Sacred PeruReference WW41238
This 12-day tour offers a fantastic taste of the best Peru has to offer. Starting and finishing in the capital city of Lima, you will journey through colonial cities, ancient ruins and snow-capped mountains whilst experiencing the region's traditional culture and stunning scenery.
Arrive at any time.
On arrival in Lima, you will be met by your local representative and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Known as the 'City of the Kings', today's tour combines the culture of historic downtown Lima with the modern district of Miraflores. You will first visit the main square to see the Cathedral, Government Palace and City Hall. Next see one of the best-preserved monasteries in Lima, the beautiful Santo Domingo Convent and then on to Miraflores, a bustling shopping area with stupendous views of the Pacific Ocean. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Arequipa to spend the night.
With its large traditional square and colonial buildings, Peru's second largest city Arequipa has a very Spanish feel. Known as the 'Cuidad Blanca' (White City) and set against the backdrop of the misty volcano, Arequipa offers some truly wonderful cultural and historic sites including the Church of the Society of Jesus, the frescoes of America's Sistine Chapel at the San Ignacio Dome and the labyrinth Santa Catalina Convent. The tour ends with a relaxed walk around the local areas of Cayma and Yanahuara. The rest of the afternoon and evening are at leisure.
Today the tour moves on to the open plains of the Pampa Canaguas and Salinas where you will see llamas, alpacas, and guanacos roaming in the wild. The wetlands are teeming with different species of birdlife, and Patapampa, a high point offers stunning vistas of volcanoes. After about a five hour drive you arrive at Chivay, your base for the night where dinner is included.
An early start from Chivay sets you up for a spectacular scenic tour of the Colca Canyon with its terraced fields, hanging tombs and deep gorges, all culminating with a chance to see the majestic condors as they rise deep from within the canyon. You will then make your way back to the hotel and after lunch, commence your journey to Puno, arriving in the evening where dinner at your hotel is included.
Today's highlight is a trip to Lake Titicaca, the highest and largest navigable lake on earth. The views from Taquile Island that, on a clear day, can stretch to Bolivia are stunning and well worth the hour or so walk to the top from the port. Have a 'coca tea' break half way up before lunch is taken in a simple restaurant that overlooks the lake. Later you will walk back down to the port and board a boat for a brief visit to one of the floating reed islands to visit a local family home. Overnight is in Puno.
This morning you will travel from Puno to Cusco and be able to appreciate the surrounding valleys' wonderful landscapes en route. The journey includes a stop at La Raya pass, 4,300 metres above sea level, from where you will be able to take in some amazing vistas of the Andean snow-capped mountains. You will also stop at the Raqchi ruins, known as the Temple of the God Wiracocha, and Andahuaylillas village where there is a beautiful church from the 17th century. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before arriving in Cusco and transferring to your hotel.
Today the tour heads for Urubamba, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, where one of the highlights is a visit to the imposing Inca Fortress at Ollantaytambo. En route you will visit a camelid compound to see these unique animals at close quarters as well as the colourful Pisac market where local Indians display and sell their handmade artefacts. Lunch is in a comfortable restaurant then the journey continues to reach your hotel for an overnight stay in the valley.
Machu Picchu is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and this morning you will be taken to the station to board the Vistadome train to start your adventure to this incredible site. The train will take you to the city of Aguas Calientes where you disembark and board a bus to the archaeological site. Constructed on a saddle between two Andean peaks, Machu Picchu was one of the greatest achievements of South American civilisation. After a guided tour of this 550-year-old citadel, there is some free time for you to explore and absorb the awe-inspiring atmosphere. You will then descend back to Aguas Calientes for lunch, then catch the train back to Ollantaytambo and return to Cusco by coach.
This morning's city tour of Cusco will introduce you to this amazing colonial city built on the foundation of Inca palaces. Visit the 'Temple of the Sun' where you can appreciate the incredible masonry of the Incas, the Plaza de Armas and the Cathedral with its carved woodworks, altars and paintings. Later you will drive to the Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman, then to the underground cave and temple of Kenko - one of the largest wak'as (holy places) in the region. Experience a panoramic view of Puca Pucara and, finally, stop at the living art workshop, 'Inka's Expression' to admire how the local artisans create wonderful silver pieces, paintings and wood carvings.
Transfer to the airport for your domestic flight to the UK via Bogota, Colombia.