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El Chimu Grande

Overview

This is the Daddy of Chimu's tours in Peru: a sensational, 3-week adventure through Southern Peru taking in cities, desert, lakes, mountains and jungle! Peru is a wonderfully diverse country and this trip reflects that admirably.

Please note that the Nazca Lines overflight is an optional extra exclusion on this activity and can be added in on day 6 of the itinerary.

Trip Code: PETSECG

Location: Peru

ITINERARY INSPIRATION

On arrival, please make your way through to the Arrivals Hall where our representative will be waiting for you to transfer you to your hotel. This service includes a driver and local English speaking guide, who will provide you with any useful information needed for your stay. He/she will be holding a sign with your name on it.

Should you not be able to locate them, please refer to the front of your itinerary for emergency contact details of our representative office.

Arrival transfer in Lima

Lima, the capital of Peru, sits on the country's arid Pacific coast. Founded in 1535, its colonial centre is well preserved, but today Lima is a bustling metropolis and one of South America’s largest cities. The city is home to the various museums including the Museo Larco that houses a collection of pre-Columbian art and the Museo de la Nación, tracing the history of Peru’s ancient civilizations. Lima is known as the “gastronomical capital of the Americas”, encompassing specialties from ceviche and traditional coastal cooking to refined global fare. It even boasts several of the top restaurants in the world.

Lima

Today you will be collected from your hotel for your tour of Lima, the Colonial ‘City of Kings’. On the city tour you will visit a number of well-known sites including the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, Santo Domingo Convent and the Plaza de Armas.This is a chance to appreciate Lima's magnificent Colonial architecture as well as vignettes of its pre-Colombian past. On completion of this tour, you will be taken to your hotel. Please note this is a small group tour.

Lima - City Tour

You will be collected from your hotel to transfer to the bus station for your onward journey from Lima.

Transfer to bus station for onward destination

Travel by bus from Lima to Paracas in a comfortable bus offering a great designer interior with ample leg-room for you to relax or read a book in comfort, large panoramic windows through which to view the landscape and with an on-board toilet and full air-conditioning. The bus drive takes approximately 4 hours.

Bus Lima - Paracas

On arrival at Paracas bus station, you will be met by a representative who will be holding a sign with your name on it, to transfer you to your hotel. Should you have trouble locating him/her, please refer to the front of your itinerary for emergency contact details.

Arrival transfer in Paracas

Paracas meaning ''sand rain'' in Quechua, is a small port town and beach resort on the southern coast of Peru, a few hours south of Lima. The cliffs that fringe the beaches teem with birds, ranging from guano birds to Humboldt penguins. Paracas is the access point for tours to Islas Ballestas and to Paracas National Reserve, where there are huge colonies of seabirds as well as sea lions.

Paracas

This morning, you will be collected from your hotel transferred to the small port of Paracas
to board the boat that will cruise around the Ballestas Islands. See the remarkable marine mammals and birdlife the islands are famous for. From the boat, you can see the incredible ancient etchings in the coastal cliffs including the mysterious three-pronged Candelabra of the Andes. This 180 metre tall geoglyph is carved into the side of the hill alongside Paracas Bay. On completion of the cruise, you will be transferred back to your hotel. Please note this is a small group tour.

Ballestas Island Cruise

You will be collected from your hotel to transfer to the bus station for your onward journey from Paracas.

Transfer to bus station for onward destination

Travel by bus from Paracas to Nazca.

Bus: Paracas - Nazca

On arrival into Nazca, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Arrival transfer in Nazca

Nazca is located in the Ica region of Peru, on the southern coast, one of the most arid regions in the world. The name is derived from the Nazca culture that flourished in the area between 100 and 800 AD and was responsible for the Nazca Lines, the ceremonial city of Cahuachi and for constructing an impressive system of underground aqueducts (Puquios) that still function to this day.

If you have some free time in Nazca, you may like to consider an optional flight over the Nazca Lines or a trip to the Chauchilla Cemetery.

Nazca

Free day to explore the Nazca area. Options include a flight over the mysterious Nazca Lines where hundreds of years ago ancient Peruvians etched huge designs into the desert floor, which can be seen only from the air (flight payable locally) or an excursion to the Chauchilla Cemetery. The tombs contain pre-Hispanic mummified human remains and pottery of the Nazca people. This is the only archaeological site in Peru where ancient mummies can be seen in their original graves, along with ancient artefacts.

Nazca Free Day

Transfer to bus station for outward journey from Nazca.

Transfer to bus station for onward destination

Travel by comfortable bus with bus bed-seats, hostess service and dinner on board to arrive into Arequipa at midnight. The bus journey takes approximately 10 hours.

Bus: Nazca - Arequipa

On arrival, please make your way through to the Arrivals Hall where our representative will be waiting for you to transfer you to your hotel.
He/she will be holding a sign with your name on it. Should you not be able to locate them, please refer to the front of your itinerary for emergency contact details of our representative office. Please note this service is with a driver only.

Arrival transfer in Arequipa

Arequipa lies on the edge of the Altiplano, 2380m above sea level and framed by the volcanoes Misti, Pikchu Pikchu and Chachani. It is known as “La Ciudad Blanca” (White City), as many of its buildings are made of sillar, a white volcanic stone. The historic centre of Arequipa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its historic heritage, natural scenery and cultural sites, make the city a popular destination.

Arequipa

Today is free for you to explore and discover the city of Arequipa at your leisure.

Wander around the Plaza de Armas, the main square of Arequipa and see the cathedral with El Misti (5825m) rising behind it.

Explore the Santa Catalina Monastery, built in 1579 in the Mudéjar style, enlarged in the 17th century and characterised by vividly painted walls. The monastery covers an area of 20,000 sq. metres. It served as a cloister for Dominican nuns from the 16th to the 18th century and still houses around 20 nuns in the northern corner of the complex.

Visit the “Mummy Juanita” in the Museo Santuarios Andinos. Also known as the Inca Ice Maiden, Juanita is the well-preserved frozen body of an Inca girl who was killed and sacrificed to the Inca gods in the 15th century. She was discovered in 1995 on Mount Ampato in the Andes Cordillera in southern Peru.

Arequipa - Free Day

Early this morning you will be picked up from your hotel to commence your road journey to the Colca Canyon. Enroute there will be several stops to appreciate flora, fauna and high Andean Landscapes, one of them is Pampa Canahuas, located at 3,800 metres above sea level, inside the National Reserve Salinas y Aguada Blanca, a place where we can see vicunas in their natural habitat and the Misti and Chachani Volcanoes. During the next part of the journey, you will visit the community of Patahuasi (4,000 metres above sea level), the Toccra Zone (4,300 metres above sea level) homes to llamas, alpacas, migratory birds and offering incredible views of the landscape and Patapampa (4,900 metres above seal) , the highest point and offering majestic views of the cordillera and most of the volcanoes in the Arequipa region. Begin to descend to Chivay town located in the Colca Valley. Free time for lunch (not included) before transferring to your hotel for your overnight stay.

There is an optional visit to the 40ºC thermal-medicinal baths in La Calera. (Entrance fee to the pools is not included and is US$ 7.00 per person approximately – subject to change.)

Note: The optional visit to La Calera Hot Springs is for clients staying in Chivay town only.

Arequipa to Colca Canyon

On arrival at Puno bus or train station, you will be met by a representative who will be holding a sign with your name on it, to transfer you to your hotel. Should you have trouble locating him/her, please refer to the front of your itinerary for emergency contact details.

Arrival transfer in Puno

Following breakfast, we travel to the ‘Cruz del Condor’, a spot considered to be the best viewpoint to watch the majestic Andean condors ascending from the valley.

The Colca Canyon is a canyon of the Colca River and one of the deepest canyons in the world. It is home to the Andean condors that can be seen at close range as they fly past the canyon walls, rising on the thermals. At the 'Cruz del Condor' viewpoint, the canyon floor is 3,960 feet (1,200 m) below the rim of the canyon.

After this amazing spectacle, we continue our journey back to the town of Chivay, taking in the beautiful Andean scenery and fascinating pre-Inca, Inca and Colonial history of the area. The road passes through several small villages founded in Spanish colonial times and still inhabited by people of the Collagua and the Cabana cultures. The local people maintain their traditional way of life and continue to cultivate the pre-Inca stepped terraces. Many of the women wear traditional dress with colourful embroidered blouses and flower-patterned hats.

In the afternoon, travel by bus to Puno, situated on the shores of the famous Lake Titicaca. You will board a touristic bus that includes a hostess
who speaks limited english, snacks and beverages. The duration of this bus journey is approximately six hours.

Colca Canyon to Puno

Puno lies on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. It is the largest city in the Southern Altiplano and an important agricultural and livestock (llamas and alpaca) region. It sits at an altitude of over 3,800 metres and is a picturesque hillside city and a melting pot of the Aymara and Quechua culture.

Puno

Early this morning, you will be collected from your hotel and transferred to the port to board your boat. Visit the floating islands of Uros, where the locals continue to practice their traditional way of life. Located 4 kms from Puno, the original inhabitants of these floating islands are said to descend from one of the most ancient peoples of the Americas. The Uros Islands, as well as the houses on them and the boats used by their inhabitants, are all made from the Totura reeds that grow in Lake Titicaca. Continue to Amantani Island, where you will have the chance to enjoy traditional local hospitality while taking in some incredible landscapes. The island is also home to some captivating archaeological sites including the temples of Pachatata and Pachamama.

This evening spend the night with a local family and in the evening experience first-hand the traditions and customs of this fascinating island. Lunch and dinner included.

Puno – Amantani

After breakfast and bidding a fond farewell to your host family, we travel to the island of Taquile, a place where time appears to have stood still. Around 350 Quechua-speaking families live here, operating a collective agricultural system dating from the 14th Century and renowned for their textiles - beautifully woven chumpis (belts), chullos (caps) and ojotas (sandals). Taquile’s charm is further enhanced by the stunning landscape and outstanding views of the snow-capped Cordillera Real mountain range. From Taquile, we board the boat once more to return to Puno where you will be transferred to your hotel.

Please note for your overnight stay, lodging is very basic with limited facilities and it is recommended to only bring an overnight bag and a torch.

Amantani – Puno

This morning, you will be collected from your hotel and transferred to either the bus or train station for your journey from Puno to Cusco.

Transfer from Puno hotel to bus or train station

The spectacular journey from Puno to Cusco takes you across the Altiplano and you will travel accompanied by an English-speaking guide. The drive takes you through sleepy Andean villages and past spectacular snowcapped mountains, sheer cliffs and rampaging rivers. Stops along the way include the atmospheric towns of Pucara and Andahuaylillas and the pre-Inca ruin of Raqchi. Lunch is included and you will arrive in the famous city of Cusco in the early evening. The journey will take approximately 10 hours.

Puno to Cusco

On arrival at Cusco bus or train station, you will be met by a representative who will be holding a sign with your name on it, to transfer you to your hotel.

Arrival transfer in Cusco

Cusco, set at an altitude of 3,400 metres in the Peruvian Andes, was once the capital of the Inca Empire. It is known for its Spanish colonial architecture and Incan remains. Narrow, cobble-stoned streets lined by Inca walls stretch out from the main plaza in every direction. Many of the colonial buildings were built on top of Incan foundations and the stonework is unparalleled in its precision and beauty.

Cusco

You will be collected from your hotel for a sightseeing tour through Cusco, the heart of the Inca Empire. Visit the fascinating Qorikancha Temple of the Sun, the 12-Angled Rock and the Cathedral, built on the ruins of an Inca Palace. From here head to the archaeological remains located around the city, including the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo (giant rock), the ancient site of Puca Pucara and finally the Water Temple of Tambomachay. On completion of your tour, you will be taken to your hotel. Included in your tour price is the BTG (Tourist Ticket of Cusco). Please note this is a small group tour.

Cusco - City Tour

You will be collected from your hotel for a day of exploring the Sacred Valley of the Incas. This fertile river valley was home to many important sites for the Incas, both strategic and religious. The first stop is the village of Pisac, with its famous market and Inca Ruins. There is free time to wander the colourful market stalls before heading uphill to the Pisac, Intihuatana, Q’allaqasa and Kinchiracay ruins. Enjoy a fine buffet lunch in gardens overlooking the Valley.
Continue your journey along the River Urubamba, to Ollantaytambo. The town, which is dominated by a giant Inca fortress, is perhaps the best surviving example of Inca town planning and was the scene of a rare Inca victory over the invading Spanish. Transfer to your hotel for the night or should you be returning to Cusco, visit Chinchero en route, an important Inca town with a colonial church and plaza.

Sacred Valley Full Day Tour

This evening the trek operator will hold a pre-trek briefing at your hotel. Time will be reconfirmed with you directly on arrival. Please note your sleeping bag which is included will be provided to you at this briefing.

Pre-Trek Briefing

Depart your hotel very early and travel along the Sacred Valley by bus to Piskacucho at 2,700m above sea level. Embark on the unforgettable trek beginning as you cross the bridge over the Rio Urubamba. From here the trek takes you along the left shore of the river and after roughly three hours, you reach the first Inca site – Patallaqta. After another half-hour walking along the Rio Kusichaca valley, arrive in Taravoc and stop for some well-earned lunch.

The afternoon is spent walking through a wonderful variety of flora and fauna with splendid views en route including Rio Vilcanota, the Urubamba mountain range and the snow-capped peak of Mt Veronica. In the mid-afternoon you reach Wayllabamba at 3,000m (9,840 ft), where the camp will be set up and you will enjoy a hearty-but-healthy dinner before your first night under canvas.

Inca trail to Wayllabamba

A demanding day of ascents and descents awaits, around 9km over seven to eight hours. In the morning, you will slowly make your way up to Warmihuañusca (4,200m / 11,111ft) otherwise known as the ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’. You will see alpacas and llamas feeding on pastures of Ichu, a type of Andean grass. This is not only the highest point of the Inca Trail, but also the half way point on your trek to Machu Picchu! Continue downhill through an area of Cloud Forest, home to many birds including sparrows and hummingbirds. You may also be lucky enough to see the rare Spectacled Bear.

Your camp for the night will be in Pacaymayu valley at 3,600m (11,810 ft). There will be time to relax before an early dinner and a much needed sleep.

Inca Trail to Pacaymayu valley

The third day is the longest day of the trek, but not the most strenuous. Begin the day with an hour’s walk up original Inca steps to the archaeological site of Runkurakay at 3,800m (12,470ft). Pass a number of small lagoons to Runkurakay Pass before the trail snakes down to Yanacocha (the Black Lagoon) and continues to the archaeological site of Sayacmarca. Stop at Chaquicocha camp for lunch. Continue along the paved Inca path, through a preserved Inca tunnel to reach the Phuyupatamarca Pass and its ruins.
From here, there are often incredible views of the snow-capped Mount Salkantay, the most beautiful mountain in the region. There is then a steep decent to Wiñayhuayna, an Inca site built into the hills with fountain structures and curved terracing, overlooking the Urubamba River. Your final night of the trail will be spent here.

Inca Trail to Wiñayhuayna Inca site

The most anticipated day of the trek begins early with a trek to Into Punku (The Sun Gate), where you will catch the first glimpse of the breath-taking Machu Picchu Ruins. On arrival at the ruins, there will be a two and a half hour guided tour giving you an insight into the history behind the principal remains and monuments before some time to explore the ruins at leisure. You may choose to scale the Huayna Picchu Mountain, which gives you spectacular views of Machu Picchu from a different perspective. (Please note that access to Huayna Picchu Mountain requires an extra, limited-availability permit - please enquire at time of booking if you require one.) Or you may choose to visit the hot springs (wonderful for aching legs!) down in the village of Aguas Calientes. The train back to Cusco will depart from Aguas Calientes in the late afternoon.

Arrival to Machu Picchu

You will be collected from your hotel at the appropriate time and transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

Transfer to the airport for onward destination

Welcome in Puerto Maldonado. Check-in and then reach the boarding wharf in only 15 minutes. Begin to experience the enchantment of the rainforest, as you take the 45-minute boat ride along the Madre de Dios River, to arrive at Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica lodge. After a short briefing, settle into your beautiful cabaña and enjoy your lunch in the dining room. Take a nap, followed by a refreshing tea time and get ready for the afternoon excursion. After gathering with your Inkaterra Explorer Guide, choose from the various excursions available at Inkaterra Reserva Amazónica. On your first day, we recommend a guided walk along the Trail system, into the Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica natural area, where you will discover the Amazon Basin. This trail offers an excellent introduction to the jungle environment, winding past impressive trees such as the staggeringly tall kapok, and the strangely beautiful strangler fig, offering excellent opportunities for birdwatching and observing exotic insects.

We also recommend on the first night our Twilight River excursion — a guided afternoon boat ride on the Madre de Dios river. Witness the transformation from a diurnal to a nocturnal world: animals and birds of the daytime give way to species specially adapted to the night. As you enjoy their paradise, you will learn about their habits, while you search for nightjars, owls, capybaras and up to three different caiman species.

Enjoy dinner served in the main dining room from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. After dinner, you may retire early to your own cabaña, or share your experience in the rainforest with other guests and interpreters, as you listen to the intriguing sounds of the jungle at night.

Reserva Amazonica Day One

Wake up late or rise early — the choice is yours. Breakfast begins at 5:30 a.m., for those who want to avoid the heat, and enjoy nature at its fullest. A full buffet breakfast is served from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. This morning you may visit the Lake Sandoval excursion into the Tambopata National Reserve. Glide in a wooden canoe, across a beautiful, mirror-like oxbow lake that is home to the endangered giant river otter, as well as red howler monkeys, red-bellied macaws, anacondas, side-neck turtles and black caimans. Return to the Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica for lunch.

After lunch, consider the remarkable Inkaterra Canopy Walkway. Ascending the first tower, 29 meters above the forest ground, you begin your encounter with the treetop realm. For more than a quarter of a mile, you will literally walk through the rainforest canopy on a suspension bridge network linking eight observation platforms. During this hour-and-a-half expedition, be on the lookout for colorful toucans, woodpeckers, trogons, monkeys, and sloths. If you wish you may extend your excursion and appreciate the sunset from one of the towers. The excursion finishes by returning to the lodge. Once at the lodge, enjoy the daily nature presentation in the Eco Center.

Dinner starts at 7:30 p.m.

Reserva Amazonica Day Two

Enjoy a trip to Gamitana Creek, located 25 minutes by boat from the Inkaterra lodge. For one and a half hours, explore the rainforest along the banks of a winding, dark-water creek that is home to many piranha, caiman, turtles and birds, until the Sanipanga landing point. Navigate your way back downstream, observing the abundant flora and Fauna along the way. You will return to Gamitana Farm to do a short guided tour to see how local farmers grow fruits and vegetables. Return to the lodge for lunch.

After lunch, walk along the lodge trails to the Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica Rainforest Garden just around the cabanas. This interesting native garden was started by the locals more than ten years ago showcasing native plants, trees and orchids. An in-depth explanation familiarizes you with the traditional use and highly interesting benefits of the plants and trees used for construction including those that were used for building the lodge, as well as native clothing accessories. Then consider the Rainforest by Night excursion through the Inkaterra Ecological Reserve at night for an approximately 2-hour excursion. Biological activity differs greatly between night and day in the Amazonian ecosystem. Venture into the forest and experience the mystery of the animal activity that awakens in the rainforest after dark, enhancing animal resources to create new adaptation mechanisms. Listen to nocturnal forest sounds and spot species that only emerge at night.

Return to the lodge.

Amazon activites

After buffet breakfast, take a ride back to Puerto Maldonado by outboard motorised canoe to catch your departure flight.

Reserva Amazonica Day Four
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  • Tailored travel insurance options
  • Choose your preferred dates
  • Cater to your travel needs

Pricing & date

Travel Style Departing Duration PRICE FROM
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Important Information

  • Accommodation

    Airport transfers

    Breakfast in hotels

    On trek and in the Amazon all meals (except lunch on last day)

    Entrances/ permits

    Transfers (bus and train)

    Camping equipment (excluding sleeping bags)

    Trail guide, cook, communal porters (for tents, food, cooking equipment etc).

    Internal flights.

    Nazca Lines overflights not included but can be easily added into the itinerary.

    NOT INCLUDED

    Entrance fee to Tambopata National Reserve (Refugio Amazonas US$13 & Tambopata Research Center US$65 approx.)

  • 4 (average fitness required).
  • FROM US$1,050 - Subject to season and availability, contact us for more details. 

  • Porters can be hired to carry personal items at an extra charge. 

    Sleeping bags can be hired in Cusco.

    International flights are not included.

  • Availability of Inca Trail entrance permits and seasonality.

Accommodation

We believe that appropriate accommodation should add to the authentic travel experience, as well as providing utmost enjoyment. For that reason our accommodation is scrutinised by our staff on the ground frequently, ensuring the properties adhere to our high standards. This key will help you understand the levels of accommodation available on this tour.

SPEAK TO A SPECIALIST

Talk to one of our Destination Specialists to plan your South American adventure and turn your dream into a reality. With exceptional knowledge and first hand experience, our consultants will assist in every way possible to make your journey the most memorable it can be, matching not only the itinerary, but the accommodation and activities to suit your style of travel and budget.

Sustainability

Chimu Adventures undertakes a number of sustainability measures within its operations including:
 
1) Only using local guides and office staff to both maximise local employment opportunities and minimise carbon footprints. Local guides also ensure you benefit from the intimate knowledge, passion and culture of the country you’re visiting.
 
2) Where possible, using locally owned and operated boutique hotels to maximise the return to the local community.
 
3) Chimu’s “Pass it on” programme has provided funding to hundreds of local community projects in Latin America. Our aim is to empower local communities, helping them to develop their own infrastructure for the future. Since 2006, we have been working with Kiva (a well-known Non-Governmental Organisation), providing hundreds of loans to local businesses all over South America. 
4) In our pre tour information we provide a range of tips and advice on how to minimise your impact on both local environments and communities.
 
5) Chimu Adventures’ offices also take a number of sustainability measures including carbon offsets for company vehicles and most staff travel. Chimu Adventure’s internal processes are also structures to create a paperless office and to reduce waste. There are also internal programmes to help staff minimise their carbon footprint such as our staff bike purchase assistance plan which encourages office staff to commute to work via bicycle. Currently almost half of our office based staff commute to work via bicycle.