Peru Tour: Inka and Their Ancestors

Machu Picchu, Caral, Nazca Lines, the tombs of La Señora de Cao and the Lord of Sipan – explore Peru’s most recent discoveries

with a Nasca Lines Post-trip Extension

Clark Erickson



June 9-24, 2017


16 Days




Why Take Far Horizons’ Peru Tour?

  • Seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Cusco, ChanChan, Caral, Nasca Lines, Qhapaq Ñan, Machu Picchu, Lima’s historic center
  • Private tour of Sacsayhuaman by the archaeologist working there
  • Private tour of the Machu Picchu Museum in Cusco
  • Private tour by the project director of El Brujo, where the tomb of the first female governor was found
  • Private meeting with the archaeologist who led the team that discovered La Señora de Cao
  • Private tour with the project director at Chanquillo, the world’s oldest astronomical observatory
  • Optional extension to fly over the Nasca Lines
  • Limited to 14 participants


(click to enlarge)

Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Depart the USA. Arrive to Lima.
Day 2: Lima city tour.
Day 3: Caral.
Day 4: Fortaleza de Paramonga. Private tour of Chankillo.
Day 5: Sechin Alto. Cerro Sechin. Trujillo.
Day 6: ChanChan.
Day 7: El Brujo and the tomb of La Señora de Cao.
Day 8: Sipán. Huaca Rajada. Tumbas Reales Museum.
Day 9: Fly to Cusco. Ollantaytambo.
Day 10: Machu Picchu tour.
Day 11: Half day at Machu Picchu.
Day 12: Chinchero’s Sunday market. Maras. Moray.
Day 13: Cuzco and Sacsayhuaman.
Day 14: Quenko, Puka Pukara, Tambomachay. Koricancha.
Day 15: Fly to Lima. Pachacamac. Return flights to USA.
Day 16: Arrive back in the USA.

Nasca Lines Extension
Day 15: Overnight in Lima.
Day 16: Tambo Colorado. The Ica Regional Museum.
Day 17: Fly over the Nasca Lines. Transfer to Lima. Fly to the USA.
Day 18: Arrive back in the USA.

Tipon Peru tourThe fabled cities of the Inka are ingrained in our consciousness with images of towering stonewalls and glittering golden armor.  But the Inka were only the last in a long line of rich and fascinating cultures – Chavin, Moche, Wari, and the Chimú – that peopled the coastal areas and high Andes of what is now Perú.

Our journey begins along the north coast where most of the most recent exciting discoveries are being made –   Sipán where archaeologists have uncovered one of the richest tombs ever found; and Pachacamac perhaps the most important pilgrimage site in Peru. By special arrangement, we will be hosted by the project director to view sunset at Chankillo, a 2,300 year old solar observatory that has made headline news recently. In Peru’s highlands visit the gigantic fortress of Ollantaytambo; enjoy a private tour of the Machu Picchu Museum housed in the historic Casa Concha and containing the largest collection of Inca artifacts in the world

This very special journey includes seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Caral, created 5,000 years ago and perhaps the oldest city in the New World; magnificent ChanChan, one of the largest pre-Columbian cities of the New World; Qhapaq Nan, the extensive road system that was created by the Inka Empire and flows through six South American countries; Lima’s Historic Center; the Nasca Lines where pre-Columbian geoglyphs were etched into desert sands; Historic Cusco; and the fabled Inka citadel of Machu Picchu.

tour PeruThe descendants of these ancient cultures still live in much the same way as their ancestors.  Their colorful weavings echo the fabrics of earlier times, and their faces mirror those of their predecessors.  We will visit their charming towns and colorful markets, and hear the Quechua language still spoken here, along with the strains of traditional flute music.

” I want to thank you for the trip of a lifetime – Peru. Absolutely fabulous! You seem to have your finger on the pulse and that is what makes a difference. To the whole crew at Far Horizons, thank you, a job well done – I say this because as a client there was not a single moment when confidence was shaken about the outcome of an adventure. Everyday was outstanding!!!! “ – Kathleen Cunningham

Tour Leader – Clark Erickson

Clark Erickson at PikillataClark Erickson received his MA and PhD in anthropology with a specialty in Andean archaeology, from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  He is both Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and Curator of the American Section at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Since 1974, Professor Erickson’s Andean and Amazonian research focuses on the contribution of archaeology to understanding the complex human history of the environment and cultural activities that have shaped the Earth.  He has worked throughout Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia. Dr. Erickson is editor of two recent volumes Time and Complexity in Historical Ecology: Studies in the Neotropical Lowlands (2006) and Landscapes of Movement: Trails, Paths, and Roads in Anthropological Perspective (2009) in addition to numerous other scientific and popular publications.



” I’ve been to 34 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa and South America and tell people emphatically, that this was my favorite trip“ – Tony Hyman

Peru tour weaverPeru Tour Itinerary

(B) breakfast, (L) lunch, (D) dinner

Day 1: Depart Miami on an all night international flight to Lima. Upon arrival, transfer to El Pardo Doubletree Hotel, our home for the next two nights, with the morning free to rest. In the afternoon, go to the Rafael Larco Herrera Museum to view its fabulous assembly of artifacts, including a fascinating and amusing collection of erotic pottery. Continue into Lima’s historic area, a UNESCO Heritage Site to see two important colonial religious buildings. In 1535, shortly after the Spanish took over control of the Inka Empire, Francisco Pizarro laid the first stone for the creation of the National Cathedral. The Conquistador’s body was entombed within the church. In the catacombs of the Convento de San Francisco, or Saint Francis Monastery, view the skulls and bones of thousands of bodies that were laid to rest here.  Gather this evening for a welcome dinner party at a restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean. (D)

tour Peru Pachacamac wooden dietyDay 2: Our drive south along the Panamerican Highway takes us to Pachacamac once the home to a famed oracle. For almost 2,000 years, this was a pilgrimage site for all pre-Inka societies. The ceremonial center was named for the deity, Pachacamac also known as ‘Earth-maker’, a powerful and feared god that was the creator of the world and of earthquakes. During excavations in 1939, the still-intact, wooden idol was found and can be seen within the site museum. Within the monumental ceremonial center are found great pyramidal temples, some with the remains of frescoes decorating the adobe walls. Here we will also see a piece of the Inka highway, Qhapaq Ñan. Upon return to Lima, see Huaca Pucllana, where a huge adobe temple dominates an important ceremonial and administrative center. Dinner is on our own. (B/L)

Peru-Tour-Machu-Picchu-Caral-Nazca-Lines-La-Senora-De-Cao-Cusco-Caral-PyramidDay 3: Depart Lima to drive north to monumental Caral, one of several pre-ceramic period sites located in the Supe Valley and a recently declared UNESCO World Heritage site. Studies show that a complex, highly structured society existed here that flourished at the same time that the pyramids were being built in Egypt. Radio-carbon dates show that this enormous city dates back to 2700 BC, nearly a millennium earlier than previously believed, and is the oldest urban site in the New World. Caral thrived for five centuries, with public architecture, ceremonial plazas and irrigation — all signs of a society with strong, centralized leadership. After a picnic lunch, continue to Barranca and overnight for one night at Hotel Chavin. (B/L/D)

Day 4: Our explorations of the north continue with a stop at the massive adobe Fortaleza de Paramonga built during the Chimú Empire. Peru-Tour-Machu-Picchu-Caral-Nazca-Lines-La-Senora-De-Cao-Cusco-ChankilloHowever, the formidable defensive walls weren’t enough to stop the Inka army from conquering the city, and it is still possible to see remnants of murals admired by Hernando Pizarro when he passed by in 1533 along with remnants of the Qhapaq Ñan. In the afternoon we move on to Chankillo a ceremonial center and solar observatory located in the Casma-Sechin river valley of the arid coastal plain. Two thousand years ago, towers were built on the top of a low ridge to observe the movement of the sun through the solar year, solstice to solstice. This suggests the sun may have played an important role in religious and political life two millennia before the appearance of the famous Inka sun cult. The Chankillo ridge top towers are now regarded as the oldest observatory in the new world, and the astronomical observations appear to be linked at the site with seasonal ritual activity. By special arrangement, we will meet with the Chankillo Project Director, Dr. Ivan Ghezzi, for a tour of the site and for sunset. In the evening, transfer to Casma and overnight in the simple  Las Aldas Hotel. (B/L/D)

Peru tour Trujillo tourDay 5: Our day begins with 4,000 year old Sechin Alto, the largest architectural complex in the New World. The site is remarkable for its enormous mound that anchored a U-shaped complex of circular sunken plazas and flanking platform mounds. Inhabited for much of the second millennium B.C., nearby Cerro Sechin is best known for the wall enclosing the administrative center, where tall stone monoliths are carved with bas relief sculptures of warriors and gruesomely mutilated human victims. After lunch we make our way to Trujillo, a beautiful colonial city in the Moche Valley of northern Peru.  Founded in 1535 and named after Francisco Pizarro’s birthplace in Spain, Trujillo was the resting spot along the Spaniards’ route between Lima and Quito and became known as the viceroyalty’s “lordliest city.”  We will admire its well-preserved 16th century homes with intricate wooden balconies and complicated window screens as we tour the city, and visit the local archaeological museum to see the artifacts from nearby excavations. Overnight for two nights at the Hotel Libertador Trujillo. (B/L/D)

Peru-Tour-Machu-Picchu-Caral-Nazca-Lines-La-Senora-De-Cao-Cusco-ChanChan-WallHuaca Dragon facadeDay 6: This morning, visit several outstanding adobe centers. The largest mud brick structure ever erected in the New World and constructed of more than 7,000,000 bricks, the Huaca del Sol, or Pyramid of the Sun, was built about the time of Christ and dominated the ancient capital of Moche. Huaca Arco Iris, known locally as Huaca del Dragón, is decorated with frescoes depicting rainbows overshadowing snakes. At the nearby Huaca de la Luna or Pyramid of the Moon, archaeologists have recently uncovered polychrome friezes that cover the huge stepped platforms. In the afternoon, we tour ChanChan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Overlooking the sea and covering over 20 square kilometers, this capital of the ancient Chimú Empire was constructed entirely of adobe mud-brick. One of the largest pre-Columbian cities in South America, it is made up of immense palace complexes built for the rulers (the smallest is the size of six football fields!). Each is covered with intricate friezes exquisitely decorated with fish, birds and the moon in elegant repetitive patterns. (B/L/D)

Peru-Tour-Machu-Picchu-Caral-Nazca-Lines-La-Senora-De-Cao-Cusco-Huaca-MaskDay 7: Extensive excavations have been undertaken at the Moche complex of El Brujo, in the Chicama Valley. Archaeologists have discovered beautifully painted murals depicting prisoners and spider decaptitators that once formed the exterior of the pyramid. Located adjacent to the site, a colonial church was recently excavated as well. But the most sensational discovery at El Brujo was the intact tomb of La Señora de Cao, a mysterious tattooed female mummy that was displayed on the cover of National Geographic magazine soon after being found in 2006. The Tattooed Lady soon caught the attention of the world.  Wrapped in exquisite textiles, and adorned with dazzling nose-rings, gold jewelry and other fine items, archaeologists believe that the young woman was important and may have been the first evidence of women rulers in pre-Hispanic Peru. Here, we will have a private meeting with the archaeologist who led the team who found this mysterious lady, and enter the new Cao Museum before driving on to Chiclayo, gateway to Peru’s northern archaeological zone.  Overnight for two nights in the Grand Hotel Chiclayo.   (B/L/D)

Tour Sipan Ruler in goldDay 8: The area around Chiclayo has long been inhabited by succeeding cultures. Over two decades of scientific investigation at Batán Grande by the Sicán Archaeological Project has told us much about the Sicán people. They constructed monumental temples and palaces, along with highly refined irrigation systems that turned the desert into rich agricultural fields. The nobility were buried in deep shaft tombs, some 40 feet deep, along with rich collections of jewelry and religious paraphernalia created from multihued feathers, gold and silver. The Sicán Museum displays the stunning artifacts found during excavations along with models of the tombs that were discovered. Tucamé, also known as the Valley of Pyramids, contains 26 colossal mounds. During the 13th and 14th centuries, at the apex of the complex’s importance, it was most likely a hub of annual pilgrimage by people from all along the north coast.  The incredible discovery of the burials tombs of Sipán (not to be confused with Sicán) within Huaca Rajada electrified the archaeological world. When archaeologists opened the un-looted wooden sarcophagus of a Moche king, they found not only his remains but a tremendous cache of gold and silver ornaments, semi-precious stones, pottery and a number of sacrificed servants who accompanied him to the next world.  But far more significant than the monetary value of the artifacts is the new light that the discovery has cast upon this hitherto little known civilization. These dazzling finds are now housed in the breathtaking Tombas Reales Museum.  (B/L)

Tour Peru Tour Ollantaytambo terracesDay 9: Transfer to the airport for our flights to Lima and on to Cusco. Upon arrival, drive into the Valley of Urubamba and Ollantaytambo. Built by the founder of Machu Picchu, Emperor Pachacuti (the earth shaker), as a royal estate in the mid-15th century, it was a stronghold against the Spaniards and the capital for resistance leader Manco Inca Yupanqui in the mid-16th century. Along the streets of the old section of town stand some of the oldest continually occupied buildings in the Americas with pristine Inca stonework. And the streets have a fully functional plumbing system created when the city was constructed. The town is shadowed by agricultural terraces still irrigated by mountain water. At the base of the mountain is a carefully designed water system of canals and fountains still in use today. Overnight for two nights at the Hotel Pakaritampu. (B/L/D)

tour Peru tour ChincheroMoray agricultural circleDay 10: Today we will see three of the most fascinating sites in Peru. Located in a high valley, Chinchero is a graceful, traditional Andean village, arguably the loveliest in the Peruvian highlands, that dates from before the conquest and was once the country estate of the late-15th-century Inka Tupac Yupanqui. Encircled by lush farming terraces, houses are built on the foundations of Inka buildings, including the early 17th century church. Constructed of adobe bricks, lovely frescoes and mural paintings decorate both the exterior and interior. Chinchero’s markets are held in the shadow of the church within the central plaza and is one of the best places in the entire valley for Andean textiles. Spend time bartering for crafts before enjoying a private weaving demonstration. Continue to Maras where a series of pools cascades down a bluff creating salt pans that have existed since pre-Inca times and are still actively used.  Our final stop is Moray where impressively deep terracing creates what may be a pre-historic experimental farming station. Different levels of concentric terraces were carved into a huge earthen bowl here, and each layer has its own micro-climate. (B/L/D)

Peru-Tour-Machu-Picchu-Caral-Nazca-Lines-La-Senora-De-Cao-Cusco-BirdseyeMachu Pichu tour Peru tourDay 11: Early this morning, we board our train for a ride through the Urubamba River Valley to Machu Picchu, fabled lost city of the Inka.  This beautiful mountaintop city might have been constructed as a royal palace complex for the emperor Pachacuti and his family in the early 15th century, and appears to have been an important spiritual and ceremonial location.  It was never found by the  Spanish conquerors and was lost until 1911 when a local farmer showed the city to the explorer, Hiram Bingham.  Spend the day exploring this magnificent site. Overnight at the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel set in the lush rainforest filled with blooming orchids and bromeliads and with delightful bungalows scattered along the Urubamba River. (B/L/D)

Day 12: Sunrise through the jungle mist awaits for those who wish to return to Machu Picchu. Hikers may choose to climb to the top of Huayna Picchu, the towering granite peak that overlooks Machu Picchu for a spectacular view of the ruins.  Near the top of the mountain, pass through ancient terraces so inaccessible and so narrow that they were probably not used for agricultural purposes, but instead were ornamental gardens to be admired from the city below. Or walk a portion of the Inka trail, Qhapaq Ñan, to the Sun Gate. After lunch on our own, board the train to Ollantaytambo and return to the Hotel Pakaritampu and overnight. (B/D)Peru-Tour-Machu-Picchu-Caral-Nazca-Lines-La-Senora-De-Cao-Cusco-Sacsayhuamna-Wall

 Day 13: Our drive into the highlands takes us to Sacsayhuaman, a huge fortress constructed on an artificially leveled mountaintop overlooking Cusco. It consists of three outer defenses of colossal walls, and according to early Spanish chroniclers, was said to be a Royal House of the Sun. If on site, Dr. Alexei Vranich will meet with the group to talk of his work here. Continue to Cusco with the afternoon is free for independent explorations of this charming colonial city. Overnight for two nights at the JW Marriot Hotel, housed within a restored 16th-century stone convent located around the corner from the cathedral and main square. (B/L/D)

Peru-Tour-Machu-Picchu-Caral-Nazca-Lines-La-Senora-De-Cao-Cusco-Puka-Pukara-FountainDay 14: This morning’s sites are captivating and diverse remains of the Inka civilization. Quenko is a small, enigmatic sanctuary whose focus is an enormous 20-ft high rock carved in the shape of a puma. This large limestone rock has niches, steps and a series of zigzagging channels carved on it and in the cave-like galleries. The small military fort of Puka Pukara was most likely built to guard the road into the capital. Tambomachay was constructed by the Inkas about 1500. It may have been a shrine honoring water as a vital part of agriculture and regeneration of the earth, and consists of three sections: the fountains, the canals, and the agricultural area where a collection of platforms were created to control irrigation. The monument is reputed to be a sacred bathing place of the Inka elite. After lunch, drive to beautiful Tipon, where an intricate system of canals and cascades designed by the Inka several centuries ago still channels water to the ancient farming terraces, and then continue our exploration of Cusco, capital of the Inka Empire and first seat of power for the conquering Spaniards. Visit the Cathedral that was built on the palace of Inka Viracocha and contains an altar of solid silver, and Santa Domingo Church, built on the walls of the Inka Temple of the Sun, Koricancha. This was the most magnificent complex in pre-conquest Cusco with walls covered in sheets of gold studded with emeralds and turquoise, and windows constructed so the sun would enter and cast a near blinding reflection of golden light off the precious interior. Dinner is on our own to enjoy one of Cusco’s many exciting restaurants. (B/L)

Day 15: Morning free in Cusco before flying to Lima in time for our overnight flight to Miami. (B) (or join the Nasca extension).

Day 16: Arrive back in the USA.

Tour Peru's Nasca LinesNasca Lines Extension

Day 15: Fly to Lima. After a light lunch, travel south paralleling the ocean along the Pacific Highway to Paracas and the Paracas Hacienda Hotel, our home for the next two nights. (B/L/D)

Day 16: This morning, board a small plane to fly over the famous Nasca Lines. Visible best from the air, the huge images are of animals and enigmatic “lines”. Return to our beachside resort this afternoon with free time relax and dinner on our own. (B/L)

Day 17: Driving back to Lima, we will make two stops. In Ica, visit the Regional Museum, housing an excellent collection of Paracas Peru-Tour-Machu-Picchu-Caral-Nazca-Lines-La-Senora-De-Cao-Cusco-Tambo-Coloradotextiles and Nasca ceramics. Also displayed are quipus, knotted strings used by the Inkas as a writing system, along with a large-scale model of the Nasca Lines. Tambo Colorado was a lovely Inka complex that is reminiscent of the pueblos of the American Southwest. Rectangular buildings built of adobe enclose a large, trapezoidal plaza, and in the center sits the remains of an Ushnu, a wide throne platform common at Inka administrative centers. Within the mud walls, ornamented with painted bands of white, red and yellow, can be seen elaborate lattice work, niches, and corbeled arches. Continue to Lima for our flight back to Miami.  (B/L)

Day 18: Arrive back in the USA.


Peru tour Peru tour Sacsayhuaman tourTour Peru Tour Lima San Francisco Church

Tour Cost

June 9 – 24, 2017

$9,995.00 (per person, double occupancy) includes roundtrip international airfare from Miami to Lima, four Peruvian internal flights, all hotels, gratuities to guides and drivers, meals as listed in the itinerary, ground transportation, entry and service fees..  

catacombs doorTour Chinchero MarketCost Does Not Include: a tax-deductible check for $150.00 per person made out to the donation project; passport or visa fees; airport or departure taxes; beverages or food not included on regular menus; laundry; excess baggage charges; personal tips; alcoholic drinks; telephone and fax charges; or other items of a personal nature.

Single Supplement: $995.00. Should a roommate be requested and one not be available, the single supplement will be charged.

Nasca Lines Extension Cost: $1695.00 (per person, double occupancy) includes the flight by private plane, gratuities to guides and drivers, all hotels, meals as listed in the itinerary, ground transportation, entry and service fees.

Nasca Lines Extension Single Supplement: $275.00. Should a roommate be requested and one not be available, the single supplement will be charged.

Nasca Lines Extension Cost Does Not Include: passport or visa fees; airport or departure taxes; beverages or food not included on regular menus; laundry; excess baggage charges; personal tips; alcoholic drinks; telephone and fax charges; or other items of a personal nature.

Fuel Surcharges: Far Horizons must pass on price increases when additional fuel charges are levied.

Donation Checks: As a tour company that benefits from the cultural and natural riches of our destinations, we have a policy of donating to the scientific and cultural projects and museums we visit. This has created a bond between Far Horizons and the academic and local communities that has helped us establish an extensive list of lecturers and contacts in each of our destinations. We ask that each participant write a check to the noteworthy project we designate. The donation amount is $150.00 per person and is made by check directly to the donation project. For this trip, please make your checks payable to the “World Monuments Fund” with a notation on the memo line ‘for the Chankillo Project.’ Note that the donation is required as part of your registration for the trip and that it is non-refundable.

Tour PeruRegistration

A deposit of $500.00 and the separate donation check for $150.00 (made out to the designated project) are required along with your registration form. Final payment is due 90 days before departure. Upon receipt of your deposit and completed registration form, you will be sent a reading list and a tour bulletin containing travel information. Prior to the trip, we will send links to various websites of pertinent interest to the trip. Click here to download our Registration Form.

Cancellations and Refunds

Cancelations received in writing at least 90 days before departure will result in an administrative fee of $300.00. Cancellations received less than 90 days prior to departure will not receive a refund. If for any reason you are unable to complete the tour, we will not reimburse any fees. Registrants are strongly advised to buy travel insurance that includes trip cancellation.

Air Ticketing

If you do not fly on the group flight, you are responsible for all flight arrangements and transportation (including airport transfers) to join the group. If Far Horizons must change the trip dates or cancel the trip for any reason, Far Horizons is not responsible for any air ticket you may have purchased. If you issue your own international flight, please send the complete schedule as soon as you have it.

Note About Itinerary Changes

Changes in our itinerary, accommodations, and transportation schedules may occur. A good book to read as well as a flexible attitude and a sense of humor are essential.

Private Tours of Archaeological Sites

The private tours of archaeological sites and talks by specialists are scheduled in advance and include a donation to each. Specialists working at these sites are excited about showing their work to interested enthusiasts. However, please be aware that there may be times when the director or a member of the staff may not be onsite when our groups arrive due to other commitments, or that the date or time of our visit to their project must be changed.

Travel in this Part of the World

The adventurous nature of the itinerary makes it essential that you be in good physical condition. Long walks may be required to reach some areas, including walks over steep gradients, sand, and over poorly maintained paths. To reach some of the site centers entail long walks, as much as two miles or more each day. Participants, unassisted, must be able to walk on rough trails and keep up with group members. To reach the top of some of ceremonial centers steep climbs up tall, uneven stairs are necessary. Although the altitude in the Sacred Valley, including Macchu Pichu is about 8,000 feet, the height of Cusco is 12,000. Meals will be primarily Peruvian dishes and will not be haute cuisine. Bellhops will not be available at all hotels and you will be responsible for your own luggage. A flexible attitude, team spirit and a good sense of humor are essential! If you have questions about your ability to handle this sort of challenge, we suggest you carry the brochure to your physician and discuss your abilities. If you have further questions about the strenuousness of the trip, please call us.