Experience the untouched world of the Amazon rainforest. Stroll along jungle trails on the lookout for monkeys, parrots, otters and caymans, and sleep in a nature lodge lit by candles and kerosene lamps. Descend into the vast catacombs beneath Lima on an underground tour. This is a side of Peru’s capital not many people have seen. Peru is a world-class culinary destination. Visit an area unknown to tourists and try a variety of street food and authentic Peruvian desserts. Marvel at ancient Incan architecture throughout the fertile Sacred Valley, before discovering the mother of all Incan cities, magical Machu Picchu.
Lima is shrouded in history with glorious Spanish colonial buildings and grand museums dotted throughout this grand capital. The Amazon Basin contains the biggest river by volume and the largest tropical rainforest in the world. We discover the incredibly rich biodiversity of this environment on a journey by boat and on foot before returning to Lima. From Lima we fly to the former Inca stronghold of Cuzco, where we have plenty of time to soak up the colourful local life. After catching a train to the town of Aguas Calientes, we visit the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu – the lost city of the Incas. A spectacular bus journey then takes us further inland to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca, home to the fascinating floating reed islands of the Uros Indians. Spend a couple of nights on a private island on Lake titicaca. Before we arrive in Bolivia’s capital of La Paz we discover the ruins of ancient Tiahuanaco. La Paz is the highest capital city in the world and combines a modern cosmopolitan city with ancient traditions, creating a vibrant finale to our adventure.
Independent travel, without the stress. This tour has been specifically designed for independent travel for 1-4 people. It departs on any day and comes accompanied by a Peregrine guide in each location and 24/7 support from the local Peregrine office.
Services on this trip:
Please note, on this trip not all services are private. Services in the Amazon Jungle and Lake Titicaca are shared so you may be taking park in activities with likeminded travellers from other companies.
Optional Hike Add-on:
On this trip you can opt to hike the 1-day Inca Trail. More information on this trek can be found in the itinerary section your trip notes. Please contact us if you are interested in this option.
Welcome to Lima, Peru. On arrival at Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport, you'll be transferred to your hotel in the well known coastal suburb of Miraflores. In the afternoon around 2 pm, there will be a welcome briefing at the hotel with your Peregrine tour guide. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader. If you're going to be late, please inform hotel reception. Later in the day your guide will take you on a walking tour of downtown Lima, including the city's historical centre. Flanked by streets of ornate mansions, palaces and churches, Plaza Mayor is the best place to start any exploration of Lima. Take a walk through the old streets to get a feel for colonial life. On one side of the plaza is the Cathedral of Lima, which houses the remains ofLima's founder, Francisco Pizarro. Visit the nearby San Francisco Monastery, with its catacombs containing some 70,000 human remains.Continue onto the Central market where you'll take a walking tour.The market has a huge variety of fresh produce on offer, including fruits, vegetables and even guinea pigs. You'll also have the opportunity to try some local Peruvian fruits and street food. Next head away from the tourist trail and visit ‘Alameda de Chabuca Granda’ an area really only known to locals, it is a place where people go as a treat to enjoy a variety local street food and authentic Peruvian desserts such as ‘Mazamorra Morada’ a sweet porridge made from purple corn or ‘Picarones’ Peruvian donuts made from local squash called Macre and sweet potatoes served with a sweet syrup, these are a must try whilst in Peru! The tour will finish in Lima main square, with the option to go for an optional dinner in Down Town or back to Miraflores.
Puerto Maldonado (Amazon Jungle)
Fly from Lima to Puerto Maldonado today, which should take around two hours. You won't be escorted during the flight, but you will be taken to the airport in Lima and met at the airport in Puerto Maldonado. Upon arrival, the lodge staff will take you to their office in town where you'll leave the majority of your luggage in safe storage. You'll continue travelling with a small pack with only the necessary items for your next two nights in the jungle. Shortly afterwards, leave civilisation behind and venture deep into the Amazon rainforest by motorised canoe, up river to your jungle lodge in the Madre de Dios region. Posada Amazonas is a rainforest lodge that's just a 45-minute boat ride from Puerto Maldonado. The lodge is owned by the indigenous Ese-Eja community of Infierno, and offers a 30-metre canopy tower that provides spectacular views of the vast expanses of forest, Tambopata River and endless opportunities to witness Amazonian wildlife. The lodge is eco-friendly and combines low-impact architecture with traditional native style. Rooms are simple, but comfortable with flush toilets (en suite), showers (cold water only). Use your evening for relaxing and getting to know the local community.
Notes: Numerous kerosene lamps and candles provide lighting. Electricity and internet are only available in the common areas of the lodge.
Puerto Maldonado (Amazon Jungle)
This morning, head into the beating heart of the Amazon jungle with your local, multilingual guides, encountering magnificent fauna and flora in their natural habitat. Spot monkeys leaping through the trees, see multi-coloured macaws gather at a clay lick, see thousands of swirling butterflies, and keep an eye out for a family of otters. The guides can also teach you about the medicinal properties and practical uses of the plants. After your hike finishes in the afternoon, it’s time to get back in the canoe and return to Puerto Maldonado. You're then free to sit back and relax in the comfort of your lodge.
Today, travel back to Puerto Maldonado before taking the short flight to Cuzco. This flight will be unescorted, however you will be taken to the airport in Puerto Maldonado and met at the airport in Cuzco. Your local guide will take you on a orientation walk of Cuzco today. Visit the Coricancha Temple which was the empire's richest temple. Once plated in thick gold, the Spanish built a Dominican church atop its walls. You'll take a tour with a specialist guide. Soon after head to the San Pedro market, where you can practice your bargaining skills and take some colourful pictures. The tour will also stop at the Plaza de Armas in the heart of the city. Here you will see the main cathedral, built on top of an Incan palace and one of the city's greatest repositories of art. There are several impressive Incan ruins within the city.
Notes: Due to the high altitude of many of places we visit some people can suffer altitude sickness, regardless of age, gender or fitness. Please see the 'Is This Trip Right For You?' and 'Fitness' sections in the trip notes for detailed information.
During your time in Cuzco today or the Sacred Valley tomorrow, a specialist Historian guide will lead one of your included tours to an archaeological site in the area. The Historian will provide interesting insight and knowledge about Peru’s history, people and cultures that made these sights so important in the world today. Later you will have free time to further explore Cuzco. Perhaps start by visiting some of the surrounding archaeological sites including Q'enqo and Puka Pukara. For art and history, the Contemporary Art Museum, Regional History Museum and Qosqo Native Art Museum can only be accessed with a Boleto Turistico (a ticket that covers archeological and cultural sites), which is included in the cost of your trip.
Sacred Valley (Ollantaytambo)
Travel by private bus for around two hours through the Sacred Valley, on the outskirts of Cuzco. Known as Wilcamayo by the Incas, this valley was greatly treasured because of its climate, fertile land and the presence of the Urubamba (Sacred) River. Long the main source of food for the high Andes, maize crops can be seen surrounding the river and covering the terraces carved high into the valley walls. At the Sacred Valley you will visit the fortress of Sacsayhuaman where massive stone blocks that form the walls of this site give you an impressive picture of how greatly developed Inca engineering was. Looking over the city from its hilltop position, the fortress is the ultimate example of the Inca's military strength. En route to Ollantaytambo you will visit a local community to gain a greater insight into the local lifestyle. Ollantaytambo was built over an ancient Inca town, the ruins of the royal estate of Emperor Pachacuti. This is one of the few places where the Incas defeated the Spanish. It's a magnificent example of Inca urban planning and the perfect warm up for Machu Picchu. Ollantaytambo's archaeological site is located to the east of the Plaza de Armas. The upper terraces of this site offer great photo opportunities of the squared grid town below. Today you’ll see lots of evidence of the Incas' engineering skills - in the ruins of ancient aqueducts, irrigation canals, dams on the Urubamba River, imposing sets of terraces and centres of worship dedicated to Pachamama (Mother Earth).
Nestled in the cloud forest at the foot of Machu Picchu, your destination today is Aguas Calientas. Travel by train for around 90 minutes through the winding Urubamba Valley to reach the town. From here take a 30-minute bus up the winding road to Machu Picchu. where you will be joined by a guide who will take you through the ruins and tell you stories of its history and the ancestral people of the region. Looking at Machu Picchu for the first time, as it sits against a backdrop of forested mountains, is a truly breathtaking experience. No matter how many photos you've seen, it is hard to prepare for its awesome beauty. The true purpose behind Machu Picchu may always be a mystery, since no historical records of the complex exist. In fact, none were made in the first place, since the Incas had no written language. Some historians have argued it was a place of spiritual worship; others, a military stronghold, and some even think it was a prison. Most archaeologists, however, believe it to be the 15th-century headquarters of ‘he who shook the earth’, Emperor Pachacuti. You will have a guided visit (approximately 1.5-2 hours), then free time to wander around.
Notes: Due to Peregrine's internal safety policy, our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking trips to the mountaintop ruins of Wayna Picchu.
Machu Picchu- Cusco
At 5:30 am this morning, take the bus back up the winding road to Machu Picchu to take in the sunrise over this incredible sight. On your second visit to the ruins you'll have free time to explore and take any photos you may have missed yesterday. Explore more of the extraordinary architecture of the many temples, palaces and living quarters, where the mortar-free design is particularly earthquake resistant and the stones are so precisely cut that to this day not even a knife fits between them. In the afternoon, will return by bus and train to Cuzco, where you'll spend the night.
Today enjoy free time to relax, shop or explore more of Cuzco's sights. Perhaps head to a cafe on the Plaza de Armas, or for those seeking an active adventure, try mountain biking in the hills surrounding Cuzco.
Travel by bus for around 6 hours to the tiny but unique town of Puno, which will be more or less a full day's journey. This scheduled tourist service will take you on decent roads through spectacular mountain scenery, with the chance to stop at several sites along the way, including adobe Inca ruins. Along the way you'll also make a short roadside stop at La Raya, which at 4,335 metres is the highest point of your journey. You will also drive through the large sprawling town of Juliaca on your way to Puno, which is a colourful and lively place renowned for its traditional street dancing, often performed in celebration of Catholic festive days in February each year. You will then arrive in Puno, located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, a melting pot of Aymara and Quechuan Indian culture where traditional Andean customs are still strongly represented. The town is known as the folklore capital of Peru and is famous for its traditional dances. Many festivals are celebrated here, especially the Virgen de la Candelaria, so if you're lucky your visit might coincide with one of the colourful evening parades, when the streets fill with costumed dancers and musicians.
Lake Titicaca Tour/ Suasi Island
Be enchanted by the striking scenery and unique cultures on a cruise around Lake Titicaca today. As Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world, the sun can be extremely strong, so make sure you wear a hat and sunscreen, even on cloudy days. Stop by the floating Uros Islands. The Uros people constructed these islands to isolate themselves from rival tribes in ancient times. They are built completely from multiple layers of totora reeds, which grow in the shallows of the lake. Next call into Taquile Island for some woollen handicrafts. On the island, knitting is strictly a male domain, while women do the spinning. In the evening, retire to the private island of Suasi where you'll spend the night.
This morning you will visit the cultural museum on the island. Here you will find maps, pictures of the Lake, and books about history of the lake and its communities. There are handicrafts and fabrics from the different groups that developed around the Lake, types of Andean grains like quinoa, and a chance to learn about the painting process of wool. Then you will navigate across the island in Canadian canoes, passing through totora reeds and observing lake birds such as Titicaca flightless grebe, Andean geese, black skimmer, Peruvian booby and many species of gulls. On 106-hectare Suasi Island, you may see mammals such as all four species of camelids (llamas, alpacas, vicunas and guanacos) and viscachas. An easy late-afternoon walk (approximately 1-2 hours) will take you to the highest point of the island – the perfect place to witness an unforgettable sunset over the waters of Lake Titicaca.