Explore all of Peru’s attractions from the Shores of Lake Titicaca, the lost city of Machu Picchu and the heart of the Peruvian rainforest - a place of incredible biodiversity.
Depart on your scheduled flight to Peru’s capital, Lima, arriving on the morning of day 2, for a one-night stay.
Passengers on regional flights will arrive at the hotel late evening of day 1 for a two-night stay.
This afternoon we include a tour of Lima, splendidly positioned overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The City of Kings was founded in 1535 by the Spanish Conquistador, Francisco Pizarro, and eventually became the capital of the whole Spanish colony. Much of the city’s colonial influence can still be seen today – beautiful squares, fine churches, palaces and mansions remain little changed from the 17th century, while the architecture and culture of the Incas and the native Indians are also in evidence. Visit the Plaza Major with its splendid arcades and see the cathedral, Archbishop’s Palace and the Presidential Palace.
Depart Lima for the drive along the Pan American Highway to Paracas, travelling through barren desert and fertile landscape to the site of the ancient Pachacamac Temple, set in the valley of Lurin and overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The ruins date back to before the time of the Incas and consist of adobe walls and pyramids, and the remains of early frescoes. You will overnight at Chincha.
The morning includes a tour by boat to the Ballestas Islands, a protected area providing shelter for a wealth of wildlife including Humboldt penguins and a wealth of other seabirds, sea lions and, dependent on the season, a variety of dolphins and whales. Continue to Nazca for an overnight stay.
Today you continue your journey along the coastline to Arequipa for a two-night stay.
The morning includes a tour of the ‘White City’ of Arequipa, which lies in the shadows of ice-capped volcanoes. Narrow, cobbled streets, colonial architecture and one of the most beautiful squares in Peru are some of the hallmarks of the city. Visit the Museum of Santuarios Andinos and the Santa Catalina Convent, a peaceful retreat of red- and blue-walled streets bedecked with geraniums. This afternoon is at leisure for you to explore the city at your own pace, or relax at the hotel.
You will depart early this morning for the drive to Colca Canyon. Travel through rugged volcanic landscape into lush countryside dotted with small villages, where farming still takes place on the pre-Inca agricultural terraces of the Colca Valley. The steep green walls of the spectacular Colca Canyon are deeper than the Grand Canyon, and are home to South America’s most iconic bird, the Andean condor. This is one of the best places in the whole continent to see this, one of the world’s largest birds of prey. Lunch and dinner are included today. Overnight stay in Chivay.
Depart Chivay this morning for the drive to Puno, set on the shores of Lake Titicaca, for a two-night stay. En route you will visit the remote burial site at Sillustani. These hilltop ruins are set on a peninsula above Lake Umayo. Here we learn about the religious rituals of the pre-Inca Colla people, and see the well-preserved stone towers they used as graves for their chiefs and nobles.
Lake Titicaca, 12,500ft up in the mighty Andes, covers a huge area of 3,500 miles. It was also the legendary birthplace of the Incas. A type of reed called ‘totora’ sprouts up from the waters and plays a huge part in the lives of everybody who lives here – the indigenous Uros Indians harvest them to build their island homes, as well as to make countless other everyday items. Today we include a half-day tour to Lake Titicaca and the intriguing floating islands, while the afternoon is free for you to explore ancient Puno. You can shop for goods made from the totora reeds, as well as the colourful local textiles, and later enjoy a spectacular sunset over the lake.
Transfer by road, across the high plateau (or Altiplano) of the Andes, to Cuzco, where we have arranged a four-night stay. The journey is a fascinating experience, giving a close-up view of traditional rural life. You may spot alpacas and llamas grazing on the highland pampas, and Andean condors soaring above the landscape.
This morning join our included tour of Cuzco, the ‘Imperial City’, once capital of the Inca Empire and now a fascinating combination of ancient and colonial architecture. See the elegant Plaza de Armas at the heart of the city, and the impressive cathedral. Visit the Temple of the Sun and Moon, the walls of which were once entirely covered with gold. Enjoy splendid views of the terracotta roofs and churches of the city from the Sacsayhuaman Fortress and visit the Inca ruins of Tambomachay. This afternoon is free for you to explore at your own pace. Why not take the opportunity to shop for Andean handicrafts and silver jewellery at the boutiques and markets, or visit the fascinating Inca Museum
Today you will visit Machu Picchu, a highlight of any visit to Peru. The ruined city was only rediscovered in 1911, as it is perched inaccessibly above a steep valley swathed in jungle – unsurprisingly it is often referred to as the ‘Lost City’. You will travel to Machu Picchu by narrow gauge railway, and the last part of the journey will be by bus. On the mist-shrouded mountain tops there will be an included guided walk with time to discover the fascinating citadel. Wander through the temples and terraces and enjoy spectacular views into the lush green Urubamba Valley thousands of feet below. Lunch is included today.
Today you can join our optional full-day tour to the Sacred Valley. Experience all the colour and tradition of the vibrant Indian market at Pisac, where you will have the opportunity to barter for rugs, alpaca-wool sweaters and other native handicrafts. Lunch is included today (on excursion). This afternoon your optional tour continues to Ollantaytambo, originally a fortress settlement and one of the few places where the Spanish colonists were defeated by the Incas. The present town largely follows the original Inca plan, and a number of Inca ruins remain.
Today you’ll transfer to the airport for your flight to Puerto Maldonado. Your journey continues by typical Amazonian boat to your lodge, which is located on the banks of the Madre de Dios River, a tributary of the Amazon. Enjoy a welcome drink on arrival followed by lunch and some free time this afternoon. Later enjoy your first thrilling trek through the rainforest in the company of a Local Guide who will help you to spot many tropical plants and species of wildlife. On the way back to your lodge, you’ll stop off at a lookout from where you may observe bird species including toucans and macaws.
Back at your lodge, why not enjoy a cocktail whilst watching the sun set before dinner this evening.
An early start is planned today for a visit to a parrot clay-lick, where you’ll see a wonderful display of these multi-coloured birds as they feed. You’ll return to the lodge for breakfast then depart by boat to the National Reserve of Lake Sandoval where a day of adventure awaits.
You will take a canoe across the lake and enjoy a trek which will introduce you to a profusion of wildlife including butterflies, turtles, monkeys, birds and otters. Enjoy a picnic lunch before your return canoe and boat trip back to your lodge. As you’ll be returning around sunset, keep a lookout for nocturnal animals. After dinner back at the lodge, relax and listen to the sounds of the rainforest which surrounds you.
Today we include a visit to Monkey Island by boat, where you’ll take a short trek and have the chance to see several species of these entertaining primates.Your boat trip continues with a visit to an indigenous family where you’ll see demonstrations of hunting skills and dancing. Enjoy a packed lunch on board and a visit to a fruit farm and coffee plantation.
Before dinner this evening we include an exciting excursion by boat to search for the white cayman, a species only found in this part of the Amazon.
After breakfast today you’ll transfer to the airport, stopping at a local market en route, for your connecting flight to Lima and then on to the UK.
Arrival in the UK.
This holiday includes walking in areas of rough ground, gradients and steps.
Accommodation throughout is in hotels of a comfortable standard, typical of the hotels you will stay in are:
All rooms have en suite facilities, TV and telephone. Breakfast is included each day and in the evenings you are free to dine in local restaurants.
In the Amazon you will stay at the:
Located on the banks of the Madre de Dios River, a tributary of the Amazon. You will travel to the lodge by boat from Puerto Maldonaldo, at the heart of a region known for its incredible wildlife. The lodge accommodation is simple in style – there are individual bungalows with mosquito nets, en suite facilities with hot water and a terrace with hammocks. Lodge facilities include a swimming pool, bar, restaurant and terrace with river views.