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Smart Deal of the Week: 17-Day Peruvian Cultural Immersion from $2,280

If you've got a sense of adventure and a couple of weeks to spare, this small-group trip might be just the right thing.

Through their travel company Rutahsa Adventures (tel. 931/520-7047;, Ric and Janie Finch runs small group, immersive and affordable tours to Latin America. Between them they have nearly than 40 years of experience traveling to this part of the world. A retired geologist, Finch developed a familiarity with Central America, specifically Honduras, while conducting fieldwork for completion of his Ph.D. While that interest initially brought him to Latin America, travel, the allure of local culture and history has kept them coming back. On June 17, Rutahsa is running a trip to Northern Peru for the third time. If you've got a sense of adventure and a couple of weeks to spare, this 17-day trip might be just the right thing.

Rutahsa has offered trips this year to Bolivia for Carnival, and New Year's in Costa Rica. However, there is still plenty of space (the tour caps out at 16 or so) for the Northern Peru trip. Designed for those who have already seen Machu Picchu or who want to look at other parts of Peru's landscapes, the trip takes you to archeological sites from a variety of indigenous cultures -- not just the Incas -- and the Museum of the Royal Tombs. Finch says this year's itinerary includes two new stops -- the 5,000-year-old Caral and the ancient funerary site Karajia.

The pricing is based on double occupancy and is determined by the number of people who book the tour, so if it's full, it will cost $2,280 and $2,470 for (13-15 travelers and $2,762 for 10-12 travelers, and so forth. The price covers roundtrip airport transfers, all hotels, meals as listed in itineraries (continental breakfast at most hotels and box or picnic lunches on days of excursions), intra-Peru airfare, the services of a bilingual tour instructor and bilingual local guides as necessary, along with entrance fees to parks and other historical monuments and locations, as necessary. Your roundtrip airfare to Lima, Peru is not included.

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