12 days from £5780pp plus international flights.
This holiday combines Peru's most famous highlights and its deliciious cuisine, a coupling no food-lover should even try to resist! Tours of Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca are interspersed with trips to top restaurants, culinary demonstrations and tastings in a successful blend of scenery and culture that will leave you enriched.
Your holiday begins in the capital, Lima, where you have two days to explore the sites, tour the famous Larco Museum and mingle with locals at a popular food market. Your next destination is the Sacred Valley of the Incas, where you visit farms, villages and archaeological sites, and witness the stunning scenery from horseback. Machu Picchu awaits! You have an afternoon introductory tour followed by a second visit the next morning. Back in Cusco you are privileged to attend a cookery class given by a professional chef. Pick up some top tips as you learn how to prepare a full 3-course meal, skills you can take back home to impress friends and family.
The next adventure is a real treat: board South America's first luxury sleeper train, the Andean Explorer for the journey to Puno. Sit back as you travel in style, watching the scenery glide by from the observation car or chatting to fellow passengers in the lounge car. Meal times, as you'd expect, are a highlight, showcasing delicious Andean cuisine served in the refined surroundings of the dining car. You alight in Puno, and swap the train for a boat as you ride out into Lake Titicaca, the largest lake in the continent, to visit the islands and islanders and get a fascinating glimpse into their daily lives.
This is a holiday of many factes and highlights, sure to leave you with a deep impression of and affection for this enchanting country, its people and cuisine.
This holiday uses a very good standard of accommodation, but if you'd like to upgrade to a higher grade, using the following hotels, we can arranged this.
Arts Boutique Hotel B - Lima, Tambo del Inka - Urubamba, Inkattera Machu Picchu - Machu Picchu pueblo, Hotel Monasterio - Cusco, Titilaka Hotel - Lake Titicaca
A representative is waiting to meet you at Lima airport to welcome you to Peru and transfer you to your hotel in the city. Nothing has been arranged for the rest of the day, allowing you to rest after your journey. Settle in and enjoy the facilities of the hotel as you look forward to the adventures to come.
After breakfast you accompany your guide on a tour of Lima. First stop is San Isidro market, where you can see an array of local fruits such as custard apple, aguaymanto (Peruvian groundcherry) and camu camu, with your guide on hand to help you identify the varied produce. You continue to the city's historic centre to see the cathedral, government palace and visit the atmospheric catacombs of San Francisco church. Stop for lunch at Isolina in Barranco, one of the city's most popular eateries serving traditional Peruvian fare. Later stretch your legs as you explore this district, before visiting Tostadira Bisetti, one of the Lima's best known coffee shops to learn about roasting and beverage preparation and to sample some tasty organic coffee. The tour is rounded off with more tastings, as you sip a pisco sour, the country's classic cocktail, and also enjoy some delicious Peruvian chocolate. Breakfast, lunch
This morming you visit the Larco Museum, with its impressive collections of pre-Columbian art. Its displays chart some 4,000 years of history and include a famous exhibition of erotic pottery. Following the visit you travel to Miraflores for lunch at Amaz Restaurant, specialising in Amazonian cuisine. In the afternoon you have time to explore El Malecon, several parks located on cliffs above the Pacific coast, the perfect place to walk off your lunch. You can also visit the shops at Larcomar to buy gifts and souvenirs before sitting down to dinner at Huaca Pucllana, a great favourite with visitors and locals alike. The restaurant is named after the nearby pre-Inca ruins which are floodlit at night, making the view as memorable as the food. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Today you leave Lima behind as you fly to Cusco, gateway to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Your guide leads you into the valley, stopping at strategic points for photographs and to visit to a llama and alpaca farm where you can help feed the animals and see some of the garments made from their wool. Your tour culminates at La Hacienda Huayoccari, located in a small village. Enjoy a lunch of rustic, home-cooked Andean dishes, typical of the region, made with ingredients produced in the valley. Later you are transferred to your hotel and the rest of the day is at leisure. Breakfast, lunch
This morning you accompany your guide on a walk through the village of Maras where you can get a feel for rural life in the Sacred Valley. You continue to Moray, with its distinctive circular terraces, believed to have been used as an agricultural laboratory by the Incas, as they learned how to grow crops in different micro-climates. Lunch today is a tasty picnic eaten while you enjoy views of the mountains. Later you travel back to Maras to see the enormous salt pans that have been in use since pre-Inca times. This is followed by a 1 hour trek to the Vilcanota River where it's time to saddle up as you set off for a 2 hour ride. Your mount is a Peruvian Paso horse, an ancient breed known for their smooth ride and unique 4-beat lateral gait known as 'paso llano', making them ideal for novice as well as experienced riders. It's a wonderful way to enjoy the stunning scenery and fresh air. Afterwards you are transferred back to your hotel. Breakfast, picnic lunch
This morning's destination is Ollantaytambo, where human settlement dates back to the 13th century. Walk along the narrow cobblestoned streets past historic stone buildings, and visit one of the local houses for a glimpse into life in centuries gone by. From Ollanta, as it's known, you take the Vistadome train along the valley to Aguas Calientes and your lunch stop, Tinkuy Restaurant where you have a choice of local or international dishes. From here it's just a short drive up to Machu Picchu, the famous Inca citadel. Your guide recounts the history of the city and explains the significance of individual temples, houses, aquaducts and terraces. It's an awe-inspiring sight. Having watched the sunset you head back down to your hotel in Aguas Calientes. Breakfast, lunch
A second bite at the cherry! You have another opportunity to visit Machu Picchu with the guide for further exploration and insights. There are some short treks you can make here, if you wish, or you may prefer to stroll among the ruins soaking up the atmosphere. Either way you return to Aguas Caleintes for lunch at Chullpi Restaurant which specialises in national and regional cuisine. From Aguas Calientes you board the Vistadome train to enjoy some panoramic views as you travel back to Ollantaytambo before being transferred to your hotel. Breakfast, lunch
You spend the morning in Pisac, an attractive town in the Sacred Valley, best known for the large Sunday market. In fact there is a smaller market here each day catering to both locals and visitors, and you can stroll among the stalls to see the variety of goods on sale. Afterwards you visit the nearby ruins of an Inca citadel that once controlled this important trade route. The site is extensive and includes a very fine sun temple. On conclusion of this visit you travel to Amaru village to spend time at this community observing daily life, some aspects of which have barely changed over the centuries. Watch textile weaving, learn how crops are grown and harvested, and enjoy a lunch of traditional dishes. The visit ends with the pachamama ceremony honouring the fertility goddess and earth mother, after which you are driven to your hotel in Cusco. Breakfast, lunch
Your day starts with a visit to the food market at San Pedro, an opportunity to see the wide range of produce available. Your next destination is the Cusco Culinary Cooking Studio for one of the highlights of your holiday: a cookery lesson with a professional Peruvian chef. Learn how to produce some of the country's favourite dishes, create starters, mains and desserts, and discover the art of mixing the perfect pisco sour. The afternoon is dedicated to sightseeing. The temple at Sacsayhuaman lies just outside the city on a hilltop, an impressive edifice composed of the Inca trademark dry stone walls. Back in the city centre you visit the cathedral in the main square, the Plaza de Armas, and the religious complex of Coricancha, which played a prominent part in city life in Inca times and whose walls were once decorated in gold. After this visit you are taken back to your hotel and can spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing. Later you are collected for dinner at MAP Cafe Restaurant at the Pre-Colombian Art Museum to savour some elegant and creative gourmet cuisine, considered to be among the finest in the country. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your hotel before transferring to the railway station to board the Belmond Andean Explorer train, scheduled to depart at 11am for the overnight journey to Puno. This is a luxury rail journey, an experience to relish. Make your way to the observation car where picture windows showcase the amazing views, and you can sit back, pisco sour in hand, and enjoy the ride. Lunch and dinner are served on board in one of the sumptuous dining cars, and tonight you are lulled to sleep in your private cabin by the gentle rhythm of the train. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Enjoy an early breakfast after which the Andean Explorer pulls into the station at Puno, where you are met and transferred to your hotel. Having dropped off your bags you travel to the shores of Lake Titcacaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, where a motorboat is waiting to take you to the floating Uros Islands. These are created from dried totora reeds that grow wild in the shallows, whose roots form a layer thick enough to support the islands and are anchored by ropes to sticks that are driven into the bottom of the lake. The reeds below the water deteriorate so new reeds need to be added to the surface every 3 months or so. You spend time with some islanders before heading off to Taquile Island. The people here are some of the best weavers in Peru and you can see some of the beautiful textiles they produce and wear during your visit. You have lunch on the island before re-boarding the boat back to the mainland and transferring to your hotel. Breakfast, lunch
This morning you have a guided tour of Sillustani, a burial site created by the ancient Colla people who once dominated the area around Lake Titicaca. The graves of their promiment citizens, chiefs and priests were marked by funerary towers, or chullpas, the most impressive of which can be seen here at Sillustani, some as tall as 12 metres. After the visit you are driven to the airport at Juliaca for the flight back to Lima, and your onward travel arrangements. Breakfast
Guide price from (pp sharing): £5780 (ex. international flights)
Services of an English-speaking tour guide; twin share accommodation: 3 nights Lima, 2 nights Cusco, 3 nights Valle Sagrado, 1 night Aguas Calientes, 1 night Andean Explorer train, 1 night Puno; all transfers and road transport in a private vehicle; domestic flights Lima-Cusco and Juliaca-Lima; Vistadome train Ollantaytambo-Aguas Calientes-Ollantaytambo; bus Aguas Calientes-Machu Picchu-Aguas Calientes; all excursions and tours as mentioned; all site and entrance fees as per itinerary; meals as specified
International flights and taxes; meals not specified as included; drinks; excess baggage; travel insurance; visa; personal expenses; tips; optional hike at Huayna Picchu
Getting there: This holiday begins and ends in Lima. Return flights from the UK cost from around £900, depending on season and availability. We usually book these flights for you.
Belmond Andean Explorer is a luxury sleeper train operating between Cusco and Arequipa, offering excellent service and a gentle pace of travel.
An elegant colonial mansion offering modern facilities in the heart of the old city of Cusco.
The Casa Andina Premium provides luxurious contemporary accommodation in a superb position in the heart of the Miraflores district of Lima.
Casa Andina Premium Puno is located by Lake Titicaca and has great views of the lake.
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Find the best time to visit Peru
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.