites in South America; along with the famous site of Machu Picchu; and some wonderful cultural and culinary activities. This 20-day tour delves into more than just the normal tourist sites, which means a one-of-a-kind experience and the perfect vacation.
ADDITION RATE INFORMATION
Rate based on double occupancy.
Single supplement applies. $1055.00 CAD, or ask us about pairing you with a same sex room mate.
5% GST not included.
International flights not included.
Day 1: Arrive LimaLima, Peru
You are met by your local representative and your private transport in the international airport in Lima and taken to your hotel in the Miraflores area.
Miraflores is located about 45 minutes away from the International Airport, right along the coast, and is a popular and safe place for travelers to stay. There are many stores, activities and fantastic restaurants in the area, as well as beautiful walking areas along the cliffs overlooking the ocean.
Day 2: Lima Culinary Tour And Pachacamac, Travel To TrujilloLima, Peru
We jump right in to Peruvian culture and cuisine this morning as we head off on a culinary adventure! This is a group tour, so we will be joining other travelers for the day. We are picked up at our hotel and from there travel to a typical “Peruvian market”. Here you will find a wide variety of Peruvian products and enjoy unique fruits like “chirimoya”, “lúcuma”, “aguaymanto” and “pacae”.
We will also visit the exclusive restaurant “CALA”, where you will learn to prepare the famous “Pisco Sour”, by an expert barman, and the delicious “Ceviche” prepared by the chef of the restaurant. Here we will also enjoy a delicious lunch made up of the most representative dishes of Peruvian cuisine.
After lunch we will travel to the site of Pachacamac. A guided tour here takes us through the splendid Citadel of Pachacamac, The Sanctuary of God Pachacamac, Temple of the Sun, the Temple of Pachacamac and the Acllahuasi or Palace of the Virgins of the Sun.
The god Pachacamac was believed to be the creator of the universe adored by old Andean civilizations. A sacred and ceremonial site, dating back to the beginnings of Christianity, where thousands of pilgrims converged to pay tribute and consult the Pachacamac oracle, who they believed could see the past, the future and fate. The site comprises the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of Pachacamac and the Acllahuasi or Palace of the Virgins of the Sun.
Our excursion begins with a panoramic view of the “Pucllana Pyramid” built in 4th century A.D., and considered as a “sacred village” by the Incas. We will then have a guided tour through the splendid and vast archeological site of the Pachacamac Oracle, also known as the temple of the deity. The old Andean civilizations believed Pachacamac was the creator of the universe. The citadel comprises temples, pyramids and palaces, such as the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of Pachacamac, the “Acllahuasi” or Palace of the Virgins of the Sun, amongst others. The whole area was considered holy and part of the mystical axis of the world.
There may be some free time today before we head back to the airport for a late evening flight to Trujillo. Upon arrival we will be met by our local transport and guide and transferred to our hotel in Huanchaco. Huanchaco is a small beach village with a certain charm. Local fishermen still use the traditional reed boats, and the lazy atmosphere of the town gives us a perfect place to spend a couple of days.
Day 3: Tour Of Chan Chan And Huacas /Peruvian Paso Show And LunchTrujillo, Lima, Peru
Our time along the coast and in the central Andes will give us a great background in the pre-Incan cultures, and allow us to experience some of the more remote areas and the Andean culture. Today we start with some of the pre-Incan sites in the area, along with a unique cultural experience.
We can have a bit of a sleep in and breakfast in the hotel before departing with our local guide and transport to explore the area. We start this morning with a visit to the largest pre-Columbian city in South America – Chan Chan. Chan Chan was once the capital of an empire which stretched across the Peruvian coastline. The city was the seat of the Kingdom of Chimor, which dominated Peru for centuries before the emergence of the Incas. It remains the largest adobe city on earth and is a spectacular record of the society and belief systems of the Chimú culture. The city retains many intricate carvings along its adobe walls which record both the sacred iconography of the Chimú and their daily life, including the animals they hunted and their tools. At its peak in the 15th century, Chan Chan was home to approximately 60,000 people, and the city was divided on strict hierarchical grounds.
We will also visit Huaca de la Luna and Huaca del Sol. Huaca de la Luna is a large adobe brick structure built mainly by the Moche people. Along with the Huaca del Sol, the Huaca de la Luna is part of Huacas de Moche, which is the remains of an ancient Moche capital city called Cerro Blanco, by the volcanic peak of the same name. Archeologists believe that the Huaca del Sol may have served for administrative, military, and residential functions, as well as a burial mound for the Moche elite. The Huaca de la Luna served primarily a ceremonial and religious function, though it contains burials as well.
From here we head to Fundo Palo Marino where we can enjoy lunch with a view of the farm. This unique farm is home to the Association of Horse Breeders, and this afternoon we will be enjoying an authentic horse exhibition with traditional Marinera dance.
The Peruvian Paso or Peruvian Horse is considered the best saddle horse in the world because of its smooth walking. Due to the isolation of the breed for over 400 years (Berber, Arabic and Andalusian cross breeding), the Peruvian Paso developed a very particular body proportion and side walk. This natural lateral gait is called thepaso llano: the horses lift their front leg and hind leg at the same time. The Peruvian Horse has been declared Cultural Heritage of the Nation of Peru since 1992. This demonstrates how much the horse is respected, appreciated and celebrated in Peru.
The horseman riding the Peruvian Horse is called ‘Chalán’. He wears a wide straw hat or ‘jipijapa’ and a brown poncho made of vicuña fiber. The horseman neither jumps neither moves toward the sides on the saddle. He remains almost immobile on the mount. The Peruvian Paso is typical of the northern Peruvian regions. During the show, you’ll be able to appreciate beautiful horses mounted by the ‘chalanes’ wearing their typical clothing. There’s also a dance demonstration of the Marinera, Trujillo style. A special choreography is performed which includes a horse, the chalán and a female dancer.
For those who don’t know the dance, Marinera is a graceful and romantic dance performed by a couple. Both the man and woman use handkerchiefs as props. The dance is a nice blend of different cultures of Peru. It’s considered one of the most popular traditional dances of the country.
We conclude the afternoon with a transfer to the hotel and you have the rest of the day free to enjoy the area. Take a stroll down the beach, or just relax and enjoy.
Day 5: El Brujo And The Lady Of Cao, Travel To ChiclayoChiclayo, Peru
This morning we will depart after breakfast with our local guide and transport to head to the site of El Brujo to visit the Lady of Cao. The Lady of Cao is a name given to a female Moche mummy discovered at the archeological site El Brujo in 2006. The mummy, which was heavily tattooed and wrapped in many layers of cloth, was found with a number of ceremonial items, including weapons and jewelry. Also found were the remains of a second young woman, possibly a human sacrifice. A modern autopsy indicated that the Lady of Cao was in her mid-twenties when she died and may have of died of complications due to pregnancy or childbirth. The estimated date of death for the Lady of Cao is about 450 CE. The richness of the burial site, as well as the presence of weapons, suggest that the woman might have been a high-ranking priestess or even a Moche ruler, possibly governing what is now known as the Chicama District region of northern Peru. Prior to this discovery, it was believed that only men held high rank in the Moche culture. It appears that Moche society was based on loosely aligned ‘states’ ruled by high priest kings or priestess queens and that the division of government was of a more balanced nature. The discovery of the Lady of Cao burial is compared with that of the Lord of Sipan in terms of important archeological discoveries relating to the Moche.
We travel north taking the Pan-American highway to Chocope, and then on to the historical town of Magdalena of Cao. After our visit to the complex, we will stop here to see the shops filled with local crafts. Finally, we arrive to the El Brujo archaeological complex: Huaca Prieta, Huaca El Brujo and Huaca Cao Viejo.
We will visit Huaca Cao with its beautiful polychrome murals. In the Ceremonial Plaza we will see the prisoners and a wall with the Mochica Calendar. Then we head up to the enclosure where the tomb of the Lady of Cao is located. Afterwards, we complete our tour with a visit to the Cao Museum. This museum offers a global vision of the cultural process of the archaeological complex. It is made up of six thematic halls, in which are exhibited textiles, pottery, engraved gourds and ornaments made in wood. The last room is dedicated to the Lady of Cao. The different ornaments used by this important woman were buried with her: earrings, nose rings, crowns, necklaces, tunics and clubs. You can see the well-preserved body with its tattoos of snakes and spiders.
From this site we are going to travel approximately 4 hours north to the city of Chiclayo where we will be spending the night. There is a great restaurant located in the hotel for dinner, or ask your tour leader for suggestions.
Day 6: Sipan And TucumeChiclayo, Peru
We can enjoy breakfast at the hotel this morning before departing for our day tour. Our local guide and transport pick us up to head out to the site of Tucume, which covers an area of over 540 acres and encompasses 26 major pyramids and mounds. This site was a major regional center, maybe even the capital of the successive occupations of the area by the Lambayeque/Sican (800-1350 AD), Chimú (1350–1450 AD) and Inca (1450–1532 AD). Local shaman healers invoke power of Tucume and La Raya Mountain in their rituals, and local people fear these sites. Hardly anyone other than healers venture out in this site at night.
Today we will also visit the Royal Tombs of Sipan Museum, which houses an exceptional exhibition of important archeological remains. The Lord of Sipán is the name given to the first of several Moche mummies found at Huaca Rajada. The site was discovered in 1987. Some archaeologists consider this find to be one of the most important archaeological discoveries in South America in the last 30 years, as the main tomb was found intact and untouched by thieves. By 2007, fourteen tombs had been located and identified at Huaca Rajada. The Royal Tombs of Sipán Museum was constructed to hold most of the artifacts and interpret the tombs.
After this impressive museum we head back to the city for a relaxing evening.
Day 7: Chiclayo To ChachapoyasChachapoyas, Peru
We depart today in our private transport to the town of Chachapoyas. We travel alongside rice fields and agricultural areas before heading upwards into the Andes. There are many opportunities along the route for picture taking and rest stops. We will have a picnic lunch somewhere along the way. You arrive into this small city late in the day and have the evening free to relax. Your tour leader will take you on a short walking tour of the center to help you get oriented. We will be spending the next four nights here, and using the city as a jumping off point to some of the most important sites in the area.
Day 8: KuelapMacro, Chachapoyas, Peru
After enjoying breakfast in the hotel, we join our transport and guide and head off from Chachapoyas for an hour's journey to the archaeological zone of Macro. From here we continue on through towns like Nuevo Tingo, Choctamal, Longuita and Maria, before finally reaching the parking area in Malca Pampa. Our destination is the site of Kuelap. This is a walled settlement located in the mountains and built by the Chachapoyas culture in the 6th century AD on a ridge overlooking the Utcubamba Valley. This pre-Incan site is unique because there are over 550 structures in the site, all which are circular except for 5 of them (which are rectangular or squared). Only the foundations or walls of these structures remain, some of them up to 2 meters high and 50 cm thick. Some walls have friezes of rhomboid and zig-zag shapes, which are protected from the rain by cornices. A few of the structures have been restored.
From the parking lot we walk about 15 to 20 minutes to where we can enter the fortress of Kuelap. During our tour here, we will visit areas such as the ceremonial grounds, the tower, the inkwell, rooms, and more.
After our tour we will head down to have lunch in Maria, before visiting the textile crafts workshop in the same town (communal enterprise of rural women). We travel back to Chachapoyas and you have the rest of the day free.
Day 9: KarajiaLamud, Chachapoyas, Peru
A good breakfast this morning before we head off on our one-hour drive to the town of Lamud. From here we set off on foot to the Village of the Dead (mauselos Chachapoyas). We return to Luya Lamud for lunch, before continuing on to our next destination. We have a short walk of about 20 minutes to visit the sarcophagi or purunmachus Karajia (in Quechua machu purun means wild and old). Karijia is an archaeological site where eight Chachapoyan mummies were discovered on the cliffside, referred to by local residents as the “ancient wise men”. The seven (originally eight) sarcophagi stand up to 2.5 meters tall, constructed of clay, sticks and grasses, with exaggerated jawlines. Their inaccessible location high above a river gorge has preserved them from destruction by looters. However, an earthquake toppled one of the original eight in 1928. They have been radiocarbon dated to the 15th century, coincident with the Inca conquest of the Chachapoya in the 1470s.
We enjoy this unique site before returning to the vehicle and heading back to town for the evening.
Day 10: Gocta WaterfallCocachimba, Chachapoyas, Peru
This morning we want to depart very early in order to be able to hike the trail to the waterfall in peace, and perhaps be able to hear and view the Peruvian national bird: the Cock of the Rock, which can be seen just off the path early in the morning. We start off towards the town of Cocachimba, which is approximately 1.5 hours from Chachapoyas. Our walk starts at the town itself and can take up to 3 hours each way. This is an undulating landscape, so there are a few steep spots both going up and coming back, but the trail is well maintained and easy to walk on. We'll pass by cane fields and a typical sugar mill. We will enjoy the flora and fauna with a magnificent view of the Gocta waterfall throughout the entire hike. Locals have known of the Gocta waterfall for centuries, but it was a secret to the outside world until 2005, when German Stefan Ziemendorff ventured there with a group of Peruvian explorers. Now, it is considered one of the tallest waterfalls in the world, at 2,530 feet high (771 meters). Once we arrive we will have time to enjoy the area and you can even refresh yourself in the cool waters below the falls.
We will return to Cocachimba, where we will can a typical lunch before boarding our transport for our return journey to Chachapoyas. The evening is free to enjoy the town.
Day 11: Revash And LeymebambaLeymebamba, Chachapoyas, Peru
Another day of adventuring in the Chachapoyas area. We depart for the Mausoleums of Revash, which consist of Chullpas of one, two and three floors. In most of these "funeral houses", we can see small paintings and in some cases, you can see primitive designs depicting animals and people.
We will find a great local place to enjoy lunch before heading to our next destination. We travel on to the town of Leymebamba and from there to the Mallqui Museum. This museum holds over 2000 objects, including 200 mummies, quipus, and a collection of material recovered and brought from the Lagoon of the Condors. Of course, since we are here, we can’t miss experiencing the organic coffee at the café across the street from the museum, along with their marvelous garden which attracts many hummingbirds. We will also have a short walking tour of the small town of Leymebamba, which is a great way to experience some of the local life. At the end of the day we head back to Chachapoyas for our last night there.
Day 12: Chachapoyas To TarapotoTarapoto, Peru
We depart this morning after breakfast to travel down into the cloud forest region of Tarapoto. Tarapoto, known as the "City of Palms," is located in the District of San Martín, "la tierra de las cataratas" (the land of waterfalls), and is located on a high jungle plateau. We have time along the way to stop for pictures and rest stops. This journey can take from 4 hours to 6 hours.
We arrive into town and can enjoy a local lunch. We may have time today to have a visit to the Museo Regional, Tarapoto’s quirky little Museo. It may not be overly sophisticated, but the museum has enough points of interest to warrant a short visit. Located just off the main square, the museum houses an eclectic mix of displays, covering everything from large jungle bugs to funerary urns. There’s enough on show for a leisurely hour of browsing.
We spend the rest of the day enjoying the hotel and the area around town.
Day 13: TarapotoTarapoto, Peru
This morning we enjoy breakfast in the hotel before we head off to explore the area. We explore the small village of Chazuta, which is famed throughout the region for its elegant pottery. It has artisanal workshops, a small museum showcasing pre-Inca funerary urns, and a port on the Río Huallaga. Nearby is the impressive 40m, three-level Tununtunumba waterfalls and the Chazutayacu thermal baths.
Later we head off to the Cataratas de Ahuashiyacu. This 40m waterfall is about 45 minutes from Tarapoto toward Yurimaguas. There’s a small restaurant nearby where we could have lunch and a locally favored swimming spot, so bring your bathing suit!
Today we will also visit the Petroglyphs of Polish. This is a site for history buffs. The site lacks any real infrastructure (and few locals or tourists seem to know about it), but the petroglyphs are an intriguing sight. Discovered in 1966, the designs include zoomorphic figures, strange patterns and what is believed to be a large map of the surrounding area. The precise origins of the petroglyphs remain a mystery, but they perhaps date to the Chanca and Pocra cultures, contemporaries of the Incas.
If we can, we will include some other local waterfalls or sites today as well.
Day 14: Tarapoto To CuscoCusco, Peru
This morning we have time to visit Alto Shilcayo, which is just 3km from downtown Tarapoto. This section of the Aréa de Conservación Regional Cordillera Escalera protects dense jungle around the upper Río Shilcayo. The zone is populated by monkeys and many bird species, and there are five rarely-visited waterfalls plus a fantastic natural lookout. Please note that some trails become unpassable when very wet, so if the weather is bad we will not be able to walk some of the trail.
We can return to the town for a late lunch before we head off to the airport. Our flight out departs later in the afternoon. We have one short flight back to Lima, and then change planes to head off to the Imperial City of the Incas: Cusco.
We arrive into Cusco in the early evening and are met by our local transport. There is a significant change in altitude, so we will be taking it easy tonight in order to adjust to the high altitude (3330 masl). We will check into our hotel near the Plaza de Armas, and have some time to accommodate ourselves. Before dinner your tour leader will take you on a short walking tour of the center to orient you to the city’s layout.
Day 15: CuscoCusco, Peru
This morning you can enjoy breakfast in the hotel before we head off to experience this marvelous city. This city was once the center of the Incan universe, as well as an important site of the Spanish, so there is plenty to see and experience in and around the city. Our local guide will start us off from the hotel with a walking tour of the sites in the center of the city. We visit the impressive Plaza de Armas, the main Cathedral, the Sun Temple of Qoricancha, and some of the important Incan streets. A visit to the large local market of San Pedro is also a must this morning.
We meet our transport to head up to the largest archeological site right above the city, Sacsayhuaman. Along the route we will stop at a local restaurant for lunch. Our afternoon will be spent exploring Sacsayhuaman, as well as the other three sites above Cusco: Qenko, Puka Pukara and Tambo Machay.
This evening is free to enjoy the city. There are many artisan markets, shops, and restaurants to visit in the evenings, or enjoy a drink at a local pub. Ask your tour leader for suggestions.
Day 16: Sacred ValleySacred Valley, Cusco, Peru
Early this morning we depart with our transport and local guide to head to the famous Sacred Valley of the Incas. Our first stop is an alpaca and vicuna farm where we can see traditional weaving methods from different areas of Peru, as well as have an opportunity to feed the animals! We stop in various parts to take pictures of this beautiful valley. Our destination on the Valley floor is the town of Pisaq. From here we travel up again to the archeological site of Pisaq, where you spend some time with your guide learning about the site. We return to the town, where we are going to spend some time in the artisan market here. This is a good opportunity to speak to some of the local artists and creators, many of which are women. We will also have lunch here.
There is also an opportunity to stop at a local ceramics factory for a tour. We arrive into the small Incan town of Ollantaytambo, where we are going to spend the night. We can check into our hotel before we head off on foot to explore the town. This unique town is built right on Incan ruins, and still has water running through the aqueducts. We will learn more about the town from our guide, and have the chance to visit a “chicheria” to try the purple corn beer, as well as visiting a house full of guinea pigs – a local delicacy.
We enjoy a quiet night in town.
Day 17: Sacred Valley To Machu PicchuSacred Valley, Cusco, Peru
We start very early with a tour of the archeological site of Ollantaytambo. This is a great way to start the day, as we can avoid crowds and the heat of the day. Our tour should take approximately 2 hours, and we will return to the hotel to meet our transport. From here we will be heading into the mountains behind the town for an experience in the weaving communities of Huilloc and Patacancha. This is a visit to two traditional Quechua villages to learn about Andean life and the weaving tradition from Awamaki artisans. You can try spinning on the ancient Andean drop spindle, discover the potential of native dye plants and visit a traditional Quechua home with one of the weavers. In a weaving lesson taught by one of the weavers, you learn the basic structure of weaving and make a “pulsera” (bracelet) to take home with you. Here as well we will enjoy a traditional “Pachamanca” lunch. Prepared in an underground earth oven, it consists of chicken, Andean potatoes, vegetables, and fruit. This special lunch, usually reserved for birthdays and festivals, is a highlight of the tour and will provide enough food to be shared with your Quechua hosts. Today you will make new friends and we are always sad to leave this area.
We head back down to the town of Ollantaytambo to catch our train to Aguas Calientes, where we will be spending the night. The short one-and-a-half-hour train ride takes us down to the small town that is used as a base to visit the famous site of Machu Picchu. Spend some time walking the town, visit the hot springs, and enjoy dinner.
Day 18: Machu Picchu To CuscoAguas Calientes, Cusco, Peru
We rise early to leave the town of Aguas Calientes and catch the bus up to the magnificent ruins of Machu Picchu. We will have a guided tour before spending some time on our own to soak up the energy here. If you like, your tour leader can accompany you to the Sun Gate, which is the entry point of the traditional Inca Trail. Enjoy lunch at the restaurant or the snack bar, or simply enjoy the time in this famous site.
Later this afternoon you descend by bus again to Aguas Calientes where you will be catching your return train to Poroy, where our transport will be waiting to take us back to our hotel in Cusco. The rest of the night is free to enjoy the city.
**NOTE. At the time of planning of this itinerary, Machu Picchu entrances allow all day access, however, there are plans that this will be changed in 2018, so please be aware that our time in the site may be limited by an entrance and exit time.
Day 19: Cusco Free Day, Dinner And Dance ShowCusco, Peru
A day to explore, relax, shop and experience the city. There are many streets, museums and interesting places to visit. Ask your tour leader to accompany you, or for suggestions on where you can spend your time.
Tonight, we will enjoy a fabulous dinner and dance show. You will meet your tour leader in the hotel lobby at an assigned time to depart for the dinner. This Peruvian dinner is accompanied by traditional dances from the different areas of Peru.
Day 20: Cusco To LimaLima, Peru
A sleep in this morning is possible before we head back to the airport and the city of Lima. In Lima we will be transferred to our hotel in Miraflores. You have the rest of the day free until we meet as a group for our farewell dinner.
Day 21: Out To HomeLima, Peru
You will be transferred back to the airport for your flight home. Please note that most flights depart Lima in the middle of the night, so your transfer may be on Saturday, November 3rd late evening. You must be at the airport approximately 3 hours in advance of your flight.
This is a small group tour, maximum 12 travellers.
35% deposit upon reservation, final payment due 60 days before departure date. OR Payment plans available for this tour: $250.00 deposit and equal monthly payments.
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