This group trip is an outline of what you could see while travelling in Peru.
We tailor each trip to the group’s needs, whether it being adding more relaxation, more action or interaction with locals.
This sample holiday takes in Lima, Arequipa, Lake Titicaca, the Amazon, Cusco and also includes a guided visit to Machu Picchu.
There is also the opportunity to take part in activities such as white water rafting, add on some climbing, cultural visits to markets and to stay with locals.
We take care of the details and will give you an expert, bilingual tour leader in Peru, to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Andean Trails can book everything from your international flights to Peru to birthday lunches and special trips.
Design your perfect group tour and we'll provide seamless logistics.
Meet and interact with local people with chances to volunteer, too.
Choose your own adventure - Machu Picchu, Amazon, Cusco and more.
Fully flexible itineraries to suit time and budget.
If you or any members of your family are ever planning a South American trip in the future then I don’t think you need to look any further for a quality organisation to organise your trip.
The trip would not have been such a great success without the superb organisation of Andean Trails and the personal attention of Kathy (the boss). We may have been their paying customers but their organisation, attention to detail and efficiency was fantastic.
We were very lucky to have the company of some fantastic guides on the tour. Enthusiastic and caring people – all of them.
Alex & Sarah Hendry and Marion & Andrew Deeks
On your arrival at Lima airport you’ll be met and taken into the heart of Miraflores to your hotel. (1 night hotel).
Lima is Peru’s capital city, situated on the Pacific coast and home to more than 10 million people. It is an enormous sprawling city located in the centre of Peru’s desert coastline and almost impossible to avoid when visiting Peru. However, Lima is a city worth visiting – its food, restaurants and live music scene are excellent, the people are friendly and hospitable and it houses some of the best museums in Peru.
We take an early flight to the colonial city of Arequipa (2,325/7,628ft), which sits at the foot of three tremendous volcanoes: El Misti (5,821m/19,098ft), Chachani (6,075m/19,931ft) and Pichu Pichu (5,542m/18,182ft). The city is built of earthquake-resistant sillar, a white pumice stone.
Arequipa is a city with many attractions of its own and additionally is a good base for visiting the remarkably deep canyon of Colca. 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.
Evidence suggests that there have been people living in the Arequipa area for six to eight thousand years. The early inhabitants were hunter-gatherers. In the 7th century the Huari culture made an impact as did the later Tiahuanaco culture (10th century) and then the Incas.
The 17th and 18th centuries saw the city’s importance grow thanks to the silver mined at Potosi in Bolivia and, in the 19th century, from the export of alpaca wool to Britain. There are several impressive sillar colonial buildings, the most well known being the incredible ‘mini city’ of the Santa Catalina Convent.
Today Arequipa (officially founded by the Spanish in 1540) is an important commercial city of 650,000 inhabitants.
On arrival choose a city tour or wander this lovely city independently, with many places to enjoy.
Free day to explore, or perhaps visit Colca Canyon (2 days needed) to see the condors.
The altiplano is the vast highland plateau straddling Peru and Bolivia. There are few trees; just ichu scrubgrass, roaming herds of llama and alpaca and scattered potato plots.
On this scenic bus journey from Chivay to Puno we go over some high passes and through some wetlands with andean geese, with stops to enjoy the often dramatic mountain scenery. At some of the lakes, there is a good chance of spotting flamingoes.
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.
We travel by bus to the bustling lake-shore town of Puno, the main stopping-off point for visits to the islands on the Peruvian side of the lake.
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 will designate your host family for the night. You are then free to explore the trails and far reaches of this fascinating culture.
After a free morning, your boat takes you back to Puno via Taquile, arriving Puno mid-afternoon, leaving you with an evening to explore the lakeside town.
Today we take the train or bus across the altiplano to Cusco.
About half way, we climb to a pass at 4,300m/14,108ft, and then descend into the lush, fertile world of the Vilcanota valley. Eventually, turning into the Huatanay valley, we travel the final kilometres to Cusco. Archaeological capital of South America, Cusco and the surrounding region contain a wealth of archaeological and cultural treasures unequalled in the Old World.
Cusco is also 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.
Cusco is a beautiful city with a unique fusion of Inca stonework and elegant Spanish colonial architecture. Legend has it that Cusco was founded around AD 1100 by the first Inca king, Manco Capac, and his sister queen, Mama Ocllo, in AD 1100. He was the son of the Sun god (Inti) and she the daughter of the Moon goddess. They were sent to earth at Lake Titicaca with instructions to and civilise humanity.
Their travels took them to Cusco, where Manco Capac plunged his staff into the ground. This was the sign that he had found the capital of the new (Inca) empire. Archaeological evidence suggests that, for the first few hundred years, the Inca tribes kept within a short radius of Cusco with little conquering ambition. Only in 1438, with the arrival of Pachacutec (ninth Inca Emperor), did serious expansion begin and soon Cusco was at the centre of a rapidly expanding empire.
Pachacutec also masterminded the design of the imperial capital. The heart of the city was Huacaypata a large central plaza, and scene of all important ceremonies in the Inca calendar. This was surrounded by the sumptuous palaces of the Inca kings. The characteristic interlocking stonework of these Inca structures is today still much in evidence.
When Francisco Pizarro and the Spanish Conquistadores reached Peru, Cusco was the thriving capital of a flourishing empire. But an internicine civil war within the ruling family made its conquest relatively easy. The Spanish were impressed by the grandeur of Cusco, but spent little time admiring it before they began to loot it of its treasure.
From the time of Pizarro’s arrival until 1572, Cusco witnessed many battles of native resistance as well as power struggles between the colonists. The Spaniards’ appointed ruler, Manco Inca, soon realised he was no more than a ‘puppet’. In 1536 he led an attack on the city but, against all odds, the Spanish managed to break out of the besieged city and retake it. The Incas retreated to Vilcabamba, deep in the mountains to the north.
Tupac Amaru, the last leader of the rebel Incas at Vilcabamba, was finally captured by the colonial powers and put to death in Cusco in 1572.
Free day in Cusco – we can help to arrange many options from rafting to biking to paddle boarding and much more. Ask us for ideas and we’ll be happy to help.
A free morning, then we transfer you to get the train to Aguas Calientes, in preparation for your Machu Picchu tour.
It takes 3-4 hours to travel by train, and the journey is a lovely one through the Sacred Valley – keep a look out for farmers, snow-capped mountains and more.
You will be met on arrival in Aguas Calientes and taken to your hotel.
Aguas Calientes has a variety of bars and restuarants and can get quite lively as some trekkers descend and enjoy a few beers. You’ll need to take USD cash here as the few ATMs that exist do not reliably function.
Then, have an early night and prepare to visit Machu Picchu.
Most people have a very early start and we’d recommend getting up early to catch the first buses at around 05.30, so you can get in at 06.00 when the park opens.
That way, you can have the ruins almost to yourselves. The Inca Trail trekkers are an hour or so away from the ruins, at the sun gate.
The sky starts getting light by 6am and the first rays of the sun reach Machu Picchu around 7am.
At the main entrance you can safely leave your backpacks. You can also use the toilet and have a drink in the restaurant just outside the entrance. We head back into the site for a complete tour of the major sectors of Machu Picchu.
The tour takes about two hours so by about mid-morning you’ll be free to continue to explore the ruins alone.
Then, take a train to Ollantaytambo, where we meet you and take to your Sacred Valley hotel.
There are many attractions in the Sacred Valley which we can incorporate into your tour – see below for some ideas.
The Sacred Valley
The Sacred Valley of the Incas, is the name given to the Urubamba Valley. It’s a scenic valley formed by the erosion of the Vilcanota River. This river is also confusingly called the Urubamba. The part of the valley which is referred to as sacred is around 100kms in which there are numerous villages that were of significance during Inca times, as administration centres or of ceremonial importance.
The valley has a much warmer climate than Cusco, wealthy Cusqueños often have second homes there for weekends away. It also is extremely fertile, producing some of the best maize in all of Peru. The principal places of interest in the valley are the small towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo.
Pisac is 33km from Cuzco, about an hour by local bus. As the road comes down into Pisac you can see the Inca ruins up on the hillside on the mountainside above the town. There are extensive terraces probably used for growing maize, but also built to prevent erosion, as a defensive wall and for aesthetic reasons. In the central square of the town there is a big market every Thursday and Sunday, for locals and tourists. The tourist part is bags, jumpers, woven rugs, woollen gloves, hats, socks and a variety of masks, pieces of stone, jewellery and other bits and pieces. The local market is mostly agricultural produce, much of which is brought here by mule from the highland villages in valleys of the Urubamba mountains behind Pisac. The clothes of the Indians from the Pisac area are distinctive, particularly the hats worn by the women.
On the train line between Cusco and Machu Pichhu, Ollantaytambo is very much a highland Indian village with a strong community identity and a traditional, though changing way of life. The town has an Inca street pattern, each block having a central courtyard with many houses around it and just one entrance onto the street.
The great fortress of Ollanta still stands and is well worth a look around. In the valleys around Ollanta the people make a living from farming and the herding of llamas and alpaca. The weavings of this area are particularly well known and the everyday wear of the local people is still handmade, with special elaborate clothes being made for festivals. The designs are traditional, symbolic representations of flora, fauna, religion, folklore and history, though natural dyes are much less common now than they used to be. There has recently been a revival in the pottery production, once important in the area, to feed the tourist market.
This impressive fortress on the way to Machu Picchu was built at a strategic location in the Urubamba Valley, to keep the unconquerable jungle tribes away and to protect the trail to Machu Picchu. After Manco Inca’s siege of Cusco he retreated to Ollantaytambo. When the Spanish approached to attack they were astounded by the strength of the fortification and were forced to retreat hastily. Manco added to their humiliation by diverting the River Patacancha to flood the plains below the fortress, hampering their progress.
What to see
The site at Ollantaytambo is one of the most impressive of all the Inca sites. It is open daily from 08.00-17.00. There are several sectors to the site, the first area beyond the entrance and up the steep flight of steps through the terraces is the Temple of the Sun. The stone work is heavily influenced by the Tiahuanaco style, with straight sided stones separated by strips of stone, and the step motif carved on the front. There is a residential area above this. Below this is the tremendous wall of niches with typical Inca stonework. There are a lot of blocks of stone that have never been put in their place, some never even made it to Ollanta and are lying by the roadside or between the quarry, on the far hillside and the site. At the bottom of the steps heading a little way up the valley you come to the Baños de la Nusta, or bath of the princess. On the rock wall which forms the side of the valley you will see a whole series of carvings, steps, niches and slabs.
The Centro Andino deTechnologia Tradicional y Cultura is an excellent small museum packed with information about the culture in the local area. It is located in the old Parador just off the plaza, highly recommended. Open Tu-Sun 10.00-13.00 and 14.00-16.00.
Free days in Cusco.
Upon arrival from Cusco by plane, we welcome you at the airport and drive ten minutes to the Puerto Maldonado headquarters. While enjoying your first taste of the forest in our gardens we ask you to pack only the necessary gear for your next few days, and leave the rest in our safe deposit in Maldonaldo. This helps us keep the boats and cargo light.
Skirting Puerto Maldonado, we drive 20 kilometres to the Tambopata River Port, entering the Native Community of Infierno. Boxed Lunch.
The forty five minute boat ride from the Tambopata Port to Posada Amazonas takes us into the Community’s Primary Forest Private Reserve, and you can enjoy a boxed lunch en route.
Upon arrival, the lodge manager welcomes you and briefs you with important navigation and security tips for the lodge and rainforest as you settle into your rooms.
We then head to the canopy tower.
Canopy tower: A twenty minute walk from the lodge leads to the 30m/98ft scaffolding canopy tower. A staircase, with banisters, provides safe access to the platforms above. From atop you obtain spectacular views of the vast expanses of standing forest cut by the Tambopata River winding through the middle. Now and then toucans, parrots or macaws are seen flying against the horizon, or mixed species canopy flocks land in the treetop next to you.
We return to the lodge for dinner after which there is a presentation on the Infierno ecotourism project, available every night from a staff member.
After breakfast, we head to the Tres Chimbadas Oxbow Lake. It takes thirty minutes by boat and forty five minutes to hike there from the lodge. Once there, you paddle around the lake in a catamaran, searching for the resident family of nine giant river otters (seen by 60% of our lake visitors) and other lakeside wildlife such as caiman, hoatzin and horned screamers.
Following a boxed lunch, we take a botanical tour, to learn all about the uses for the rainforest’s plants. A twenty minute boat drive downriver leads you to a trail designed by the staff of the Centro Ñape. The Centro Ñape is a communal organization that produces medicines out of forest plants and administers them to patients who visit their small clinic. They have produced a trail, which you can follow, which explains the different medicinal (and other) uses of selected plants.
We return to the lodge for a sumptuous dinner. Afterwards, there is an option for a hike in the rainforest at night, a great experience. It’s when most of the mammals are active but rarely seen. It’s much easier to find the frogs with shapes and sounds as bizarre as their natural histories.
Rise before dawn for an early breakfast and depart to journey downriver connecting by car and boat again in order to catch the flight from Puerto Maldonado to Lima.
On arrival into Lima, we’ll meet you and transfer you to your hotel in the Miraflores area.
LIMA and what To Do
Lima the capital city, is a vibrant bustling place with a population of around eight million people. It has got a wide variety of things to do, from strolling around the historic centre, visiting the many museums or just chilling out in a café or restaurant in Miraflores.
Miraflores, one of the better suburbs of Lima, is about 30-40 minutes away from the airport by taxi. Taking a taxi or walking to Miraflores central park (Parque Central) right in the centre of Miraflores you are in walking distance of all the main attractions.
The centre of Lima is home to impressive Colonial architecture as well numerous sites of special interest.
A nice walking tour is getting dropped off at the Plaza San Martin and walking along the pedestrian’s area to Jiron de la Union to the Plaza de Armas. Situated on one side of the Plaza is the Palace, official residence of the president, and on another is the Cathedral.
From here one can walk the two blocks to the San Francisco Church home of the Catacombs which for 10 soles can be visited with an official English guide.
From here one can walk to the Plaza Bolivar which has the Congress buildings overlooking it and to one side is the Inquisition museum where we head for a guided tour.
Including the tours this should take around about three hours.
We head back to the hotel, get our luggage and transfer out to the airport for our evening flight out.
Prices From $2,730 / £2,315 per person
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International and domestic flights, all accommodation, meals, guides – exact services depends on final tour itinerary.
Insurance, airport taxes, tips and additional personal expenses.
We can use hostals, homestays and hotels for time in cities.
In the Amazon we have eco-lodge or full camps to choose from.
While trekking, a full camping entourage comes with you – tents, dining tent, cook and mules and porters for support.
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.
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, meals may vary depending on availability of certain items.
This depends on the type of tour – more advice given when you contact us.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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 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.
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 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.
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, 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, 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.
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.
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.
2024 guide price - contact us for more
Depends on numbers, dates, and itinerary
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Prices From $1,148 / £974 per person
Dates: From March 2024 to January 2025
Capacity: 16 people
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Prices From $5,807 / £4,924 per person
Prices From $2,192 / £1,859 per person
Dates: From January 2024 to December 2024
Prices From $4,430 / £3,757 per person
Dates: From March 2023 to January 2024
Students Study Food Insecurity & Climate Change in Peru University of Edinburgh students and teachers report back from Peru, where they learned how traditional farming techniques could help prevent climate change and reduce food insecurity. The team visited coastal Lima, the Cusco Highlands, and the cloud forest. For Andean Trails and our local team, it was a chance to showcase a side of Peru that many visitors may not see when passing through. It went so well that the University has already signed up its team to another Food Security tour in the spring of 2024. Learning About …
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