Travel to Peru in style, from the hot coastal plains to the high cities of Cuzco and ancient Machu Picchu. Uncover charming colonial towns, stunning Andean landscapes, Inca ruins, colourful markets and a fascinating local culture. Tour through Lima, Pisco, Cuzco, the Sacred Valley, Ollantaytambo, Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu. This majestic adventure will take you into the true heart of Peru, unveiling a fascinating culture that is sure to astound.
- The giant desert inscriptions of the Nazca Lines are one of Peru's great unsolved mysteries. Scrutinise them up close on a viewing platform or from a bird's-eye-view on an optional flight
- Cuzco is a great city to explore on foot. Enter a bygone era as you explore the ancient Incan ruins dotted all over the city
- A trip through Peru wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Enjoy a guided tour around the ruins as well as plenty of free time to discover it on your own
- Spend a full day exploring the floating islands of Lake Titicaca and Taquile Island, with the chance to meet the local Uru people
- Marvel at the soaring pre-Inca funerary towers at Sillustani
- Peruse the remarkable ruins at Ollantaytambo
- Visit locals on Lake Titicaca's 'floating islands'
- Experience wonder at incredible Machu Picchu
- Sip a Pisco sour in Pisco
- Meet villagers in the Sacred Valley
|Cultural||Physical||Max Group Size||12||Duration||15 days|
|Category||Gold||Trips for those who want a tonne of inclusions, better standard accommodation, larger roomier vehicles.|
Day 1 - Lima
This evening, you may want to go out for a group dinner. There are a number of restaurants and cafes to choose from. Lima has some of the most superb cuisine in South America and is especially renowned for its exceptional seafood. During your time here, you may wish to try ceviche, Peruâs national dish, which is raw fish marinated in lime juice and often served with hot peppers. This culinary delight is a must for all seafood lovers!
Notes: Altitude sickness is a common occurrence in this part of the world. Anyone can suffer from the symptoms, so it's important to be prepared for it. Please see the 'Health' section of the trip notes for more information.
Day 2 - Paracas
Day 3 - Nazca
You will be driven in a private van from Paracas to Nazca next. This is a three hour drive, but we may stop at the oasis town of Huacachina on the way. Nazcaâs origins date back to the 2nd century BC and here, in the dry desert conditions, mummies, textiles, ceramics and other relics have been remarkably well preserved to give archaeologists clear snapshots of this highly developed civilisation. Visit the viewing platform here or to get a bird's eye view of the lines, you can choose to go on a flight tour of the area. The flight is 30 minutes long and covers the 26 figures scattered throughout the desert.
Notes: The flight can be bumpy and it is only recommended for those with a strong stomach. There have been safety issues with these flights in the past, so we have done our best to research the best operators in the area to recommend to you. Our tour leaders are prohibited from recommending or booking through any other operators. This optional tour (flight) costs about US$100 per person (price subject to change).
Day 4 - Arequipa
Arequipa is without doubt one of the most beautiful cities in Peru. Protected by mountains, its wild surrounding landscape consists of high altitude deserts, hot springs and abyssal canyons.
Day 5 - Arequipa
You will have some free time today. Perhaps visit the Juanita Mueseum.
Day 6 - Puno
Tucked away in between the many small villages around Puno are the ruins of Sillustani. These ruined towers are set on a beautiful peninsula near Lake Umayo, built by a pre-Inca civilisation hundreds of years ago. The Sillustani Indians built several 'chullpas', funeral towers. Each tower would have contained the remains of noble men, buried together with offerings to secure their comfortable passage into the next life.
Located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, Puno is a melting pot of Aymara and Quechuan Indian culture and traditional Andean customs are still strongly represented here. The town is known as the folklore capital of Peru and is famous for its traditional dances. Many festivals are celebrated here, so if you're lucky your visit might coincide with one of the colourful evening parades, when the streets fill with costumed dancers and musicians.
Day 7 - Lake Titicaca / Puno
We will also visit the Taquile Island, where knitting is strictly a male domain and women do the spinning. This is a great place to pick up some high quality, locally knitted goods. To reach the main part of the island there is a an uphill trek (approx 1 hour) with great views of the lake. There will also be an optional lunch consisting of a basic set meal where you can taste the nutritious quinua soup and enjoy a muna tea (Andean mint tea).
A descent of approx 500 steps brings us back to the boat which will take us all the way back to Puno (approx 3 hours).
Puno is the hometown of Kusimayo, a terrific local organisation that works towards improving the living condition of children and adults affected by poverty and malnutrition in this part of the world you have now come to know so well. Take a look at this short video for more information on this wonderful project: https://vimeo.com/154422813
Kusimayo is supported by the Intrepid Foundation which means you can donate to this project and your donation will be match dollar for dollar by the Intrepid Group. Please donate through our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/kusimayo/
Day 8 - Cuzco
The Cuzco region truly is the heart and soul of Peru. The city itself is the continent's oldest continuously inhabited city and was the home of the Incas for two centuries before the Spanish built their first capital here. Today Cuzco is a fascinating combination of both cultures. Inca-built walls line the central streets and many of the elegant colonial buildings are built on or around Inca foundations. This is a city steeped in history, tradition and legend and is a perfect base for explorations into the Inca world or to enjoy a range of outdoor activities.
Take the time to acclimatise to the city's 3,450 m (11,150 ft) altitude and explore the many Baroque churches and ancient temples that dot the city.
Your leader will take you on a walking tour including a visit to the Coca Musuem - where you can learn more about this infamous plant which has been an essential part of life in the Andes for centuries - and the local San Pedro market.
The cathedral, built on top of an Inca palace, dominates the Plaza de Armas, Cuzco's picturesque heart. The cathedral is one of the city's greatest repositories of art and houses an elegantly carved choir stall and a silver-covered Neoclassic altar.
There are several impressive Inca ruins within the city. The most easily accessible is Coricancha, which was the Inca empire's richest temple. Once plated in thick gold, the Spanish built a Dominican church atop its sturdy walls.
Day 9 - Cuzco
For you to make the most of your free time in Cusco, your trip includes a âFull Boleto Turisticoâ, a tourist pass that gives you access to 16 archaeological sites in and around Cusco, including Qenqo, Tambomachay, Pukapukara, Saqsaywaman, amongst others.
For lunch or mid-morning coffee and cake head to Yanapay restaurant at 415 Ruinas St. This restaurant uses all its profits to support children in Cuzco through Aldea Yanapay and its social projects. For more info on Aldea Yanapay visit: http://yanapay.facipub.com/
Day 10 - Sacred Valley
The Sacred Valley, located between the towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo, was greatly treasured because of its climate, fertile land and the presence of the Urubamba (Sacred) River.
At the Sacred Valley you will visit the stone fortress of Sacsayhuaman where massive stone blocks that form the walls of this site give you an awesome picture of how highly developed Inca engineering was. Looking over the city from its hilltop position, the fortress is built out of massive stone blocks and is the ultimate example of the Inca's military strength.
You will visit a local community here, to gain a greater insight into the local lifestyle. If it happens to be market day, you will be able to wander the stalls and hunt down beautiful hand painted beads and ponchos. You will enjoy lunch with the local community.
Next you will head to the town of Ollantaytambo. Built over an ancient Inca town, which is a magnificent example of Inca urban planning, this is one of the few places where the Incas defeated the Spanish. Ollantaytambo's archaeological site is located to the east of the Plaza de Armas and the upper terraces of this site offer great photo opportunities of the squared grid town below.
You will leave the majority of your luggage in Cusco while you spend time in Sacred Valley, Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu, be sure to bring a small backpack that you can pack with necessary goods for the days ahead.
Day 11 - Aguas Calientes
The remainder of the afternoon is free to relax.
Day 12 - Cuzco
MACHU PICCHU: While it's thought Machu Picchu was built around 1440 as a country retreat for Incan nobility, there is evidence this had been a sacred Incan site for much longer. Another school of thought is that this was an astronomical observatory. There's plenty of time for you to decide for yourself as you wander around the many temples, palaces and living quarters.
You will have a guided visit (approximately 2 hours) with plenty of free time afterwards. After taking advantage of the seemingly endless photo opportunities, it's time to return to Cusco for a well deserved shower and a pisco sour.
Day 13 - Cuzco
Day 14 - Lima
Once settled into your hotel in Lima you will start your exploration of the Peruvian capital with a half-day city tour. Founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador, Francisco Pizarro, it was from Lima that all Spanish territories in South America were governed. Few cities at that time could rival Limaâs power, wealth and opulence. However its glory days ended in 1746 when the city was virtually destroyed by an earthquake. Many of the colonial buildings were rebuilt and you will get a first-hand look at several of them on the tour. The striking Plaza Mayor (Plaza de Armas), flanked by some of the most important buildings in town such as the cathedral, the huge Government Palace and the Archbishopâs Palace, constitutes the heart of the city.
You will visit the nearby San Francisco Monastery, with its catacombs containing some 70,000 human remains. Next we will visit the Central market where we will take a walking tour. The market has a huge variety of fresh produce on offer including fruits, vegetables and even Guinea pigs. You will have the opportunity to try some local Peruvian fruits and street food.
This will be followed by a visit to China town, which is nearby the Market.
The tour will finish in Lima main square, with the option to go for dinner in downtown or back to Miraflores.
In your spare time you might enjoy wandering around Miraflores, visiting Parque del Amor (Love's Park) where you can enjoy a view across Lima's beaches, or catching a taxi to visit the Gold Museum or the Larco Museum, which is renowned for its ancient pottery collection. Please remember that you must agree on a fare with the driver before catching a taxi, as the taxis here do not have meters. (Miraflores-downtown approximately 10-15 soles). You may also want to visit the impressive National Museum of Anthropology, Archaeology and History of Peru, which is home to a wonderful collection of cultural exhibits tracing the history, arts and accomplishments of the people of Peru, ranging from the original inhabitants of the land through to the Inca Empire and the Spanish conquerors.
There are a number of restaurants and cafes to choose from for dinner. Lima has some of the most superb cuisine in South America and is especially renowned for its exceptional seafood. During your time here, you may wish to try Ceviche, Peruâs national dish, which is raw fish marinated in lime juice and often served with hot peppers. This culinary delight is a must for all seafood lovers!