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This intriguing country is like nowhere you’ve been before, where Incan ruins, lost civilisations and intoxicating landscapes are king.
Day 1 UK/Lima via Bogot
Depart on your scheduled flight to Lima via Bogot. On arrival on the morning of day 2, we’ll transfer you to your overnight hotel. If you are travelling on a regional flight, you’ll arrive late evening of day 1, and we’ll transfer you to your hotel, where you’ll stay for two nights.
Day 2 Lima
You’ll get to see the highlights of Lima on an included tour this morning. The ‘City of Kings’ was founded in 1535 by the Spanish Conquistador, Francisco Pizarro, and eventually became the capital of the whole Spanish colony. Much of the city’s colonial influence can still be seen today beautiful squares, fine churches, palaces and mansions remain little changed from the 17th century, while the architecture and culture of the Incas and the native Indians are also very much in evidence.
Day 3 Paracas
Today we’ll travel by road to our overnight base, Paracas. Our journey takes us along the Pan American Highway, which cuts through a barren desert landscape. We’ll stop at the site of the ancient Pachacamac Temple, considered one of the most important religious centres of the central Andes. We’ll be transported back to pre-Incan times as we explore the ruins, which consist ofadobe walls and pyramids, and the remains of early frescoes.
Day 4 Nazca
We’re taking to the water today for a fascinating cruise around the Ballestas Islands. This protected wildlife reserve provides shelter for many different species. On your cruise, keep a lookout for Humboldt penguins, sea lions and more. Later we’ll travel to Nazca for an overnight stay.
Day 5 Arequipa
Sit back, relax and take in lovely coastal views as you journey by road to Arequipa. You’ll stay in this colonial-era city for the next two nights.
Day 6 Arequipa
You’ll understand why Arequipa is known as the ‘White City’ after this morning’s tour. This picturesque gem is loomed over by ice-capped volcanoes and as you explore you’ll see that many of its buildings are made from white volcanic rock. We’ll step inside the Museum of Andean Sanctuaries, to see archaeological finds from the Andes, in particular the ‘Ice Maiden of Ampato’. Believed to have been the victim of ritual sacrifice, this young girl’s mummified body is believed to have been buried at the top of the Ampato Volcano in the 16th century. Next, we head to the Santa Catalina Convent, a masterpiece of colonial architecture.The complex, which stretches over 20,000 square metres, is organised into cloisters, living quarters, a plaza, gallery and a chapel. This afternoon has been left free for you to spend at leisure.
Day 7 Colca
After setting off early this morning, a scenic drivetakes us through a rugged volcanic landscape to the Colca Canyon, whose steep walls are deeper than the Grand Canyon. This is one of the best places in South America to spot the iconic Andean condor.Thismagnificent bird of prey is one of the largest in the world, so keep your eyes skyward and hope for a sighting. We’ll stay in Colca overnight.
Day 8 Puno
Our next base is Puno, located on the shores of Lake Titicaca. As we drive here today we’ll stop off at the remote burial site at Sillustani, hilltop ruins set on a peninsula above Lake Umayo. Here you’ll learn about thereligious rituals of the pre-Inca Colla people, and see the well-preserved stone towers they used as graves for their chiefs and nobles.
Day 9 Puno
You’re going to enjoy superb close-up views of sacred Lake Titicaca and the Uros floating islands this morning. The world’s highest navigablelake sits 12,500ft up in the Andes and covers a huge area of 3,500 squaremiles. It forms a natural border between Bolivia and Peru, and is the legendary birthplace of the Incas. Spend the afternoon in Puno exploring at your own pace.
Day 10 Cuzco
Your journey today is sure to be a wonderful experience as you cross the high plateau of the Andes. As you go, take in exceptional scenic views and get an insight into traditional rural life. Your end destination is Cuzco, where a four-night stay will give you plenty of time to explore.
Day 11 Cuzco
Today has been left free for you to make your own discoveries in Cuzco. Alternatively, if you’d like to join an optional excursion, why not come with us to the Sacred Valley. This day of exploration begins in Chinchero, a typical Andean village, where we’re invited into a local home to meet a craftsman who will tell us all about the production of traditional textiles. The village is also home to a beautiful adobe church built in the early 1600s by the Spanish, and Inca ruins dating back to the 15th century. Prior to lunch in a restaurant we’ll head to the Racchi viewpoint to take in amazing views over the Sacred Valley. In the afternoon we arrive at Ollantaytambo, an Incan military, religious and agricultural centre located at the top of a mountain. This fortress settlement is one of the few places where the Spanish colonists were defeated by the Incas. The present town, which we will explore, largely follows its original Inca plan, with stone-paved streets and a number of ruins remaining.
Day 12 Machu Picchu
You’ve seen many of Peru’s incredible sights so far on your tour, but today offers something really special. You’re going to get the chance to explore the famous ‘lost city’ of Machu Picchu. Perched high above a steep valley and swathed in jungle, this Inca complex lay hidden away for centuries until it was rediscovered quite by accident in 1911. Your journey here is by narrow gauge railway, with the last part by bus. On the mist-shrouded mountain tops you’ll set off to explore in the company of a Local Guide, who will help you to uncover its splendour. You’ll also be able to wander through the temples and terraces at your own pace and take in spectacular views of the lush greenUrubamba Valley thousands of feet below.
Day 13 Cuzco
There’s plenty to see in Cuzco, so let’s head off to explore. We’re going to start at a school in the Choco rural community which is supported by the Travelsphere Cares project, before heading to the Koricancha Temple. This ancient Inca palace was the centre of worship of the Sun God. In Cuzco’s main square you’ll step inside the cathedral, and your tour ends with a visit to the Sacsayhuamn fortress, an impressive example of Inca military architecture.
Day 14 Cuzco
Today we’ll transfer you to the airport for your flight to the UK via Lima and Bogot.
Day 15 UK via Bogot
You’ll arrive back in the UK today.