PERU | FOOD, HISTORY AND CULTURE

Dates: July 12 - 22, 2018

Cost: $4,490 (Double Occupancy)

Peru is home to some of the oldest cultures found in the world. There is evidence of human activity dating back to 9,000 BC. Famous for its Incan ruins, such as the stunning Machu Picchu, it is also home to contemporary artists, chefs mixing ancient ingredients in new and surprising recipes. The colonial streets of Lima and Cusco are filled with musicians using traditional instruments to create lively and modern beats. We will take in the ancient sites of Nazca Lines and the Incan ruins in the Sacred Valley, while taking the time to sample the Andean culinary specialties and delicacies of Lima. We will learn why Lima has become a gastronomical hub and visit the highland communities to see the traditional farming techniques passed down for centuries. We will marvel at the feats of Inca architecture as we experience the diversity of cultures and ideas that make Peru so vibrant today.

 

Day 1| Thursday, July 12 | Arrive in Lima Welcome to Peru! Late night/early morning arrival to Lima´s international airport. A representative of Cross Cultural Journeys will meet you at the airport and transfer to a Miraflores Hotel. Catch a few hours of sleep before your day starts. Miraflores Hotel

 

LIMA is the capital of Peru and the second largest city in the Americas, located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers, on the central Pacific coast. Founded by in January 18, 1535, as the Ciudad de los Reyes (The City of Kings) it now boasts a population of almost 10 million. Lima’s celebrated culinary scene has earned it the new nickname as the Gastronomy Capital of the Latin America.

 

Day 2 | Friday, July 13 | Lima  Breakfast at hotel. In the morning you will be picked up from your hotel to start your culinary tour. Considered the Gastronomic Capital of South America, Lima has a lot to offer when it comes to food and we invite you to try a variety of delicious Peruvian dishes made with native Peruvian products. The tour starts with a visit to a local market, and then to a well-known restaurant where the chef will show you how to make ceviche and will introduce you to other dishes based on seafood. You will taste the emblematic Peruvian cocktail, the Pisco sour, causa made with mashed potatoes and Peruvian tuna and/or crab. You will also get to taste the Lomo Saltado; typical Peruvian dish made with beef and sautéed onions/tomatoes. Finally, drink the Chicha Morada (non-alcoholic purple corn juice) and the famous soda, Inca Kola. In the afternoon we will tour central Lima, visiting the colonial part of downtown and the grand historical buildings to gain a better understand of the city´s past and the changes it has endured through the years. Visits will include the Plaza San Martin, Plaza Mayor and Government Palace. We will continue our visit to the Saint Domingo Church, sacred place home to the remains of Saint Rose of Lima, and Saint Martin de Porres, who was the first black saint in America. Return to the hotel. Dinner is at Restaurant Morelia where we sample Lima’s version of the traditional pizza, cooked in a wood-fire oven. Return to the hotel for a good night’s sleep or head out to experience some of Miraflores’ famous nightlife. Miraflores Hotel (B/L/D)

 

Day 3 | Saturday, July 14 | Lima After breakfast at the hotel we will visit the National Agrarian University La Molina where an academic engineer gives a presentation on new studies regarding the more than 4,000 kinds of indigenous potatoes and lesser known Andean grains such as Tarwi, Kiwicha, and Kañiwa. After learning about endemic foods satisfy your hunger at a local restaurant while we try out some new items. In the afternoon you will get to know Peru through its variety of music. Participate in an interactive program called “Waranga” (a Qechua word meaning “one thousand”) where you learn about traditional musical instruments such as the Quena (wood flute), Charango (small guitar made from a turtle shell), Checo (small drum carved from a dried pumpkin) and Cajón (wood box drum). Hear examples of musical expressions of Peru, from the Afro-Peruvian sounds of the coast to the haunting melodies of the Andes. In the early evening you will visit the Bohemian district of Barranco. Walk around in this charming seaside resort while admiring its quaint and colorful colonial buildings. Enjoy the quiet charm of this artistic and vibrant neighborhood and visit an artists studios and galleries. Dinner on your own in Barranco or back in Miraflores. Miraflores Hotel (B/L)

 

Day 4 | Sunday, July 15 | Lima / Paracas Following an early morning breakfast at hotel,  travel from Lima down through the warm semiarid region of coastal Peru. We will arrive at Hacienda Huamani, a small farming town where you can learn about the agricultural activity in southern Peru. You will see the variety of foods that grow in this area such as tangelos, asparagus and especially grapes. Peru is famous for its wine and pisco (a type of wine brandy). A local agriculturalist will explain in detail the best time for planting and harvesting. Learn what makes the region different from the other agricultural regions in Peru. After, we will visit a loom weaving workshop and meet the local weavers. We continue on to Paracas for a late lunch. The rest of the afternoon is free to wander the city or visit the Juan Navarro Hierro History Museum which houses mummies from the desert, as well as an unusual display of elongated human skulls. Dinner is on your own. Paracas Hotel  (B/L)             

 

Day 5 | Monday July 16 | Paracas / Ballestas Island / Nazca Lines / Lima After an  early morning breakfast we head to the Ballestas, islands known as the Galapagos of Peru, for their uncommon and teeming wildlife. There you will board a boat to get a look the rare sea life such as the South American Sea Lion, Humboldt Penguin, Guanay Cormorant and the Peruvian Booby, who fish and gather around the rocky islands. It is not just animals that make this place special. A prehistory geoglyph nearly 600 ft high is carved into the cliff. Known as the Paracas Candelabra, the ancient structure can be seen almost 12 miles out to sea. Be sure to keep your eyes open for the Chilean Flamingos along the shore, and if you are very lucky, you might catch an Andean condor down from the mountains to hunt over the bay. Midday, we will return to Paracas for a quick lunch on your own, before heading out to the small airport. Boarding the plane we will fly east over the Nazca Lines, over 300 geoglyphs carved into the desert floor. Look carefully to spot the geometric shapes and artistic renderings of  hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys, fish, sharks, and even an orca. When the flight is over we will head back north to Lima. Dinner is at a local restaurant in Lima. Miraflores Hotel (B/D)

 

THE SACRED VALLEY is the heartland of the Incan Empire, located in the Andes Mountains and includes the Inca capital of Cusco and the ancient city of Machu Picchu. The valley was formed by the Urubamba River, and is populated by many indigenous people who speak Quechua as their first language. The Sacred Valley is the site of most of the most impressive Incan and pre-Incan structures, many of which have yet to be discovered.

 

Day 6 | Tuesday, July 17 | Lima / Sacred Valley After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, proceed to the airport to board the short flight to Cusco. There we will be met by our driver who will take us to the Sacred Valley. On route we will pass over the Urabamba River and arrive at the famous Andean market town of Pisac, a delightful place where you can bargain with the local street vendors. Then we will visit the Pisac Ruins, located at the eastern end of the Sacred Valley,  high above the valley floor. Pisac is considered to be one of the finest remaining Inca archeological sites in the country. The ruins are spread out over a large area and follow a long mountain ridge.  Further down the mountain is the temple complex, constructed from exquisitely carved pink granite. It features a sun temple, ceremonial alters, water channels and wells. The ruin is surrounded by vast cascading agricultural terraces which blend harmoniously into the natural curvature of the landscape.  Previously a religious, agricultural and military center, Pisac served as southern border to the Sacred Valley and controlled the Incan route to the Amazon.  Lunch will be at a local restaurant then check into your hotel. The afternoon is free to relax and adjust to the higher altitude. Dinner is on your own. Sacred Valley Hotel (B/L)

 

Day 7 | Wednesday, July 18 | Sacred Valley / Community of Huayllafara Breakfast at hotel. Then we have the opportunity to visit the Community of Huayllafara where we will be welcomed with traditional music and greeted with beautiful native flowers. The community members will grant us a “Tinka", or a symbolic Pachamama (Mother Earth) blessing, which is the traditional way to give thanks to the new day and to extend a ritual of sharing between peoples of different cultures. Visitors are invited to accompany the villagers to the fields, to participate in agricultural activities, according to the season, such as sowing seeds or harvesting potatoes. Learn about Andean agriculture and see how they farm in the same manner they inherited from their ancestors, using ancient tools like the chaquitaclla (foot plow), and the cuti (trowel). The presentation of the tools and the experience will help us see the influence of Pachamama and understand the relationship that the residents of the community have with the Andean universe around them. The community will prepare a lunch with local ingredients from the area. After spending the day sharing and learning we will return to the Sacred Valley.  Dinner is on your own. Sacred Valley Hotel (B/L)

 

Day 8 | Thursday, July 19 | Sacred Valley / Aguas Calientes After an early breakfast at hotel, we head to the train station in Ollantantambo to start our journey to Machu Picchu. The train is approximately 90 minutes and passes through the valley along side the rushing Vilcanota River. Enjoy the beautiful natural landscapes as we pass through the varying altitudes, finally arriving at the Aguas Calientes train station at the base of Machu Picchu Mountain. Here you will have two choices; a hike to the Mandor Waterfalls or exploring the town and its natural surroundings. The moderate hike parallels the railroad tracks for 2.5 miles along the edge of the river. You pass through an old coffee plantation and a cloud forest before arriving at the falls.  Along the way our guide will point out the traditional plants used for medicine and rituals. As our surroundings become wilder, we will see a variety of bromeliads and orchids that the region is famous for as well as many species of butterflies. A box lunch is included on the hike. If you decide not to join the hike, you can explore the town and its surroundings. Lunch is included at a local restaurant. Then you may wish to wander through the botanical garden. Here there are more than 300 varieties of local plants with nearly 100 different species of orchids. While there, you might be able to see a rare Spectacled Bear, the only bear native to South America, convalescing in the protected rehab center.  Another option for the afternoon is a leisurely dip in the Aguas Calientes natural hot springs.  We have an early dinner at a local restaurant, giving you time to prepare for your Machu Picchu visit the next day. Aguas Calientes Hotel (B/L/D)

 

MACHU PICCHU is a 15th-century Inca citadel situated on a mountain ridge 7,970 ft above sea level. Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style, with polished dry-stone walls. Its three primary structures are the Intihuatana (Sun dial), the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. Becoming an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, Machu Picchu is commonly known as one of New Seven Wonders of the World.

 

Day 9 | Friday, July 20 | Machu Picchu / Cusco In the early morning you have two choices to get up the steep mountain to the entrance to the Machu Picchu park. You can take the bus up the hill or hike through the cloud forest up the carved stone Incan stairs, the path of the ancient Inca Army. Either way we will met at an appointed time and location mid-morning to begin our private guided tour. The tour will visit various important locations such as the Intihuatana, the Sun Dial which lines up directly on the winter solstice (June 21st ) and Temple of the Condor; a natural rock formation manipulated by the Incas into the shape the outspread wings of a condor in flight. You will also see the Three Windows, the Temple of the Sun and much more. After the guided tour, you will have time to explore the citadel on your own. You can hike up to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku) that is the royal entrance at end of the Inca trail, or out to the wood paneled bridge that leads down a steep trail through the back side of the valley. Or take the moment to revel in the magnificence of the site, meditate, watch the llamas working as lawn mowers or relax in the grass on one of the many terraces. Later, we will descend by bus to Aguas Calientes for a lunch on your own. After lunch we will make the journey to Cusco, first by train, then by private bus to your hotel. Dinner will be on your own in Cusco. Cusco Hotel (B)

 

CUSCO was the capital of the Incan Empire, known as the “Navel of the World” and the center of all religious, political and cultural activity. Conquered by the Spanish in the 16th century, Cusco remains a hodgepodge of colonial and pre-columbian construction and culture, often one built right on top of each other. Cusco is famous for art and expression, colorful throughout the town with local artists selling paintings and goods and the traditional rainbow flag flying from the rooftops.

 

Day 10 | Saturday, July 21 | Cusco Breakfast is at the hotel. Then we will head out to the San Pedro Market where locals buy everything from vegetables to meat to ritual elements. You will see the Aymara women in their wide skirts and bowler hats selling products from the high altitude farms and homemade knitting and statues. We will continue to the main plaza of Cusco, the Plaza de Armas, to visit the Cathedral with its unusual Black Christ. Continue to Koricancha, the Temple of the Sun, to see examples of Incan architecture and the way the Spanish colonialists manipulated the structure to support their own buildings. Lunch will be in a local restaurant in Cusco. In the afternoon we will drive out of the city center to visit the nearby sites of Qenqo (a ceremonial and ritual sacrificial center) and Sacsayhuaman Fortress with 100-200 ton boulder walls. The rest of the afternoon is free to explore on your own. Enjoy a farewell dinner with a music and dance presentation representing all the regions of Peru.  Optional night out to experience Cusco’s vibrant nightlife. Cusco Hotel (B/L/D)

 

Day 11 | Sunday, July 22 | Cusco/Lima/Home Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, then head to the airport for the flight to Lima, then the transfer to continue home. (B)

 

Journey Details

 

ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately high. This journey involves a lot of walking on uneven ground such as cobblestones, loose rock and steep slopes. Concessions will be made to try and assist travelers who need more time, but some sites and locations are only accessible by foot.

 

NOTE: This itinerary is subject to change to take advantage of the serendipity of the moment when we are on the Peru... to meet someone special, to engage in an activity that might occur unexpectedly, or to accommodate circumstances beyond our control. Restaurants or hotels may change in similar category.

 

INCLUDED: Round trip domestic flight Lima / Cusco / Lima; all accommodations in Peru (double occupancy); full breakfast daily at the hotels, meals included on the itinerary as indicated  (7 lunches and 4 dinners),  local guide; guest speakers; CCJ trip manager, all entrance fees on itinerary; preparation materials; bottled water on the bus.

 

NOT INCLUDED: International air travel to Lima; alcoholic drinks; meals not on itinerary (2 lunches and 5 dinners). Excursions not on the itinerary; tips for local guide and driver (optional, yet customary); and a Travel Protection Plan (we recommend travel protection and information will be sent upon registration)

Dates: July 12 - 22, 2018

Cost: $4,490 (Double Occupancy)

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