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Peru Explorer

0044 1606 720199

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  • Holiday code
    W19PE
  • Holiday type
    Guided walking
  • Duration
    19 nights
  • Accommodation
    hotel-to-hotel
  • Activity level
  • From $6165per person, tour only
  • Departure months
    JFMAMJJASOND
  • What's Included?
  • All breakfasts, six lunches and three dinners included. Additional meals on Inca Trail option All accommodation All transport and listed activities Arrival and departure transfers Inca Trail permit (if Inca Trail option selected at time of booking)
  • Key Information
  • This holiday is operated by our sister company, Exodus
  • 17 nights in hotels and two nights in a jungle lodge Group normally 5 to 16, plus leader. Minimum age: 16 Spends time at altitude Travel by internal flight, train, boat and private bus Inca Trail option (no extra cost): Please request on booking. Three nights of full-service camping replaces three nights in hotels. Additional meals included during trek

Peru

Peru Explorer

  • Operated by our sister company, Exodus
  • Discover the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu and the colonial cities of Cuzco and Arequipa Have the option to walk the classic Inca Trail at no extra cost Spend two nights deep in the Amazon Visit the traditional island communities of Lake Titicaca See beautiful Arequipa plus Colca Canyon and its condors

This trip is the perfect introduction to one of the most diverse countries in South America. Our journey contrasts the incomparable scenery of the Andes with the lush vegetation of the Amazon Rainforest and the barren coastal desert, as we discover ancient cities, buildings and fortresses of colossal size in settings of amazing beauty. For walking enthusiasts, there is the option to trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (at no extra cost), and for wildlife lovers, the Ballestas Islands and the rainforest are sure to impress. Join us to celebrate Headwater’ 50th anniversary! The departure starting in Lima on 30 June 2024 features extra inclusions to mark the occasion: a Nazca Lines overflight, a local birthday celebration and a special edition Headwater kitbag.



We're here to help

If you have any questions about this holiday call our sales team on 0044 1606 720199, use our live webchat or email sales@headwater.com



We're here to help

If you've any questions about this holiday call our sales team on 0044 1606 720199 , or email sales@headwater.com

Day 1: Start Lima

Welcome to Lima, the busy capital of Peru. There’s plenty of adventure on your trip, but today’s all about settling into the hotel. You are met at the airport and transferred to our hotel in the Miraflores district. There is a notice board in the hotel reception with details of where and when the group welcome briefing will be held. Accommodation: Hotel El Tambo 1 (or similar)

Day 2: Free morning; afternoon city tour

This morning has been left free; in the afternoon, we have a tour of Lima. We visit Miraflores, the modern residential district, and then explore the historic downtown area. We discover the Plaza de Armas, Basilica Cathedral and Government Palace (also known as House of Pizarro) as we take a short walk around the colonial centre. We also visit the incredible Church of San Francisco, which houses one of the oldest libraries in the Americas and sits on top of a labyrinthine network of catacombs complete with the bones of Lima’s wealthy 18th- and 19th-century residents. This evening, perhaps visit the bohemian district of Barranco for local food and pisco sours, the national cocktail of Peru. Accommodation: Hotel El Tambo 1 (or similar)

Day 3: Drive to Paracas, visiting Pachacamac and Pucusana

We drive south from Lima today, visiting Pachacamac Fortress, the largest coastal Inca city at the time of the conquest. We stop for a late lunch of fresh seafood at the attractive fishing village of Pucusana. A stroll around the village, where the day’s catch is displayed at the market, and a boat ride around the bay (subject to weather conditions) offer great insight into a contemporary Peruvian coastal town. We then continue southwards to the town of Paracas, where we spend the night. Accommodation: Hotel Gran Palma (or similar)

Day 4: Sail to Ballestas Islands; continue to Nazca via Ica

A short drive from our hotel takes us to the port, where we board our launch to visit the Ballestas Islands, a national park containing the highest concentration of marine birds in the world. There are also sea lions and numerous bird species on the islands and we also see the Paracas Candelabra, a curious pre-Inca design on the cliff face, only recognisable from the sea. We drive to Nazca in the afternoon and visit viewing platforms close to the Nazca Lines. These are one of the world’s great archaeological mysteries: enormous figures and patterns etched in the desert sand, best seen from the elevated position of the viewing platforms. There should also be time for optional visits to the nearby Antonini Archaeological Museum, a pre-Inca cemetery, or the Nazca Aqueduct, which gives an insight into the Nazca civilisation’s ingenious subterranean irrigation system. Accommodation: Hotel Alegria (or similar)

Day 5: Drive along the coast then turn inland to Arequipa

We have a long drive south through the coastal desert, with great views of dunes and the Pacific Ocean, before heading inland into the mountains on the road to Arequipa. Our drive is approximately 12 hours, including time for lunch and stops to stretch our legs. Accommodation: Su Majestad (or similar)

Day 6: Arequipa city tour, including Santa Catalina Convent

Arequipa is a beautiful colonial city in a fertile oasis, with many historic buildings characterised by their use of white volcanic stone from the nearby Misti, whose dramatic cone dominates the town. In the morning, we visit the cathedral, the Jesuit church of La Compañia and the huge, serene convent of Santa Catalina, which retains typical features from the 16th and 17th centuries and is a peaceful refuge for the nuns who still live here today. Accommodation: Su Majestad (or similar)

Day 7: Drive to Colca Canyon

A spectacular drive takes us to the Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world. On the way, we pass volcanoes and almost certainly see vicuñas in the highlands before we cross the Patapampa Pass (16,110ft/4,910m), which marks the descent into the canyon itself. As we take the winding road to the town of Chivay, the sight of the green, fertile terraces of the canyon is a real contrast to the barren yet beautiful landscapes we have travelled through for most of the day. This is the first day where we may feel the effects of altitude – although we do not linger at the top of the pass, we spend the night at around 11,810ft (3,600m) and so it is a good idea to take it easy on arrival. Accommodation: Hotel Pozo del Cielo, Chivay (or similar)

Day 8: To Colca Canyon; explore and search for condors

We have a full day exploring the Colca Canyon, starting with a visit to the Cruz del Condor, the best place to see mighty Andean condors as they glide on the morning thermals. We also see the ancient tombs that line the cliffs on one side of the canyon and stop in the villages along the way, which house several interesting colonial churches. Depending on time, we may take a short walk along farm tracks to learn more about the agriculture on which the whole region is dependent. After a long day of exploration, an optional visit to the hot springs near Chivay this evening is a wonderful way to relax. Accommodation: Hotel Pozo del Cielo, Chivay (or similar)

Day 9: Drive via Sillustani to Puno, by Lake Titicaca

Today, we drive through the mountains to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca. En route, we can see vicuñas before making a short visit to the unique burial towers (chullpas) of Sillustani. The altitude here (12,470ft/3,800m) makes physical effort very tiring, and the evenings are very cold, so taking time to rest is highly recommended. Accommodation: Casona Plaza Hotel (or similar)

Day 10: Full-day Lake Titicaca tour (Uros and Taquile islands)

We spend a full day on Lake Titicaca today visiting the floating islands of Uros and Taquile. First, we take a boat to Uros, where the people have been living on reed rafts for centuries. Although many have now moved to the mainland, there are still a couple of thousand who remain on the islands anchored close to Puno. A reasonable amount of their income is now provided by strictly regulated tourism, but they also fish the lake and barter with mainland communities to obtain essential daily items. Our cruise continues as we visit picturesque Taquile Island, home to a community known for their male-only weavers and traditional lifestyle. Our walk to the village affords us panoramic views of the lake, and it is often possible to see the snow-capped peaks of the Cordillera Real in the distance Accommodation: Casona Plaza Hotel (or similar)

Day 11: Drive across the altiplano to Cuzco

We take a bus ride across the altiplano, the high plains separating the Andes from the jungles. Although it is quite a long drive (approximately 10 hours), it is often spectacular. There are scheduled stops at interesting sites to break up the day and appreciate the immensity of the Andean landscapes. These include La Raya Pass (14,150ft/4,313m), the watershed and geographical dividing line between the altiplano and the Vilcanota Valley where Raqchi Inca temple is located. We arrive in Cuzco (11,155ft/3,400m) in the evening. Accommodation: Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar)

Day 12: Morning stand-up paddleboarding; afternoon cooking class

This morning, we travel to nearby Piuray Lagoon, where we spend the morning paddleboarding while surrounded by a stunning scenery of mountains and terraced fields. In the afternoon, we enjoy a cooking class, learning all about different plants and herbs used in Peruvian cooking and how to prepare traditional food and drink. After our lesson, we have time to enjoy the well-deserved dinner we’ve prepared ourselves. Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner Accommodation: Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar)

Day 13: Free day in Cuzco for optional activities

Today has been left free for exploring Cuzco, one of the most beautiful cities in South America. The Plaza de Armas is a fantastic spot for people-watching. The Mercado San Pedro is the place to try local produce and there are many handicraft markets to shop for souvenirs such as alpaca jumpers and scarves. If you fancy something more active, there is an array of other optional activities available from Cuzco including mountain biking or a combination of via ferrata and zip-lining in the Sacred Valley. Meals included: Breakfast Accommodation: Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar)

Day 14: Visit Pisac market and Inca ruins in the Sacred Valley

This morning, we head out of Cuzco to the colourful handicraft market at Pisac, at the entrance to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. After free time to browse the stalls, we take a walking tour of the huge Inca ruins above the village. We enjoy a traditional pachamanca lunch today, whereby the food is wrapped and buried in the earth along with hot stones, which cook it slowly. After lunch, we drive down the valley to Ollantaytambo, where we visit the immense Inca fortress and explore the unique village whose streets still follow the pre-conquest grid plan. Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch Accommodation: Tunupa Lodge (or similar)

Day 15: Free morning in Ollantaytambo and then travel to Aguas Calientes

We have a free morning to explore Ollantaytambo and then make the scenic train journey through the Urubamba River Valley to Aguas Calientes (approximately 1hr 30min), arriving in the afternoon. The rest of the day has been left free to explore at your own leisure. Aguas Calientes is a bustling town with a large handicraft market (although prices here are at a premium in comparison to Pisac or Cuzco markets). Meals included: Breakfast Accommodation: Terraza de Luna (or similar)

Day 16: Guided tour of Machu Picchu; return to Cuzco by train and road

Well-rested and refreshed, we return to Machu Picchu this morning for our guided tour. Machu Picchu is an architectural and engineering marvel, the staggering mountain backdrop making it even more dramatic. The Spaniards never found it, the Incas left no records of it, and so Machu Picchu remained an enigma, a city lost for centuries in the jungle until it was rediscovered in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham. Your guided tour highlights the history, culture, architecture and mysteries that Machu Picchu still holds today. This afternoon, we catch the train back to Ollantaytambo (1hr 30min) and continue by private bus to Cuzco (1hr 30min). Accommodation: Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar) Meals included: Breakfast

Day 17: Tour of Cuzco and Inca fortress of Sacsayhuaman

We have a full-day tour combining the highlights in and around the city. Outside the town are Inca ruins, notably the fortress of Sacsayhuaman where the Inca armies made their last stand against the Conquistadores. In the centre, we visit the Plaza de Armas, and many examples of the famous Inca stonework like those of the Qoricancha Sun Temple in the Santo Domingo church and monastery. Accommodation: Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar)

Day 18: Fly to Puerto Maldonado; travel by boat into rainforest; afternoon jungle walk

We leave Cuzco early today as we take a short flight to the small rainforest town of Puerto Maldonado (due to poor flight availability, this flight will connect through Lima and be considerably longer on some departures). On arrival, we transfer to the dock for a boat trip to our lodge in the Tambopata Reserve – this journey takes between 1hr 30min and three hours depending on which lodge we stay in. On the way, we may see caimans, river turtles and waterfowl. After time to settle in, we take a short walk along the forest trails near the lodge to look for nocturnal animals. Accommodation: Cayman Lodge Amazonia (or similar)

Day 19: Jungle exploration by boat and on foot

Activities today vary according to the lodge used but generally include a mixture of walks along forest trails, time spent in canoes to explore rainforest lakes, and the opportunity to go high into the canopy for a completely different view of the forest. The resident guides are normally around in the evening to answer questions and from some lodges (not all) there is the option to take a canoe onto the river in search of caiman by torchlight. Accommodation: Cayman Lodge Amazonia (or similar)

Day 20: Fly to Lima; end Lima

We return to Puerto Maldonado after breakfast today and board our flight back to Lima. If booking an onwards flight from Lima today, please ensure it does not depart before 7pm. You can also speak to your sales representative about extending your stay in Lima.

Where you stay

During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking.

To find out more call our sales team on 0044 1606 720199, use our live webchat or email sales@headwater.com

Hotels and jungle lodge (plus camping on Inca Trail option)

This itinerary mixes a diverse blend of three-star hotels, each reflecting the three different regions this trip takes in.  Our Lima hotel is a welcome escape from the city’s modern hustle and bustle, while our Cuzco hotel is centrally located in the historic centre.  In Arequipa we have two nights in a charming boutique hotel and in the Amazon our lodge blends rainforest discovery with ecological harmony.  Guests who select the Inca Trail trek option will be treated to our fully supported camp services with cooks, guides and porters. Lima:  El Tambo 1 El Tambo 1 or “uno” is our 3-star Lima hotel located in the lively tourist district of Miraflores. This comfortable hotel has private bathrooms and free Wi-Fi. The hotel has a restaurant and lovely small bar near courtyard garden where you can enjoy a drink.  El Tambo has easy access to local sites to explore such as the Kennedy Park, the Larcomar Shopping Center and the iconic Miraflores cliff top promenade where you can enjoy great views of the Pacific Ocean. Arequipa: Su Majestad Hotel Su Majestad boutique hotel is a newly renovated, beautiful colonial-style mansion dating from 1801, its construction is based on white ashlar, volcanic stone with which the old colonial buildings were built.   Pots of geraniums and other plants adorn the passages and patios highlighting the hotels architectural beauty and unique charm. Colca Canyon:  Pozo del Cielo Hotel Experience the charm of Pozo del Cielo Hotel as we visit Colca Canyon and the surrounding communities.  With its inviting ambiance, panoramic views and warm hospitality, this comfortable hotel welcomes us with cozy rooms, relaxing bar and a restaurant serving Peruvian delicacies. Cuzco: Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha is built around two 18th-century manor houses and is located in the heart of historic Cuzco, 3 blocks from the main plaza.  The hotel and rooms feature local décor and textiles reflecting local Andean designs. Amazon: Cayman Lodge Amazonia Cayman Lodge Amazonia is located near the Tambopata National Rainforest Reserve and combines ecologically sustainable accommodations with simple comfort in a unique and unforgettable Amazon jungle setting.  The lodge also provides a restaurant serving delicious local cuisine, a bar for refreshing drinks, and guided excursions to explore the rich biodiversity of the surrounding rainforest. Optional Inca Trail: Camping For those guests who select the option to hike our classic four-day Inca Trail trek, we sleep and dine in good-quality four-season tents. We also have a toilet tent set up both in camp and during lunch stops. On the Inca Trail, we stay in official campsites where additional bathroom facilities are available. Worth knowing Single rooms can be booked for an optional single supplement, subject to availability at the time of booking (excludes two nights in the Amazon lodge). If you are taking the Inca Trail option, this supplement covers the cost of a single tent for the duration of the trek.


Meals

All breakfasts, six lunches and four dinners are included. For those doing the Inca Trail (or Moonstone) trek option, all meals, some snacks, and drinks/water are included during the trek. Drinking water is included throughout as the tap water in Peru is not safe to drink; boiled and filtered drinking water is provided on the trek and elsewhere your leader buys large water containers from which you can refill your bottle. Hotel breakfasts are normally simple buffets, usually including bread/toast and jam, cereal, sometimes eggs or cooked dishes, sometimes fruit, tea/coffee and fruit juice. Regrettably, we cannot guarantee that wheat-/gluten-free products are available for breakfast in all locations – if you have an intolerance you may wish to bring your own breakfast food. We also try a traditional pachamanca, a meal cooked on hot coals in the ground. Where lunch and dinner are not included, we visit a variety of cafes and restaurants. For some of the days with long drives, we may take some packed lunches to eat at a scenic spot along the way. Peruvian cuisine is loved for its flavours and originality; it’s well worth digging into the local delicacies. Among these are ceviche (seafood or fish marinated in lime juice), lomo saltado (a Peruvian take on a beef stir-fry), and various hearty soups including the delicious quinoa soup. Other dishes include roasted cuy (guinea pig) and alpaca steak. To drink, there’s pisco sour, the national beverage.

Travel

Our aim is to provide holidays that are unbeatable for choice and flexibility. We've listed our most popular travel options below, however you aren't limited to these - we can tailor-make virtually any holiday to suit.

To find out more about the travel options available call our sales team on 0044 1606 720199 or email sales@headwater.com

Transportation

A variety of transport is used during this tour and vehicle types may vary depending on group size: travel is by train, boat, bus and three internal flights. Airport transfers are by private car or minibus. All main road journeys are by private minibus or coach, which have heating/air-conditioning and may or may not have a toilet. On Day 5, we have a full-day drive from Nazca to Arequipa, which is approximately 12 hours, including time for lunch and comfort stops. We travel by train (with Peru Rail) between Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes (the town below Machu Picchu) in expedition class. Seating is four seats to a table, carriages have panoramic windows and there is air conditioning/heating. The boat on Lake Titicaca is private to our group and there is a guide from one of the Lake Titicaca island communities. The boat is enclosed as it can get cold at this altitude but there are large windows on all sides and an outside deck to the rear. Life jackets are provided. In the Amazon, we may share boats with other lodge guests. Inca Trail option: This point-to-point trekking trip requires you to walk between each overnight stay under your own steam.

Joining Instructions

Key information Start hotel: Hotel El Tambo Uno, Avenida la Paz 1276, Miraflores 15074, Lima Phone: +51 1 2194080 Recommended arrival time: You can arrive at any time today. There will be a welcome briefing in the evening, but if you miss it the leader will update you separately Airport: Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM) Getting to the start hotel The start hotel is approximately 45 minutes’ drive from the airport. Exodus provides free arrival transfers to the start hotel from the airport for all customers.  If you would like further information on joining this trip, please speak to your sales representative. Catching your return flight Exodus provides free departure transfers for all customers to Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM) from the end hotel. Please note, unless specified otherwise, the transfers will be to the start (or pre-tour) hotel and from the end (or post-tour) hotel and will be on the date on which the tour starts/ends; transfers to other hotels in the same city and/or on different dates may attract an extra charge. Transfers should be booked with your sales representative at least two weeks before the tour starts.

Reviews

Here at Headwater we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can continue to develop, and where necessary improve, our services and ensure our holidays continue to be the best they can be. As this is a relatively new holiday, we don't yet have any customer reviews available from our customers, but here are the comments that have been received from previous Exodus travellers.

Wow where do I start ?! Having just returned from a 3-week Peru Explorer trip (APX230521) I suppose my first thoughts would be about the size and scale of Peru, the sheer variety, the colours, the smells. The landscape is one of extreme contrasts from arid desert flanked by the Pacific, to vast empty looking scrub in the highlands dotted with the occasional vicuña or alpaca (or volcano), to small fields of crops on the edge of towering mountains and plunging canyons, to steamy jungle with the snow-capped peaks of the Andes in the distance. The sweeping scenery changes steadily as you drive through it – just be prepared for a number of long days on the road.. Exodus list this trip as a 2 out of 7 - Leisurely/Moderate activity level. This is not the case. The distances, the roads, the “standard” early starts - the alarm was usually set for 5:00am - and the altitude made this considerably more arduous. (This rating should be reconsidered I suggest). As you might expect Peru’s cities are noisy bustling places - often choked by traffic - Lima being a case in point. Getting around takes time. This trip actually spends little time in the capital. If you can spare half a day (ie. on Day 2 before the city tour) I would urge you to devote an hour or two to the Museo Larco as we did. This houses a spectacular collection - www.museolarco.org/en/ Arequipa and Cusco were both fascinating, Cusco seemed especially vibrant as the locals prepared for the big festival with music and dancing from the young and not so young ! As one who did the Inca Trail, I actually had little time in Cusco (initially arrived late in the evening from Puno, then away at 5:00am the next morning ..) Whether the itinerary was changed a year or two back (so I was told ?) it might work better if the Day 17 tour of Cusco and Sacsayhuaman were brought forward to Day 12. I would also be tempted to drop one of two of the smaller Inca sites on this day to allow more time in Cusco itself. The actual Inca Trail was well organised and well run with a very experienced guide - but be warned. The cold at night (I found it odd that my “4-season” sleeping bag didn’t seem to keep the cold out), then the heat once the sun rises and the altitude can make this hard work .. but the scenery was again a complete delight. Those porters work really hard for what they get. Set in all this are the various historical and archaeological sites - these do not disappoint ! The view of Machu Picchu really is stupendous and the site visit fascinating - despite the crowds and the various limitations imposed on visitors, fixed itineraries for example. (Be aware that those who opt to do the Inca Trail have to follow a different route to those who do not trek. My wife and I were there on the same day - but had to visit separately). Wiñay Wayna and Sayajmarca (for those trekking) are also spectacular locations – again set on steep mountainsides. From start to finish our whole trip ran calmly and smoothly, controlled quietly by our experienced leader Raul - despite running into the odd problem with roadworks/traffic and with changes of drivers/vehicles. His attention to detail and to the personal needs of his group was excellent. My wide became quite ill – he did everything to help her. This made all the difference to her trip. Thank you Raul. One further comment, about money. Yes, ATM’s are readily available in the cities however - the withdrawal maximum can be rather limiting (400Sols so 85 quid give or take). Bear in mind also that the Peruvian bank charges a fee for using their hole in the wall, normally something like PENS 36.00. It can be less, but for a smaller withdrawal total.. People might want to consider taking some Sols into Peru from the start. Over 3 weeks our Peru Explorer trip involved many wonderful places and many amazing people – both guides and locals. Despite some of the news coming out of Peru this year and despite a 3-year delay (we had booked originally to go in 2020 ..) the dream finally came true, a dream since childhood for some of us.. PS: the Café Manos Unidas mentioned towards the end of the Trip Notes should be removed. When we asked about it, we were told this worthy training initiative had stopped during Covid ..

As with all Exodus trips that I have been on, prepare yourself for early starts and long days. It is not a holiday but more of an adventure so be prepared to immerse yourself in a feast of archaeology and  anthropology in order to gain some understanding of the cultures and history of one of the cradles of civilisation. You will explore the diverse geographical regions from coastal deserts, islands, high altitude lakes, the Altiplanos, the famous sacred valley from Cusco, the spectacular Machu Picchu and the depths of the Amazon rainforest. There are an endless numbers of churches, museums, archaeological sites to admire and inform your thirst for knowledge. The Incas, although significant, were not the only civilisation to occupy Peru. If you are as lucky as we were, Exodus managed to make the earth move for us (4.3 on the Richter scale at Arequipa} and a nearby volcano even elected a new Pope! Later on, they conversed with the gods to allow us to experience a 24-hour rainstorm in the forest- it easily beat the 5inch days I used to see in Wales. Our driver, Alex, successfully managed the frenetic driving conditions in the cities, Pan American Highway and our ascent into the Andes- I could not work out whether a Highway Code actually exists. At the end of each day, he was also skilled in Acupressure and massage- enough to release any tensions. Our guide had the unique knack of managing and leading our group to maximise their understanding of not only his proud identity as one of the 'locals' but also to find other passionate guides at different intervals to further our understanding of the history of his country. Despite the farmers’ protests towards the end, he still managed to get us to the pinnacle of the trip- Machu Picchu. Truly an adventure in which you have to immerse yourself.

The trip starts with exploring the capital city Lima, then follows the coast seeing flocks of the sea birds and sea lions on the way before turning inland into the Andes, the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu and a brief visit to 'the jungle'. You see magnificent landscapes along the way from the desert-like coastal plains to the fabulous snow-capped Andean mountain tops with an active volcano on the horizon. You visit manu Inca and pre-Inca settlements during the course of the three weeks. After the effort and camping along the Inca Trail there's just enough time to visit the jungle for more wild-life viewing. This excursion has the lot!

An amazing trip full of insight and excitement. 3 weeks seeing the Coast, the Desert, the mountains and the jungle. Lots of early starts but worth it to cram in as much as possible. So many highlights including the Ballestas Islands, the Nazca lines, Arequipa, Colca Canyon and its condors, Cusco, Ollantaytambo, local festivals, the Moonstone Trek, Machu Picchu, the jungle...

Overall this was the trip of a lifetime. Spending three weeks in Peru was worth every minute, from the Anthropological and Archaeological museum in Lima, through the Ballestos islands, flying over the Nazca lines, the Altiplano with volcanoes and the most gorgeous flamingos, Colca Canyon and the condors, Cusco, Ollantaytambo, The Sacred Valley, the Maras saltworks and Moray Inca agricultural research station (if that is what it was) and Machu Picchu. The Peruvian people, their food, their cities. The Andes. The geology, the wildlife. It truly was a cornucopia of delights. We were very lucky with the weather, which was well nigh perfect. The trip was very well planned and allowed plenty of time for acclimatisation, so that by the time we arrived at Cusco, we were quite at home with the altitude. We had chosen not to do one of the hikes to or near Machu Picchu and instead spent an extra three days in Cusco. We were largely left on our own but Exodus and our tour guide had arranged and advised us on the activities we wanted to do. It worked out very well and we didn't exhaust all the extra museums, art galleries, restaurants nor do all the day trips etc. that were available. We were very happy with our choice and we had a lot to discuss with our more active tour companions when they returned to Cusco.

A superb holiday from start to finish, taking in many different facets of Peru as a country. From Pacific coast to historical sites, magnificent mountains, glorious wildlife and fascinating jungle. This trip had it all. Add in the variety of different modes of transport and there is something to appeal to anyone.

Fantastic trip! Great itinerary, great leader and wonderful country. Everything was beyond expectations. A busy and well organised adventure that highlighted the diversity of Peru.

As described, the itinerary encompasses a tremendous range of activities, venues and experiences which provided insights into the country's culture, history and heritage. We met many interesting people along the way and had great fun with fellow travellers and guides. As usual with Exodus trips there were many early mornings and some long journeys, but these are necessary for the trip to achieve the stated aims! Hotels were comfortable and all had suitable amenities. Food - and drink - was plentiful and tasty and generally good quality. The route was well planned and enabled us to fully acclimatise before attempting the focal activity for us - the Inca Trail. It also put the trail and Machu Picchu into a broader context so that we appreciated it all even more. Support on the Inca Trail, from our guide and 'porters' was exceptional. We had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed (almost) every minute.

We went on this trip in July which is the Peruvian winter. This tour lasts for around 3 weeks and for the majority is packed with a full itinerary. You start at Lima, known locally as 'Donkey Belly' because it is always cloudy due to the local topography and weather systems. To be honest Lima is OK but a typical capital city with usual buildings of interest and you really don't need to spend much time there. We did however get our first sample of the local Peruvian alcoholic drink - Pisco Sour. A brandy based drink made from the skin of grapes. It is one of Peru's best kept secrets. You must try it! Hotel clean and functional. From Lima we were driven in a coach that had more room than needed for our party of 14 which would see us all the way through to Cuzco. We needed space as the trips can be long and some folks felt a bit nauseous. The two drivers were lovely chaps and couldn't do enough for us. Exodus always provide large boxes of water for each leg of the journey and is always needed. From Lima you then head off down the coast on day 3 to visit Pachacamac Fortress an Inca coastal settlement. . Interesting enough and a good place to take photos of the settlement which is dry and dusty. This a good taste of the first of many Inca sites throughout the trip. Afterwards on to the coastal resort of Pucusana where we had lunch and a boat trip around the bay photographing the numerous pelicans. The food at the restaurants here and throughout the trip was of a high standard and most enjoyable. The hotel here was pretty basic and the rooms small. The following day we headed for another harbour for a high speed boat ride to the Ballestas Islands, which we understand has more sea birds per square metre than anywhere else in the world. If you have a telephoto lens then take it as the variety of birds is fantastic, including penguins. You can't get too close due to the rough sea and rocks but this excursion is truly spectacular. Can imagine folks could feel a bit nauseous if the sea is too rough, so keep looking at the horizon. Later we visit the Nazca lines from watch towers which is really needed to gauge the perspective of these unusual markings. The next day is pretty arduous as we travel inland across dry and sometimes windy uneven roads to Arequipa. A number of our party felt or were ill due to travel sickness on this 10 hour drive. We have a few short stops along the way which are greatly needed. The following day we discover this old city and are rewarded with some great photos of the surrounding dormant volcanoes and one live one. The city is very interesting and gives visitors a much better insight in to local Peruvian life and culture. The trip to the convent is very interesting. The hotel was very quaint but lovely with a huge atrium. The city square is well worth a visit for supplies and at night is pretty lively. On day 7 we visit the Colca Canyon, a spectacular drive along the edge of the valley. The famous Condors are the treat at the end! We leave fairly early after breakfast and are lucky as the thermals are starting just as we arrived. We saw these wonderful graceful birds in all their glory soaring time and time again. Use that telephoto if you have it. They are not the only birds as we also saw lots of other smaller varieties including the South American Large Hummingbird. This spectacular place was surreal, although if the weather is against you (as it was the day after) the Condors won't come out to play. The drive here to Chivay climbs high through the mountains and very bendy but had spectacular views. The hotel at Chivay was more basic but reasonable enough. Wifi here was poor and can be patchy at many of the hotels. Exploring the town here and the local market is relaxing way to spend the evening. Our guide as always will recommend places to eat. We didn't sample the hot springs but many of our party did and thoroughly enjoyed it. We had been put off by previous reports of lack of cleanliness but our group didn't notice anything untoward. The additional local tour guides that are picked up at each stage along the way add immensely to the enjoyment with them imparting their specialist insight to the region we visit. We rated all of them, all of whom had an excellent command of English. The next part of the trip was to travel to Puno on the edge of Lake Titicaca. We are climbing it seems all the time but stop regularly at view points and to see the wild Vicuna and Alpacas roaming the high plains. Puno is a thriving bustling City we plenty of sights and local amenities. The hotel and food here was very good with the central plaza a very popular place to spend some time. The next day we visit the Lake and board a boat that takes us to the Reed People who literally spend their lives floating on the lake on the reeds. Full of local tradition and colour you will be invited to spend some time with these people with ample photography opportunities. You finish off by taking a trip around the reed village in their own boats which would look more at home on a pleasure park, but great fun nonetheless. As you travel higher some travellers may start to feel the effects of altitude. We did take the recommended medication for this part of the journey and all the way through to Machu Picchu. We felt more fatigued than normal, so a more relaxed pace and plenty of fluids is the best solution. Another long coach journey but with more stops and less bendy all the way to the Inca capital of Cusco. We spend more time at Cusco than anywhere else but the hotel is ok but fairly basic. Maybe Exodus should look at an upgrade. My friend didn't do the Inca Trail and spent even more time there. If you are on the ground floor then there seems to be a lot of noise from staff and guests. Cusco however is a lovely City full of history and tradition. As always the central plaza is the main focus of the locals and truly worth an evening visit. The restaurants were also very good and you can try local dishes such as Alpaca or Guinea Pig. We visited the spectacular Sacred Valley and the fortress at Ollantaytambo, and a vibrant local market was well worth a visit . Take care not to take photos of the locals unless they are happy for you to do so. Many will ask for a Soles or two. The next part if the trip is the Inca Trail. Everyone will have wonderful memories of this but here is what we experienced. You start off early to get on the trial so the weather is chilly. You climb for most of the first 2 days then descend for the rest. We travelled in winter and at night it does get very cold and you are under canvas. We chose to take our own sleeping bags but I the ones you can get from Exodus are perfectly good with a warm liner. Unfortunately it did also rain for a couple of the days, which can drench you all the way through. Fortunately we had decent quality ponchos bought in the UK (you need them). The paths can get slippery so robust good quality hiking boots or shoes are a must. Walking Poles, I would thoroughly recommend for steadiness on uneven parts. The tents are waterproof enough although the ends did get wet and although the ground for the most part only had a slight incline you did slip down the tent during the night. Wear dry clothes at night (I wore thermals) especially if your day clothes are damp. You climb as high as 16,000 ft across Dead Woman's Pass (another group photo). The walk is a reasonable pace but due to the altitude a slow pace is best and the guides will keep this steady pace. The Porters and they were probably 25 of them just for our group, did an absolutely fabulous job, packing and unpacking each day, cooking really amazing food and just about seeing to everything. All the water is boiled and therefore clean, make sure you drink plenty. We took small bottles of concentrated juice from home as this helped mask the taste of boiled water. Just remember, you will get wet, you will get cold, you will get hot, so you need to pack for everything but the Porters will only carry 7kg of your kit. The rest is up to you and your day bag, so only take stuff absolutely necessary. All of your other luggage and suitcase will be waiting for you at hotel at the end of the trek. You get an enormous sense of achievement doing this walk but you will get out of breath especially on the way up. Along the way you visit some amazing Inca sites and you have regular stops for rest and refreshments. Exodus plan this very carefully. Although the trail is only about 26 miles, don't forget it's up and down all the time. The travel toilets are as you would expect basic, and only at camp. There are some loos along the way but not many. A trip to the bushes maybe called for but you must take you own paper and you cannot leave it in the bushes. Doggy poo bags probably good to take along. The night before the final day you stay very high up overlooking the mountains that lead to Machu Picchu. We had a lot of mist and cloud but when it cleared the spectacular scenery is breathtaking. On the final morning you say goodbye to the Porters who earn every Soles you tip them. They carry around 25kg each on their back and speed past you as they go the next site, sometimes wearing just sandals in the rain. As you cross the Sun Gate Machu Picchu comes into view in the distance. Nothing prepares you for this awe inspiring site. Forget the photos you've seen, this leaves you speechless. The group gather together for the usual group photo then proceed downhill to this famous Inca phenomenon. You spend quite a bit of time at the site taking photos but don't go in to the main part which is the plan for the next day. As you leave the site weary, smelly but elated you go on a switch back coach ride to Machu Picchu town. After being fairly remote walking in the mountains you are faced with a loud and huge swarm of day trippers. You have to queue for the bus which took us about 20 minutes. The hotel in Machu Picchu was fairly good although some in our group complained they had no hot water, which after 4 days under canvas would have been an extreme disappointment. The following day our Exodus guide Renaldi (Renny) took us on amazing historic guide of the Machi Picchu site. You just can't get enough photos of such an extraordinary and magical place. Nothing really prepares you for what you see. In a way everything is sort of an anti-climax after Machu Picchu but you still wonder at the marvelous scenery of this geographically varied country. The train back to Ollantaytambo through the deep valley was an excellent way to leave Machu Picchu. We then catch a minibus back to Cusco, a bit crampt as all the seats were taken up by the group. The next few days we 'come down' with a few more days in Cusco and visiting other Inca sites. The final part of the tour is a short flight from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado in the Amazon. You stay in lodges built on stilts and sleep under mosquito nets with no hot water (cold shower), but of course you expect this. After the dryness of the west coast and the elevation of the trek, the Amazon seems to be out of place in Peru. Whilst there we enjoyed the high speed river journeys, the late night Cayman spotting, the night trek in search of wild like and the boat trip on the lake catching Piranhas. Great sunsets along the river and the trek to the lake was very enjoyable. Saw some monkeys and plenty of birds but I guess we were hoping to see more wildlife. Just a final point of caution. On our flight back we landed in Cusco to pick up more passengers for onward to Lima. However at Cusco, the airline company Avianca in their wisdom, decide that the air conditions (too hot) would affect lift off and they offloaded some of the suitcases, some of which were from our party. It took some nearly 2 weeks to be reunited with their baggage with Avianca hopelessly not interested. It didn't detract however from a wonderful and memorable holiday.

Make no mistake, this is not a holiday as such but a full-on early morning to evening priceless adventure and experience. If you are doing the Inca trail you will probably find yourselves with only a couple of half days spare. Not one moment of this will you ever regret - we can honestly say that it was of the best experiences in 40 plus years of travel. Every day was well organised and went as smoothly as any holiday as diverse as this one could do. The hotels were of a good standard, particularly for a third World country. As far as the Inca trail is concerned, we are in our mid sixties, reasonably fit and had no real problems completing it. The porters are just incredible and ran past us as we laboured up and down hills! The food on the trek was amazingly good and we all ate well.

A very special and well coordinated trip, crammed full with different places and experiences - from amazing and varied scenery, plants and wildlife to interesting Inca and pre-Inca history, plus the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu experience.

This trip was fabulous, there was just so much to see and do it really was amazing how much we crammed in. If you want a trip that shows you all of Peru then this is the one for you as you truly explore all of it. Its a long trip and i absolutely loved it!

Very good holiday on the whole

An exceptional holiday experience, far surpasses anything I could have imagined. The history, sightseeing, enthusiasm of the guide, nothing was to much trouble for him. All the team at Exodus and individual guides I could not commend high enough.

A truly wonderful experience packed with wonderful Inca history, fantastic scenery, wildlife, boat trips, train rides and a flight over the amazing Nasca Lines, walking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and ending the holiday in the Amazon Rainforest watching Macaws,Chameleons ,monkeys etc with the 'buzz' of Forest life in your ears.

Brilliant overview of this country. It creeps into your heart over the days. It's people, history, culture, cuisine. A great trip well thought out.

Excellent trip.weather hot,cold,freezing.food very good.,and reasonably cheap.use sols not dollars.in a trail terrific.camping very good.porters and cooks great.a Hugh tarantula came into the tent during the night.sacred valley the most scenic.lake titicaca and floating islands great.

We cannot fault this holiday – well done Exodus • Great itinerary, well planned action packed adventure from start to finish. Good accommodation and transport arrangements. • Fabulous insight into Peru, its places, history, food, wildlife and peoples • The greatest accolade goes to our guide who added significantly to our enjoyment of the trip and that of the group as a whole.

I thought my trip to peru was very organised. You are very well looked after. Lots of detailed information. The tour guides very happy to answer all questions. Would recommend exodus to friends. Very enjoyable.

Excellent, and as usual with Exodus, never a moment to get bored ! Exodus are as far as i know, the only company to offer a tour of Peru with an OPTION to do the Inca Trail. This suited me and wife, as i wanted to do trail, she didn't but was happy to get rid of me for a few days as she got on well with rest of group. 4 of the 16 did the trail.

An amazing trip which just kept giving, from sea level to the mountains, it was all unforgettable!

Absolutely fantastic trip, well organised, great diversity of experience, good travelling companions and an excellent guide!

we were really looking forward to this trip and it lived up to expectatations.

This 3 week trip is sensational from start to finish especially if Wilbert Ramos is your guide.  Desert, the Andes and Inca Trail, Lake Titicaca and Amazon rainforest, the Peruvian people, many ecosystems in which the flora and fauna vary considerably, tremendous food even on trek...what's not to love....including the fabulous group of people who were Wilbert's "family" as we travelled.

This was a trip that made you feel you had experienced Peru not just had a holiday, this was due to the variety of the places visited and the excellent guides.  The trip was non stop and you need to be prepared for the fact that you have early starts and a lot of travelling and not a lot of down time but how else could you see so much in three weeks? I would do it again tomorrow.

The Peru adventure was a trip of a life time, to see a large portion of Peru, from the Pacific coast, the Andes, to the Amazon Basin, Inca Trail and Machu Picchu.

This was one of the best holidays I have enjoyed. The leader, Rene Calancha, was brilliant, the variety of sights and experiences marvellous, the company great. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

A fantastic route through some brilliant sites. Well looked after by Rene the guide and the various local guides and porters / chefs on the trek. Small group size (7) really helped. Strongly recommend the route and Exodus

Excellent trip. Well worth taking if you want to see as much of Peru as possible. Driving rather than flying between the various points provide a deeper insight into the real Peru. Its well worth the extra time it takes.

Peru was wonderful, a country of so many contrasts: the colours, the scenery, the wildlife, the people, the flora, all fascinating.  We packed in so much in the three weeks, it really did seem much longer, every day held even more amazing things to see.  

If you want a relaxing holiday, carefree and pampered, choose something else.  Peru Explorer is more of a travel experience and you will need the resilience for some 05.00 starts and long days, climates to challenge your packing, mostly middle of the road, sometimes quirky, hotels, three nights wild camping, and probably a bout of being unwell at some point, as everyone in my group was. What you'll get is the most comprehensive tour of the southern half of this splendid country, all its highlights, an Andean trek, astonishment at the sophistication of the Incas, three starkly different climate zones and, demanding its own mention, the simply world class attraction of Machu Picchu.  Yes, it really is as staggering as you're imagining, not over-hyped, and up there with Angkor, Bagan and the Taj.

The Peru Explorer package was very well organised and led, gave us a pretty comprehensive picture of Southern Peru and was good value for money.   Given the distances involved and the sheer scale of the programme, it inevitably involved a great deal of coach travel - it certainly wasn't a restful holiday!  We were lucky in that our group numbered only nine and we travelled in a coach which catered for more than twice as many people. The Inca trail was wonderful and, although we were by far (a good dozen years) the oldest people in the group, we managed the walking without much discomfort. And  we were tremendously well looked after by the ample contingent of porters, cooks and bottle-washers.

Had wanted to visit the "sights " of Peru since learning about the Incas as a schoolboy .This trip realised those dreams .

Met our expectations in almost every respect.

Wonderful holiday, incredible local trip leader, lots of travelling

Dates and prices

You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday.

This 19 night guided walking holiday includes:

All breakfasts, six lunches and three dinners included. Additional meals on Inca Trail option All accommodation All transport and listed activities Arrival and departure transfers Inca Trail permit (if Inca Trail option selected at time of booking)


How to book:

To book this holidays speak to our sales team on 0044 1606 720199 or click on the appropriate 'book now' or 'check availability' button below.

To book this holiday call our sales team on 0044 1606 720199 or click on the appropriate 'Book now' or 'check availability' button below.

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The prices quoted for each individual departure supercede those published in our current brochures. Air prices are subject to change and we advise early booking to obtain the best prices. Please see our Planning your holiday and What's included in the price? pages for additional information.

Key information

This holiday is operated by our sister company, Exodus

17 nights in hotels and two nights in a jungle lodge Group normally 5 to 16, plus leader. Minimum age: 16 Spends time at altitude Travel by internal flight, train, boat and private bus Inca Trail option (no extra cost): Please request on booking. Three nights of full-service camping replaces three nights in hotels. Additional meals included during trek

Transportation

A variety of transport is used during this tour and vehicle types may vary depending on group size: travel is by train, boat, bus and three internal flights. Airport transfers are by private car or minibus. All main road journeys are by private minibus or coach, which have heating/air-conditioning and may or may not have a toilet. On Day 5, we have a full-day drive from Nazca to Arequipa, which is approximately 12 hours, including time for lunch and comfort stops. We travel by train (with Peru Rail) between Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes (the town below Machu Picchu) in expedition class. Seating is four seats to a table, carriages have panoramic windows and there is air conditioning/heating. The boat on Lake Titicaca is private to our group and there is a guide from one of the Lake Titicaca island communities. The boat is enclosed as it can get cold at this altitude but there are large windows on all sides and an outside deck to the rear. Life jackets are provided. In the Amazon, we may share boats with other lodge guests. Inca Trail option: This point-to-point trekking trip requires you to walk between each overnight stay under your own steam.

Joining instructions

Key information Start hotel: Hotel El Tambo Uno, Avenida la Paz 1276, Miraflores 15074, Lima Phone: +51 1 2194080 Recommended arrival time: You can arrive at any time today. There will be a welcome briefing in the evening, but if you miss it the leader will update you separately Airport: Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM) Getting to the start hotel The start hotel is approximately 45 minutes’ drive from the airport. Exodus provides free arrival transfers to the start hotel from the airport for all customers.  If you would like further information on joining this trip, please speak to your sales representative. Catching your return flight Exodus provides free departure transfers for all customers to Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM) from the end hotel. Please note, unless specified otherwise, the transfers will be to the start (or pre-tour) hotel and from the end (or post-tour) hotel and will be on the date on which the tour starts/ends; transfers to other hotels in the same city and/or on different dates may attract an extra charge. Transfers should be booked with your sales representative at least two weeks before the tour starts.