Highlights Of Peru

(Lima - Sacred Valley - Cuzco - Puno - Colca - Arequipa)

Overview

This exhilarating journey visits Peru’s most famous highlights. Admire Lima and Cuzco’s impressive colonial architecture, discover ancient ruins and the tranquil Sacred Valley of the Incas, and journey across the Andes by rail to Machu Picchu, the magnificent ‘Lost City of the Incas’. Finally, discover the spectacular landscapes of Lake Titicaca – home to the famous floating Uros islands, and Colca Canyon.

What to expect

• A number of early starts, considerable travel and changes in climate
• A full-day train journey from Cuzco to Puno
• You’ll be visiting altitudes of over 4270 metres above sea level
• Unsuitable for those with walking difficulties
• Temperatures and weather conditions in the Andes vary considerably so we recommend taking clothing layers which can be easily added to or removed.

 

Tour Highlights

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Day 1: UK to Lima

Day 1: UK to Lima

Depart from the UK on your daytime flight to Lima. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel. This evening, get to know the rest of your group during a welcome dinner hosted by your tour leader. Stay: Four Points by Sheraton Miraflores. D.

Day 2: Lima

Day 2: Lima

Discover the contrasts of this beautiful UNESCO-listed city during a tour. Visit the Plaza de Armas which is home to the Government Palace – the official residence of the president, the Archbishop’s Palace and the baroque cathedral which contains the remains of the conquistador Francisco Pizarro, Lima’s founder. You’ll also visit the Santo Domingo Convent, a striking example of colonial architecture with an ancient crypt. Continue to the elegant residential district of San Isidro and the exclusive Miraflores district to enjoy fantastic views from the cliff-top Parque del Amor, or ‘Park of Love’. Afternoon at leisure. Stay: Four Points by Sheraton Miraflores. B.

Day 3: Lima to Sacred Valley

Day 3: Lima to Sacred Valley

Fly to Cuzco and transfer to the beautiful Sacred Valley of the Incas, also known as the Urubamba Valley. This fertile area was once the heart of the Inca Empire and is home to Inca ruins, colourful markets and small Andean Indian towns. Approx. journey time: 3½ hours. Stay: Casa Andina Private Collection, Sacred Valley. B, D.

Day 4: Sacred Valley

Day 4: Sacred Valley

Visit the small town of Pisac and its local market where you can barter for regional products such as alpaca wool, silver and ceramics. Visit the hilltop town of Chinchero to enjoy magnificent views of the surrounding mountains and observe locals using centuries-old Andean spinning and weaving techniques. Try your hand at this ancient art and take your creation home with you as a special memento. You’ll also visit the ruins of Ollantaytambo, one of the most impressive Incan archaeological sites. Stay: Casa Andina Private Collection, Sacred Valley. B, L, D.

Day 5: Sacred Valley to Cuzco

Day 5: Sacred Valley to Cuzco

Today is undoubtedly one of the highlights of your tour – a visit to the magnificent ruins of Machu Picchu. Transfer to the train station in Ollantaytambo to board the Vistadome train to Aguas Calientes (approx. 1½ hours). Continue on a spectacular bus journey, zig-zagging your way through cloud forest to the top of the mountain and Machu Picchu. Take a guided tour of the legendary citadel, a remarkable testimony to the skills of the Inca. Enjoy lunch at the luxurious Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, return to Cuzco by train and transfer to your hotel in the city. Stay: Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel. B, L.

Day 6: Cuzco

Day 6: Cuzco

Spend the morning at leisure before a tour of this striking colonial city which was built on the foundations of Inca palaces. Visit the Koricancha Temple and the Plaza de Armas. Continue by road to the magnificent Inca fortress of Sacsayhuamán which is set on a hill overlooking the city.

Explore the underground cave and temple of Kenko before continuing to Tambomachay, known as the ‘Baths of the Inca’. Admire local artisans creating artwork including paintings, wood carvings and silver pieces at the ‘Inka’s Expression’ workshop. Stay: Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel. B.

Day 7: Cuzco to Puno

Day 7: Cuzco to Puno

Board a bus for your long journey to the small city of Puno on the banks of Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake. Enjoy the views as you pass small villages, and herds of alpacas and llamas grazing on the highland pampas, with the Andes providing a majestic backdrop. Stay: Casa Andina Private Collection Puno. B, L.

Day 8: Puno

Day 8: Puno

Rise early for a full-day excursion on Lake Titicaca. Head out of Puno and sail to Taquile Island (approx. 3 hours) for an authentic glimpse into an ancient culture that dates back to Pre-Incan times. The islanders still live according to the traditions and beliefs of their ancestors and are renowned for their colourful outfits and incredible textiles. Visit the community of Huayllano and observe their artistic, handicraft, and farming activities.

Enjoy a traditional lunch before sailing to the famous Uros Islands which lie in the middle of the Lake Titicaca National Reserve. The floating islands are made from totora reeds and expand to support growing Uros communities. Meet the islanders, hunters and gatherers and descendants of the Altiplano’s first inhabitants, before returning to your hotel. Stay: Casa Andina Private Collection Puno. B, L.

Day 9: Puno to Arequipa

Day 9: Puno to Arequipa

Enjoy a scenic journey to the attractive colonial city of Arequipa. Admire the rolling landscapes as you traverse highland plains and mountain roads, passing grazing vicuñas. Stop at the beautiful Laguna Lagunillas to drink in the sweeping views over sparkling waters, sun-scorched plains and rugged peaks. The lagoon attracts a number of birds including flamingos.

Enjoy a packed lunch along the way as you continue to Patahuasi where you’ll stop off to try traditional coca tea which locals drink to ward off altitude sickness. Arrive in the town of Chivay which is set in the Colca Valley and is home to hot springs. Continue to your hotel which lies on the banks of the Colca River. Approx. journey time: 5 hours. Stay: Aranwa Pueblito Encantado del Colca. B, L, D.

Day 10: Colca to Arequipa

Day 10: Colca to Arequipa

Rise early for your journey to Condor’s Cross which lies on the forested slopes of Colca Canyon and offers spectacular views. Enjoy river views along the way, as you pass tiny villages and handicraft markets. Condor’s Cross is also one of the best viewpoints for watching Andean condors, the world’s largest flying bird. Watch these majestic birds soar high in the skies, gliding on the thermal air currents and swooping surprisingly close to the viewing platform.

Continue to the remarkable Hanging Tombs at Choquetico, which are buried in the face of a mountain, before visiting some traditional towns. Enjoy lunch in Chivay before making your way to Arequipa via Patapampa which offers magnificent views of the volcanoes surrounding the city. Travel through the Aguada Blanca National Reserve en route, passing herds of llamas and alpacas. Stay: Libertador Arequipa. B, L.

Day 11: Arequipa to Lima

Day 11: Arequipa to Lima

Known as the ‘White City’ due to its white volcanic rock buildings, Arequipa is a delight to explore. Enjoy a walking tour of the main square and its colourful buildings. Visit the Cloisters and Church of the Society of Jesus which houses colourful frescoes in the San Ignacio Dome, and the beautiful Monasterio de Santa Catalina – a 16th-Century citadel-like complex. Explore the traditional districts of Cayma and Yanahuara before transferring to the airport for your flight to Lima and connecting flight to the UK, arriving the next day. B.

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