I have come to expect excellence from Odysseys Unlimited and have never been disappointed.
Michael E. Leahy Oak Lawn, IL
We have been to many, many places all over the world, with many different tour companies. None of them compare to the Odysseys Unlimited small group experience.
Nancy & William Sondervan Sherrills Ford, NC
The small group is wonderful and the quality of tour directors is exceptional.
Bill Jones Vancouver, WA
All that was advertised was delivered. Consider this tour to be a real value as to sites visited, itinerary, hotels, and travel between sites.
Susan & Paul Krupp Georgetown, TX
Odysseys does everything with style, but without pretension. Beautiful meals and hotels. Excellent guides.
Barbara Schoetzau New York, NY
Very early in the tour we saw we got much more for our dollar than anything we could have put together ourselves. The value exceeded our expectations.
Tara Malmberg Quitman, TX
Good value for $ — accommodations, food, guide, itinerary, and [small] size of group. Have traveled with other tour groups ... and like you best.
Jean Hall Prairie Village, KS
We like the model – small groups, excellent tour directors, solid hotels, good mix of group/independent activities.
Roger Soder Seattle, WA
The combination of excellent hotels with a small group is the way I like to travel. I would highly recommend Odysseys to everyone I know.
Patricia Joyce Peoria, AZ
We love the small group experience.
Dave & Alice Wilson Williamstown, MA
Odysseys is the best company we have traveled with. You have first-rate tours at affordable prices, with great itineraries, excellent guides, and outstanding accommodations.
Jane & Ronald Decker Chicago, IL
Odysseys tours are just right for us: great value, nice group size, complete trips, sufficient free time.
Laurin & Phyllis LeTart Shepherdstown, WV
This trip far exceeded our expectations: the small group size, the quality of the tour director (the best we’ve ever had), the ability to have dinners on our own, the lower cost without a significant reduction in the quality of the accommodations.
Barry & Bobbi Rosner Somerset, NJ
I thought I would not like traveling in a group but I was wrong! [Our tour director] was so good at making the group seem as one that it turned out to be the best part of the trip.
Donna Stevenson Dublin, OH
It was the best value in travel we’ve ever had. It was a wonderful experience.
Trish Merrill & Mac White Austin, TX
This was my 7th trip with Odysseys and they keep getting better and better.
Merle Frank Miami, FL
Love the small group format and the ease of traveling with arrangements made for us.
Ken & Carolyn Helm Newburgh, IN
Tour exceeded my expectations having never taken a group tour. An excellent experience – can’t wait for my next one!
Ronni Goldberg New York, NY
Absolutely the best bang for the buck – organization, quality, consistency.
Harvey Wine Dallas, TX
I like the small size of Odysseys tours. [You] have excellent Tour Directors, great itineraries and spend more time in areas than some of the other tour companies.
Lynn Bafaloukos Glendale, AZ
Because of the group size and outstanding guides, you make travel easy for us!
Incan Heritage, Natural Splendor, and Hospitable People: Two Ways to See Peru
Posted February 1, 2019
When planning a South American vacation, Peru sometimes gets overlooked. Its neighbors include Chile, with its famed Patagonia region, Brazil, with its vibrant coastal cities, and Argentina, with its blend of natural beauty and cosmopolitan Buenos Aires. Stiff competition, to be sure.
But Peru offers a host of travel experiences that you can’t find anywhere else on earth. And on our Machu Picchu to the Galapagos and Treasures of Peru small-group tours, you’ll have the opportunity to savor everything that this fascinating and historic nation has to offer.
Lima’s Colonial History
On both Treasures of Peru and Machu Picchu to the Galapagos, our introduction to the country comes in an apt location: the nation’s capital of Lima. A highlight of our Treasures of Peru touring here is our visit to Casa Aliaga, one of the oldest homes in Lima (circa 1535), with a rich architectural heritage and a collection of Peruvian art and artifacts. Given the land by his friend conquistador Francisco Pizarro, Jeronimo de Aliaga, one of Lima’s founders, built the home that has been continuously occupied by his descendants ever since, some 18 generations. On Machu Picchu to the Galapagos, we spend a full day exploring Peru’s capital, including a visit to the Museo de Arte de Lima, which covers 3,000 years of Peruvian history.
UNESCO Site of Cuzco
Known for its Incan and Spanish colonial heritage, Cuzco is the archaeological “hub” of the Americas and the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city. The city and its environs are rich with the legacies of its Inca and Spanish forebears. Among our visits here on both tours, we stop at the ruins of Sacsayhuaman (above), the still beautiful “House of the Sun,” an Incan masterpiece.
The Sacred Valley of the Incas
Some 12 miles north of Cuzco sits the Sacred Valley of the Incas, a dense collection of Incan ruins that date back some 1,000 years, and which we visit on both tours. Our first stop is the massive ruins at Ollantaytambo (above), both a temple and a fortress, where the Incan emperor Pachacuti built his personal estate after conquering it in the mid-1400s. A century later, the site came under attack from Spanish conquistadors, and despite repelling the advance, Incan leader Manco Inca abandoned the site in 1536. Ollantaytambo also is known as the staging point for hikers tackling the famed Inca Trail, a protected hiking trail that winds past some of Peru’s most storied archaeological sites before concluding at Machu Picchu. Along with Ollantaytambo, we also visit the Quechua village of Chinchero, where we watch a traditional Incan weaving demonstration.
Spectacular Machu Picchu
Of course, the highlight of any tour to Peru are the stunning ruins of Machu Picchu, which we visit on both tours. Dubbed by discoverer Hiram Bingham as the “Lost City” of the Incas, this ancient city in the clouds defies imagination – and seemingly, the laws of gravity, physics, and architecture. Perched in a high saddle surrounded by Andean peaks, it was virtually intact when discovered in 1911 by Bingham, an American scholar, lecturer, and adventurer. Because the Inca did not have written language, there is only speculation about the origins of Machu Picchu. Most archaeologists agree that it wasn’t a city at all, but rather a royal and religious retreat built by Emperor Pachacuti, the same man responsible for Ollantaytambo, then abandoned a century later because of war and smallpox. Regardless, the precise masonry here is astounding; the setting, breathtaking. We have two visits here, including one early-morning trip before the tourist-filled trains arrive from Cuzco.
Lake Titicaca, and Peru’s Friendly Citizens
Our Treasures of Peru tour takes us to Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca where we explore the fascinating lakeside culture. South America’s largest lake and, at 12,500 feet above sea level, among the world’s highest navigable lakes, Lake Titicaca offers a site where the air is clearer, the colors sharper, and the horizon farther. By boat we visit the Floating Islands of Los Uros, where the top-hatted Uros people live on “islands” made of the reeds that grow in the lake’s shallows; in fact, the Uros rely on these reeds for their boats, the small huts in which they live, household items, and the handcrafts they sell to visitors.
We also visit Isla Taquile, known for the high-quality textiles crafted by the indigenous people who live here; sales of their textiles support the self-sustaining Taquilenos. On our visit, we see the men in their signature woven woolen caps with floppy earpieces, and women in tailored waistcoats and multi-layered skirts. We also witness the breathtaking natural beauty surrounding us, with Bolivia’s snowcapped Cordillera range a striking backdrop to the deep blue of the lake.