12 days from £3790pp plus international flights.
This unforgettable Peruvian adventure strikes the perfect balance between physical exertion and relaxation. Its half and whole-day activities will stretch but not exhaust you and, with so many iconic sites to visit, so much history and culture to absorb and beautiful scenery and fascinating towns and villages to explore, your mind will be exercised every bit as much as your body! And there’s plenty of down-time, including a wonderfully relaxing day on a luxury train; the perfect way to recharge your batteries.
Walk in the footsteps of the Inca as you hike to Machu Picchu, go white-water rafting on the rapids of a river that the Inca once travelled on, and enjoy guided tours of fascinating historical sites. Watch the beautiful, changing landscape from the elegant comfort of a very special train. Spend time in Cusco, Pisac and Lima, gaining an understanding of life and culture in pre-Hispanic, colonial and present-day Peru. And visit Lake Titicaca, where much of life and agriculture continues as it has done for centuries
You’ll travel by foot, bike, boat, train and car, and will have guides and full support throughout. You’ll stay in comfortable hotels and guest houses in excellent locations and enjoy some great meals. It’s an ideal family holiday for children aged from about 10 – but if your children are younger contact us and we’ll see where elements of the trip can be tailored to suit.
You’ll be met on arrival at Lima Airport and transferred to the Wyndham Costa Del Sol Lima Airport hotel, where you’ll spend the night before your adventure begins. There’s a swimming pool, spa and fitness centre on site, as well as a restaurant and bar, so you’ll be able to unwind after your flight.
It’s a quick walk back to the airport after breakfast to catch your flight to Cusco, where you’ll be met on landing and taken to the colourful El Retablo boutique B&B – your home for the next three nights. After settling in and admiring the vibrant artwork and textiles that make the guesthouse’s décor so charming and distinctive, you’ll be fully briefed about the adventure that lies ahead, then you’ll be free to start acclimatising to altitude and begin to get your bearings in the town. Breakfast
Your guide will meet up with you after breakfast and discuss the options for exploring the sites of Cusco. This will be tailored to you so, depending on your interests, you could head out to the magnificent temple complex of Sacsayhuaman or the water shrine at Tambomachay for example. In Cusco itself there are fine colonial buildings including the Cathedral and La Merced church, and no visit to Cusco is complete without visiting the 15th century Korikancha – the former ‘Golden Enclosure’ of the Incas. Your day will include lunch at a restaurant in Cusco. Breakfast, lunch
Today you have an invigorating experience ahead of you! You’ll be collected from El Retablo after breakfast and driven the 1½-hour journey to the Urubamba River. Your guide will assess your fitness and the water levels and decide on the precise launch point and will give you a comprehensive safety briefing. Then it’s time to take to the water! For around two hours you’ll descend with the river through beautiful mountain-edged scenery, running rapids in a lovely canyon. You’ll be rewarded with a picnic lunch after your exertions, then driven back to Cusco where the remainder of the afternoon and evening are yours to spend as you wish. Breakfast, picnic lunch
After breakfast it’s time to bid farewell to El Retablo as you’re collected and driven to the market in Pisac. Here you’ll have time to wander among the hundreds of stalls that sell everything from local produce to textiles and other handicrafts. Next stop is Taray village, where you’ll mount your trusty two-wheeled steed and embark on a bicycle ride that follows the course of the Urubamba River. You’ll cycle through the beautiful agricultural landscape, past fields of quinoa, corn and kiwicha, stopping for a picnic en-route. Once you reach the end of the bike trail you will be taken to the terracotta-painted Pakaritampu hotel, set in lovely gardens at the base of the mountains. It’s just a 10-minute walk into Ollantaytambo, where you will find shops, cafes and restaurants or you could choose to eat in the hotel’s restaurant. Breakfast, picnic lunch
You have an early start today, catching the train from Ollantaytambo to the starting point for the Royal Inca Trail. This is the final leg of the famous Inca Trail, and with your guide you will trek 5-6 hours through lush cloud forest, stopping to visit the ruins of Chachabamba and Wiñay Wayna (where you’ll have a picnic lunch) before you ascend the steep, centuries-old stairway to Inti Punku, the Sun Gate. This is where you’ll have that first, memorable view of Machu Picchu. You’ll explore the sanctuary over the next two days, so after this tantalising glimpse of the iconic site you’ll take the bus to Aguas Calientes and your accommodation for the next two nights, the contemporary-styled El MaPi, where you can rest and enjoy dinner. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Today begins with a guided tour of Machu Picchu, then you’ll be free to explore the site on your own. You will have lunch at a restaurant – precise timings will be determined by the entrance tickets, as time spent at Machu Picchu is limited to a maximum of 4 hours – then return to El MaPi, perhaps in time for a sauna or a spa treatment before dinner. Keep your Machu Picchu entrance ticket safe as you’re returning to the sanctuary tomorrow. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
This is your final chance on this holiday to capture photographs and mental images of Machu Picchu as you return to the site after breakfast, wandering at will to see any elements you may have missed or want to see again. Then you take the bus to the railway station and board the train for the scenic journey through the Sacred Valley to Cusco. You’ll be driven from the railway station to El Retablo hotel. Breakfast, lunch
After all the activity of the past few days you can (metaphorically) put your feet up as you’ll be spending 10½ hours in comfort on the luxurious PeruRail Titicaca Train which travels from Wanchaq station in Cusco to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca. As you board the train in Cusco local musicians will perform, and on board you can enjoy a gourmet lunch in one of the two elegant dining cars which are styled after the legendary 1920s Pullman cars. The open-air observation car lets you take in the stupendous views, there will be traditional dance and music performances on board, and you’ll be served afternoon tea as the journey reaches its final stages. On arrival at Puno you will be met and transferred to the Posadas del Inca Hotel. This contemporary hotel has a fabulous location on the shores of Lake Titicaca and, weather permitting, you might choose to dine on the terrace. Breakfast, lunch
After breakfast, you’ll take the short walk to the hotel’s private pier for the boat trip to the Uros Islands. These man-made structures have been made from bundles of tortora reeds and are home to the Uros Indians. Your guide will tell you about the way of life and agricultural practices and explain how the islands are constructed. Then you’ll travel to Taquile Island, where you’ll have lunch and see the textiles the island is renowned for before returning to the hotel for the night. Breakfast, lunch
Today you’ll be collected from the hotel for the one-hour private transfer to Juliaca Airport for the 1½-hour flight to Lima. A guide will meet you at Lima Airport and you’ll be driven the 45 minutes to Miraflores, where you will spend the night at the Casa Andina Standard Miraflores Centro Hotel. Miraflores is the ‘new face’ of Lima, and this comfy modern hotel is close to markets, shops and good restaurants and within walking distance of the coast. Breakfast
You’ll make the most of your last morning in Peru – your guide will take you on a tour of Lima, taking in the modern, cosmopolitan elements and the pre-Hispanic and colonial history and structures including the Convento de Santo Domingo. A visit to the Larco Museum gives you the chance to view the remarkable collection of gold and silver and you can try a dessert made from the Peruvian lucuma fruit – the ‘gold of the Incas’ - in the museum’s Café del Museo restaurant.
You’ll then return to the hotel to collect your bags before being transferred to the airport for your flight home. Breakfast
Guide price from (pp sharing): £3790 (ex. international flights)
Price notes: 2019 & 2020 guide price pp sharing: Prices from £3790.
11 night's accommodation in the properties mentioned; private transfers; private sightseeing tours as mentioned with an English-speaking guide; entrance fees for the sites mentioned in the tours; return train ticket to Machu Picchu; train ticket Cusco to Puno; boat excursion on Lake Titicaca; meals as indicated in the itinerary.
International and domestic flights (we would normally book these for you and add this to the package); visas (not currently required by British passport holders); insurance; Huayna Picchu entrance; meals not mentioned as included; drinks; tips; personal expenses such as laundry.
To get to Peru you need to fly into Lima. From here a domestic flight takes you to Cusco. From Europe Iberia Airlines or KLM are most frequently used for this route. There is no direct flight from the UK to Lima. A return flight will cost from about £900.
Departure dates: This is a private tailor made trip which you can take any time you like subject to availability.
A good value hotel in the popular district of Miraflores.
El MaPi is a modern hotel in Machu Picchu town offering comfortable contemporary accommodation
El Retablo is a showcase for local art with dazzling hand-painted decoration throughout, a little way from the main square.
37-room hotel located in Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Posada del Inca Puno is a comfortable modern hotel set on the shores of Lake Titicaca and just 5 kilometres from the centre of the historic city of Puno.
Wyndham Costa del Sol Lima Airport is a modern hotel located within walking distance of Lima's international airport, offering good accommodation and facilities.
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Flight time: Both KLM and Iberia have flights to Lima via Europe, leaving the UK early in the morning to arrive in Lima in the evening. The flight time is about 14 hours. It is also possible to fly to Lima via America.
Language: Spanish and Quechua are the official languages.
Visas: Not required for British travellers (up to 90 days). EC nationals can ask us for further advice.
Health: There are no compulsory vaccinations, except yellow fever if visiting the rainforest. Malaria prophylactics are also recommended in the rainforest.