Plaza de Armas, Cuzco, Peru

Essential Peru

15 days
from
£1,739
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Traveller ratings
4.6 / 5 from 98 reviews >
Trip code: 
APD
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Culture & Discovery Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
5–18

Discover the highlights of southern Peru, from Nazca to Arequipa

A spectacular journey through Peru's varied landscape encompassing coastal desert, snow-capped Andean peaks, the high altiplano and lush cloud forest. The most famous sites are all visited including the mysterious Nazca Lines, awe-inspiring Machu Picchu in its incredible mountaintop setting, Lake Titicaca, where the night is spent in an island homestay, and the remarkable 3000m deep Colca Canyon. On the way we encounter traditional culture, condors, llamas, and a warm welcome from the Peruvian people.

The 18 June departures in 2018 and 2019 coincide with Inti Raymi Festival in Cuzco. Translated as 'Festival of the Sun' it is the most important of all Andean festivals; during this time Cuzco is filled with colourful processions and festivities. For full details on this itinerary, search for trip code APDA.

Highlights

  • Iconic Machu Picchu by train with guided tour
  • Homestay on traditional Amantani Island, Lake Titicaca
  • Colca Canyon and its soaring condors
  • Beautiful colonial city of Arequipa and the Santa Catalina Convent
  • Drive deep into the Andean highlands and the Apurimac Valley

Key information

  • 13 nights en suite hotels and 1 night homestay 
  • Group normally 4 to 18, plus leader. Min. age 16 yrs
  • Time spent at altitude
  • Travel by internal flight, train, boat and private bus
  • Several long drives and early starts

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 dinner
  • All accommodation 
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival and departure transfers

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call us on
+47-22 41 30 30
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

On this trip we use the services of a local operator, employing a local leader and local staff throughout the trip. We stay in locally-owned hotels wherever possible. The homestay on Amantani Island on Lake Titicaca is a positive exchange actively encouraging group members to talk to locals and learn about traditional customs - the income from our stay is divided amongst the island community. There is also an optional excursion to the Sacred Valley which includes eating a traditional meal in a rural village.

We include drinking water, provided in large containers to refill a reusable bottle from, to reduce the amount of single use plastic. Where meals are not supplied, your leader will be able to recommend local cafes, restaurants and markets to get a bite. There are plenty of opportunities to purchase local products, handicrafts and street food on this holiday, such as Mercado San Pedro in Cuzco and at the market stalls on La Raya Pass.

The entrance fees for the sites we visit, including Machu Picchu, help support their maintenance, restoration and upkeep. We visit many museums, churches and cathedrals in Lima, Arequipa, and Cuzco.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Lima
to
Lima
  • Day 1

    Start Lima.

    Those travelling on the group flights and those who have booked a transfer through Exodus will be met at the airport and transferred to our hotel in the Miraflores district of Lima. There will be a notice board in the hotel reception with details of where and when the group welcome briefing will be held.

    Hotel El Tambo 1 (or similar)

  • Day 2

    Drive south along the coast and sail to the Ballestas Islands, home to the highest concentration of marine birds in the world; overnight in Ica.

    We set off very early this morning (around 5.30am) and drive south from Lima until we reach the port of Paracas (4-5 hours' drive). The Ballestas Islands lie a short distance off the coast here and are home to one of the highest concentrations of seabirds in the world - we visit them by boat.

    On the outward journey we pass the curious pre-Inca Candelabra geoglyph, a huge (over 150m high) three-pronged trident shape etched into the sandy hillside, the origin and purpose of which remains unknown (although there are many theories). Upon reaching the islands we explore the caves and rock archways by boat, and observe the Sea lion and Fur seal colonies as well as Humboldt penguins and an array of birds such as cormorants, pelicans, tendrils, and Peruvian Blue-footed booby birds.

    The boats are open-top motorised boats and are shared with other non-Exodus clients (occasionally the sea is too rough and the boats can't operate). Take heed of seabirds above - it is advisable to wear a hat! The boat trip lasts around two hours.

    Once back on dry land we drive for an hour or so to Ica, in the heart of Peru's wine-growing region. At the Huacachina oasis just outside Ica there are high sand dunes where we may have time to try 'sand-surfing' and ride in dune buggies (optional). 

    Hotel Vila Jazmin (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    On to Nazca; see the Nazca lines; optional scenic flight.

    We drive towards Nazca, stopping to visit the viewing platforms overlooking the Nazca Lines. These are one of the world's great archaeological mysteries, consisting of enormous drawings and patterns etched in the desert sand.

    In the afternoon, for those who wish there is usually time to take a scenic flight over the Nazca Lines (additional cost), weather permitting. Due to the small planes used, this is not suitable for those with a fear of flying or who suffer from travel sickness. Alternatively your leader can help arrange optional visits to the nearby burial grounds, Antonini Museum, or the Planetarium.

    Casa Andina Hotel / Alegria (or similar) 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Turn inland from coastal desert, climbing high into the Andes.

    We turn inland from the coastal desert today, climbing high into the Andes on today's long (9-10 hrs) but spectacular drive. Vicuñas (a smaller wild relative of the llama) can be seen along this road, as this area is Peru's largest vicuña reserve. This region has only recently become easily accessible to tourists due to an upgrade of the Abancay/Chalhuanca road. The altitude here can make physical exertion difficult, so it is recommended to rest in the evening. We overnight a couple of hours before Abancay on the road to Cuzco.

    Tampumayu Hotel (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Drive to Cuzco (3400m) visiting Inca sites on the way.

    We set off towards Cuzco this morning, stopping to visit the unique Inca Saywiti stone and Tarawasi ruins. The glaciated summits of the Vilcabamba Mountain range and the descent into the Apurimac River valley demonstrate the dramatic contrasts of the Andes Mountains, and we should expect stunning scenery throughout today's 7-8 hour drive.

    It is recommended to take it easy upon arrival into Cuzco and to drink plenty of water to allow your body time to acclimatise to the altitude (3,400m).

    Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Free day to explore Cuzco.

    Today has been left free for exploring Cuzco, one of South America's most beautiful cities. The Plaza de Armas is a fantastic spot for people watching, and the Koricancha Sun Temple located in the Santo Domingo Church and monastery is worth a visit. The Mercado San Pedro is the place to try some local produce and there are many handicraft markets to shop for souvenirs such as alpaca jumpers and scarves.

    Outside the town are more Inca ruins, notably the fortress of Sacsayhuaman where the Inca armies made their last stand against the Conquistadores. A combined entrance fee (Tourist Ticket) for these sites and many others is recommended - please see the Optional Excursions section below for prices. Sightseeing excursions to places outside Cuzco, including the Sacred Valley of the Incas, are also available. Please ask your tour leader.

    Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Train to Aguas Calientes; tour of Machu Picchu.

    For most people the highlight of the trip is the visit by train to the greatest ruin in the world, the lost city of Machu Picchu. This is one of the architectural and engineering marvels of the ancient world, in a mountain setting of staggering immensity. The Spaniards never found it; the Incas left no records of it, so Machu Picchu remains a great enigma, a city lost for centuries in the jungle until it was rediscovered in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham.

    We have transfer to Ollantaytambo train station and catch a train to Aguas Calientes (the town below Machu Picchu). The railway line follows a beautiful route through the Urabamba River Valley. In the afternoon we take a short bus ride up the winding road to Machu Picchu for a guided tour of the ruins. 

    Having been trialled in 2017, new regulations for visiting Machu Picchu will be fully enforced for 2018; you will be limited to a maximum of four hours within the site and must be accompanied by a guide. There will also be three set routes to follow around Machu Picchu; Exodus selects the most comprehensive route. Please note that exploring the ruins involves a reasonable amount of walking, including up and down steep and uneven stone steps. 

    Visiting in the afternoon tends to be quieter than the mornings and the mist which shrouds the ruins at dawn has usually dispersed. 

    Inti Punku El Tambo (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Free morning or optional second visit to Machu Picchu; afternoon return to Cuzco by train and by road.

    A free morning to enjoy the buzz of this little town in the jungle below the ruins. There are some hot springs nearby however, they tend to suffer from overcrowding and therefore poor water quality, so are not recommended.

    Should you wish to visit Machu Picchu again this morning, your leader will help you to purchase a second entrance ticket (subject to availability) which will allow you a further four hours to explore the 'Lost City' - for the second visit it is not mandatory to have a guide. At the time of writing a morning ticket costs PEN152 (approx. £35/US$47).

    In the afternoon we board the train back to Ollantaytambo and then continue by minibus to Cuzco, arriving in the late evening.

    Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Free day for optional excursions.

    A final chance to enjoy the sights and shopping of this beautiful city. If you fancy something more active then there is an array of optional activities available from Cuzco that your leader can organise. These include paddle-boarding on a lake, mountain biking, or a combination of via ferrata and zip-lining in the Sacred Valley.

    Hotel Casa Andina Koricancha (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Drive to Lake Titicaca (3800m), with stops en route; boat to Amantani Island for homestay.

    Today we travel for 8-10 hours along the Vilcanota River and onto the altiplano, the high plains separating the Andes from the jungle. Although it is quite a long drive, it is interesting and often spectacular. There are scheduled stops at interesting sites to help break up the day and we will get to appreciate the immensity of the Andean landscapes. This afternoon we arrive at the shores of Lake Titicaca (3800m) and board a boat for our trip to Amantani Island. Hiking around the island offers great views across the lake, whilst the night spent with a local family offers fantastic cultural insight into lives very different to our own. (A packed lunch is included today).

    Amantani Island homestay (Basic)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Explore the island; afternoon boat to Puno visiting the floating reed islands.

    We explore the island in the morning before boarding our boat for the three-hour journey to Puno on the lakeshore. On the way, we visit the Titinos Indians, who live on islands of floating reeds and, save for a few modest concessions to the modern world, still live as their ancestors would have done centuries ago. Most tours visit the Uros islands closer to the shore but we visit the more isolated Titinos Islands for a more authentic experience.

    Casona Plaza Hotel (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Drive across the altiplano to Colca Canyon.

    Today we head off across the altiplano again. This time we cross to the south west, heading back towards the coast to the high Colca Canyon (5-6 hours' drive). En route we have opportunities to see vicuñas and possibly flamingos before descending into what is considered to be the second deepest canyon in the Americas (the deepest, the Cotahuasi Canyon, is also in Peru). There is time in the evening for a visit to the hot springs near the main town of Chivay (3635m) - a warming pleasure after the chill of Lake Titicaca.

    Hotel Pozo del Cielo (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Morning condor viewing; afternoon drive past huge volcanoes to the 'White City' of Arequipa (2350m).

    An early start to view condors soaring on the morning drafts rising out of the canyon. Extensive terraces, stunning colonial churches, and burial tombs are viewed before we ascend out of the canyon on our way to Arequipa, known as the 'White City' due to the pale volcanic stone used to construct many of its colonial buildings. The picturesque city enjoys a year-round pleasant climate and is surrounded by 6000m volcanoes, including the near-perfect cone of El Misti.

    Ensueño Hotel (or similar) 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Morning visit Santa Catalina Convent; afternoon fly to Lima.

    In the morning we visit the huge and serene convent of Santa Catalina. Built in 1580 and only opened to the outside world in the 1970s, it offers a rare insight into the lives led by the nuns and has changed little through the centuries. There are still around 20 nuns living in the northern corner of the complex. In the afternoon or evening we fly to Lima where will transfer to our hotel in Miraflores.

    Hotel El Tambo 1 (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    End Lima.

    There is time today for optional tours of Lima including visits to the Gold Museum and tours of the historic downtown before we are transferred to the airport in the afternoon for the overnight flight to London.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Extend Your Trip

Amazon Rainforest extension (from Lima)

Code: XPL

Easily accessible via a short flight to Puerto Maldonado from Lima, the Amazon is the world's largest rainforest and home to an astonishing array of wildlife, as well as countless plant species. Spending three nights at a lodge in the incredibly rich Tambopata Reserve, we use motorised canoes to explore its lakes and rivers, and follow jungle trails to discover its dense forests. The detailed itinerary can be found here

Please ask your sales consultant for more details.

Essential Info

Visas

Peru

Visas are not required by UK citizens, Western European nationals, Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans and most other nationalities. If you are in any doubt please contact the nearest Peruvian Embassy.

Vaccinations

Peru

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements.

Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in Peru. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

If you are travelling to the Tambopata reserve in the Amazon rainforest, the risk of malaria is slight, but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. We also strongly recommend that you obtain a Yellow Fever vaccination. Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in the Amazon region. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites: always apply insect repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers while in the rainforest to avoid being bitten.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up‐to‐date information.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 dinner (at the homestay) are included.

The tap water in Peru is not safe to drink. Drinking water will be provided in large containers free of charge; please bring a refillable bottle with you.

Hotel breakfasts are normally simple buffet-style affairs, usually including bread/toast and jam, cereal, sometimes eggs or a cooked dish, sometimes fruit, tea/coffee and fruit juice. Regrettably we cannot guarantee that wheat/gluten free products will be available for breakfast in all locations - if you have an intolerance you may wish to bring your own breakfast food from home.

Where lunch and dinner is not included we'll visit a variety of local cafes and restaurants.

Peruvian cuisine has developed a reputation for its flavours and originality and it’s well worth trying out a few of the local delicacies. Amongst these are ceviche (a spicy dish of seafood or fish marinated in lime juice), lomo saltado (a Peruvian take on a beef stir-fry) and various hearty soups such as the delicious quinoa soup. Other dishes include roasted cuy (guinea pig), Alpaca steak, and to drink, the national beverage: Pisco Sour.

Weather

Peru's diverse geography results in a very varied climate between different regions.

Lima and Paracas fall within the coastal desert region of Peru, with a mild climate and very little rain all year. From April to November the sky is almost always grey and cloudy and the air humid. Average day time temperatures in Lima remain between about 18 and 24 degrees Celsius during this period, with July and August typically being the coolest. Nights are also mild - typically 15-18 degrees Celsius. From December to March the skies in Lima are clear and temperatures at their warmest but elsewhere in the country this is the rainy season.

Cuzco and the Andes have a temperate climate. December to March is the rainy season in Cuzco/the Andes and April to November is the dry season; characterised by clear skies and strong sunshine in the mornings, sometimes clouding over as the day progresses. Daytime temperatures are usually pleasant (approx. 20 degrees C on average) but night times only 5-10 degrees C, except for May, June, July and August when days are cooler and nights are often close to, or a few degrees below, freezing. In the Andes, however, anything is possible at any time of year, including cloud, rain or even snow, and rapid and unexpected changes! 

Lake Titicaca and Colca Canyon are high, and at 3,800m and 3,600m above sea level respectively, the sun is strong but the air can be cold, and nights can be close to freezing. You will need to bring some warm layers and a waterproof or wind-stopper. 

Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu are in the cloud forest and as such attract large amounts of precipitation all year as clouds move up from the Amazon Basin. Rain here can be heavy, but is seldom prolonged. Cold fronts sometimes occur from July-August.

Peru is affected by the El Niño weather phenomenon whereby warming of Pacific Ocean surface water off South America drives a shift in the atmospheric circulation resulting in abnormally high levels of rainfall over parts of South America. These events occur at irregular intervals of two to seven years, and last nine months to two years. A strong El Niño event occurred in 2014-16. In El Niño years, temperatures in Lima can be much warmer than described above but it still rarely rains in Lima.

Cuzco

Lima

Is this trip for you?

This is a busy itinerary encompassing the main highlights of southern Peru. You should be aware that the size of Peru means that this holiday involves some long drives and early morning starts. The longest drive is between Nazca and Abancay takes in the region of 9-10 hours. The private buses used are comfortable and the scenery is outstanding. There will be several stops along the way to help break up the long journeys. The road between Nazca and Cuzco becomes increasingly winding as we climb higher into the mountains, and this, combined with the increase in altitude, may affect you if you are prone to travel sickness. 

Although graded Leisurely/Moderate (level 2), the altitude can make physical activity feel more tiring than at sea level. As this trip spends considerable time at altitude we ask you to refer to the Altitude Warning within the Trip Notes for more information and advice on how to limit the effects of altitude sickness. The tour allows for gradual acclimatisation, visiting Abancay (2,400m) before moving on to Cuzco (3,400m), then Lake Titicaca (3,800m) and Colca Canyon (3,635m). Although we do not linger there, the maximum altitude visited on this trip is 4,910m (Patapampa Pass) which we drive over near Chivay, Colca Canyon - please ensure your travel insurance covers you up to this altitude. 

It can be cold at these altitudes, particularly from May until August (although these months benefit from lower rainfall), and you will need to bring appropriate clothing.

Cuzco, Arequipa, and many of the Inca sites (including Machu Picchu) are built on hillsides and sightseeing often involves walking up and down steep streets or on uneven steps or terraces. As such, you should have a good level of mobility and a reasonable level of fitness.

Strikes are not uncommon in Peru and whilst these are generally peaceful protests, they can result in roadblocks and disruption to travel. In this event, your leader will amend your itinerary if necessary to minimise the impact.

Call us on
+47-22 41 30 30
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels, Titicaca homestay

13 nights hotels, all en suite, 1 night homestay with basic shared facilities.

The hotels normally used are indicated within the itinerary however accommodation may differ from those stated depending on your departure date. Throughout this tour we stay in carefully selected 3-star hotels with en suite bathroom facilities throughout, with the exception of one night on Amantani Island. Most hotels have a safety deposit box in the room but if not, there will be one at reception.

In Lima we stay at Hotel El Tambo 1, located in the upmarket Miraflores District - Larco Mar shopping mall is within walking distance as is the trendy Barranco District, where you'll find a wide variety of restaurants and nightlife. We usually stay in Villa Jazmin in Ica, which offers large rooms and an outdoor swimming pool. Near to Abancay we stay at Tampumayu, which is a hacienda style property - a little rustic but full of character and there's a pretty little church within its grounds. In Cuzco we stay at one of the well-known Casa Andina properties, Casa Andina Koricancha, which is ideally located within walking distance of the main square and the Koricancha 'Sun Temple'. For our Machu Picchu visit we spend a night at Inti Punku El Tambo in Aguas Calientes; a simple yet contemporary hotel. The most basic accommodation is in Chivay and Arequipa but it serves its purpose for a night. Casona Plaza Hotel in Puno has a local 4-star local rating, is centrally located, and has a lovely restaurant area. 

Please note that central heating is very rare in Peru, even in good standard hotels. Most hotels provide plug in heaters and spare blankets. Additionally whilst all of the hotels have a hot water supply, it can be temperamental when there is high demand.

A railway line runs straight through the centre of Aguas Calientes and whilst we try to allocate rooms away from it whenever possible, the trains might be heard from some rooms.

On Amantani Island on Lake Titicaca, the group will split up overnight to stay with local families. There will generally be a few of us in each house and we may have to share rooms en masse - single supplements do not apply for this night. The rooms are basic but clean and your beds will have sheets and plenty of blankets. There are outside toilets and washbasins. The lack of electricity or road noise (there are no roads!) and the starlit sky on clear nights makes for a truly peaceful and serene experience.

Single rooms can be booked for single supplement, subject to availability, at the time of booking. This supplement covers single rooms throughout the trip, with the exception of the homestay on Amantani Island. We recommend the early booking of single supplements and of pre/post tour accommodation.

Call us on
+47-22 41 30 30
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call us on
+47-22 41 30 30
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed October 2017
    Viv Morris

    Essential Peri

    Thoroughly enjoyable trip. Felt like 4 weeks rather than 2 as we did so much. Very long days, on the coach 5.30 to 7 am starts, but most people slept on the coach, and meant we made the most of the holiday. Beautiful scenery. Tour guide announced it was an adventure not a holiday, and it was. Very varied.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Machu Picchu without a doubt. Amazing place. Lake Titicaca a close second. Beautiful, friendly people. Everything at a slower pace, probably due to the altitude!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very knowledgeable, very caring, particularly over the altitude question. Made us feel we were in safe hands.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The altitude is no joke! If you suffer from motion sickness, like I do, you may suffer. Even the travel pills which usually keep me okay on these trips didn’t help and I was very sick for the day of long driving (10-12 hours ), and the boat trip on Lake Titicaca. But having said that I wouldn’t have wanted to miss the trip, it was well worth it, and the upside was I was given the front seat of the coach for the rest of the trip! There were only 2 nights I missed as had to sleep it off. In the trip notes it says explore the island when on Lake Titicaca. By this it means walk at altitude from 3,800 to 4,100 straight up to the top of the island! Beautiful views,but at that altitude the less fit members of the party were not able to do it and we had 3 hours allowed to go up and come down again.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Best way to see Peru. Very varied trip. Beautiful, stunning scenery, lovely old towns, with some amazing sights like Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca and the Ura people and the Condors at Colca Canyon and walking there.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Sandra Burton

    Essential Peru & Rainforest

    Amazing trip, visited so many iconic sites and saw wonderful things. Best adventure yet.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Machu Picchu. It was all I'd ever imagined. The ingenuity of the Inca is astounding, from their astrology to their amazing architecture. Walked the site for 6 hours, didn't want to leave.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Diana was extremely informative, her organisational skills were outstanding and her level of care for group members was over and above that required of a group leader. Exceptional.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to fit a lot into the time with some very early starts. It's worth it. If going to the Rainforest don't take bright clothes as the colours can frighten wildlife and also take shorts & vests if going in the dry season.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would have liked a little more time in Aguas Caliente to go to Machu Picchu again and also to go to the Rainbow Mountains from Cuzco but understand that would require extra days on the holiday which may not be possible for most people.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Nicola Peers

    There is more to Peru than Machu Picchu

    You'll see amazing and varied scenery on this trip, from islands in the Pacific to barren desert, high mountains, the flat altiplano, lush jungle, lake Titicaca, deep canyons, extinct, dormant and live volcanoes, and bustling cities. Colourful clothing and hats as varied as the landscape, and delicious food. Long bus journeys but comfortable with plenty of stops and stunning scenery. Lots of optional trips mean there is time for independent exploration if you prefer.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Lake Titicaca - both the homestay and the visit to the Uros Islands. The people were welcoming and keen to share their way of life, so different to ours.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was excellent. She took great care of us all, was very professional and organised, and always ready to help. She was also extremely knowledgeable and clearly has a genuine interest in the history of her country. Thank you Diana!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Drink plenty of water and coca tea to help with the altitude. Stay as long as possible at Machu Picchu and watch the chinchillas emerge as the crowds leave. Learn a few words of Spanish - it shows willing and English is not widely spoken.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We enjoyed exploring on our own in Cusco, Aguas Calientes, Arequipa and Lima. We felt safe everywhere and ate well even when choosing restaurants ourselves.
  • Reviewed July 2017
    Lynne Stewart

    Essential Peru

    This is a fantastic, if tiring, trip. Peru is a stunning country and a must-see. I had my breath taken away on countless occasions by the scenery and I feel privileged to have experienced such a diverse and interesting country and people. Don't hesitate to do this trip, but do be aware that it is a packed itinerary and don't underestimate the relentless early mornings!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Michu Picchu was awe inspiring and enchanting, it surpassed any expectations I had, just amazing. The homestay on Amantani Island on Lake Titicaca was fantastic, our 'mum' was wonderful and cooked us the most delicious dinner and breakfast. She was so lovely to be around and chat to even with the language barrier. In addition, I had the best (and only!) good night's sleep there. The Nazca Lines were amazing, we didn't manage a flight over them due to fog, but seeing them from the tower was still great. Cuzco and Arequipa are both wonderful cities to explore and had a very comfortable feel when walking around them. The hot springs in Chivay are worth doing, very relaxing and fun. Seeing wildlife (penguins, sea lions, pelicans, flamingos, vicuñas, llamas, alpaca, condors) along the way was fascinating, and what can I say about the scenery throughout the whole journey... just magnificent!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Diana was very good. She was extremely organised, efficient and knowledgable. She made sure the trip went smoothly and she was proud to show and teach us about her country.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take Peruvian Sols with you if possible, or if you take US dollars or Euros then change a decent amount at the airport in Lima as you don't get to a money exchange for 3 days due to the itinerary. I was advised to change just $30-40 at the airport, but this was insufficient and the advice was inaccurate apparently due to the tour now starting on a Friday. Many ATMs charged 18 sols for withdrawing cash, look for BCP as apparently they don't charge. Take clothes for warm and cold weather, it really was necessary. In one day you can need hats and gloves in the morning, shorts and t-shirts at lunchtime, and then back on with the woolies in the evening! Although the bus journeys sound long they were in fact very comfortable with a toilet on board and lots of stops. The altitude did effect most people but only for short periods and it was manageable. Be aware if you have high blood pressure as the altitude can affect that. As well as drinking water to prevent dehydration, drinking electrolytes is important as too much water flushes those out. But the guide was experienced in dealing with any symptoms of altitude and gave good advice. Be prepared for early starts pretty much every day, leaving at 7am was a lie in!! There were a couple of mornings free for a more relaxing morning. I took a few useful souvenirs (shopping bag, soap, pencils) from home for my homestay mum and she was delighted. You can buy items such as candles, pasta, salt etc from the market there though if you don't take with you. The optional excursions were all worth doing. Try to stay awake on the bus so as not to miss the outstanding scenery!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go for it! Peru is wonderful and this trip packs in so many amazing experiences and sights. Some of which you couldn't do without going through a company such as this. ... you may need a holiday after the holiday though!
  • Reviewed May 2017
    Ann Fisher

    Ann Fisher

    I knew about the long coach journeys and early starts - but I did find the travel more tiring than I expected .

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Flying over the Nazca Lines was amazing Also going to the floating reed islands on lake Titicaca and watching The Condors flying in the Colca Canyon

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Diana was an excellent tour leader- first aider, kitchen assistant - she did everything she could to make the trip go smoothly

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Really think if the really long and frequent travel days are right for you

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Despite the long travel days, this was an interesting and varied trip
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Lorna Baker

    Amazing Gringo Adventure

    Utterly eyeball blowing. So much to see you do not want to miss a thing The scenery is stunning. I did not realise Peru was so diverse. From massive sand dunes and dry desert to impenetrable cloud forest. Yes there were long drives and really early starts but how else can you experience the variety of sights and activities.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Obviously Machu Picchu does not disappoint and the island stay is enlightening but sand boarding was so fun and I was impressed by the Nazca lines.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Aleks was great. He loves his country is knowledgeable and took really great care of us. We ate every evening as a group being taken to different restaurants.It makes the whole experience enriching.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do the optional excursions such as sand buggies, sacred valley and star gazing. We opted not to fly over Nazca lines as view from tower was good and I was worried about air sickness but those who did it loved it.The high altitude does slow you down so be prepared for taking longer to get anywhere. The sungate walk is a must at Machu Picchu and stay til chucking out time as you have the site to yourself. Meals were cheaper than I expected so we did not spend as much as I had budgeted for,which was great. It was cold in Cusco and on Lake Titicaca especially at night so warm clothes needed. Trip notes are accurate so take their advice.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just enjoy. After this trip you can say you have seen the best and most of Peru.
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Neil Baker

    Touring Peru

    Never a dull day, so much to see. Even on the chill out days we took on the optional tours just to maximize the experience. It's a great place and the areas are so diverse from the coast, desert, mountains to the cloud forest.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were lots of them but the build up was all about summiting with Macchu Picchu, initially disappointing, too many people, too many clouds totally obscuring the view and it rained. That was the morning in the afternoon the crowds cleared out, the skies also cleared so we had sunshine and Macchu Picchu to ourselves, well almost, it certainly felt like that.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Aleks was a great guide, he kept everything on track, what more do you need from a guide?

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Before taking Essential Peru on please consider the following: - It is no holiday, early starts, different location every night and loads of places to visit really mean there is little rest time. - It's a very big country which means many miles to cover which clearly means you will spend a lot of hours on the bus - Much of the trip is at altitudes most of us do not regularly experience, you maybe fit and will no doubt acclimatize but nonetheless any exertion will be hard work, so bear that in mind. - When the sun comes out it is fierce so make sure you have plenty of lotion. - The ATMs generally work but we found a lot of them to have a S400 limit which only equates to £100. You can change up Sterling but US dollars are the preferred currency.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The food is good and the Pisco Sours are tasty. It's also cheaper than we expected, we actually overbudgeted by about £500.
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Theresa D D

    This tour covers a lot of ground! Extreme learning opportunity

    This tour covers so much ground in 2 weeks. I think the greatest takeaway I have from this trip is the huge diversity of geography of Peru. From desert to highlands and mountains to jungle (which we didn't see on this tour). No one can go on this tour and say that they didn't see a lot of Peru. This tour is exactly as it is described and does cover a lot of ground. Personally, I did find the long bus rides more than I bargained for. However the scenery was spectacular and one wouldn't see all of this diversity any other way. I did find myself wishing that there was more opportunity for physical activity - but this was not part of the description of the tour. All in all, I personally would have traded off some of the days of travelling for hiking some of the trails around Peru.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The homestay on Amantani island was particularly inspiring. While these people have so much less than we have in our material lives, their lives seemed to be very rich. The stay made me appreciate more what I have in my own life. I really enjoyed the different foods that we were able to enjoy as we travelled around Peru -- from the simple to the more exotic. Eating and cooking is an important reason that I enjoy travelling.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alex was a great leader. His interest and passion for Peru was evident daily in his talks about many different subjects and it was infectious. He was good at managing a diverse group of people -- from those of us taking the tours to all the help he received along the way. He genuinely seemed to enjoy his job -- even the dumb questions that we asked on a regular basis.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for long days on the bus in order to cover a lot of ground with very early starts in the mornings. The payoff is spectacular scenery that one wouldn't see by simply taking internal flights around Peru

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would have liked some options for increased physical activities -- hikes, bike rides, ziplining. I know that cooking classes are not considered physical activities but I would have been really interested in something in the way of food tours/cooking classes
  • Reviewed November 2016
    Alan Ashman

    Essential Peru

    What a fantastic trip. It is a little difficult to refer to it as a 'holiday' because it is so full on. But what an amazing place Peru is. The only downside is is that it is so far away, I think I could happily do it all again.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It is difficult to pick out just one. Machu Pichu, obviously and the many other Inca sites we visited. Condors at Colca Canyon stand out; we lost count but certainly about a dozen when we felt we might be lucky if we saw even one. Cusco was a lovely place and, while I know you have to warn travelers about the dangers tourists attract, we didn't feel threatened anywhere.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sebastian Echegaray was simply great. There was nothing he would not do for us and acted as a Llama herd, gathering us together when we strayed. He took us to some wonderful restaurants we probably wouldn't have found on our own and seemed to have encyclopaedic knowledge of his country and all its facets. Ho found us great local guides, made arrangements for those of us who wanted to do optional tours, got taxis for us, in fact the holiday could nt have been the same without him!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Not really. We went at the start of the 'rainy season' and saw two heavy showers in two weeks. Having said that it is difficult to plan your clothing requirements but that applies to a lot of places. The only real advice - just enjoy Peru!
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Juliusz Chroscicki

    Fantastic trip

    Almost every day was a highlight . Yes, there were long days and long bus rides but they absolutely worth it to get up at 4 am to see the scenery outside the window of the moving bus

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Machu Picchu is an obvious choice, the place is overwhelming. But also Nasca lines, Amantani Island or condors gliding over Colca Canyon...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Raul was a charming bundle of energy, always smiling always in good humour. Very effective in dealing with every day tasks as well as with emergencies, big and small. Would recommend great food, markets, places to see. He was a big part in the success of the trip

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Remember to use bug repellent in Aguas Calientes /Machu Picchu

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Enjoy the long bus rides - at the end of the day they are more interesting than a quick place ride

Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

 

Trip Extension: If you would like to visit the Amazon Rainforest it is possible to extend your trip. For more details please refer to the Trip Notes or call our Sales team, who will be happy to assist you.

 

Private Adventures 

Not found the date you’re looking for? We can organise this itinerary as a Private Adventure – just click on the tab above the list of dates and prices, let us know your preferred dates of travel and how many people are travelling, and we’ll do the rest!

 

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