This classic Peru holiday showcases the country's best loved natural wonders and colonial gems, including Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca. But this is far more than just a Peru holiday: this tour also travels in style aboard the Luxury Belmond Sleeper train.
Scratch beneath the surface of the capital city of Lima, a city of contrasts. Delve into the colonial treasures in the historic centre around the Plaza de Armas to cosmopolitan Miraflores or bohemian Barranco. Learn about pre-Inca history in one of the cities museums or visit a modern art gallery. The ‘White City' of Arequipa, home to the fascinating religious complex of Santa Catalina Convent is overlooked by El Misti volcano and is the gateway to the Colca Canyon.
The majestic Andean Condor is the highlight of a visit to the Colca Canyon. Early morning, the condor takes to the skies and can be viewed soaring effortlessly over the deep canyon floor. Winding roads through small, remote villages speckle the landscape until you arrive at Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. Navigate the shimmering lake to reach the tortura reed islands of Uros with indigenous communities living a traditional existence.
Step aboard the Luxury Belmond Sleeper train to travel across the barren altiplano in style. Sumptuous cabins and delicious cuisine combine for a memorable on board experience. Colonial Cuzco is a treasure chest of Inca culture waiting to be discovered. Meander the cobbled streets, visit the Plaza de Armas and admire the wondrous Cathedral. Travel by scenic train through the Sacred Valley of the Incas to reach the citadel of Machu Picchu. Feel the spirit and energy of this ancient city. Finally, relax in the mild, temperate climate of the Sacred Valley, taking in more Inca ruins, fortresses or indigenous markets.
Day 1 Depart the UK for your flight to the Peruvian capital, Lima. A city of contrast, Lima offers a host of experiences. Choose from great museums, the historic centre around the main square, Plaza de Armas, the cosmopolitan district of Miraflores or the bohemiam neighbourhood of Barranco. Firmly established on the gastronomy scene, Lima offers the best restaurant in the country, Central, which was also 4th best in the world in 2016.
Day 2 Experience the best of colonial and modern Lima. The historic centre, around the main square (Plaza de Armas) is the Government Palace, the Archbishop’s Palace, the City Hall and the Cathedral. Continue with the visit of the 17th century church and cloister of San Francisco, a world cultural heritage site and Santo Domingo Convent. En-route to the Larco Museum, stop at the modern district of San Isidro, the city's business hub. At the Larco Museums renovated hacienda house, admire the large collection of over 45,000 artefacts from Ancient Peru.
Day 3 The 'White City' of Arequipa is the second largest in Peru and perfect to ease you into altitude acclimatisation at 2330m. A cultural rich, colonial city, Arequipa is dominated by El Misti volcano and the gateway to Colca Canyon. Wander the cobbled streets and head for the cities main focus at the Plaza de Armas or admire the barroque buildings grafted from the local white volcanic sillar rock. Why not try a classic Arequipeno 'rocoto rellano', a spicy stuffed red pepper dish?
Day 4 At the Plaza de Armas, visit the city's Cathedral with its altar of Carrara marble, huge Belgian organ and magnificent pulpit. From the viewpoint at Yanahuara, admire the three volcanoes overlooking the city - Mount Misti, Mount Chachani, and Mount Pichu-Pichu. Colonial and colourful Santa Catalina Convent, built in 1579, showcases a labyrinth of quaint narrow streets and courtyards. Gain an insight into the isolated lives of the nuns who still live in this attractive building. During your free afternoon you may wish to visit the Santuarios Andinos Museum which houses the remains of Juanita, the perfectly preserved mummy of a 14-year-old girl who was sacrificed during Inca times.
Day 5 Discover one of the deepest Canyons in the World, the Colca Canyon. Leave Arequipa early morning on the winding road towards the village of Chivay in the shadow of snow-capped volcanoes, gently gaining altitude. Drive through the village of Yura to the Aguada Blanca y Salinas National Reserve, a landscaped dotted with vicuñas and guanacos grazing the land and Inca Farming Terraces. Once settling into your hotel, visit the La Calera thermo-medicinal baths in Chivay.
Day 6 For the best views of the canyon head to Cruz del Condor lookout point. This famous viewpoint is the best place, weather and season permitting, for spotting the majestic Andean Condor gliding effortlessly over the deep canyon floor. A mesmerizing scene with a truly dramatic backdrop. Depending on time, there may be an opportunity to visit other lookout points such as Choquetico, Antahuilque, and Tunturpay for sights such as hanging tombs and the lake of three colours and Collagua terraced hillsides at Antahuilque. After a local style lunch in Chivay, depart for Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca.
Day 7 Leave Puno by boat for a day of navigation on shimmering Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. Disembark at the pretty island of Taquile at an altitude of 3950m, for a short but steep walk to the highest point on the island. You will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the lake and the remarkable Cordillera Real mountains also know as the Royal Range of the Andes. As you navigate for the return to Puno visiting the totora floating reed islands of Uros. The Uros Indians live as they have done for generation, a traditional lifestyle based on fishing and now selling handicrafts.
Day 8 Belmond Andean Explorer is South America's first luxury overnight train. Travel along one of the highest train routes in the world whilst indulging in the finest Andean cuisine and Belmond style staterooms. Embark the train in preparation for your 'Spirit of the Andes' journey departing Puno at 11am. Shortly after departure lunch is then served in one of the two beautiful dining carriages, cuisine prepared with a stylish Andean flair. At the highest point on the journey, La Raya, disembark for an excursion through this beautiful, rugged area. Return on board for tea time and watch the sun set, as the luxury train continues towards Cuzco.
Day 9 As dawn breaks, feel refreshed from a great nights rest in your sumptuous cabin. A delicious breakfast awaits as the Belmond Andean Explorer continues to the Inca Capital of Cuzco. The landscape changes with more green vegetation and settlements, riding through the suburbs until you reach the heart of the city. Immerse yourself in Andean culture paired with the colonial splendours of the Spanish conquest. Easily walkable, lose yourself amongst the narrow cobblestone streets adorned with colourful textiles.
Day 10 Colonial Cuzco is a treasure chest of culture waiting to be discovered. Visit Koricancha (the Temple of the Sun, where you can view the incredible masonry of the Incas, the Plaza de Armas and the Cathedral with its carved woodworks, altars and paintings. Sacsayhuaman fortress stands majestically overlooking the city and was built from enormous stone blocks expertly shaped by the Incas. You will also visit Qenko, Puca-Pucara, and Tambomachay, important religious and administrative centres for the Incas.
Day 11 Spend another day in this intriguing city. Peruvian cuisine is an exciting mix of dishes and flavours and you can learn about these during an optional cooking class at MAP Restaurant an elegant café inside the courtyard of the Museo de Arte Precolombino. Learn how to prepare pisco drinks, an entree and main dish using local ingredients. We recommend a visit to the Pis...
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