Bike Sacred Valley to Amazon then hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

We start in the high and spectacular Andes around the Inca capital Cusco. From here, the biking is mainly with miles of fun trails to suit most riders.

Whilst not technically challenging, we ride on dirt roads and tracks through some of the world’s most dramatic landscapes.

In the Sacred Valley we cycle past ancient Inca ruins and visit the artisan market of Pisac, before climbing high into the Andes to witness a spectacular sunrise over the Amazon.

Next it’s downhill through pristine cloud forest, deep into the jungle from where we explore the surrounding trails in search of rare wildlife.


Inca Trail tours

Returning to Cuzco, we swap pedals for walking boots and set off on the Inca Trail (subject to permit availability – get in quick as they can sell out months in advance).

We spend four days hiking through various ecosystems on the famous Inca Trail to the famous world heritage site called Machu Picchu with our fabulous Inca Trail porters.

This is an adventure holiday for people who want great biking, culture, scenery and wildlife.


Trip Highlights

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  • Visit the Inca Trail and the Amazon from Cusco, the experience of a lifetime.

  • Incredible views over Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate.

  • Watch the sunrise over the Amazon as we bike from the Andes to the Amazon.

  • Shop for souvenirs and bargains at local Pisac market.

  • Go wildlife spotting - humming birds, monkeys and more - at Amazon eco-lodge.

  • Trek the famous Inca Trail.

  • Enjoy Peru's famous cuisine - from Pisco sours to Ceviche.

There wasn't any part that no-one liked. The itinerary was organised in such a way that it was varied and exciting throughout.

D. Low


Full Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Cusco transfer to hotel,

On arrival at Cusco Airport (CUZ), we have a short transfer to our hotel (3 star).

Go slowly, as we start acclimatising to the rarefied air of this beautiful city (3,326m/10,912ft).

In the afternoon, we take a short walking tour of the city and take some time to prepare our bikes ready for the riding ahead.

Day 2: Inca ruins around Cusco, biking (B,L)

Leaving Cusco early we travel by vehicle to the outskirts of Cusco and the Inca site of Tambo Machay. After putting on gloves and helmets we head off to explore the area.

The trails are generally downhill, giving time to acclimatise as we head back towards Cusco city, enjoying  superb views over the valley and the city.

Your expert guide and mechanic will assess your group’s ability and then offer a variety of riding options, from easy, smooth road to harder single tracks and Inca trails.

Lunch in Cusco and free afternoon.

For those who want some more biking action, we can head back out to just outside the small village of Huayllacochca from where there are dozens of suburb routes back to Cusco.

Day 3: Cusco to Pisac, hotel (B,L,D)

After breakfast we bike out of Cusco on a good tarmac road, downhill to Huambutio and along a beautiful rarely used road beside the Rio Urubamba.

With the support vehicle close at hand we can focus on taking in the great scenery. We stop for a picnic before heading on for today’s goal, the town of Pisac.

We look to arrive in time for its artisan market, perfect for picking up souvenirs or photographing a typical Andean market.

We stay the night in the basic Hotel Pisac. Situated on the central plaza it is a clean, charming and comfortable place to stay.

Distance: 34 miles/54kms approx.

Day 4: Bike Pisac to Tres Cruces, 30 miles, camp. (B,L,D)

From Pisac, we drive up into barren Altiplano at 4,100m/13,451ft for a great descent to the small village of Paucartambo with spectacular views of the Andes.

There are a few optional single tracks available en-route. We get back on the bus for the drive to the edge of the Manu National Park and our campsite at Tres Cruces with spectacular views of the Amazon jungle.

Distance: 30 miles/45kms approx.

Day 5: Bike Altiplano to Amazon, 40 miles, Amazon lodge (B,L,D)

Rising early and weather permitting, we enjoy a spectacular sunrise over the rainforest. At certain times of the year, the refracting sun rays bounce off the jungle below, creating a truly amazing spectacle.

Back on the bikes, we start with the fun 16km ride along the final ridge of the Andes, before we drop off the edge of the Amazon basin for the descent into the amazing cloud forest. We cycle downhill all day, with spectacular jungle views, hopefully glimpsing rare wildlife en route.

Andean bears, pumas, various species of monkeys and hundreds of birds have all been sighted on this day.

Distance: 40 miles/64kms approx.

Day 6: Biking in rainforest, 25 miles, Amazon lodge (B,L,D)

Continuing downhill, we cycle through verdant rainforest passing various small villages, where we can see how settlers try to eke out a living.

We stop for cold drinks and to cool off in pristine jungle streams, and continue to Atalaya where board a motorised canoe for a short ride to our Amazon jungle lodge.

What a spot, tranquility itself.

Bird-watching in style, from the balcony of this former tea house, with a chilled beer in hand.

Distance: 25 miles/40kms approx.

Day 7: Explore Amazon (no cycling), Lodge (B,L,D)

A great opportunity to explore the  rainforest trails, hopefully glimpsing some of the wildlife.

Or relax at the lodge, catch up on a good book and enjoy the sounds from the jungle.

Day 8: Drive and bike to Cusco, hotel (B,L)

Today we have a boat trip back to Atalaya before we retrace our journey to Cusco, now by vehicle.

We get our kit sorted then head out to enjoy the Cuzco nightlife. Hotel.

Day 9: Free day Cusco, hotel (B)

Rest up and get ready for the Inca Trail tomorrow, or choose something more active such as rafting or more biking – our reps will be glad to help.

Day 10: Transfer to Inca Trail, hike Urubamba River to Llactapata, camp (B,L,D)

Today we start our journey along the Inca Trail. We drive into the Sacred valley of the Incas, enjoying the views from the vehicle.

At the end of the road (Km88) we meet the support team of porters for lunch then begin the Inca trail.

The first section is ideal for acclimatisation purposes as we hike along the sacred Urubamba river. We camp the night at Llactapata (2,288m/7,506ft) beside some spectacular ruins.

We believe in camping and trekking in style, whilst walking all you need to carry is your daypack.

Our support team of traditional porters, carry all camping equipment and perform all camp chores. All food is prepared by the cook.

Distance:                     11.1km/6.9 miles

Highest point:             2,912m/9,554ft

Starting altitude:        2,753m/9,032ft

Finishing altitude:       2,885m/9,466ft

Height gained:            398m/1,306ft

Height lost:                 302m/991ft

Day 11: Inca Trail, Llactapata to Llulluchapampa, camp (B,L,D)

We trek up the Cusichaca valley to the small hamlet of Huallyabamba, the last inhabited place on the trail.

The path continues on up past humming birds and stunted cloud forest.

Our camp is the beautiful grassy area at Llulluchupampa (3,680m/12,075ft). This has outstanding views down the valley.

Distance:                     12.3km/7.7 miles

Highest point:             4,222m/13,852ft

Starting altitude:        2,885m/9,466ft

Finishing altitude:       3,603m/11,821ft

Height gained:           1,361m/4,465ft

Height lost:                 613m/2,011ft

Day 12: Inca Trail, Llulluchapampa to Phuyupatamarca, camp (B,L,D)

Possibly the hardest day of the trek, we rise early and head to the highest point of the trail – the impressive Warmiwanusca (Dead woman’s pass 4,200m/13,780ft).

We then descend into the Pacasmayo valley and then climb again passing the Inca ruins Rucuracay.

Our second pass of the day (3,998m/13,117ft) gives us spectacular views of the Vilcabamba range. Walking on well-preserved Inca pathway we pass Sayacmarca ruins with plenty of time for an in depth tour and explanation.

We continue along the ridge, passing through tunnels and fantastic views and a slight ascent brings us to Phuyupatamarca ruins (3,650m/11,975ft) where we camp. 

Distance:                     12.9km/8 miles

Highest point:             3,893m/12,772ft

Starting altitude:        3,603m/11,821ft

Finishing altitude:       2,732m/8,962ft

Height gained:             1,185m/3,888ft

Height lost:                 1,345m/4,413ft

Day 13: Phuyupatamarca to Machu Picchu, hotel (B,L)

After an early morning chance to catch the sunrise on the surrounding snow capped mountain, we say a farewell to our porters with a traditional song and dance.

Our final days hiking brings us down into the cloud forest along the Inca stairway to Winay-winay (2,600m/8,530ft), another outstanding ruin full of orchids and swallows. we then contour through cloud forest to Inti Punku, the gateway of the Sun, for our first glimpse of the amazing Machu Picchu.

After treasuring the moment we pass through to the ruins themselves.

We transfer to our hotel in the colourful town of Aguas Calientes and celebrate our return to civilisation.


Distance:                     7.9km/4.9 miles

Highest point:             2,739m/8,988ft

Starting altitude:        2,732m/8,962ft

Finishing altitude:       2,452m/8,046ft

Height gained:            311m/1,020ft

Height lost:                 377m/1,237ft

Day 14: Machu Picchu tour, return Cusco, hotel (B)

First thing in the morning we return to Machu Picchu and have it virtually all to ourselves for a full guided tour.

We can walk out to the Inca bridge or else just wander through the ruins soaking up the amazing atmosphere. After a late lunch in Aguas Calientes we board the afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo.

Here our waiting bus takes us back to our Cusco hotel in time to explore Cusco’s excellent nightlife.

Day 15: Transfer out, ends (B)

We transfer to Cusco airport .

Note: In order to protect this fabulous piece of history a permit is required to trek the Inca trail. This permit is organised by us and included in the standard holiday cost. These permits often sell out months in advance and so if Inca trail permits are no longer available we have devised a fantastic alternative trek which moves away from the beaten track and explores parts of the Andes not visited by many tourists. This trek operates according to demand and can not always be guaranteed and so please contact us if you would like to discuss this option further.

Inca Trail Alternative:  The spectacular Lares valley lies just beyond the Sacred Valley of the Incas bringing you back to an ancient Andean life where hardy locals herd llamas and plant potatoes as they have for centuries amidst beautiful Andean surroundings. Their incredibly bright, high-quality woven red clothes are startlingly against the mountain back ground.

The trek is an interesting mixture of spectacular mountain scenery, glacial lakes, waterfalls, high plains, hot springs and charming Andean villages. The views of the snow topped peaks of Veronica, Chicon, Pitusiray and Sawasiray keep us company most of the way. It also boasts a chance to visit the lovely hot-springs at Lares village and a chance to barter for local weavings along the route. The final location of the Paucarcancha  ruins and the superb walk on an original Inca trail along massive, remarkably well- preserved Inca terraces to the back entrance of Ollantaytambo completes this satisfying trek. From here we catch the train to Machu Picchu and meet up with the rest of our group for a full day exploring this fascinating and mysterious site before returning to Cusco

Prices From $4,430 / £3,757 per person

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What's Included?

Twin occupancy small comfortable hotels, Hostal accommodation in Machu Picchu and a jungle lodge, All camping and cooking equipment: this includes Therm-a-Rests, spacious two-person tents, dining tent and toilet tent, All meals provided are indicated in the itinerary. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner), An experienced bilingual mountain bike guide/mechanic with emergency repair kit and back up vehicle, A qualified, English-speaking Inca trail guide, team of porters and cooks while trekking, At least one leader qualified in First Aid procedures. An emergency first-aid kit and oxygen, Entrance fees to Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail, All airport transfers and bus transfers described in the itinerary.

What's Not Included?

Cost of visas (where necessary), Medical check up and inoculations, Tips for guides, cooks etc, Personal clothing and equipment, Sleeping bags. We do have some sleeping bags (3-season with thermal liner), which may be hired directly in Peru for your time on the Inca Trail, Bar bills, hotel refreshments, laundry, telephone calls, souvenirs, etc, Other entrance fees to historical sites and museums not covered in the itinerary, Bike hire, International nor domestic flights


We use 2-3* hotels when in towns and cities.

We also stay in a converted tea hacienda in the jungle. This is now a comfortable lodge which makes the perfect base to explore the area.

On several nights we sleep in tents. Camp will be set up for you and as well as your tent we will also have separate tents for our cook, dining and even a toilet.

Tour Staff

Based in Cuzco our local team live on the doorstep of some of the most dramatic riding in the world and they know how to make the most of it. Luckily for us they enjoy sharing the local routes with visitors almost as much as riding them themselves.

Our Inca Trail guides have years of experience on this world famous trail. They know all the best campsites and how to time everything so that you pretty much have the trail to yourselves. You will not only learn about the amazing history of the Incas and Machu Picchu, but also gain an insight into modern day Peru, its people, politics, customs, flora and fauna.


Peru has become world famous for its food and rightly so. The incredibly varied landscape from coast, through desert, high mountains and tropical jungle provides a vast range of climates and ecosystems to provide a vast larder of fresh ingredients.

Almost all dietary requirements can be catered for – please check with us in advance.

Coffee, chocolate, avocados, limes, mangos all grow in the moist tropical air close to Machu Picchu. More than 4,000 varieties of potatoes and more than 50 varieties of corn grow in the Andes mountains and valleys.

Our camp cooks take the best ingredients and keep you fed with such delights as Aji de Gallina, Fresh trout stuffed with Peruvian prawns, Palta a la Reina and flambéed mangos with chocolate brownie. One thing is sure. Even the most ravenous won’t go hungry.

Picnic lunches are tasty and varied affairs and may include crusty ciabatta filled with hot chicken and chargrilled vegetables, hot beef sandwiches with homemade mayonnaise and local salads.

Trail snacks are provided and you can expect some delicious healthy treats such mango slices, banana chips and much more. Purified water is provided so you are able to regularly able to refill your bottles / hydration packs.

Activity Level

For the leisure cyclist with a good level of physical fitness.

May include some steeper, cheeky climbs and possibly sections of varying terrain (eg. forest tracks, gravel paths etc).

Distances generally between 20-45 miles / 32-72 kms per day.

Enquire about booking

Practical Information

Introduction to Peru

Peru is the perfect holiday destination for adventure travellers that want an amazing variety of activity, geography and cultural travel experiences.

The breadth of travel experiences in Peru is breathtaking – from trekking in the Andes to Machu Picchu to the tropical jungle of the Amazon, and plenty in between.

The people of Peru make it a special destination too, with its colourful and traditional street life and friendly locals.

Geography of Peru

Peru is made up of 3 distinct geographical areas: the coast, the mountains and the jungle.

The costa or coastal region is a narrow ribbon of desert 2,250 km long, crossed by fertile river valleys flowing from the Andes. It takes up 11% of the country and holds more than 40% of the population.

The cold Humboldt current gives rise to a blanket of mist – the garua – which hangs above coastal cities like the capital Lima from May to November.

Heading east, you’re soon climbing above the garua and into the Andes. The sierra, or mountainous region, covers some 25% of Peru’s territory and contains 50% of the population. The sierra inhabitants are mainly Indigenous or Mestizo, and many still speak Quechua or Aymara.

The sierra contains dozens of 6,000-metre snow peaks and volcanoes, including Huascaran (6,768m) the highest mountain in the tropics. The deep valley basins contain most of the towns and arable land; the terracing and canal systems of the Incas and pre-Incas are often still used today.

The eastern Andes are heavily forested up to 3,350m and sweep down into the Amazon Basin.

Peru’s selva or jungle makes up almost two thirds of the country’s area, but holds only about 6% of the population: the only towns with significant populations are Iquitos and Pucallpa.


Weather in Peru

You can also read about the weather of Peru in our blog.

Peru is located in the southern tropics (latitudes 0º to 18º), but climate varies significantly according to season, altitude and region.


Lima & the coast

From May to October, Lima is often overcast, but with minimal precipitation. There are sunny spells, and it’s a fresh to pleasant 13-20ºC.

At the same time, inland  areas and the north coast mid to high 20’s ºC.

November to April is generally warm and sunny and Lima enjoys warm temperature of 19-25ºC, with the coast averaging 22-30ºC.


The Andes

Climate depends largely on altitude. As a rule of thumb, below 2,000m climate is mild and above 2,000m warm clothing is required for evenings, nights and early mornings.

The Andean sun is very strong.


May to Oct (dry season in The Andes)

Cusco (3,300m): Average max/min temps: 22ºC /2ºC. Average 3 or 4 wet days per month.

Arequipa (2,380m): Average max/min temps: 26ºC /9ºC. Sunny more than 340 days/year with minimal precipitation.

On highland treks: Conditions are generally dry. However, at this time of year, expect a range of conditions within a single day: cold/freezing nights at camps above 4,000m, where pre-dawn temperatures can be -5ºC; warm, spring-like mornings and afternoons; and cold evenings.

Note that mountain weather can be fickle and localised, and that precipitation is not unknown in the dry season. Expect temperatures to swing between sun and shade, sheltered and exposed ground and with altitude gain and loss. A quick-setting sun means temperatures drop fast.

In the cloud forest, e.g. around Machu Picchu, daytime conditions are generally warm or hot, and evenings cool.


Nov to March/April (wet season in The Andes)

Cusco: Average max/min temps: 23ºC /6ºC. Average 13 wet days per month.

Arequipa: Average max/min temps: 25ºC /14ºC.

On highland treks: Wetter conditions, with cooler days and milder nights than dry season. Jan-Mar usually the wettest months.


The Amazon rainforest

Year-round, weather conditions are hot and humid and there is always the risk of rain

There is a ‘dry season’ in Tambopata and Manu between May and October. The average daytime high temperature is between 25°C and 34°C and the average nighttime low is between 16°C and 22°C. Heavy downpours typically occur every few days.

Around 80% of annual average rainfall – approx 2,000 mm in Manu and Tambopata and 1,400 mm in Iquitos – occurs in the wet season Nov-April.

On rare occasions, between May and September, cold fronts from Argentina – ‘friajes’ – can sweep into southwest Amazonia and push temperatures down to 9° C. (Friajes usually last between 1 and 3 days).

Kit list

Good kit is vital for every trip.

Book with Andean Trails and get 15% off Páramo’s fantastic ethical and high performance outdoor gear.



When planning for the varied climatic conditions you will encounter across Peru, layering is the most practical and versatile clothing system.

The sun is very strong throughout the country, so good sun cream, a hat and sunglasses are vital.

It can also get very cold at night time especially in the mountains. Jumpers, fleeces and warms hats – which you can buy there – are also essential.

Give plenty of thought to kit selection, and try to keep weight down.

Below is a more detailed guide.


Detailed kit list

  • Medium weight parka or a down jacket.
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers. The jacket needs to be water proof and roomy. Side-zip pants are recommended.
  • 2-3 long-sleeve shirts – no cotton
  • 2-3 short-sleeve T-shirts – no cotton
  • 2 pair of hiking trousers- cotton or synthetic material (no jeans)
  • 1 fleece or sweat trousers (for cold evenings)
  • 2 pair hiking shorts
  • Long thermals – synthetic or wool – light to medium weight top & bottoms.
  • 2-3 mid-weight (wool or synthetic) socks.
  • 2-3 liner socks if needed
  • Athletic-type socks, several pairs, city use
  • Hiking boots that are waterproof and well broken-in.
  • Running/tennis shoes or sandals are very comfortable when you are in cities
  • 1 lightweight wool sweater or windproof fleece
  • 1 wool or synthetic warm hat.
  • 1 light sun hat with a wide brim.
  • 1 pair of medium-weight wool or synthetic gloves
  • Broad-brimmed sunhat, essential.
  • Sunglasses with UV filter.
  • Scarf for cold.
  • Bandanna – to protect neck from strong sun.
  • Daypack (at least 30 litres). Comfortable and with waterproof lining or cover.
  • Water bottle (2 litres approx.) & purification tablets.
  • Personal first-aid kit to include: painkillers, plasters (band-aids), moleskin, anti-biotic cream, general antibiotics (ask your GP), after-bite (tiger balm), anti-diarrhoea tablets, throat lozenges, re-hydration salts & personal medication.
  • Insect repellent (just in case)
  • Towel & wash-kit.
  • Wet Wipes/antiseptic hand-wash cream.
  • Sunscreen (factor 30+) and lip salve.
  • Head-lamp (plus spare bulb and batteries).
  • Penknife.
  • Travel alarm clock.
  • Plastic bags – ‘Zip-loc’ & tough bin liners.
  • Camera and film / memory cards (take at least twice the amount you think you will need!).
  • Book, e-book, mp3 player/ipod or other to help pass the time.
  • Binoculars.
  • Spanish/English phrasebook.
  • Extra snacks i.e. cereal bars or favourite chocolate bars.


Miscellaneous others

  • Money belt.
  • Passport.
  • U.S. dollars cash, mixed-denomination notes, undamaged and unmarked.
  • ATM cash/credit card.
  • Any inoculation certificates.
  • Personal & medical insurance certificates.
  • Presents e.g. Postcards from home.
  • Comfortable clothes for travel, smart clothes for night life.

ATOL holiday protection

Andean Trails has two decades of experience of dealing with South America holidays.

We pay a fee to the CAA for every licensable passenger we book since we hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an advance booking.

We also offer ATOL (Civil Aviation Authority) protected holidays to give our customers peace of mind when booking and travelling.

When you buy an ATOL protected air holiday package from Andean Trails Ltd you will receive a Confirmation Invoice from us confirming your arrangements and your protection under our Air Travel Organiser’s Licence number 6275.

You can read more about ATOL, who is covered and what protections you have if not ATOL-covered, on our ATOL page.


What is ATOL?

The CAA’s ATOL scheme offers protection to your money and your holiday if you book with us. Not everybody is covered (see ‘Who is covered?’ for more), as you must purchase an ‘air package holiday’ with Andean Trails to be protected.

And  ‘air package holiday’ is defined as including a flight and some ground services (hotel, transfer, trek etc). This is also known as an ‘ATOL-protected holiday’.


Who is covered?

To be covered by ATOL, you must book a flight and some ground services with us and be from the UK. If you are from the UK and only book ground services and no flights, you are not covered by ATOL (see below for more on how non-ATOL clients are covered).

If you are outside the UK and buy flights with us, you will be ATOL protected IF any of the flights booked with Andean Trails touches/stops in the UK at any point during your holiday package booked with us.

If you buy your flights elsewhere, please check with that agent if you are ATOL protected. Be careful with online flight purchases and make sure you know what protection you have, if any, before paying for flights.

Not all holiday or travel services offered and sold by us will be protected by the ATOL scheme. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking.

For land only holidays not involving any air travel, in accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992”, all UK passengers booking with Andean Trails Ltd. are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all money paid to us, arising from cancellation or curtailment of travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Andean Trails.


I’m not ATOL covered, what protection do I have?

If you are not ATOL covered, any payments you make to us go to a Trust account.

We can only access this money once your tour has been completed, meaning that if anything happens to Andean Trails Limited while you are on holiday, then your money is secure and you can either complete the trip or be able to make it home.

If you pay for your holiday with a credit card, some offer payment protection – please check with your cardholder.

You also should have cancellation protection written into your insurance (which we recommend you have at the time of booking) in case you need to cancel.

Peru’s Amazon Rainforest

Peru boasts in its Amazonian region a vast swathe of world-class tropical wilderness with several rain forest and cloud forest reserves which are home to an immense diversity of wildlife.

Accessible from Lima, Iquitos or Cusco, the Amazon jungle is just a short flight away.

In Peru’s southeast lies the extraordinary region comprising the Tambopata National Reserve and the Bahuaja Sonene and Manu National Parks, with the greatest animal and plant diversity anywhere in the world.

Whether you choose to base yourself at a comfortable lodge or enjoy a more demanding camping trip, you can be sure of a unique, exhilarating and unforgettable experience.

Arequipa & Colca Canyon, Peru

The beautiful colonial city of Arequipa is replete with history and culture, and is the gateway to the condors of Colca Canyon.

Nestled at 2,325m/7,627ft, the ‘white city’ sits at the foot of three tremendous volcanoes: El Misti (5,821m/19,098ft), Chachani (6,075m/19,930ft) and Pichu Pichu (5,542m/18,182ft).

Arequipa’s attractions include the Cathedral, Compañía de Jesús Church, Santa Catalina Convent and the Dama de Ampato (Juanita Mummy) Museum.

With a year-round spring climate and sunshine guaranteed for 300 days of the year, it is the perfect place to begin acclimatising before continuing upwards.

Nearby is the famous Colca Canyon. At hundred kilometres long, this incredible gorge  is said to reach a maximum depth of 3,400m/11,155ft – twice that of the Grand Canyon.

An overnight tour to Colca gives you the chance to see the iconic, soaring condors of the canyon.

Cusco, Peru

Cusco is the archaeological and cultural capital of South America.

The one-time centre of the vast Inca Empire is a bustling highland city with bags of character.

Its whitewashed streets and plazas feature a fascinating blend of Inca and Spanish colonial stonework and offer endless possibilities for exploration.

You don’t have to venture far to find outstanding examples of high quality Inca architecture, including the monumental temple fortress of Sacsayhuaman.

There is also the fertile farming land of the Sacred Valley on the doorstep,  with many Inca terraces, temples and fortresses, plus colourful local markets and small villages.

At night, Cusco offers an excellent array or restaurants and bars plus the continent’s best Andean folk music scene.

Kuelap, Peru

In the northeast of Peru lies Kuelap – the jewel in the massive archaeological crown of the Chachapoyas Cloud People.

The mystical structure of Kuelap – dubbed the Peru’s second Machu Picchu by locals – is 1,200 years old.

It features massive limestone walls towering 60 feet, pottery, bones and hundreds of mysterious round stone structures, and away from the crowds of other sites.

This is a remote area of sub-tropical valleys, half way down the eastern slopes of the Andes. The jungle is impenetrable, dense with low trees, bromeliads, bamboos, orchids and mosses.

Lake Titicaca, Peru

Lake Titicaca, at around 4,000m/13,123ft above sea level, is a vast shimmering body of water on the Peru/Bolivia border.

It is the world’s highest navigable lake, set against a breathtaking background of towering ice-covered Andean mountain peaks.

The islands and shoreline of Lake Titicaca support many Indian communities, including the well known floating islands of Uros and the more remote islands of Taquile and Amantani. Here, traditions are strong and it appears time really does stand.

Agriculture, fishing, knitting and weaving are important to the islanders and by staying a day or two you gain just a small insights into this traditional way of life.

Islanders welcome tourists into their homes and this is a wonderful opportunity to experience island life.

Lima, Peru

Lima, the capital city of Peru, is a vibrant bustling place with a wide variety of things to do.

Stroll or bike around the historic centre, visiting the many museums or just chilling out in a café or restaurant in Miraflores.

In Parque Kennedy you can sit outside in Parisian fashion and watch the world go by in cafes and restaurants, or walk to the shore and the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

There are a number of artisan shops & market stalls, plus a big silver jewellery trade, and a burgeoning number of top end restaurants with delicious food.

The centre of Lima is home to impressive Colonial architecture – Plaza de Armas has the Palace, official residence of the president, on one side, and on another is the Cathedral.

San Francisco Church, home of the Catacombs, is well worth a visit, as is the Inquisition museum.

Machu Picchu, Peru

Nothing says Peru quite the way Machu Picchu does.

The Lost City of the Incas, perches dramatically on a ridge-top 400 metres above the Urubamba river. The extensive site, with its many terraces, temples and palaces, is set amid a beautiful landscape of deep gorges and thickly forested mountains.

When Machu Picchu was rediscovered early in the 20th century and cleared of forest, it was found to be very well preserved. It has since presented archaeologists with many unanswered questions regarding the role it played in Inca times.

The sense of grandeur, whether you arrive on the Inca Trail or not, is impressive.

Try to arrive early at the site to enjoy it at its best – and late afternoon can often see you almost alone in the ruins.

The Cordillera Blanca and Huayhuash, Peru

North east of Lima, the Cordillera Blanca offers fantastic mountain scenery and some of the best trekking and climbing in the Andes.

The Cordillera Blanca boasts dozens of peaks over 6,000 metres, including Peru’s highest Huascaran at 6,768m/22,205ft above sea level.

The Blanca range also contains the world’s largest concentration of tropical glaciers.

This is an ideal destination for treks, from just a few to 12 days or so and also an ideal starting place for learning or improving mountaineering skills.

The nearby Huayhuash mountain range contains a dazzling array of snow peaks including seven summits above 6,000 metres.

This is a trekking paradise with breathtaking majestic panoramas and stunningly remote and picturesque camping spots. There is no better place to visit to get away from it all.

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