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Landscapes and Cultures of Peru

19 days from £4815pp plus international flights.

This is an unforgettable holiday; for 19 days we immerse you in Peruvian history and culture and the glories of the natural world. It’s a trip of contrasts – high altitude and ocean, peaceful Andean retreats and bustling cities, natural wonders and manmade splendour.

You’ll visit iconic archaeological sites including Machu Picchu and the vast, mysterious Nazca Lines, exploring extraordinary examples of Inca, pre-Inca and colonial architecture and culture. Expert guides will bring everything to life for you, but you also have plenty of time to explore on your own.

City and village tours bring you face-to-face with both historic and present-day Peruvian ways of life, cuisine and art as you shop for crafts and textiles in colourful markets or visit artisan workshops and fine galleries. And boat trips on Lake Titicaca and to 'the poor man’s Galapagos’ - the uninhabited Ballestas Islands - will give you an insight into the marine life and birdlife of this beautiful country.

You’ll travel in comfort, including a day on the deluxe Pullman-style Titicaca Train as it journeys across the Andes to Lake Titicaca, and you’ll stay in comfort too. Your accommodation will include an elegant colonial-style hotel in a tranquil part of Arequipa, a 17th century mansion in Cusco, a deluxe eco-lodge and spa in Colca canyon, a beautiful Relais & Chateaux property in lush gardens in the Sacred Valley, a contemporary, luxury hotel by a marine nature reserve in Paracas and a modern hotel with spectacular views of Lake Titicaca.

Itinerary
Casa Andina Miraflores Centro

DAY 1: ARRIVE IN PERU

You’ll be met on arrival at Lima Airport and transferred to your home for the next two nights, Casa Andina Miraflores Centro. A 45-60 minutes' drive from the airport, this comfy modern hotel is in a great location in the affluent Miraflores district.

Lima, Peru

DAY 2: IN LIMA

This morning your guide will collect you after breakfast and take you on a guided tour of Lima. You’ll start with the Plaza de Armas, with its handsome, 18th century Cathedral, before heading to the sumptuously-furnished and beautifully preserved Casa Aliaga. This colonial mansion has been lived in by the same family since 1532. The final stop on today’s tour is the Larco Museum, home to a famous collection of pre-Inca ceramics, gold and silver. The ceramics collection is most notable for the erotic and realistic Moche pottery. The museum's café/restaurant is highly recommended and set in a lovely garden. Then you’re free to explore as you wish – perhaps visiting the handicraft markets or the impressive Huaca Pucllana ruins or the ocean-side boulevard, the Malecón. Breakfast

Nazca Lines, Hummingbird

DAY 3: LIMA TO PARACAS

After breakfast you will be collected and driven the four hours along the Panamerican Highway to Paracas. The highway runs parallel to the Pacific Ocean, so you’ll enjoy great views. Your first stop at will be at Pisco airport to board a small plane for your flight over the Nazca Lines. This really is the best way to view these mysterious, ancient markings in the desert, like the artworks of a giant. You arrive at the Paracas Luxury Collection hotel in time for lunch, after which you can explore the stunning, ocean-front location, take a dip in the pool, visit the spa, wander into town or spend time on the beach. This evening you'll dine in one of the hotel’s three gourmet restaurants.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Islas Ballestas, Peru

DAY 4: PARACAS

You have a lovely experience ahead of you this morning, a boat trip to the Islas Ballestas. The rocks of these three uninhabited islands - eroded into caves and arches - are home to vast numbers of seabirds, including cormorants, pelicans, boobies and penguins. Marine life here includes fur seals, sea lions and the occasional dolphin. During the two-hour trip, watch out for The Candelabra, a 150-metre high geoglyph on the cliff of the Paracas Peninsula. Following the boat trip, you will be taken on a guided tour of the Paracas National Reserve, where the desert ends in cliffs above the Pacific Ocean. More than 2000 years ago this region was home to the Paracas Culture, who were among the originators of the Nazca Lines. You'll return to the hotel in time for lunch and you can then explore further in the afternoon or simply chill out.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Lima, festival

DAY 5: PARACAS TO LIMA

It’s back to Lima after breakfast, as you make the return road journey along the Panamerican Highway and are taken to the Casa Andina Hotel in Miraflores. The rest of the day is yours, so you can explore any parts of Lima you missed out on earlier in the trip, or perhaps revisit some particular favourites.  Breakfast

Arequipa Plaza de Armas

DAY 6: LIMA TO AREQUIPA

This morning you’ll be collected after breakfast and transferred to Lima airport for the 1½-hour flight to Arequipa. The lovely ‘White City’ sits at 2,380m above sea level – keep an eye out from the plane for the distinctive conical shape of El Misti volcano, which stands guard over the city. You will be met on arrival and transferred to the Hotel Costa del Sol Wyndham. This recently-remodelled pink colonial-style hotel dates from the 1940s and is in a tranquil location by the beautiful Selva Alegre Park. Relax for the rest of the day, enjoy the stunning volcano views, explore the extensive gardens and meet the resident alpacas and Juanita, the 120-year-old Galapagos tortoise.  Breakfast

Arequipa

DAY 7: AREQUIPA

After breakfast, your guide will take you on a tour of Arequipa. The volcanic stone used for so many of the splendid colonial buildings inspired the city’s other name - the ‘White City’. Your tour will include the 20,000sq m 16th century Santa Catalina Convent, which is like a miniature colonial town. Then you’re free to explore Arequipa at your own pace, choosing lunch and dinner venues from the many fine restaurants and excellent cafes, shopping for high quality textiles in the Mercado de Artesania or heading to the Catholic University Museum to meet another Juanita – the ‘Ice Maiden’ mummy.  Breakfast

Colca Alpacas

DAY 8: COLCA CANYON

Enjoy amazing views of volcanoes and mountain passes on this morning’s incredibly scenic drive from Arequipa to the Colca Canyon, arriving in time for lunch at El Balcón de Don Zacarías in Chivay, the gateway to the canyon. At over 3,000 metres in depth (twice as deep as America’s Grand Canyon), and stunningly beautiful, the Colca Canyon is also renowned for its agricultural terraces, hot springs and pretty villages. You will spend the next two nights at the romantic Colca Lodge, which sits on the banks of the Colca River. This relaxing eco lodge boasts its own thermal pools as well as a spa, charming gardens and two restaurants. It even has its own alpaca ranch! It’s the perfect location for hiking, horse riding and cycling.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Flight of the condor colca canyon

DAY 9: COLCA CANYON

Early this morning you head to the Cruz del Cóndor lookout point. On most days, here at the canyon’s edge, condors setting out on their daily search for food rise majestically on the thermals. After this memorable encounter the afternoon is yours to enjoy the facilities and activities of the lodge.  Breakfast, dinner

Posadas del Inca, Puno

DAY 10: COLCA TO PUNO

Following breakfast and lunch at Colca Lodge you have a six-hour road journey across the glorious Andean landscape to Puno, on the shore of Lake Titicaca. You will spend two nights at the bright, contemporary Posada del Inca hotel, which lies 10 minutes outside Puno, at the edge of the highest navigable lake in the world.  Breakfast, lunch.

Taquile Archway, Titicaca

DAY 11: LAKE TITICACA

This morning you take a boat from the hotel’s own pier to the Uros Islands. These man-made islands are about 30 minutes from Puno and have been created from floating bundles of reeds. At the living museum your guide will explain the way of life here, and the island construction process. Next you have a 1½ hour boat journey to Taquile Island, where you will have lunch. The way of life here is very different to that on the Uros Islands. Taquile is known for its woven and knitted textiles and you will see how these are produced and have the chance to buy some. You then return by boat to the Posada del Inca for the evening.  Breakfast, lunch.

Cusco Plaza de Armas

DAY 12: TRAIN TO CUSCO

Another memorable experience lies ahead of you today. After breakfast you head to Puno’s railway station to board PerúRail’s deluxe Titicaca Train. In elegance reminiscent of 1920s Pullman carriages, you will spend the day crossing the high plateau; at times you’ll be more than 4,000m above sea level. You’ll enjoy a gourmet lunch in the handsome dining car, and wonderful views from the open-air observation car before you arrive in the capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco. You'll be met on arrival and transferred to the Ramada by Wyndham Costa del Sol. This 17th-century mansion with a modern wing is near to Cusco’s main squares, so ideal for an evening stroll to find a restaurant for dinner.  Breakfast, lunch

Koricancha, Sacred Valley

DAY 13: CUSCO

Today begins with a post-breakfast, half-day private guided tour of Cusco. The most likely first stop is Koricancha, the Inca ‘Golden Enclosure’, their Temple of the Sun. It was once covered in gold, with gold statues of animals and plants in the courtyards. The Spanish Conquistadors plundered the gold and destroyed most of the buildings, then constructed the Convent of Santo Domingo on top of the original Inca walls. Next you visit the Cathedral, a majestic colonial building with an extensive collection of Cusco School art. Then you will be taken north out of the city to the 15th-century Inca ceremonial complex of Sacsayhuaman, with its massive stones that continue to baffle – nobody knows how they were brought here. You may also see the Inca religious centre of Qenqo and the ‘Red Fort’ Puka Pukara. You’ll then be returned to your hotel and the rest of the day is yours.  Breakfast

Ollantaytambo ruins

DAY 14: TO THE SACRED VALLEY

Today you will be driven to the Sacred Valley of the Incas for a full-day guided tour. 30 minutes from Cusco you will visit Awanakancha, a farm which breeds llamas, alpacas and vicuñas. Here you will learn about the weaving and garment-making process of the indigenous culture, and have the chance to shop in the farm store. More shopping opportunities await at the bustling market at Pisac, where colonial buildings surround a square full of stalls selling alpaca textiles, jewellery, paintings and other crafts. You’ll also be taken to the remarkable Inca ruins above the town. Next you head to Ollantaytambo, its old town still laid out as it was by the Incas. The Inca ruins on a promontory high above the town are breathtaking. On your journey through the Sacred Valley you will stop for lunch at Ayasca restaurant in Yanahuara village. This evening you will stay at the beautiful Sol y Luna hotel and spa near Urubamba – your home for the next two nights.  Breakfast, lunch.

Moray, Sacred Valley Peru

DAY 15: MARAS, MORAY AND URUBAMBA

This morning you will travel to the white saltpans at Maras. Set into a hillside and forming a giant staircase of ponds, these have been worked since pre-Inca times. Next, you’ll go to Moray, a fascinating series of concentric terraces on the plateau, which some believe was an Inca agricultural research centre. Return to the Sol y Luna and relax in the lovely 25-acre gardens, swim in the pool or jacuzzi, have a spa treatment or perhaps take up the option for a cookery class or yoga session.  Breakfast

Machu Picchu

DAY 16: OLLANTAYTAMBO AND MACHU PICCHU

This morning you return to Ollantaytambo after breakfast for the 1½-hour scenic Andean train ride to Aguas Calientes. From here it's a short bus ride uphill to Machu Picchu. That first glimpse of this iconic site will be one to treasure. You’ll have a guided tour, your expert guide bringing the Inca sanctuary to life for you. You’ll enjoy lunch at the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, just outside the entrance to Machu Picchu, then head back downhill to Aguas Calientes and to El MaPi, a modern hotel and spa. Keep your entrance ticket to Machu Picchu – you'll need it again tomorrow.  Breakfast, lunch

Aguas Calientes Train Station

DAY 17: MACHU PICCHU TO CUSCO

This morning you have the option to return to Machu Picchu for an unguided visit, before taking the train back to Ollantaytambo for the bus transfer to Cusco. You will spend the night at the Costa del Sol again.  Breakfast

San Blas, Cusco

DAY 18: CUSCO

This is your last full day in Peru, and you can spend it as you wish. All of historic Cusco is on your doorstep, and it’s easy to fill a day here by visiting museums churches and galleries, browsing in the many shops or seeking out cafés and restaurants.  Breakfast

Lima skyline

DAY 19: CUSCO TO LIMA AND HOME

This is your last full day in Peru, and you can spend it as you wish. All of historic Cusco is on your doorstep, and it’s easy to fill a day here by visiting museums churches and galleries, browsing in the many shops or seeking out cafés and restaurants.  Breakfast

Price & Dates

Guide price from (pp sharing): £4815 (ex. international flights)

Price notes: 2019 guide price pp sharing: £4815

Includes: 

18 nights accommodation in the properties mentioned; private transfers; Nazca scenic flight; private sightseeing tours with an English-speaking guide in Lima, Paracas, Arequipa, Colca, Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu; Semi-private guided tour on Lake Titicaca; entrance fees on included tours including second entrance fee to Machu Picchu; train from Puno to Cusco, return train ticket from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu; meals as indicated on the itinerary.

Excludes: 

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.

Getting there: 

This trip starts and ends in Lima. You will need a flight to Lima and a connecting domestic flight to Cusco. From Europe, Iberia Airlines and KLM are most frequently used for this route. Return flights from the UK will cost from about £900. We are happy to book flights for you.

Departure dates: This is a private tailor made holiday which we can plan for you at any time you like. We can also tweak any aspect of the trip so suit your needs more closely. 

places you will see

places you will see



Lima
Lima
For most people Lima is just an arrival city, but there are good museums and colonial architecture, and in recent years Lima has reinvented itself, with boutique hotels springing up and, in particular, Lima has become the focus of Peru's burgeoning worldwide reputation as a foodie destination.
Pelicans
Paracas
The desert and the sea meet in this small town, and you get the best of both, with lovely beaches, wonderful marine life and birdlife, ancient geoglyphs, stunning desert landscapes and the remains of pre-Inca civilisations.
Arequipa & the Colca Canyon
Arequipa
Visit the attractive 'white city' of Arequipa for its colonial architecture such as the Santa Catalina Convent and its museum with the 'Ice Maiden’ mummy. It’s also the way to get to Colca Canyon - and has been described as the 'hub of Andean cuisine'.
Colca Canyon - Condor
Colca Canyon
One of the deepest canyons in the world, this is a place of outstanding natural beauty. Watch the flight of the condors as they rise on morning thermals. Visit traditional villages and explore pre-Incan settlements. 
Lake Titicaca & Puno
Lake Titicaca & Puno
The world’s highest navigable lake, with floating reed islands, and other islands with fascinating traditional cultures. Choose from homestays to luxury lodges, and explore Puno, 'the Folkloric capital' of Peru.
Cusco
Cusco
This famous city was the capital of the Inca empire for three centuries. It is the gateway to the Sacred Valley and to Machu Picchu, and there is much to explore and enjoy in the city itself, including magnificent colonial and Inca architecture, great restaurants, shopping and culture.
The Sacred Valley
The Sacred Valley
This beautiful, lush valley, once sacred to the Incas, is the gateway to iconic Machu Picchu. Visit local villages such as Pisac and Ollantaytambo for Inca ruins and to see modern rural life. Plus enjoy horse riding, mountain biking and rafting, great food and gentle hiking.
Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
The famous 'Lost City of the Incas’. An unmissable highlight of Peru, reached by walking the challenging Inca Trail, or catching the train to a nearby village.

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facts and information

Time: GMT-5hrs

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.

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