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Peru Uncovered Reverse

Machu Picchu, Titicaca and Colca | View photos »

From an insider’s tour of Lima to arriving at Machu Picchu after the crowds are gone and staying on a private island in Lake Titicaca, this tailor made holiday lets you experience Peru more deeply, at a better pace.

16 day trip described, guide price £3,940pp i

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"Fantastic in every respect"

"Fantastic in every respect"

It was fantastic in every respect, we can’t thank you enough! We are in love with Peru and its people and grateful, indeed very grateful, to you. Waseem Q

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"Absolutely fabulous, loved every minute."

"Absolutely fabulous, loved every minute."

Guides great, everything like clockwork, right amount of time in each place, really fantastic.

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Sample itinerary

Fly to South America

Fly to Peru today. Assuming a daytime flight, you are met on arrival to Lima this evening and transferred to your hotel in the pleasant area of Miraflores. Please note: international flights for this holiday are quoted separately.

An insider's Lima

Your private guide spends today showing you Lima and, in doing so, explaining Peru. You’ll be spending time on both foot and in taxis as you explore some of the city’s very different areas, from Miraflores to Barranco, the polished historic centre to the earthier Barrios Altos next door. For lunch you will try out food from around Peru - the coast, the jungle and the high Andes.

Travel up to Cusco

Fly over the mountains to Cusco, ‘the navel of the Andes’. Throughout your stay in Cusco and Machu Picchu, you have your own guide to show you around. You are met at the airport for the drive to your boutique hotel, then stroll through the picturesque colonial streets with your guide in the afternoon as you adjust to the higher altitude (3,326m).

Guided tour of Cusco

You will still be acclimatising today so the pace can be fairly relaxed, unless you want to be more energetic. Your day will be adapted to your interests as you explore the spectacular scenery and Inca ruins around Cusco and the Sacred Valley. You might like to visit the colourful market in the town of Pisac, renowned for its traditional weavings and hand-painted pottery, or enjoy dramatic views as you walk along the Inca terraces high above the town.

Royal Inca Trail

Catch the train towards Machu Picchu this morning, getting off near the end of the line to walk the one-day, ‘Royal’ Inca trail. The trail takes you up along the side of a valley to the ruins of Winaywayna, where you stop for a picnic lunch, and then follow the paved Inca road through the cloud forest, with orchids, hummingbirds and butterflies. After a final push up a steep stairway to the Sun Gate, you meet your first views of Machu Picchu in the quiet of the afternoon, when the light is at its best.

Explore Machu Picchu

This morning if you are feeling energetic, you can catch one of the first buses up to Machu Picchu, heading uphill to catch sunrise over the mountains. Enjoy a full guided tour of the site this morning. Afterwards you can continue to explore the extensive ruins on your own or climb the emblematic peak of Huayna Picchu for a ‘condor’s-eye’ view of the city. Return to Cusco by train this afternoon.

Cross the altiplano by train

Today is a chance to sit back, relax and watch the scenery slip by as you board the very comfortable Orient Express-owned train from Cusco to Lake Titicaca. This classic train journey cuts across the formidable Peruvian Altiplano, its remote landscapes populated with tiny settlements and herds of llama. As you travel you will notice that the people change, from the Quechua of the Cusco region to the Aymara of southern Peru. Traditional dress becomes incredibly colourful at the same time as the skies become bluer and more expansive.

Cross Lake Titicaca

Set off early this morning as you cross Lake Titicaca by boat. First stop are the floating reed islands of Uros, a fascinating opportunity to see how people actually live out here on the edge of this vast lake. Then travel out to the ‘weaver’s’ island of Taquile. By late morning you are on your way again to the far side of the lake and the remote private island of Suasi. This is a very relaxed and very relaxing place, so take time to unwind, swing in a hammock and look out at the horizon of the lake in front of you.

On Suasi Island

During your stay, there is a guide available for a variety of excursions. Walk to a viewpoint for stunning sunset views over the lake, take a canoe and paddle around the island, cross to the mainland for a more energetic hike to a mountain peak, watch the stars at night, or enjoy a steam bath in a low tech wood-fired sauna.

Cross Titicaca again

There is time for a leisurely breakfast today before your late morning departure back to Puno. Stay for a final night on the edge of the lake prior to your onward journey tomorrow.

Drive to Colca Canyon

Set off early this morning towards the beautiful landscapes of the Colca Canyon, a drive of around six hours in total on a comfortable bus. There is a guide on board to talk you through the journey and there will be stops along the way to allow you to stretch your legs and admire the beautiful views. The journey ends in the Colca Canyon, at a lovely lodge with its own hot springs, where you will spend the next three nights.

Explore Colca Canyon

You have two full days here to explore the area at your own pace. For the time in Colca, we leave you at leisure, so you can choose to do as much or as little as you like. The hotel has its own small tour operation which means that you can sign up for excursions as you wish. There are a number of hikes leading directly out from the lodge; it is also an option to hire horses or mountain bikes for excursions into the countryside. Alternatively, you may like to take a day out to relax and soak in the lodge’s hot springs.

Guided Colca Canyon

After breakfast you might like to sign up for a guided activity to explore Colca. You could spend the day hiking and visiting villages, or possibly mountain biking or horse riding, there are many options, and you can discuss the best options for you with your lodge. If you walk to the village of Yanque you can visit the colonial church and museum, and get an insight into the customs and lifestyle of this traditional agricultural community.

Travel to Arequipa

At some point during your time here you should head to the condor observation point Cruz de los Condores. Here the canyon falls away 1,200m to the river below your feet. The opposite wall of the canyon is 3,000m high so the top always has a dusting of snow. In the morning, the condors start to fly up from their roosts on the canyon walls below, passing by at eye level on the morning thermals. This afternoon you will be driven to the lovely city of Arequipa.

Arequipa at your pace

Today is an opportunity for you to simply relax and take things easy. The Santa Catalina convent and Juanita museum are both within comfortable strolling distance of your hotel so you should try to see these today. Arequipa is home to the Alpaca industry of Peru so you will find beautiful garments for sale. The silver is also first rate. As well as possibly the best shopping of your holiday, Arequipa has plenty of restaurants and cafes where you can try excellent ‘nuevo Andino’ cuisine.

Travel home

After a relaxed morning, catch your mid-afternoon flight back to Lima, connecting through to your overnight flight home. Flight times will vary according to the transatlantic carrier you choose. Again, we quote international flights separately

About this trip

Summary

From an insider’s tour of Lima to arriving at Machu Picchu after the crowds are gone and staying on an island in Lake Titicaca, this tailor made holiday lets you experience Peru more deeply, at a better pace.

How adventurous?

Activity
1 2 3 4 5
Comfort
1 2 3 4 5
Culture
1 2 3 4 5

Best time to go i

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Level of activity

In Peru, the driest time of year is winter, which is from April through October/November. In general you can expect daytime temperatures of somewhere between 10°-20° in Cusco, Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca. Arequipa is known to be a place of eternal spring so very comfortable temperatures both day and night are the norm, year round.

On this holiday you are privately guided along the one-day Inca Trail, which is a walk of around seven hours, starting at the train line at the bottom of the valley, and heading slowly up through beautiful scenery and past Inca ruins. What is fantastic is that it brings you to the Sun Gate and your first views of Machu Picchu in the afternoon, when the light is at its best and there are fewer people around.

Stay overnight in the nearby town of Aguas Calientes before returning to Machu Picchu for a more in-depth visit the following day.

Once up on Lake Titicaca and staying on a private island, you can take short walks or even kayak around the island to spot wildlife. As you have your own guide in the Colca Canyon you are free to set the pace of your explorations. On your free day you can hike, horse ride, or mountain bike amongst the possibilities.

Level of comfort

Throughout this journey, you stay in a carefully chosen selection of first-class small hotels and lodges which we feel offer the best combination of a sense of place and a high level of comfort. Full details of the accommodation we use are in our detailed itinerary. Call us for a copy.

Level of culture

From the immigrant cultures of Lima to the indigenous groups of the Andes, we have developed this holiday to ensure you come away from Peru with a nuanced and clear sense of the country.

Your visit to Peru starts with a full day tour of Lima with our own guide. He introduces you to neighbourhoods, foods, markets, people you would never find by yourself. It’s the perfect introduction to the varied, sometimes very turbulent, history of Peru’s people.

In Cusco and on the Inca Trail you are in the Andean heartlands of the Inca, a region which is incredibly rich in history, mythology and interesting local customs. You have the same guide with you throughout your time in Cusco and onto the Royal Inca Trail and Machu Picchu. This consistency of guiding ensures you have a seamless narrative to link each place together, rather than the repetition which is inevitable if you have different guides in each place. It also gives you the time to get to know your guide and find out more about different aspects of life in Peru, be that history or food, music, culture or politics.

Up on Lake Titicaca you move into the land of the Aymara people – distinctively colourful hoop skirts appear in the traditional dress of the women here. By staying on a remote, small island, you really see the people as they are – working the mean soil by hand in this harsh, dry environment.

In Colca Canyon, rather than take an exhausting and ruches day trip, you have plenty of free time to explore the landscapes, hot springs, ancient farmland, and condors. Arequipa's beautiful convents, arcades and restaurants offer a wonderful place to relax at the end of your trip.

Practicalities

Please give us a call on 01273 676 712 or email us at info@pura-aventura.com to see a detailed version of this itinerary. Every Pura holiday is unique, so we would love to have a conversation about the things that are important to you, and the things you don’t need, before we get started on a personalised proposal for you to consider.

For instance, if you would prefer to hike the full four-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu then we can include this instead, or you might like to take the train all the way. This is also a holiday which combines very well with the Galapagos Islands.

In the form set out above, the holiday price includes flights within Peru, transport and transfers, premium accommodation, guided excursions, entrances, activities and meals as set out in the detailed itinerary. Private guiding is included in Lima, Cusco, and on the one-day Inca Trail; shared guiding is included on Lake Titicaca. On each and every one of our holidays, we include Pura’s expertise, local contacts, support and advice throughout, along with the reassurance of our financial protection and safety auditing.

International flights are quoted separately for this holiday. The best flight routing is to fly in and out of Lima (airport code: LIM).

Departs

Departs on a date to suit you from March through December, subject to Inca Trail permit availability.

Next steps...

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The described itinerary is just a taster of what this trip could involve. We would work with you to tailor your personal trip.

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Book Send me exclusive content » Looking out over the Royal Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Lima's cathedral, set within the UNESCO-listed colonial downtown A street mural in Lima Strolling around the lovely Plaza de Armas in Cusco Selling trinkets in the Sacred Valley, Peru Walking the one-day Royal Inca trail to Machu Picchu The intricate maze of temples, houses, stairways and plazas at Machu Picchu The Orient Express train across Peru's Altiplano Looking out from one of the floating islands. Kayaking around Suasi Island on Lake Titicaca Sunset over Lake Titicaca from the top of Suasi Island Looking out over the Colca Canyon in southern Peru The deep and beautiful Colca Canyon Looking out over the Colca Canyon, Peru A condor swooping over the Colca Canyon, Peru Geranium in the Santa Catalina convent of Arequipa Arequipa is famous for its mild climate and beautiful setting