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Peru Trip Description: Rails and Ruins

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April 24-May 5, 2002

Rail fans and ancient history fans will love S & S Tours newest 12-day tour to Peru. In fact, anyone with a keen eye, a love of landscape and an interest in history will love this trip. Peru is the third largest country in South America and has some of the most spectacular and varied scenery in the hemisphere. The Peruvian Andes are arguably the most beautiful on the continent and are home to millions of highland Indians who still speak the ancient tongue of Quechua and maintain a traditional way of life. You cannot resist photographing these colorful peoples and their smiling llamas grazing on their small terraced farms. The multiple layers of fascinating great civilizations of pre-Hispanic cultures that occupied this territory 15,000 years ago make it the historical-archeological treasure of South America. The country had a rich, complex cultural life thousands of years before Pizarro stepped foot on its soil wearing strange apparel.

This trip begins in La Paz, Bolivia, and ends in Lima, Peru. From La Paz we will take a city tour and visit the pre-Incan site of Tiahuanaco outside the city. From La Paz we transfer to Lake Titicaca for a catamaran crossing from the Bolivian side to end up in Puno, Peru. Lake Titicaca is the world's highest navigable lake, with depths reaching to a 1000 feet. A visit to the Island of the Sun in the lake marks the beginning site of the Inca civilization. A highlight of your trip will be a visit to the floating islands in the lake of the ancient Uros people. The burial towers at Sillustrani are a unique experience. The elevation at Puno is 12,437 ft.

Board the train in Puno for an all-day trip to the Imperial Inca City of Cuzco. The sole visit of Cuzco would justify your trip to Peru. You have 3 nights here. It is known as the "Archeological Capital of America." It symbolizes the maximum splendor achieved by the Andean civilization. Tours of ancient ruins around the city will whet your appetite for Machu Picchu.

A journey by narrow-gauge tourist railroad from Cuzco takes you to the highlight of the trip - Machu Picchu, the Sacred Lost City of the Incas. Apparently a center of religious ceremonies for the Incas and home to their nobility in the 15th century, this mist-shrouded citadel at 9750 feet elevation is the most palpable reminder of the powerful Andean civilization that stretched some 3000 miles from southern Colombia to central Chile. Our two days here will allow plenty of time to explore and relax at this mountaintop refuge.

An hour's flight from Cuzco, your departure city will be Lima. It is called the "City of the Kings," as it was the capital of the Spanish Empire in South America. Founded in 1535 by Francisco Pizarro, a tour of this rich historical city is most rewarding.


April 24-Day 1-Wednesday--Fly to La Paz, Bolivia. Hotel El Dorado in La Paz.

April 25-Day 2-Thursday-Guided city tour and the Valley of the Moon, the Tiahuanaco site. Hotel El Dorado. B

April 26-Day 3-Friday- Travel from La Paz to Puno, Peru, on a catamaran crossing Lake Titicaca. Island of the Sun and Copacabana. Eco Inn in Puno on Lake Titicaca. B, L

April 27-Day 4-Saturday--- A guided morning tour on Lake Titicaca with a visit to the floating islands of los Uros. In the afternoon visit the tower tombs of the high class Collas--a culture more ancient than the Inca culture--at the Sillustani ruins. Eco Inn in Puno. B, L

April 28--Day 5-Sunday-Cuzco -Ride the train all day from Puno to Cuzco, the Imperial City.

11, 400 ft. elevation. Hotel Posada del Inca in Cuzco. B, L

April 29-Day 6--Monday --- A guided tour of the Inca ruins includes the formidable Inca building of the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, the rock sanctuary of Quenqo, the archeological group of Puca Pucara and the Virgin Baths of Tambomachay. Hotel Posada de la Inca in Cuzco. B

April 30-Day 7-Tuesday-A day on your own to visit the markeplace, the archeological museum and explore more of this ancient city. B, D

May 1-Day 8-Wednesday--Ride the 70-mile narrow -gauge tourist railroad from Cuzco to the foot of Machu Picchu. The trip is 3.5 hours. As it nears Machu Picchu, there are views of snow-capped mountains, Indian villages and precarious terraced fields all around. A guided tour of the ruins. Hotel Machu Picchu Inn at Aguas Calientes (7900 ft. elevation) below the ruins. B, L

May 2-Day 9-Thursday-You have free time to visit the ruins on your own today. Aguas Calientes is a great place to shop or appreciate the native weavings. Hotel Machu Picchu. B

May 3-Day 10-Friday--Visit the thermal waters this morning outside of Aguas Calientes. Return to Cuzco by train in the afternoon. Hotel Posada de la Inca in Cuzco. B

May 4-Day 11-Saturday---Fly Cuzco to Lima. 500 ft. elevation. An afternoon city tour of Lima goes to the Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral where Pizarro's remains lay, the San Francisco Convent) with its Cloister, Catacombs and Museum of Religious Art, the archeological museum and the national museum. Best Western Hotel Los Embajadores Hotel. B, D

May 5-Day 12-Monday. Fly Lima to Miami or Los Angeles.

The package price of $2370 per person per double includes 11 hotel nights, all in-country flights, railroads, and private transfers, all breakfasts, 6 dinners/lunches and most tips. Add $350 for a single room. It does not include airfare, meals not designated in the itinerary and trip insurance.

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