Please call free – 0800 707 6229 - for Huge Extra Savings on Exodus Essential Peru
Discover the highlights of southern Peru, from Nazca to Arequipa. A spectacular journey through Peru's varied landscape encompassing coastal desert, snow-capped Andean peaks, the high altiplano and lush cloud forest. The most famous sites are all visited including the mysterious Nazca Lines, awe-inspiring Machu Picchu in its incredible mountaintop setting, Lake Titicaca, where the night is spent in an island homestay, and the remarkable 3000m deep Colca Canyon.
The 18 June departures in 2020 coincide with Inti Raymi Festival in Cuzco. Translated as 'Festival of the Sun' it is the most important of all Andean festivals; during this time Cuzco is filled with colourful processions and festivities. For full details on this itinerary, please call free on 0800 707 6229.
- Discover the iconic Machu Picchu by train with guided tour
- Homestay on traditional Amantani Island, Lake Titicaca
- See Colca Canyon and its soaring condors
- Wander through the colonial city of Arequipa and the Santa Catalina Convent
- Drive deep into the Andean highlands and the Apurimac Valley
- All breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 dinner
- All accommodation
- All transport and listed activities
- Tour leader throughout
- Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
- Arrival and departure transfers
- 13 nights en suite hotels and 1 night homestay
- Group normally 5 to 18, plus leader. Min. age 16 yrs
- Time spent at altitude
- Travel by internal flight, train, boat and private bus
- Several long drives and early starts
DAY 1 Fly to Lima.
The group flights arrive into Lima this evening. You will be met at the airport and transferred to our hotel in the Miraflores district of Lima. There will be a notice board in the hotel reception with details of where and when the group welcome briefing will be held.
DAY 2 Drive south along the coast and sail to the Ballestas Islands, home to the highest concentration of marine birds in the world; overnight in Ica.
We set off very early this morning (around 5.30am) and drive south from Lima until we reach the port of Paracas (4-5 hours' drive). The Ballestas Islands lie a short distance off the coast here and are home to one of the highest concentrations of seabirds in the world – we visit them by boat. On the outward journey we pass the curious pre-Inca Candelabra geoglyph, a huge (over 150m high) three-pronged trident shape etched into the sandy hillside, the origin and purpose of which remains unknown (although there are many theories).
DAY 3 On to Nazca; see the Nazca lines; optional scenic flight.
We drive towards Nazca, stopping to visit the viewing platforms overlooking the Nazca Lines. These are one of the world's great archaeological mysteries, consisting of enormous drawings and patterns etched in the desert sand. In the afternoon, for those who wish there is usually time to take a scenic flight over the Nazca Lines (additional cost), weather permitting. Due to the small planes used, this is not suitable for those with a fear of flying or who suffer from travel sickness.
DAY 4 Turn inland from coastal desert, climbing high into the Andes.
We turn inland from the coastal desert today, climbing high into the Andes on today's long (9-10 hrs) but spectacular drive. Vicuñas (a smaller wild relative of the llama) can be seen along this road, as this area is Peru's largest vicuña reserve. This region has only recently become easily accessible to tourists due to an upgrade of the Abancay/Chalhuanca road. The altitude here can make physical exertion difficult (the highest point we reach today is Negro Mayu, a high pass at approx. 4600m). It is recommended to rest in the evening. Tonight, we stay a couple of hours near to Abancay on the road to Cuzco.
DAY 5 Drive to Cuzco (3400m) visiting Inca sites on the way.
We set off towards Cuzco this morning, stopping to visit the unique Inca Saywiti stone and Tarawasi ruins. The glaciated summits of the Vilcabamba Mountain range and the descent into the Apurimac River valley demonstrate the dramatic contrasts of the Andes Mountains, and we should expect stunning scenery throughout today's 7-8 hour drive.It is recommended to take it easy upon arrival into Cuzco and to drink plenty of water to allow your body time to acclimatise to the altitude (3,400m).
DAY 6 Free day to explore Cuzco.
Today has been left free for exploring Cuzco, one of South America's most beautiful cities. The Plaza de Armas is a fantastic spot for people watching, and the Koricancha Sun Temple located in the Santo Domingo Church and monastery is worth a visit. The Mercado San Pedro is the place to try some local produce and there are many handicraft markets to shop for souvenirs such as alpaca jumpers and scarves.
DAY 7 Train to Aguas Calientes; tour of Machu Picchu.
For most people, the highlight of the trip is the visit by train to the greatest ruin in the world, the lost city of Machu Picchu. This is one of the architectural and engineering marvels of the ancient world, in a mountain setting of staggering immensity. The Spaniards never found it; the Incas left no records of it, so Machu Picchu remains a great enigma, a city lost for centuries in the jungle until it was rediscovered in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham.
We transfer to Ollantaytambo train station to catch a train to Aguas Calientes (the town below Machu Picchu). The railway line follows a beautiful route through the Urubamba River Valley. In the afternoon we take a short bus ride up the winding road to Machu Picchu for a guided tour of the ruins.
DAY 8 Free morning or optional second visit to Machu Picchu; afternoon return to Cuzco by train and by road.
Today we have a free morning to enjoy the buzz of this little town in the jungle below the ruins. There are some hot springs nearby, however they tend to suffer from overcrowding and therefore poor water quality, so are not recommended.
DAY 9 Free day for optional excursions.
We have a final chance to enjoy the sights and shopping of this beautiful city. If you fancy something more active then there is an array of optional activities available from Cuzco that your leader can organise. These include paddle-boarding on a lake, mountain biking, or a combination of via ferrata and zip-lining in the Sacred Valley.
DAY 10 Drive to Lake Titicaca (3800m), with stops en route; boat to Amantani Island for homestay.
Today we travel for 8-10 hours along the Vilcanota River and onto the altiplano, the high plains separating the Andes from the jungle. Although it is quite a long drive, the views are often spectacular. There are scheduled stops at interesting sites to help break up the day and we will get to appreciate the immensity of the Andean landscapes. This afternoon we arrive at the shores of Lake Titicaca (3800m) and board a boat for our trip to Amantani Island. Hiking around the island offers great views across the lake, whilst the night spent with a local family is a fantastic cultural insight into lives very different to our own. (A packed lunch is included today).
DAY 11 Explore the island; afternoon boat to Puno visiting the floating reed islands.
We explore the island in the morning before boarding our boat for the three-hour journey to Puno on the lakeshore. On the way, we visit the Titinos Indians, who live on islands of floating reeds and, save for a few modest concessions to the modern world, still live as their ancestors would have done centuries ago. Most tours visit the Uros islands closer to the shore but we go to the more isolated Titinos Islands for a more authentic experience.
DAY 12 Drive across the altiplano to Colca Canyon.
Today we head off across the altiplano again. This time we cross to the south west, heading back towards the coast to the high Colca Canyon (5-6 hours' drive). En route we have opportunities to see vicuñas and possibly flamingos before descending into what is considered to be the second deepest canyon in the Americas (the deepest, the Cotahuasi Canyon, is also in Peru). There is time in the evening for a visit to the hot springs near the main town of Chivay (3635m) – a warming pleasure after the chill of Lake Titicaca.
DAY 13 Morning condor viewing; afternoon drive past huge volcanoes to the 'White City' of Arequipa (2350m).
An early start to view condors soaring on the morning drafts rising out of the canyon. Extensive terraces, stunning colonial churches, and burial tombs are viewed before we ascend out of the canyon and cross Patapampa Pass (4910m) on our way to Arequipa, known as the 'White City' due to the pale volcanic stone used to construct many of its colonial buildings. The picturesque city enjoys a year-round pleasant climate and is surrounded by 6000m volcanoes, including the near-perfect cone of El Misti.
DAY 14 Morning visit Santa Catalina Convent; afternoon fly to Lima.
In the morning we visit the huge and serene convent of Santa Catalina. Built in 1580 and only opened to the outside world in the 1970s, it offers a rare insight into the lives led by the nuns and has changed little through the centuries. There are still around 20 nuns living in the northern corner of the complex. In the afternoon or evening we fly to Lima where will transfer to our hotel in Miraflores.
DAY 15 Depart Lima.
There is time today for optional tours of Lima including visits to the Gold Museum and tours of the historic downtown before we are transferred to the airport in the afternoon for the overnight flight to London.
DAY 16 Arrive London.
The group flights arrive in London this afternoon.
Hotels, Titicaca homestay
13 nights hotels, all en suite, 1 night homestay with basic shared facilities.
Throughout this tour you stay in carefully selected 3-star hotels with en suite bathroom facilities throughout, with the exception of one night on Amantani Island. Most hotels have a safety deposit box in the room but if not, there will be one at reception.
In Lima stay at Hotel El Tambo 1, located in the upmarket Miraflores District - Larco Mar shopping mall is within walking distance as is the trendy Barranco District, where you'll find a wide variety of restaurants and nightlife.
Exodus usually stay in Villa Jazmin in Ica, which offers large rooms and an outdoor swimming pool.
Near to Abancay stay at Tampumayu, which is a hacienda style property - a little rustic but full of character and there's a pretty little church within its grounds.
In Cuzco stay at one of the well-known Casa Andina properties, Casa Andina Koricancha, which is ideally located within walking distance of the main square and the Koricancha 'Sun Temple'.
For the Machu Picchu visit spend a night at Inti Punku El Tambo in Aguas Calientes; a simple yet contemporary hotel.
The most basic accommodation is in Chivay and Arequipa but it serves its purpose for a night. Casona Plaza Hotel in Puno has a local 4-star local rating, is centrally located, and has a lovely restaurant area.
On Amantani Island on Lake Titicaca, the group will split up overnight to stay with local families. The rooms are basic but clean and your beds will have sheets and plenty of blankets. There are outside toilets and washbasins. The lack of electricity or road noise (there are no roads!) and the starlit sky on clear nights makes for a truly peaceful and serene experience.
Please note, prices listed are guide prices only and are based on 2 people sharing and don't include any additional supplements. Holiday prices are fluid and dynamic and may be changed at a moment's notice, prior to booking, at which point they are confirmed. Please call the team free on 0800 707 6229 for more departure dates available and a quote.
32 Years experience
9.8 out of 10 on Trust Pilot