Peru
https://worldstrides.com/itineraries/peru-lessons-from-an-empire/

Peru: Lessons from an Empire

A Smithsonian University Travel Program

The ancient Inca people lived in a world steeped in rich tradition and tackled life’s challenges with a remarkable ingenuity that helped them prosper in a time very different from our own. Machu Picchu is a marvel, but it is just one of the legacies of this civilization. Discover the ancient traditions and archaeological wonders that can be traced to modern Peru, and their impact on today’s citizens. As part of the Smithsonian University Travel Programs collection, this Peru itinerary was crafted by a team of experts from WorldStrides and the Smithsonian to offer access to a network of global thinkers who are preserving history and helping us all learn from it.

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  • End of Incan civilization
    1533
  • Currency of Peru
    Peruvian nuevo sol
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8 Days
Destinations Visited
LimaCuscoChincheroOllantaytamboMachu Picchu
Local Conditions
63℉ Current Temp
Current Time

Two Ways to Travel

Lead a Group

Spotlight on PeruFaculty can take a group of students on a private Smithsonian University Travel Program – on your own timeline, and with adjustments to suit your academic needs! Work with our program development team to make this journey back in time your own.

Travel with our Explorers Group in January ’17!

WorldStrides has a special opportunity to join our Peru Smithsonian University Travel Program for a special J-Term program January 2 – 10, 2017. Meet other university students from schools around the United States, and delve into the ancient story of Peru together. Sign up as an individual or with friends.

Interested in joining the group or sharing more information with your students? Email smithsonian@worldstrides.org for pricing and other information.

Small groups of students from a single university may qualify a faculty member to travel for free. 

Your Adventure, Day by Day

Day 1 Travel Day
  • Depart Fly to Peru!
Day 2 Welcome to Lima
  • Larco Herrera Museum Take a guided tour that showcases the 3,000 years of development of Peruvian pre-Columbian History.
  • Expert Access: Qhapaq Nan – Road of the Inca Meet with a former vice minister of Cultural Heritage and Cultural Industries (or one of his colleagues) to learn about the cultural heritage of Lima.
  • Expert Access: Music Urbana Workshop Listen to modern Peruvian music and study its influences with a local DJ, currently doing research in collaboration with Smithsonian’s Arte y Musica Urbana Case study.
  • Free time Enjoy some time to explore Lima.
  • Welcome Dinner Enjoy a Peruvian meal in this culinary capital of South America.
Day 3 Cusco and Nearby Ruins
  • Fly to Cusco Relax on a morning flight to Cusco.
  • Cusco Guided Tour Cusco is the storied capital of the Inca dynasty and gateway to Machu Picchu. Stately and historic, with stone streets and building foundations laid by the Incas more than five centuries ago, the town is remarkably dynamic, enlivened by throngs of travelers who have transformed the historic center around the Plaza de Armas into a mecca of sorts for South American adventurers.
  • Spotlight: Sacsayhuaman Visit Sacsayhuaman, the greatest of the ruins at Cusco, and some of the Incas’ most extraordinary architecture and monumental stonework. Usually referred to as a garrison or fortress, it was probably a religious temple, though most experts also believe it had military significance. View the astounding outer walls, constructed in a zigzag formation of three tiers and the circular foundations of three towers that once stood above the walls.
  • Free time
Day 4 Chinchero District
  • Travel to Chinchero Chinchero was on the path that led to Machu Picchu during Incan times and was an important urban center whose history can be observed now around its church and square.
  • Special Access: Chinchero Ruins Tour the archaeological ruins with local guides. Hear about the history of the town from people whose families have lived there for generations.
  • Special Access: El Centro do Textiles Tradicionales Workshop Meet with Nilda Callañaupa Álvarez, the director of El Centro de Textiles Tradicionales de Cusco. El Centro de Textiles Tradicionales de Cusco is where weavers “share their knowledge and techniques with young people.” While here, learn about the traditional process of weaving, including the shearing of llamas, alpacas, and sheep; dyeing the yarn natural colors; and the inspiration for each weaver.
Day 5 Service Day
  • Special Access: Volunteer Activity Head back to Chinchero to volunteer at the children's center or in the local community.
  • Depart for The Sacred Valley Head to Ollantaytambo by bus.
Day 6 Ollantaytambo
  • Explore Ollantaytambo Ollantaytambo is a quaint village that is surrounded by Incan ruins and is considered the best surviving example of Incan city planning. The town is a lovely place to wander, with its stone buildings and maze of narrow cobblestoned streets that have been inhabited for centuries.
  • Pisac Ruins Explore the Pisac Ruins, some of the finest and largest in the entire valley. Despite the excellent condition of many of the structures, little is conclusively known about the site’s purpose. It appears to have been part city, part ceremonial center and part military complex, and it may have been a royal estate of the Incan emperor (Pachacútec).
  • Pisac Market Stroll through the market, one of the liveliest in Peru, where hundreds of stalls crowd the central square and spill down side streets. Sellers come from many different villages, often remote locations, high in the Andes, and wear dress typical of their village. The goods for sale at the market include sweaters, ponchos, rugs, ceramics, and colorful weavings.
  • Depart for Sacred Valley Before you can arrive at Machu Picchu, you have to travel there! Hear from a specialist on the research that has focused on the Incan road system in the vicinity of Machu Picchu. This impressive engineering project utilized a wide variety of native technologies to meet enormous challenges and to achieve defined objectives. Slope stabilization, drainage, retaining walls, stairways, viewing stations, controlled access, guardhouses and platforms, rest stops and water supplies for the traveler, all add up to a spectacular success by the ancient Incan road builders.
Day 7 Machu Picchu
  • Travel to Machu Picchu Take the train to this iconic city on a mountain.
  • Spotlight: Machu Picchu Explore one of the most beautiful and mysterious sights in the world. Enjoy a guided tour of the ruins, including the Caretaker’s Hut and Funerary Rock, the Temple of the Sun (Torreón); the Royal Tomb; the Royal Sector, a still-functioning water canal. Then enter the lower section of the ruins, separated from the spiritually oriented upper section by a central plaza.
Day 8 Return to Lima
  • Travel back to Cusco Take the train from Aguas Calientes.
  • Flight to Lima
  • Farewell Dinner Enjoy dinner together to reflect on your experiences in Peru.
  • Depart Peru Fly home on a late flight (where possible).

Meet Smithsonian Expert Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez

Read more

  The art of Peruvian weaving dates back over 2000 years. It is integral to Inca culture, and, too often, it disappears with the elderly artisans who once mastered it. When you travel on our Smithsonian University Travel Program to Peru, you’ll meet Nilda Callañaupa…

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