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Highlights of Peru's Highlands

A two week holiday to Peru taking in the highlights of the Highlands in Peru. Starting and finishing in the Lima, explore the Incan sites around Cusco, experience the calm waters and warm Peruvian hospitality on Lake Titicaca and watch condors soaring the thermals at the jaw-dropping Colca Canyon.

Tailor-made Classic 2 weeks

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $1,047 per person economy class from London

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Itinerary

Overview

With fantastic scenery, colourful culture and intriguing Incan history, there is something for everyone in Peru. The bustling markets in the Sacred Valley, the breath-taking views in Canyon country, the serenity of Lake Titicaca and, of course, the ancient, crumbling citadel of Machu Picchu are all capable of capturing even the cynical traveller's heart.

You will start off your holiday in Peru's capital, Lima. Often overlooked in favour of the more iconic sites, the city has much to offer and is well worth an explore. From Lima, you travel to Cusco, the ancient capital of the Incas and now a laid-back, charming mountain town. After some time to explore here at your leisure, you will have a guided tour of the city which will serve as a perfect introduction to the Incan Culture and its significance in today's Peru. Over the next few days, you will see many of the main Inca ruins in the area; Pisac and Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley and, of course, the absolute must see in Peru, Machu Picchu.

You will the continue your journey to the South East corner of Peru to Puno, the gateway to Titicaca. Floating islands and colourful villages await you here. From the worlds' highest navigable lake you travel to one of the world's deepest canyons; Colca Canyon. An early start to spot condors soaring in the thermals above the deep scars through the earth and you then head through volcano country to the colonial city of Arequipa, the last stop on your trip.

Day-by-day

Day 1: Arrival in Lima
On arrival at the airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Spend the rest of your afternoon relaxing or gently exploring the area of Miraflores.

Day 2: Lima City tour
In the morning you will be picked up from your hotel for a private city tour This 3-hour sightseeing tour offers the best of colonial and modern Lima. You will have the opportunity to visit one of the most important architectural constructions of the 17th century, Convent of Saint Francis. This complex has a small square, the convent and a church to visit. Its cloisters have beautiful tiles and you can visit the catacombs which are more than 300 years old. You then visit the three most important sites from the colonial era: Plaza Mayor, Plaza San Martin, Palacio de Gobierno (known as the house of Pizarro), and the Municipality, preserving their original architecture. The tour ends with a visit to the modern suburbs of San Isidro and Miraflores, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean.

Day 3: Lima - Cusco
Today you will be transferred to the airport for your morning flight to Cusco. On arrival you will be met by a member of the team and transferred to your hotel in the centre.
You have the rest of the afternoon at leisure to acclimatise and relax. The hotel is in walking distance of the main square and main sights, so you can explore locally, depending on how you adjust to the altitude

Day 4: Sacred Valley Tour
Today you will go on a Group Tour of the Sacred Valley. The first stop is the market of Pisac where you can sample delicious fresh bread that this area is known for. The market has many colourful stalls selling a wide variety of locally produced handicrafts. From the market, you are driven up to the stunning Pisac Ruins, which offer an excellent insight into how the Incas cultivated and managed their crops. You will stay here for around 1 hour whilst your guide takes you on a tour, explaining Incan farming techniques, as well as showing you the ceremonial centre at the top of the terracing, where mummification, the sacred rituals of preparing the higher classes for the after life, took place. Time for lunch and you head to Urubamba where you will stop at a tourist restaurant for lunch.
After lunch, you will head to the pretty Andean town of Ollantaytambo where you have a guided tour of the spectacular ruins. The terraces here were not for agriculture, but were part of a huge temple complex that was being built to honour the sun, an important Incan deity. The temple was never finished, as building was interrupted by the Spanish invasion.

Day 5: Machu Picchu
Today see you rising early around 5.30am to catch a train and bus to the famous Machu Picchu site. You will be accompanied by a guide from Cusco who will then give you a private tour of the Machu Picchu site (approx 2 hours) The rest of the time here is your at leisure. You could hike up to the Sun Gate or Incan Bridge which offer superb views. both are less visited by tourists but involve climbing lots more steps. In the afternoon you'll check into your hotel for the night in Aguas Calientes where dinner is included. Your guide will also overnight in the hotel.

Day 6: Aguas Calientes
You wont be catching the train back until later today so feel free to explore the town of Aguas Calientes. Alterntively you could revisit Machu Picchu, many people like to return a second day to climb the Wayna Pichhu mountain. Please note: second day entrance fees and travel are not included but can be added on. Your train and bus back to Cusco

Day 7: Cusco
Today you will be starting to get used to the altitude and so you might want to explore the town. The central Plaza de Armas is a good place to start. We also recommend checking out the Museo Cacao or "chocolate Museum". Whether you take a cooking class or indulge in marshmallows and chocolate fondue in the cafe its a great way to gain an insight to the cocoa production in peru.

Day 8: Cusco - Puno
This morning you catch the TurismoMer Bus Service from Cusco to Puno. This bus service stops at various interesting sites en-route such as Ndahuayllilas Chapel, Raqchi, La Raya (photo stop) and Pukara. The total journey is 10 hours approximately and that includes the stops. Lunch is included in Sicuani. You arrive in Puno at approx. 5pm and will be met at the bus terminal by a representative and transferred to your hotel.

Day 9: Lake Titicaca
You will be collected from your hotel this morning and transferred to the Port of Puno to begin your day tour of the world's highest navigable lake, Titicaca. Today the first stop will be the Floating Islands of Uros. From here you continue to the beautiful island of Taquile. A short climb will bring you to through the main square to your restaurant for lunch, on a clear day you'll be blown away at the views of Bolivia across the sapphire lake.

Day 10: Puno - Arequipa
You'll hop on another bus today to take you to the Historical city of Arequipa. The journey will take about 5 hours but once in the city you'll check into your hotel and have the rest of the afternoon and evening to relax.

Day 11: Arequipa City Tour
This morning you will tour the famed "White City". Stopping by the Santa Catalina Convent, a lovely 16th century city in miniature that mimics the styles of different Spanish cities of that time, the Main Square with its three different entrances, and the Church of the Society of Christ, a supreme example of 17th century Mixed Baroque and Spanish Baroque Churrigueresque art. Following this, you will visit the traditional districts of Cayma and Yanahuara that boasts a lookout and a lovely church. You'll have the afternoon free to do as you wish.

Day 12: Chivay
Setting off north you'll journey to the small village of Yura, adjacent to the Aguada Blanca y Pampa Canahuas National reserve, a stunning habitat thriving with Llamas & Alpaca. After a stop for some coca tea you'll carry on to the town of Chivay where you will have lunch and check in to your hotel

Day 13: Colca Canyon
An early morning sees you heading up to the Cruz del Condor for the unmistakable views of Colca Canyon. Twice as deep as the Grand Canyon this is where you might get a rare glimpse of the Condor. Be on the lookout for many other birds such as Falcons, Hummingbirds and Chilean Flamingo. After spending the morning here you'll continue down the valley to Arequipa stopping at the small villages of Pinchollo and Maca on the way.

Day 14: Arequipa - Lima
Today you will be transferred to the airport to catch a flight to Lima and then onwards.

This trip can be extended to include trekking the Inca Trail. Please contact us if you wish to tailor-make this itinerary.

Accommodation


Guide price is based on recommended accommodations. Alternative accommodations and upgrades are available. Please get in touch or click on 'alternatives' below for alternatives and upgrade options.

Our rating

6/10

Price guide

Price rating 2

- Centrally located in Miraflores District
- Modern, good value hotel with 42 rooms
- Convenient base for exploring the city
- Near parks, markets, beaches, restaurants

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Boutique hotel
- Historical former market
- Family rooms
- Suites with free-standing baths

El Mapi

Machu Picchu & Inca Trail

Our rating

6/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Central location
- Panoramic windows in rooms
- Complimentary Pisco Sours

Sonestas Posadas del Inca

Arequipa & Colca Canyon

Our rating

6/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Next to Cathedral
- Exceptional views from the restaurant
- Outdoor swimming pool

Casa Andina Classic Colca

Arequipa & Colca Canyon

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Onsite Planetarium
- Stone cottages with thatched roofs
- Delicious home made pizzas

Details

Getting there

This holiday starts and finishes in Lima, internal flights are included, but you will need to book your international flights.

Price includes

Accommodation with breakfast, internal flights, transfers and tickets (Bus/train,private taxi) , and guided group tours as per the itinerary. Entrance to sites are included on all tours except stops on the bus trip to Puno. All lunches and dinners are at your own expense. Airport taxes may be payable on departure at the airport, these need to be paid in person and are not included in the price.

When is best?

The peak tourist season is June - August. At this time, the main tourist sites will be at their busiest. The weather at this time of year is lovely, with little rain and clear, sunny days. Nights, however, are cold.

The rainy season lasts from October - Match, with the wettest months being January & February. It is much quieter in the sites at this time of year.

If you want to avoid the crowds, then you might want to aim for April / May when the rains have slowed but the sites are not as busy.

Is it for me?

This is an ideal trip if you are looking to visit some of Peru's highlights and are on a limited time frame. You could, of course, spend much longer in the country but this itinerary will expose you to the best bits without you feeling too rushed around. There is no trekking involved, so you don't be particularly fit, although you will be exploring ruins and to get the most of them, some light walking will be required.

Whilst this is not a group holiday, some of the excursions are on a group basis, so you will be with other people at times. That said, each excursion will be with different people and evenings and rest days are spent at leisure, so the experience won't be as as intense as a group holiday.

If you would prefer to have a more exclusive experience, it is possible to make this a private holiday, please enquire for details and prices.

Likewise, if you would like to incorporate a trek, or visit to the jungle, please get in touch.

Safety

For the latest travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth office check www.gov.uk/travelaware

What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

Average Rating

based on 494 reviews

(4.96/5)

  • Everything was fab, I especially loved Tuningi such a special place and my son got to see his favourite animal the cheetah (after a bit of time hunting about on foot!). Mauritius is lovely we saw quite a bit of the island in the end.

    MissingLaura L reviewing South Africa Safari and Mauritius on 12 December 2018

  • We had a wonderful trip to Morocco. What a fascinating country. Thank you so much for all of your help making things smooth and less stressful!

    Here are a few things we wanted to pass on:

    Dar Housnia was absolutely delightful. It was like an entire wing of a house to ourselves with perfect Moroccan decor. The private area where we ate was so cute, the riad staff so accommodating. I loved waking in the cozy space with our family and hearing both call to prayer as well as roosters. Just perfect.

    I was a little unclear how to ask what time we were being picked up etc, but your office promptly replied to my emails - even on weekends- when we had these questions about transport times. Once, we met our guide in Imlil these details we not problematic as our guide “Abraham” totally took care of us. Abraham was awesome. You should definitely request him again in the future. He was young (29)and energetic. He had a ton of hiking experience in Imlil as he was from there. He also seemed to know everything else about morocco, the desert, the culture, etc, etc. He was approachable, kind, patient, great with our kids and answered SO MANY of our questions.

    The hike was lovely - after rain the day prior in Marrakech - there was snow in the mountains. It was gorgeous. We may have been up for a longer hike up Mt Taboukel if I had known this was a realistic option for families ( I thought from reading that it was too technical for us). Yet not sure we had enough days for all these things always since getting in the desert was a priority.

    The mountain house, Dar adar, was just as described… very basic. The wifi was broken (which was a nice break when you have pre-teens addicted to phones, plus my husband called no wifi an amenity to not be available by email for his work!)). There was no heat and the fireplace helped a tad - but was so very cold in the rooms. My husband loved the rustic space, I may have gone up one step in niceness of mountain accommodation if I had to do it over again. Yet, meeting the other families in this Dar Adar (including another Tourdust family from England) made this house very memorable.

    We were then joined by our driver for the next several days, Jamal. What a fun guy and a perfect driver. He could joke with my kids, he had a fun smile, and he had worked with Abraham before so they were a great team. The drive to desert was long as I knew it would be. It was nice to have the stop on way there near Ait Ben Haddu. The drive back from desert was long. It was more near 10 hours of driving (plus 1 hour at lunch = 11 hours) but I wouldn’t have made any different choices.

    The luxury desert camp was far and away the highlight of our trip. The tents were adorable, I was sufficiently warm even at night inside the tent. We loved the camel riding, the ATV vehicles at a nearby camp, sunsets on the dunes, music around the camp fire, meals with others at the camp and more.

    The last night was at Riad Jona. This was so very very lovely. The food was amazing - such a good idea to eat here after our long drive back to Marrakech. They had a small dining pool plus a hot tub which was delightful. It was almost more of a boutique hotel as it had several rooms.

    MissingGwyneth R reviewing Luxury Family Desert Holiday on 11 December 2018

  • The trip was amazing everything was better than we could have imagined.
    There was a moment climbing the mount Kenya where my wife accused me of tricking her into doing this (half kidding) as some of the nights got pretty cold, but we were dressed well and the sunrise at the peak was astonishing.
    Safari was spectacular, Ben who was our main guide and driver was awesome! We saw everything excepts rhinos which were more of a hope than a reality. We also were able to watch a rock python eat a Thompson gazel live. It was one of the most interesting and unsettling things I have ever seen.
    Just overall, so many moments that make you think wow or I can't believe I am here. Thank you for your help in getting everything set up. I don't believe I could have booked the trip without your help and guidance. It was an amazing way to start our marriage and truly the trip of a lifetime!

    MissingWilliam K reviewing 11 Day Mount Kenya Trek and Masai Mara Safari Combined on 29 October 2018

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Alternative Itineraries

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