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stormy sky over machu picchu with the mountain range in background

Overview

A truly unforgettable adventure

If you’ve never been to Machu Picchu, there’s no better way to see it than in the company of veteran faculty leader John Rick. Of course, there’s even more to see beyond this famous Inca stronghold, including the seldom-visited, 3,000 year-old Chavín de Huántar, a World Heritage archaeological site that John has spent 30 years excavating, fascinating Cusco and the enchanting towns of the Sacred Valley. John’s intimate knowledge of Peru’s archaeological wonders provides unique insight into long-lost civilizations that bring the past to life.

Throughout our journey, feast your eyes on the many colors of Peru—the dramatic green terraces of Ollantaytambo, the multi-hued textiles of Chinchero’s weavers and the golden glow of a Peruvian sunset.

Dates

September 2–14, 2023

Duration

13 days

Price

From $11,495 per person

Trip size

32 participants

Minimum age

18 years
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Faculty leader

A different kind of classroom

With renowned Stanford faculty and scholars leading the way, every Travel/Study trip is a one-of-a-kind educational experience.

John Rick

Anthropology and Human Biology

Since John's first visit to Peru at six, he has spent much time excavating highland archaeological sites. He delights in walking the Inca Trail and visiting the ruins of Machu Picchu. John has spent 30 years excavating Chavín de Huántar and considers it to be South America's most fascinating site.

Itinerary

Andean culture and the mysteries of ancient civilizations

Spend three full days exploring the archaeological site of Chavín de Huántar near Huaraz, then travel to the Sacred Urubamba Valley of the Inca, where we stay in a beautiful hotel resembling a rural Peruvian village, tour the typical Andean town of Chinchero and the Incan archaeological site of Ollantaytambo. Visit the Incan citadel, Machu Picchu and conclude our adventure in Cusco.

  • Lima, Peru

    Arrive in Lima and transfer to our hotel.

    Accommodations:

    Belmond Miraflores Park Hotel

  • Lima

    This morning, visit Plaza Mayor, which was the stage for Peru’s 1821 declaration of independence. Located in Lima’s historic center, the plaza is surrounded by the Government Palace, the Municipal Palace and the Basilica Cathedral of Lima. Next visit the Larco Herrera Museum, housed in an 18th-century viceroyalty-era mansion surrounded by beautiful gardens. The museum offers a fascinating account of more than 5,000 years of pre-Columbian Peruvian history, and the museum’s storerooms hold tens of thousands of archaeological treasures. This evening, enjoy a welcome reception and dinner at a local restaurant.

    Accommodations:

    Belmond Miraflores Park Hotel

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Huaraz

    Today we head into the Andean highlands to the city of Huaraz, capital of Peru’s Ancash Region, stopping at smaller archaeological sites en route. Arrive at our hotel late this afternoon.

    Accommodations:

    Hotel Los Angeles

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Chavín de Huántar

    Three-thousand-year-old Chavín de Huántar was the model for many of the most dramatic sequences in the Indiana Jones movies—monumental stone temples, graphic and iconic stone art, mysterious underground chambers and a beautiful mountain setting. Explore its ceremonial plazas, temples and the labyrinth of subterranean passageways that connect them. View the lanzón, a large monolith depicting a Chavín god with a feline head and human body.

    Accommodations:

    Hotel Los Angeles

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Chavín de Huántar

    Continue our exploration of pre-Inca Chavín de Huántar, visiting the Old and New Temples and learning about how and why the great Andean cultures came to be.

    Accommodations:

    Hotel Los Angeles

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Huaraz / Lima

    Return to Lima by motorcoach, stopping to visit the Sacred City of Aaral-Supe en route. This 5,000-year-old UNESCO World Heritage-listed archaeological site is the oldest center of civilization in the Americas.

    Accommodations:

    Holiday Inn Lima Airport Hotel

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Cusco / Chinchero / Sacred Valley

    This morning we fly to Cusco, perched 11,152 feet above sea level. After lunch, travel to the town of Chinchero, considered by the Inca as the birthplace of the rainbow, to observe a demonstration of traditional textile weaving. Continue to our delightful hotel in the Urubamba Valley, also known as the Sacred Valley of the Inca, and enjoy this peaceful haven along the banks of the Urubamba River.

    Accommodations:

    Belmond Hotel Rio Sagrado

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Sacred Valley / Ollantaytambo

    We begin today exploring the ruins of the massive fortress of Ollantaytambo, which successfully withstood Spanish attacks in the 16th century. Built on top of an Incan settlement, Ollantaytambo is Peru’s one surviving example of Incan town planning. Enjoy lunch at a nearby ranch, followed by a special equestrian demonstration featuring the unique Peruvian Paso horse.

    Accommodations:

    Belmond Hotel Rio Sagrado

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Machu Picchu

    This morning take a scenic train ride through the Sacred Valley to Aguas Calientes, the town located at the foot of Machu Picchu. Nestled in a cloud forest, Machu Picchu is one of the most iconic archaeological sites in the Americas. Surrounded by steep agricultural terraces, this masterfully planned site, built in the mid-1400s, was a center of worship and the private retreat of the Inca ruler Pachacútec. This “Lost City of the Incas” also included an astronomical observatory. Explore the stone temples, grassy plazas, palaces and workshops with an expert guide. After checking in to our hotel set in the shadow of Machu Picchu, enjoy an afternoon at leisure before dining together this evening.

    Accommodations:

    Belmond Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge

    Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Machu Picchu / Cusco

    Enjoy this morning at leisure exploring Machu Picchu before the crowds arrive. Depart late this morning on a train with panoramic windows and a glass roof, affording unobstructed vistas of the surrounding countryside. Upon arrival in Cusco, the capital and cultural heart of the Inca Empire, visit the Spanish Plaza de Armas, modern Cusco’s cultural core, with its colonial Cathedral of Santo Domingo, Church of the Compañia de Jesús and monument to 18th-century rebel leader Tupac Amaru—an emblematic figure in the Peruvian struggle for independence. Check in to our elegant hotel, a converted 16th century former monastery.

    Accommodations:

    Belmond Monasterio Hotel

    Included meals: Breakfast and lunch
  • Cusco

    Head to Sacsayhuamán, a 15th-century Inca fortress complex that includes a great plaza used for communal ceremonies and massive walls whose stones are among the largest building blocks in pre-Hispanic construction in the Americas. Spend an afternoon at leisure or take an optional hike to the archaeological site of Inkilltambo. Enjoy a farewell dinner this evening.

    Accommodations:

    Belmond Monasterio Hotel

    Included meals: Breakfast and dinner
  • Lima / Home

    On our last day in Peru, enjoy free time to relax or optionally visit the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art and Korikancha, the Inca Empire’s most significant temple, dedicated to the sun god, whose walls were once covered in sheets of gold. Late this afternoon fly to Lima and connect to flights home.

    Included meals: Breakfast and lunch

Trip details

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early morning sun and fog over cusco city

"I learned an incredible amount about the history of Peru, and the accomplishments of the Incas. I was also pleasantly surprised at the beauty and history of Lima and Cusco, and learned that Peru has so much to offer beyond magnificent Machu Picchu."

— Anne Gretchen Beyer, ‘86

Pricing

Secure your spot today

The price of your trip covers a comprehensive educational program in addition to meals, accommodations, tours and excursions. Continue reading for a full list of what’s included.

Close up of weaving in Peru

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