ESSENTIAL PERU

15 days departing LIMA from

Style: Discovery
Destination: Peru
Tour Code: EPP

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Trip Overview

This tour through Peru is an incredible journey through varied landscape including coastal desert, snowy Andean peaks, the high altiplano and lush cloud forest. Visit the most famous sites including the mysterious Nazca Lines, the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu in its incredible mountaintop setting, Lake Titicaca, where you spend the night in an island homestay, and the stunning 3000m deep Colca Canyon. Encounter traditional indigenous groups, condors, llamas, and a warm welcome from the Peruvian people. Free time is included in this tour, giving you the opportunity to choose how to make the most of your visit by rafting, hiking, shopping or just relaxing.

Included Highlights
  • Homestay on traditional Amantani Island
  • Colca Canyon & its soaring Condors
  • Boat trip to the Ballestas Islands
  • Uncover the Inca Saywiti and Tarawasi ruins
  • Visit the ancient Inca site of Machu Picchu
  • Scenic drive into the Andes
  • Wildlife viewing opportunities
  • Visit to the working Convent of Santa Catalina
  • Discover Lake Titicaca's floating reed islands
  • Scenic return train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes
Tour Facts & Features
Accommodation: 13 hotel nights in twin share accommodation + 1 night basic homestay. For your own room request our optional Solo Sleeper (see Dates & Prices tab).
Transport: All transportation by private vehicle
Meals: 14 breakfasts included
Guided: Services of a professional bilingual tour leader
Group size: Maximum 18
Age range: 18+

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Trip Itinerary

Our routes have been carefully chosen to include the best night stops and highlights. However, as local and operational conditions may vary and unforeseen circumstances can arise, the following itinerary should be used as a guideline.


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Optional Activities (paid locally)
  • Cusco city tour US$10-$40
  • Urubamba River Rafting US$50-$85
  • Visit local museums in Cusco US$5-10
  • Pisac market & Sacred Valley tour US$40
  • Sacred Valley site entrances US$25
  • Combined entrance to all sites in the Cuzco area US$50
  • Antonini Museum entrance, Nazca US$6
  • Chauchilla Cemetery entrance, Nazca US$3
  • Nazca Aqueduct entrance US$3
  • Nazca Lines flight US$150-$200


Trip Departure Time

As this tour departs at 1000 we recommend that you book pre-tour accommodation. Please request hotel details at the time of booking.

Day 1: Lima

Discover the sights of Lima before this evening's welcome meeting. As the capital and largest city in Peru, Lima is blessed with some splendid landmarks and places to visit including a great choice of museums ranging from art and natural history to anthropology and gold. Lima's historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site and features some exquisite examples of colonial architecture, with the Monastery of San Francisco, the Plaza Mayor and the Palace of Torre Tagle providing just 3 of many highlights.
Accommodation: Hotel included | No meals included

Day 2: Ballestas Islands

Don't forget your binoculars as you head south to the Ballestas Islands which contain one of the world's highest concentrations of marine birds as well as sea lions and pre-Inca etchings. This is your first introduction to the wildlife and natural beauty of Peru and as the Ballestas Islands are often compared to Darwin's Galapagos you can guarantee that you'll be in for a superb experience prior to heading to your overnight accommodation in Ica.
Accommodation: Hotel included | Breakfast included

Day 3: Nazca Lines

After an optional spot of sand dune surfing just outside of Ica, your next port of call is Nazca and the fascinating lines which have baffled archaeologists for centuries. These are one of the world's great archaeological mysteries, consisting of enormous drawings and patterns etched in the desert sand. There was no knowledge of their existence and a motorway was built directly through the middle until first spotted by a plane form the air. If you feel the need to find out more about the Nazca Lines then, reading material aside, an optional flight to gain a bird's eye view presents an incredible insight and one that will really help to put things into perspective.
Accommodation: Hotel included | Breakfast included

Day 4: Nazca & Andes

Driving into the Andes is a breath-taking experience and as you gain altitude and stop for some incredible photo ops you'll do well to take it easy as you become acclimatised en-route to Abancay. Vicunas (a smaller wild relative of the llama) can be spotted along this road as this area is Peru's largest vicua reserve, so keep your eyes and cameras at the ready. It is also possible to spot flamingos which can be found at the high Andean lakes near the road.

Note: Becoming acclimatised to high-altitude effects different people in different ways however, in the main, best advice is to rest, drink plenty of water and keep physical exertion down to a minimum in order to really appreciate the Andes and tomorrow's trip to Cusco.
Accommodation: Hotel included | Breakfast included

Day 5: Andes & Cusco

Cusco is your next stop via the Inca Saywiti stone and the Tarawasi ruins as well as all that incredible Andean scenery. Today's travels allow you to really make the most of the Andes and as you pass glacial peaks, fast-flowing rivers and many of the lesser images overlooked by impatient tourists, you'll no doubt start to appreciate the incredible resilience and ingenuity of the current and previous human inhabitants.
Accommodation: Hotel included | Breakfast included

Day 6: Cusco

Your free day in the one-time Inca capital of Cusco gives you a chance to discover the colonial and pre-Columbian sites as well as an array of Inca ruins both in and out of the city. In the centre you will find the Plaza de Armas, and the Koricancha Sun Temple located in the Santo Domingo Church and monastery. Outside of town are more Inca ruins, notably the fortress of Sacsayhuaman where the Inca armies made their last stand against the Conquistadores. It is recommended to purchase a combined entrance fee for these sites and many others for approximately USS$9-25, depending on the number of sites you wish to visit. If you fancy exploring the banks of the Urubamba River then the optional rafting trip will no doubt fill you with glee and is a must for anyone looking for adventure amongst the realm of the Inca Empire.
Accommodation: Hotel included | Breakfast included

Day 7: Machu Picchu

For most people the highlight of the trip is the return visit by train to the greatest ruin in the world, the ancient lost city of Machu Picchu. Hidden for many years by the magnificent surrounding mountains under a blanket of growth until Hiram Bingham discovered it, this is one of the architectural and engineering marvels of the ancient world. The Spaniards never found it; the Incas left no records about it, so Machu Picchu remains a great enigma, a city lost for centuries in the jungle. You will enjoy a guided tour of the ruins with free time to explore by yourself, walk the steep Inca path up Wayna Picchu, to the Inca Drawbridge, the Sun Gate for that iconic view of the ruins, or simply sit back and admire the views in front of you.
Accommodation: Hotel included | Breakfast included

Day 8: Aguas Calientes

This morning is free to head back to Machu Picchu for sunrise to enjoy the peaceful serenity before the crowds arrive, this is the best time to visit. For those returning to Machu Picchu, the cost is US$45 plus around US$15 for the return bus trip to the ruins from Aguas Calientes. You may wish to soak your bones in the healing hot springs at Aguas Calientas and enjoy the laid back buzz of this little town in the jungle below the ruins. In the afternoon we board the train back to Cuzco, arriving in the late evening.
Accommodation: Hotel included | Breakfast included

Day 9: Cusco

The day is free for to enjoy the sights and shopping of this beautiful city or have your picture taken by the 12 sided rock or with one of the neighbourhood Llamas. If you still want to learn more about the Inca way of life, take a trip to the Inca museum.
Accommodation: Hotel included | Breakfast included

Day 10: Lake Titicaca

Follow the course of the Vilcanota River as you travel over the high plains and onwards to this afternoon's destination, Lake Titicaca. In Andean belief Titicaca is the birthplace of the sun and in addition is the largest lake in South America, and the highest navigable body of water in the world. This evening you will spend the night with a local family on Amantani Island. The chance to stay overnight with a local family presents an altogether different and rewarding experience and from finding out more about the customs and the cuisine to exchanging languages and making friends, this is an essential insight into the culture and the lifestyle of Peru.
Accommodation: Homestay included (basic facilities) | Breakfast included

Day 11: Lake Titicaca/Puno

Wave goodbye to your new found friends and enjoy one last exploration of Amantani before heading over water to Puno via the floating reed islands inhabited by descendants of the Uros Indians. Today proposes yet another chance to delve deeper into the lifestyles of Peru's native inhabitants and although many tourists have passed this way on their travels their impact has had little or no effect on this remarkable group of people.
Accommodation: Hotel included | Breakfast included

Day 12: Colca Canyon

Cross the altiplano to the south west, heading back towards the coast to the high Colca Canyon. En route keep your eyes peeled for vicunas and possibly flamingos before descending into what is considered to be 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 - a warming pleasure after the chill of Lake Titicaca.
Accommodation: Hotel included | Breakfast included

Day 13: Arequipa

Famous for its beautiful hikes and resident llamas, the real draw here is the Andean Condor, which is best spotted from the Mirador Cruz del Condor view point. Get your cameras ready as the magnificent Andean Condors soar above you, with a wingspan of 3.2metres, this is truly a sight to behold. 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.
Accommodation: Hotel included | Breakfast included

Day 14: Arequipa & Lima

In the morning, visit the huge and serene Santa Catalina Monastery. 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 fly to Lima where will transfer to your hotel in Miraflores by the coast. During the warmer days, Peruvian families can be found with a picnic by the sea.
Accommodation: Hotel included | Breakfast included

Day 15: Lima

You are free to continue your tour of Lima on your own after breakfast or transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Breakfast included

This tour is run by our trusted sister company.

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  • A GBP150 / US$260 deposit per person is required to book
  • Full payment is due 8 weeks before the tour departure
  • We are an ABTA and ATOL operator offering financial security for our inclusive tours.
  • If you prefer to book by telephone please contact our sales office
  • Prices are land only. Call 0333 999 7951 for a flight inclusive quote (UK)

Solo Sleepers Optional Solo Sleeper

There are no forced supplements for single travellers. Accommodation is based on twin-share, so if you're travelling on your own, you'll share with a fellow passenger of the same sex. However, if you would prefer your own space our Solo Sleeper Option can be requested from per person. This will guarantee you your own room for every night of the tour except for the homestay on Lake Titicaca. The number of single rooms & tents we can offer is limited, so it's best to book early. Simply select the "Solo Sleepers" check box on the booking form or request over the phone.

Important Notes

We highly recommend you book this trip at least 60 days prior to departure. Reservations received within 30 days will be on request and subject to availability of en-route accommodation.


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Private Departures

Why not arrange your own Grand American Adventures departure? For groups of 8 or more, we can offer private departures on any of our published itineraries enabling friends, families or organizations to enjoy our style of travel at special rates. Although tours will run as per our standard itinerary shown here, slight modifications may be considered and dates can be chosen to suit your needs. (Subject to seasonal/operational restrictions). So contact us today and start planning your own adventure.

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Tour Extras

We've offer a whole range of travel extras with everything from city sightseeing, additional hotel nights, insurance and more so you can organise everything you'll need for your trip in one easy place

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Our specialist flights department can offer UK customers a great airline fare to all of our travel destinations.

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We have preferred contracts with many international carriers and have secured some of the most competitive prices in the industry. We are also ATOL protected and IATA licensed.

Special offers are regularly available, so call us now on 0208 682 8920 or click below to request a flight quote by email.

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Travel Insurance

At Grand American Adventures we believe that your safety and enjoyment are the most important parts of your holiday.

Travel Insurance

Before you join your Grand American Adventures tour you MUST be covered by insurance that includes adequate coverage for baggage, medical expenses and the cost of repatriation. We can offer you a comprehensive travel insurance policy which is completely tailored for your trip and is specially designed to include all the activities listed.

See our insurance page for more information.


Amazon Rainforest Extension

Want even more adventure? We offer a 4 day Amazon extension available before or after your trip.

Amazon extension

Book our 4 day Amazon extension to this tour, exploring the jungle in depth on foot and by canoe and discover how extraordinarily diverse the Amazonian rainforest ecosystem really is.

Prices from GBP649/US$1135. Please contact us on 0208 682 8920 for more information or click the link below.

> Click here to view more

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