Taste the flavours of Peru during dinner at one of Lima’s best restaurants, a snack at the Manos Unidas social enterprise in Cusco and a home-cooked pachamanca lunch in the Sacred Valley.. Take in truly stunning surroundings at your feature stay hotel along the Colca River, offering grounds dotted with tumbling waterfalls, organic gardens and gorgeous pools, plus modern rooms, first-class service and fantastic amenities.. Set out in search of pelicans, flamingos, sea lions and penguins on an exciting boat tour around the Ballestas Islands, allowing you to get up close to wildlife in its natural environment.. Experience the country’s best during a full day of wildlife activities in the Amazon, explorations of Arequipa and Colca Canyon, and two guided visits to Machu Picchu, reached by 360 train offering unbeatable views of the Andes.
Fall under the spell of beautiful Peru on an in-depth 19-day Premium adventure. Discover the winelands of Ica, stroll the streets of Arequipa, marvel at the landscapes of Colca Canyon and venture into the wild heart of the Amazon. Stand in awe of Machu Picchu and search for wildlife in the Ballestas Islands in a land that truly has it all. From the myths of the Incas to colonial culture, an experienced local leader will bring the country’s history to life.
Welcome to Peru! Your adventure begins in Lima. Peru’s colourful capital is equal parts cosmopolitan and chaotic. You will be collected from the airport and transferred to your hotel where you will meet your fellow travellers and local leader for an important 6pm welcome meeting. If you arrive before this time, perhaps head out for a walk in the historical centre to appreciate its fine colonial architecture. After your meeting, get your first taste of Lima’s world-renowned food scene during a welcome dinner with your small group and leader. Head out to a fantastic restaurant that’s popular with the locals and get acquainted with some of Peru’s best dishes. From enticingly fresh ceviche to pisco sours – you’ll soon find out why Lima is hailed as the culinary capital of South America.
Travel south to the Paracas Peninsula for an excursion to the Ballestas Islands. The Ballestas Islands are home to an abundance of wildlife, including pelicans, red-footed boobies, flamingos, sea lions and even penguins. You'll have the opportunity to see wildlife up close on an exciting boat tour of the islands. After your tour, continue to the fabulous Vinas Queirolo, the only hotel in Peru located within a vineyard and your feature stay accommodation for the next two evenings. Sitting in the Ica valley at the foothills of the Andes and surrounded by more than 500 hectares of vineyards, the setting couldn’t be more spectacular, and the comfort and service of this hotel are every bit as impressive. Enjoy traditional bodega charm, spacious and stylish rooms, three swimming pools, tennis courts and a marvellous restaurant. This afternoon you will have the option to take an aerial tour of the mysterious Nazca Lines. Etched into the landscape some 22 kilometres north of Nazca, these mysterious wonders are an assortment of perfectly straight lines, trapezoidal zones, and strange symbols of birds and beasts on a giant scale. Speak to your leader about arranging this unforgettable activity.
Enjoy a peaceful morning at your accommodation. Perhaps take a dip in one of the pools, play a game of tennis or simply relax poolside and soak in the stunning scenery. The vineyards that surround your hotel produce Peru’s most famous wine along with the national drink, pisco. This afternoon you will have the special opportunity to explore the vineyards during a private tour with an expert sommelier. Hear the history of the vineyard and hotel, from the settlement of the Queirolo family from Italy in 1877 to the renovations and modernisations enacted by the third generation of the family in the 21st century. Learn how the brilliant wine and pisco is produced, then cap off the day with drinks at a lookout point, watching the sun set over the gorgeous landscape.
Today you will depart the Ica Valley and return to Lima. A meeting will take place at your hotel at 6pm to welcome any new travellers joining you for the next leg of your adventure. After your meeting, join your group and leader for dinner at one of the city’s best restaurants, set in a historic house in the bohemian neighbourhood of Barranco. Here you’ll enjoy a menu of traditional Peruvian dishes inspired by the chef’s mother, and the welcoming atmosphere of a family home.
Start the day with a walking tour with your leader through Lima’s Barranco neighbourhood – a favourite with local artists, this is the creative heart of the city. Explore streets lined with colourful buildings, vibrant murals and interesting street art. The area is also home to some of Lima’s best bars – stop off at a popular spot to taste a few local specialties. Later on, catch a flight to Arequipa, a beautiful Spanish colonial city. On arrival, head out for an orientation walk with your leader. Known as La Ciudad Blanca (The White City), Arequipa’s buildings have been built almost exclusively from a white volcanic material called sillar, giving the city an appearance like no other. Situated in a valley at the foot of the El Misti volcano, the city also boasts a truly remarkable backdrop.
This morning, meet a local guide who’s an expert on all things Arequipa and set out on a tour of the city. Explore Plaza de Armas, the city’s main square, then continue to the Santa Catalina Monastery while your guide shares stories of the city’s history along the way. Stop by the San Ignacio Chapel to appreciate its colonial mural paintings. Visit the beautiful Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa with another local expert guide who will discuss the many layers of the building’s history – from its construction in 1656 to its subsequent destructions and rebuilds. The afternoon is free your own discoveries. Why not pick up an Alpaca jumper and meet the llamas and alpacas of Mundo Alpaca or take part in an active adventure in the surrounding hills and rivers. Or perhaps visit the museum that houses 'Mummy Juanita' – the well-preserved body of a young Inca girl who died sometime between 1450 and 1480.
This morning, drive through the Altiplano high plains to the Colca Valley and Canyon. On the way you'll see grazing vicunas, llamas and alpacas, as well as stone cairns built by local indigenous communities. More than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, the Colca Canyon provides some breathtaking views. The pre-Inca terraces carved into its walls are still cultivated today, and the area is dotted with traditional Indian villages with locals in colourful dress. Stop at the highest point (4910 metres) to enjoy views of the landscape below. Drive on the town of Chivay, where you'll have some time to soak up the local hot springs, then continue to the Aranwa Pueblito Encantado del Colca Hotel, your feature stay accommodation for the evening. With a prime location along the rugged Colca River, this resort offers tranquillity and comfort in a truly magnificent setting. The grounds are just as wondrous as the surroundings – tumbling waterfalls, organic gardens and gorgeous pools make this a superb spot to explore. With modern rooms, first-class service and fantastic amenities, this stay is sure to be one to remember.
Rise early this morning to visit the Cruz del Condor viewpoint, where Andean condors, one of the world's largest flying birds, can often be seen soaring in the air. After lunch, begin the drive to Puno. On the way you will stop off at the Sillustani archaeological site. The ruined 'chullpas', or funeral towers, of Sillustani were built by a pre-Inca civilisation centuries ago to house the remains of noble men. Located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, Puno is full of Aymara and Quechuan Indian culture. The town is known as the folklore capital of Peru and is renowned for its traditional dances.
Be enchanted by striking scenery and unique cultures on a cruise around Lake Titicaca today. This morning, you will depart from the port in Puno for 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. Call into Taquile Island for some woollen handicrafts. On the island, knitting is strictly a male domain, while women do the spinning. Explore this extraordinary place before travelling to Suasi – the only private island on Lake Titicaca. You will spend the next two evenings here in a fantastic eco-lodge, built with natural and sustainable materials, with all rooms looking out onto the boundless lake. Enjoy total peace, once-in-a-lifetime views, and an escape from the modern world.
This morning you will visit the cultural museum on the island which houses maps, pictures of Lake Titicaca and books about the 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 process of painting wool. Set out on a leisurely afternoon walk, expected to take around one hour over solid terrain, with some parts at a slight incline. This walk will take you to the highest point of the island – the perfect place to witness an unforgettable sunset over the waters of Lake Titicaca. Enjoy an exclusive evening picnic with wine; a special moment to soak in the beautiful landscape, appreciate the serenity and – if the clouds behave – watch the sun go down.
Rise early and travel back across the lake to meet your private vehicle to Cusco. The journey will be broken up with plenty of stops. Arrive in Cusco by late afternoon. Cusco is South America's oldest continuously inhabited city, and was the home of the Inca for two centuries before the Spanish built their first capital here. Today Cusco is a fascinating combination of both cultures. At 3450 metres above sea level, it’s important to take time to acclimatise to the city’s altitude. After settling in at the hotel, take a casual walk around Plaza de Armas with your leader and pick up some excellent dinner recommendations along the way.
This morning you will discover the best of Cusco on a walking tour. First, enjoy a special tour of the World Heritage-listed Cusco Cathedral with a local historian guide. Built on top of an Incan palace, the building is now one of Cusco’s greatest repositories of art, and your guide will share its history from past to present. Then, tour the Coricancha Temple with another local guide. The temple was once covered in sheets of gold that were eventually removed to raise a ransom for the life of Atahualpa, and later the Spanish demolished the temple to build a Dominican church on its foundations. Soon after, head to the colourful San Pedro market. Finish with a snack at Cafe Manos Unidos, whose core purpose is to improve the quality of life for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities through vocational training and education in the hospitality industry. The food is all natural and is prepared and served by the students on site – have a chat with them as you enjoy a coffee and a bite to eat. The rest of the day is yours – speak to your leader about the option to arrange a cooking class at a local restaurant using fair trade products, or the half-day Inkilltambo trek, exploring an archaeologic site on the city’s outskirts.