Peru Explorer

Resort:Peru Explorer
Operator: Exodus
Destination: Peru
Price From: £3749.00


An in-depth discovery of southern Peru from the Andes to the Amazon

This trip is the perfect introduction to the highlights of one of the most diverse countries in South America. Our journey contrasts the incomparable scenery of the Andes with the lush vegetation of the Amazon Rainforest and the barren coastal desert, as we discover ancient cities, buildings and fortresses of colossal size in settings of amazing beauty. For walking enthusiasts, there is the option to trek the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu(at no extra cost), and for wildlife lovers, the Ballestas Islands and the rainforest are sure to impress.


* Discover the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu and the colonial cities of Cuzco and Arequipa * Have the option to walk the classic Inca Trail, at no extra cost must be requested at time of booking * Spend two nights deep in the Amazon * Visit Lake Titicaca’s traditional island communities * See beautiful Arequipa plus Colca Canyon and its condors


Day 1 Fly to Lima.

The trip starts in Lima today. Those on the group flights from London will arrive this evening. *Hotel El Tambo 1 (or similar)*

Day 2 Free morning; afternoon city tour.

This morning has been left free, and in the afternoon we have a tour of colonial and modern Lima. We visit the modern residential district of Lima (Miraflores) and then explore the historic downtown area. We will discover the Plaza de Armas, Basilica Cathedral and Government Palace (also known as House of Pizarro) as we take a short walk around the colonial centre. We also visit the incredible Church of San Francisco, which houses one of the oldest libraries in the Americas and sits on top of a labyrinthine network of catacombs complete with the bones of Lima’s wealthy eighteenth and nineteenth-century residents. This evening perhaps take a visit to the bohemian district of Barranco for some local food and a taste of the famous Pisco Sour, Perus national cocktail. *Hotel El Tambo 1 (or similar)*

Day 3 Drive to Paracas, visiting Pachacamac and Pucusana.

We drive south from Lima today, visiting Pachacamac Fortress, the Incas’ largest coastal city at the time of the conquest. We stop for a late lunch of fresh seafood at the attractive fishing village of Pucusana. A stroll around the village where the day’s catch is displayed at the market and a boat ride around the bay (subject to weather conditions) offer great insight into a contemporary Peruvian coastal town. We continue southwards to the town of Paracas where we spend the night. *Hotel Gran Palma (or similar)*

Day 4 Sail to Ballestas Islands; continue to Nazca via Ica.

A short drive from our hotel takes us to the port where we board our launch to visit the world famous Ballestas Islands, a national park which contains the highest concentration of marine birds in the world. There are sea lions and numerous species of birds on the islands themselves and we will also see the Paracas Candelabra, a curious pre-Inca design on the cliff-face, only recognisable from the sea. We drive on to Nazca in the afternoon and visit the viewing platforms close to the famous Nazca Lines. These are one of the world’s great archaeological mysteries, consisting of enormous figures and patterns etched in the desert sand, best seen from the elevated position of the viewing platforms. There should also be time for optional visits to the nearby Antonini archaeological museum, a pre-Inca cemetery, or the Nazca Aqueduct, which gives an insight into the Nazca civilisation’s ingenious subterranean irrigation system. *Hotel Alegria (or similar)*

Day 5 Drive along coast then turn inland to Arequipa (2350m).

Today we have along drive (approx. 10 hrs) south through the coastal desert, with great views of the dunes and the Pacific Ocean, before heading inland into the mountains on the road to Arequipa. **Su Majestad*Hotel (or similar)*

Day 6 Arequipa city tour, including Santa Catalina Convent.

Arequipa is a beautiful colonial city set in a fertile oasis, with many historic buildings characterised by their use of white volcanic stone from the nearby Misti, whose dramatic cone dominates the town. In the morning we visit the Cathedral, the Jesuit church of La Compaia and the huge serene convent of Santa Catalina, which retains typical features from the 16th and 17th centuries and is a peaceful refuge for the nuns who still live here today. *Su MajestadHotel (or similar)*

Day 7 Drive to Colca Canyon.

A spectacular drive takes us to the Colca Canyon, one of the world’s deepest canyons. On the way we pass volcanoes and will almost certainly see vicuas in the highlands before we cross the Patapampa Pass (4910m) which marks the descent into the canyon itself. As we take the winding road to the town of Chivay, the sight of the green and fertile terraces of the canyon is a real contrast to the barren yet beautiful landscapes we have travelled through for most of the day. This is the first day where we may feel the effects of altitude although we do not linger at the top of the pass, we spend the night at around 3600m and so it is a good idea to take it easy on arrival. *Hotel Pozo del Cielo, Chivay (or similar)*

Day 8 To Colca Canyon; explore and search for condors.

Today we have a full day exploring the Colca Canyon, starting with a visit to the Cruz del Condor, the best place to see the mighty Andean condors as they glide on the morning thermals. We also see ancient tombs which line the cliffs on one side of the canyon, and make stops in the villages along the way which house several interesting colonial churches. Depending on time, we may take a short walk along farm tracks to learn more about the agriculture on which the whole region is dependent. After a long day of exploration, an optional visit to the hot springs near Chivay this evening is a wonderful way to relax. *Hotel Pozo del Cielo, Chivay (or similar)*

Day 9 Drive via Sillustani to Puno (3800m), by Lake Titicaca.

Today, we drive through the mountains to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca. En route we have opportunities to see vicuas before making a short visit to the unique burial towers (chullpas) of Sillustani. The altitude here (3800m) makes physical effort very tiring and the evenings are very cold, so taking time to rest is highly recommended. *Casona Plaza Hotel (or similar)*

Day 10 Morning explore lake shore; afternoon sail to floating reed islands

We have a full day on and around Lake Titicaca today.In the morning we will visit a local market in Acoradistrict where the local people still use a barter system to trade with those living in other areas of the high plateau. Later in the morning we will take a short walk designed to highlight the culture of the indigenous groups who inhabit the smallvillages alongside the lake. In the afternoon we will visit the descendants of the Uros People who live on islands of floating reeds; fishing and weaving remain key elements of their daily life and save for a few modest concessions to the modern world, they still live as their ancestors would have done centuries ago. These days, however, tourism has had a significant economic impact on their lives. *Casona Plaza Hotel (or similar)*

Day 11 Drive across the altiplano to Cuzco (3400m).

Today we take a bus ride across the altiplano, the high plains separating the Andes from the jungles. Although it is quite a long drive (approx. 10hrs), it is often spectacular. There are scheduled stops to visit some of the most interesting sites to help break up the day and appreciate the immensity of the Andean landscapes. These include La Raya Pass (4313m), the watershed and geographical dividing line between the altiplano and the Vilcanota Valley where Raqchi Inca temple is located. We arrive in Cuzco (3400m) in the evening. *Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha(or similar)*

Day 12 Morning Stand-up Paddle boarding; afternoon cooking class

This morning we will travel to nearby Piuray Lagoon where will spend the morning paddle-boarding surrounded by stunning scenery of mountains and terraced fields. In the afternoon well enjoy a cooking class, learning all about different plants and herbs used in Peruvian cooking and how to prepare traditional food and drink. After our lesson well have time to enjoy a well-deserved dinner weve prepared ourselves! *Meals Included -*/ breakfast/ *Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar)*

Day 13 Free day in Cuzco for optional activities

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 Qorikancha the Sun Temple, located in the Santo Domingo Church and monastery, are 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. Outside the town are more Inca ruins, notably the fortress of Sacsayhuaman where the Inca armies made their last stand against the Conquistadores. Cuzco is also the gateway to the Sacred Valley of the Incas and should you wish to visit the sites, your leader can help organise an excursion, including Pisac Market (optional). If you fancy something more active then there are an array of other optional activities available from Cuzco including mountain biking or a combination of via ferrata and zip-lining in the Sacred Valley. *Meals Included* /- breakfast/ *Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar)*

Day 14 Visit Pisac market and Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley.

This morning, we head out of Cuzco to the colourful handicraft market at Pisac, at the entrance to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. After some free time to browse the stalls, we take a walking tour of the huge Inca ruins above the village. We enjoy a traditional ‘pachamanca’ lunch today, whereby the food is wrapped up and buried in the earth along with hot stones which cook it slowly. After lunch, we drive down the valley to Ollantaytambo where we visit the immense Inca fortress and explore the unique village whose streets still follow the pre-conquest grid plan. *Meals Included* – /breakfast, lunch/ *Tunupa Lodge (or similar)*

Day 15 Free morning in Ollantaytambo and then travel to Aguas Calientes

We have a free morning to explore Ollantaytambo and then make the scenic train journey through theUrubamba River Valley to Aguas Calientes (approx. 1 hour 30 minutes), arriving in the afternoon. The rest of the day has been left free to explore at your own leisure. Aguas Calientes is a bustling town with a large handicraft market (although prices here are at a premium in comparison to Pisac or Cuzco markets). There are some nearby hot springs, however they are often overcrowded and the water quality suffers as a result, therefore we don’t recommend visiting them. *Meals Included* – /breakfast/ *Hotel Inti Punku El Tambo (or similar)*

Day 16 Morning guided tour of Machu Picchu; afternoon return to Cuzco.

In order to beat the day-trippers arriving from Cuzco and reach the ruins as early as possible, a very early start is required to queue for Machu Picchu; only government-registered buses can make the 30-minute drive up the winding road to the site entrance and during high season (May-October) queues can be hours long. Machu Picchu is one of the architectural and engineering marvels of the ancient world and what makes it all the more dramatic is its mountain backdrop of staggering immensity. The Spaniards never found it; the Incas left no records of it, and so Machu Picchu remained a great enigma, a city lost for centuries in the jungle until it was rediscovered in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham. New regulations for visiting Machu Picchu are now fully enforced; of the three possible visiting slots, Exodus will purchase the morning slot from 06:00 until 12:00 (unless unavailable), you will be limited to a maximum of four hours within the site and must be accompanied by a guide. There will also be three set routes to follow around Machu Picchu; Exodus selects the most comprehensive route. Please note that exploring the ruins involves a reasonable amount of walking, including up and down steep and uneven stone steps. We catch an afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo (1hr 30 mins) and continue by private bus to Cuzco (2hrs 30 mins). *Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar)*

Day 17 Tour of Cuzco and Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman.

We have a full-day tour combining the highlights in and around the city. Outside the town are Inca ruins, notably the fortress of Sacsayhuaman where the Inca armies made their last stand against the Conquistadores. In the centre, we visit the Plaza de Armas, and many examples of the famous Inca stonework like those of the Qoricancha Sun Temple located in the Santo Domingo church and Monastery. *Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar)*

Day 18 Fly to Puerto Maldonado; travel by boat into rainforest; afternoon jungle walk.

We leave Cuzco early today as we take a short flight to Puerto Maldonado (please note that due to poor flight availability, on some departures this flight will connect through Lima and be considerably longer), a small town in the rainforest. On arrival, we transfer to the dock for a boat trip to our lodge in the Tambopata Reserve this journey takes between 1 and 3 hours depending on which lodge we stay in. On the way, we may see caimans, river turtles and waterfowl. After some time to settle in, we will take a short walk along the forest trails near the lodge to look for nocturnal animals. *Cayman Lodge Amazonia (or similar)*

Day 19 Jungle exploration by boat and on foot.* *

Activities today will vary according to the lodge used, but will generally include a mixture of walks along the forest trails, time spent in canoes to explore rainforest lakes, and the opportunity to go high into the canopy for a completely different view of the forest. The resident guides are normally around in the evening to answer questions, and from some lodges (not all) there is the option to take a canoe out onto the river in search of caiman by torchlight. *Cayman Lodge Amazonia (or similar)*

Day 20 Fly to Lima; depart.

We return to Puerto Maldonado after breakfast today and board our flight back to Lima, where the trip ends. Depending on our arrival time, there may be time for last-minute shopping or optional excursions this afternoon before the group flights depart in the evening. **

Day 21 Arrive London.

The group flights arrive in London this afternoon. **