Essential Peru

From Lima to Lima

Visiting: Machu Picchu, Nazca Lines, Cuzco, Lake Titicaca, Colca Canyon, Plaza de Armas, Lima, Puno, Paracas, Sacsayhuaman, Ballestas Islands, Altiplano, Ollantaytambo, Andes


Tour Operator: Exodus

Physical rating: Leisurely / Moderate

Special diets catered: Please inform Exodus of specific dietary requirements

Group size: 5 - 18

Age range: 16 to 99

Tour operated in: English


Prices From:

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Tour Overview

A spectacular journey through Peru's varied landscape encompassing coastal desert, snow-capped Andean peaks, the high altiplano and lush cloud forest. The most famous sites are all visited including the mysterious Nazca Lines, awe-inspiring Machu Picchu in its incredible mountaintop setting, Lake Titicaca, where the night is spent in an island homestay, and the remarkable 3000m deep Colca Canyon. On the way we encounter traditional culture, condors, llamas, and a warm welcome from the Peruvian people. The 18 June departures in 2019 and 2020 coincide with Inti Raymi Festival in Cuzco. Translated as 'Festival of the Sun' it is the most important of all Andean festivals; during this time Cuzco is filled with colourful processions and festivities. For full details on this itinerary, search for trip code APDA.

Highlights

  • iconDrive deep into the Andean highlands and the Apurimac Valley
  • iconHomestay on traditional Amantani Island, Lake Titicaca
  • iconSee Colca Canyon and its soaring condors
  • iconDiscover the iconic Machu Picchu by train with guided tour
  • iconWander through the colonial city of Arequipa and the Santa Catalina Convent

Itinerary

Map Image
icon Day 1 : Start Lima.

Those travelling on the group flights and those who have booked a transfer through Exodus will be met at the airport and transferred to our hotel in the Miraflores district of Lima. There will be a notice board in the hotel reception with details of where and when the group welcome briefing will be held. *Hotel El Tambo 1 *(or similar)

icon Day 2 : Drive south along the coast and sail to the Ballestas Islands, home to the highest concentration of marine birds in the world; overnight in Ica.

Meals: breakfast

We set off very early this morning (around 5.30am) and drive south from Lima until we reach the port of Paracas (4-5 hours' drive). The Ballestas Islands lie a short distance off the coast here and are home to one of the highest concentrations of seabirds in the world – we visit them by boat. On the outward journey we pass the curious pre-Inca Candelabra geoglyph, a huge (over 150m high) three-pronged trident shape etched into the sandy hillside, the origin and purpose of which remains unknown (although there are many theories). Upon reaching the islands we explore the caves and rock archways by boat and observe the Sea lion and Fur seal colonies as well as Humboldt penguins and an array of birds such as cormorants, pelicans, tendrils, and Peruvian Blue-footed booby birds. The boats are open-top motorised boats and are shared with other non-Exodus clients (occasionally the sea is too rough and the boats can't operate). Take heed of seabirds above – it is advisable to wear a hat! The boat trip lasts around two hours. Once back on dry land we drive for an hour or so to Ica, the heart of Peru's wine-growing region where we spend the night. *Hotel Vila Jazmin *(or similar)

icon Day 3 : On to Nazca; see the Nazca lines; optional scenic flight.

Meals: breakfast

We drive towards Nazca, stopping to visit the viewing platforms overlooking the Nazca Lines. These are one of the world's great archaeological mysteries, consisting of enormous drawings and patterns etched in the desert sand. In the afternoon, for those who wish there is usually time to take a scenic flight over the Nazca Lines (additional cost), weather permitting. Due to the small planes used, this is not suitable for those with a fear of flying or who suffer from travel sickness. Alternatively your leader can help arrange optional visits to the nearby burial grounds, Antonini Museum, or the Planetarium. *Casa Andina Hotel / Alegria *(or similar) 

icon Day 4 : Turn inland from coastal desert, climbing high into the Andes.

Meals: breakfast

We turn inland from the coastal desert today, climbing high into the Andes on today's long (12-13 hrs) but spectacular drive. Vicuñas (a smaller wild relative of the llama) can be seen along this road, as this area is Peru's largest vicuña reserve. This region has only recently become easily accessible to tourists due to an upgrade of the Abancay/Chalhuanca road. The altitude here can make physical exertion difficult (the highest point we reach today is Negro Mayu, a high pass at approx. 4600m). It is recommended to rest in the evening. Tonight, we stay in Abancay on the road to Cuzco. **Hotel de Turistas Abancay* (or similar)*

icon Day 5 : Drive to Cuzco (3400m) visiting Inca sites on the way.

Meals: breakfast

We set off towards Cuzco this morning, stopping to visit the unique Inca Saywiti stone and Tarawasi ruins. The glaciated summits of the Vilcabamba Mountain range and the descent into the Apurimac River valley demonstrate the dramatic contrasts of the Andes Mountains, and we should expect stunning scenery throughout today's 7-8 hour drive. It is recommended to take it easy upon arrival into Cuzco and to drink plenty of water to allow your body time to acclimatise to the altitude (3,400m). *Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha* (or similar)

icon Day 6 : Free day to explore Cuzco.

Meals: breakfast

To help acclimatise, we have a relaxed walking tour this morning to discover its historic buildings and winding streets of Cuzco, one of South America's most beautiful cities. The rest of the day has been left free for exploring on your own. The Plaza de Armas is a fantastic spot for people watching, and the Koricancha Sun Temple located in the Santo Domingo Church and monastery is worth a visit. The Mercado San Pedro is the place to try some local produce and there are many handicraft markets to shop for souvenirs such as alpaca jumpers and scarves. Outside the town are more Inca ruins, notably the fortress of Sacsayhuaman where the Inca armies made their last stand against the Conquistadores. A combined entrance fee (Tourist Ticket) for these sites and many others is recommended – please see the Optional Excursions section below for prices. Sightseeing excursions to places outside Cuzco, including the Sacred Valley of the Incas, are also available. Please ask your tour leader. *Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha* (or similar)

icon Day 7 : Train to Aguas Calientes; tour of Machu Picchu.

Meals: breakfast

For most people, the highlight of the trip is the visit by train to the greatest ruin in the world, the lost city of Machu Picchu. This is one of the architectural and engineering marvels of the ancient world, in a mountain setting of staggering immensity. The Spaniards never found it; the Incas left no records of it, so Machu Picchu remains a great enigma, a city lost for centuries in the jungle until it was rediscovered in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham. We transfer to Ollantaytambo train station to catch a train to Aguas Calientes (the town below Machu Picchu). The railway line follows a beautiful route through the Urubamba River Valley. In the afternoon we take a short bus ride up the winding road to Machu Picchu for a guided tour of the ruins.  New regulations for visiting Machu Picchu are now fully enforced; you will be limited to a maximum of four hours within the site and must be accompanied by a guide. There will also be three set routes to follow around Machu Picchu; Exodus selects the most comprehensive route. Please note that exploring the ruins involves a reasonable amount of walking, including up and down steep and uneven stone steps.  Visiting in the afternoon tends to be quieter than the mornings and the mist which shrouds the ruins at dawn has usually dispersed.  *Inti Punku El Tambo *(or similar)

icon Day 8 : Free morning or optional second visit to Machu Picchu; afternoon return to Cuzco by train and by road.

Meals: breakfast

Today we have a free morning to enjoy the buzz of this little town in the jungle below the ruins. There are some hot springs nearby, however they tend to suffer from overcrowding and therefore poor water quality, so are not recommended. Should you wish to visit Machu Picchu again this morning, your leader will help you to purchase a second entrance ticket (subject to availability) which will allow you a further four hours to explore the 'Lost City' – for the second visit it is not mandatory to have a guide. At the time of writing a morning ticket costs PEN152 (approx. US$47). In the afternoon we board the train back to Ollantaytambo and then continue by minibus to Cuzco, arriving in the late evening. *Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha *(or similar)

icon Day 9 : Free day for optional excursions.

Meals: breakfast

We have a final chance to enjoy the sights and shopping of this beautiful city. If you fancy something more active then there is an array of optional activities available from Cuzco that your leader can organise. These include paddle-boarding on a lake, mountain biking, or a combination of via ferrata and zip-lining in the Sacred Valley. *Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha* (or similar)

icon Day 10 : Drive to Lake Titicaca (3800m), with stops en route; boat to Amantani Island for homestay.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Today we travel for 8-10 hours along the Vilcanota River and onto the altiplano, the high plains separating the Andes from the jungle. Although it is quite a long drive, the views are often spectacular. There are scheduled stops at interesting sites to help break up the day and we will get to appreciate the immensity of the Andean landscapes. This afternoon we arrive at the shores of Lake Titicaca (3800m) and board a boat for our trip to Amantani Island. Hiking around the island offers great views across the lake, whilst the night spent with a local family is a fantastic cultural insight into lives very different to our own. (A packed lunch is included today). *Amantani Island homestay *(Basic)

icon Day 11 : Explore the island; afternoon boat to Puno visiting the floating reed islands.

Meals: breakfast

We explore the island in the morning before boarding our boat for the three-hour journey to Puno on the lakeshore. On the way, we visit the Titinos Indians, who live on islands of floating reeds and, save for a few modest concessions to the modern world, still live as their ancestors would have done centuries ago. Most tours visit the Uros islands closer to the shore but we go to the more isolated Titinos Islands for a more authentic experience. *Casona Plaza Hotel *(or similar)

icon Day 12 : Drive across the altiplano to Colca Canyon.

Meals: breakfast

Today we head off across the altiplano again. This time we cross to the south west, heading back towards the coast to the high Colca Canyon (5-6 hours' drive). En route we have opportunities to see vicuñas and possibly flamingos, crossing the Pataampa Pass (4810m) before descending into what is considered to be the second deepest canyon in the Americas (the deepest, the Cotahuasi Canyon, is also in Peru). There is time in the evening for a visit to the hot springs near the main town of Chivay (3635m) – a warming pleasure after the chill of Lake Titicaca. *Hotel Pozo del Cielo *(or similar)

icon Day 13 : Morning condor viewing; afternoon drive past huge volcanoes to the 'White City' of Arequipa (2350m).

Meals: breakfast

An early start to view condors soaring on the morning drafts rising out of the canyon. Extensive terraces, stunning colonial churches, and burial tombs are viewed before we ascend out of the canyon and cross Patapampa Pass (4910m) on our way to Arequipa, known as the 'White City' due to the pale volcanic stone used to construct many of its colonial buildings. The picturesque city enjoys a year-round pleasant climate and is surrounded by 6000m volcanoes, including the near-perfect cone of El Misti. *Ensueño Hotel or *Su Majestad Hotel * *(or similar) 

icon Day 14 : Morning visit Santa Catalina Convent; afternoon fly to Lima.

Meals: breakfast

In the morning we visit the huge and serene convent of Santa Catalina. Built in 1580 and only opened to the outside world in the 1970s, it offers a rare insight into the lives led by the nuns and has changed little through the centuries. There are still around 20 nuns living in the northern corner of the complex. In the afternoon or evening we fly to Lima where will transfer to our hotel in Miraflores. *Hotel El Tambo 1 *(or similar)

icon Day 15 : End Lima.

Meals: breakfast

There is time today for optional tours of Lima including visits to the Gold Museum and tours of the historic downtown before we are transferred to the airport in the afternoon for the overnight flight to London.

What's Included

  • icon
    Tour leader throughout

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    Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

  • icon
    Arrival and departure transfers

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    All transport and listed activities

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    All accommodation 

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    All breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 dinner

What's Not Included

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    Travel insurance

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    Single accommodation (available on request)

  • icon
    Visas or vaccinations

Food

All breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 dinner (at the homestay) are included. The tap water in Peru is not safe to drink. Drinking water will be provided in large containers free of charge; please bring a refillable bottle with you. Hotel breakfasts are normally simple buffet-style affairs, usually including bread/toast and jam, cereal, sometimes eggs or a cooked dish, sometimes fruit, tea/coffee and fruit juice. Regrettably, we cannot guarantee that wheat/gluten free products will be available for breakfast in all locations – if you have an intolerance you may wish to bring your own breakfast food from home. Where lunch and dinner is not included we'll visit a variety of local cafes and restaurants. Peruvian cuisine has developed a reputation for its flavours and originality and it’s well worth trying out a few of the local delicacies. Amongst these are ceviche (a spicy dish of seafood or fish marinated in lime juice), lomo saltado (a Peruvian take on a beef stir-fry) and various hearty soups such as the delicious quinoa soup. Other dishes include roasted cuy (guinea pig), Alpaca steak, and to drink, the national beverage: Pisco Sour.

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Reviews

Read all 100 reviews
This trip has everything
This has to be the trip of a lifetime. Of course you visit Machu Picchu, but so much more. To start with the seabird colony at Ballestros island including penguinsand ....more This has to be the trip of a lifetime.

Of course you visit Machu Picchu, but so much more.

To start with the seabird colony at Ballestros island including penguinsand peleicans.

Then the impressive Nasca Lines before heading to the hills and across the plateau to Cusco visiting other Inca sites on the way.

Machu Picchu is amazing - everything I expected and more.

We visited at 1200 noon and it wasn't too crowded, even better we had a free morning the second day so went again and saw more of it - went a further 950 feet up to the Sun gate ( the entrance to the site from the Inca trail) also the Inca bridge.

Then back to Cusco and long drive to Lake Titticata and delightful home-stay with local people.

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an amazing insight into how the island communities live day to day.

Then across the lake to see the floating islands, meet the people and have a trip on a reed boat.

Next to Colka Canyon to see condors - I would not have missed this as one of the highlights of the trip - we saw 12 and got some great pics.

Finally to Arequipa before return to Lima.

It really feels like I have been on 3 holidays all rolled into one - I struggle to think how I can better this.

; ....less
Essential Peru
Essential Peru features an excellent itinerary and is well carried out on a comfortable bus with ample comfort and food stops. The gradual ascent into the highlands enables one to ....more Essential Peru features an excellent itinerary and is well carried out on a comfortable bus with ample comfort and food stops.

The gradual ascent into the highlands enables one to gradually get used to the altitude.

There were more than a few early departures, but the rewards were great! Exodus fulfilled all its' promises.

Airport pickup and drop off were accomplished with no inconvenience.

The hotels used on the trip were well beyond the bare bones that I was expecting.

It was a wonderful experience!; ....less
A fantastic trip full of variety with amazing places to visit
A trip well worth taking. The amazing places we visited took our breath away at times. Even on the long travel days the views were spectacular making time fly. A trip well worth taking.

The amazing places we visited took our breath away at times.

Even on the long travel days the views were spectacular making time fly.

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Wonderful
So much to see and enjoy. The landscape is awesome and the itinerary excellent. All of the places we visited were memorable, from Macchu Pichu to Lake Titicaca (great homestay, ....more So much to see and enjoy.

The landscape is awesome and the itinerary excellent.

All of the places we visited were memorable, from Macchu Pichu to Lake Titicaca (great homestay, so friendly) to Cusco to the condor viewing.

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plus many more wonderful places.

Always wanted to see the Nasca lines and this was one of the few tours we could find that included it.

The weather was largely kind to us so I would say it is a good month to go.

We also enjoyed some really great eating experiences - thanks to our Tour Leader 'foodie' , Danny.

We really could not fault anything.

The hotels were good and well located, the (sometimes long) journeys were broken up by regular stops along the way and there was some dramatic scenery to enjoy.

We largely coped with the altitude but be aware that it does affect a number of people in some way.

Finally, our Tour Leader was excellent, probably the best we've ever had.

All in all a fabulous tour, one not to be missed !!!; ....less
Essential Peru
This trip covered the essential, well known attractions in Peru, but didn't prepare me for all the fantastic sights that I hadn't anticipated. Although the journeys from one location to ....more This trip covered the essential, well known attractions in Peru, but didn't prepare me for all the fantastic sights that I hadn't anticipated.

Although the journeys from one location to another could be quite lengthy, the scenery was outstanding, from the desert and sand dunes of the coast to the impressive Andes mountain range.

There was always something to see and then of course the very special treat of walking in the footsteps of the Inca at Machu Picchu.

Wow!; ....less
Essentail Peru
A packed itinerary with lots of early departures , but a great way to cover a lot of ground and see as much as posisble. A packed itinerary with lots of early departures , but a great way to cover a lot of ground and see as much as posisble.

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An amazing trip of a life-time!
This was my first experience of Exodus and I was very impressed. All of the communication prior to travelling was excellent and this continued with my arrival in Lima ....more This was my first experience of Exodus and I was very impressed.

All of the communication prior to travelling was excellent and this continued with my arrival in Lima and for the next 15 days.

Our Tour Leader, Sebastian, was amazing (see below).

I was also really impressed with the fact that local experts were drafted in to support Sebastian and add to our understanding of this vast country - these local guides e.

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one in Cuzco, one around Lake Titicaca and one in the Colca Valley/Arequipa all lived in their local area and were able to provide us with their own expertise which just added to the whole experience.

My 16 fellow travellers also helped to make the whole experience truly unforgettable.

We all supported and looked after each other and got on very well.

; ....less
Essential Peru - Inti Raymi
Fantastic trip, which was extremely well orgainised. A lot of travelling involved with some long journeys but in very comfortable coach with a toilet. The journeys were broken by interesting ....more Fantastic trip, which was extremely well orgainised.

A lot of travelling involved with some long journeys but in very comfortable coach with a toilet.

The journeys were broken by interesting stops along the way, Our guide Guiliano was outstanding and looked after us extremely well.

; ....less
Essential Peru
What an amazing trip! Our tour leader, Fernando, went above and beyond all through the trip! I am in awe of how much we were able to see and experience ....more What an amazing trip! Our tour leader, Fernando, went above and beyond all through the trip! I am in awe of how much we were able to see and experience in only 2 weeks.

I would recommend Exodus and Fernando to anyone looking to come to Peru! Thank for the trip of a lifetime! The Bjerky’s; ....less
Essential Peru
What a fantastic trip. It is a little difficult to refer to it as a 'holiday' because it is so full on. But what an amazing place Peru ....more What a fantastic trip.

It is a little difficult to refer to it as a 'holiday' because it is so full on.

But what an amazing place Peru is.

The only downside is is that it is so far away, I think I could happily do it all again.

; ....less

Dates & Availability

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Friday May 28, 2021

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14

Available

8

Friday Jun 04, 2021

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14

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8

Friday Jul 30, 2021

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14

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8

Friday Aug 20, 2021

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14

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8

Friday Sep 03, 2021

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14

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8

Friday Sep 10, 2021

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14

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8

Friday Sep 17, 2021

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14

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8

Friday Oct 08, 2021

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14

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8

Friday Oct 22, 2021

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14

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8

Friday Oct 29, 2021

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14

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8

Friday Nov 05, 2021

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14

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8

Friday Apr 08, 2022

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14

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8

Friday Apr 29, 2022

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14

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8

Friday May 06, 2022

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14

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8

Friday May 20, 2022

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14

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8

Friday May 27, 2022

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14

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8

Friday Jun 10, 2022

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14

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Friday Jun 24, 2022

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14

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Friday Jul 01, 2022

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14

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Friday Jul 15, 2022

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14

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Friday Jul 29, 2022

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14

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Friday Aug 12, 2022

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14

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Friday Sep 02, 2022

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14

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Friday Sep 16, 2022

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14

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Friday Sep 30, 2022

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14

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Friday Oct 21, 2022

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14

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Friday Nov 04, 2022

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14

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8

Friday, May 28, 2021

14Nights

8Available

Friday, Jun 04, 2021

14Nights

8Available

Friday, Jul 30, 2021

14Nights

8Available

Friday, Aug 20, 2021

14Nights

8Available

Friday, Sep 03, 2021

14Nights

8Available

Friday, Sep 10, 2021

14Nights

8Available

Friday, Sep 17, 2021

14Nights

8Available

Friday, Oct 08, 2021

14Nights

8Available

Friday, Oct 22, 2021

14Nights

8Available

Friday, Oct 29, 2021

14Nights

8Available

Friday, Nov 05, 2021

14Nights

8Available

Friday, Apr 08, 2022

14Nights

8Available

Friday, Apr 29, 2022

14Nights

8Available

Friday, May 06, 2022

14Nights

8Available

Friday, May 20, 2022

14Nights

8Available

Friday, May 27, 2022

14Nights

8Available

Friday, Jun 10, 2022

14Nights

8Available

Friday, Jun 24, 2022

14Nights

8Available

Friday, Jul 01, 2022

14Nights

8Available

Friday, Jul 15, 2022

14Nights

8Available

Friday, Jul 29, 2022

14Nights

8Available

Friday, Aug 12, 2022

14Nights

8Available

Friday, Sep 02, 2022

14Nights

8Available

Friday, Sep 16, 2022

14Nights

8Available

Friday, Sep 30, 2022

14Nights

8Available

Friday, Oct 21, 2022

14Nights

8Available

Friday, Nov 04, 2022

14Nights

8Available