The Essentials

The perfect introduction to South America's cultural jewel

12 days

This tour needs no introduction... it is the perfect introduction to Peru. The itinerary takes you from the historical capital to the colonial by-gone years of Colonial Arequipa where there is always a volcano in sight... then off to the second deepest canyon in the world where you can relax in thermal spring pools and marvel at the spectacle of condors soaring overhead. You'll encounter traditional weaving communities at Lake Titicaca and wonder at ancient archaeological sites in the Sacred Valley before ending the trip at one of South America's most famous treasures; Machu Picchu. This trip can be done on either a private basis or as a shared tour for those wanting to make their money go that bit further.


Make your way to Lima

Fly to Lima international airport. Met on arrival by your guide and transferred to the bustling district of Miraflores in the heart of the city to stay at the Casa Andina Select Hotel for the night. Many of Lima’s best restaurants are located in Miraflores or are a short taxi ride away. Time to see what all the fuss is about!



Met in the morning and transferred to the airport for the flight to Arequipa in the South of Peru. You will be met on arrival by your driver and guide to transfer to the centre of the city and your hotel for the night; the Casa Andina Select Arequipa. Positioned right on the main square in the centre of the city, overlooking the Cathedral, you couldn’t be in a better position to explore and soak up the atmosphere of this historic University town.

Includes an afternoon tour of the city on a shared basis, starting in the main square at the Plaza de Armas; one of the most beautiful squares in Peru with its columned arches and magnificent eighteenth century Cathedral. From there you will visit the historic Santa Catalina Monastery and the phenomenal Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús with its ornate murals and chapel. You will finish the tour by driving out of the city for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and the famous Misti Volcano.

3 & 4

Colca Canyon

After breakfast at your hotel you will be met for the morning drive to the Colca Valley. As you cross the pampas with its herds of alpacas and wild vicuñas you’ll be in constant view of the chain of volcanoes which dot the stark landscape. Arriving into the town of Chivay just in time for lunch you’ll eat at a local restaurant and then transfer to the Colca Lodge to stay for 2 nights on a B&B basis. Spend the afternoon relaxing at the hotel’s thermal baths and take in the sleepy atmosphere in this peaceful valley.

Includes a morning excursion into the Colca Canyon to the Condor Cross lookout on the morning of day 4 to witness the dramatic spectacle of enormous condors soaring overhead on the morning’s thermal airwaves.

5 & 6

Puno and Lake Titicaca

After a free morning at your hotel you will be met for the transfer to the city of Puno on the banks of Lake Titicaca. The route takes you across the arid plains of the altiplano past high altitude lagoons and flocks of flamingoes. Reaching altitudes of over 4500m where temperatures at night fall well below freezing, this area is home to some of the hardiest communities in the Andes. Use the functional Hotel José Antonio Puno at the edge of Lake Titicaca as a base to explore for 2 nights on a B&B basis.

Includes an excursion to visit the floating reed islands of the Uros people and the traditional textile weaving community on the island of Taquile on day 6.

7 & 8


After breakfast at your hotel you will be transferred to the bus station to board the full day bus to Cusco. Stopping en route at the archaeological site of Pukara, which dates from 200BC to 300AD, as well as in Raqchi to admire the ruins of an Inca temple built to worship the Inca god Wiracocha you’ll have a chance to see sites that you would otherwise miss by flying or taking the train to Cusco. You will also stop at Andahuaylillas, a picturesque town famed for its beautiful 16th century church, otherwise known as the ‘Sistine Chapel of the Americas’. Stay at the Costa del Sol Cusco Hotel for 2 nights on a B&B basis.

Includes a half-day tour of Cusco and nearby ruins on day 8. Visit Coricancha; the “Temple of the Sun” and the main Plaza de Armas before heading up into the hills overlooking Cusco to visit the fortress at Sacsayhuaman and the archaeological complexes of Quenqo and Tambomachay.


Sacred Valley

Met at your hotel transferred to the Sacred Valley to visit the famous market at Pisac and the archaeological site set into the hills above the town. With the largest complex of terraces in the area visiting the archaeological site at Pisac gives you a real insight into how Inca communities functioned.

After lunch you will visit the ancient town of Ollantaytambo; one of the best examples of Inca city planning with its narrow streets and irrigation channels.
Stay at the Posada del Inca Yucay Hotel for the night on a B&B basis.


Machu Picchu

Met at your hotel and transferred to Ollanta train station for the journey to Aguas Calientes; the humid gateway town to Machu Picchu set on the banks of the Urubamba River. Stay at the modern Inkaterra El Mapi in the heart of town for the night on a B&B basis.

You can either choose to go straight up to Machu Picchu to explore the site with your guide from the train station or relax in Aguas Calientes for the morning before meeting the rest of the group for lunch at Café Inkaterra.



Return to Machu Picchu in the morning to visit at first light as the sun first rises over the citadel. As you walk around the different parts of the site you’ll gain an appreciation for the tremendous feat the Incas performed in building Machu Picchu where it is; nestled between steep mountains and dense forest.

Walk up to the Sun Gate to gain some perspective on the site from afar or embrace the challenge of climbing Wayna Picchu Mountain, the smaller, “younger mountain” at the side of the citadel with its “Temple of the Moon” and complex of underground constructions.

Return to the train station for the afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo and transfer back to Cusco to stay at the Hotel Costa del Sol for the night on a B&B basis.


Fly home

Met and transferred back to Cusco airport for your onward flight. You can either head on to another area of Peru for a couple of days to relax at a luxury lodge in the Amazon or at the beach at Mancora. Alternatively fly back to Lima to connect onto your international flight home.

Please note that the above is on a B&B basis unless otherwise shown and the cost does not include international flights. Please consult us for prices on a private basis and for different hotel combinations.

What's on this itinerary:


Where to go

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