Peru and Bolivia tours make a perfect travel combination.

Visit Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca in Peru, followed by Uyuni and La Paz and more in Bolivia.

We start your Peru travel in Cusco, exploring this ancient Inca capital before visiting the Sacred Valley and then the famous Machu Picchu ruins.

Next it’s overland through stunning scenery and views of snowy Andean peaks to Lake Titicaca and its floating reed islands.

 

More on Peru and Bolivia tours

Lake Titicaca divides Peru and Bolivia and each community has its own distinct and fascinating culture that has survived the centuries, so it’s like stepping back in time.

After a night on the lake, we head to Bolivia, which will pull you in with its charm and dramatic landscapes.

Having explored the pulsing and colourful city of La Paz we head to a landscape that is breath-taking – the vast Uyuni Salt Flats and the altiplanic desert surrounding them.

Uyuni features stark contrasts, blue skies and looming volcanoes pocked with wildlife such as flamingoes who survive in this harsh climate.

 

More travel in Bolivia

We continue on to the famous mining mountain of Potosi whose riches have blessed and cursed mankind for centuries.

Next on to the warmer and sophisticated city of Sucre before flying home, having taken in the very best of these two incredible Andean countries.



Trip Highlights

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  • Cusco and Sucre - cities with beautiful colonial and Inca architecture.

  • Ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.

  • Stunning Andean scenery as you overland from Peru into Bolivia.

  • Lake Titicaca, with its islands of Uros, Amantani and Taquile where age-old traditions live on.

  • Three days in Andean high desert, visiting the unique Uyuni Salt Flats.

  • La Paz, the world's highest (administrative) capital city and a melting pot of indigenous cultures.

We loved the way you arrange our trip to Peru for the kids.

We had so much fun last time in Peru that we trust you completely.

L. Silver, family holiday in Peru

Full Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Cusco, hotel (B)

Welcome to Peru!

You will be picked up at Cusco airport by our local representative and taken to your hotel. Time to acclimatise and settle in.

Day 2: City tour Cusco, surrounding Inca ruins, hotel (B)

Archaeological capital of South America, Cusco and the surrounding region contain a wealth of archaeological and cultural treasures unequalled in the Old World. It was the site of the historic capital of the Inca Empire and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1983 by UNESCO.

Cusco is a lively and exciting city boasting a wide range of restaurants and an active nightlife to suit everybody.

Nowadays Cusco’s main source of income is tourism, but it remains an important market town for the many farming communities that surround it. Street markets contain a huge range of highland and jungle produce, and you will likely see many indigenous traders and farmers in Cusco’s streets who have come to the markets to trade, dressed in their most beautiful woven, colourful garments.

Cusco boasts a unique fusion of Inca stonework and elegant Spanish colonial architecture, and you will be able to spend hours just strolling through the beautiful city centre. Sit in one of the cafes surrounding the stunning main plaza and enjoy the view of Cusco Cathedral as you watch the world go by.

Nearby ruins can be explored easily from Cusco city centre on our city tour, the most impressive being Sacsayhuaman.

Day 3: Day trip to Sacred Valley, train to Aguas Calientes, hotel (B,L)

Today we leave Cusco behind and travel into the rural Sacred Valley, with its beautiful green hills. We  visit various archaeological sites and Inca ruins, as well as getting a chance to learn about the local culture of the valley and marvel at the beautiful handicrafts and weavings sold at the markets.

We visit the town of Pisac and its ruins and small local market, before continuing to the village of Urubamba for lunch. After lunch we visit the impressive ruins at Ollantaytambo and the town itself with its picturesque cobbled streets.

From here we board the train to the village of Aguas Calientes, gateway to Machu Picchu.

Day 4: Visit Machu Picchu, guided tour, return train to Cusco, hotel (B)

We have a very early start today, taking a bus up to Machu Picchu for a guided tour. A professional, English-speaking guide will explain some of the history, ideas and technology of the Inca culture.

This marvel of Inca engineering was only rediscovered in 1911, by the American explorer and historian Hiram Bingham. As his team cleared the site of vegetation, the structures were found to be in surprisingly good condition.

It is one of the few Inca cities never to be reached – and thus destroyed – by the Spanish invaders; it was probably Machu Picchu’s utter remoteness that protected it from the plundering Spanish.

Visitors can still see the mathematically precise walls of temples and palaces once occupied by Inca nobles and maybe even kings and queens. But perhaps the cities most beautiful yet puzzling aspect is its location. It is perched high on a ridge, surrounded by steep mountainous terrain clad in dense steamy Amazon forest.

Our tour takes two hours and there is the option of climbing Huayna Picchu Mountain, or Machu Picchu Mountain (permit required, please ask for details).

The train back to Cusco leaves from Aguas Calientes, at approximately 16:30 and you get back into Cusco for about 21:00.

Day 5: Tourist bus to Puno, Lake Titicaca, hotel (B)

This spectacular bus journey begins at in Cusco and runs south to the historic city of Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca. The gentle climb is breathtaking.

The first half of the journey is dominated by magnificent Andean mountains, towering over the deep valleys of the meandering Huatanay River.

It then reaches the gentler, rolling Andean altiplano. The altiplano is the vast highland plateau straddling Peru and Bolivia. There are few trees; just ichu scrubgrass, roaming herds of vicuna, llama and alpaca and scattered potato plots.

Lake Titicaca is the major feature of Peru’s altiplano. This amazing, deep blue lake at 3,838m/12,592ft has a unique charm and supports many Indian communities on its islands and shores.

Day 6: Boat trip visiting Uros Islands, overnight on Amantani Island, homestay (B,L,D)

It’s an early start and down to the bustling port of Puno.

We set off on the world’s highest navigable lake, with the first stop being the floating islands of Uros. We step off the boat and explore these fascinating islands, seeing how people live and make the islands. There is a chance to buy some of the high quality weaving and sail in one of the local’s reed boats before we set off for Amantani.

If you are staying overnight, the village elder designates your host family for the night. You are then free to explore the trails and far reaches of this fascinating culture.

Day 7: Return by boat, visiting Taquile Island, arrive Puno, hotel (B,L)

Taquile Island is one of the most idiosyncratic and beautiful spots in all of Peru.

Located some 2 1/2 hours by fast boat (4 hours in a standard boat) from Puno, it is only 4km long and on average 1km wide but supports a population of almost 2,000 Taquileños.

The island has several archaeological sites dating from the Tiahuanaco culture. But it is the culture of the people living here today that makes Taquile so interesting; a culture far removed from our own and distinct from the rest of Peru.

Taquile is known for the extremely high quality of the sophisticated weaving, practised from a young age by both men and women. The islanders spin, knit and weave whenever they have a free moment in the busy agricultural calendar. By visiting, you have an opportunity to explore the many trails leading around the island, and to experience an island lifestyle unchanged in centuries.

Be prepared for intense sun and perhaps a very cold wind on the boat – take good quality sun protection and, just in case, plenty of warm clothing.

Arrival in Puno late afternoon, and transfer to your hotel.

Day 8: Tourist bus into Bolivia, continue to La Paz, hotel (B)

Today you’re heading into Bolivia.

The tourist bus takes you to the border, where you and all other travellers proceed through border formalities and then board a Bolivian bus to La Paz.

This is a well-travelled route and the transition from one bus to the next will be smoothly and you will be directed the right way.

You are picked up at La Paz bus station by our local representative and taken to your hotel in La Paz.

Day 9: City tour La Paz and El Alto, hotel (B,L)

Our city tour starts with a spectacular Teleferico Ride from La Paz to El Alto.

Once in El Alto we start descending all the way to downtown, and your guide will give you a lot of background history on El Alto, its inhabitants and and their role in the modern-day social, economic and political landscape. Called by some the “Aymara Capital of the World” and by others Bolivia’s biggest problem, El Alto is a dynamic place with surprisingly far-reaching influence.

Next, after a brief ride on one of the many painted school buses with upholstered ceilings, you are off to La Paz’s colourful and complex markets. It’s a great way to explore, having the guide by your side.

Lunch is a good moment to rest and gear up for the remainder of the afternoon, which we spend walking around the historic centre of La Paz, and the Urban Central Park with its incredible murals.

We finish up in the neighbourhood of San Miguel, a new, residential and commercial district that is a totally different from the city centre. We end the tour at 4pm, however in coordination with your guide you can stay on an hour longer to take in the sights, have a nice cup of Bolivian coffee and a delicious portion of Quinoa Cake at Alexander Coffee (optional, not included).

Day 10: Fly to Uyuni, start of Salt Flats tour, hotel (B,L,D)

A flight brings you to Uyuni, where you are met at the airport for the start of your tour.

Today we have an unforgettable journey through 12,000 km ² of fantastic landscapes of salt. Prepare your camera! The dazzling white mantle of the Uyuni Salt Flat resembles an immense ice-field.

We drive onto the salt flat at the village of Colchani, centre of the salt factories. We visit one of these and learn about the families that are dependent on salt mining for their livelihoods.

We then visit the part of the salt plains where mounds of salt are collected, and from here we head towards Incahuasi Island. You can set off to climb to the summit where you get a fabulous view, 360 degrees.

We have a box lunch on the island and then head toward the dominant and magic Volcano Thunupa whose slopes house the Chantani Museum. The museum is home to ceramics and silent mummies. We drive some way up the volcano and visit the Coquesa Mummies museum.

We spend the night in the Tayka Salt Hotel.

Day 11: Salt Flats Tour, hotel (B,L,D)

We leave the salt flat and head to Charagua, a pretty place of corals and goat farmers. It will take us about one hour, via a bumpy road, to arrive at the Burnt Town of San Pedro de Quemes, where we leave the car to go and wander through its small streets and view the buildings which have inspired the hotel Tayka of Stone.

We take lunch in the Hotel of Stone (optional Shepherding of Llamas trip, spending an hour or so helping a shepherd or shepherdess with the llamas, a vital part of life in the Salar).

In the afternoon we drive towards the lagoons – Cañapa, Hedionda, Chiarkota, Honda and Ramaditas, replete with flamingos happy to be photographed! Other birds, such as Andean gulls and ducks, accompany the flamingos in these lagoons, which are flanked by snow-capped volcanoes.

Next we enter the deserts of sand. These fantastic deserts are owners of the whole palette of terracottas. Red, oranges, ochers, coffees and beige – every bend in the road there are more colours, fighting for your attention.

In front of the most impressive of these palettes of colours is the Hotel Tayka of the Desert, with private bathrooms, hot water and environmental heating waiting for us.

Day 12: Salt Flats Tour, end in Uyuni, hotel (B,L)

An early start today at 05:30, towards the Eduardo Avaroa and Flora and Andean Fauna Reserve and then the famous Stone Tree.

Next we travel to the Red Lagoon to observe the great population of flamingoes, then we see the Morning Sun Geysers to catch them at their most active moment. This will be the highest point on our route, we will be at nearly 5,000m/16,404ft.

Here, noisy fumaroles and splashing mud puddles make the earth seem to boil in reddish, grizzly, scarlet mud.

The desert and salt flat of Chalviri is another superb scene. It combines the dazzling white, the ochres of the desert, the blue of the water, and, in one of its corners, we can to take a dip in the Hot Springs of Polques.

Today is a day full of highlights, as next in line is Ladies of the Desert, a masterpiece created by the the wind and the Andean peaks around, with crazily shaped rocks in fantastic colours, all moulded by the winds. Furthermore, nearby is the Green Lagoon, at the foot of Volcano Licancabur, another pearl of the reserve.

From the Green Lagoon we return to the Red Lagoon, have lunch, and then watch as the shifting sun helps to change its colour from a woody red to a blood red colour.

We return via Villa Mar to Uyuni, where you will be dropped off at your hotel.

Today is a day with lots of driving, but the scenery is stunning and makes the journey worth it.

Day 13: Return flight to La Paz and end tour OR Local bus to Potosi, afternoon city tour, hotel (B)

You can either fly back to La Paz and end your trip here, or add an extension to see more of Bolivia.

Board a local bus today, and head to Potosi. There is no bathroom onboard but you will likely break the journey half way.

The “Rich Mountain” that overlooks Potosí is the main source of silver in the area and the mining industry has shaped the city. We have left the afternoon free for you to explore but can arrange optional tours. A visit to the Casa de Moneda gives a fascinating insight into the world of silver and coin production that brought riches to the city in the times of the Spanish Conquistadores and comes highly recommended.

Day 14: Transfer to Sucre, afternoon city tour and hotel (B)

Another bus journey and another local bus. There is no bathroom onboard but you will likely break the journey half way.

The UNESCO world heritage city of Sucre is the constitutional capital of Bolivia. The city holds plenty of charm and is well worth exploring. Casa de la Libertad, the beautiful baroque cathedral and several other churches in the old city (including two museums), are worth a visit and in the evening you can experience a vibrant restaurant and pub scene of this dynamic student city.

Day 15: Free day Sucre, or add excursion, hotel (B)

There is plenty to do and see in Sucre so we suggest you spend a day to do just that.

You can also arrange tours and excursions in Sucre, such as a visit to see the nearby dinosaur footprints, a visit to the diverse community project of Jatum Yampara where you can see the traditional way of life in rural communities and learn about weaving, llama herding and the challenges the community faces today.

Day 16: Fly to La Paz, free afternoon, hotel (B)

Today return to La Paz and enjoy a final day of strolling through this busy city, with plenty of options to pick up some beautiful souvenirs before it is time to leave.

Day 17: Fly home or add extension (B)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home, or add some more days.


Prices From $3,171 / £2,689 per person

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What's Included?

Transfers, tours with English-speaking guides as mentioned, meals as listed, (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner), transportation, services and accommodation all as described in the itinerary, public buses and trains

What's Not Included?

Flights (can be added), services not mentioned, extras and tips, insurance, alcoholic or soft drinks, personal items, tips, personal expenses


Accommodation

Hotels, based on 2-3* clean, central and with private bathroom.

Upgrades possible at extra cost (where available).

Tour Staff

All our guides are qualified, local and English-speaking and will help you get the most out of your trip.

You meet different guides for different tours, each with specialist knowledge of the areas you are visiting.


Meals

Almost all dietary requirements can be catered for if we are notified in advance, please ask for more information.

Breakfasts at the hotels will generally consist of hot drinks, toast, jams, cereals, fruits and eggs.

Lunch when provided will either be a packed lunch of sandwiches, fruit and snacks. If at a local restaurant, it will often include soup to start, a main of rice with meat and/or veg. and a small pudding. Dinners are often similar.

When eating out under your own steam, there are a host of restaurants to choose from.

Note: In remote areas like Uyuni, meals may vary depending on availability of certain items.

Activity Level

This trip is open to people with a penchant for exploring, with a positive attitude and outlook. The days are not strenuous, in walking terms, but we are out and about seeing things on a daily basis.

Dust can be a problem and quite extremes of temperature, warm in the day and cold at night the moment the sun goes down.

You don’t need a specific fitness level as such, but to be adaptable, enjoy being outdoors and viewing sites etc.

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.

An introduction to Bolivia

Land-locked Bolivia is a country of dramatic landscapes and fascinating native cultures and traditions.

The Altiplano or “High Plain”, averaging 3,800m, is its most populous region. The vast, luminous plateau is flanked to east and west by parallel Andean ranges.

La Paz, the world’s highest capital, lies in a deep canyon at the edge of the Altiplano, and at the foot of Illimani (6,400m). It is a striking city for its dramatic setting and its strong Indian character.

Lake Titicaca is the world’s highest navigable lake. It was sacred to the Incas; according to legend, their founding emperor-gods rose from these waters to give birth to their empire. Just south of the lake stands the sacred pre-Inca site of Tiahuanaco.

Geography of Bolivia

On the south-western Altiplano are the Uyuni Salt Flats, the largest in the world. Here, the shimmering white salt pan and deep blue sky combine to create a truly magical spectacle.

The stunning Cordillera Real is a mountain range dominated by huge snow peaks, including Illimani and Illampu (6,380m). The Real divides the northern Altiplano from the tropical forests to the east. The Cordillera Real’s eastern slopes are characterized by the deep, sub-tropical Yungas gorges.

Further south, the tropical Chapare is the agricultural heart of Bolivia. East of this band of high forests and plantations lies Bolivia’s Oriente, a vast swathe of Amazonian jungle and savanna accounting for 2/3 of the country and featuring some of the last untouched wilderness on earth.

In the north-eastern Department of Beni, some 50% of the country’s mammals and birds reside. Below, and in no special order, we outline some of the top places to go and things to do.

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).

Weather in Bolivia

Bolivia lies within the tropics, between latitudes 10º and 22º south. The climate, as varied as its geography, is affected by latitude and, especially, by altitude.

The best time to travel is the winter (dry season) between May and Oct when, typically, weather systems over the Andes are stable, and overall you can expect bright sunny days and cold clear nights. Most of the rain falls from Dec to March. Climate can be divided into these distinct zones:

 

The Andes and the Altiplano

There is relatively little precipitation on the Altiplano, especially in the dry season – most rainfall is from Dec to March. However, there is periodical, localised rain on high peaks and valleys all year round.

The further south and west you go on the Altiplano, the drier are the conditions; around Uyuni, semi-arid conditions prevail. The Andean sun’s rays are very strong.

Temperature-wise, the Andes and Altiplano experience significant fluctuations over a single day. At 4,000m, the pre-dawn temperature can drop to -15ºC, while noon temperatures at the same location can reach 20ºC.

Southerly cold winds mean the southern Altiplano is not only drier, but also noticeably colder and windier than the north (pre-dawn temperatures at Uyuni in July regularly drop to -20ºC).

On treks in the Cordillera Real in the dry season, expect a range of conditions within a single day: cold/freezing nights at camps above 4,000m (where pre-dawn temperatures sometimes reach -15ºC); warm, spring-like mornings and afternoons; and cold evenings. Conditions are generally dry, but note that mountain weather is fickle and localised, and precipitation is not unusual 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.

The city of La Paz (3,630m) is relatively sheltered. Average high/low temperatures range from 1-17ºC in June and July (coldest months) to 6-19ºC in Nov and Dec (warmest months). In June and July, it rarely rains more than 1 or 2 days per month, while in January there are on average 15 wet days.

 

The tropical lowlands & yunga (Amazon)

Year-round, weather conditions in the Amazon basin are hot and humid and always with the chance of rain.

There is a  ‘cooler’, drier winter season between May and October. During this ‘dry season’, the average daytime high temperature is between 25-31°C and the average nighttime low is between 16-22°C.

In the dry season, heavy downpours typically occur every few days.

Note that around 80% of annual average rainfall – approx 2,000 mm in Bolivia’s northern lowlands – occurs in the wet season, Nov-April.

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

The Yungas shares the same dry/wet months but varies from quite wet to very wet depending on whether it is the ‘dry’ or rainy season. Average temperature is 24°C.


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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