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14 days

Highlights of Peru

Experience Peru’s highlights on this tour to Cusco, the Machu Picchu ruins, the beautiful Andes Mountains, indigenous communities at Lake Titicaca and the colonial-era cities of Lima and Arequipa.

Highlights of Peru Highlights of Peru
14 days

Highlights of Peru

Experience Peru’s highlights on this tour to Cusco, the Machu Picchu ruins, the beautiful Andes Mountains, indigenous communities at Lake Titicaca and the colonial-era cities of Lima and Arequipa.

Why choose this tour

  • Feel the breath of history in your encounter with the legendary Inca ruin of Machu Picchu
  • Experience the magic of the Andes Mountains in Colca Canyon, where impressive Condors glide across the sky
  • Meet the colourful native society at the beautiful Lake Titicaca
  • Look forward to encountering Cusco, which exudes both life and historical buildings and cathedrals, both from the Inca Era and the Spanish Colonial Era

Our prices always include

  • All international and domestic flights
  • All destination transfers
  • All specified excursions and activities
  • All accommodations

The tour in short

Peru is something of a paradise on Earth for lovers of culture and nature. On this voyage of discovery, you will visit the colonial gems of Lima and Arequipa, as well as the breath-taking Colca Canyon, with its old agricultural terraces and majestic condors. At Lake Titicaca, you will have the opportunity to spend time with the local population, learning a little bit about their way of life and culture. The tour also takes you to Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, and the Sacred Valley, calling in at the museum town of Ollantaytambo, where the local residents still live according to their old traditions and laws. It is also here that you will have the chance to see alpacas and lamas up close. Peru is famous for its intriguing markets, and the tour includes a stop at the market town of Pisac. Before your trip draws to a close, you will visit the small town of Aguas Calientes, which is close to the absolute highlight of your trip: the ancient city of Machu Picchu, with its spectacular Inca ruins. From Machu Picchu and the surrounding area, you can admire the captivating sight of the tall mountains and the cloud forest before it is time to return to the capital city of Lima to catch your flight back to Europe.

What is included in the price?
This package includes the following
  • Flights from the UK to Lima (enquire regarding direct flights)
  • Flights from Cusco to the UK
  • 1 domestic flight: Lima – Arequipa
  • Transfers from and to airports (in small, international groups)
  • Coach travel: Arequipa – Colca Canyon – Puno – Cusco
  • Train travel: Return trip, Cusco – Aguas Calientes
  • 12 nights’ accommodation in good hotels incl. breakfast
  • 3 x lunch (days 4, 6, 7)
  • 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

Comprehensive package of excursions:

  • 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 trip to Lake Titicaca and the Uros and Taquile islands
  • Half-day tour of Cusco and the surrounding area
  • Full-day trip to The Sacred Valley
  • Guided tour at Machu Picchu
  • Admission tickets to the attractions mentioned
See all pictures
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.

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 famous 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.

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 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.

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.

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 feeling 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Day 10: By train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes

This morning, you will be picked up from your hotel and driven to the station to catch the train to Aguas Calientes – a journey of around 3 hours. Aguas Calientes is a small town located near the cloud forest and close to Machu Picchu, the world-famous complex of ruins. On arrival, a bus will take you to your hotel, and the rest of the day is yours to do with as you wish.

Day 11: The Inca City of Machu Picchu – Cusco

Early in the morning, you will be picked up from your hotel and driven to one of the absolute highlights of your trip: the fantastic ruins of Machu Picchu, which have been designated one of the wonders of the modern world. The ruins stand enchantingly on a steep and verdant ridge of hills in the Urubamba Valley, 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 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.

After a guided tour, you will have time to explore the area on your own.

You spend the afternoon on your own in Aguas Calientes, where you can enjoy your lunch and possibly a visit to the thermal baths, also called hot springs, and relax in the naturally heated water. Remember to bring a bathing suit. These hot springs lend their name to the town Aguas Calientes, which means hot water.

Your train back to Cusco leaves late in the afternoon. Your guide will let you know the exact time after the Machu Picchu tour.

On your arrival in Cusco, you will be driven back to your hotel.

Day 12: Cusco

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

Day 13: 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 14: Return trip

Arrive back in the UK after a wonderfully eventful holiday.

Single room supplement £400
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