Totally Peru - 19 days
Absorb Peru’s majestic spirit completely with this all-encompassing tour of Peru. Starting and ending in the fascinating capital of Lima we journey through the lush Amazon Jungle, marvel at the magnificent Lake Titicaca, witness the barren Altiplano deserts, walk the trails of the Incas and meet the friendly locals.
Upon arrival at Lima Airport you'll be met and transferred to our joining hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. To get a feel for colonial Lima, take a cab to the Plaza de Armas and watch the changing of the Palace Guard at noon. Walk the streets surrounding the Jiron de la Union for great examples of Spanish-colonial architecture and to get a taste for life in a large South American city. Later this evening our group welcome meeting takes place.
Lima - Paracas. Today we take the tourist bus to Paracas, gateway to the Ballestas Islands. Like Lima, it is another coastal town and tonight you can enjoy dinner at one of the many shore-front restaurants.
Overnight: Paracas | Breakfast
Paracas - Nazca. A visit to Paracas would not be complete without visiting the Ballestas Islands on a two hour boat trip. The islands, sometimes known as the ‘poor man's Galapagos', are teeming with over 150 species of bird life (including penguins, cormorants, boobies and pelicans). They are also home to thousands of sea lions and boast some amazing rock formations. Our boat trip also takes us past the mysterious Candelabra figure etched on the side of a mountain. Best viewed from the sea, many believe the Candelabra is linked to the Nazca Lines
Later today we continue towards Nazca, stopping en route at the Huacachina Oasis, deep in the Huacachina Desert. Here you have the chance to get your adrenaline-pumping with the optional excursions available. Try sand-boarding down the vast dunes or cruise over them in a dune-buggy before we continue driving on to Nazca.
Overnight: Nazca | Breakfast
Nazca - Arequipa. Today you have the option to visit the Nazca Lines. These strange parallel lines and geometrical figures are etched into the desert floor. Although there is a viewing tower, these strange designs can only be fully appreciated from the air. You can take a fascinating flight over the lines and shapes, which include a monkey, hummingbird, condor, spider and even a spaceman. Later we stock up on snacks before an overnight bus journey to Arequipa.
Overnight: Overnight bus | Breakfast
A beautiful colonial city, Arequipa has a lovely central plaza dominated by a large cathedral. There are some fantastic restaurants in Arequipa and it is possible to enjoy many Peruvian delicacies here. One of the the main attractions is the Santa Catalina Convent, which is almost a city in itself with its maze of cobbled streets, cloisters and decorative buildings. Don't miss the nuns' café for excellent freshly baked treats! Another popular attraction is the acclaimed Museo Santuarios Andinos which houses many well preserved mummies. You have the day to wander at your leisure.
Overnight: Arequipa | Breakfast
Arequipa - Colca Canyon. Today we visit the nearby Colca Canyon, said to be one of the deepest in the world. Our private vehicle takes us into the high, barren Andean landscape, passing through ghost towns destroyed by earthquakes while learning about the local fauna and flora of the region. After checking in to our hotel in the town of Coporaque, we can visit Cruz del Condor (Condor's Cross) lookout point in search of the giant condors soaring out of the canyon on thermal currents. You can take a walk along the canyon's edge and admire the spectacular views.
Overnight: Colca Canyon | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Colca Canyon - Puno. This morning we depart Colca Canyon and the beautiful scenery continues as we take a combination of buses all the way to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca, which at 3,855 metres above sea level, is the highest navigable lake in the world. Later we arrive in Puno and visit the colourful market here.
The following morning we enjoy a day trip on Lake Titicaca. We visit the floating reed islands in the Bay of Puno to see the Uros islanders way of life and we will have the option to ride in a traditional reed boat. Next stop is Taquile Island, which maintains many of the traditions values and customs it was built on. Here we gain a fascinating insight into their way of life. Famous for their textiles and clothing, you will also be able to pick up a homemade gift or two from the main square.
Overnight: Puno | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 1
Puno - Cuzco. Today we travel to the captivating town of Cuzco on a tourist bus, passing breathtaking Andean mountain scenery along the way. Cuzco, which means ‘navel of the earth' in the Inca language of Quechua, is centred around the Plaza de Armas, which is dominated by the Cathedral and La Compañia de Jesus Church. Its cloistered arcades house many fine restaurants, bars and shops which you have time to enjoy this evening.
Overnight: Cuzco | Breakfast
Cuzco - Ollantaytambo. A full day is spent visiting the Sacred Valley of the Incas. At an altitude of 3800m we take slow walks that take up to an hour, around each of the ruins in order to manage any effects the high altitude may have. We visit the Pisac ruins, perched on a hilltop with incredible views of the surrounding mountains. We then go down to the famous traditional market of the same name, which is full of colour and atmosphere. A great place for souvenirs! After lunch, we continue along the valley to the temple/fortress of Ollantaytambo with its enormous Inca terracing constructed on the side of a steep mountain.
Overnight: Ollantaytambo | Breakfast
Inca Trail Trek. On day 11 we embark on the famous Inca Trail Trek. Spread over four days, the spectacular 44km Inca Trail Trek crosses three stunning high passes and encounters many ancient archaeological sites, culminating at the citadel of Machu Picchu. There are few treks in the world that combine natural beauty, history and mystery with such an awe-inspiring final destination.
The trek begins after a short bus journey and the first day is a relatively easy 4½ hour 13km walk. The following day is the biggest challenge as we reach the highest pass at Warmiwañusca (4,200 metres) which translates to “Dead Woman's Pass”! We cover approximately 9km in about 5-7 hours and after the high pass it's all down hill as the trail winds its way along old Inca stairs to our campsite. On day 13 we pass the ruins of Runkurakay, Sayacmarca and Phuyupatamarca, walking approximately 15km in seven hours.
Note: If the Inca Trail is not available we offer the Lares Trek, or if you prefer not to trek at all, you can opt to take the train to Machu Picchu and have plenty of free time to enjoy the activities available in and around Cuzco.
Overnight: Inca Trail | Breakfast x 3, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Machu Picchu - Cuzco. On the last morning of the Inca Trail Trek, after an overnight stop at Winay-Wayna, we rise early for the final walk to Machu Picchu and greet daybreak over the famous “Sun Gate”. There will then be time to explore on your own or simply take in the magnificence of the place after your guided tour. After spending most of the day at Machu Picchu you have the chance to meander through the markets of Aguas Calientes before enjoying a scenic train ride back to the Sacred Valley where our transfer to Cuzco will be waiting.
Overnight: Inca Trail | Breakfast
Today is free to independently explore Cuzco. Make the most of your free day to explore its amazing churches, colonial buildings and picturesque streets, many of which have Inca walls, arches and doorways. On a hill overlooking the city stands the ceremonial fortress of Sacsayhuaman, where some of the most spectacular Inca walls can be found, including a massive 130 ton stone.
Overnight: Cuzco | Breakfast
Cuzco - Amazon Jungle. This morning a short flight takes us to the jungle community of Puerto Maldonado, the starting point for our visit to the Amazon rainforest. The first leg of our journey into the Amazon is by bus followed by a riverboat to our lodge located on the river’s edge. Later we set off on a trek through the rainforest along wooden walk ways. On the way our guide will stop to show us various species of bird and explain the medicinal plants and delicate ecological systems of the Amazon Jungle. We then return to the lodge for dinner.
The next day, after an early breakfast, we hike deeper into the jungle, enjoying the surroundings and exploring the delights and hidden wonders of the Amazon Rainforest. Afterwards we enjoy the view of the lake from our viewing point/observation platform, where you can experience the canopy wildlife. After lunch, we take a short boat trip across the Madre de Dios River to Monkey Island where we'll encounter a wonderful variety of monkeys and an array of birdlife.
Overnight: The Amazon Jungle | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Amazon Jungle - Lima. After our final night in the Amazon we awake to the sounds of the jungle, before returning to Puerto Maldonado for our flight back to Lima. You have the remainder of the day to pick up any last-minute souvenirs before our adventure comes to an end tomorrow.
Overnight: Lima | Breakfast
Your adventure of a lifetime comes to an end today. If you have a late flight or have lengthened your stay by adding post tour accommodation you will have more time to explore the sights.
Inca Trail, Lares Trek or Machu Picchu by Train
If you have always dreamed of trekking the Inca Trail you will need to book your trip in advance (4 months is ideal) as the number of Inca Trail permits is limited to 500 per day. Booking early gives us the best opportunity for securing one of these permits.
When booking your tour with us we'll need your full name as it appears in your passport, date of birth, nationality and passport number. With this information we can then apply for a permit.
If the Inca Trail is unavailable, you can opt to hike the Lares Trek. With its breathtaking passes, glacial lakes and hot springs, this less crowded option, which also ends with a full day’s visit to Machu Picchu, is thought to be equally if not more spectacular than the Inca Trail. Alternatively you could also choose to spend your time in Cuzco and take a day trip to Machu Picchu by train.
Prices & Dates
Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies to travellers who would like the comfort of their own room (on all or many of the tour nights) and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price. If you are happy to be paired up with another single traveller of the same sex on your tour, this can be arranged, thus avoiding the single person supplement.