Discover southern Peru, the heartland of the Inca Empire, on this 14 day group tour which starts and ends in Lima. Take in Peru's contrasting landscapes, from plunging canyons to soaring mountains, while exploring ruined temples and vibrant indigenous markets. Spot condors over Colca Canyon and visit the unique floating reed islands of Lake Titicaca. Spend time in the enchanting cities of Arequipa and Cusco, explore the Sacred Valley and magnificent Machu Picchu, Peru's crown jewel.
Lima - Arequipa. Today starts with a walking tour of the city centre. We visit the Plaza de Armas and its monumental cathedral and the government palace. After our walking tour, we take a 1-hour flight to the southern colonial city of Arequipa. The beautifully constructed squat buildings are made from sillar, a white-grey volcanic stones, giving the city a Middle Eastern vibe. Upon arrival the rest of the day is free to explore the ‘white city’. There are some fantastic restaurants in Arequipa and it is possible to enjoy many Peruvian delicacies, a lot of which originated here.
Overnight: Arequipa | Breakfast
Today is free to spend exploring Arequipa, the 'White City'. Take in the beautiful flowery plazas, shady lanes, visiting some of the most striking architectural masterpieces of the Spanish legacy. A highlight is the Santa Catalina Convent, which is almost a city in itself with its maze of cobbled streets, cloisters and decorative buildings. Time permitting you might also like to visit the Museo Santuarios Andinos, a museum famous for housing the remains of several Inca mummies that have been preserved in freezing conditions, including the bodies of Incan child sacrifices to the gods.
Overnight: Arequipa | Breakfast
Arequipa – Colca Canyon. Today we drive through the Colca Valley, passing traditional towns, natural lagoons, volcanic peaks and the vicuna national reserve along the way. This is a great place to see many vicunas (a relative of the llama), alpacas, llamas and flamingos feeding from the scrub. Our bus begins to climb around the cavernous crater of an extinct volcano and over a high pass before emerging onto the rim of the valley that boasts spectacular views of the fields and villages below. We then descend into the Colca Canyon where we have the chance to take a dip in the warm, healing waters of the hot springs.
Overnight: Colca Canyon | Breakfast, Dinner
After breakfast, we travel by road along the canyon's rim, surrounded by fields of Andean crops like potatoes, quinoa, and kiwicha up to the Cruz del Condor. Here we stand on a bluff looking into the deepest part of this colossal canyon, where a patchwork of tawny colours spread across the valley, and watch condors soaring effortlessly skyward from inaccessible crags and rocky ledges.
Along the way to the viewpoint we stop at a number of small villages where little has changed in the rural lifestyle over the centuries. The women continue to wear traditional, intricately embroidered dresses. If you choose, you can follow ancient footpaths linking adobe villages and follow the paths of ancient aqueducts, with spellbinding views down to the canyon floor.
Overnight: Colca Canyon | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Colca Canyon - Puno. After an early breakfast, we head towards Puno on the shores of Lake Titcaca. Our journey for the day is approximately 6 hours and climbs over 3,805m. The road is flanked by majestic snow-capped peaks, and we witness men and oxen toiling in fields surrounded by corn and potato crops. We reach the highest point of our journey, as we make our way across the plains of Altiplano, passing market towns where llamas and alpacas are herded by bowler-hatted women.
Overnight: Puno | Breakfast, Lunch
Today's adventure begins with a motorboat journey across the sparkling waters of Lake Titicaca to visit the remarkable Uros Islands. As we disembark onto these floating islands, constructed entirely from the lake's tortora reeds – the same material used for the islanders' canoes – we feel the ground subtly shifting beneath our feet. Once devoted to fishing, the inhabitants now earn their living mainly through selling handicrafts to tourists and, while this is a unique experience, it has the air of a living museum.
Later in the afternoon, a guided excursion takes us to the Chullpas at Sillustani, imposing stone tombs believed to be the final resting place of ancient Hatun Colla chiefs. These towers stand along the treeless shores of a remote highland lake, surrounded by captivating landscape.
Overnight: Puno | Breakfast
Puno - Cusco. Today we take a luxurious all-day train journey from Puno to Cusco, along one of the most scenic routes on the continent. We start our journey crossing the plains of Altiplano, passing market towns where llamas and alpacas are herded by bowler-hatted women. As the snow-dusted mountains close in, the train climbs to the high pass at La Raya (4,200m), and from here the scenery changes dramatically as you race down through the increasingly fertile pocket-sized fields of corn and potatoes to Cusco.
Overnight: Cusco | Breakfast, Lunch
Once the centre of the Inca Empire, Cusco is now a vibrant city, home to extraordinary craftmanship, with old Inca walls and bustling squares filled with ornate baroque colonial churches. This morning we explore Cusco on a guided tour. We visit Q’oricancha, also known as the Sun Temple, this was the most significant temple in the Inca empire, a sacred ground dedicated to the Sun God. Following this, we explore the colossal zigzag walls of Sacsayhuaman fortress set on a hill side above Cusco. In 1536 this was the site of a bitter three-day battle was fought between the Spaniards and the Incas.
The rest of the day is free to spend at leisure. Stroll around the cobbled streets of this enchanting city as the shoeshine boys and postcard sellers jostle for your attention, shop at the many handicraft stalls and grab a drink at one of the cafes. In the evening, the town centre fills with people flocking to the many restaurants and bars.
Overnight: Cusco | Breakfast
Cusco - Sacred Valley. Today we leave Cusco and drive over the high plains and down into the fertile Sacred Valley of the Incas. The valley was densely populated in imperial times and the well-preserved ruins bear witness to the highly developed society that the Incas created. During our drive we pass many of the villages and temple fortress that are scattered throughout the valley.
We explore the Pisac complex, which is built on terraces carved into the steep hillside, rising like a staircase to the heavens. We also visit Pisac village before continuing our journey through this beautiful, patchwork valley to the temple of Ollantaytambo, with the magnificent Andes as a beautiful backdrop. Ollantaytambo fortress, the colonial grid plan and the Inca foundations are still intact and there are wonderful views down over the sloping hillsides and into the fertile valley. We spend tonight in this tranquil valley.
Overnight: Sacred Valley | Breakfast, Lunch
Sacred Valley - Machu Picchu. Our day begins with an incredibly scenic 2-hour train journey from Ollantaytambo to the iconic lost city of Machu Picchu. Situated on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba River and surrounded by tropical forest, the Inca city enjoys a truly spectacular setting and it's one of the most fascinating ancient sites in the world. Following a guided tour of the ruins we spend the night in the spa village of Aguas Calientes, a couple of kilometres upstream.
. If you fancy hiking a section of the Inca Trail without disrupting your tour, we can arrange for you to undertake the mini Inca Trail on the same day while still participating in the guided tour of the ruins and staying with the group in the evening. Please ask us for more details.
Overnight: Machu Picchu | Breakfast, Dinner
Machu Picchu - Cusco. There is the option to revisit the ancient citadel this morning to walk one of the many trails around the site. Hike up the steep path to Huayna Picchu for incredible views over Machu Picchu or trek to the Inca Bridge, carved into the steep cliff face. Alternatively, you can relax at the hotel before we return to Cusco by train this afternoon.
Please note: If you want to revisit Machu Picchu you will need to contact us and pre-book as availability is limited.
Overnight: Cusco | Breakfast
Spend the day at leisure in Cusco. Enjoy a relaxed day strolling around this enchanting city or there are a number of optional excursions in the surrounding region, including a trip to Maras and Moray. Moray is a system of ancient agricultural irrigation paths which now form circular depressions in the earth, with wonderful views into the Sacred Valley and in the shadow of the snowy peak of Mount Veronica. From here it is a short walk to the salt pans at Maras, circular pans of glistening white carved into the mountainside. Feeling you’d like to be active? White-water rafting, cycling and horse riding are also on offer.
Overnight: Cusco | Breakfast
Cusco - Lima. Today we fly back to Lima where our tour ends on arrival.
Prices & Dates
Departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 4 persons. 'Twin Share' prices are per person when there are 2 people sharing a room. 'Single Room' prices are applicable to solo travellers wanting the privacy of a single room.Read More
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard.
Casa Andina Miraflores, Lima
With a contemporary exterior that shelters a collection of Peruvian artowork and colonial antiques, the classy Casa Andina Miraflores is the perfect blend of the old and new. The smart guestrooms are decorated in a neutral palette of colour in a contemporary design with the conveniences you would expect of a 4 star hotel, many with great city views. The restaurant boasts exquisite regional gourmet dishes whilst the heated swimming pool features a waterfall. The hotel is strategically located in the heart of Miraflores with Kennedy Park just two blocks away. It's a 45 minute drive to the airport.
Wyndham Costa del Sol Arequipa, Arequipa
Located in the breath-taking landscapes of Arequipa, Peru. Wyndham Costa del Sol is a luxurious hotel offering ensuite rooms that been designed to provide comfort and convenience at every turn. The hotel has rooftop terrace to indulge in breath-taking views of the nearby volcanoes, also a fitness centre and outdoor pool With its warm hospitality and strategic location near the city's major attractions, Wyndham Costa del Sol Arequipa offer a remarkable experience for all guests.
Casa Andina Premium, Puno
Featuring an expansive glass wall to make the most of the incredible views across Lake Titicaca, the Casa Andina Premium hotel in Puno offers a blend of historic decor and stylish furnishings. The smart guestrooms are well-equipped with spacious bathrooms and tea/coffee making facilities. Complementary Wi-Fi is available in the public areas of the property and the hotel also has a massage centre open daily. The Alma Restaurant serves delicious local specialties and seafood dishes.
Hotel Pakaritampu, Sacred Valley
Hotel Pakaritampu is located in the heart of the Sacred Valley, in the village of Ollantaytambo, just 50 yards from the train station which is on the mainline to Machu Pichu. This delightful property exudes Peruvian charm in an idyllic setting amidst attractive gardens, perfect for relaxing in after a busy day. The onsite restaurant offers a variety of both local Peruvian delicacies and international meals. Charmingly decorated rooms offer standard king size or twin beds, safety-deposit box, a TV with cable channels and Free WiFi access. The main square is only a ten-minute walk away. Here you'll find a selection of shops and restaurants, as well as remnants of Ollantaytambo’s magnificent Inca fortress. The hotel follows sustainable and eco-friendly practices and supports local communities.
Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo , Machu Picchu
A popular choice for those headed to the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu, this world-class hotel is one of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World. Tucked away in native cloud forest, which is home to 214 bird species, the hotel features stone pathways, waterfalls, terraced hills and 83 whitewashed casitas. Each guestroom is decorated with Andean tapestries and features comfortable beds with alpaca wool blankets. Guests can explore the surrounding scenery or indulge in a treatment at the Unu Spa. The restaurant also offers delicious Peruvian cuisine with exceptional views of the Vilcanota River.
Casa Andina Premium, Cusco
In a beautiful eighteenth century mansion, the Casa Andina Premium hotel invites guests to enjoy the majestic colonial architecture of Cusco. The traditional, courtyard-facing rooms feature wooden balconies and large beds with tea/coffee making facilities and a safe deposit box. Free WiFi is available throughout the property. The Alma Restaurant combines the best of Peruvian cuisine with international favourites and within the hotel is a 24 hour snack bar. This popular hotel is centrally located in Cusco overlooking Limacpampa Square and only a short walk from Plaza de Armas. The airport is a 10 minute drive away.