Uncover the charm and spiritual side of Peru on this truly unforgettable, culture-packed 13-night experience. You’ll see the very best of this Latin American gem as you gain an intriguing insight into its fascinating and diverse past, coupled with its inspiring modern and trend-setting twists. Start off in the capital Lima as you hole up in the city’s elegant Hotel B, where you’ll be immersed in Peru’s exciting and artistic blend of old meets new. Next, we’ll shoot you south to Arequipa to really explore Peruvian cuisine. Away from these urban hubs, you’ll stay at the cozy Colca Lodge, which is sat conveniently close by the planet’s jaw-dropping second deepest canyon. From the Colca Valley, we’ll take you to Puno, where you’ll rest up at the Titilaka Lodge, which boasts breath-taking views over the world’s highest navigable Lake Titicaca, where you’ll spend time with local, lakeside villagers. Then, we’ll whisk you north to cultural Cusco as you meander through the markets from your stylish hotel, El Mercado Tunqui. Finally, you’ll end your experience at the Inkaterra Lodge, from where you’ll explore the ancient wonder of Machu Picchu as you learn first-hand about the legendary Inca Empire.
Colonial and culinary capitals
Your Peruvian journey starts off in the country’s capital Lima, at the grand Hotel B for two nights, which like Lima itself, reflects the city’s cultural combination of contemporary and traditional. The colonial 16th-century city center will astound and amaze, boasting its beautiful baroque architecture before you stumble into modernity in its more sleek and chic districts. One particular modern movement in Lima is the 1980s-born ‘Chicha’ art, which was a style introduced by Elliot Tupac, using fluorescent, colorful messages to motivate social change and inspire young people in the world of art. Visit an art workshop for the full picture (literally). Aside from the art, we’ll arrange a food tour with a Peruvian food expert, who will show you the tangy and tasty traditional ‘Ceviche’ dish – fresh, raw fish that is marinated in lime juice and chilli spice. If you fancy exploring the city a little faster, we’ll arrange a bike tour and ride through bohemian Barranco and charming Miraflores and absorb the romantic and musical aesthetics of this budding city. If you’re feeling daring, brave the cold by grabbing a board and surfing the Pacific Ocean waves ‘til your heart’s content directly from these hip, coastal districts.
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Following an hour and a half flight south, you’ll find yourself in colonial Arequipa, where you’ll be staying for one night at the mansion-turned-hotel Casa Andina. During the day, you’ll wander through the White City’s cobblestone streets as you discover authentic culinary delights from its fresh food markets to its zesty juice bars. Peruvian cuisine is fast becoming the food of the moment with more and more restaurants popping up around the globe, so chow down on a ‘Rocoto Relleno’ right where it all started. Whimsically and wonderfully bordered by three volcanoes, notably the majestic ‘El Misti’, the White City is surrounded by striking scenery, which you can take full advantage of with trekking expeditions with our expert guides; not to mention intrepid mountain biking and climbing activities.
Deep valleys and highest lakes
Next, you’ll journey by car a scenic five hours up into the Andes, where you’ll hole up for one night at your bucolic bolthole, the eco-friendly Colca Lodge Spa & Hot Springs. Remotely located and immersed in picturesque Peruvian countryside alongside the River Colca, it’s here you’ll find true tranquillity. Spend time stargazing at the Lodge’s eco-spa as you treat yourself to a soothing dip in the thermal baths, which are sourced from the region’s natural hot springs. What’s more, the Colca Canyon is the second deepest ravine in the world, so saddle up and horse-ride from your Lodge along the highland plateau and marvel down this natural wonder. Whilst out on your Latin-style hack, soaring the skies is one of the earth’s largest birds and the Colca Valley’s full-time residents, so keep an eye out for the mighty Andean condor.
Onto the immense Lake Titicaca, we’ve arranged a private transfer four hours east to Titilaka, where you’ll rest up for two nights in contemporary comfort. Nestled on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the Titilaka boasts an unbeatable panorama of the planet’s highest navigable lake and is bursting with endless cultural excursions, where you’ll be enraptured by the long-standing traditions and customs still thriving in rural Peruvian society. In order to truly soak up the outstanding scenery, we recommend that you trek the Colla Trail, take a hike up to the ancient Titilaka Arch or perhaps mountain bike the Altiplano. If you find it gets a little chilly up in the mountain air, take a trip to the numerous textile markets in nearby Puno and pick up a quintessential llama-wool poncho. Back at Titilaka, perfectly positioned on Lake Titicaca’s water’s edge, we can organize for you to embark on a boat outing as you discover the Uros Floating Islands and learn about the native communities’ heritage directly from one of the families that set up home there long ago. Away from the crowds, enjoy the rest of your time by exploring the rest of these various fascinating island cultures, from the Taquile and Copamaya weaving people to the age-old Aymara civilization.This really is one of our favorite regions of Peru and offers such a beautiful insight into the country’s culture.
Cultural Cusco and magical Machu Picchu
Board the Andean Explorer train north for ten hours of breath-taking, ever-changing scenery toward the beautiful, pre-Inca UNESCO city of Cusco, where you’ll be staying for three nights at the elegant El Mercado Tunqui. Secluded out in Peru’s Southern Sierras, this ancient Inca and Quechua capital hosts a wealth of history, from its Inca ruins, notably its walls and at the neighboring Sacred Valley of the Incas, to the almost unspoiled colonial architecture sprinkled throughout the city. We’ll map out the major highlights from its many museums and art galleries to its authentic restaurants and dynamic bar and night scene, so you’ll gain a genuine cultural insight into Cusco heritage and current way of life. Additionally, thanks to Peru being a major chocolate producer and manufacturer, embark on a journey into the world of chocolate as we’ll arrange a truly unique visit to Cusco’s very own ‘Chocomuseo’. At the workshop, become a master chocolatier for a day as you try your hand at transforming the cacao bean into a tasty chocolate bar.
With three nights here, you’ll find more than enough time to visit the city’s neighboring towns, notably Maras, as you sample a pint of traditional ‘Chica’, whilst overlooking the region’s impressive salt ponds. Now deep in the Sacred Valley, we can plan hiking trips for you to discover even more rural communities, such as the weavers at Willoc and the ruins at Pumamarca, which are sure to intrigue you no end. We’d be surprised if this sacred land didn’t give you a spiritual lift, so we can whisk you out on a day trek to nearby Huchuy Qosqo, where you’ll meet local shamans and even witness Andean healers as they give small offerings to their ‘Pachamama’ (Mother Nature). We recommend taking some time to unwind back at Cusco’s Samana Spa before you head off to your last stop.
For your final chapter, you’ll jump on a train for four hours into the jungle town of Aguas Calientes, where for one night you’ll hole up at the authentic Inkaterra. Nestled in a ravine in the rich Cloud Forest, you’ll be ideally positioned to discover the marvel of the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu, which, in 2007, was ranked as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Once there, we’ve arranged for you to join up with a local historian, who will lead you along the enchanting, mountain Inca Trail as you are breath-taken by the bounty of ancient archaeological ruins, from its iconic citadel to its well-preserved temples and dwellings. These sacred Inca remains boast a whole host of theories behind their being built, so absorb all the fascinating facts and native stories from your well-informed guide, whilst engrossed by the outstanding natural beauty.
Having traveled the best of Peru, I’m afraid we have to take you back to Cusco, before we fly you to Lima, where you’ll catch your flight back home.