Due to the diversity of its landscape, Peru offers the adventurous traveller a truly astonishing range of scenery. On this 11-day tour, we will take in some of Peru’s many natural, cultural and historical treasures, but we will also get closer to the people and the unique character of this very special part of the world. Pay a heart-warming visit to the Inkaterra Spectacled Bear Project, where bears negatively impacted by human interaction are rehabilitated and later reintroduced into their natural habitat. Take a boat across Lake Titicaca to the incredible Uros floating islands – made from natural reeds – where locals will be waiting to meet you. Follow in the footsteps of the Incas in Ollantaytambo. Awe-inspiring experiences await.
• Travel from Lima to Puno, taking in the best of southern Peru, from the Sacred Valley of the Incas and Machu Picchu, to the likes of Ollantaytambo, Cusco and Lake Titicaca – several of which are also UNESCO-listed sites
• Experience some of the most captivating scenery and rich biodiversity that South America has to offer
• Enjoy a rare chance to meet the real-life Paddington at the Inkaterra Spectacled Bear Project in “deepest, darkest Peru”
• Discover centuries-old cultures, art and colonial architecture through engaging visits with local experts throughout this tour
• Learn the traditional process of tea-making, see a demonstration of authentic Peruvian weaving, enjoy a corn beer in a local Chichería and grasp the chance to barter with sellers at Cusco’s bustling street market
London - Lima
Arriving into Lima from London, we’ll enjoy dinner together with our Tour Host before taking the opportunity to rest so that we are refreshed and ready to start our adventure the next morning.
We explore the past and present of Lima on a tour through the city’s historic centre today, with locations including the artistic barrio of Barranco, the ancient site of Huaca Huallamarca and the Plaza de Armas, which is lined with monumental buildings. We will also enjoy a cocktail at the famous Casa Aliaga, a colonial mansion that has been continually inhabited since the 16th century. After lunch, we head to the Pueblo Libre District and visit the Larco Museum, an 18th century Viceregal mansion that houses more than 3,000 years of Peru’s pre-Columbian history. We are also lucky enough to be joined here by the curator of the museum.
Lima – Sacred Valley
From Lima, we fly south to Cusco and we’ll be welcomed to the Sarapampa Hacienda. The Sumar family, who have owned the Hacienda for three generations, have opened the doors to their home in order to transmit their passion for farming Cusco’s giant white corn, a unique species that only grows in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. After lunch, we continue on towards Chinchero village, famous for the extraordinary beauty and quality of its textiles. We walk through its traditional alleyways and visit the weavers’ workshop of Nilda Callañaupa.
This morning, we cross the Urubamba River to visit the Salt Pans of Maras. The sight of this still-operating salt mine, in use since the Inca times, is really spectacular. Next, it’s on to the archaeological site of Moray. The site’s extraordinary circular terrace system descends 490 feet from where we stand, serving as a perfect testament to the level of advancement achieved by the Incas. With the Peruvian Andes as the backdrop, we’ll enjoy a gourmet picnic in this beautiful setting. Tearing ourselves away from the views, we visit a “Chichería” and learn about village life over a locally produced corn beer.
Sacred Valley - Machu Picchu
Today we begin our explorations with a visit to one of the last remaining Inca towns, Ollantaytambo, which was once fiercely guarded by a massive fortress. We discover the archaeological complex here with its walls and towers, which were used to protect the citadel from possible invasions. We then travel to Aguas Calientes and take the scenic train up to Machu Picchu. Its architectural beauty, spectacular natural landscapes and the energy held in its enigmatic structures are bound to inspire awe. A significant legacy of the Inca Empire, it truly deserves its recognition as one of the New7Wonders of the World. To celebrate our visit, we will have a special opportunity before dinner to observe an ancient ritual performed by a local shaman that thanks the Andean gods.
Machu Picchu - Cusco
This morning we travel to the Inkaterra Spectacled Bear Project. Once common throughout the Andes, the spectacled bear is now critically endangered. This project was designed to rescue bears that have been negatively affected by human impact and then reintroduces them back into their natural habitat. We will also visit an organic tea (Camellia Sinensis) plantation and tea house to discover the wonders of the traditional tea-making process. We get involved in the last part of this process, when the freshly picked leaves are pressed over wooden blocks, and we then seal our own teabags. For those who still have the energy, we have the opportunity to return to Machu Picchu before continuing on to our hotel in Cusco.
Our explorations of Cusco continue with a visit to the nearby Fortress of Sacsayhuaman, an astounding sample of Inca military architecture. We take in views over the city of Cusco from Cerro Pukamoqo (Red Peak), and then, on our way back into the city, we will stop off at the San Pedro Market. The city’s main street market, this visit will give us an opportunity to engage with local sellers and get to know the products of Cusco. Enjoy the sights, aromas, tastes, and colours of the region. Next, we discover one of the most impressive buildings of Incan Cusco – the Qoricancha (the Golden Temple), whose interior walls were said to have been covered in gold. In the afternoon we visit San Blas, a quaint neighbourhood that is home to many renowned artists. Stroll along its cobblestone alleys as we make our way towards its church, which features a beautiful pulpit carved from a single block of wood. Our day concludes with a pisco sour tasting, a refreshing end to a full day of exploration.
Cusco - Puno
It’s an early start for us this morning as we make our way to Puno, our journey presenting us with beautiful views of the Andes as we go. En route, we make a brief stop at Andahuaylillas, a friendly, warm-weather town that is home to one of the most unique churches in the Andes, known as Peru’s Sistine Chapel and which features beautifully decorated murals and frescoes. Our next stop is Racchi, one of the most important constructions of the Inca Empire, known for its extraordinary architecture. We have a chance to see vicuñas and llamas at La Raya Pass, some 14,222 feet above sea level, before making our last stop in the town of Pucará, which is known as the place where the Toritos (little bulls) of Pucará are made.
We wake today in Puno, on the shores of the world’s highest navigable lake, Lake Titicaca. We take a boat out across the lake to the extraordinary floating islands of Uros. This peculiar grouping of around 40 small islands is made entirely from totora, a natural reed that grows around the lake. We have a special opportunity here to meet with the inhabitants of these islands and get to know their traditional lifestyle and customs. From here, we continue across the lake to the picturesque Taquile Island, where old Quechua traditions live in perfect balance with modernity. The unbelievable hospitality of the islanders is well-known, and we will share lunch at a local home before making our way back to Puno this evening. Tonight, we come together for our final group dinner.
Puno - Lima
Filled with memories of our adventure, it’s time to say our farewells to our Tour Host. Today we start our journey homeward
Lima - London
Fly from Puno back to Lima and then on to London, arriving home on day Eleven.
- A Tour Host throughout
- Return flights from London & all other transport as detailed
- Accommodation at the Mercure Ariosto, Valle Sagrado, Casa Andina Premium Valle, the Inkaterra Hotel, the Palacio del Inka and the Casa Andina Premium Puno.
- 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches & 9 dinners, plus a light supper in the hotel room on arrival day
- Water with all meals, either two glasses of wine, two beers, or two soft drinks & tea or coffee with included dinners
- All activities, and entries to all sites and museums
- Gratuities for all waiters for included dinners and hotel porters
- All accommodation and transport taxes
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