South America Natural Adventures

nature travel, wildlife tours, adventure travel and general travel to Chile, Peru, Central America and Antarctica



Inti Raymi


Festival of the Sun

with the Nazca Lines

Fly to Peru for an 8-day exploration of the ancient and Incan culture of Peru. We have crafted this tour to use up just five business days, yet spend 6 full days in Peru, including a day at Machu Picchu and a day to explore the spectacular and intricate ruins at Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley. In the ancient city of Cusco you experience the spectacular Inti Raymi festival, as well as having time to explore the city itself and enjoy the multi-day celebrations. Your last day is spent visiting the Nazca Lines.


Day 1 – Saturday, June 19: Home City / Miami / In Flight*
Fly from your home city to Miami from where you depart for Lima, Peru. There are several airlines to choose from, and your arrival may range from about 10pm to just after midnight. You are met and transferred to your hotel in the oceanside Miraflores area.        (*D)


Day 2 – Sunday, June 20: Miraflores/Callao/Lima/Mirafloressea lions palomino peru
Today travel to the port town of Callao, about 45 minutes from Miraflores. At 10am you start a three hour cruise on the 60ft catamaran Spondylus to the islands of Fronton, Cavinzas, Palomino and San Lorenzo. While you do not land on the islands the boat spends time at each to allow observation of the wildlife or other attractions. Between the dock and the first stop, Fronton, may seabirds will be seen, including the beautiful Red-legged Cormorant. Peruvian Boobies, Inca Terns and many others take advantage of the near-shore upwellings of cold water, providing a rich bounty. The first island, Fronton, has ruins of a prison, which was blasted by the Peruvian Navy to overcome a riot and hostage taking by the prilima balconysoners. One of the hostages and 135 prisoners were killed. Many of the prisoners were Shining Path. After grim Fronton the island of Cavinzas is home to many seabirds, and once again a stop is made. The first sea-lions are usually seen here, maybe some humboldt penguin san lorenzo peru swimming Humboldt Penguins, and occasionally dolphins. From Cavinzas the boat heads across to Palomino, home to a colony of about 4000 Southern Sealions, which abound in the nearby waters. The boats approach bring hundreds towards it, “singing” as the swim. It’s quite a spectacle. From Palomino the boat heads back, first stopping at San Lorenzo, home to a colony of Humboldt Penguins. You get back to shore about 1pm. You are met on your return and transferred to a nearby restaurant, Pescaderia (meal at own expense). This is one of Peru’s best restaurants – the name indicates their specialty - in an out of the way place with no sign or indication that it is a restaurant; you basically enter through the back door. After lunch enjoy a tour of Lima, then return to Miraflores.There are many restaurants and cafes nearby to choose from for dinner.       (B)


terraces at ollantaytamboDay 5 - Tuesday, June 22: Lima/Cusco/Ollantaytamboollantaytambo water fountain
Fly to Cusco this morning on Lan flight 73, arriving at 9.40am. You are met and driven to Ollantaytambo, about 1.5 hours away. Overnight at Ollantaytambo. After leaving your bag at the hotel visit the amazing Ollantaytambo ruins with your guide. One of the more interesting features at Ollanto is a fountain that stops and starts with a pass of the hand. When a hand is placed in the flowing water, it stops. Touch the entrance again, and it starts. Easier than the Clapper, and predating touchscreens by half a millenium. Although not as visited as Machu Picchu and Pisac, the Ollanto ruins include some of the most complete dwellings of any in Peru, and the terraces are a commanding presence. As a bonus, the area around the upper ruins is good for seeing the amazingly large Giant Hummingbird.       (*M,L,D)

Day 6 – Wednesday, June 23: Ollantaytambo/ Machu Picchu/ Cusco
machu picchu Take an early morning Vistadome train to Machu Picchu; the trip is an hour and twenty minutes. By overnighting in Ollanto and taking an early train you have up to a couple of hours at Machu Picchu before the crowds arrive. Afterviscacha at machu picchu arrival at the Machu Picchu Village (was Aguas Calientes) station take the 20 minute bus ride up to Machu Picchu itself. Your guide takes us through the ruins, explaining its history and culture, for about 2 hours. After that you can continue with the guide, or explore on your own. At 2.30 return down the mountain – about 20 minutes – to Machu Picchu Village, in time for the 3.25pm train to Cusco. The 3.25 is the only train back to Cusco, and so it is longer and more crowded than the one from Ollanto. However, you do get a decent snack and hot tea on board, and there is entertainment as well. At Poroy, the last station before Cusco, get off and transfer to your Cusco hotel. This early departure from the train saves about one hour of the final switchback part of an already long train trip. You arrive back in Cusco about 7pm, where Inti Raymi celebrations will be occurring, especially in the Plaza de Armas, so take the opportunity tonight to wander the ancient, Incan streets of Cusco.        (B,L,S)

Day 7 – Thursday, June 24: Cusco and Inti Raymi
Today is the main event of the week-long celebrations around Inti Raymi, and the day Inti Raymi itself. The day begins with the invocation in the square adjacent to the site of Koricancha, the Temple of the Sun, then moves to Sacsayhuaman (make the pronunciation easy by remembering “sexy woman”, you’ll be close enough), with a procession carrying Sapa Inca on his throne, accompanied by high priests and nobleman. After many displays, speeches, prayers and the like, a llama is sacrificed on the royal altar and its heart shown in honor of Pachamama and to ensure fertility. Finally bales of straw are set alight as the sun sets, in ancient times the first fire since the festival started. Over 500 actors take part in this festival marking the winter solstice and the beginning of the new year by recreating the ancient Incan ritual. Fortunately no llamas are killed nowadays, despite the realistic effects.       (B,L,D)

cusco womancusco laneDay 8 – Friday, June 25
Spend this morning and early afternoon exploring Cusco, as the Inti Raymi celebrations spend much of the day at Sacsayhuaman, where you need to be early to get a viewing position, or accompany the procession there, so there is little time to appreciate the other Incan features of Cusco, and the city itself. The city is built on Incan ruins, and everwhere you look you see the remains of these people and their buildings. Hotels, churches, shops and houses all reveal Incan walls as their foundations; others have doors, lintels and other architectural pieces. The craftmanship of the stonemasons continues to amaze. Many of the people also show their lineage to earlier times. This afternoon fly back to Lima and overnight at Miraflores.         (B,*S)


Day 9 – Saturday, June 26: Lima/ Ica/ Lima
This morning we travel along the stark desert coast to Ica, about 3.5 hours south of Lima. Near Ica are Peru's famous Nazca Lines, huge geoglyphs created by the Nazca culture about 500 BCE by removing surface rocks to reveal the light colored ground beneath. The symbols are a mix of animal and human figures and geometric shapes. At the small airport you will receive an introduction to the Nazca Lines, then we board our small airplane for a 45 minute flight over the lines, the only way to see and appreciate them. After our return to the airport we visit the Regional Museum, with its collection of artifacts including textiles, pottery, metalware and mummies from the several cultures that have inhabited this area. We'll enjoy lunch, and visit the Huacachina Lagoon, a surprising oasis in this harsh desert landscape. Mid afternoon begin your return to Lima, where we have arranged for you to enter the VIP lounge at the airport for a more comfortable wait.        (B,L)

Day 10 – Sunday, June 27: Lima/ Miami/ Home City

Fly back to Miami late tonight or a little past midnight, arriving early this morning. After passing through immigration and customs connect with your flight to your home city.       (*B)



(B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner; M: Meal; * in flight meal)