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14 days

Highlights of Peru

Experience Peru’s highlights on this tour to Cusco, the Machu Picchu ruins, the beautiful Andes Mountains, indigenous communities at Lake Titicaca and the colonial-era cities of Lima and Arequipa.

Highlights of Peru
Highlights of Peru
14 days

Highlights of Peru

Experience Peru’s highlights on this tour to Cusco, the Machu Picchu ruins, the beautiful Andes Mountains, indigenous communities at Lake Titicaca and the colonial-era cities of Lima and Arequipa.

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What is included in the price?
This package includes the following
  • Flights from the UK to Lima (enquire regarding direct flights)
  • Flights from Cusco to the UK
  • 1 domestic flight: Lima – Arequipa
  • Transfers from and to airports (in small, international groups)
  • Coach travel: Arequipa – Colca Canyon – Puno – Cusco
  • Train travel: Return trip, Cusco – Aguas Calientes
  • 12 nights’ accommodation in good hotels incl. breakfast
  • 3 x lunch (days 4, 6, 7)
  • Individual tour, however, all excursions are in small international groups with local English speaking guides
  • Emergency hotline staffed 24/7 throughout your trip
  • ATOL certificate included
  • Departure guarantee – The price is valid when at least 2 people travelling. Please ask for a price if you are travelling alone

Comprehensive package of excursions:

  • Half-day tour of Lima, including a visit to the Larco Museum
  • Half-day tour of Arequipa, including a visit to the Santa Catalina Monastery
  • Two-day visit to Colca Canyon – famous for its condors, thermal baths and ancient agricultural terraces
  • Full-day trip to Lake Titicaca and the Uros and Taquile islands
  • Half-day tour of Cusco and the surrounding area
  • Full-day trip to The Sacred Valley
  • Guided tour at Machu Picchu
  • Admission tickets to the attractions mentioned


Peru is something of a paradise on Earth for lovers of culture and nature. On this voyage of discovery, you will visit the colonial gems of Lima and Arequipa, as well as the breath-taking Colca Canyon, with its old agricultural terraces and majestic condors. At Lake Titicaca, you will have the opportunity to spend time with the local population, learning a little bit about their way of life and culture. The tour also takes you to Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, and the Sacred Valley, calling in at the museum town of Ollantaytambo, where the local residents still live according to their old traditions and laws. It is also here that you will have the chance to see alpacas and lamas up close. Peru is famous for its intriguing markets, and the tour includes a stop at the market town of Pisac. Before your trip draws to a close, you will visit the small town of Aguas Calientes, which is close to the absolute highlight of your trip: the ancient city of Machu Picchu, with its spectacular Inca ruins. From Machu Picchu and the surrounding area, you can admire the captivating sight of the tall mountains and the cloud forest before it is time to return to the capital city of Lima to catch your flight back to Europe.

Why choose this tour

  • Feel the breath of history in your encounter with the legendary Inca ruin of Machu Picchu
  • Experience the magic of the Andes Mountains in Colca Canyon, where impressive Condors glide across the sky
  • Meet the colourful native society at the beautiful Lake Titicaca
  • Look forward to encountering Cusco, which exudes both life and historical buildings and cathedrals, both from the Inca Era and the Spanish Colonial Era

Our prices always include

  • All international and domestic flights
  • All destination transfers
  • All specified excursions and activities
  • All accommodations
Detailed Itinerary
Day 1: Departure from the UK and arrival in Lima

Departure day, where you will fly to Peru, with connecting flights along the way. You will land at Lima Airport, where you will be met by a representative of our partner in Peru, who will accompany you to your hotel. The journey from the airport to the hotel takes around 1 hour and on the route your guide will answer any questions you may have regarding your trip. The rest of the day is yours to do with as you wish.

Day 2: Tour of Lima

The day starts with a half-day tour of the Peruvian capital city, which was founded in 1535 by Francisco Pizarro. The itinerary will take you to the magnificent, bustling central square called Plaza Mayor, which is decorated with rose gardens, tall palm trees and a famous fountain capped with a representation of the city’s guardian angel. The square is lined with beautiful buildings in colonial style, including the Presidential Palace, the Archbishop’s Palace and the city’s impressive cathedral which dates back to 1555 and contains the earthly remains of Pizarro himself. You will then have the chance to visit the San Francisco Monastery and its church from 1674 – which happens to be the most attractive Baroque church in the city. The monastery is decorated with delightful mosaic tiles from Seville and fresco paintings that were rediscovered when an earthquake destroyed parts of the outer wall. Particularly worthy of note are the monastery’s museum of religious art, the library of more than 25,000 books, and the catacombs beneath the church.

Next stop on the itinerary is the San Isidro district, with its attractive parks, and the modern Miraflores quarter, with its fine beaches, gardens and squares, as well as charming cafés and restaurants.

The guided tour rounds off with a visit to the Larco Museum, one of Lima’s best-known museums. Dedicated to pre-Columbian art, it houses an extensive collection of intriguing objects from various pre-Columbian cultures, including Moche, Nazca, Chimú and Inca.

The late afternoon and evening are yours to do with as you wish.

Day 3: Flight from Lima to Arequipa – guided tour of Arequipa (2,335 metres)

This morning, you’ll be picked up from the hotel and driven to Lima Airport, from which you’ll fly to the elegant, colonial city of Arequipa. The city is located in the Andes Mountains at an altitude of almost 2,400 metres with the volcanoes Misti (5,822 m), Chachani (6,057 m) and Pichu-Pichu (5,669 m) as a beautiful backdrop.

On your arrival in Arequipa, you’ll be picked up from the airport and driven to your hotel, a short drive of around 30 minutes.

In the afternoon, you’ll go on a guided tour of the city and discover the many stately mansions and colonial buildings from the 18th century with their carved doors, French windows and cosy courtyards. The city is almost exclusively built of white volcanic rock, hence its nickname “The White City”. You will also visit the central square, Plaza de Armas, with its palm trees, old gas lanterns, fountains and, of course, the city’s huge cathedral.

You’ll visit Arequipa’s biggest attraction, the Santa Catalina Monastery, which once housed more than 400 nuns. Santa Catalina was founded in 1580 by a rich widow named Maria de Guzmán. It was primarily aimed at the upper classes, for whom, during colonial times, it was customary for the family’s second child to serve the church. The girls were brought to the monastery at the age of three and never ventured outside the walls again.

The monastery has been hit several times by earthquakes but has been rebuilt in its original style, and the historic buildings still stand to this day. Although the monastery is open to the public today, there is still a small religious unit living at one end of the complex. Today, however, the nuns are free to receive visits and leave the Monastery of Santa Catalina whenever they want.

The last stop on the tour is Yanahuara Plaza, where you have every opportunity to take some beautiful pictures of the city’s breathtaking volcanic surroundings.

You have the evening to yourself in Arequipa.

Day 4: Bus ride from Arequipa to Chivay in Colca Canyon (3,650 metres)

Early morning, you head for the fascinating Colca Colca Canyon. Around 3,400 metres deep, the canyon is one of the deepest in the world. By comparison, it is around twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the US.

You really get to experience the mighty Andes Mountains on this tour, and in several places, you’ll be driving at an altitude of over 4,000 metres.

You’ll cross the spectacular Altiplano plateau, which is characterised by its dry, barren landscape with vast open expanses where you can spot grazing llamas and alpacas. The highest pass and vantage point on the route is called Mirador de los volcanes, and on a clear day, you have a fantastic view from here of the surrounding volcanoes. The vantage point is located at an altitude of around 4,900 metres, and you’ll notice immediately that the thin air at this altitude affects your breathing. So, it will just be a brief stop to take photos before continuing down towards the town of Chivay, which serves as the entrance to Colca Canyon.

In the afternoon, it’s time for a spot of pampering with a visit to Chivay’s thermal baths, which are naturally heated by the volcanic activity in the area. Chivay is surrounded by the volcanoes Sabancaya (5,976 metres) and Ampato (6,288 metres).

Distance: Approx. 167 km

Transport time: around 4 hours

Day 5: Excursion to Colca Canyon – bus to Puno (3,827 metre)

You’ll be getting up early today, too, and heading to Mirador Cruz del Condor, a magnificent vantage point overlooking one of the deepest sections of Colca Canyon. Standing here, looking down and out over the vast canyon, is an amazing experience. If you’re lucky, you might see condors gliding silently above your head. The condor is the world’s largest bird of prey, with a wingspan of up to 3 metres. It hovers on the warm air currents that rise from the canyon.

After this breathtaking nature experience, you’ll go for a short walk in the valley, where you’ll discover the ancient agricultural terraces that have been in use for centuries. There will also be ample opportunity to buy a colourful souvenir to take home with you. You then drive back to Chivay for lunch before boarding the bus to Puno.

Puno is located on Lake Titicaca, which is the largest lake in South America and the highest navigable lake in the world. The city was of great historical significance to the Incas. It was here that the first Inca, Manco Capac, rose from the waters of Lake Titicaca to start the Inca Empire, becoming the first king of Cusco. Today, Puno is an agricultural city specialising in the breeding of llamas and alpacas, so wool products can be bought here at a good price.

Distance: Chivay – Cruz del Condor return + Chivay – Puno: Approx. 385 km

Transport time: around 9 hours

Day 6: Excursion to Lake Titicaca (3,810 metres)

Today, you’re going on a full day excursion to Lake Titicaca, which Peru and Bolivia share. Here, an exciting encounter with two very different highland Indian communities, where old traditions are still maintained, awaits you.

You start by sailing out of the harbour to the floating reed islands, Islas Uros, which are still inhabited by the Uros people. The Uros use the lake’s free building materials – the strong totora reeds – to build islands, houses and boats. Despite the islands having become a little commercial, it’s still fascinating to learn about the culture and ancient traditions of the Uros people and not least to see their impressive craftsmanship.

You then sail on to the peaceful island of Taquile, which is known especially for its colourful crafts and its “knitting men”. Here on the island, it’s the men who knit – and they’re good at it! The pattern on a man’s hat, called a chullo, not only shows his creativity, but his civilian status, too. It’s the women’s job to spin the yarn and weave. The women weave the beautiful belts for the men’s costumes.

You’ll enjoy lunch on the beautiful hilly island, and afterwards your guide will take you on a walk up to the highest point of the island, from which there are breathtaking views of Lake Titicaca, with the high mountains in the background.

Mid-afternoon, you’ll be sailed back to Puno and the rest of the day is yours to do as you please.

Day 7: Bus ride from Puno to Cusco (3,400 metres)

Today, you have a long but adventure-filled journey ahead of you. You’ll be picked up from your hotel and driven to the bus station, where a bus will be waiting to take you to Cusco, the formal capital of the Inca Empire and now an elegant, thriving multi-cultural city.

You’ll cross the Altiplano, where you’re in with a chance of seeing vicuñas, which are related to the camel, but resemble the llama and the alpaca. Several stops will be made on the way, and you’ll be given a guided tour of old ruins and monuments such as those found at the Pukara Museum. Pukara, the first regional town closest to Lake Titicaca, dates back to 500BC. The museum is part of an archaeological area where impressive stone sculptures, ceramic pieces and other archaeological excavations have been found, providing an exciting insight into the history of Andean civilisation.
You will then pass La Raya, which is the highest point on the route at 4,319 metres. From here, you’ll head down through a scenic valley brimming with crops such potatoes and maize. You’ll then come to Raqchi, where you’ll see the ruins of the temple Viracocha, one of the Inca’s most sacred sites. The last stop before Cusco is the famous colonial church, Andahuaylillas, better known as under the “Sistine Chapel of the Americas” due to its beautiful ceiling paintings and other lovely art.

On your arrival in Cusco, you’ll check in at your hotel, and in the evening, you can explore the city and its good restaurants.

Distance: Approx. 390 km

Transport time: Approx. 10 hours including stops

Day 8: Guided tour of Cusco (3,400 metres)

There is nothing scheduled for today until the afternoon, when a guided tour of Cusco and its surroundings has been arranged. You start at the city’s central square – the Plaza de Armas, which was known as Hucaypata or ‘The Warriors’ Square’ during the age of the Incas. It was here that many of the most important events in the history of Cusco took place.

This is also where you will find Cusco Cathedral, built of stone from the Sacsayhuamán Inca complex on top of the Inca Viracocha Palace during the colonial era. The cathedral is therefore a wonderful mix of Spanish Renaissance architecture and the Incas’ masterful stone masonry. The street next to the cathedral leads to Santo Domingo Church, which is built on top of what was once one of the most important temples of the Inca empire, Koricancha. The magnificent earlier sun temple forms the foundation of the church and is built without the aid of mortar, with each stone fitting perfectly instead.

Next on the itinerary is Kenko, another sacred Inca site marked with a 5-metre-high stone block which is said to resemble a puma. This site is dedicated to the worship of Mother Earth, and features water channels carved in solid rock and a subterranean room. Farther along the road stands a small fortress called Puka Pukara, which is believed to have been used to guard the road and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Here you will see terraces carved into the side of the mountain, as well as steps, tunnels and towers. Continuing north, you will come to Tambomachay, a sacred bathing site for the Inca conquerors and women of the royal household The system is a masterpiece of construction, and is still able to deliver water to this day.

The last stop on the tour is the military complex of Sacsayhuaman, which enjoys a magnificent location with a wonderful view out over Cusco. Sacsayhuaman is a fascinating example of the architectural skill of the Incas. It is an impressive construction, with double walls of carved granite, where the heaviest block weighs more than 125 tonnes. After the tour, you will return to Cusco where the evening is yours to do with as you wish.

Day 9: Excursion to the Sacred Valley (approx. 2,800 - 3,400 metres)

The day is devoted to an excursion to Urubamba Valley, The Sacred Valley of the Incas. Your first stop is at Pisac, renowned far and wide for its Indian markets, where you will have the chance to buy everything from Peruvian wool sweaters and musical instruments, to paintings, tapestries and jewellery. The town is also well-known for the impressive ruins nearby. The ruined buildings were constructed of smaller stones than those used in Sacsayhuaman, but the precision with which they have been carved and sized is hugely impressive – just like the view.

After lunch, you will continue on your way to Ollantaytambo, another charming village in the heart of the valley, which is considered to be an open air museum, in that all residents observe the old traditions and laws that can be traced back to the their earliest forefathers. The town is probably best known for the complex of the same name, which comprises temples, baths and impressive military installations.

You will then return to Cusco, where the rest of the day is yours to do with as you wish.

Distance: Approx. 160 km

Transport time: Approx. 10 hours incl. stops

Day 10: Bus/train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes (2,040 metres)

This morning, you will be picked up from your hotel and driven to the station to catch the train to Aguas Calientes – a journey of around 3 hours. Aguas Calientes is a small town located near the cloud forest and close to Machu Picchu, the world-famous complex of ruins. On arrival, a bus will take you to your hotel, and the rest of the day is yours to do with as you wish.

Distance: Approx. 125 km

Transport time: Cusco – Aguas Calientes (bus + train): around 4 hours

Day 11: Visit to the Inca ruin Machu Picchu – Train/bus back to Cusco (3,400 metres)

Early in the morning, you will be picked up from your hotel and driven to one of the absolute highlights of your trip: the fantastic ruins of Machu Picchu, which have been designated one of the wonders of the modern world. The ruins stand enchantingly on a steep and verdant ridge of hills in the Urubamba Valley, surrounded by cloud forest and green hilltops, with snow-capped mountains far off in the distance. Here, you will be given a guided tour of the area and can experience the narrow terraces on the steep mountain sides, as well as areas containing burial sites, prisons, small residences and temples.

It is said that Machu Picchu was rediscovered by the American explorer Hiram Bingham on 24 July 1911. This is not strictly true, but he is certainly responsible for spreading the news of this truly remarkable place to all corners of the globe. The Inca city was built in around 1462 – i.e. during the Golden Age of the Inca Empire – but was abandoned less than a century later, probably on account of a smallpox epidemic. As Machu Picchu was never discovered and plundered by the Spanish invaders, it retains major cultural significance and is considered a sacred site. Machu Picchu was home to priests, highly ranked civil servants, craftsmen, servants and virgins selected to devote their lives to the Sun God. It was a city with streets, aqueducts – which still carry water to this day – fountains and walkways, and it fulfilled a variety of religious functions.

After a guided tour, you will have time to explore the area on your own.

You spend the afternoon on your own in Aguas Calientes, where you can enjoy your lunch and possibly a visit to the thermal baths, also called hot springs, and relax in the naturally heated water. Remember to bring a bathing suit. These hot springs lend their name to the town Aguas Calientes, which means hot water.

Your train back to Cusco leaves late in the afternoon. Your guide will let you know the exact time after the Machu Picchu tour.

On your arrival in Cusco, you will be driven back to your hotel.

Distance: Approx. 125 km

Transport time: Aguas Calientes – Cusco (train + bus): around 4 hours

Day 12: Cusco on your own (3,400 metres)

Today, there are no planned excursions, so the day is at your disposal. Perhaps you would like to head out and buy some final souvenirs, or just take a stroll around this gorgeous, historical city.

If you would like to experience even more of the magical Andes Mountains, we recommend purchasing an excursion to the magnificent Rainbow Mountain. This mountain is just one of the many beautiful, rainbow-coloured mountains just outside of Cusco, whose colours are due to the mountains’ combination of colourful minerals. It is a truly unique experience to see a mountain in so many wonderful colours.

We also offer an excursion to the Inca ruins at Moray and the salt mines in Maras, or how about trying your hand at a small cookery class where you gain an exciting insight into Peruvian cuisine?

Day 13: Return flight

You will be picked up from your hotel and driven to the airport to catch your flight to the UK, which will feature connecting flights along the way.

Day 14: Return trip

Arrive back in the UK after a wonderfully eventful holiday.

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Please note that the price of a single room only applies when for at least two people. Please contact us if you’re travelling alone.
Special offers for groups of 6 or more. Request a quote today for more info.
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Laura Arundell Trelborg

Laura loves to travel and is extremely passionate about helping others achieve their travel dreams.

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