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My love for South America started when I was living in Lima, Peru, and family and friends came to visit. That year I went to Machu Picchu 5 times! I do not have one drop of Latin blood in me, which is painfully obvious if you see me dance, and yet without realizing it for the past 15 years South America has been my home.
Latin America Specialist
- from £3,285 PP
- 12 Nights
- Year round
- 13 hours from London / 9 hours New York
Explore the highlights of Southern Peru on this 13-day trip. Spend time learning about the colonial history and Spanish conquest of Peru in the cities of Lima and Arequipa. Enjoy the natural beauty of the Colca Valley and Lake Titicaca, the lake is home to the unique Uros people and you get the opportunity to spend time on their reed islands. Your tour culminates at the incredible Machu Picchu, built in 1450 by the Inca Emperor Pachacuti. Machu Picchu lay undiscovered, covered in jungle, until 1911 when it was rediscovered by American historian Hiram Bingham. Built as a royal retreat in the mountains, Machu Pichu is now one of the most visited historical sights in the world.
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- 12 nights - Four star accommodation including breakfast & 7 lunches
- All transfers as listed in the itinerary
- Return train Cusco to Machu Picchu
- All activities and entrance fees as listed in the itinerary
- English speaking guide
- Personalized itinerary that can be modified to suit your preferences
- 24/7 support from our dedicated staff
Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1 Arrive Lima
Welcome to Peru! On arrival at Lima Airport, you will be met by your driver who will assist you with anything you need before transferring you to your hotel in Lima.
Lima is the capital and the largest city in Peru, it is a mix of historic colonial architecture and the sprawl of a modern city. It has also become the gastronomic capital of South America and the perfect place to try Peruvian specialities like ceviche, the national dish of Peru, which is raw fish marinated in citrus juice.
Day 2 Lima City Tour
Today you will meet your guide for a tour of Lima’s old town. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage site as it is full of historical buildings reflecting the cities colonial past. You will start with a visit to the Larco Museum in the Pueblo Libre district of the city. The museum has an extensive collection of pre-Hispanic objects. You will then visit Casa Aliaga which is a magnificent mansion built in 1535 by the conquistador Francisco Pizarro. Your guide will then take you to the Main Square which is surrounded by the architecture of the Spanish Empire and the 16th Century Cathedral.
Day 3 Travel to Arequipa
Today you will check out of your hotel and your driver will transfer you to Lima Airport for your flight to Arequipa. You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel. After lunch, you will be met by your guide to explore the city of Arequipa.
You will start in the main square, the Plaza de Armas, famous for the Basilica Cathedral and Monastery of Santa Catalina. The Convent of Santa Catalina de Siena was built in 1579 as a self-sufficient town for the nunnery. The convent is incredibly well preserved, and you can still walk its streets and feel like you have gone back in time. You will then continue to the Church of the Company a wonderful example of Peruvian baroque. Your tour will end in the Yanahuara and Carmen Alto areas of the city where you can enjoy views of the Misti Volcano.
Day 4 Colca Valley
Today you will leave Arequipa and drive to the Colca Valley. The drive will take you through an area of exceptional natural beauty with mountains, waterfalls and ravines. You will stop at the Mirador de los Andes which offers panoramic views over the area and its many volcanoes. You will have lunch in the small town of Chivay before reaching the Colca Valley. The valley is a rural area where farming is done on pre-Inca terraces and people live in traditional villages. At the end of the valley is the Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world.
Day 5 Colca Valley
This morning your guide will meet you and take you to the canyons of the Colca Valley famous for the condors who live there. It is an awe-inspiring sight to watch these huge birds of prey glide over the canyon. The condor was a sacred bird to the Incas, believing it was the messenger of heaven. To this day condors are protected and an important part of Peruvian culture. You will then descend to the valley floor to explore the small towns that are along the River Colca.
Your guide will take you to the Ocolle lookout to see the ‘Amphitheatre’, which are terraces built for growing crops dating back to before the Incas.
Day 6 Puno
You have a free morning to relax before heading to Puno in the afternoon. You will drive through the Salinas and Aguada Blanc National Parks, the area is known for its unique rock formations, volcanoes, and the flora and fauna that thrive at such a high elevation. You will make regular stops at viewpoints, café and markets to look at the traditional crafts for sale.
The town of Puno was founded by the Spanish in 1668 and is situated on the edge of Lake Titicaca. When arrive you will be taken to your hotel to rest before dinner.
Day 7 Uros Islands
This morning you will be taken to the port of Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca to take a boat to the Uros Islands. The islands are located on the lake and are home to the indigenous Uros people. They have constructed islands on the lake made from reeds which are regularly maintained by the Uros people. The reeds rot from the bottom so they constantly need a new layer added, the Uros also build their homes from the reeds.
You will then sail to Taquile island which is littered with Incan ruins. The island is known for its textiles and the locals will give you an insight into their lives and culture. You will have lunch on the island before taking the boat back to Puno.
Day 8 Cusco
Today you will drive to Cusco, en route you will make several stops. You will visit Pucara, the town was established 300AD and a lovely museum you can explore. You will then proceed to Sicuani where you will have lunch before heading to the Wiracocha Temple which was built by the Incas to the Andean god Wiracocha who was the god of creation. On arrival in Cusco, you will be taken to your hotel.
Day 9 Cusco City Tour
You will have a free morning to relax or walk through the streets of Cusco, in the afternoon your guide will meet you for a city tour. Cusco is the former capital city of the Inca Empire and when the Spanish conquered it in the 16th century, they preserved a great deal of the Inca city. The Spanish built Baroque churches and palaces around the Incan ruins and on top of them.
Your tour will start at the Santo Domingo Convent which the Spanish built over the Inca Coricancha Temple, the foundations of the Inca temple are still there for visitors to see. You will then proceed to the Main Square to view the Cathedral. Your guide will then take you to the hills above Cucso to see the ruins of the fortress of Sacsayhuaman and the temple of Qengo. Your guide will then take you to explore the Puka Pukara which was an Inca military base, the barracks, bathrooms and towers are still visible for guests to walk through.
Day 10 Chinchero
Today you will visit the town of Chinchero where the locals have preserved the Incan traditions, culture and clothes. You will then visit the Living Museum of Yucay where you can see demonstrations of the textile work and pottery used by the ancestors. The museum is also home to llamas and alpacas which you can feed. You will then travel to the town of Ollantaytambo for lunch before you explore the town’s fortress. Ollantaytambo was the royal estate of Emperor Pachacuti during the Inca Empire, it was also the hub of the Inca resistance when Spain occupied Peru.
Day 11 Machu Picchu
This morning you will be transferred to the train station to board a train for Aguas Calientes which is the nearest town to Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu is known as ‘The Lost City of the Incas’ and was built in 1450 by Emperor Pachacuti as his holiday retreat in the mountains. Just a century later Machu Picchu was abandoned due to the Spanish conquest. The Spanish never found Machu Picchu so it was not destroyed like many other Incan sites. The jungle encroached on the city hiding it from view and it remained undiscovered until 1911.
You will have a guided tour explaining the history of the site and its major landmarks; the monumental Main Square, the Royal Quarters, the Temple of the Three Windows, the Circular Towers, the Sacred Sun Dial, and the Burial Grounds. You will then return to Aguas Calientes for lunch and an afternoon at leisure.
Day 12 Machu Picchu
Today is a free day, you can wake up early to spend another morning at Machu Picchu. We recommend you go to the Huayna Picchu with is 360 meters above Machu Picchu and offers spectacular views.
In the afternoon you will return to the train station and travel back to Cusco. On arrival into Cusco train station, you will be met by your driver and transferred to your hotel. For your last night in Peru, we recommend you go to the Plaza de Armas, the main square in Cusco. Have a drink and stay for dinner so you can soak up the local atmosphere.
Day 13 Depart Cusco
Today you will have breakfast and check out of your hotel before your driver transfers you to Cusco Airport for your flight home.
What's not Included
- As we have clients from all over the world. Our itineraries do not include flights. If you would like us to include flights in your trip, we are happy to do so. Please speak to your travel specialist at the planning stage to include them.
- Gratuities for local guides
- We strongly advise all guests purchase comprehensive travel insurance
- Visas if required
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