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Simply Peru
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14 Days / 13 Nights Trip to Peru

Simply Peru

Experience a lifetime’s worth of adventure in Peru, the land of the fabled Incan empire, on a journey that inspires wonder and fires the imagination. Visit the Sacred Valley, Cusco, explore iconic Machu Picchu itself and come aboard the boat trip on Lake Titicaca.
Colour, culture and Incas - get ready for feisty, fiery and variety-filled adventures in Peru. Get ready to explore the legacy of the Incas in Machu Picchu, and take in the cultural highlights of its intriguing modern cities such as Lima and Cusco. Enjoy a boat trip on Lake Titicaca. Adventurers can further venture into the Amazon rainforest or go on to trek the Incan Trail, which is a must for any hiker.
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  • Duration
    14 Days
  • Starting From
    $1,605
    /person
    Twin sharing
  • Travel Operator
    Explore
  • Flights
    Not Included
    Flight booking assistance will be provided.

Trip highlights

Sacred Valley of the Incas
Highlight #1
Sacred Valley of the Incas
Explore famous and beautiful Inca ruins, including the Pisac ruins, the Ollantaytambo temple, and local markets.
Lake Titicaca: The sacred lake of the Incas.
Highlight #2
Lake Titicaca: The sacred lake of the Incas.
Take a boat trip on this lake which has floating reed islands which preserve its ancient heritage, giving you an opportunity to explore its sacred culture. 
Cusco: Peru’s historical capital
Highlight #3
Cusco: Peru’s historical capital
Take in the highlights of the captivating capital of the Incan empire, and explore the historic Sacsayhuaman fortress - its construction remains a mystery to this date!
A train ride like no other!
Highlight #4
A train ride like no other!
Every seat boasts a full window view of the countryside; mountains playing peekaboo with each turn and bend.
Machu Picchu: the 5th wonder of the world!
Highlight #5
Machu Picchu: the 5th wonder of the world!
Bookended by two immense forested peaks, it is the ultimate symbol of the Incan empire at the peak of power.
Video

Peru: Color, culture and Incas!

From Lima to the Amazon, sites from  Ollantaytmbo to iconic Machu Picchu, Peru is a South American extravaganza like no other. Watch this video for a glimpse of your journey to come. Video Credit: Jacob + Katie Schwarz

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Itinerary

Join tour in Lima

Join the tour in Lima and check-in at the hotel.

Public bus to Nazca

Departing Lima early this morning we board a modern public coach south, following the Pacific coastline, before turning towards the fertile mountain valleys that lie around town of Nazca. Our journey around seven hours and brings us through some of the driest desert regions on earth. Here we find the winegrowing landscapes of the Ica Valley, a region that produces some excellent vintage, as well as Peru's distinctive local tipple, Pisco, a particularly potent mix made from the white grape. Our final destination for today is the oasis town of Nazca, lying in the shadow of Cerro Blanco, which, at over 2000m, is the highest sand dune on earth. We arrive in the early afternoon and the rest of the day is free to relax or explore Nazca.

In Nazca; optional view Nazca Lines from viewing platform or Chauchilla pre-Inca cemetery, overnight bus to Arequipa

Some specialists have speculated that the Nazca Lines represent the world's largest astrological calendar. Huge birds, spiders, whales, other creatures and geometrical figures are represented in outline. Here we have several options to spend the day. You have chance to climb nearby viewing platforms for views out over the lines etched into the desert. Or maybe visit the nearby Antonini Archaeological Museum, the Chauchilla pre-Inca cemetery or the Nazca aqueduct. Alternatively, you could do a full day tour of the area with a local guide, including all of the above, along with the historical Acueductus de Cantalloc, the Inca ruin of Los Paradones and a local pottery workshop.

After dinner today we board the coach for our overnight journey, continuing south through the night towards the city of Arequipa and the volcanic landscapes of the Andean Mountains. Our coach is very modern, with good sized reclining seats and TVs on board, as well as a well-maintained toilet. Blankets are also provided - it's a comfortable way to travel long distance in Peru.

Arrive Arequipa; Free afternoon for sightseeing

We arrive in Arequipa this morning at around 9am. This beautiful city is spectacularly located at the foot of the volcanic slopes of El Misti, a perfect conical peak that rises to some 5822m above this grand colonial city, The city itself was founded by the Spanish in 1540, on the site of an old Inca settlement, and today is famed for its colonial architecture, including what is arguably one of the finest arcaded city squares anywhere in the Americas. Arriving this morning we will transfer to the hotel, after which the rest of the day is free to explore at your leisure, perhaps taking in the elegance of the Plaza de Armas and its immense twin-towered cathedral. You might also like to visit the striking 17th century churches of La Compania and San Agustin and the colonial grandeur of Casa de Moras, or perhaps pay a visit to the extraordinary Santa Catalina Convent, a miniature walled town in the heart of the city, which once housed 450 nuns and serving ladies in total seclusion for nearly 4 centuries. Riddled with a network of cobbled streets and lavishly restored with period furnishings and beautifully ornate touches, the convent is without doubt one of the highlights of any visit to the city. Other recommended sights are the old university and the archaeological museum, which has a fine collection of ceramics and mummies. Otherwise you may choose to take a seat at one of the cafes overlooking the main square and watch the comings and goings.

Travel to Chivay, optional hot springs

After breakfast today we travel to Chivay by private bus. Our journey takes around six hours and brings us into the world of the Altiplano, passing behind the volcanoes that ring Arequipa and on to Chivay. There are herds of llama and alpaca en route, and if lucky we may spot the elusive vicuña. We cross the Patapampa pass with a brief stop at the trip's highest point (4910 m) before beginning our descent to the town of Chivay. On arrival we have a late lunch and the afternoon is free to perhaps bathe in the hot springs (optional).

Visit the Colca Canyon, continue to Puno

This morning we visit the Colca Canyon. A spectacular river gorge, the Colca Canyon measures twice the depth of the more famous Grand Canyon and at one time it was believed to be the deepest gorge on earth (until it was eclipsed by the deeper Cotahuasi Canyon). Largely unknown to the outside world until the latter years of the 20th century, today it affords us an opportunity to discover a world of Andean villages and Inca terraces that make up one of the most outstanding natural settings in the Americas. This is the world of the Altiplano, where the Rio Colca meanders through a landscape of towering volcanic peaks that offer a stunning backdrop to a land inhabited by Cabana and Collagua Indians. Home to the massive and majestic Andean Condor, these awe-inspiring vistas derive their name from the old Incan practise of storing harvested grain in natural vaults carved into the canyon walls, vaults that the Indians called colcas. This afternoon we drive east, heading towards the beautiful landscapes that surround the unique waters of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the word (3856m). Our destination is the town of Puno, a centre of Incan folklore nestling in a bay at the northwestern tip of the lake and the perfect base from which to explore something of the cultural and historical significance of the lake itself.

Boat trip on Lake Titicaca; visit Uros Islands and overnight on Taquile Island

From Puno we take a boat trip on Lake Titicaca to explore the floating reed islands, home to the Uros people who live on the lake itself. Their islands are made from totura, a reed-like papyrus that grows in the shallows and is used in most aspects of their life, including the construction of their boats and homes. We then continue to the less visited island of Taquile which has preserved much of its Inca and pre-Inca heritage and the islanders still speak the language of the Inca - Runa Simi or Quechua. We take our time walking across the island and we will have the chance to buy locally produced embroidery - the men's handiwork for once. This evening we stay in a local village house on the island.

Morning on Taquile Island, afternoon return to Puno

This morning is free on Taquile Island to make the most of a setting where the local people still preserve a rich tradition of music and dance. You might like to take a walk up to the Inca ruins , or visit the market, presenting an ideal opportunity to buy some of the locally made embroidery that is produced by the men of the island. Later this afternoon we then return to Puno by boat, where we can take a stroll through the markets in search of excellent llama and alpaca wool items.

Public bus to Cusco

Today we follow the legendary route taken by the first Inca ruler - Manco Capac - on his way to find Cusco, passing through a landscape that is both desolate and magnificent, where flocks of llamas and alpacas graze amongst the windswept meadows. Rising early, we head to the public bus terminal where our coach awaits us. During the ten hour bus trip, we make several stops including at the small market town of La Raya, and the Inca ruin of the Temple of Wiracocha in Raqchi. Traversing the northern extremes of the Altiplano, we cross the La Raya pass (4321m) and the continental divide, before beginning the descent towards Cusco along the Rio Vilcanota. We arrive into the fascinating city in the late afternoon and check into our hotel.

Alternatively you may wish to take the classic Titicaca train journey from Puno to Cusco (optional) - one of the great railway journeys of the world, the full day journey covers some spectacular scenery over the high altiplano. This includes a sumptuous meal aboard the train, with perhaps the chance to try some local delicacies before we arrive in Cusco in the late afternoon and head to our hotel.

Please note that rail strikes are common in Peru and so there is the possibility that the train may not always be running. In the event that you have chosen the optional train ride and it is not operating, then we will make the journey from Puno to Cusco by bus, with the rest of the group. Refunds due to trains cancelled due to strike action is at the rail companies discretion.

Orientation tour of Cusco, rest of the day free

The old capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco is the archaeological capital of the Americas and the oldest continuously inhabited city on the continent. Imbued with an atmosphere of mystery and grandeur, the Spanish-style city of today, with its attractive pink tiled roofs, arcaded plazas and steep winding alleyways, stands upon tremendous Inca foundation stones, its links with the Inca Empire everywhere to be seen, from the stone walls that line the city streets, to the museums filled with artefacts and relics of a long dead people. This morning we make a short orientation tour of the city with the tour leader pointing out the key sites, before some free time to continue exploring further. We will see the rich majesty of the Plaza de Armas and the incredible remains of Qoricancha, once the heart of Inca society. The city itself is filled with monuments to its more recent colonial past too, with churches and galleries in abundance, making it an ideal city to enjoy at your own pace (entrance fees not included). An interesting site is at the Inca wall of Hatunrumiyoc with its famous twelve-sided stone (its typical bevelled joints creating the patterns of light and shadow so typical of Incan walls).

Train to Aguas Calientes; visit Machu Picchu

This morning we transfer to the railway station to catch the train to Aguas Calientes, our gateway to one of the greatest of all archaeological sites. The train slowly meanders down the valley, following the tumultuous waters of the Urubamba River through a series of rock cut tunnels before emerging at the small town of Aguas Calientes, serenely nestling amidst a lush landscape of cloud forests. From here we take a public bus up to the mountain complex of Machu Picchu, the fabled lost city of the Incas and probably

the most spectacular feat of engineering in ancient America. We have a tour of this magnificent city with our Tour Leader. Temples, stairways, palaces and gabled stone dwellings are scattered everywhere, testifying to the energy and ingenuity of the builders. Not without reason is this site probably the most revered tourist attraction in the Americas; its location alone is dramatic in the extreme, teetering on the saddle of a high mountain peak that towers above the valley below. Built in the mid 15th century by Pachacuti, the city was thought to have been a major agricultural centre for the Incan Empire and its inaccessibility seems to have preserved it from the looters of the intervening years, resulting in the remarkably well-preserved ruins that we see today. Returning by bus to our simple accommodation in Aguas Calientes, situated on the valley floor below, this evening then affords a chance to relax in the local thermal baths (optional).

More time to discover Machu Picchu (optional); train back to Cusco

We have another chance this morning to explore the site. It is also possible to climb the steep peaks of either Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu Mountain to look down on the citadel. Machu Picchu Mountain is a 700m climb from the top of the citadel. There are cobbled stairs all the way up with a few eye-opening drops in some parts, and the round-trip takes about 2.5-3 hours. Huayna Picchu Mountain is only 350m, half the size of Machu Picchu Mountain, but much steeper. There are many more sheer drops, and it is definitely not suitable for someone with a fear of heights. For those who fancy doing the 1 hour climb, you'll be rewarded with world-beating views of Machu Picchu, and the feeling that you're standing on a precipice at the top of the world. 
 
This must be pre-paid at time of booking. If you change your passport between your time of booking and prior to travel please take your original passport with you. 
Later we take the afternoon train to Cusco.

In Cusco; optional whitewater rafting

With a full free day in Cusco there's the chance to go white water rafting on the Urubamba River; grade 2-3 (optional and seasonal), or perhaps visit the market town of Pisac, strategically located at the head of the Urubamba Valley (optional). Pisac once controlled the road connecting the Inca Empire with Paucartambo on its eastern borders and the magnificent Inca ruins that once so dominated this valley still occupy the mountainside above the town, providing a worthy match for any of the temples of Machu Picchu. Other alternatives include a full day visit to the outlying Inca sites at Qenqo, Puka Pukara and Tambo Machay, or maybe a visit to the fortress-citadel of Saqsaywaman. Built to defend the Inca capital, Saqsaywaman broods high above the town, its huge, zigzagging stone walls broken into 66 sharply projecting angles to catch attackers in a withering crossfire. Meant to represent the head of a puma, 20,000 conscripted workers toiled for 90 years to finish it and it was the site of one of the most fiercely fought battles of the Spanish conquest, when the Incas made one last ditch attempt to drive out the Spanish, an attempt that ended in defeat and death for thousands of them. Otherwise you may want to chill out in Cusco and enjoy the atmosphere of this lively town.

Trip ends in Cusco

The trip ends in Cusco this morning.

Inclusions

 Included Meals - 8 breakfasts, 1 lunch.

 Trip Staff - Expert tour leader, boat crew, local guide(s).

 Transport - Bus, boat, public bus, train.

 Accommodation - 1 night simple bus, 1 night simple guesthouse, 8 nights standard hotel, 2 nights simple hotel, 1 night simple village house.

Not Included

 Additional 5% GST

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Dates and prices

Start date

11 Oct 2020

End date

24 Oct 2020

6+ Spots left

14 Days / 13 Nights

$1,845

$1,605

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This Trip Is Operated By Explore

At Explore, we're the experts in adventure travel. Our small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981. Our authentic travel experiences explore the sights and culture of a country, with hand-picked accommodation that balances comfort and location. Our average group tour size is just 12; perfect for meeting new people and getting to the heart of our destinations.

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