Join us to explore Peru by Train, one of South America’s most fascinating, colourful and cosmopolitan countries, and marvel at the treasures of the Inca.
Enjoy the company of a small group of like-minded travellers as you uncover the secrets of one of the world’s most fascinating civilisations and one of South America’s most colourful countries. Begin your tour in Lima, Peru’s cultural, culinary and colourfully modern capital. Fly to Cuzco, capital of the Inca civilisation, and gateway to the Sacred Valley and astonishing ‘lost city’ of Machu Picchu. Spend time discovering Cuzco’s wonders, then board the PeruRail Titicaca for an unforgettable journey to Lake Titicaca. Explore her shores and islands before the Peruvian altiplano, the Andes with their canyons and volcanoes, condors and alpacas, and the dazzling ‘white city’ of Arequipa, complete your wonderful Peruvian adventure.
What You’ll Love
- 11 nights’ bed and breakfast accommodation at hotels in Lima (3 nights), the Sacred Valley (2), Cuszo (2), Puno (2), Colca Canyon (1) and Arequipa (1), plus two nights on the aircraft
- Three lunches
- Narrow gauge “Vistadome” train ride, to Machu Picchu – the lost city of the Incas
- Journey through the Peruvian Andes on the 1920’s-style “PeruRail Titicaca Train” to lakeside Puno
- Guided tours of Lima, Arequipa, Cuzco and the Sacred Valley
- A boat trip on Lake Titicaca
- Visits to the Inca sites at Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu
- Return flights to Lima
- Internal flights from Lima to Cuzco, and from Arequipa to Lima
- Air-conditioned coach and rail travel and transfers throughout
- Entrance fees to featured sites
- The services of a tour manager and local guides in Peru
- Flights also available from other UK airports – Belfast City George Best, London Heathrow, Manchester or Newcastle – click here for more information
Single supplements apply. Offer is subject to availability.
Day One – Fly to Peru
Fly to Lima, meet your tour manager, and transfer to the hotel for your first, relaxed evening in the capital of Peru.
Day Two – Arrive in Lima
Arrive in Lima and transfer to your hotel, where you can spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Day Three – Guided tour of Lima
A guided sightseeing tour brings to life the Peruvian capital. Founded by conquistador Francisco Pizarro, Lima is a thriving city of some nine-million inhabitants that boasts a number of UNESCO-listed historic treasures, legacies of Spanish colonialism. The vast Plaza Mayor (also known as the Plaza de Armas) with its grand Presidential Palace and stunning Baroque cathedral, sit easily alongside the gleaming developments of San Isidro and Miraflores. Wander through verdant El Olivar Park, past its ancient Spanish olive trees, meet the resident cats of Kennedy Park, or take in the view of the Pacific Ocean from the Lacromar mall, in its cliff-side location.
This evening, choose from a vast selection of dining opportunities: Lima is renowned as one of South America’s liveliest culinary centres.
Day Four – Fly to Cuzco and the Sacred Valley
Today you’ll fly east from Lima to the Inca stronghold of Cuzco. From here you’ll travel by coach into the fabled Sacred Valley of the Incas, where highlights will include a visit to the tiny Andean town of Ccaccaccollo, where the ancient Inca techniques of weaving and fabric-dyeing live on, and you’ll enjoy a demonstration given in the local Quechua language, before spending the night in the Valley.
Day Five – Inca treasures of the Sacred Valley
Continue your exploration of the Sacred Valley, today. Visit Pisac, with its substantial Inca ruins and colourful market, and Ollantaytambo, home to the remains of a monumental Inca fortress from which the Inca organised resistance against Hernando Pizarro (conquistador brother of Lima’s Francisco). Highlights of your day will be a visit to an indigenous community ‘Potato Park’ and a traditional lunch. You’ll then spend a second night in the Valley, in preparation for tomorrow’s extraordinary day.
Day Six – The magic of Machu Picchu
Whatever has gone before, today is sure to be a pinnacle of your holiday as you travel by narrow-gauge railway to the spa town of Aguas Calientes. Take in the panoramic views of the astonishing Andean scenery through the enormous windows of your comfortable, modern Vistadome carriage, and then transfer to the bus for the final leg of your journey, zig-zagging up through the jungle to Machu Picchu, the breath-taking Lost City of the Incas.
This extraordinary mountaintop citadel in the heart of the Andean jungle is an absolutely unforgettable place, part military outpost, part secret retreat of Inca rulers or estate built in honour of Inca chief Pachacuti. During your visit, your guide will explain the citadel’s layout and the supposed significance of buildings such as the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Three Windows and the Sunken Plaza. It really is, quite simply, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
At the end of the day, you’ll travel back to Cuzco via Aguas Calientes for a two-night stay in the “archaeological capital of South America”.
Day Seven – Cuzco city tour
The Incas called Cuzco the ‘Navel of the World’, and its citadel (reputedly shaped like a puma) was an intricate maze of palaces and gilded temples upon which the conquering Spanish built their colonial city. It remains one of the world’s most enthralling settlements, and today’s guided tour will bring to life the city’s fascinating history and most important landmarks, including the Santo Domingo monastery, built on the site of the Inca Temple of the Sun, the magnificent Cathedral and the elegant Plaza de Armas. You’ll also take a walk through colourful San Pedro Market, with its stalls selling local produce, clothing and crafts, before spending a second evening in the city.
Day Eight – PeruRail Titicaca train to Puno
You’ll have a very early start, this morning, as you head to Wanchaq station and board the wonderfully appointed, 1920s-style PeruRail Titicaca train. Settle into your Pullman-style carriage for the 10-and-a-half-hour journey through the high Andean plains to Puno. As you travel through the startling landscape, you’ll enjoy a gourmet lunch and afternoon tea, and arrive in lakeside Puno late this afternoon to spend the first of two evenings in the colourful capital of Peruvian folklore.
Day Nine – Included Lake Titicaca cruise
Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world, the birthplace in myth of the Inca civilisation, home to shore-side and island communities where life is conducted as it has been for centuries, and refuge for Andean wildlife and many species of resident and migratory birds. Explore its waters as you travel by boat to the floating-island homes of the Uros people, stepping aboard their man-made islands, built with tightly bound reeds, to learn how they maintain their traditions and way of life. Cruise to Taquile Island, where a fairly strenuous walk will be rewarded time to explore some local craft shops, enjoy a traditional Taquile lunch and the opportunity to learn more about the peoples and cultures of the lake.
At the end of the day, you’ll cruise back to Puno to spend a second evening here.
Day 10 – Across Aguada Blanca National Reserve
Board the coach early this morning and journey west from Titicaca, heading towards startling, scenic landscape of the Aguada Blanca National Reserve, past herds of vicunas and alpaca, and the Inca farming terraces that are still worked today. Pass across the high plains, enjoy lunch and the opportunity to visit a natural hot spring, then spend the night in Chivay, your gateway to the stunning Colca Canyon.
Day 11 – Condors and the Colca Canyon
We’ll have an early start today, as we drive to the spectacular viewpoint at Cruz del Condor. Here, with luck, you’ll catch sight of the enormous, majestic condors that make the Colca Canyon their home gliding on the swirling winds and thermals.
Take a short, guided hike into the spectacular canyon, then continue your scenic journey, pausing at the ancient villages of Pinchollo, with its pre-Inca terraces, at the Andean community of Maca, and at Yanque, with its beautiful Baroque church.
This afternoon, you’ll arrive in the beautiful city of Arequipa, in its dramatic setting beside the Chile River beneath three snow-capped volcanoes.
Day 12 – Arequipa city tour
Today you’ll enjoy a tour of White City, Arequipa, with its elegant main square Plaza de Armas, lined on one side by the great cathedral, and surrounded by 19th-buildings constructed of white volcanic stone. You’ll also visit the extraordinary ‘town within a city’, the narrow streets, cloisters and hidden quarters of the Monasterio Santa Catalina, to discover the convent’s fascinating religious art and architecture. Your tour will end with a visit to the stunning Jesuit La Compañía church to see its ornate façade, golden altar and the adjacent chapel with its richly decorated cupola.
This afternoon, you’ll head to Arequipa airport to catch your flight to Lima for a last night in the capital.
Day 13 – Free time and overnight return flight
Spend a last few hours in Lima, perhaps enjoying lunch, before returning to the airport to check in for your overnight flight home.
Day 14 – Arrive back in the UK
Arrive home, today, after an absorbing, extraordinary Peruvian adventure.