If you want an awesome two week trip for your Peru vacation, try this route: Puerto Maldonado, Cusco / Sacred Valley of the Incas, Machu Picchu, Puno / Lake Titicaca, Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Nazca, Ballesta Islands ending in Lima. With this route you can experience the vast biodiversity of Peru’s flora and fauna, wander the ruins of the Pre – Columbian civilizations and enjoy the best of the major cities.
Once the center of the Lambayeque, Moche, and Chimu cultures, known for their advanced metallurgy, now the areas surrounding Chiclayo and Trujillo are primarily agricultural and produce very high quality cotton, rice, and sugar. These societies existed from about 400AD until the rise of the Incas in about 1400 AD.
Many visitors to the area make the journey to see the pre-Inca ruins of the Lambayeque, Moche, and Chimu such as the Temples of the Sun and Moon in Trujillo, the spectacular complex of Chan Chan, the ‘Valley of Pyramids’ and the Royal Tombs of SÃpan. All these wonders are truly marvelous and definitively mystifying. For more adventurous archaeological explorers there are a number of other sites that worth exploring.
The three hour journey from Arequipa to Chivay (15 soles) is spectacular in its own right, crossing high mountain passes and the barren, ethereal world of the high alti plano. Up here the water is frozen into thick ice and very little vegetation grows on the mountain-sides, but you’ll still see the odd bird and herds of llamas apparently thriving in this ultra harsh environment.
Ollantaytambo is home to an impressive set of Inca ruins but you might want to save these for the following morning. Content yourself with a relaxing walk along the wide, fast flowing River Urubamba. Follow the trails leading up the surrounding hillsides for wonderful views over the town and the ruins.
Start your vacation in Cusco, accessible by plane from Lima in just over one hour. Make sure and relax for a few hours before you jump right in to exploring this beautiful history city that is a landmark in itself. Tour the Sacred Valley on day two, in order to visit many of the important archeological sites in the area. On the third day take the train to Machu Picchu! The train travels to a small town called Aguas Calientes at the base of Machu Picchu Mountain. From there you will take a bus up the mountain to the entrance to the famed citadel.
There are lots of festivities in Peru. you want to maximize your stay by being a spectator, make sure to be there in January, June, July and September. The most watched celebrations include Inti Raymi, Corpus Christi, Virgen de la Candelaria, and more. However if you want to get hold of a complete list, check out a festival calendar for more information.
The canyon is incredible with it’s agricultural Pre-Inca terraces, llamas, alpacas, vicunas and many other animals. You can make spectacular hikes and get into hot springs at night to avoid painful muscles the next morning. But the main reason you should go to the Colca Canyon is to see the condor. Every morning around 09.00 o’clock you have the chance to see condors at the cruz del Condor viewing point. We were lucky and saw about 15 of these huge birds.
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