Discover Peru's museums, churches and Inca fortresses in comfort
This week-long journey from Lima to Cuzco is the perfect introduction to Peru’s vibrant culture and fascinating heritage. Lima’s historic centre is replete with impressive colonial architecture, and home to the ornate Basilica Cathedral and catacombs. To the south lies Cuzco, the ancient Inca capital, nestled on a plateau surrounded by the Andes. This charming city is awash with Inca ruins and museums juxtaposed with Spanish churches and buildings, not to mention its bustling markets. Beyond Cuzco rural life continues much as it has done for centuries and we’ll meet some of these traditional communities in the Sacred Valley before visiting the colossal fortresses at Pisac and Ollantaytambo. No trip to Peru is complete without journeying through cloud forest to visit Machu Picchu, majestically perched on a mountaintop.
All breakfasts and one lunch are included in the price of the tour. The tap water in Peru is not safe to drink but drinking water is included in the price of the tour; please bring a reusable water bottle that can be refilled. 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 can not 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 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.
The group flights depart London this evening. **
The group flights arrive into Lima this morning. Our hotel is based in the residential Miraflores District, within walking distance of the coast. There are no excursions planned for today in order to give time to recuperate after your flight. Your leader will be on hand to help you get your bearings and can help make arrangements should you want to visit somewhere in particular. There will be a group briefing at the hotel this afternoon/evening. *Hotel Antigua Miraflores *(or similar)
Today we have a tour of colonial and modern Lima. We visit the modern residential district and then explore the historical downtown area. We will discover the Plaza de Armas, Basilica Cathedral and Presidential Palace on a short walk around the colonial centre, and we visit the incredible church of San Francisco, which houses one of the oldest libraries in the Americas and sits on top of a labyrinthine network of catacombs. These still house the bones of Lima's wealthy 18th and 19th century residents. *Hotel Antigua Miraflores* (or similar)
It's a short flight (approx. one hour) to Cuzco. Upon landing we transfer to our centrally located hotel. Set amidst hills in the altiplano, the imperial city of the Incas, Cuzco was the geographic, cultural and political centre of a vast empire which, at its peak, stretched from present day Quito in Ecuador to Santiago in Chile. After the Spanish Conquistadores invaded the city they started building on top of the Incan structures, resulting in unique architecture, a fusion of the Incan and Spanish colonial styles. It is among the most attractive cities in South America. We will have a short walking tour around the compact city centre to get our bearings, and will visit Koricancha – the Sun Temple, located in the Santo Domingo Church and Monastery. 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 San Agustin Plaza* (or similar)
We have a full-day tour combining the highlights in and around the city. Outside the town are Inca ruins, notably the fortress of Sacsayhuaman where the Inca armies made their last stand against the Conquistadores. In the centre we visit the Plaza de Armas, and see many examples of the famous Inca stonework. One of Cuzco’s most picturesque areas is the San Blas District, where many artisan workshops are found. It’s a bit of a climb up the cobbled streets but a fascinating neighbourhood to visit and affords some great views over the city. We will also go to San Pedro Market, which is the place to try some local produce. *Hotel San Agustin Plaza* (or similar)
We visit the magnificent Sacred Valley, which runs along the Urubamba River near Cuzco, and is the true heartland of Incan culture and tradition. The high-Andean scenery is dotted with old towns and villages dating back to pre-Columbian times. We first head out of Cuzco to the colourful handicraft market at Pisac, at the entrance to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. After some free time to browse the stalls, we take a walking tour of the huge Inca ruins above the village. We then head to Chichubamba community, where you can see local activities such as pottery and chocolate making, as well as enjoy a hearty traditional lunch. After lunch, we drive down the valley to Ollantaytambo and visit the immense Inca fortress. This was the royal estate of Inca Emperor Pachacuti as well as being of religious and defensive significance. We will also explore the village, whose streets still follow the pre-conquest grid plan. In the afternoon we take the train, which winds its way through the beautiful Urubamba River Valley, to Aguas Calientes (the town below Machu Picchu). The train journey is roughly an hour and a half. *Hotel Casa Andina* (or similar)
In order to beat the day-trippers coming from Cuzco, we wake early this morning and catch the bus (approx. thirty minutes) up the winding road to the greatest ruin in the world - 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 remained a great enigma, a city lost for centuries in the jungle until it was rediscovered in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham. The well-preserved Inca architecture, combined with its spectacular location on a mountain spur high above the Urubamba River, makes Machu Picchu one of the world's most impressive ruins. Having been trialled in 2017, new regulations for visiting Machu Picchu will be fully enforced for 2018; of the three possible visiting slots, Exodus we will purchase the morning slot from 06:00 until 12:00 (unless unavailable), 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. If there is time before your train, it may sometimes be possible to purchase a second entrance ticket to Machu Picchu (subject to availability). We catch an afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo (1hr 30 mins) and continue by private bus to Cuzco (2hrs 30 mins). *Hotel San Agustin Plaza* (or similar)
The group flights depart Cuzco this afternoon. **
The group flights arrive into London this afternoon. **
* All breakfasts and 1 lunch * All accommodation * All transport and listed activities * Tour leader throughout * Flights from London (if booking incl. flights) * Arrival and departure transfers
You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.
Exodus is an award-winning company built on adventures. It started life on 4 February 1974 when two friends got together to provide an overland truck to travel to the Minaret of Jam, deep in the heart of the Hindu Kush, the most inaccessible of the world’s great monuments. They continue to discover countries, cultures, environments, cities, mountain ranges, deserts, coasts and jungles - exploring this amazing planet we all live on.
At Exodus, they know what makes you tick when it comes to holidays. It’s a desire shared by so many others. A yearning to visit new places and come home with a real sense of what they’re all about. This means delving into local traditions, cultures, cuisine, lifestyles – anything that contributes to its unique identity. At the same time, they always remember that they are only guests. So they ensure they travel courteously and respectfully, in smaller groups to minimise their impact, to ensure that every Exodus holiday is a beneficial experience for everyone involved. This is a philosophy they take around the world, helping you reach some incredible destinations on 500 itineraries across 90 countries – choose from walking, cycling, culture, wildlife and even polar adventures in guided groups or self-guided, tailor-made for you or a ready-made itinerary in Peru or India, Costa Rica or Italy – the choices are endless. They also strive to provide as much flexibility and choice as possible, making it simple for you to experience a very different holiday.
All staff at Exodus have a passion for travel and adventure with their combined experiences spanning 171 different countries and in their former lives, some team members have been professional archaeologists, wildlife guides, overland drivers, mountain leaders, diving and ski specialists and mountain bike gurus – all guaranteed to give you the very best adventure possible. Extensive planning, research, fact-finding and training are just some of the ways this expertise comes through in your adventure.
Exodus recognises their obligation to operate their tours in a responsible and sustainable fashion to address the environmental, economic and social impact tourism can have. They are committed to the well-being of the communities that host you and the natural environment that you are there to experience. Key points in their philosophy include small groups which have less impact on local communities and environments, putting money directly into the communities visited by using locally owned and run accommodation and eating locally produced food, ensuring local staff and operators receive a fair rate for their services, encouraging their own staff to take an active interest in responsible and sustainable tourism and train them accordingly, endeavour to ensure that their practices help in the environmental conservation of the areas visited and provide their clients with advice and guidelines on how to respect the social, cultural and religious beliefs of local communities.
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