Join a specialist historian guide on one of your included visits to an archaeological site in Cusco. Your guide will provide fascinating insights and knowledge of Peru’s history and culture. Relax into a two-night Peregrine Feature Stay at the private island of Suasi on the Lake Titicaca. Watch the sun go down at the highest point of the island while enjoying a picnic and drinks. Experience an untouched world of the Amazon rainforest, strolling along jungle trails on the lookout for monkeys, parrots, otters and caymans, and sleep in a nature lodge lit by candles and kerosene lamps. Marvel at ancient Inca architecture throughout the fertile Sacred Valley, before discovering the mother of all Inca cities – magical Machu Picchu – with your small group
Capture the true essence of spectacular South America on a 25-day cultural odyssey through the region’s best of the best. This journey showcases the continent’s diversity of natural beauty, historic wonder and world-class cuisine, passing by the Andes and the Amazon, Mendoza and the majestic Machu Picchu, La Paz and Lake Titicaca, the Sacred Valley and sultry Santiago, all the way to the Argentinian powerhouse of Buenos Aires. Gain an insight into ancient Inca culture and local communities, indulge in fine food and some of the region’s best wine, and discover the raw feeling of truly understanding what a place is like – away from the tourist traps and cash grabs – with expert local knowledge at every step.
Welcome to Lima, Peru. On arrival at Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport, you'll be transferred to your hotel in Miraflores. In the afternoon around 2 pm, there will be a welcome briefing at the hotel with your Peregrine tour guide. Straight after the meeting your leader 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. Continue onto the central market which 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. This 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). You will finish in Lima main square, you may choose to stay downtown for dinner or take an included transfer back to Miraflores.
Puerto Maldonado (Amazon Jungle)
This morning starts nice an early with a transfer to Lima Airport at approximately 5.30 am. Fly from Lima to Puerto Maldonado today, which should take around 3 hours, including a 30-45 minute stop in Cusco (during this stop you will not disembark the plane). The flight will arrive into Puerto Maldonado airport just before 12 pm (midday). Take a short drive to the lodge's office in town. Upon arrival, you will be provided with a small duffle bag to pack your personal items required for the duration of your jungle stay. The remainder of your items will be stored securely in the office. From the office it's about an hours' drive to the Port of Inferno. 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. During the boat journey you will be given a packed lunch provided by the lodge. Upon arrival at the lodge it's a 15-20 minute walk, and you won't be required to carry your bags. Once you arrive, there is time to unpack and unwind before a short orientation and briefing. After dinner your local guide will take you out into the jungle on a night walk.
Puerto Maldonado (Amazon Jungle)
Embrace another early start (approximately 4.30 am) and visit the Oxbow Lake. The activity begins with a walk through the jungle. It will take you approximately 30-40 minutes to reach the Lake. Once at the Lake you’ll board a catamaran to take a slow ride around. Keep your eyes peeled for Squirrel Monkey troops that sometimes forage in bushes at the edge of the lake. Overhead, spectacular Scarlet and Red and Green Macaws and parrots are a regularly seen as they fly over the Lake. After the boat ride you’ll take the same path back to the lodge, arriving late morning at approximately 11 am, depending on the group's pace. Soon after you’ll head back out on a 20-minute walk through the rainforest to a clay lick visited by 7 to 10 species of parrots and parakeets. While watching from a blind, you’ll be able to get very close to view the Dusky-headed and Cobalt-winged Parakeets, Chestnut-fronted Macaws with Mealy, Yellow-crowned, Blue-headed, and Orange-cheeked Parrots. After this you’ll walk back to the lodge for lunch. There will some free time until mid-afternoon when you’ll head out for the final activity of the day. A 20-minute boat ride downriver from the lodge brings you to Centro Nap – a traditional community clinic that produces medicines from rainforest plants and administers them to patients who either cannot afford to receive treatment in town or prefer traditional medicines. An Eseeja nativa from the Community of Infierno will take you on a unique tour of Centro Nape to explain the uses of various medicinal plants. Head back to the lodge around 6 pm and enjoy some free time before dinner. After dinner head out on an optional night jungle walk.
This morning at approximately 8 am, travel back to Puerto Maldonado before taking a short flight (approximately 35 minutes) to Cusco. The flight will arrive into Cusco at approximately 1.30 pm. After settling in at the hotel, embark on an orientation walk of the hotel's surrounding area and Plaza de Armas. This tour will also include a visit to the Cusco Cathedral with a specialist historian guide. Your guide will be highly educated in colonial art, and will be able to offer special insights into Cusco Cathedral, which is a World Heritage-listed site.
Your leader will take you on walking tour of Cusco today. Visit the Coricancha Temple for a tour with a local guide. Once plated in thick gold, the Spanish built a Dominican church atop its walls. Afterwards, 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 again see the main cathedral (this time from the front only), built on top of an Incan palace and one of the city's greatest repositories of art.
Sacred Valley (Ollantaytambo)
This morning, travel by private bus for around 2 hours through the Sacred Valley on the outskirts of Cusco. 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. 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, visit workshops in the Chichubamba community to gain a greater insight into the local lifestyle with an included lunch and visit to some local workshops. After the community visit, continue on to Ollantaytambo. Ollantaytambo is 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). Late afternoon head to the hotel in Ollantaytambo and settle in for night.
Your destination today is Aguas Calientas, nestled in the cloud forest at the foot of Machu Picchu. Early this morning at approximately 7.45am you will travel by train for around 90 minutes through the meandering 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. 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. Most archaeologists, however, believe it to be the 15th-century headquarters of ‘he who shook the earth’: Emperor Pachacuti. Today, enjoy a guided visit (approximately 1.5–2 hours) with plenty of photo opportunities. Due to visiting restrictions at Machu Picchu, we recommend exploring the Sun Gate and Inka Bridge before your guided tour starts. Your leader can advise how to get the most out of your visit. Later, take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes to spend the night before heading back up to Machu Picchu first thing in the morning for your second visit.
At around 5.30 am this morning, take the bus back up the winding road to Machu Picchu. On your second visit to the ruins, join a local Machu Picchu guide once again to explore more of the extraordinary architecture of the many temples, palaces and living quarters. Its 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! You'll have time along the way to take any photos you may have missed yesterday. In the afternoon, return by bus and train to Cusco, where you'll spend the night. In the evening, perhaps head out for a celebratory dinner with your group in the city.
Today, enjoy free time to relax, shop or explore more of Cusco's sights. Perhaps head to a cafe on the Plaza de Armas. There are many optional activities available in Cusco, so be sure to speak with your tour leader if you wish to book any of these in.
Depart the hotel just after 7 am this morning. Travel by bus for around 7- 7.5 hours to the tiny but unique town of Puno. This direct tourist service will take you on decent roads through spectacular mountain scenery. 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. Arrive in Puno at around 3.30 pm. Located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, this place is a a culture centre of Aymara and Quechuan Indian influences, and 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. Head to the hotel in Puno and settle in. Shortly after your leader will take you on an orientation walk of Puno town. This evening perhaps head out for dinner with the group – your leader will be able to recommend some great places to eat.
Lake Titicaca/Suasi Island
Leave the hotel just before 7 am and set off to explore Lake Titicaca. 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. At approximately 1 pm, retire to the private island of Suasi where you'll spend the next two nights. This afternoon you may want to venture out on a walk around the Island or why not head to the spa and book in a massage. Tonight, enjoy an included dinner at the lodge.
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. An easy late-afternoon walk (approximately 30 minutes) will take you to a nice spot to witness a memorable sunset over the waters of Lake Titicaca. Enjoy a private picnic with drinks – a unique moment to soak in the beautiful landscape, appreciate the serenity, and if the clouds behave, watch the sun go down. Tonight, enjoy an included dinner at Suasi Lodge.