Peru Highlights

Starting in the fast-moving capital city of Lima, move onto make your mind up about the mysterious Nazca Lines and then walk the volcanic lands of Arequipa. Weave through the Andes mountains to the archaeological wonders of the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, before floating across the waters of Lake Titicaca in Puno. Complete your Peruvian experience, as you delve into the jungles of the Amazon. These truly are the highlights of Peru.

Price Includes
20 night small group tour exploring Peru from Lima return
Enjoy a 2-night feature stay at the private island of Suasi on the Lake Titicaca.
Visit the iconic Machu Picchu not once - but twice for a comprehensive experience
Join a specialist historian guide on one of you included visits to an archaeological site around Cusco
Enjoy a 2 night feature stay in an Amazon Lodge
 

 

Travel Dates:

27 Apr – 17 May 2019
12 Oct – 1 Nov 2019
26 Oct – 15 Nov 2019
30 Nov – 20 Dec 2019

Other departures available between Mar – Dec 2019, seasonal surcharges may apply.

 
Room/Cabin information
Twin Share
Offer Ends

18 March 2019. Availability is limited.

Destinations
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Product itinerary

Itinerary

Day 1: Lima
Welcome to Peru! On arrival into Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport you will be transferred to your hotel. Meet your leader and fellow travellers for a pre-trip briefing, usually held at 2 pm. Please check the noticeboard near the hotel reception for confirmation of the location of the meeting. 
After the meeting your leader will take you on a brief orientation tour of the Miraflores area. Your in-depth city tour will be tomorrow morning. Lima has some of the best cuisine in South America and is especially renowned for its seafood. Perhaps sample Peru's national dish of Ceviche, which is raw fish marinated in lime juice and often served with hot peppers.

Day 3: Nazca
This morning rise early for an excursion to the Ballestas Islands. We will depart the hotel at approximately 7.30 am. Make your way to Paracas' port to board a boat at approximately 8 am. The Ballestas Islands are home to an abundance of wildlife, including pelicans, red-footed boobies, flamingos, sea lions and even penguins. You'll have the opportunity to see wildlife up close on a boat tour of the islands (approximately 1.5-2 hours). Between June and September the port may be closed due to weather conditions. If this is the case, an alternative land tour of the Paracas National Reserve will be arranged. Late morning make the journey in a private van from Paracas to Nazca. This is a three hour drive, but there may be a stop in Huacanchina on the way. The leader will offer the group the option of making this stop and the outcome will be based on a majority decision. Huacachina is a little settlement that sits beside a small lake with dramatic sand dunes. There are opportunities to go sand-boarding or simply enjoy the photo opportunities. 
Later in the afternoon on arrival to Nazca, visit the viewing platform of the famous Nazca Lines. Etched into the landscape some 22 kilometres north of Nazca, are an assortment of perfectly straight lines, trapezoidal zones, strange symbols, and images of birds and beasts on a giant scale. 
To get some perspective on the Nazca Lines, you can choose to go on a flight tour of the area this afternoon. The flight is 30 minutes long and covers the 26 figures scattered throughout the desert. The flight can be bumpy and 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. 
Tonight enjoy an included pachamanca dinner, which is a traditional way of baking (usually meats) using hot stones.

Day 4: Arequipa
Early this morning, make the 10-12 hour journey (depending on traffic and stops) to Arequipa by private van. The trip may be long, but it's well worth the effort. There will be toilet breaks and a lunch stop along the way. Arequipa is a beautiful Spanish colonial city. Known as ‘La Ciudad Blanca’ (The White City), the buildings have been built almost exclusively from a white volcanic material called 'sillar'. The city lies in a valley at the foot of the El Misti volcano, a perfectly shaped cone.

Day 5: Arequipa
This morning starts at approximately 9 am. Enjoy a walking tour of Arequipa with a local guide. Explore the main square, the Santa Catalina Monastery, the San Ignacio Chapel with its colonial mural paintings and the suburb of Yanahuara. The tour will finish at approximately 1pm. You may like to spend the rest of the day relaxing in a cafe in the plaza. Another option is a visit to the Juanita museum to see the Inca mummy of a young girl who died in the 1440s.

Day 6: Arequipa
Take a free day to explore the laid back city of Arequipa further. Pick up an Alpaca jumper and meet the llamas and alpacas of Mundo Alpaca, stroll to the pretty, peaceful neighbourhood of Yanahuara or take part in any optional active adventures in the surrounding hills and rivers.

Day 7: Colca Canyon
This morning will begin at approximately 8 or 9 am (as agreed by the group the night before). Drive through the 'Altiplano’ (High Plains) to the Colca Valley and Canyon. This drive takes approximately 5-6 hours including toilet stops. On the way you'll see grazing vicunas, llamas and alpacas, as well as stone cairns built by the local indigenous people. More than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, the Colca Canyon provides some breathtaking views. The pre-Inca terraces carved into its walls are still cultivated today, and traditional Indian villages are dotted around it, where it's possible to see locals in colourful traditional dress. Stop at the highest point (4910 metres) to enjoy views of the bleak landscape below and the snow-capped volcano of the Nevado Ampato in the distance. At this point you might feel a little shortness of breath, but after taking some photos, you'll quickly get back in the vehicle and descend to a lower altitude. Continue on to the town of Chivay, where you'll have some time to visit the local hot springs. In the evening, you may wish to visit a local 'Pena' to enjoy a Peruvian dance and music show. Spend the night in Chivay.

Day 8: Puno
Early this morning at approximately 6 am you'll visit the Condor View point, where Andean Condors, one of the world's largest flying birds, can often been seen soaring in the air. This journey is approximately 5 hours return. After lunch it's about a six-hour (including stops) drive in the van to Puno. On the way the group will stop at the Sillustani archaeological site. The ruined 'chullpas' or funeral towers of Sillustani were built by a pre-Inca civilisation centuries ago to house the remains of noble men. Arrive into Puno. Located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, Puno is a melting pot of Aymara and Quechuan Indian culture. The town is known as the folklore capital of Peru and is famous for its traditional dances.

Day 9: Lake Titicaca/Suasi Island
Be enchanted by the striking scenery and unique cultures on a cruise around Lake Titicaca today. As Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world, the sun can be extremely strong, so make sure you wear a hat and sunscreen, even on cloudy days. This morning at about 8 am you will depart from the port in Puno for the floating Uros Islands. The boat journey will take about 30 minutes before reaching the Islands. The Uros people constructed these islands to isolate themselves from rival tribes in ancient times. They are built completely from multiple layers of totora reeds, which grow in the shallows of the lake. Next call into Taquile Island for some woollen handicrafts. On the island, knitting is strictly a male domain, while women do the spinning. You will spend approximately 1-1.5 hours here. Later the afternoon you will travel a further 1.5 hours to the private island of Suasi where you'll spend the next two nights.

Day 10: Suasi Island
This morning you will visit the cultural museum on the island. Here you will find maps, pictures of the Lake, and books about history of the lake and its communities. There are handicrafts and fabrics from the different groups that developed around the Lake, types of Andean grains like quinoa, and a chance to learn about the painting process of wool. An easy late-afternoon walk (approximately 1-2 hours) will take you to the highest point of the island – the perfect place to witness an unforgettable sunset over the waters of Lake Titicaca. Enjoy a private picnic with drinks; a unique moment to soak in the beautiful landscape, appreciate the serenity, and if the clouds behave, watch the sun go down.

Day 11: Puno
Around midday today you will travel back across the lake to Puno. On the way you will be provided with a packed box lunch. Enjoy a free night in Puno to explore, eat dinner at a local restaurant or relax in the hotel. Puno is famous for its festivals. If you're lucky, your visit might coincide with an evening parade, when the streets fill with costumed dancers and musicians.

Day 12: Cusco
Catch a scheduled public bus across the spectacular altiplano (high plains) to Cusco, a journey that should take approximately seven hours. Please note the bus is a direct service and won't be making any stops. There is a toilet on board. Please be sure to stock up on water and snacks. Cusco is South America's oldest continuously inhabited city, and was the home of the Incas for two centuries before the Spanish built their first capital here. Today Cusco is a fascinating combination of both cultures. At 3450 metres (11,150 feet) above sea level, it’s important to take time to acclimatize to the city’s altitude.
After settling in at the hotel, embark on a casual walking tour around the hotel and Plaza de Armas with your tour leader. This tour will also include a visit to the Cusco Cathedral with specialist guide, Professor Alfredo Hinojoza Galvez. Alfredo was born and raised in the city of Cusco. He studied at the National College of Sciences of Cusco and later studied Administration and Tourism at National University San Antonio Abad del Cusco (NUSAAC), where he graduated in 1983. He then pursued a Masters in Colonial Art at NUSAAC. Alfredo has served as Dean of the College of Tourism and he has published eight books, including a guidebook for the Touristic Tour of the East Valley. Alfredo is considered an icon among colonial art and tourism students for his impressive career spanning 30 years. Alfredo will be uniquely placed to offer special insight into Cusco Cathedral, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Day 13: Cusco
This morning your leader will take you on walking tour of Cusco today. Visit the Coricancha Temple for a tour with a local guide. Once plated in thick gold, the Spanish built a Dominican church atop its walls. Soon after head to the San Pedro market, where you can practice your bargaining skills and take some colourful pictures. The tour will also stop at the Plaza de Armas in the heart of the city. Here you will again see the main cathedral (this time from the front only), built on top of an Inca palace and one of the city's greatest repositories of art. This afternoon you'll have some free time to further explore Cusco.

Day 14: Sacred Valley
This morning at around 9 am you'll board a private bus for the Sacred Valley. 
Just outside of Cusco you will visit the fortress ruins of Sacsayhuaman. The massive stone blocks forming the settlement's walls give you an idea of the ingenuity and military strength of the Inca. After this included visit you will continue on to the Sacred Valley. Treasured for its climate, fertile land and the Urubamba (Sacred) River, the valley has long been the main source of food in the high Andes. You'll visit a nearby community to enjoy an included lunch visit a few local workshops and a chicheria (corn beer) bar. If it happens to be market day, wander the stalls in search of hand painted beads and ponchos. Continue on to the town of Ollantaytambo. Built over an ancient Inca settlement, this is one of the few places where the Incas defeated the Spanish. The ruins of the upper terraces offer great photo opportunities over the town below.

Day 15: Aguas Calientes
Nestled in the cloud forest at the foot of Machu Picchu, your destination today is Aguas Calientas. Early this morning at approximately 7.45 am you will travel by train for around 90 minutes through the winding Urubamba Valley to reach the town. From here take a 30-minute bus up the winding road to Machu Picchu where you will be joined by a guide who will take you through the ruins and tell you stories of its history and the ancestral people of the region. Looking at Machu Picchu for the first time, as it sits against a backdrop of forested mountains, is a truly breathtaking experience. No matter how many photos you've seen, it is hard to prepare for its surreal beauty. The true purpose behind Machu Picchu may always be a mystery, since no historical records of the complex exist. In fact, none were made in the first place, since the Incas had no written language. Some historians have argued it was a place of spiritual worship; others, a military stronghold, and some even think it was a prison. Most archaeologists, however, believe it to be the 15th-century headquarters of ‘he who shook the earth’, Emperor Pachacuti. You will have a guided visit (approximately 1.5-2 hours), then free time to wander around. Later, you'll take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes to spend the night before heading back up to Machu Picchu first thing in the morning for your second visit.

Day 16: Machu Picchu/Cusco
At around 5.30 am this morning, take the bus back up the winding road to Machu Picchu. On your second visit to the ruins you'll have free time to explore and take any photos you may have missed yesterday. Explore more of the extraordinary architecture of the many temples, palaces and living quarters, where the mortar-free design is particularly earthquake resistant and the stones are so precisely cut that to this day not even a knife fits between them. In the afternoon, will return by bus and train to Cusco.

Day 17: Cusco
Bid farewell to any fellow travellers leaving the trip today. Enjoy a free day to relax, shop or explore more of Cusco's sights. Perhaps head to a cafe on the Plaza de Armas, or for those seeking an active adventure, try mountain biking in the hills surrounding Cusco. In the evening, you might like to unwind with a meal and drink in a local restaurant. You could even sample the Peruvian delicacy of cuy (guinea pig), if you are yet to try it and are brave enough.

Day 18: Cusco/Puerto Maldonado (Jungle Lodge)
This morning you'll take an included flight to Puerto Maldonado in the Amazon Jungle, where you'll be staying for two nights at the Posada Amazonas Lodge. The flight duration is approximately 40 minutes. While in the Amazon you will have the services a local expert guide from for the duration of your stay. A representative from the lodge will welcome you at the airport. You'll then make a quick trip to the lodge's office in town by van. Upon arrival at the Jungle lodge office you will be provided with a small duffle bag to pack your personal items required for the duration of your jungle stay. The remainder of your items will be stored securely in the office. From the office, you'll travel by private vehcile to the port, this drive is approximately 45 minutes. Board a motorised canoe and travel down on the Tambopata River to the Amazon lodge. As we use multiple lodges area this journey can take between 45 minutes and 2.5 hours. Once you arrive there is time to unpack and unwind before a short orientation and briefing. After dinner your local jungle guide will take you out into the jungle on a night walk.

Day 19: Cusco / Puerto Maldonado (Jungle Lodge)
This morning starts nice and early. At about 4.30 am you will visit the Oxbow Lake. The activity begins with a walk through the jungle. It will take you approximately 30-40 minutes to reach the Lake. Once at the Lake you’ll board a catamaran to take a slow ride around. Keep your eyes peeled for Squirrel Monkey troops that sometimes forage in bushes at the edge of the lake. Overhead, spectacular Scarlet and Red and Green Macaws and parrots are a regularly seen as they fly over the Lake. After the boat ride you’ll take the same path back to the lodge, arriving late morning at approximately 11 am depending on the groups pace. Soon after you’ll head back out on a 20 minute walk through the rainforest to a clay lick frequented by 7 to 10 species of parrots and parakeets. While watching from a blind, you’ll be able to get very close to view the Dusky-headed and Cobalt-winged Parakeets, Chestnut-fronted Macaws with Mealy, Yellow-crowned, Blue-headed, and Orange-cheeked Parrots. After this you’ll walk back to the lodge for lunch. There will some free time until mid-afternoon when you’ll head out for the final activity of the day. A twenty minute boat ride downriver from the lodge brings you to Centro Nape, a traditional community clinic that produces medicines from rainforest plants and administers them to patients who either cannot afford to receive treatment in town or prefer traditional medicines An Eseeja nativa from the Community of Infierno will take you on a unique tour of Centro Ñape to explain the uses of various medicinal plants. Head back to the lodge around 6pm and enjoy some free time before dinner. After dinner head out on an optional night jungle walk.

Day 20: Puerto Maldonado/Lima
This morning at approximately 7 am you will take the boat transfer back to the Port, transfer to the lodge office to collect your belongings then head to the airport for your flight back to Lima. After checking into the hotel, you'll have some free time in the afternoon to explore or relax. You could even head to the huge shopping complex of Larcomar, which is set over the ocean. In the evening, perhaps head out for one final group dinner to reminisce on your adventures.

Day 21: Lima
Today your Peruvian adventure comes to an end after breakfast. You may leave at any time following the scheduled check out.

 

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