For those short on time or just seeking a taste of Peru's most famous sights look no further than Peru Express. Starting in the capital Lima, stay in the Miraflores district; home to Lima's famous clifftops overlooking the Pacific and some of the city's best restaurants. Visit the historic downtown area and discover colonial-era Lima and its eclectic mix of old and new.
High in the Andes, Cuzco is the capital of the Inca Empire. Cobbled streets and striking architecture reflects Peru's ancient past and rich history. Indigenous markets interwoven with ancient Inca ruins are found in the Sacred Valley. A gateway between the city of Cuzco and the famous Machu Picchu, this area is more than just a stop off with a host of exciting activities and interaction with locals dressed in vibrant, traditional clothes.
The highlight of the trip is travelling by train to Machu Picchu, the famous Inca Citadel lost in time since the 15th century and discovered in 1911. Nestled between picturesque peaks and with a dramatic backdrop of cloud forest covered mountains, take time to learn and explore about this magical area.
Continue on across the altiplano to the shimmering Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigable lake and home to the famous man-made floating Uros Islands and some of Peru's most spectacular scenery.
Peru Express is based on standard accommodation throughout.
Day 1 Depart the UK in the evening on an overnight flight to Lima via Bogota. (If you prefer a direct service with British Airways, please ask your Rainbow Travel Specialist).
Day 2 This morning, arrive early into Lima and transfer to your hotel for immediate check-in. Relax and freshen up before venturing out in the afternoon for a half day private city tour. Historic downtown Lima, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with many of the key sights close to the Plaza de Armas (main square). Visit the Government Palace, the Cathedral, the Archbishop’s Palace, and the City Hall. Admire the contrast of the historic area to the modern. For incredible views over the Pacific Ocean stop at the “Parque del Amor” (Park of Love). Stop at the Larco Museum, where on display is an unequalled private collection called the Treasures of Ancient Peru; it inspires its visitors to discover, learn about, and enjoy the more than five thousand years of the history of ancient Peru through its more than 45,000 artefacts.
Day 3 Today transfer to the airport to fly to Cuzco, the gateway to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley for the Incas. Upon arrival, you will be driven the Sacred Valley to help acclimatize gently to the altitude, on the way making a stop at Pisac’s famous colourful handicraft market. Spend the next 2 nights here surrounded by beautiful Andean countryside and explore this incredibly scenic area from your charming hotel.
Day 4 Today is at leisure. The Sacred Valley is home to small indigenous villages, colourful markets and welcoming locals. Experience their ancestral way of life and admire their beautiful traditional attire. Venture along the scenic winding roads and perhaps visit Ollantaytambo fortress, a monumental architectural complex from Incan times and wander the cobbled streets of the nearby town. An adventure hub; outdoor enthusiasts will find an endless list of activities such as white-water rafting, mountain biking, trekking and horse riding.
Day 5 Today travel by train to the spectacular Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. Dramatically located between high mountain peaks and where cloud forest covered mountains act as a backdrop, the famous site does not fail to take visitors breaths away. This is the meeting point of the Peruvian Andes and the Peruvian Amazon. On a guided tour, learn about the Inca history of this magical place, how this 550-year old citadel was so advanced for its time and then lost in time for centuries. Spend the night in the town nearby in Aguas Calientes.
Day 6 This morning is at leisure or alternatively take the opportunity to return to Machu Picchu at sunrise and perhaps climb Huyana Picchu for a panoramic view of the citadel. In the afternoon, from Aguas Calientes board the train once again for the scenic journey to Cuzco, the once Inca capital. Historic pre-Columbian architecture, ornate baroque churches combined with a modern restaurant scene and lively nightlife make for a memorable stay. Stay in the heart of the city and explore its picturesque cobblestoned winding streets.
Day 7 On a half day city tour, immerse yourself in the history of Cuzco, where Spanish colonial architecture collides with ancient Inca traditions. Visit the Plaza de Armas (main square) flanked by the Cathedral with its impressive colonial art, Koricancha Temple, an old Incan palace and main centre for the worship of the sun god, Inti. Rainbow Tours recommends venturing up to the bohemian white-washed neighbourhood of San Blas and visiting the nearby Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman. Located on the hill overlooking the city, marvel at the spectacular views across the terracotta roofs surrounded by the Andes mountains.
Day 8 Today travel over the altiplano by road to Lake Titicaca. The scenery is second to none as you pass high Andean peaks, mountain streams, herds of Vicuñas and small remote villages. At an altitude of 3800m and straddling the border between Peru and Bolivia, Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world. It's electric blue waters are a spectacular site against the bright sky and snow-capped Andean mountains. The Uros floating reed islands, Taquile and Amantaní are some of the many islands on the lake, home to some of Peru's oldest peoples and where traditional ways of life still predominate. Spend the next two nights in Puno.
Day 9 The trip begins early as you head out of the city of Puno towards Taquile Island. The culture on the island dates back to Pre-Incan times and the islanders still live according to the traditions and beliefs of their ancestors and are world renowned for their lovely outfits and incredible textiles. UNESCO has declared the textile art of Taquile Island as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Next, while still on the island, you will visit the community of Huayllano, whose members will show you their normal artistic, handicraft, and farming activities. After this time of sharing, you will enjoy a traditional lunch and then sail over to the famous Uros Islands, a set of man-made floating islands in the middle of the Lake Titicaca National Reserve. Here, you will meet the islanders, hunters and gatherers and descendants of the first altiplano inhabitants, who still live on totora reed platforms.
Day 10 Today you will depart Puno and fly to Lima for your onward connecting flight to the UK via Bogota.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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