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16 days/14 nights:

Tour of Peru, including Inca Trek

Highlights of this tour:

Lima, Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Puno, Lake Titicaca, visit to the Uros people, Taquile Island and visit to the Quechua Indians, Cusco, ‘Urubamba’ – the Sacred Valley, Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Inca trek, Machu Picchu.

This package holiday includes the following:

  • Flights from the UK to Lima, with transfer(s) en route
  • Flights from Cusco to the UK, with transfer(s) en route
  • 1 domestic flight: Lima – Arequipa
  • Transfers from and to airports (in small international groups)
  • Coach travel: Arequipa – Colca Canyon – Puno – Cusco
  • 11 nights’ accommodation in good hotels incl. breakfast
  • 3 nights’ Inca trek, incl. transport from and to Cusco, English-speaking guide, bearers, admission fees, full board accommodation.
  • 6 x lunch (days 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12)
  • 3 x dinner (days 10, 11, 12)
  • Individual tour, however, all excursions are in small international groups with local English speaking guides
  • Emergency hotline staffed 24/7 throughout your trip
  • ATOL certificate included
  • Departure guarantee – the tour will take place regardless of the number of participants
  • Daily departures

The following package of excursions are included:

  • Half-day tour of Lima, including a visit to the Lima Museum of Art
  • Half-day tour of Arequipa, including a visit to the Santa Catalina Monastery
  • Two-day visit to Colca Canyon – famous for its condors, thermal baths and ancient agricultural terraces
  • Full-day tour to Lake Titicaca and the Uros and Taquile islands
  • Half-day tour of Cusco and the surrounding area
  • Full-day tour to The Sacred Valley
  • Admission tickets to the attractions mentioned

Single room supplement: £460
Discounts are available for groups of 4 or more people

Choose this tour because…

Peru is a treasure chest of Inca culture, boasting some of the finest cultural and natural delights in South America. Look forward to a trip sprinkled with colonial gems, spectacular mountains and volcanoes, a visit to Colca Canyon, and the Sacred Valley with its impressive terrace systems, fascinating Indian communities and colourful markets. It is also here that you can experience the unique local wildlife, which features lamas, alpacas and condors. The tour will also bring you close to the Uros people on the shores of Lake Titicaca, and give you the chance to experience Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, where you can admire sights such as impressive carvings by Inca stone masons. It is then time to make a start on the Inca trek, where you will walk the famous Inca trail. Look forward to experiencing memorable ruins and captivating countryside featuring green valleys, snow-capped mountain peaks, a host of plants and all kinds of animals. Of course, no trip to Peru would be complete without a visit to Machu Picchu, which forms the perfect endpoint for your trek.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Departure from the UK and arrival in Lima

Departure day, where you will fly to Peru, with connecting flights along the way. You will land at Lima Airport, where you will be met by a representative of our partner in Peru, who will accompany you to your hotel. The journey from the airport to the hotel takes around 40 minutes, and en route your guide will answer any questions you may have regarding your trip. The rest of the day is yours to do with as you wish.

Overnight stay: Hotel Britania Miraflores

Day 2: Tour of Lima

The day starts with a half-day tour of the Peruvian capital city, which was founded in 1535 by Francisco Pizarro. The itinerary will take you to the magnificent, bustling central square called Plaza Mayor, which is decorated with rose gardens, tall palm trees and a fountain capped with a representation of the city’s guardian angel. The square is lined with beautiful buildings in colonial style, including the Presidential Palace, the Archbishop’s Palace and the city’s impressive cathedral which dates back to 1555 and contains the earthly remains of Pizarro himself. You will then have the chance to visit the San Francisco Monastery and its church from 1674 – which happens to be the most attractive Baroque church in the city. The monastery is decorated with delightful mosaic tiles from Seville and fresco paintings that were rediscovered when an earthquake destroyed parts of the outer wall. Particularly worthy of note are the monastery’s museum of religious art, the library of more than 25,000 books, and the catacombs beneath the church.

Next stop on the itinerary is the San Isidro district, with its attractive parks, and the modern Miraflores quarter, with its fine beaches, gardens and squares, as well as charming cafés and restaurants. Before the tour draws to a close, there will be time to visit the Lima Museum of Art, which is famous for its comprehensive collections of pre-Colombian jewellery and applied art.

The late afternoon and evening are yours to do with as you wish.

Overnight stay: Hotel Britania Miraflores

Day 3: Flight from Lima to Arequipa

In the morning, you will be picked up from your hotel and driven to Lima Airport to catch your flight to the elegant colonial city of Arequipa, which is situated at an elevation of 2,400 masl. The city is surrounded by the snow-capped volcanoes Misti (5,822 m), Chachani (6,057 m) and Pichu-Pichu (5,669 m), which generate a truly extraordinary atmosphere. You will be met on arrival at Arequipa Airport and driven to your hotel.

After checking in, it is time for a guided tour of the city, taking in a host of magnificent villas and colonial buildings from the 1700s with their exquisitely carved doors, French windows and ornate fences around spacious courtyard gardens. The city is built almost exclusively of white volcanic stone and is therefore often called ‘The White City’. You will also visit the beautiful central square – Plaza de Armas – with its tall palms, old gas lights and magnificent fountain. It is also the site of the city’s enormous cathedral.

After this, it is time to visit perhaps the most famous attraction in Arequipa: the Santa Catalina monastery, which was once home to more than 400 nuns. Santa Catalina was founded in 1580 by the rich widow Maria de Guzmán, and it was extended in the 1600s. The institution was reserved exclusively for the upper class locals, and during the colonial years it was customary for the second daughters of rich families to become nuns. The girls were taken to the monastery at the tender age of three, after which they never ventured beyond its walls again. It was not until 1970 that the monastery doors were opened, and around 20 nuns still live here today – although they are now free to receive visitors and to leave Santa Catalina as they wish.

Before returning to the hotel, there will be time to visit Yanahuara Square, which provides excellent opportunities to take photos of the volcanoes that surround the city.

Overnight stay: Maison du Soleil

Day 4: By coach from Arequipa to Colca Canyon

The day commences with an early-morning check-out from your hotel, after which you will start your journey to the fascinating Colca Canyon, which is 3,191-metre-deep – or more than twice the depth of the Grand Canyon in the United States. Only the nearby Cotahuasi Canyon is deeper, and only by 150 metres.

Your route will take you across the spectacular Altiplano, a dry, barren landscape of wide open vistas. You will pass through a number of small villages where you are sure so see local herders with their flocks of lamas and alpacas. After a drive of a few hours, you will reach the town of Chivay, which serves as the entrance to Colca Canyon. Here, the landscape around the town is dominated by two mighty volcanoes: Sabancaya (5,976 m) and Ampato (6,288 m).

Following your long coach journey, you have earned a bit of rest and relaxation, and a visit to the hot thermal baths of Chivay is sure to work wonders on your weary muscles.

Overnight stay: Eco Inn Colca

Day 5: By coach from Colca Canyon to Puno

Early in the morning, you will head off towards Mirador Cruz del Condor, a breath-taking vantage point near one of the deepest parts of Colca Canyon. It is a truly amazing experience to stand here and look out over the canyon. You may even be lucky enough to see some condors soaring on the warm air currents. Condors are the largest flying birds in the world, with a wing span of up to 3 metres.

Following this captivating natural delight, you set off on a short hike into the valley, where you can observe some of the old agricultural terraces that have been in use for centuries.

It is then time to return to the hotel for lunch, before continuing on to Puno, which is located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest lake in the world, situated at an altitude of 4,000 masl. Puno was of historical significance to the Incas, because it was here that the first Inca, Manco Capac, arose from the waters of Lake Titicaca, founded the Inca Empire and became the first king in Cusco. Today, Puno is an agricultural town that focuses primarily on raising lamas and alpacas. This makes it a great place to buy woollen items.

Overnight stay: Hotel Sol Plaza

Day 6: Lake Titicaca

Today is devoted to a full-day excursion to Lake Titicaca, which is shared harmoniously by Bolivia and Peru. Indigenous peoples speaking Quechua and Aymara dialects currently live on separate stretches of land along the shores of the lake. You will first visit the Uros people, who have survived through a combination of hunting and fishing, and who live on undulating reed islands in Puno Bay, where both their houses and their boats are built of reeds harvested from the islands. You will have the opportunity to learn a little about their culture and gain some insight into their everyday lives.

The day continues with a sailing trip to the peaceful island of Taquile, where you will likewise spend some time with the locals and will be sure to discover that the two societies are very different from one another. Your guide will then accompany you on a hike to the highest point on the island, where you can enjoy a truly enchanting view out over the giant Lake Titicaca, which is 174 km long and 64 km wide.

Towards the middle of the afternoon, you will be sailed back to Puno and the rest of the day is yours to do with as you wish.

Overnight stay: Hotel Sol Plaza

Day 7: By coach from Puno to Cusco

Get ready for a long but eventful day! You will be picked up from your hotel and driven to the bus station, where a coach is waiting to take you to Cusco, which was once the official capital of the Inca Empire, and is now an elegant, thriving and multicultural city.

En route, you will cross Altiplano, where you may well see some vicuñas, an animal that is related to the camel but looks more like a lama or alpaca. The coach will make several stops along the way, so you can take part in guided tours of various ruins and monuments. The first stop is at the Pukara pyramid: the hugely impressive pyramid that was built by the people of Pukara 3,500 years ago. The coach will subsequently take you over La Raya – the highest point on the route at 4,319 metres above sea level – before descending into a beautiful valley used to cultivate a variety of crops including corn and potatoes. You will then arrive in Raqchi, where you can view the ruins of Viracocha Temple, one of the most sacred sites of all to the Incas. The last stop before Cusco is at the famous colonial age church Andahuaylillas, better known as the ‘Sistine Chapel of the Americas’ on account of its magnificent painted ceilings and other fine art.

On arriving in Cusco, you will have time to check into your hotel before spending the evening exploring the city and its excellent restaurants.

Overnight stay: Maytaq Wasin Boutique Hotel

Day 8: Cusco

There is nothing scheduled for today until the afternoon, when a guided tour of Cusco and its surroundings has been arranged. You start at the city’s central square – the Plaza de Armas, which was known as Hucaypata or ‘The Warriors’ Square’ during the age of the Incas. It was here that many of the most important events in the history of Cusco took place. One of the finest sights here is Santo Domingo Cathedral, which was built between 1560 and 1654 on the site of Viracocha’s Palace, the former Inca edifice. The ‘modern’ building features a fine mix of Spanish Renaissance architecture and exquisite Inca stone carving. The street that runs alongside the church leads to what was once the most important cultural location in the Inca Empire: the formerly magnificent Sun Temple of Koricancha, which was built without using mortar, with every stone carved perfectly for its given position.

Next on the itinerary is Kenko, another sacred Inca site marked with a 5-metre-high stone block which is said to resemble a puma. This site is dedicated to the worship of Mother Earth, and features water channels carved in solid rock and a subterranean room. Farther along the road stands a small fortress called Puka Pukara, which is believed to have been used to guard the road and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Here you will see terraces carved into the side of the mountain, as well as steps, tunnels and towers. Continuing north, you will come to Tambomachay, a sacred bathing site for the Inca conquerors and women of the royal household The system is a masterpiece of construction, and is still able to deliver water to this day.

The last stop on the tour is the military complex of Sacsayhuaman, which enjoys a magnificent location with a wonderful view out over Cusco. Sacsayhuaman is a fascinating example of the architectural skill of the Incas. It is an impressive construction, with double walls of carved granite, where the heaviest block weighs more than 125 tonnes. After the tour, you will return to Cusco where the evening is yours to do with as you wish.

Overnight stay: Maytaq Wasin Boutique Hotel

Day 9: The Sacred Valley

The day is devoted to an excursion to Urubamba Valley, The Sacred Valley of the Incas. Your first stop is at Pisac, renowned far and wide for its Indian markets, where you will have the chance to buy everything from Peruvian wool sweaters and musical instruments, to paintings, tapestries and jewellery. The town is also well-known for the impressive ruins nearby. The ruined buildings were constructed of smaller stones than those used in Sacsayhuaman, but the precision with which they have been carved and sized is hugely impressive – just like the view.

After lunch, you will continue on your way to Ollantaytambo, another charming village in the heart of the valley, which is considered to be an open air museum, in that all residents observe the old traditions and laws that can be traced back to the their earliest forefathers. The town is probably best known for the complex of the same name, which comprises temples, baths and impressive military installations.

You will then return to Cusco, where the rest of the day is yours to do with as you wish.

Overnight stay: Maytaq Wasin Boutique Hotel

Day 10: Cusco – Huayllabamba

Today marks the start of your trek along the world-famous Inca trail, which will take you through magnificent countryside and captivating landscapes dominated by green valleys, tall mountains, snow-capped peaks and an awe-inspiring variety of flora and fauna. With its stairways and tunnels, the Inca trail itself is part of the great network of trails from Mendoza in Argentina to the border between Ecuador and Colombia. Over the coming four days, you will hike along trails that were in use centuries ago, passing archaeologically fascinating Inca ruins, all with their own story to tell.

You will be picked up from the hotel at 4 o’clock in the morning and driven to Ollantaytambo, where you will have the opportunity to make some last-minute purchases for your trek (rain poncho, hiking poles, water, biscuits, etc.).

You will then be driven to the 82 km stone, where the bus will drop you off at the start of the Inca trek. The first stage of the trail takes you from the 82 km stone to Huayllabamba. It is a reasonably flat, beautiful walk along the banks of the Urubamba river and through the valley of the same name, with a view of the snow-capped mountain Veronica – the highest mountain in the region (5,750 m).

En route, you will pass through several villages where the inhabitants still build their houses with traditional ichu grass roofs. You can – and really should – take a break to admire the view out over Llactapata, which was once an important agricultural area for the Inca people. The route subsequently takes you away from the river, and leads you up through the valley alongside the Kusichaca River, where you have every chance of seeing hummingbirds flying through the air.

You will reach the village of Huayllabamba in the afternoon and continue on your way to your camp, from where you can enjoy a magnificent view out over the valley and the surrounding mountains.

Overnight stay: Tent camp on the Inca trail

Day 11: Huayllabamba – Pacaymayo

This day features the toughest hiking on the trek, as it takes you up past Llulluchampa, through an area of fertile cloud forest. You will then embark on a steep climb up high steps to Warmi Wañusqa, a mountain pass at 4,200 masl – the highest point on the trek. The name of the pass translates as ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’ – and it is not hard to see why … When you reach the pass, you can take a well-earned break while admiring the view of the snow-clad mountains and the Inca trail itself.

From here, you continue on down the Inca steps on the other side of the pass and then on to Pacaymayo Valley. This is where the history of the Incas begins to unfold before you, and you will come to the first in a long line of ruins: the small guard post called Runkurakay, which is often shrouded in mist. You then continue to follow the original Inca trail up to another pass at an elevation of 3,900 masl. Here, on sunny days, there is an absolutely breath-taking view of the Vilcabamba mountains, to where the Inca tribes retreated after battles with the Spanish conquistadors. Your wonderful route continues to the giant Sayacmarca ruins on the top of a narrow cliff, where you will hear a detailed explanation of the ruins and the history of the area before making your way through a small patch of cloud forest on the way to your camp.

Overnight stay: Tent camp on the Inca trail

Day 12: Pacaymayo – Wiñay Wayna

If the weather is clear, you are sure to awake to a wonderful view of the Vilcabamba mountains. After breakfast, you will make your way towards the third mountain pass, where you can admire the Incas’ intricate stone carving work, comprising sturdy tunnels and perfectly placed stones. This section of the trek is particularly beautiful, with areas of cloud forest, orchids, ferns and colourful birds.

When you reach the third pass close to Phuyupatamarca (3,550 masl), it is time to take a break and enjoy your lunch. After this, you will make a start on the long descent to Wiñay Wayna, the largest complex in the area after Machu Picchu and Llaqtapata. The ruins cling to one side of the mountain, and consist of houses, towers and terraces. The complex is built in an impressive and attractive location, just behind your camp.

In the evening, the cook and his assistants will prepare an extra special dinner to add a festive touch to your last night on the Inca trail.

As you will have to leave very early the next morning, it would be a good idea to go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep.

Overnight stay: Tent camp on the Inca trail

Day 13: Wiñay Wayna – Machu Picchu – Cusco

Your day starts very early in the morning with a hike up to Inti Punku – the Sun Gate. From here, you can watch the sun rise over the surrounding mountains. It is also here that you will catch your first sight of Machu Picchu, the subject of all kinds of tales and sagas. It is oddly moving to stand here and soak up the sense of mysticism and adventure that permeates the site.

Enjoy the walk down the last part of the trail to one of the seven wonders of the modern world and the absolute highlight of your trip: the fantastic ruins of Machu Picchu, which stand enchantingly on a steep and verdant ridge of hills, surrounded by cloud forest and green hilltops, with snow-capped mountains far off in the distance Here, you will be given a guided tour of the area and can experience the impressive and intelligent Inca architecture with narrow terraces on the steep mountain sides, as well as areas containing burial sites, prisons, small residences and temples.

It is said that Machu Picchu was rediscovered by the American explorer Hiram Bingham on 24 July 1911. This is not strictly true, but he is certainly responsible for spreading the news of this truly remarkable place to all corners of the globe. The Inca city was built in around 1462 – i.e. during the Golden Age of the Inca Empire – but was abandoned less than a century later, probably on account of a smallpox epidemic. As Machu Picchu was never discovered and plundered by the Spanish invaders, it retains major cultural significance and is considered a sacred site. Machu Picchu was home to priests, highly ranked civil servants, craftsmen, servants and virgins selected to devote their lives to the Sun God. It was a city with streets, aqueducts – which still carry water to this day – fountains and walkways, and it fulfilled a variety of religious functions.

Following the guided tour, you will have time to explore the area for yourself, and you can even climb the steep path to the peak of Huayna Picchu mountain (2,380 masl), which stands next to Machu Picchu. The Moon Temple is situated on the side of this mountain, and from the top there is a truly stunning view out over the ruins and Urubamba Valley itself. Please note that you need to book this supplementary trip (which also costs extra) in advance.

It is then time to head to Aguas Calientes to catch the train to Cusco.

Overnight stay: Maytaq Wasin Boutique Hotel

Day 14: Cusco

No activities or excursions are planned, so you can spend your day in this charming town as you wish.

Overnight stay: Maytaq Wasin Boutique Hotel

Day 15: Return flight

You will be picked up from your hotel and driven to the airport to catch your flight to the UK, which will feature connecting flights along the way.

Day 16: Return trip

Arrive back in the UK after a wonderfully eventful holiday.

Highlights of this tour:

Lima, Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Puno, Lake Titicaca, visit to the Uros people, Taquile Island and visit to the Quechua Indians, Cusco, ‘Urubamba’ – the Sacred Valley, Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Inca trek, Machu Picchu.

This package holiday includes the following:

  • Flights from the UK to Lima, with transfer(s) en route
  • Flights from Cusco to the UK, with transfer(s) en route
  • 1 domestic flight: Lima – Arequipa
  • Transfers from and to airports (in small international groups)
  • Coach travel: Arequipa – Colca Canyon – Puno – Cusco
  • 11 nights’ accommodation in good hotels incl. breakfast
  • 3 nights’ Inca trek, incl. transport from and to Cusco, English-speaking guide, bearers, admission fees, full board accommodation.
  • 6 x lunch (days 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12)
  • 3 x dinner (days 10, 11, 12)
  • Individual tour, however, all excursions are in small international groups with local English speaking guides
  • Emergency hotline staffed 24/7 throughout your trip
  • ATOL certificate included
  • Departure guarantee – the tour will take place regardless of the number of participants
  • Daily departures

The following package of excursions are included:

  • Half-day tour of Lima, including a visit to the Lima Museum of Art
  • Half-day tour of Arequipa, including a visit to the Santa Catalina Monastery
  • Two-day visit to Colca Canyon – famous for its condors, thermal baths and ancient agricultural terraces
  • Full-day tour to Lake Titicaca and the Uros and Taquile islands
  • Half-day tour of Cusco and the surrounding area
  • Full-day tour to The Sacred Valley
  • Admission tickets to the attractions mentioned

Single room supplement: £460
Discounts are available for groups of 4 or more people
ENQUIRE NOW
16d/14n: Peru, including Inca Trek
Adults  Chd. u/12 y.

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