Travel in style to some of Peru’s most famous destinations. Luxury train rides are a feature of this trip, as well as Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca & Colca Canyon.
13 days from £6,135
What better way to experience the highlights of the Peruvian Andes than in palatial hotels and stately trains. On this holiday you will venture into exciting lands and get to know cultures ancient and modern, but on the way you will be treated to every comfort and the best food that top chefs can provide.
From Day One, you will see that this trip is going to be out of the ordinary. The places in which you will stay are converted Belle Époque mansions and Conquistadors’ homes. The meals that you will enjoy are created from a mouth-watering fusion of ancient ingredients and modern techniques. The trains that you will ride in have adapted the style of the Orient Express to the Andes, with fine dining and Peruvian entertainment. At every stage of the journey you will encounter art from many epochs: prehistoric cave painting, ceramics, gold and silver from pre-Inca civilisations; Inca masonry; colonial religious painting; and the modern, from rustic crafts to refined jewellery.
As you travel to see the highlights of Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Arequipa, you will encounter dynamic cities and remote villages, mountains and canyons, and high-altitude lakes with distinctive islands. On all the excursions you will have a guide and we’ll do all we can to make the going effortless. You won’t be rushed, so you will have every opportunity to appreciate the amazing things you have come to see. So let yourself be pampered, take it easy and discover the very best that Peru has to offer.
Luxury Peru Highlights
- Guided tour of Machu Picchu
- Tours in Lima, Cusco and Arequipa
- Top sites in the Sacred Valley of the Incas
- Luxury train journeys in the Andes
- Boat trip to islands on Lake Titicaca
- Visit one of the world’s deepest canyons
- First-class sleepers on the train; elegant hotels
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DAY 1: ARRIVE IN PERU
Fly to Lima today, where you'll be met at the airport and transferred to the Hotel B, a restored Belle Époque mansion in the heart of Barranco, Lima’s most fashionable district. The attention to detail and the high level of comfort will ensure that you get a good night’s rest after your flight.
DAY 2: IN LIMA
After breakfast you will be taken to the historic centre of Lima to visit the Casa Aliaga, a colonial residence that has been in the same family since the 16th century, and the Convent of Santo Domingo from the same era. Both are close to the main Plaza de Armas. Not far away is the Casona San Marcos, the cultural centre of the San Marcos University, the oldest university in the Americas. Here you will see art exhibitions and dance and music workshops followed by a delicious lunch. The next stop on your tour is the Dédalo art gallery in Barranco. Like Hotel B it is housed in a restored mansion and contains seriously tempting collections of modern art, clothing, jewellery, ceramics and more. It also has a café. The final destination of the day is the Larco Museum, in Pueblo Libre, which houses one of Peru’s most famous collections of pre-Inca ceramics, gold and silver. It too has a good café.
In the evening you are free to wander around Barranco; look out for the street art, visit more galleries, have a drink in a bar or find a place to eat. Overnight at Hotel B.
DAY 3: LIMA TO CUSCO
In the morning you will return to Lima airport for the hour-long flight to Cusco, where you will be met and transferred to La Casona Hotel. Created in a 16th century manor house, this hotel and spa is the ideal place to relax and acclimatise to the altitude (Cusco is 3,300m above sea level). You can take a gentle walk to the Plaza de Armas, just 3 blocks away, or in the surrounding streets. There are plenty of cafés and restaurants nearby if you want a coca tea or light meal (we don’t advise a heavy dinner on your first night).
DAY 4: IN CUSCO
Coricancha, the Incas’ Temple of the Sun, will be your first stop on a half-day guided tour of the city. Before the arrival of the Spaniards, the temple walls were covered in gold sheets and its courtyards filled with golden images of plants and animals. Having plundered the gold the Conquistadores built the Convent of Santo Domingo on top of the Inca walls. From here you will visit the Cathedral on the Plaza de Armas. This fine colonial building has an extensive collection of art from the Cusco School and other exhibitions. From here you will be taken to the 15th-century Inca ceremonial complex of Sacsayhuaman, just north of the city. Many of its stones were used to build the cathedral, but those that remain in situ are enormous; how they were brought here is an unsolved mystery. You will also see the Inca religious centre of Qenqo and the ‘Red Fort’, Puka Pukara, which are 4 and 7 kilometres from Cusco respectively. After the tour you will be taken back to La Casona and you can take a late lunch here or in a nearby restaurant. There are plenty to choose from.
DAY 5: TO THE SACRED VALLEY
Leaving Cusco in the morning you will head towards the Sacred Valley of the Incas, but before descending to the valley floor there are two stops to be made. With snow-capped mountains visible in the distance, you will cross beautiful Andean landscapes to the village of Maras, near which is a cascade of dazzling white saltpans on a steep hillside. Salt has been extracted here, using unchanged methods, since before Inca times. Within easy reach is Moray, a series of concentric terraces in a depression on the plateau, which some scholars believe was an agricultural research centre for the Incas. In the valley below you will stop for lunch at the restaurant/museum of Hacienda Huayoccari, a historic estate with lovely gardens. Demonstrations of paso horse-riding, local weaving and marinera dancing are given here. After lunch you will transfer to the Sol y Luna Hotel and Spa outside the town of Urubamba. The rest of the afternoon is yours.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner
DAY 6: PISAC AND OLLANTAYTAMBO
Today’s first stop is the market in the town of Pisac. The stalls fill a square surrounded by colonial buildings and sell colourful alpaca textiles, replicas of Inca artefacts, necklaces, paintings and other crafts. Above the town are the ruins of a remarkable Inca complex, with an impressive area of agricultural terraces. After lunch in a local restaurant you will head to Ollantaytambo to explore the old town, which is a living example of Inca urban planning. On a high promontory above the town and valley are breath-taking Inca ruins. They include a ceremonial complex, baths and unbelievable stonework and, like Pisac, are worth climbing up to see. You will spend the night at Sol y Luna again.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner
DAY 7: LUXURY TRAIN TO MACHU PICCHU AND CUSCO
From the Sol y Luna you will be taken to the Río Sagrado Hotel in Urubamba, where Belmond has a private railway station for its Hiram Bingham luxury train to Machu Picchu. You board the train for an exclusive journey of 1920s style furnishings, attentive service, Peruvian music and panoramic views. On the way to Machu Picchu you will be served a gourmet brunch. On the way back to Cusco you will be treated to fine-dining, more music and dance as the evening light fades over the Andes. In between the train rides you will be given a guided tour of the Machu Picchu sanctuary, without doubt the high-point of any tour of this part of Peru. You will be met off the train at the station in Poroy, from where you will travel by road the short distance back to the city and La Casona.
DAY 8: TRAIN TO PUNO
After breakfast you will leave La Casona and go to the Cusco railway station (different from where you arrived yesterday evening) to board Belmond’s Andean Explorer train. This will be your home for the next three days. To begin with, the train heads southeast across the high plateau. After lunch in the elegant dining car, passengers disembark at Raqchi, an unusual archaeological site with what was possibly the largest building ever erected by the Incas. After the visit you will return to the train for tea and the continuation of the journey through the mountains. Dinner is served on board before you retire to your cabin as the train approaches Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner
DAY 9: LAKE TITICACA
Have breakfast on the train before the day’s excursions on the lake begin. A boat will take you to the Uros Islands, about 30 minutes from town, which are man-made from floating bundles of reeds. Your guide will explain the methods used and the full significance of this way of life. A second boat journey (1½ hours) goes to Taquile Island for lunch at Collata Beach. Here you will see how the local textiles are made and there will be a show of traditional dancing. Return by boat to Puno and rejoin the train at teatime when you will pull out of the station en route to Arequipa. Dine once more on fine Peruvian cuisine before retiring to your cabin.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner
DAY 10: TO THE COLCA CANYON
On an early-morning excursion from the train you will visit the stark puna scenery of Lake Lagunillas at 4,174m. The train enters Arequipa Department and some 90 kilometres before the city you will stop to visit the Sumbay Caves (at 4,127m), famous for a number of rock paintings of animals and people, estimated to be between 6,000 and 8,000 years old. Afterwards you will have lunch on the train and then disembark for good at Cañahuas where you will be met and taken by road to the Belmond Las Casitas in the Colca Canyon. In the grounds are gardens, a trout pond, swimming pool and spa. Each bungalow is the epitome of comfort and has its own plunge pool.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner
DAY 11: COLCA VALLEY TO AREQUIPA
Today you will explore the Colca Valley. It’s an early start, heading out to the Cruz del Condor, a viewing point from which you can appreciate the world’s deepest canyon. Andean condors nest in the cliffs below you and with luck you will see them rising out of the canyon as they spiral on the morning thermals and head off for the day across the mountains. There are some pretty little villages along the canyon edge, such as Pinchollo and Yanque. The residents of each village wear textiles unique to their village. The costumes are colourful and fascinating to see.
In the afternoon you’ll be driven to Arequipa. This is about a three hour journey across a high plain. Keep your eyes open for vicunas – an Andean camelid which is the national symbol and is similar to a llama.
In Arequipa you’ll be staying at the Costa del Sol Wyndham, a newly remodelled hotel by the Selva Alegre park, a short distance from the centre.
DAY 12: AREQUIPA
After breakfast the morning will be taken up with a guided tour of Arequipa, known as the White City because of the volcanic stone used in its construction. El Misti volcano, which can be clearly seen, is an icon of the city. The centre of town is rich in colonial heritage and tis is reflected in the architecture. You’ll visit the Santa Catalina convent, a wonderfully colourful place founded in 1579. And you’ll see the intricate stone carvings of tropical birds and flowers at the La Compania Jesuit church.
After the tour the day is yours to find a restaurant for lunch, wander the streets and browse the city’s shops, or relax in the gardens of the Costa del Sol Wyndham.
DAY 13: RETURN TO LIMA AND FLIGHT HOME
Today is your last day and you’ll be transferred you from the hotel to Arequipa airport for the 1½ –hour flight to Lima where you will connect with your international flight home.
Guide price from (pp sharing): 2019 prices from £6,135 based on travel throughout 2019.
Includes: 12 nights accommodation in the properties and train mentioned; private transfers; private sightseeing tours with an English-speaking guide in Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Colca Canyon and Arequipa; shared guiding and transport services during the train trip to Machu Picchu and the Andean Explorer train journey; entrance fees in Cusco and Machu Picchu; Hiram Bingham return train ticket to Machu Picchu; Andean Explorer train ticket Cusco to Canahuas; meals as indicated in the itinerary.
Excludes: International and domestic flight (we would normally book these for you and add this to the package); visas (not currently required by British passport holders); insurance; Huayna Picchu entrance; meals not mentioned as included; drinks; tips; personal expenses such as laundry.
The climate in the Andes varies according to the altitude. In general though, the rainy season is from December to March, but it varies in intensity from area to area and from year to year. For most people the best time to come to the Andes is between June and September. Days are mostly dry and sunny, but it can be cold at night. April and May, after the rains, and October and November are also good months to visit the Andes. Being at high altitude you will need to pack for variable weather at any time of year.
Note that June is the busiest month for festivals in Cusco, including the Inca festival of Inti Raymi, so there will be high tourist occupancy then.
On the Pacific coast of Peru, the climate is sub-tropical and dry. Temperatures are warmest in the summer from December to March, when they can reach up to 30°c. The winter lasts from June to September, when temperatures can drop to 15°c and days are usually misty (locally called garúa) and damp. You are more likely to experience some rain in these months.
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