Taste of Peru
9 Days from £2435
Nine days from £2435pp
A nine day adventure holiday combining the very best highlights of Peru. First explore historical Lima then discover Andean culture in Cusco and a visit to the most famous Inca ruin of them all: Machu Picchu high in the Andes mountains before heading to the lush Amazon rainforest rich with wildlife and adventure.
Situated on the arid Pacific coast, Peru’s capital Lima is the second driest capital the world. Surrounding the well preserved colonial architecture of the city centre is a bustling cosmopolitian metropolis and one of Latin America’s busiest cities. Both sides of Lima make for a facinating couple of days in this city and your guide will certainly bring the magic to life during your time here.
Day 1 – Lima
On arrival at Jorge Chavez international airport in Lima, you will be met by an English speaking representative and transfered to your hotel by private transport.
Day 2 – Lima
You will start your guided tour of Lima after breakfast with a panoramic view of the “Pucllana Pyramid” a magnificent ceremonial and archeological center built in the 4th century A.D. and considered a “sacred village” by the Incas.
The Viceroyalty of Perú was the most important of the Spanish Empire and Lima was its capital so a walking tour of the historical center of Lima is a must. There are over fifty monuments and colonial buildings to see, including the Paseo de la República, the San Martín Square, the Main Square, the Government Palace, the Archbishop’s Palace, the Cathedral Basilica, and the City Council Palace to name buta few.
You then visit the monumental San Francisco convent, which displays the largest collection of religious art in the Americas but the real highlight will be the underground vaults, known as “Catacumbas” or catacombs.
Before heading back to your hotel you will see the traditional residential areas of Lima, such as El Olivar of San Isidro, Miraflores and Larcomar.
Set high in the Andean mountains the former capital of the Inca empire, Cusco, is a city of attractive colonial architecture surrounded by breathtaking scenery and mystical Inca sites. The gateway to Machu Picchu it is a centre for travellers across the world to either prepare or celebrate their visit to one of the world’s 7 wonders. The Incas believed that Cusco was the bellybutton of the world and built their capital around the navel, today the city and surrounds offer great reward to any traveller.
Day 3 – Lima > Cusco
After breakfast you will be transferred to Lima’s Jorge Chavez Airport to catch your flight to Cusco. On arrival in Cusco you will be met by an English speaking representative and transferred to your hotel by private transport.
Once checked into your hotel you will head out on a guided tour of Cusco. Included highlights are the Cathedral in the Plaza de Armas and the Koricancha, a Spanish church built on Inca stone foundations. The Cathedral is believed to be built on the foundations of the Palace of Viracocha and stands proudly in the main square. On display is a painting of the last supper where on the table Jesus and his disciples are about to tuck into a guinea pig, a Peruvian delicacy.
Then a scenic drive into the surrounding mountains to visit the archaeological sites of Sacsayhuaman and Kenko. Sacsayhuaman is the largest and most impressive of the Inca ruins surrounding Cusco. A mighty fortress, built using massive stones some of which weigh over 100 tons and somehow fitted together so perfectly that even now, after so many years and earthquakes, one cannot slip a knife blade between the pieces of this huge jigsaw puzzle.
Before heading back to your hotel you will also explore the Tambomachay ruins, which may have served as a military outpost or a spa resort for the Incan political elite; as well as the Puca Pucara site, a huge fortress built of red granite.
Day 4 – Cusco
After breakfast you will embark on a guided tour of the Sacred Valley of the Incas including Pisac Market and the Fortress of Ollantaytambo.
The Pisac Quechua market attracts thousands of visitors and people from remote communities dressed in colourful, traditional attire who sell their wares in the bustling market.
You then visit Ollantaytambo, named Ollantaytambo in honour of the chief Ollanta, who was famous for courting an Inca Princess daughter of Pachacutec. The ruins of Ollantaytambo fortress are the main attraction here as well as it being the starting point of the Inca Trail.
One of Ollantaytambo’s other highlights is Hanan Hucaypata which lies north of the main square and contains fifteen blocks of well preserved houses built with elegantly crafted stone walls and walk ways.
Lunch is included today.
Machu Picchu has to be the highpoint of any trip to Peru and deservedly so. This magnificent citadel set high in the Andes mountains above the Urubamba River valley was built in the mid 15th century using the traditional dry stone walls of Inca architecture. The secrets of this city were hidden from the Spanish conquistadors and was only revealed to the world when discovered again in 1911 by Hiram Bingham. Today travellers from across the world come to marvel at the splendour of one of the seven modern wonders of the world.
Day 5 – Machu Picchu
After breakfast you will be transferred to Cusco railway station to board the Vistadome train to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu.
It’s a spectacular rail journey through a dramatic and changing landscape aboard a comfortable train carriage with extra large windows and partially glazed roof allowing you to take in the fantastic view.
Then journey by bus from Aguas Calientas for around 20 minutes up the mountainside before you finally glimpse the magical site of Machu Picchu, so perfectly hidden it is no surprise that it took so long to discover. You will then have a privately guided tour with a English speaking expert and guide.
In the afternoon, take the Vistadome train back to Cusco and transfer back to your hotel.
The area of Amazon rainforest contained in Peru comprises 60% of the country’s land mass and the Tambopata jungle region around Puerto Maldanado is especially rich in biodiversity and density of fauna and flora. Our four day visit to this section includes meeting native local communities, nighttime searches for Caiman crocodiles, jungle walks guided by an expert naturalist and a visit to a claylick to observe parrots in their natural habitat.
Day 6 – Cusco > Amazon Rainforest
After breakfast you will be transferred to Cusco airport and assisted with checking in for your flight to one of the gateways of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest, Puerto Maldonado.
Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to Tambopata River Port to take the approximately two and a half hours boat ride to your lodge in the Amazon rainforest.
Upon arrival, the lodge manager will welcome you and brief you on your stay in the rainforest lodge and after dinner you will head out by boat along the river in search of caiman crocodile, scanning the shores with headlamps and flashlights to catch the red gleams of reflection from caiman’s eyes.
Day 7 – Amazon Rainforest
After breakfast you will head out into the rainforest with your guide. Included today is a canoe paddle on Oxbow Lake looking for lakeside wildlife such as hoatzin, caiman and the noisy horned screamer bird while flocks of macaws soar overhead.
Next take a short guided walk to the 25 meter high canopy tower. A staircase running through the middle provides safe access to the platforms above for an incredible view over the jungle canopy and the continuous primary forest of the Tambopata National Reserve. You may also be rewarded of views of toucans, macaws and raptors.
After lunch Lunch take a short boat trip to a farm owned and managed by charismatic Don Manuel from the neighbouring community of Condenado. He grows a variety of popular rare Amazon crops – just about every plant and tree you see serves a purpose which your guide will explain in fascinating detail.
After dinner you may want to join a Tambopata National Reserve lecture which are prepared by the lodge staff and staff and cover conservation threats, opportunities and projects within the Tambopata National Reserve.
Day 8 – Amazon Rainforest
After breakfast take a short boat ride and jungle walk to a clay lick where from a birdwatching hide you will see many colourful species of parrots and parakeets descend to the bank to ingest the clay so important for their survival.
After lunch visit a beautiful patch of Brazil Nut forest that has been harvested for decades (if not centuries) by Brazil nut gatherers. You will be treated to a demonstration of the whole process of this sustainably harvested product from collection through to the finished product.
A short walk from the lodge is a peccary clay lick. These wild rainforest pigs show up in herds of five to twenty individuals to eat clay in the late morning.
After dinner you will have the option of taking an escorted night hike. The rainforest is incredibly active at night but animals are difficult to see however your expert guide can help spot many including frogs with shapes and sounds as bizarre as their natural histories.
Day 9 – Amazon Rainforest > Lima
After breakfast you will be transferred by boat and private transport to Puerto Maldonado airport to board a flight to Jorge Chavez International airport in Lima in time to catch your international flight home.
Start your Peru journey by telling us about your travel plans and a consultant will get straight back to you