Join a small group of likeminded travellers to discover the treasures Peru has to offer. Encompassing the key highlights, this journey showcases Peru’s vibrant culture, history, archaeology and of course, its stunning natural beauty.
Starting the tour in the Peruvian capital allows for sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, an eclectic mix of architecture old and new as well as some of the country's finest museums. Benefiting from a gastronomic revolution, Lima boasts some of South America's best restaurants, don't miss some of the freshest seafood and sampling Peru's finest cuisine. The white washed city of Arequipa, in the shadow of the El Misti volcano, is the next stop before adventuring to the awe-inspiring Colca Canyon, said to be deeper than the USA's Grand Canyon and the perfect place to spot the majestic Andean condor soaring above on the thermals. The world's highest navigable lake, Lake Titicaca, is home to brightly attired locals, the man-made floating islands of Uros and some of the best panoramic views in the country. Travel by train overland aboard Peru Rail's Titicaca train to Cuzco. Explore the once capital of the Inca Empire, Cuzco and the beautiful Sacred Valley before travelling to Machu Picchu by train. Witnessing the best-known archaeological site on the continent will not fail to take your breath away!
Departure dates in 2019:
Sunday 8th September 2019 – Saturday 21st September 2019
Sunday 6th October 2019 – Saturday 19th October 2019
Please note, this itinerary can be taken on a private basis, please enquire for details.
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Sunday: UK - Lima
Depart the UK on a direct flight to Lima with British Airways
Upon arrival into Lima, you will be met and transferred to your hotel, the Jose Antonio Deluxe in Miraflores for 1 night. Peru's capital, Lima, rises above a long coastline of crumbling cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Miraflores is a lovely part of the city, home to many restaurants, parks, markets and boutiques; all easy to explore on foot. Lima is Latin America's culinary capital that is currently living a gastronomic revolution, which seems to be spreading worldwide, be sure to try some of the country’s finest dishes such as fresh ceviche when in town!
No meals are served apart from those on your international flight
Monday: Lima - Arequipa
On a morning city tour, begin with a drive to historic downtown Lima, also known as “the City of the Kings” and an UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Stops include the Main Square of Lima, upon which sits the Government Palace, the Cathedral, the Archbishop’s Palace, and the City Hall; next on the itinerary is a visit to the Santo Domingo Convent. Once finished there, it’s off to the modern district of San Isidro and back to Miraflores. Stop at the “Parque del Amor” (a sort of lover’s lane) and take in the incredible view of the Pacific Ocean.
In the afternoon transfer to the airport for a late afternoon flight to the beautiful white city of Arequipa. Check into your hotel, located a short walk from main square and the rest of the evening is at leisure.
You will begin your tour at the city’s Main Square. This large plaza is flanked by Arequipa's most important buildings. First stop will be the Iglesia de La Compañía de Jesús, a Jesuit church with a lovely Baroque façade and chapel. Inside, observe many works of art from Peru’s Colonial era. Visit the traditional districts of Carmen Alto and Yanahuara and take in spectacular views of three nearby volcanoes: Mount Misti, Mount Chachani, and Mount Pichu-Pichu, as well as of the city itself. Next on the itinerary is the Santa Catalina convent, a city within the city. The large complex features cloisters, charming streets, and small plazas that have barely changed in more than 500 years.
Wednesday: Arequipa - Colca Canyon
Today depart Arequipa across the altiplano to Colca Canyon. Pass by some Peru's most spectacular scenery of towering mountains, volcanoes as well as past rolling plains dotted with vicuñas and guanacos, even spot the odd flamingo! Stop at the village of Pulpera to visit to the Mollepunku Caves as well as Callalli to observe the volcanic rock formations that look somewhat like a medieval castle. After lunch, continue on your way to the Collagua towns of Sibayo and Tuti. The Collagua is an ethnic group and one of the original settlers in the valley. In the afternoon, arrive to Chivay where you will be dropped at your hotel.
Breakfast & Lunch
Thursday: Colca Canyon - Lake Titicaca
After breakfast, visit the Colca Valley where your first stop is the Cruz del Condor lookout point, which affords the best views of the canyon, one of the 7 deepest in the world. If the weather permits, you might even see the majestic flight of the Andean condor. On the way back, stop at three other lookout points: Choquetico, Antahuilque, and Tunturpay to see other interesting sights, such as hanging tombs and the maqueta stone (an artefact that shows the layout of the surrounding terraced hillsides) at Choquetico, the lake of three colours and Collagua terraced hillsides at Antahuilque. Continue on to the city of Puno, taking in the stunning countryside of the altiplano. The next stop is the farming town of Cabanillas. Keep an eye out for the drastic change in countryside, too, and the best views of the area. In the late afternoon arrive to Puno, sat on the shores of Lake Titicaca.
Breakfast & Boxed-lunch
Friday: Lake Titicaca
The trip begins early as you head out of the city of Puno towards Taquile Island. The culture on the island dates back to Pre-Incan times and the islanders still live according to the traditions and beliefs of their ancestors and are world renowned for their lovely outfits and incredible textiles. UNESCO has declared the textile art of Taquile Island as a Masterpiece of intangible local heritage. Still on the island, will visit the community of Huayllano, to observe the local communities handicrafts and traditional farming activities. Enjoy a traditional lunch and then sail over to the famous Uros Islands, a set of man-made floating islands in the middle of the Lake Titicaca National Reserve. Here, you will meet the islanders, hunters and gatherers and descendants of the first altiplano inhabitants, who still live on totora reed platforms.
Breakfast & Lunch
Saturday: Lake Titicaca - Cuzco
Crossing the Andes from Puno to Cuzco, the capital of the Inca Empire, is an unforgettable experience. Make this journey through some of Peru's most spectacular scenery aboard the PeruRail Titicaca train. Featuring an open-air observatory car, take in the majestic views as the Peruvian highlands and altiplano pass by. Its two dining cars, in the style of the Pullman cars of the 1920s, serve gourmet meals. Enjoy live shows of traditional music and dances, snacks throughout the day, a 3-course gourmet lunch and afternoon tea shortly before arrival. Highlights along the way are Urcos; where according to legend, is the place where the local chieftains hid the Inca's gold to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Spanish conquerors, and La Raya; the highest point on the journey at 4,321m asl. This journey takes approximately 10 hours. This evening, arrive into Cuzco and transfer to your hotel.
Breakfast, Lunch & Afternoon Tea
Today, enjoy a half day city tour of Cuzco. Historic pre-Columbian architecture, ornate baroque churches combined with a modern restaurant scene and lively nightlife make for a memorable stay. Visit the impressive Inca ruins of Sacsayhuaman perched on the hillside overlooking the city.
Monday: Cuzco - Sacred Valley
Today depart Cuzco and head out into the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Stop at the Racchi viewpoint for incredible views before visiting Moray. Used as a botanical laboratory by the Incas, the circular agricultural terracing overlooks the Urubamba Valley is an excellent example of just how advanced the Incas were. Visit the nearby Maras salt flats, considered some of the best quality of salt in the world. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before heading to Ollantaytambo. One of the most imposing archaeological complexes of the Inca Empire, Ollantaytambo was one of the few places where the Spanish lost an important battle. The fortress also served as a temple and is an example of its complex agricultural terracing. The town of Ollantaytambo is considered the "only living Inca city" and is one of the greatest examples of Incan urban planning, with stone streets that have been inhabited since the 13th century. In the afternoon you will be dropped at your hotel.
Breakfast & Lunch
Tuesday: Sacred Valley - Machu Picchu
You will be driven to Ollantaytambo to board the Vistadome train to travel to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu. Dramatically located between high mountain peaks and where cloud forest covered mountains act as a backdrop, the famous site does not fail to impress. This is the meeting point of the Peruvian Andes and the Peruvian Amazon. On a guided tour, learn about the Inca history of this magical place, how this 550-year old citadel was so advanced for its time and then lost in time for centuries. Spend the night in the town nearby in Aguas Calientes.
Breakfast & Boxed-lunch
Wednesday: Machu Picchu - Cuzco
This morning is at leisure or alternatively take the opportunity to return to Machu Picchu at sunrise and perhaps climb Huyana Picchu for a panoramic view of the citadel. In the afternoon, from Aguas Calientes, board the Vistadome train once again for the scenic journey to Cuzco, the once Inca capital. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel for 2 nights.
Today is a day at leisure in the city of Cuzco. Cuzco is the perfect place to explore with markets, shops, museums, churches and many excursions within the surrounding area to choose from.
Friday: Cuzco - Lima - UK
This morning is at leisure to do any last-minute souvenir shopping, browse Cuzco’s many colourful markets and artisan shops. In the afternoon, you will be driven to the airport to board your international flight to Lima to connect onto your overnight flight to the UK with British Airways.
There is the option to extend your trip. Extensions include stays in the Amazon Rainforest, visiting the Nazca Lines, exploration of Northern Peru or add-ons including Iguazu Falls, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. Our Destination Specialists can advise on any additional services required.