Reservations 877·97·CRAFT  (877·972·7238)

13-Day ~ South America Inca Discovery November 2008

Holland America Line

Start Date:


November 10, 2008


End Date:


November 23, 2008

South America Inca Discovery November 2008 ~ Knitting Cruises Description

Set sail with knitting experts Cynthia LeCount and Nancy Thomas to South America.  Cynthia is a leading cultural expert, is the author of Andean Folk Knitting and has led over 29 cultural expeditions to this region. Cynthia has a Master's in art history and specializes in world textiles with a focus on traditional festival costumes. In addition to sharing her expertise on knitting in Peru and Bolivia she will also lecture on the traditional Molas from the Kuna of the San Blas Islands.

Nancy Thomas has had a lifelong interest in the needle arts and for more than twenty-five years has been the editorial voice of the most widely circulated knitting magazines in the country (Vogue Knitting Magazine, Family Circle Knitting and Knitter’s Magazine)


Culture, Cloth & Cuisine - 7 day Tour



DAY 1:   Travel from the port of Callao through downtown Lima to the safe and pretty Miraflores suburb. Check into our Bed & Breakfast, the friendly Hotel El Patio, with its flower-filled courtyard.   Lima, Peru's beautiful capital city, has pretty parks, interesting architecture, a fabulous crafts market, good  restaurants and world-class museums. Our first stop will be the Rafael Larco Herrera Museum—-a fabulous collection of ancient ceramics, textiles, and gold, housed in Larco Herrera’s pretty colonial mansion. This museum also contains a separate section of famous and funny erotic ceramics, created 1500 years ago!

We will have lunch at the museum’s new café, owned by Gaston Acurio, Lima’s most famous and creative chef. Then continue to the Anthropology Museum. Back to the hotel to relax, or peruse the nearby crafts market, within easy walking distance of the hotel.

Dinner ocean-side at one of Lima's most famous restaurants, known for seafood and other typical dishes.

DAY 2:  We now begin our Andean adventure!  Morning flight to Cuzco on a LAN PERU jet. On a clear day, this flight offers views of the snow-capped Andes mountains.  We land in the charming city of Cuzco, then check into our renovated 17th-century landmark hotel. After a fortifying cup of coca leaf tea, said to help us acclimate to the altitude, we walk 2-3 blocks to lunch at a nearby restaurant on the stunning Plaza de Armas.

After lunch, we will walk around the Plaza so you get your bearings and admire the colonial architecture and the beautiful open space. Then the rest of the afternoon is free to rest and acclimate and/or wander the central plaza area. Cuzco offers stunning architecture, astounding Inca stonework, churches and museums and wonderful shopping--exquisite traditional textiles, unique jewelry, papier maché masks, handmade sweaters and alpaca knitting yarn.

At this altitude, it is best to take it easy, and not eat too much at first. (See the general information about altitude preparation.)

Evening/Dinner Music performance.

DAY 3:  We will first visit the excellent little museum of the new Traditional Textile Center of Cuzco, organized by weaving and textile expert, Nilda Callañaupa. Then Nilda will accompany us "behind the scenes" to a highland community near Cuzco to meet the superbly talented weavers and knitters in. The Quechua-speaking villagers will be at work so we can see their techniques and also photograph them in their colorful, handmade traditional dress. If you are a knitter, bring a project to show off, as these knitters all love to see what we are making and with what new yarns!

Time permitting, we will also see the interesting pre-Hispanic site of Sacsahuayman, above Cuzco. If we don’t have time today, we will see it after Machu Picchu.

DAY 4:  We take the early morning train to the incredible, mystical site of Machu Picchu and check into our hotel with just a small overnite bag. Lunch then we take the shuttle bus to the site to learn about the Inkas with an expert local guide.

Dinner at a wonderful little restaurant uphill from town. Then a relaxing night with the rushing Urubamba River to lull us to sleep.

DAY 5:  More time to experience the magic of Machu Picchu. The most enthusiastic among us will have time to rise early, see the sunrise, and climb Huayna Picchu, the tall peak behind Machu Picchu. Lunch on your own at the sandwich cafe or the Ruinas Hotel restaurant. Afternoon train back to Cuzco. Dinner and sleep.

DAY 6:  Over stunning highland scenery to visit a different village with Nilda. En route, visit a typical wood-burning bakery and see the huge round oven; sample some bread!  At the village, optional dye workshop: Try your hand at dyeing some alpaca yarn with natural leaves, flowers and cochineal insects. You will notice how the textile techniques, environment and people’s traditional clothing vary from the other village we visited. Anyone not interested in dyeing or visiting a village may relax in Cuzco. Picnic lunch then back to Cuzco.  See Sacsahuayman if we didn’t before.

Relax before dinner, then pack up for tomorrow’s flight.

DAY 7:  Morning free to visit Cuzco and see anything we missed. Mid-day flight back to Lima. Check into hotel, then by van to Amano Museum, one of the world’s best collections of pre-Columbian textiles.   Farewell dinner at Astrid y Gaston, Lima’s chic spot for elegant gourmet dinners. We can sample the “nouvelle” Peruvian cuisine that has become world-renowned for taste and presentation, thanks to innovative chefs such as Gaston.

TOUR PRICE: $1,995. Includes the Lima-Cuzco round-trip flight, all accommodations (7 nights hotel; double rooms), all meals except lunch at Machu Picchu, all ground transportation in private vans, expert local guides, the Cuzco Cultural Ticket and one entrance to Machu Picchu.  (Incoming luggage limited to ONE MEDIUM suitcase.)   Single supplement $200.

See also our trip information section.

Behind the Scenes Adventures groups stay only in hotels whose owners we
have known for decades, but just to reassure you about the safety: All these hotels lock big iron gates or massive wooden doors at night so you are completely safe inside. At all times, persons entering the hotels are monitored at the reception desk, so there will be only other hotel guests, staff and our group  inside the hotel areas.

While you should be current on the regular childhood vaccines such as polio, tetanus, etc., at no point on this trip will you need malaria preventive medicine; please let your physician know that we are NOT entering any areas with malaria. You should however ask your doctor about taking Diamox for easy acclimation to the altitude.