2019 Peru & Chile – Ancient Paths to the Present Total Solar Eclipse – Southbound Overview
|Thursday – Sunday||June 20 – 23||Optional: Nazca Lines & Paracas|
|Friday – Saturday||June 21 & 22||Optional: Pre-nights in Lima, Peru|
|Day 1||Sunday||June 23||Arrive Lima, Peru|
|Day 2||Monday||June 24||Lima|
|Day 3||Tuesday||June 25||Sacred Valley of the Incas|
|Day 4||Wednesday||June 26||Machu Picchu|
|Day 5||Thursday||June 27||Machu Picchu II|
|Day 6||Friday||June 28||Sacsayhuaman – Cuzco|
|Day 7||Saturday||June 29||Cuzco|
|Day 8||Sunday||June 30||Cuzco – La Serena, Chile|
|Day 9||Monday||July 1||La Serena|
|Day 10||Tuesday||July 2||Total Solar Eclipse|
|Day 11||Wednesday||July 3||Depart La Serena|
|Wednesday – Friday||July 3 – 5||Optional: Cerro Tololo InterAmerican Observatory|
Important: TravelQuest, working with its partners, makes every effort to follow the published itinerary. However, please keep in mind that it is subject to change depending on weather and other local conditions.
Choosing Your Ideal Trip
Level 2 – Easy/moderate: short to medium walks over uneven hilly terrain under easygoing to rugged travel conditions, with varying elevations up to 3,400 m (11,150 ft).
At TravelQuest we want to be sure you find the trip that best suits your interests and level of fitness. Please email or call if you have any questions regarding the itinerary.
Arrive Lima, Peru
Your expert-guided tour of Lima begins in the city’s historic central square, which is ringed by the Archbishop’s Palace, Government Palace, City Hall and the imposing Basilica Cathedral. Founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1535, Lima was the center of Spanish rule in South America for three centuries. Today its colonial heart is rightly protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your tour also includes a visit to the Convent of Santo Domingo, renowned for its beautiful cloisters and various relics of Santa Rose and San Martin de Porres, Peru’s two most important saints.
Our midday break is at a beautiful hacienda, where you enjoy a delicious lunch on the grounds – your first chance to sample Peru’s justly renowned cuisine. And in the afternoon, experience a classic horse show featuring the Peruvian Paso, whose exceptionally smooth gait the show’s trainers have tuned to perfection – to the point where the horses also take part in a traditional Peruvian dance.
Sacred Valley of the Incas
After lunch, we carry on to Urubamba in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. At 2,870 m (9,420 ft) above sea level, it’s lower than Cuzco and is considered a good place for acclimatizing to the region’s high altitude.
Overnight: Sonesta Posadas del Inca-Yucay or similar
After an early breakfast, get ready to experience Machu Picchu, the legendary Inca city in the sky. We’re keeping our hotel rooms here in the Sacred Valley, so you only need to bring a small travel bag for your overnight stay. At nearby Ollantaytambo, board our first-class Vistadome train to travel from the Sacred Valley up into the cloud forest, enjoying unmatched views of the peaks through from the glass-ceilinged cars. Your 1.5-hour journey ends at Aguas Calientes, at the foot of Machu Picchu, where we arrive in time for lunch at a typical Andes restaurant.
We’ve timed our tour of Machu Picchu for later in the afternoon, as many visitors arrive earlier in the day and will already have headed back down the mountain – creating a more enjoyable experience for us. After lunch, a shuttle whisks you up the mountain to the site entrance, where our expert guide is waiting to show you this magnificent Inca city that remained hidden from outsiders for so long. Seeing and photographing firsthand the expansive stone ruins, steep terraces and looming cliffs, it’s easy to understand why Machu Picchu is regularly ranked among the wonders of human design: the stonework is so well engineered that many walls remain almost perfectly intact after more than five centuries.
Following this initial experience of Machu Picchu, we return to Aguas Calientes and our comfortable hotel.
Overnight: Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel or similar
Machu Picchu II
If you’re up for joining us early, ahead of the tourist swell, we offer a second opportunity to explore Machu Picchu – this time in the morning light. Our guide will meet you in the hotel lobby and lead you on a fascinating tour exploring other dimensions of the ancient site. Or if you prefer, you can spend the morning at your leisure, exploring the local craft market or visiting Aguas Calientes’ hot springs. In the afternoon, enjoy more breathtaking views on the return train ride to Ollantaytambo, concluding another great day back in your room at our Sacred Valley hotel.
Overnight: Sonesta Posadas del Inca-Yucay or similar
Sacsayhuaman – Cuzco
Overnight in Cuzco Novotel or similar (2 nights)
Following breakfast, you only need to step outside the door of our hotel to discover the historical and cultural legacy of Cuzco – or Q`osqo, “The Navel of the World,” in the Quechua language. As the capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th through the 15th centuries, Cuzco was renowned for its palaces, temples and other stone structures. Unfortunately, during the Spanish conquest many of these gems were destroyed and their foundations used for many of the public buildings and churches we see today – themselves monuments to another bygone age. This dual legacy of Inca and colonial architecture made Cuzco an obvious choice to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Highlights of your morning walking tour include Korikancha, the Incas’ Temple of the Sun and later the site of Santo Domingo Convent, as well as the impressive cathedral overlooking Plaza de Armas in the heart of the city. In the afternoon, stroll the streets of Cuzco at your leisure to shop for interesting keepsakes, sample regional cuisine at one of the many excellent restaurants and just absorb centuries of history in this magnificent city among the peaks.
Cuzco – La Serena, Chile
Overnight: Mar Ensueno or similar (3 nights)
At the end of another full day, join your TravelQuest astronomer for an informative discussion of photography techniques, eclipse safety and the latest weather updates for tomorrow’s big event.
Total Solar Eclipse
Depart La Serena
Add-On: Pre-nights in Lima, Peru
Cost: $155 USD per person, per night double occupancy; $300 USD per person, per night single occupancy. Rates include airport-hotel arrival transfer at LIM, as well as daily breakfast and taxes.
OPTIONAL: NAZCA LINES & PARACAS
June 20–23, 2019
Arrive Lima, Peru
Overnight: DoubleTree El Pardo or similar
Pachacamac - Paracas
Overnight: Aranwa Paracas or similar (2 nights)
Nazca Lines Flyover - Paracas Dunes
After breakfast, enjoy a brief scenic journey from Paracas to nearby Ica airport, where you’ll embark– weather permitting – on your unforgettable flight over the Nazca Lines. Etched into the desert floor thousands of years ago, the lines remain visible thanks to the region’s exceptionally dry climate. Many theories have been suggested to explain their meaning and purpose, but so far there’s no firm scientific consensus. One thing is certain: the Nazca Lines are a spectacular human achievement that can only be truly appreciated from the air. The highlight of your nearly two-hour flight is a 20-minute flyover of a dozen massive images, including the monkey, the spider, the hummingbird and the astronaut. It’s a unique opportunity to try unraveling their mystery for yourself.
After this unforgettable aerial tour, return to our hotel for lunch, followed by free time to enjoy the seaside resort at your leisure. Late in the afternoon, join us for an exciting dune buggy ride among the dunes of Paracas to raise our glasses to the setting sun before we return to our hotel for dinner.
Ballestas Islands - Lima
After lunch back at our hotel head back to Lima to begin your eclipse tour.
$1810 USD per person, based on two people sharing a room. $2310 USD per person for single occupancy.
- IMPORTANT: Flight price is based upon a passenger weight of no more than 100 kg (220 lbs.). Passengers weighing above 100 kg may incur an additional price supplement. Contact TravelQuest with questions.
- Payment is due at the time of the final payment for your eclipse tour. Once payment is received by TravelQuest it becomes fully non-refundable.
- 3 nights hotel accommodation with baggage handling
- Meals as mentioned in the itinerary + 1 hot drink and bottled water
- Private chartered bus transportation
- Services of an English speaking guide
- Flight over the Nazca Lines including tax
- Dune buggy tour with sunset refreshments
- Ballestas Islands boating excursion
- Bottled water days 2-4
Optional: Cerro Tololo InterAmerican Observatory
July 3-5, 2019
Add On: Cerro Tololo InterAmerican Observatory
Photos by Bob Stephens
Join TQ in La Serena, Chile for a special post-eclipse trip visit to one of South America’s most significant professional observatories – Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory, located 80 km east of La Serena, Chile, at an altitude of 2200 meters (7200 ft.). Cerro Tololo’s complex of telescopes, including the principal 4 meter Victor Blanco Telescope credited with the initial discovery of a portion of Jupiter’s retrograde moons, and other specialized instruments are among the most advanced apparatuses for astronomical research on the earth’s surface today.
Cost: $695 USD per person, double occupancy; $995 USD per person, single occupancy. Rates include two nights hotel with breakfast daily, tour to Cerro Tololo Observatory with a box lunch, and hotel-airport departure transfer to LSC (La Serena Airport.)
Payment is due at the time of the final payment for your eclipse tour. Once payment is received by TravelQuest it becomes fully non-refundable.