Trip reference number: ITN-PER009
Trip Operator: Rainbow Tours
Our Wonders of Peru tailor-made tour encompasses the key highlights of a holiday to Peru and is the perfect introduction for the first-time visitor. The coastal city of Lima bustles with modern and colonial charm and boasts an established gastronomy scene. Nestled in the far south, visit the 'White City' of Arequipa framed by El Misti volcano, where you will have the opportunity to step back in time as you meander through the Santa Catalina convent, founded in 1580.
In the Andes Mountains, look out for the majestic Condor in the Colca Canyon, sail on shimmering Lake Titicaca to the traditional Uros floating reed and travel through the barren altiplano to reach the city of Cuzco. Heart of the Inca Empire, no holiday to Peru is complete without a visit to this charming city. Cobbled streets, colourfully dressed locals and well-preserved colonial buildings create a magical energy. Complete your Peruvian adventure at Machu Picchu citadel, arriving by train to discover the history, architecture and beliefs of the Incas before the Spanish invasion.
After travelling through the magical highlands of Peru, we recommend an extension to the lush Amazon Rainforest. Stay in Hacienda Concepcion by Inkaterra and explore the diverse wildlife of the largest rainforest in the world.
Day 1 Arrive in Lima the capital of Peru, and transfer to your hotel located in the heart of the Miraflores district, the Jose Antonio Deluxe, close to a great selection of restaurants and cafes and the downtown area. This bustling city offers a mix of experiences from the colonial downtown with historic buildings to the dramatic clifftop shoreline overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Day 2 Explore the city of Lima also known as the City of Kings. You can visit the Plaza de Armas main square and the San Francisco monastery. Take in the historic sights, colonial architecture and Inca influence, as well as many beautiful shrines and churches. Visit the impressive Larco Museum to learn about the history of Peru and admire the collection of artefacts.
Day 3 Transfer to the airport for the short flight to Arequipa to visit the Cuidad Blanca or 'White City' including the Santa Catalina convent, dating back to the 16th century and La Compania de Jesus Church, a beautiful sample of baroque art. Overnight at the Casa Andina Select, ideally situated on the main square with magical views.
Day 4 Discover the colonial city of Arequipa with its cultural riches and history, to the backdrop of Misti volcano. At Yunahuara viewpoint, take in the view towards the surrounding volcano landscape including Misti, Chachani and Pichu-Pichu. Charming Santa Catalina convent, with its colourful streets and small plazas was founded in 1580 and is one of the best religious buildings in Peru. Soak up the atmosphere as you meander around the passageways.
Day 5 Depart Arequipa today through the town of Yura to the Colca Canyon. Reaching a depth of 3,400 metres the 62 miles long Colca Canyon is one of the deepest canyons in the world. The valley was home to the Cabana and Collagua people almost 2,000 years ago, who built a system of terraces that trap melting run-off water from nearby snow-capped volcanoes. Relax in the afternoon at La Calera hot springs in the main town of Chivay as you ease into the higher altitudes.
Day 6 Early morning is the best time for spotting condors in flight at the Cruz del Condor viewpoint. A large family of Andean condors nest nearby and can often be spotted gliding effortlessly in the early morning thermal air currents. After lunch, continue through the canyon towards the lakeside town of Puno, stopping in small local towns & market en-route.As the sunsets, admire the calm of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world.
Day 7 Sail the shimmering waters of Lake Titicaca to the Uros floating reed islands. These unique islands are constructed entirely from buoyant tortora reeds which the locals also use to build their homes, boats and crafts. Learn about their traditional way of life, capturing photos of their colourful indigenous wares. Taquile Island, is home to around 2200 people, living peacefully on this slice of natural beauty. Admire the Inca terraces and spectacular vistas from the highest point on the island.
Day 8 Travel by road today across the spectacular Andean altiplano with a stop at La Raya, a remote settlement and the highest point of the journey at 4313m where locals offer their handicrafts for sale. There are also plenty of photo opportunities from the dramatic landscape to inquisitive llamas. As you drive north, the landscapes become lush and increasingly populated until you are finally immersed in the enigmatic charm of colonial Cuzco, the heart of the Inca Empire.
Day 9 Explore the city of Cuzco with its Inca and colonial history and the impressive ruins of Sacsayhuaman on the outskirts of the city. These ruins are a wonderful example of Inca military architecture made up of three large terraces which overlap in a zigzag fashion. The city of Cuzco was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and is filled with Spanish arches and squares, and houses with wooden balconies jutting over narrow cobbled streets.
Day 10 The landscape of the Sacred Valley is a dramatic contrast to Cuzco. Steep sided mountains flank a fertile valley floor carved by glaciers. Visit Chinchero town where ancestral traditions remain and the locals display their array of weaving methods. Continue to Ollantaytambo, a town dominated by fortress like Inca ruins with pretty cobbled streets.
Day 11 From the train station at Ollanta embark the Vistadome service to Aguas Calientes. Discovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, explore the spectacular citadel and learn about the Inca traditions and history. At its prime, Machu Picchu was thought to have up to 500 inhabitants and was linked to Cuzco and the jungle by a series of trails. Experts continue to dispute why the site was abandoned as it remained an enigmatic secret to the Spaniards.
Day 12 Free morning to return to Machu Picchu citadel. Included in your Peru holiday is a second entrance including the Huayna Picchu climb (available at 7am or 10am). Revisit your favourite areas or walk to the Sun Gate for a different perspective. In the afternoon board the Vistadome train to Poroy and transfer by road to Cuzco for your final evening.
Day 13 After travelling through the magical highlands of Peru, we recommend an extension to the lush Amazon Rainforest. Stay in Hacienda Concepcion by Inkaterra and explore the diverse wildlife of the largest rainforest in the world. Alternatively take your flight via Lima back to the UK.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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