Friendly Planet (tel. 800/555-5765; www.friendlyplanet.com) is offering a deal to Peru chockablock with great destinations, guidance, meals, airfare, and other amenities. It's an 11-day trip with an advertised price from $2,199; the extra $90 is comprised of taxes and fees such as the September 11 security fee. As with many deals from Friendly Planet, the price reflects a savings of up to $800 per couple, but only if you book by September 5. The lowest advertised price is valid for the November 27 departure. Earlier, less expensive departures are already sold out -- that's how popular these deals can be. Other departures include December 23 for $2,799; January 13, February 10 and April 21 for $2,229; and March 3 for $2,329.
This trip includes roundtrip flights from Miami to Peru, including fuel surcharges, all ground transportation and transfers, accommodations in superior and deluxe hotels with private bathrooms, 12 meals, comprehensive sightseeing tours and their related entrance fees, and professional, English-speaking tour-guides and directors. If weather permits, there is also an excursion by boat to Ballestas Islands.
In terms of the itinerary, you spend the first day in Lima, the capital, with a tour of the city's historical center and the districts of San Isidro and Miraflores. From there, you go to Ica, an oasis city on the desert coast of Southern Peru, where from a small plane you will view Nasca Lines, geoglyphs on a high, dry plateau that represent animals and whose origins have puzzled experts for years. The trip continues to Paracas Bay to Ballestas Islands and the Paracas National Reserve, a shorebird sanctuary. Other stops include Cusco, the center of the Inca empire, along with the Sacred Valley, Pisac Market, Ollantaytambo, Machu Picchu (of course), Puno, Lake Titicaca, the Uros Floating Islands, Taquile Island, and, finally, back to Lima.