Get to know the extraordinary lost civilisation of the Inca and how they made the most of the extraordinary landscapes of South America. This 22-day tour explores the empire from its southern periphery beyond the Atacama Desert to its inner sanctum in Cusco and Machu Picchu, high in the Peruvian Andes. Throughout the journey, we tour fascinating archaeological sites, museums, temples and towns to explore the many cultures that inhabited the area before and with the Inca. Visits to thermal springs, mountain lakes, passes and canyons bring to life the remarkable natural history of the region.
Incan and pre-Incan civilisations, from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile to Cusco in Peru
South America’s archaeology, from the ancient mummies of the dry Atacama Desert to those frozen in Andean ice
The Spanish legacy in churches, monasteries and delightful town squares
Diverse landscapes and their impact on human history: high deserts and soaring mountains, the world’s deepest canyon and highest navigable lake, Titicaca
Contemporary life in vibrant capitals, in Santiago and Lima
The drama of Atacama’s desert, lakes and saltpans
Outstanding archaeological sites and museums in Arica, “city of the eternal spring”
Soaking in the thermal hot springs after journeying deep into the Colca Canyon
Unique traditional cultures on Lake Titicaca’s floating islands
The spectacular mountain pass from the Altiplano, through the Umayo River Valley to Cusco
Amazing Incan sites and sun temples of the Sacred Valley: Coricancha, Sacsayhuaman and Ollantaytambo
Ascend the glorious mountain estate of Machu Picchu, built at the height of the Incan Empire
Days 1–2: Take a walking tour of Santiago.
Days 3–5: Fly to San Pedro to visit pre-Incan sites, salt lakes and the high Andes.
Days 6–8: Drive across the Atacama, visit Arica’s archaeological sites and the Chinchorro mummies.
Days 9–11: Fly to Arequipa; visit a monastery and the Colca Canyon at Chivay.
Days 12–13: Explore Incan ruins and the islands of Lake Titicaca.
Days 14–15: In Cusco, visit an Incan sun temple, storehouse and citadel.
Days 16–19: Discover the Sacred Valley’s markets, churches and Incan ruins, including iconic Machu Picchu.
Days 20–22: Explore Lima before departing for home.
A detailed itinerary for this tour is available. Click on the link above to view or download.
Qantas and LATAM Airlines have flights into and out of Santiago. Contact us for quotes and bookings.
A detailed itinerary for this tour will be available in the coming months. Bookings are open for this tour, however if you would like to receive the detailed itinerary booklet once available, please register your interest below and we will send you a copy.
Dr Chris Carter
Has an Honours and Master’s degree in archaeology and has recently completed a PhD. He has led tours to Central and South America for over 20 years.
Christopher Carter is an archaeologist with over 20 years’ experience leading tours to Central and South America, Spain and Ireland as well as within Australia. He is particularly interested in human interaction within landscapes and the formative period of cultural development.
Chris has a BA(Hons), MA and PhD from the Australian National University (ANU). He has worked as a tutor at the ANU and lectured at both the ANU and University of Sydney Centres for Continuing Education. When not leading tours, Chris works as an archaeological consultant and heritage advisor.
Chris’ research interests cover both Indigenous and Australian historical archaeology. He is also actively involved in research in the Atacama region of northern Chile and involved in a number of studies investigating the early settlement of this region. He has had a number of academic papers published in international journals.
As a teacher, Chris has always declared that archaeology cannot be learned in the classroom. Such statements resulted in him taking a group to South America in 1995. He has continued to lead several tours a year ever since. The areas visited have expanded to other regions that reflect the subjects he teaches.
We asked Chris, what part of tour leading does he find most rewarding?
“I love teaching and, as they say, ‘to travel is to learn’ and what better classroom than the wider world. Nothing satisfies me more than to lead people into new areas where they can see how humans have interacted with landscapes over the years – to witness the evolution of both the people and the environments they occupy.
On a recent tour, one member of the group commented that they can now ‘see’ a lot more than they did before. In the past, they had taken so much for granted and never thought about how things changed through time. Their eyes had been opened and they began to think more about what they were looking at. To me, these are the statements that make my job worthwhile.”
Hotels will be selected principally for their central location, often within walking distance to the sites and museums visited on tour. We generally use a range of 4-star hotels, suitable to group stays, throughout all our tours.
What is included in the tour price? Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:
Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate public transport is also used for short distance travel on some tours
All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
Services of tour leader throughout tour
All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
Local guides at some sites
Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.
What is not included in the tour price? Open-age tours do not include the following:
Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required
Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity
You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of these conditions when you book a place on a tour.
A deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your booking on a tour. Final payment of the tour fee, insurance and any additional travel will be due 60 days before departure.
If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:
More than 60 days before departure: $500*
60-45 days before tour start: 25% of total amount due
44-15 days before tour start: 75% of total amount due
14 days or less before departure: 100% of total amount due
*This amount may be credited to another Academy Travel tour within 12 months of the original tour you booked.
Unused Portions of the tour
We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.
Academy Travel requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive policy with a reputable insurer if required.
Passport and Visa
A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you do not hold an Australian passport you may require a re-entry permit. Some countries require a visa to be issued before you depart Australia. We will advise you of all passport and visa requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet passport and visa requirements before you depart.
Will the tour price change?
If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid.
Will the itinerary change?
Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.
Full and final payment for the tour, airfare travel, insurance and any additional travel you book is due 60 days before departure. Payment may be made by bank deposit, cheque, cash or credit card. Please note there is a surcharge for payments made by credit card.
Academy Travel reserves the right to decline the booking or terminate the holiday of any traveller.